Best of Tajikistan Tour

Highlights of Tajikistan

Experience the cultural and natural highlights of Tajikistan

Days

8

Price

€1590

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 city center with golden statue of Ismail Somoni

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.

We will start today’s city tour with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum with its famous Sleeping Buddha statue, excavated from the monastery at Ajina Teppa. Our next stop is the Navruz Palace. Initially, this building was envisaged as the largest teahouse in the world but during construction (which involved hundreds of artisans from all over the country) it was decided that it was so ornate it was more appropriate to use it as a palace. Most of the rooms are now used for official government meetings with guests from abroad, or for international conferences, but weddings take place here, too. We will have a tour inside, take lunch, and then see the statue of Ismail Samani. This large gilded monument commemorates the 1,100th anniversary of the Samanid State, the Golden Age of the Tajik nation when science and arts flourished. From there we will walk across to Rudaki Park, dedicated to the great Persian poet Rudaki, who also lived during the Samanid period.

Tonight we will have a welcome dinner in a great Tajik restaurant. Your guide will outline the tour itinerary and give you plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Hotel Atlas 4* or similar

Iskanderkul lake shore with 2 travelers near the boat

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.

Overnight in a cottage at the lake (single/ twin room, western toilet, and shower in each cottage)

c. 2,200m altitude.

Second of seven lakes in Tajikistan

After an early breakfast, we will rejoin the main road towards Penjikent. We won’t drive that far, however: we’ll turn left and follow a mountain road which takes us through the Shing Gorge. This is where we will find the seven pearls of Tajikistan, seven mountain lakes each with their own distinctive color, microclimate, and flora. We will have a photo stop at each of the lakes, which will break up the bumpy journey. The roads are very bad and steep, but luckily we will have skilled and experienced drivers. Near the fourth lake, we will stop in the village of Noffin for lunch in a family guesthouse.

In the afternoon we will further along the valley to the sixth lake, with a short walk in the village of Podrud on the way. From the sixth lake, it will take us less than an hour to hike to the seventh and last lake, Hazorchashma. We will have a rest, enjoy the scenery, and probably meet some shepherds who stay there during the summer months with their cattle. Returning to the car, which will be waiting for us at the sixth lake, we will drive back down to Noffin for dinner and a good night’s sleep in the same guesthouse where we had lunch.

Overnight in a family guesthouse (single room cannot be guaranteed, shared western toilet and shower)

c. 2,000m altitude.

Sarazm, UNESCO World heritage site

This morning we will drive back down to the main road and on to Penjakent. The distance is not far, but due to the bad road conditions, we will not reach Penjakent until shortly before lunchtime.

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.

Hotel Umariyon 2* or similar

Blacksmith in Istaravshan

From Penjikent we will drive north, first to Istarafshan and finally to Khujand. The road to Istaravshan is very scenic, crossing the Shahriston Pass. Today, Istarafshan 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, and also meet a famous wood carving craftsman, who will tell you more about his work and passion. There will be time for us to visit the Hazrati Shoh Mosque and Mugtepa Fortress, too.

From Istarafshan it is a 90-minute drive to Khujand. We will check-in at the hotel and have dinner in what is the second-largest city in Tajikistan.

Grand Hotel 3* or similar

Khujand mosque domes in Tajikistan

Khujand is situated in the Fergana Valley on the Syr Darya River. It is another ancient city, whose history dates back to the time of Cyrus the Great and Alexander the Great. 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.

Grand Hotel 3* or similar

Dushanbe's Rudaki statue in park

Today we will 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’ll stop for lunch, and we expect to reach Dushanbe in the early afternoon, so you will have plenty of free time in the capital. Our farewell dinner will be this evening in a lively city restaurant.

Hotel Atlas 4* or similar

departure passport with stamps

Transfer to Dushanbe Airport for 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
8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (6 nights, incl. early check in on day 1), Guesthouse (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Dushanbe – City tour
  • Visit to Iskander Kul lake
  • Visit to the “Seven Lakes”
  • Penjikent – City tour
  • Meet blacksmiths in Istaravshan
  • Taste plov
  • Khujand – City tour
Download PDF

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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Total trip price

€1590

Euro

8

Days

Single supplement available for €400

Deposit: €500

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
19 Jul 2021
26 Jul 2021
+ Available
16 Aug 2021
23 Aug 2021
+ Available
18 Jul 2022
25 Jul 2022
+ Available
15 Aug 2022
22 Aug 2022
+ 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 and from Tajikistan
  • 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 local 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, and suggest private tour extensions in Tajikistan or neighboring countries.
  • Most nationalities need an electronic visa to enter Tajikistan. We can get the visa for you and send it to you via email as a PDF document. You will just need the print out the paper and carry it with you. The cost of the visa is 50 USD per person.
  • We are happy to suggest flights to get to Tajikistan and back home: 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.
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. 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 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 almost every country can obtain an electronic visa 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 after 2-3 days 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. If you book a tour with us, we can get the visa 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 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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