The land of rugged mountains

Tajikistan

Welcome to Tajikistan

Tajikistan may be the smallest country in Central Asia, but it is home to the region’s highest mountain peak, Ismoil Somoni (7495 meters) and the largest glacier outside the polar regions – Fedchenko Glacier. Over 50% of Tajik territory lies at 3000 meters or more above sea level. Locals once called the Pamir mountain range the “Roof of the World,’ and later during the period of intrigue called the Great Game, western explorers, and British spies adopted this term. The Pamir highway, or simply M41, is the second-highest highway in the world and reaches up to 4,655 meters. The views and scenery throughout the entire journey are simply unbelievable. Driving on this road one can experience the long journeys of the Silk Road merchants, imagine the spies of the Great Game and spend nights in simple homestays in villages that were built during Soviet times.

Another highlight of Tajikistan is to go trekking in the Fann mountains, passing by beautiful mountain lakes, one of which is named after Alexander the Great, who once reached this point. The Tajik national language is of Persian origins and Tajiks are very proud of their rich Persian literary heritage.

Recently Tajikistan introduced an electronic visa regime for most countries, which makes it very convenient and easy to order a visa and GBAO permit online. For adventure travelers who love mountains, wilderness and homestays with locals, Tajikistan is the place to go – by foot, Jeep or a combination of both.

At a glance

  • Population:
  • 8,610,000
  • Area:
  • 142,100km²
  • Languages:
  • Tajik
  • Time zones:
  • UTC +5
  • Currency:
  • Somoni (TJS)
  • Climate:
  • Continental
  • Geography:
  • Mountains
    Highest point: Ismoil Somoni Peak 7,495m
  • Dialing code:
  • +992
  • Electricity:
  • 220V, 50Hz, European plug

Tajikistan in photos

Top tours in Tajikistan

Book your favorite small-group tour today; discover the grandeurs of Central Asia while making friends on your way! Happy Holidaying with Kalpak Travel!

Active Adventures

Pamir Highway Active Tour

Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

15 Jul 2017

other departures

Price:

€2490

Available

18 days

Travel information

MONEY & COSTS:

The Tajik currency is called the Somoni (TJS). In the capital Dushanbe there are a few ATMs that you’ll find in shopping centres, supermarkets or on the main streets, but most of them accept only Visa cards. Outside of Dushanbe we don’t recommend relying on ATMs as there are only a few of them and they may run out of money.
We recommend bringing cash in new USD bank notes of denominations of at least 20 USD. There are many exchange offices, some working 24/7. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with credit card is still not possible at most places, except for few high-end restaurants and hotels. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

The political situation in the country has been calm in recent years and there are no indications of upcoming tensions. The border area with Afghanistan is safe as well, but we do not recommend crossing the border for a trip into Afghanistan. Guests and locals are treated with respect and Tajikistan can be regarded as safe destination for travelers. That being said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and only take official taxi rides. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Tajik partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of almost every country can obtain an e-Visa online for stays of up to 45 days in Tajikistan. All you need to do is enter the requested information then pay a fee of 50 USD by credit card and you will receive almost immediately the eVisa by email. You can print it out and use it just like an ordinary visa to enter the country. Please note, if you are planning to visit Pamir region, you need a GBAO permit, which you can purchase online, together with the eVisa, for an additional fee of USD 20.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Tajikistan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Tajikistan is continental and dry across most of the country, including the largest cities. In regions situated at relatively low altitude, such as the capital Dushanbe, the south of Tajikistan around Kulob and the Khujand region, summers are very hot with day temperatures between 30° and 40° Celsius. However, most of the country is situated at high altitudes, where temperatures are in the mid 20s or less during the summer. If you visit the Fann or Pamir Mountains, make sure to bring some warm clothes, as it can get very cold at night at elevations of more than 3000 metres. The best season to visit is during summer.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Tajikistan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Tajikistan are basic at best. Please note: there is a small risk of malaria in the south of Tajikistan by the borders with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. None of our tours visit this region.

FAQs on Tajikistan

WIFI
Most of the hotels and hostels in cities provide free Wi-Fi access. In rural areas, homestays generally have no internet access.

