Tajikistan · September 15 - 19 2024
5 Day Best of West Tajikistan Expedition
Experience Tajikistan's Historic CitiesBOOK NOW
For those without much time and looking for a lighter journey in Tajikistan, this 5 day best of west Tajikistan tour will take you to visit some of Tajikistan’s best highlights without the extremely long journeys. More than likely you’ve already begun your research into Tajikistan and have realized the long distances covered to reach the Pamir or the trekking involved to reach some of the country’s best mountains. So what this unique tour does is blend Tajikistan’s cities, and nature without the time commitments.
Fergana Valley Cities
Marvel at the architecture of the ancient Silk Road Fergana Valley cities of Khujand and Istaravshan.
Beautiful Iskanderkul Lake
Get out into nature and explore the shores of the Fann Mountains largest lake of Iskanderkul.
The Expansive Akhkon Salt Flat
Most have never heard of it, but Tajikistan's Fergana Valley features a massive salt flat. Take in the alien landscape and experience a mud bath.
The Buzzing Capital
Originally a village known for its busy Monday bazaar, Dushanbe was built into the capital in the 1920s.
Dushanbe & Hisor
Day 1: Get Acquainted with Dushanbe
Welcome to Tajikistan! You will begin your first day by exploring the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. After breakfast, we’ll head out to explore what the city has to offer.
Highlights include Rudaki Park, the Ismoil Somoni statue, Kokhi Navruz, and the nearby Hisor Fortress.
In the evening we’ll have a traditional dinner in a popular Dushanbe restaurant.
Day 2: Explore the Fann Mountains
Getting an early start we load up into vehicles and head north toward Iskanderkul, Alexander’s famous lake. You’ll most likely be glued to the window all day as the scenery as we depart Dushanbe and begin to journey into the mountains is absolutely jaw-dropping.
At the village of Sarvoda, we veer off the main highway and onto a road that eventually turns to gravel and winds up a spectacular canyon where impossibly turquoise Iskanderkul comes into view. Spend the remainder of the day exploring around the lake, with a lovely walk along Iskanderkul, a nice stroll to Snake Lake, a brief hike to a waterfall, or just relaxing on the lakeside.
Tonight we stay in a homestay-style accommodation run by a local family who will also prepare a traditional Tajik dinner.
Drive time: ~4 hours
Kattasoy Dam & Istaravshan
Day 3: Welcome to the Fergana Valley
Don’t miss the sunrise over Iskandarkul this morning with the opportunity for perfect reflections of the Fann Mountains in its calm waters. After we have breakfast, we will make our way toward the Tajik Fergana Valley city of Istaravshan.
A few kilometers before we reach Istaravshan we will make a stop at Kattasoy Reservoir to see what may be the largest Lenin bust in the world. The giant Lenin is at the top of 365 steps with an arm extended and his back to the reservoir. After your quick Soviet-era photo op, we’ll continue into Istarvshan to explore the small city.
We’ll start our exploration of Istavshan from the lively central bazaar. Other highlights include the Sary Mazor Complex, Houz i Sangin Mosque, Kok Gumbez, Hazrat i Shoh Mosque, and Mug Teppe. Tonight we’ll be staying in a basic hotel.
Drive time: ~4 hours
Day 4: Visit Tajikistan's Second Largest City
After breakfast, make way for Tajikistan’s second-largest city, Khujand. Much like Istarvshan, we’ll start exploring the city from the Panjshanbe Bazaar which sits right next door to the Masjid i Jami and Sheikh Musil Complex. We will also take the time to explore the Khujand Citadel and the neighboring Kamoli Khujandi Park.
Drive time: ~2 hours
Taboshar & Akhkon
Day 5: Secret Soviet Cities & Salt Falts
For the final day of the best of west Tajikistan tour, we make a day trip from Khujand to visit the secret cities of Taboshar (now Istiklol), Sovietobad (now Ghafurov), and Chkalovsk (now Buston). These three cities were constructed for the mining of uranium and were shrouded in mystery, totally closed off for many years.
After we’ve explored these secret towns, we will head east to visit the giant Bulok Salt Flat (sometimes called Asht or Akhkon Salt Flat). You’ll have the opportunity to take a spa in the mineral-laden mud beneath the salty crust before sitting in saltwater-filled pools (many people believe the mud here has healing and health-boosting properties). We can even do a short walk up to a great viewpoint with sweeping aerial views of the salt flat.
