Fann Mountains Trekking Tour

Tajikistan Discovery Trekking

Be at one with nature amidst some of Central Asia’s most spectacular scenery on this trek through the Fann Mountains

Days

13

Price

€1690

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Tajikistan

Route:

  • Dushanbe
  • Penjakent
  • Fann Mountains
  • Dushanbe

Themes: Active Adventures

Little-visited Tajikistan is barely on the tourist radar but those that make the effort will be rewarded with some of the most pristine and precious landscapes on the planet. Not only will you gain an insight into the diversity of Central Asian culture, you’ll explore Tajikistan’s rich cultural heritage.  Soviet-style Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, with its landmarks, museums and busy bazaars, is a world away from the tranquil landscapes of the river valleys and mountain passes that make up Tajik countryside.

This tour will take you back in time as you explore wonders such as the Hisor Fortress and the old city of Penjakent, known as the Central Asian Pompeii.  But the great treat in store for you on this trip is that the countryside through which you’ll trek has been little changed for millennia, its glacial lakes as turquoise as they were in the days of the ancients and its mountain peaks as craggy. If you’re looking for a physical challenge in a country so unspoilt no one can argue it’s a hidden gem, then this is the tour for you.

highlights

  • Go for a sightseeing tour in charming Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan
  • Get acquainted with the Persian cultural heritage of Central Asia
  • Visit the restored ancient fortress of Hisor
  • Hear fascinating legends about the conquest and life of Alexander the Great in Central Asia
  • Discover the Central Asian Pompeii: Sogdians in Penjakent
  • Go trekking among wild and unspoilt mountains dotted with turquoise lakes
  • Meet local people their carts piled high with hay just as it’s been for centuries
  • Experience the hustle and bustle of oriental bazaars

ITINERARY & MAP

palace in front of water in Rudaki park in Dushanbe center, presidential palace-government

Our introduction to wonderful Tajikistan begins just outside its capital, Dushanbe. The earliest parts of the ancient fortress at Hisor date from the 7th century but this citadel sits so beautifully in its setting that it looks like it’s been there forever.  Its location high on the hill, together with metre-thick walls of almost impenetrable stone punctuated with gun and cannon slits, make this the perfect defensive structure.  It was once the residence of the Emir of Bukhara’s deputy and reflects his status.

Returning to Dushanbe, we take a city tour which encompasses the city’s main sights: Rudake Park, the National Library, the White House, the National State Seal, Parliament and the Jomi theatre.  Just as impressive is what is currently the second tallest freestanding flagpole in the world – after Jeddah – a whopping 165 metres high with a flag measuring thirty by sixty metres.  A visit to the Central Museum takes us to lunch and afterwards, we’ll make a visit to the Gurminj Museum with its fascinating collection of traditional musical instruments.  But we can’t really say we’ve shown you Dushanbe unless you’ve been to the bazaar so we’ll end our excursion with a trip to this most Oriental of markets, vendors’ stalls piled high with fruit and vegetables from the everyday to the exotic. Over dinner, you’ll try more of this fresh produce as you dine Tajik-style in a typical restaurant.

Transport: Minivan with A/C for transfer/city tour

Accommodation: Hotel – 3* by Western standards, altitude 706 m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

Leaving Dushanbe this morning, we’ll drive over the 3372m Anzob Pass. Our destination is the city of Penjakent, whose name translates as “the city of five villages”.  It is located in the Khujand area of the country in the verdant and picturesque Zeravshan river valley.  Dating from the 5th century, Penjakent was a thriving regional hub, a city as cosmopolitan as they came.  It sat on the banks of the river and was dominated by a palace adorned with ornate murals depicting hunting scenes and pillars carved with images of dancing girls.  It was a superbly fortified, planned city which together with that palace had two temples, several markets and rich dwelling houses decorated with numerous paintings, wooden ornaments and clay statues of ancient Gods.  It lay hidden until relatively recently but archaeologists have worked hard to uncover the secrets buried beneath the dirt.  These days, it’s still a ruin, leading some people to nickname the site the “Central Asian Pompeii”.  Outlines of thick stone and adobe walls provide a sense of what it would once have been like and although the sculptures, pottery and manuscripts that were found here are now in far flung places like Tashkent and St Petersburg, our guide will help paint a picture to bring this wonderful place to life.

