ITINERARY & MAP
Welcome to Tajikistan! Arrive at the airport early in the morning. Transfer to the hotel and early check-in. You can have a rest after your long flight, take a shower and have breakfast.
We start the city tour with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Tajikistan with the famous Buddha statue. Our next stop is the Navruz Palace. Initially, this building was supposed to become the largest teahouse in the world. However, during construction, which involved hundreds of artisans from all over the country, the interior became so impressive that it was decided that it was going to become a palace instead of a teahouse. Most of its rooms are now used only for official government meetings with guests from abroad or for international conferences. Just one room is open for public use and usually, weddings take place there. You get a chance to have a tour inside this unique modern palace. After lunch, we 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 arts flourished. From there we walk up to Rudaki Park, dedicated to great Persian poet Rudaki, who also lived during Samanid time in the 9th century AD.
We will have welcome dinner in a nice Tajik restaurant. Your guide will outline the tour itinerary and give you plenty of opportunities to ask questions.
Hotel Sheraton or similar
Today after breakfast we drive to Iskanderkul Lake, named after Alexander the Great. Triangular in shape, it is considered one of the most exquisite lakes in all of the former Soviet Union nations, nestled in the Fan Mountains at 2,200m altitude. The route is a delightful one, past rugged mountains scenery. At the shore of the lake, we will have lunch and you can go for a swim if you like. We then take a short hike to a nearby waterfall, also called the Niagara Falls of the Fan Mountains. Free time in the afternoon at the lake.
Overnight in cottage at the lake (single/ twin room, western toilet and shower in each cottage), ca. 2200m altitude
After an early breakfast, we drive back to the main road towards Penjikent. About half an hour before we reach Penjikent we turn left following a mountain road which 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 will certainly take a photo stop at each of the lakes. The roads are very bad and steep, but we lucky to have skilled and experienced drivers. Near the fourth lake, we stop at the village of Noffin for lunch in a family guesthouse. If we are lucky we will get served fresh fish from the lake.
After lunch, we drive further up to the sixth lake with a short walk in Podrud village on the way. From the sixth lake, we hike in less than one hour up to the 7th and last lake – Hazorchashma. We will have a rest, enjoy the scenery, and meet some shepherds who are staying there during the summer months with their cattle. After a short while we hike down to the car waiting for us at the sixth lake and we drive back down to the fourth lake. In the guesthouse where we had lunch, we will have dinner and stay for the night.
Overnight in family guesthouse (single room cannot be guaranteed, shared western toilet and shower), ca. 2000m altitude
After breakfast, we drive all the way back down to the main road leading to Penjakent. The distance is not great, but due to the bad road condition, we will reach Penjakent only shortly before lunch time. You get the chance to taste a famous Central Asian dish – Plov (rice with meat and carrots). In Tajikistan, it is said that the best Plov (or Pilaf) is made in Penjikent. If you are interested you can also see how it is made. After delicious lunch, we will check in at the hotel before exploring the town.
Penjikent translates as “the city of five villages” and is located on the verdant Zeravshan river valley. Dating from the 5th century, Penjikent was a thriving regional hub on the Great Silk Road. We visit the local market of the town, the Mosque, the local history museum and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sarazm (ruins from 4th – 2nd millennia BC).
Hotel Umariyon or similar
From Penjikent we drive up North to Istarafshan first and finally to Khujand. The road to Istaravshan is very scenic, crossing Shahriston Pass. Istarafshan was founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC and recently celebrated its 2500th anniversary. The Timurids of the 14th century then called Istaravshan Ura-Tube and the city’s artisans were highly regarded in Central Asia. Today, Istarafshan is well known in Tajikistan for its blacksmiths, hand-crafting knives of high quality. We will visit the workshops of the blacksmiths near the entrance of the market. We will also meet a famous wood carving master, who will tell you more about his work and passion. We will also visit the Hazrati Shoh Mosque and Mugtepa fortress.
From Istarafshan it is another one and a half hours driving to Khujand. Check in at the hotel and have dinner in the second largest city of Tajikistan.
Grand Hotel or similar
Khujand is situated not far from the Fergana Valley on the Syr Darya river. It is another ancient city with a history dating back to Cyrus the Great of Persia and Alexander the Great. Today it is the second largest city in Tajikistan with Tajikistan’s biggest market – Panjshanbe Bazaar. City tour of Khujand includes the bazaar and the adjacent Maslihaddin Mosque, the historical Museum of Khujand, and Arbob palace.
In the evening we will have a walk around Kmaoli Khujand park and see the Lenin statue.
Grand Hotel or similar
Today we drive all the way back to Dushanbe. It is a long and scenic ride on the same road that we took before. Along the way, we stop for lunch. In the early afternoon, we arrive in Dushanbe and you have free time in the capital. Farewell dinner in the evening.
Sheraton hotel or similar
Transfer to airport for departure flight back home. We hope you enjoyed your trip to Tajikistan and will return soon to discover more places in this beautiful part of the world!