TAJIKISTAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Tajikistan is a country in Central Asia surrounded by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It’s known for rugged mountains, popular for hiking and climbing. The Fann Mountains, near the national capital Dushanbe, have snow-capped peaks that rise over 5,000 meters. The range encompasses the Iskanderkulsky Nature Refuge, a notable bird habitat named for Iskanderkul, a turquoise lake formed by glaciers.
Tajikistan is one of the world's poorest countries. The uneven transition after independence from the former Soviet Union, a recent civil war and recurring natural disasters have all contributed to the poor economic situation. The economy has further been beset by cosmic corruption, economic mismanagement and high unemployment. As a result, the majority of the population work in agriculture for a livelihood.
TAJIKISTAN QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Dushanbe
- Currency: Somoni (TJS)
- Area: 143,100 km2
- Population: 9,101 million (2018)
- Language: Tajik, Russian
- Religion:Sunni Muslim 85%, Shi'a Muslim 5%, Other 10%
- Electricity: 220 V, 50 Hz
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TAJIKISTAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 8 March, International Women’s Day
- 20/21 March, Persian New Year
- 1 May, International Labor Day
- 9 May, Victory Day
- 27 June, Day of National Unity
- 9 September, Independence Day
- 6 November, Constitution Day
Also, the Islamic holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
FESTIVALS IN TAJIKISTAN
BEST TIME TO VISIT TAJIKISTAN
Tajikistan has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
- Spring (March to May) is the time when the country's natural beauty comes alive. The snow melts, the rivers start to flow, and the wildflowers begin to bloom.
- Summer (June to August) is the warmest season and it is the perfect time for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and trekking. It can be quite hot in the lowlands, but it's cooler in the mountains.
- Fall (September to November) is the time when the leaves on the trees turn golden and red, and the weather is mild and pleasant. It is a great time for sightseeing and visiting cultural sites.
- Winter (December to February) is the coldest season, with temperatures dropping well below freezing in the mountains. The country can receive heavy snowfall and the passes can be closed. However, skiing and other winter sports are popular activities during this time.
The best time to visit Tajikistan depends on what you would like to do during your trip. If you plan on hiking and exploring the country's natural beauty, the best time to visit would be during the summer months of June to August. However, if you are planning on skiing or visiting the country's cultural sites, the winter months of December to February would be a better time to visit. Keep in mind that Tajikistan is a mountainous country and the weather can be unpredictable, so it's always a good idea to check the forecast before you go.
TAJIKISTAN WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Aridity, high temperatures and significant inter-annual variability of almost all climatic elements are predominant characteristics of Tajikistan’s climate. Annual mean temperatures vary from 17°C in the south to -6°C in the lower Pamirs. Maximum temperatures are observed in July and minimum in January. In the East Pamir, the minimum temperature reaches -63°C, whereas in the south, maximum surface air temperature can exceed 47°C. The annual precipitation in the lowland, hot deserts of northern Tajikistan, and cold mountain deserts of east Pamir averages from 70 to 160 mm, whereas in central Tajikistan precipitation can exceed 1,800 mm per year.
TAJIKISTAN TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN TAJIKISTAN
The snow season in Tajikistan is usually from November to March and you can either visit the local ski resort or arrange an organised ski adventure tour.
HIKING & CYCLING IN TAJIKISTAN
The best time to enjoy outdoor activities and trekking in Tajikistan is from late May to October.
BEACH OPTIONS IN TAJIKISTAN
SURFING IN TAJIKISTAN
KITESURF IN TAJIKISTAN
Kitesurfing spot details and weather
HEALTH RISKS IN TAJIKISTAN
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
TAJIKISTAN TRAVEL COSTS
The cost of traveling to Tajikistan can vary depending on your travel style and the time of year you visit. However, in general, it is a relatively budget-friendly destination.
- Accommodation: Prices for accommodation in Tajikistan vary depending on the type of accommodation you choose. A budget option would be staying in a guesthouse or homestay, which can cost around $10 to $20 per night. Mid-range options include hotels or guesthouses in the cities, which can cost around $30 to $50 per night. Luxury options include high-end hotels and resorts, which can cost $100 or more per night.
- Food: Eating out in Tajikistan is relatively inexpensive. A meal at a local restaurant can cost around $5 to $10. Street food is also a budget-friendly option, with prices typically under $5.
- Transportation: The cost of transportation in Tajikistan is also relatively low. A one-way bus or marshrutka (minibus) ride within a city can cost around $1 to $2. Long-distance bus rides can cost around $5 to $10. Taxis are also a budget-friendly option, with prices starting at around $2 to $3.
- Entrance fees: Entrance fees to national parks and other tourist attractions vary, but they are generally inexpensive. For example, the entry fee to the Pamir National Park is around $10 per person.
Overall, you can travel in Tajikistan with a budget of around $30 to $40 per day, though you could spend more if you choose more expensive accommodation and activities.
