Tajikistan Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Tajikistan-
Tajikistan is a mountainous country in Central Asia, sharing borders with Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The country is famous for its countless mountains, and therefore, it’s a paradise for hiking and climbing lovers. If you are among those people, make sure to put Tajikistan on your bucket list.
Why Visiting Tajikistan?
Tajikistan is not the first Asian destination you can imagine. However, if you love talking to kind people and be amazed by the nature, you need to put Tajikistan on your bucket list. Let’s take a look at the major reasons for visiting Tajikistan.
The first reason for visiting Tajikistan is meeting very kind, gracious, and hospitable people. They are very helpful, and if you need any help, they will be always available for you. Therefore, making friends with locals and spending a night in a Tajik house is always recommended when visiting this beautiful country.
When it comes to the nature, Tajikistan has many things to offer. Visiting this country is a synonym to visit a large number of mountains, which can be seen all over the country. If you are a hiking or climbing lover, then Tajikistan must be your ultimate destination in Asia.
Tajik civilization dates back to over 3000 years ago. Major civilizations in this area were Sassanid Empire, Chinese Civilization, Arabic culture and religion, USSR. All of them had great impact in Tajik nationality. There so many sites around the country dating back to mentioned civilizations, including medieval mosques and Soviet-style buildings, monuments and the remains of ancient cities throughout Tajikistan.
When it comes to the Tajik food, there are two groups of peple, either love the cuisine or hate the cuisine! If you are into plov (similar to Persian pilaf), the ubiquitous shashlik and qurutob (a dish that consists of layered crispy bread, yoghurt, tomatoes and onion and sometimes meat), then you must try Tajik foods.
Best Time to Visit Tajikistan
Temperature: 4 °C (40 °F) – 26 °C (79 °F)
Like other Persian countries, Spring in Tajikistan marks the new year, known as “Nowruz”, the Persian new year holiday. Nowruz holidays begin on March 21, with numerous festivals and events. In spring, the weather becomes rapidly warm after the winter chill. Flowers start to bloom, and the weather becomes very pleasant.
Summer (June – August)
Temperature: 17 °C (62 °F) – 35 °C (95 °F)
Summer in the cities is so hot, but in the mountains, it’s the best. In high-altitude areas, the temperature might become near the 0 temperature. Therefore, mountain trekking on cold days of the year can be impossible. Summer is the season of many cultural and sports festivals as well.
Autumn (September – November)
Temperature: 29.5 °C (85 °F) – 29.5 °C (85 °F)
Since the first days of autumn, the temperature drops gradually, making lower altitude areas exploration easier. The beginning of autumn comes with dry weather. It can get cold at night, but during the daytime, exploring the mountains and lakes is pleasant.
Winter (December – February )
Temperature: 9 °C (49 °F) – -1.5 °C (29 °F)
The weather in most places is freezing, with snowfalls in high altitudes. Therefore, mountainous areas are inaccessible until spring begins. If you are into skiing or photography of snowy mountains, then you should visit Tajikistan in winter.
Things to Do in Tajikistan
Have a great drive on Pamir Highway
Enjoy driving on Pamir Highway, the second-largest highway in the world, after the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan and China. The adventure on this highway is incredible. From natural landscapes around the road to rivers, it would be all the adventure of life.
Explore Soviet in Khujand
If you are a history lover and interested in Soviet history, Tajikistan always has something to offer. One of the most popular cities from the Soviet is Khujand, formerly called Leninabad. The largest Lenin statue in Central Asia is located in this city. Besides, you can enjoy the soviet airplane cafe and the Arbob palace. Besides, Khujand is the second-largest city in Uzbekistan, with beautiful landscapes along the Syr Darya river.
Enjoy Shopping in Tajik Bazaars
Like many other Asian countries, especially Middle-Eastern countries, there are colorful and lovely bazaars in Tajikistan. You can find almost everything in such markets, everything from soup to nuts. One of the best ones is Panchshanbe Bazaar in Khujand, with thousands of vendors selling local products. The spices, dried fruits, and traditional textiles are the best choices for buying as a gift.
There are many foods that originated in central Asia, such as plov, Laghman, and shaslyck. However, the food that is definitely originated in Tajikistan is Qurutob, with a mixture of bread and meat in a yogurt onion sauce. Make sure to try this food, especially if you are in Dushanbe, since there are many restaurants known as qurutobkhona are located here.
Get Relaxed in Dushanbe
Dushanbe is a kind of newcomer in Central Asia, and there are many activities and things to see here. Interestingly, the largest tea house in Asia, the biggest library in central Asia, and one of the tallest flagpoles in the world are located here. The pleasant and enjoyable atmosphere of the city makes it ideal for having a relaxed holiday here, with green spaces, beautiful cafes, and lovely streets.