In the early evening, we will make the drive back to Khujand where we’ll have our goodbye dinner tonight in a lovely restaurant serving excellent traditional Tajik dishes.
We will arrange transfers to the Khujand Airport the following day for those flying out from here. If leaving elsewhere, we can help you arrange transport back to Dushanbe or toward the Uzbek border, etc.
Drive time: ~6 hours
All meals as indicated on the itinerary
English speaking guide
Accommodation on twin room sharing basis
What's Not Included
Tajikistan visa fee (if applicable)
Tips to local staff
International airfare to and from Tajikistan
Is Tajikistan Safe to Visit?
With a low crime rate and welcoming population Tajikistan is generally a safe country to visit. Visitors should exercise regular precautions they would anywhere in the world while traveling in Tajikistan.
The most common problems a traveler may face include corruption, altitude sickness, and stomach upset.
In terms of natural disasters, Tajikistan is prone to earthquakes.
Where are the Start & End Points on this Expedition?
This 5 Day West Tajikistan Expedition will begin in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in the early morning of September 15th, and end in Khujand, Tajikistan on the evening of September 19th.
What Is The Difficulty Level Of This West Tajikistan Expedition?
This 5 day West Tajikistan expedition is rated as easy. We will be staying in hotels each night and in a homestay for one night in Iskanderkul. Each day you can expect to do some walking in the city while sightseeing and the day at Iskanderkul will feature light and easy hiking in the vicinity.
Do I Need Travel Insurance to Join this West Tajikistan Expedition?
To join any Safar Expeditions departure you will need to carry an active travel insurance plan. It is recommended to select an insurance plan that covers both medical care and evacuation.
We recommend using IATI travel insurance for medical coverage and an evacuation plan from Global Rescue. Prescriptions and over-the-counter meds are usually possible to find in Dushanbe, but we still recommend to make sure to bring any meds you need or may need with you.
What are the Entry Requirements for Tajikistan?
Most visitors from western countries can enter Tajikistan with either the Tajik e-visa, visa on arrival, or may enter visa-free.
Some nationalities will need to apply for a Tajik visa issued by an embassy or consulate to enter the country.
You can read an overview of Tajikistan's visa policy here but it would still be wise to check with your nearest Tajik consulate or embassy as visa schemes are always subject to change.
Note that if you will be entering Tajikistan visa-free and you will be staying in the country for more than 10 business days, you must register with OVIR. We can provide guidance in obtaining the registration.
What Currency Is Used In Tajikistan & How Can I Pay For Things in Tajikistan?
The Tajik Somoni (TJS) is the official currency of Tajikistan. The value of the Somoni fluctuates a little but seems to have steadily stayed around 10-12 TJS to $1 USD for the past few years.
Is There A West Tajikistan Packing List & Prep Guide?
Yes, we do provide a suggested packing list and preparation guide for our Best of West Tajikistan expedition that can be viewed here.
What Is The Food Like & Can You Accommodate Dietary Restrictions?
The food you'll encounter during your time in Tajikistan will be simple and tasty. In the cities and towns, we will have the chance to try different Tajik and Central Asian dishes in local restaurants. You can expect flavorful soups and salads, plov (a traditional Central Asian take on fried rice), noodle dishes, and meat dishes. Of course, almost any meal in Tajikistan is accompanied by a hot glass of chai.
Please let us know of any dietary restrictions or allergies in advance so that we can accommodate your needs.
Will I Have Internet Access & Electricity?
It is possible to purchase a Tajik SIM card in Dushanbe, with T-Cell and Megafone being the best local carriers.
We will be in areas with mobile reception and mobile internet for the majority of the expedition. Each night of the trip except in Iskanderkul we will have access to Wi-Fi. You can expect connectivity to be spotty when we are traveling between cities and towns.
There will be access to electricity each night as well.
Is There a Minimum Number of Participants Necessary for the Expedition to Run?
Yes, a minimum of 3 passengers will need to be on this expedition in order to run. If the minimum isn't reached, we will contact you about the potential to still operate the trip but at an additional charge or you will be given the option to cancel and your deposit/payment can either be returned to you or applied toward a different expedition of your choosing.