Here is a sample budget for a one-week trip to Tajikistan:
- Accommodation: $150 for 7 nights in a budget guesthouse or homestay
- Food: $70 for 7 days of meals at local restaurants and street food vendors
- Transportation: $50 for bus or marshrutka rides within the city, and $35 for a long-distance bus ride
- Entrance fees: $20 for national park entrance fees and other tourist attractions
This is just a rough estimate and the costs can vary depending on your specific travel plans. For example, if you choose to stay in a mid-range or luxury hotel, the accommodation costs will be higher. If you plan on doing more activities such as rafting or skiing, the costs will also be higher. It's always a good idea to budget a little extra for unexpected expenses. Also, It's worth noting that the cost of visa, flights and other travel-related expenses should be added.
TAJIKISTAN TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips for Tajikistan:
- Get a visa: Make sure to check the visa requirements for Tajikistan and apply for a visa well in advance of your trip.
- Pack for the weather: Tajikistan is a mountainous country with variable weather. Make sure to pack warm clothes for the colder months, and lightweight clothing and sunscreen for the summer.
- Bring cash: Many places in Tajikistan do not accept credit cards, so it's a good idea to bring cash in the local currency, the somoni. ATMs are available in some cities but it's better to have cash on hand.
- Learn a few words of Russian or Tajik: While many young people in the cities speak English, it is not widely spoken outside of the main cities. Knowing a few words in Russian or Tajik can be helpful for communicating with locals.
- Be prepared for the altitude: Tajikistan is a high-altitude country, so if you plan on trekking or hiking, be prepared for the effects of altitude sickness. It's a good idea to acclimatize before going on a high-altitude trek.
- Be respectful of the culture: Tajikistan is a Muslim country, and it's important to be mindful of local customs and traditions, such as dress codes and behavior.
- Hire a guide: A guide can be very helpful in getting around, communicating with locals, and providing information about the culture and history of the country.
- Be prepared for limited infrastructure: Tajikistan is a developing country and the infrastructure outside of the cities can be limited. Be prepared for rough roads, limited public transportation, and spotty internet access.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Tajikistan shares a border with Afghanistan and there is a risk of terrorism and extremism, so it's important to be aware of your surroundings and follow any local security advice.
- Enjoy the experience: Tajikistan is a beautiful country with a rich culture and history. Take the time to explore, meet the locals, and enjoy the experience of traveling to this lesser-visited destination.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF TAJIKISTAN
Tajikistan is a country that is divided into several regions, each with its own unique character and attractions. Here are some of the main regions of Tajikistan and the highlights of each:
- Dushanbe: The capital and largest city of Tajikistan, Dushanbe is a bustling metropolis with a mix of Soviet-era architecture and modern buildings. Highlights include the National Museum of Tajikistan, the Hissar Fortress, and the Rudaki Park.
- Pamirs: This mountainous region is known as the "Roof of the World" and is home to some of the highest peaks in the country, including the Ismoil Somoni Peak (formerly Communism Peak). The highlight of this region is trekking and hiking opportunities, visiting the Wakhan corridor, and the Pamir Highway.
- Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province: The province is located in the eastern part of the country and is known for its stunning landscapes and diverse cultures. Highlights include the city of Khorog, with its historic bazaar and botanical gardens, and the Wakhan Valley, which is known for its traditional villages, hot springs, and trekking opportunities.
- Khatlon: This is the most populous region of Tajikistan, known for its agricultural production, and rich cultural heritage. The highlights of this region include the cities of Kurgan Tyube, and the city of Kulob, where the mausoleum of the medieval ruler, Amir Khusrow, is located.
- Sughd: This region is located in the northwest of the country, and it is known for its beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage. The highlights of this region include the city of Khujand, with its historic bazaar and the Khujand Fortress, and the Iskanderkul Lake, which is a popular spot for hiking and outdoor activities.
- Fan Mountains: This is a small but beautiful mountain range located in the northwest of the country. It offers great trekking and hiking opportunities and is a great place to experience the country's natural beauty.
Overall, Tajikistan is a country that offers a diverse range of experiences and activities, from trekking and hiking, to cultural and historical tours, to enjoying the natural beauty and landscapes.
Tajikistan is a country with a rich culture, history, and natural beauty, and there are many things to see and do when visiting. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Tajikistan:
- Explore the capital, Dushanbe: The capital city of Tajikistan is a great place to start your journey. Visit the National Museum of Tajikistan, which has a large collection of artifacts and historical items from the country's past. Walk around the city center and take in the mix of Soviet-era architecture and modern buildings, such as the Presidential Palace and the National Library.
- Trek and hike in the Pamirs: The Pamirs is a mountainous region in the east of the country and is known as the "Roof of the World." It offers some of the best trekking and hiking opportunities in the country, with high-altitude passes and beautiful landscapes. The most famous trek is the Pamir Highway, which goes through the Pamirs and offers great views.
