Best of Tajikistan Tour

Highlights of Tajikistan

Experience the cultural and natural highlights of Tajikistan

Days

9

Price

€1840

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Tajikistan

Route:

  • Dushanbe
  • Iskanderkul
  • Seven Lakes
  • Khujand
  • Dushanbe

Themes: Cultural Tours

Kalpak Travel introduces you to Tajikistan, a fascinating country of rugged mountains, turquoise lakes, friendly people, and a mix of cultural influences from ancient Persia to the Soviet Union. This one-week trip will lead you across the country on a packed itinerary that includes everything from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sarazm to the craft workshops of Istaravshan, as well as time in Tajikistan’s vibrant modern capital, Dushanbe.

highlights

  • Sightsee amongst the parks, museums, and monuments of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan
  • Visit the ancient ruins of Sarazm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover Iskander Kul, an idyllic mountain lake named after Alexander the Great
  • Experience the hustle and bustle of the oriental bazaar in Khujand
  • Hike between the Seven Lakes in the stunning Fann Mountains
  • Meet master craftsmen in the workshops of Istaravshan

ITINERARY & MAP

Dushanbe sightseeing Rudaki park

Welcome to Tajikistan! Your arrival at the airport is likely to be early in the morning, so we’ve allowed time for you to transfer to the hotel, check-in, and have a rest, a shower, and breakfast before the day’s sightseeing begins in the late morning.

As well as being the capital, Dushanbe is the largest city in Tajikistan. It was a small village with a market every Monday. The Persian word for Monday is Dushanbe, and that’s how the settlement got its name. It was not until the Soviet period that Dushanbe grew into the political and industrial center of Tajikistan.
Our city tour will start with a visit to Hissor Fortress, one of the main historical sights of the country, about half an hour’s drive from the city. Return back to Dushanbe and have lunch.
In the afternoon, we continue sightseeing with a visit to Navruz Palace. Initially, this building was envisaged as the largest teahouse in the world. However, during construction (which involved hundreds of artisans from all over Tajikistan), the interior became so impressive that it was decided to use it as a palace instead of a teahouse. Most of the rooms are now used for official government meetings with guests from abroad, or for international conferences. Just one room is open to the public, and usually, weddings take place there. This is a unique opportunity to tour the interior of this ornate modern palace. After, we visit the newly constructed independence monument. From the top, you can enjoy a nice view of the city. Next, we will have a walk in Rudaki Park, dedicated to the great Persian poet Rudaki, who lived during the Samanid period, in the 10th century AD. From the park, we will walk up to the statue of Ismail Somoni. This large monument commemorates the 1,100th anniversary of the Samanid State, a Golden Age of the Tajik nation when science and arts flourished.

Tonight we will have a welcome dinner in a local restaurant.

Hotel Atlas 4* or similar

Buddha from Ajina Tepe in Dushanbe Antiquities museum

Today we spend another day in the Tajik capital. After a leisurely breakfast, we start the day with a visit to the National Museum of Antiquities with its famous Sleeping Buddha, excavated from the Buddhist monastery at Ajina Teppa.
Touring today also includes the Museum of Musical Instruments and Folklore. Badakhshani actor Gurminj Zavkybekov began this small but fascinating museum. Our next destination is the city’s main market.  In the afternoon, we will visit the handicrafts center of Dushanbe. Here you can meet many masters of different types of crafts, including some who have been involved in the construction of Navruz Palace. We can spend as much time as you like in the crafts center, talking with masters and watching their works.

Hotel Atlas 4* or similar

Isakanderkul Tajikistan

Today after breakfast we will drive to Iskanderkul, a lake named after Alexander the Great who conquered this part of Tajikistan almost 2,500 years ago. Triangular in shape, it is considered one of the most exquisite lakes in all of the former Soviet Union. It is nestled in the Fan Mountains at an altitude of 2,200m. The route to Iskanderkul is a delightful one, through rugged mountain scenery. On the lakeshore, we will have lunch. We will then take a short hike to a nearby waterfall. The afternoon will be spent at the lake relaxing and doing as you please. We will also have a short boat ride on the lake.

Overnight in a cottage at the lake (single/ twin room, western toilet, and shower in each cottage), c. 2,200m altitude.

Penjikent Tajikistan

After an early breakfast, we will rejoin the main road towards Penjikent, which we plan to reach for lunch.

Penjakent translates as “the city of five villages” and it is located in the verdant Zeravshan Valley. Dating from the 5th century, Penjakent was a thriving regional hub on the Great Silk Road. We will visit the local market, the mosque, the small local history museum, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sarazm, where the ruins date from the 4th-2nd millennia BC.

In the evening, we will have a cooking master class in a nice teahouse with a garden. We will also invite a singer and drum player (dutar) and they will perform traditional songs from the Zarafshon region called “doyra”.

Hotel Panjakent Plaza 3* or similar

Tajikistan one of the seven lakes in the Fan mountains

Our day trip will start with a bumpy ride into the mountains to explore the area of the Seven Lakes. This mountain valley is not far from Penjikent, but due to the terrible road conditions, this trip takes a full day. We will drive all the way up the valley to the sixth lake. It is then a short and easy hike of about two hours (both ways) to the seventh and highest lake, Hazorchashma. We will have a picnic at the shore of the lake. There will be time to enjoy the scenery and wander along the lake shore before hiking back down to the sixth lake and returning by road to Penjikent. On the way, we will also stop in a couple of mountain villages for a short walk and get acquainted with village life.