In the evening you will be able to watch a traditional folklore performance and if you like, you can try out some Tajik dance moves. Moreover, you will be able to participate in master class of cooking traditional Central Asian dish – plov. In Tajikistan it is said that the best Plov (or Pilaf) is made in Penjakent.

Transport: minivan with A/C for inter-city transfer 320 km, 6 hours

Accommodation: local guesthouse, altitude 900 m

Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours

We’ll be back on the road again today following a route which takes us through the Shing Gorge, with its famous seven pearls – seven mountain lakes each with its own distinctive colour, microclimate and flora.  We’ll start with Padrud Lake, moving on to Mizhgon Lake, Soya Lake and Khushyor Lake before reaching the village of Marghuzor, where we will stay for overnight with a local family.

Transport: minivan with A/C for inter-city transfer 70km, 3-4 hours

Accommodation: local guesthouse, altitude 2200 m

Duration of trekking: 2-3 hours

shephards in Fann mountains of tajikistan

Our trekking support crew joins us from Pasrud this morning, and we’ll pack up our belongings to trek from Teogli towards the Towasang Pass, climbing steadily as it is at an altitude of 3300m.  The exertion is well worth the effort, though, as we’ll be treated to an incredible view over the stunning Sarmat Gorge.  We’ll continue on through the breathtaking Danisher Gorge, camping along the way.

Accommodation: tents, altitude 2800m

Duration of trekking: 12km, 5-6 hours

Fortunately, what goes up must come down and it’s downhill all the way today.  We’ll stroll down the trail that leads through dense forest to the small village of Khomori Goitan before crossing the Archamaidon and Sarmat rivers.  We’ll be glad of our crew and their pack mules who’ll take the hard work out of carrying our gear, leaving us free to focus our attention solely on the unmissable scenery that unfolds before us.  Our goal today is to reach the Duoba campsite, located at 1870 metres above sea level at the confluence of the Archamaidon and Sarmat rivers.

Accommodation: tents, altitude 1870 m

Duration of trekking: 12km, 5-6 hours

Another day’s trekking begins this morning, and a very pleasant walk it is too.  Our route hugs the banks of the Archamaidon River; in comparison to the rocky slopes, the meadows which surround the river are lush from the water used to irrigate them.  We’ll follow the main road past the villages of Voru and Gaza where we’re sure to get a friendly wave and a warm welcome from those who live there.  Central Asia is well-known for its hospitality and in that respect Tajikistan is no different to its neighbours.  Locals will want you to take a photo and will be as keen to learn more about your life as you are theirs.  Having broken for lunch somewhere along the way, we’ll hike until we reach the village of Zimtut, our campsite for the night.

Accommodation: tents, altitude 1700 m

Duration of trekking: 12km, 5-6 hours

The group will need to make a collective decision on the route today, as there are two options if we are to reach Chukurak Lake.  They each involve hiking up to a mountain pass, either Ghuytan at 2280 metres or the longer trek to Zurmich at 2600 metres.  Whichever you choose, the scenery will imprint itself on your memory as you soak up the delightful rocky slopes pricked with evergreen spruce trees.  From the pass, we’ll head to Chukurak at 2450 metres, its vivid blue colour the result of minerals washed into the water by melting ice in the spring.  Once again, we’ve selected a campsite that will make the most of this spectacular landscape and we’ll pitch our tents by the water’s edge.

Accommodation: tents, altitude 2450 m

Duration of trekking: 9 km, 4-5 hours

Again today, we have two options when it comes to routes leading to this evening’s campsite.  The group will make the decision; the first route on offer is a trail that heads over the Chukurak pass.  At 3160 metres in altitude, it’s a tougher trek, but the extra effort will be well rewarded with panoramic views across to Kuli Kalon Lake, the second largest in the Fan Mountains.  Alternatively, the group can choose the easier path which will cut across via Artuch Base Camp which at 2120 metres is significantly lower.  In good weather, this region offers some of the most spectacular vistas in the world, the rocky summits of the taller mountain peaks framing the views perfectly.

