There are parts of the world filled with famous landmarks and photo opportunities. But there are just as many parts of the world like Tajikistan, relatively untouched by the modern world and full of mystery and raw beauty. Discovering travel destinations are often the most rewarding, giving you insight into ancient history and a completely different way of life.
Tajikistan lies in the heart of Central Asia, with Kyrgyzstan to the north, China to the east, Afghanistan to the south, and Uzbekistan to the west and northwest. While not considered a common destination to venture to, Tajikistan is a treasure trove of cultural experiences for those who want something more from their travel than simply famous landmarks. Immerse yourself in the local culture, customs and history of beautiful Tajikistan.
The first thing many of our guests notice about Tajikistan is the unique lifestyle of its people. The roads through Tajikistan aren’t well-maintained. Modern conveniences we’re used to are almost nowhere to be found, so much so that even hot water is a rarity! But the people of Tajikistan have embraced this remote way of life for centuries and travelling here, is truly an untouched adventure.
With cities and towns in hidden valleys and remote mountain ranges, Uzbekistan’s people are resilient, growing accustomed to harsh living conditions and thriving. When you meet locals, you’ll be drawn in by their stories of adaptability, and you’ll even see first-hand how this remote lifestyle has been preserved across generations.
When people think of Central Asian countries like Tajikistan, they often associate the region with deserts and sand. While this is true for many countries in the region, Tajikistan is somewhat different. In fact, Tajikistan is a paradise for mountain lovers, with more than 90% of the country covered in mountains.
The Pamir Mountains are one example of this, including the Ismoili Somoni Peak, Tajikistan’s highest. This rugged mountain range actually covers parts of India, China, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. Another example is the iconic Fann Mountains, a must-see on Tajikistan trips. These mountains are also part of the Pamir system and have been world heritage-listed by UNESCO. Full of wildlife sanctuaries, reserves and national parks, exploring the Fann Mountains offers panoramic views, stunning peaks and fascinating lakes and rivers.
Much like the unseen beauty of Tajikistan’s mountain ranges, its vast network of rivers and lakes is also a sight to behold. Tajikistan’s mountains are home to beautiful alpine lakes, each with its own unique, untouched charm. No Tajikistan tour would be complete without visiting the Fann Mountains, particularly the crystal-clear waters of the Seven Lakes or “Haft Kul”. Each lake has its own colour, each as mesmerising as the last.
The Garmchashma hot mineral springs in the Fann Mountains is another highlight and has been considered a healing place by locals for centuries. You’ll also want to visit Iskanderkul Lake, which is nestled at a height of 2 metres. Named after Alexander the Great (King Iskander), the lake is home to many legends, much like most of Tajikistan’s vast natural terrain.
The city of Khujand is one of Tajikistan’s oldest, dating back some 2,500 years. Located on the Syr Darya near the mouth of the beautiful Fergana Valley, Khujand was once a major city along the infamous Silk Road. Sticking with its merchant trading history, Khujand is now home to the Panjshanbe Bazaar.
Not only is it the biggest bazaar in the city, but also one of the most diverse. You can buy anything and everything here, including fresh fruits and vegetables, local Khujand cuisine, spices, colourful textiles and a range of local crafts. It’s the perfect place to stop and immerse yourself in the bustling market culture of the country and even get yourself a souvenir. You might even like to pick up a Tubeteika, a traditional Tajik cap, as a reminder of your enriching journey.
If you’re a keen traveller, chances are you love experiencing local cuisine wherever you go. Tajikistan’s cuisine can only be described as a gastronomic delight, with unique dishes not found anywhere else. Why not try some traditional dishes such as Plov, a hearty dish of rice, meat, and vegetables? Nothing beats Shurbo, a local soup to warm your body and soul for those cold nights.
Tajikistan is also known for its famous naan bread, often decorated with traditional patterns. If you try some local naan, keep an eye on which way it is served, as locals believe a naan bread served face down is a sign of bad luck.
Immersing yourself in the remote and mysterious Tajikistan way of life is the only way to experience everything this country has to offer. Uzbekistan is one of the world’s unseen gems, from dining with locals and shopping at traditional markets to hiking through pristine alpine mountains and lakes.
If you’d like to find out more and make this experience yours, contact us today about planning your Tajikistan experience.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.