Enjoy hiking in Iskanderkul Lake
Iskanderful Lake used to be one of the most beautiful lakes of the former Soviet Union. However, it’s still a place for people in Dushanbe to get relaxed. Although there are many lovely lakes in Tajikistan, the Iskanderkul is the most accessible one since it’s only 5 minutes from Dushanbe.
Get Stunned in the Fann Mountain
The Fann mountain is one of the most popular attractions in the country because it offers some of the most eye-catching views in the country. The mountain also has many trekking options, suitable for any fitness level. Therefore, if you are not a professional trekker, you don’t need to be worried about it!
Tajik Ferghana Valley
Tajik Ferghana Valley is located in the northernmost stretches of the far northwest province of Sughd, where Tajikistan meets Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. If you are interested in visiting the silk road, the valley area is the best to visit. This location is where you can enjoy a beautiful culture along with beautiful people
Enjoy Companion with Yagnob People.
Yagnob valley is a place where you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and views. However, the culture is the main reason here that attracts numerous tourists annually. Yagnob people are considered as the direct descendants of the ancient Sogdians. The people are kind and the culture is unbelievable.
Visit ancient forts and hot springs in Wakhan Valley
Like Yagnob Valley, Wakhan Valley is mostly famous for the culture of people. Locals in this area are not Sunnis, but they are Ismaili Muslims, a branch of Shia. The local shrines in this area are topped with goat horns, and the architecture of the homes represent the 4 pillars of Islam. There are many Zoroastrian and Buddhist temples, petroglyphs, and forts in this area. However, you need to try a hot spring here as well.
What to see in Tajikistan
Local Transportation in Tajikistan
Bus is the best way of getting around in the cities of Tajikistan since they help you reach almost everywhere, especially in Dushanbe
Taxi is the most popular means of transportation in Tajikistan since the costs are reasonable. Make sure to agree on the price before getting in.
Intercity Transportation in Tajikistan
Taking an airplane to travel around the country is always a good and fast, and of course, an expensive option!
The railway system in Tajikistan has 680 kilometers (420 mi) of track. Generally, traveling by train is not recommended in this country since the routes are not comprehensive and they are slow.
Long-distance buses are cheaper ways to travel between cities. The problem is that they are usually very crowded, with frequent breakdowns. Therefore, you need to bring water to avoid any trouble.
Flight Deals to Tajikistan
Tajikistan Travel Costs
|Accommodation (daily on average)|
|Budget||$7 – $14|
|Mid-Range||$8.5 – $17|
|Luxury||$11 – $23|
|Food (daily on average)|
|Intercity Transportation (daily on average)|
|Entertainment (daily on average)|
|Daily Costs On Average|
Best Hotels in Tajikistan
Find the best hotels in Tajikistan using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Tajikistan Travel Tips
Cash is the king in Tajikistan since there are not ATMs in all cities of the country. However, exchanging money is always easy.
Tajiks have a specific Persian language, very similar to the Persian in Iran. It’s recommended to learn a little language as well.
Tajikistan is an Islamic country. Therefore, dressing modestly is more recommended. However, when trekking, you can wear whatever you want.
Toilets are not what you expect from a toilet, especially when you leave the city and towns. The hole dug into the ground, known as Drop Toilets, are the most common toilets in Tajikistan. You can find the clean ones and terrible ones! Make sure to carry sanitizer or soaps.
There are so many mountain passes in Tajikistan, and it’s one of the main reasons for visiting this country. Therefore, altitude sickness is common, regardless of fitness level. Talk to your doctor before departure.
Tap water is not safe in Tajikistan. You need to make sure that you always have clean bottled water.
93% of Tajikistan is the mountain, and the weather is unexpected wherever there is a mountain. Therefore, you need to have warm clothes, even in summers.
Currency & Money Tips
denominations are of 1,5,10, 20, 50, 100 somonis and 1, 5, 20, 50 diram. Also, coins are available at 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 dirams and 1,3,5 somoni.
ATMs are available in Dushanbe, Khujand, Penjikent, Khorog, Isfara, Istaravshan, Qurghon-Teppa, etc. However, in other areas, ATMs are not reliable. Generally, cash is more useful than credit cards in Tajikistan.
US dollars, euros, and roubles can be easily exchanged at city exchange booths and the banks found in every city center. Make sure to always have some cash, especially US dollars.