- Visit the Wakhan Corridor: This narrow strip of land in the east of the country is home to some of the most remote and unspoiled villages in the country. It is known for its traditional way of life and stunning landscapes. Visitors can hike or take a 4x4 trip to explore the area and meet the local people.
- Explore the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province: This province is located in the east of the country and is known for its diverse cultures and stunning landscapes. Visit the city of Khorog, which is the capital of the province, and take a stroll through the historic bazaar and botanical gardens.
- Visit the Fan Mountains: The Fan Mountains are a small but beautiful mountain range located in the northwest of the country. It offers great trekking and hiking opportunities, and also it is a great place to experience the country's natural beauty.
- Visit the Iskanderkul Lake: This beautiful lake is located in the Sughd region of the country and is a popular spot for hiking and outdoor activities. The lake is surrounded by mountains and offers great views.
- Visit the Hissar Fortress: This fortress is located in Dushanbe, it is a historical site that dates back to the 17th century, and it offers great views of the city and the surrounding area.
- Visit the Khujand Fortress: This fortress is located in the city of Khujand, it is a historical site that dates back to the 17th century, and it offers great views of the city and the surrounding area.
- Visit the mausoleum of Amir Khusrow: This mausoleum is located in the city of Kulob, it is a historical site that contains the tomb of Amir Khusrow, a medieval ruler, and it offers great views of the city and the surrounding area.
Overall, Tajikistan offers a wide range of activities and attractions to suit different interests, from trekking and hiking to cultural and historical tours, and enjoying the natural beauty and landscapes.
WHAT TO EAT IN TAJIKISTAN
Tajikistan offers a diverse range of cuisine, with influences from neighboring countries such as Uzbekistan, China, and Afghanistan. Here are some of the must-try dishes when visiting Tajikistan:
- Plov (pilaf): This is a popular dish made with rice, meat (usually lamb or beef), and vegetables. It is usually cooked in a large pot and is a staple at most meals.
- Mantu: These are steamed dumplings filled with meat, onions, and spices. They are often served with a yogurt-based sauce and are a popular street food.
- Lagman: This is a hearty noodle dish that is popular in the Pamirs region. It is made with handmade noodles, meat (usually lamb or beef), and vegetables.
- Shashlik: This is a type of skewers, it is made with marinated meat (usually lamb or beef) that is grilled over an open flame. It is often served with a side of vegetables and is a popular street food.
- Khorovats: This is a type of barbecue, it is made with marinated meat (usually lamb or beef) that is grilled over an open flame. It is often served with a side of vegetables and is a popular street food.
- Qurutob: This is a popular dish that is made with qurut, a type of dried cheese, and is often served with a side of vegetables.
- Aushak: This is a type of dumplings filled with leeks, onions, and ground meat, and is often served with a yogurt-based sauce.
- Ashak: This is a type of dumplings filled with leeks, onions, and ground meat, and is often served with a yogurt-based sauce.
- Samsa: These are savory pastries filled with meat, onions, and spices. They are often served as a snack or appetizer.
- Chai: This is the traditional tea, it is made with black tea, milk, and sugar, and is often served with a side of biscuits or pastries.
Overall, Tajik cuisine offers a wide range of dishes that are hearty and flavorful. Some dishes can be quite spicy, so be sure to let your server know if you prefer milder options.
LGBTQ IN TAJIKISTAN
WHERE TO STAY IN TAJIKISTAN
When visiting Tajikistan for the first time, it's a good idea to choose a place to stay that is central and easy to access the main attractions. Here are a few options for where to stay:
- Dushanbe: The capital city of Dushanbe is a great place to stay when visiting Tajikistan for the first time. It is the largest city in the country and offers a good base for exploring the surrounding area. There are a wide range of accommodation options available, from budget-friendly guesthouses to mid-range and luxury hotels.
- Khujand: This is the second-largest city in the country, and it is located in the northwest of the country. It is a great place to stay if you want to explore the Sughd region and the Fan Mountains. There are a wide range of accommodation options available, from budget-friendly guesthouses to mid-range and luxury hotels.
- Khorog: This is the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province and is located in the east of the country. It is a great place to stay if you want to explore the Pamirs and the Wakhan corridor. There are a wide range of accommodation options available, from budget-friendly guesthouses to mid-range and luxury hotels.
- Pamirs: If you're looking for a more rustic experience, consider staying in a mountain village or a homestay in the Pamirs. This is a great option if you want to experience the local culture and explore the natural beauty of the region.
In any case, it's worth noting that accommodation options in Tajikistan, especially outside the main cities, can be limited, so it's a good idea to book ahead of time to ensure you have a place to stay.
Overall, it depends on your travel plans, If you want to explore the culture and history, I recommend staying in Dushanbe, Khujand, or Khorog, but if you're planning on trekking and hiking in the Pamirs, it's a good idea to stay in a mountain village or a homestay in the Pamirs.
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