Accommodation: tents, altitude 2120m

Duration of trekking: 11 km, 5-6 hours

We depart Kuli Kalon and climb towards the incredible Alodin Pass.  Our aim is a high altitude picnic at the top of the pass at 3860m.  Our reward, other than the tasty food, is a clear view of Chapdara Glacier, high on the mountain of the same name which tops out at an impressive 5050m, as well as Mounts Odamsang (4579m) and Marriya (4790m).  We’ll settle for the view rather than the ascent and instead descend to our camp for the evening, at the edge of Alodin

Accommodation: tents, altitude 2700m

Duration of trekking: 9 km, 5-6 hours

Today’s trek might be short but again we are at high altitude and amidst scenery that demands not to be rushed.  We’ll begin by climbing towards Mutnoy (3500m).  If we look north, we’ll get a fabulous view of Alodin Gorge and to the south, glaciers and peaks as far as the eye can see.  Our guides will point them out to you: Zamok (5070m), Energiya (5120m) and Chimtargha (5489m), the highest peak in the Fan Mountains.   Our picnic spot and overnight camp will be next to the picturesque Mutnoy Lake.

Accommodation: tents, altitude 3500 m

Duration of trekking: 8 km, 4-5 hours

Our final day’s trekking is spent retracing our steps to Alodin Lake.  Hiking further down the valley, a vehicle will be waiting at the Russian Base Camp to drive us to Iskandarkul Lake, where we’ll make camp tonight.  Named after Alexander the Great, this tranquil glacial lake offers a serene location to mull over the sights and experiences we’ve had since arriving in Tajikistan.  Triangular in shape, it’s considered one of the most exquisite lakes in all of the former Soviet Union nations.  It’s also known for its bird-spotting potential and if there’s even the tiniest bit of twitcher in you then you’ll be keen to see if you can catch a glimpse of numerous avian species including finches, warblers, falcons and vultures.  If your feet will allow, there are some beautiful spots just a short stroll away, around the lake and to several local villages.  But with the surrounding hills and forested banks perfectly reflected in the still water, we know how hard it will be to drag yourself away.  If you want to just sit and drink it all in, well, that’s fine by us.

Transport: minivan with A/C for inter-city transfer 78km, 3-4 hours

Accommodation: tents, altitude 2,195 m

Duration of trekking: 8 km, 4-5 hours

chaikhana Rohat in Dushanbe favorite place of local people in tajikistan and national food

Now it’s time to give those muscles a well-earned rest as we transfer to Dushanbe.  The route is a delightful one, past landscapes that have smoked since ancient times, a crossing of the Anzob Pass at 3437m which affords expansive views over the Zarafshan Range of the Fan Mountains and a drive along the Varzob Valley.  There’ll be free time in the evening to adjust to being back in the city once more.

Transport: minivan with A/C for inter-city transfer 140 km, 4 hours’ drive

Accommodation: tents, altitude 706 m

Pamiri boy in Tajikistan

Today it’s time to say a fond farewell to Tajikistan.  Our driver will accompany you for your transfer to Dushanbe International Airport.  We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed your trip and will return soon to trek in the Pamir mountains or as they call them here, the “Roof of the World”.

Inclusions

Transport
Foot, Minivan
Meals
13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 12 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel 4 nights, tents 8 nights (all equipment will be provided including tents, mats and all necessary kitchen utensils)
Included Activities

Dushanbe – city tour

Penjakent – city tour

Penjakent – folklore concert

Fann mountains – trekking

dates & price

Total trip price

€1690

Euro

13

Days

Single supplement available for €350

Deposit: €250

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
17 Jul 2017
29 Jul 2017
Available
31 Jul 2017
12 Aug 2017
+ Available
14 Aug 2017
26 Aug 2017
+ Available
Price includes
  • 4WD MB Hyundai STAREX in a good condition with AC
  • Porters for carrying luggage and equipment, including donkeys
  • Services of a cook during the trekking
  • English speaking tour leader accompanying the group during the entire tour
  • Accommodation on twin base (all equipment will be provided, including tents, mats & all necessary kitchen equipments)
Price does not include
  • Alcoholic Drinks;
  • Private expenditure: tip, laundry, telephone, medical and other services;
  • Entrance Fees to the Night Clubs, Discos and Cinemas
  • Health Insurance
  • Visas
  • Flights

Important notes

  • We strongly recommend you to get travel insurance for this tour. Upon arrival, please provide your insurance details to the tour guide. Which insurance you choose is up to you. We recommend this one: https://www.worldnomads.com
  • Make sure to get your e-Visa here: https://www.evisa.tj/index.evisa.html
  • Minimum group size is 3 people, we recommend waiting for our confirmation before purchasing non-refundable travel services like air ticket

TAJIKISTAN 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.

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