ITINERARY & MAP
Welcome to Tajikistan! Arrival at the airport early in the morning (most people arrive on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul). Transfer to the hotel and early check-in. You can rest, take a shower, and have breakfast after your long flight.
We start the city tour with a visit to the Navruz Palace. Originally this building was supposed to become the largest tea house in the world. However, during its construction, which involved hundreds of craftsmen from all over the country, the interior became so impressive that it was decided to make it a palace instead of a tea house. Most of the rooms are only used for official government meetings with guests from abroad or for international conferences. Only one room is open to the public and usually, weddings take place there. You will have the opportunity to take a tour of this unique modern palace. After lunch, we will visit the statue of Ismail Samani. The large monument commemorates the 1100th anniversary of the Samanid state, the heyday of the Tajik nation when science and art flourished. From there we go to Rudaki Park, which is dedicated to the great Persian poet Rudaki who also lived during the Samanid period in the 9th century AD.
We will have a welcome dinner in a nice Tajik restaurant. Your guide will outline the itinerary and give you plenty of opportunities to ask questions about the adventure that awaits you.
Hotel Atlas 4 * or similar
This morning we are leaving the Tajik capital and driving through the Varzob Gorge – a weekend destination for locals from Dushanbe. We continue towards the Fann Mountains. These picturesque peaks form part of the high Zarafshan ridge. We plan to reach Penjikent just in time for lunch at around 2 pm. After lunch, we check-in at the hotel before exploring the city.
Penjikent means “the city of five villages” and is located in the fertile Zeravshan river valley. Penjikent dates from the 5th century and was a thriving regional hub on the Great Silk Road. We visit the city’s local market.
Hotel Umariyon 3 * or similar
We will be back on the road again today following a route that takes us through the Shing Gorge, with its famous seven pearls of Tajikistan – seven mountain lakes each with its own distinctive color, microclimate, and flora. We are in no hurry today and can take photo stops at many beautiful spots along the way. Near the fourth lake, we stop at the village of Noffin for lunch in a family guesthouse.
After lunch, we drive further up to the sixth lake with a short walk in Podrud village along the way. From the sixth lake, we hike in less than one hour up to the 7th and last lake – Hazorchashma. The crew of donkeys, cook, and support staff will meet us at the lake. You may relax at the lake, go for a swim, or have a walk around the lake if you like.
Overnight in tent, 2400m altitude.
Start the day with a nutritious breakfast. You will be trekking today around 6 hours, mostly uphill, so you will need the sustenance. We trek westwards from Hazorchashma lake towards Tovassang Pass, climbing steadily as the pass is at an altitude of 3350m. The exertion is well worth the effort, though, as we will be treated to an incredible view over the stunning Sarmat Gorge. We continue on, through the breathtaking Danisher Gorge, camping along the way.
Overnight in tent, ca. 2800m altitude
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 meters above sea level at the confluence of the Archamaidon and Sarmat rivers.
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 follow the main road past the villages of Voru and Gaza. Having broken for lunch somewhere along the way we will hike until we reach the village of Zimtut, where we are welcomed by a friendly family in their house, where we will have dinner and overnight. There will be some time to discover the charming village of Zimtut and get acquainted with the villagers.
Overnight in a simple guesthouse, ca. 1900m altitude (multi-share with mattresses on the floor, pit toilets outside)
Today it is time to hike uphill again as we will cross Ghuytan pass (3000m) to reach Chukurak lake (2450m). After a short rest at the lake, we hike half an hour down to the Artuch Alpinist camp, where you will be able to sleep in twin rooms with a private bathroom and shower.
Overnight in Artuch Camp (twin/ single rooms, with private bathroom and shower), 2160m altitude
Feeling refreshed after a good night’s rest, we are ready for the delightful ascent to the Kulikalon Lakes. The Kulikalon area is a plateau at an altitude of around 2800m full of rivers and beautiful lakes – some smaller and some larger. Many consider these lakes to be the most beautiful ones of the entire Fann Mountains. We will arrive early enough at the lakes, so you can go for a swim or explore the area on your own. Overnight at lake Bibijanat, a particularly picturesque lake in the Kulikalon area and suitable for swimming.
Overnight in tent, ca. 2800m altitude.
We depart Bibijanat and climb towards the incredible Alauddin Pass (3860m). This is the highest point of our tour. The ascent to the Pass is quite steep, so we make sure to stop sometimes to catch a breath, drink water and eat some snacks. On the pass, you will be rewarded with a clear view of Chapdara Glacier, the peak with the same name, as well as Mount Odamsang and Mount Marriya. Looking down from the Pass you can already spot the two Alauddin Lakes. The descent is quite steep and it takes longer than it seems until we finally reach the shore of Alauddin Lake and can jump into the refreshingly cold water.
We set up our tents next to the lake.
Overnight in tent, ca. 2700m altitude.
Today morning we walk down half an hour from Alauddin Lake to Alauddin Alpinist Camp, where the driver will wait for us to take us to Lake Iskander Kul. Named after Alexander the Great, this tranquil lake offers a serene location to mull over the sights and experiences we have had since arriving in Tajikistan. Triangular in shape, it is considered one of the most exquisite lakes in all of the former Soviet Union nations. We will take a short hike to a nearby waterfall, also known as the Niagara Falls of the Fann Mountains. After lunch at the shore of the lake, we drive back to Dushanbe via Anzob tunnel and Varzog gorge. Farewell dinner.
Overnight in Hotel Atlas 4* or similar
Today it is time to say a fond farewell to Tajikistan. Transfer to Dushanbe International airport. We hope you have enjoyed your trip to Tajikistan and will return soon to see more of Central Asia.