Hotel Panjakent Plaza 3* or similar

Blacksmith in Istaravshan

From Penjikent we will drive north, first to Istaravshan and finally to Khujand. The road to Istaravshan is very scenic, crossing the Shahriston Pass. Today, Istaravshan is well known in Tajikistan for its blacksmiths, who hand-craft knives of particularly high quality. We will visit the blacksmiths’ workshops near the entrance to the market.

We will also be invited for lunch with the family of Mr. Usto Sodiq, a comb maker, who will explain more about his craft and introduce us to his family. After a hearty lunch, we drive for another one and a half hours through the Fergana valley to Khujand. Check-in at the hotel in the city center. Dinner in a local restaurant.

Grand Hotel 3* or similar

Khujand Tajikistan

Khujand is still thriving, and today it has Tajikistan’s biggest market, Panjshanbe Bazaar. Our city tour of Khujand includes the bazaar and the adjacent Maslihaddin Mosque, the Historical Museum of Khujand (which is within the old fortress), and Arbob Cultural Palace. We will also visit the Arts School, where you can watch a traditional Tajik musical performance by students, including dances.

In the evening we will visit The House – Museum “Anora”. It is one of the few places in Khujand where one can get a grasp of the traditional design and authentic atmosphere of the Tajiki house. Initially founded by Nozimjon aka, a local Khujandi man, Anora House Museum is a replica of Nozimjon’s grandfather’s family house. The interior and exterior of the house reflect the traditional design of the Tajiki houses of the Pre-Soviet era. Nozimjon’s personal collection of antique and Soviet-period items is sure to be interesting to many travelers from all over the world.

Grand Hotel 3* or similar

Group of tourists in Central Asia

After a leisurely breakfast, we drive around one hour to the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border. Cross the border on foot and say goodbye to your Tajik guide and driver. Meet your Uzbek guide and driver on the other side. After another two hours of driving, we reach Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest city in Central Asia with 3 million inhabitants. Farewell lunch in a local restaurant. Free time in the afternoon or optionally a city tour. Independent dinner.

Hotel Wyndham 4* or similar

departure passport with stamps

Check-out from hotel by noon or continue your trip in Uzbekistan. Individual transfer to Tashkent Airport to catch your flight back home. We hope you will have enjoyed your trip to Tajikistan and will return soon to discover more places in this beautiful part of the world!

Inclusions

Transport
Foot, Minivan
Meals
9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (8 nights, incl. early check in on day 1), Cottages (1 night).
Included Activities

Sightseeing and cultural activities as per itinerary.

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dates & price

You can choose to join a small group on a guaranteed departure or book a private tour on the date of your choice
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*
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Total trip price

€1840

Euro

9

Days

Single supplement available for €400

Deposit: €500

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
11 May 2023
19 May 2023
+ Available
20 Jul 2023
28 Jul 2023
+ Available
24 Aug 2023
1 Sep 2023
+ Available
5 Oct 2023
13 Oct 2023
+ Available
Price includes
  • All transfers by minibus according to the itinerary, including transfers from/to the airport
  • Accommodation based on two people sharing a double / twin room
  • English-speaking tour leader accompanying the group throughout the trip
  • All entry fees as per the itinerary
  • Full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Price does not include
  • International air fares to Dushanbe and from Tashkent
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Travel insurance policy (required)
  • Personal expenses (e.g. souvenirs)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips for guides and drivers

Important notes

  • Travel insurance is required for this tour. You are free to choose any insurance company.
  • All listed departures are guaranteed.
  • The maximum group size is 12 people.
  • A €500 per person deposit is required at the time of booking, and the balance is due 15 days prior to departure. Terms & Conditions: https://kalpak-travel.com/terms-and-conditions/
  • One English-speaking tour leader will accompany the group for the whole trip.
  • You can opt to book the whole itinerary as a private tour. We can also arrange extra nights before or after the trip, or you can continue the trip in a group or privately in Uzbekistan.
  • We can advise and take care of all visas for you. Citizens of most countries can visit Tajikistan visa-free. UK citizens need an electronic visa, which we can get for you.
  • We are happy to suggest flights to get to Dushanbe and back home from Tashkent: please contact us.

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 malls, 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 or have very small withdrawal limits.
We recommend bringing cash in new USD banknotes 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 a credit card is still not possible in most places, except for a 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, except for the border conflict with Kyrgyzstan in the Fergana valley - we do not visit this area on our tours. The border with Kyrgyzstan is closed due to political tensions and it is not clear when it will open again. The border with Afghanistan is closed as well. Guests and locals are treated with respect and Tajikistan can be regarded as a 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 most countries do not need a visa to visit Tajikistan for a period of up to 30 days. A notable exception is the United Kingdom - UK citizens need to apply for an electronic visa to visit Tajikistan. You can get the visa yourself through the official government website for 30 USD per person: https://www.evisa.tj/. If you book a trip to Tajikistan with us we will get the visa for you.
Please note, if you are planning to visit the Pamir region, you need a GBAO permit, which you can purchase online, together with the eVisa, for an additional fee of USD 20. If you book a tour with us, we can get the GBAO permit for you.
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 altitudes, 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 meters. The best season to visit Tajikistan is during summer when it's possible to go to the mountains.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered, or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing your 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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