Food & Drink (Tajik Food)
Bread plays a crucial role in Tajik meals, and no meal is complete without a piece of Tajik bread. There are also many beliefs about the way you use the Naan. For instance, locals believe that if you use a knife for cutting the bread or putting it upside down, you will experience bad luck. Tajik Naan is a flatbread made from wheat dough and yogurt baked in a tandoor oven. Some other kinds of bread in Tajikistan are girdacha, fatir, and kulcha (fluffy flatbread).
Qurutob is the national dish in Tajikistan. Qurut is the salty cheese ball, known as a popular snack in central Asia. On the other hand, Ob means water, so the food is dissolved in water that makes a yogurt-like sauce that is poured over flaky bits of fatir bread, topped with the baked onions and fresh herbs. The food is excellent for vegetarians since, in most versions, there is no meat.
Soups are very popular among Asian countries, especially in the central area. In Tajikistan, soups are filling and satisfying lunch, full of fresh vegetables and herbs. Among the popular soups, Mastoba is one of the most popular ones, similar to the Uzbek Mastava. The major ingredients are meat, vegetables, and rice.
Some people believe that Javari is the most delicious food in Tajikistan, though it’s hard to find since it’s unique to the city of Khujand. The reason is that the soup is made of a local pulse (Javari) that grows only in Khujand, along with onions, carrots, mung beans, and fresh herbs.
Plov is the most popular food in Tajikistan, consisting of chunks of meat fried in oil with rice, onions, and carrots in a special kazan cauldron. Plov is popular in central Asia. However, the main origin is still unknown. In 2015, both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan claimed that this dish is their cultural heritage.
Kabob does not need to be introduced. However, in Tajikistan, Kabob refers to the Tajik version of Shashlik. The mutual feature is that both are both delicious meat skewers grilled over an open flame are a common sight. In the Tajik version, the meat, which is mutton or beef, is always marinated in onions, spices, and lemon juice.
Nahud Sambusa is one of the best snacks you can find in central Asia, which is similar to the Uzbek Sambusa. The Uzbek version is filled with meat, sometimes with potatoes. However, in the Tajik version, it’s filled with chickpeas in Tajikistan. Make sure to try it at least once.
Have you ever tried Middle-Eastern Halva, made of flour, mutton fat, and sugar syrup, garnished with nuts if possible? It’s usually served as a dessert for having after your meal.
Mobile & Internet
There are four companies in Tajikistan, including Babilon-M, Megafon, Tcell, and Beeline. The coverage is different, and for instance, Babilon-M and Beeline are recommended in Dushanbe. However, if you are in Murghab, Megafon and Tcell are better choices. Nevertheless, generally, Meafon is mostly recommended for tourists.
How to get to?
You can buy SIM cards from specific stores around the country and in airports. The important point is that you need to go for the registration for using SIM cards. In Tajikistan, travelers should provide their passports and leave a digital fingerprint for having the SIM cards.
Internet in Tajikistan is not expensive. 3G and 4G are available in major cities, but you will experience a low-speed internet connection in remote areas. Also, in cities like Dushanbe, Khujand, Penjikent, and Khorog, there are internet cafes. Also, you might have Wi-Fi in your workplace as well.
Holidays & Festivals
|New Year’s Day||1-Jan||1-Jan|
|International Women’s Day||8-Mar||8-Mar|
|Eid ul Fitr||13-May||3-May|
|Day of National Unity||27-Jun||27-Jun|
|Eid ul Adha||20-Jul||10-Jul|
|Constitution Day observed||8-Nov||8-Nov|
Shopping in Tajikistan
Gulduzi refers to embroidery on the pre-made template. The products used to be decorative items in the gowns, bride shoes, and headwear. The Tajik gold embroidery has 10-20% of the gold. The most popular patterns for this art are Oftob (sun), 1320063733_6857mavzh (wave), Bulbul (Nightingale), Chashma bulbul (nightingale’s eye), Sadbarg (rose), etc.
The leather industry in Tajikistan is very well developed, and Tajik souvenirs like national footwear attract tourists. Some of them are really in the spectrum of the fashion, therefore don’t ignore it while you are in Tajikistan
Kitchen utensils with lovely national traces are lovely. Large dishes, vases, plates, statuettesjugs, bowls, teapots, etc., that have been made by clay techniques are unique souvenirs from Tajikistan. Some of them are not suitable for having a meal on them, but some others are. Therefore, you should ask the seller.
Statuettes are made of wood, clay, or even other materials. They have a variety of designs and sizes for various needs. It can be a great souvenir from Tajikistan
It’s one of the most popular souvenirs from Tajikistan, with ancient roots used for carpet decoration, textiles, clothing, and souvenirs. The handmade fabrics are decorated with the help of special needles and cotton, wool, silk, precious and semiprecious stones, usually by women.