Local Sim card

Only residents of Tajikistan may purchase sim cards in Tajikistan.

Emergency

In the case of emergency your friends/family can call us and we will pass their message to you. Please take note of the 24/7 emergency number indicated in your travel documents.

Tajik is the official languages of Tajikistan and is derived from Persian. Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region (“Pamirs”) has different Pamiri dialects as well as Kyrgyz as a minority language in the Eastern part of the Pamir. People will understand Russian mostly in larger cities. All our guides speak English, but overall in Tajikistan very few people understand or speak English.

Local population is friendly and hospitable, but not very sociable. You will be staying at guesthouses and yurts that belong to local families. You can bring a postcard with you and show where you come from and try to make simple conversations. If you are interested in getting in touch with locals we recommend you to familiarize yourself with social dos and do nots as explained in our blog article. Our guides are trained to be cultural mediators and will be happy to facilitate conversations with your hosts and translate for you.

Tajikistan is a secular state and population is predominantly Muslim. Religion is practiced but quite moderate. Pamiri people are Shia Ismailiten, branch of Islam whose main religious leader is Aga-Khan. There are still influences from Zoroastrianism and Sufism, thus people are quite superstitious.

In Tajikistan, you will see bright colored national dresses on women and modern European style clothing on men. Tajik people love their national clothes but tolerate well how tourists are dressed. We still recommend to women to cover shoulders and not wearing any clothes that could be considered offensive. When visiting Mosques, you will need to wear long pants and women need to cover their shoulders and their hair with a veil.

No, it is not and we recommend you to drink bottled water, use filter or boil it. Moreover, please do not use tap water for brushing teeth and order your drinks without ice.

The national dish in Tajikistan called Kurutob is vegetarian. It is made of bread pieces, fresh tomatoes and onions. Tajikistan eats lot of soup and it will contain small piece of meat. Central Asia is generally not an ideal place for vegetarians, however you can order side dish such as plain rice, mashed potatoes and in some places, even grilled vegetables. Most of the national dishes in cafes are made with meat, predominantly mutton. In guesthouses and yurt stays you need to talk to the guide so he can arrange something. In some cases, you can also alter some meals with quick noodles that can be bought in stores. More information of food in Central Asia you can find here.

Tajikistan has couple of coffee places, however outside the capital the best coffee you can get is an instant coffee, if you are coffee-lover we recommend taking little Italian coffee machine.

In cafes, service of 10-15% is usually included on the bill, however this does not go directly to the waiter, he gets only salary. Usually the amount is rounded up and If you are very content with the service you can leave some tip. Guides and guesthouses do not expect tips from you, if you are happy with their services provided they will certainly appreciate a little tip.

Most of the hotels and hostels are clean and have western standard toilets with shower. Guesthouses differ in quality of facilities and services offered from place to place, occasionally it will have shared shower and a western toilet. Most of the guesthouses located in Pamirs do not have shower and western style toilet. Toilets there are little self-made cabins with a hole on the ground. It is always handy to have roll of a toilet paper, hand sanitizer and a torch in rural areas.

The most expensive services for laundry is in hotels, since they charge 1-3$ per laundry item. Hostel laundries are cheap and charge per machine load. In guesthouses, it is not always available and should be discussed there. In Pamirs or during camping we recommend you to use bio-degradable wash.

Your safety is the first priority for Kalpak Travel, in organizing our tours we discuss every detail to make sure that your tour runs smoothly and you will have a wonderful experience with us. Our guides are well trained to deal with emergency situations and we will get you help as quickly as possible. In case of serious illness, we will help you to get proper medical assistance, do everything possible to get you to your homeland and inform your family. To join our tours, you are required to have travel insurance. Please make sure it fully covers medical emergencies including repatriation costs.

Pamir highway is the second highest highway in the world and it is a tough road. The roads in suburbs and in villages can be in poor condition or not paved at all. Tajikistan is highly mountainous land with high passes and many passes have rugged roads. Not all roads have guard rails and proper signs. Our drivers are experienced and professional drivers who can drive you safely in Tajikistan. All our vehicles are well maintained, four-wheel drive, and checked before each departure.

Travellers' Impressions of Tajikistan