THE POOREST COUNTRY IN MIDDLE ASIA BUT THE RICHEST ON ITS NATURAL WONDERS
General aspects of Tajikistan
Tajik is the official language of Tajikistan, but Russian is another major language spoken in the country.
Your first words in Tajik and Russian (T/RS):
Hello: Xelo / Privet
Goodbye: Xajruxuş / Proshchay
Please: Lutfan / pozhaluysta
Thank you: Taşakkur/ spasibo tebe
Yes/No: (ʙale / nest) / (yesli/net)
Currency: Tajikistani Somoni ( TJS)
The capital: Dushanbe
Population: 8,9 million
Main religion: Sunni Islam
Safety Rating: According to the Global Peaceful Index, Tajikistan is the number 105 out of 163 countries.
Solo female traveler: it is not advisable to travel alone to this country, do not go out alone in the streets if it is dark and during the day avoid places with few people. The clothing has to be adequate; we should not show the knees or shoulders.
In Tajikistan, the climate is arid continental, with cold winters and very hot, sunny summers.
Depending on its landscape
In the capital (Dushanbe), temperatures vary between a minimum -13 ºC (8 ºF) in December and January to a maximum of 33 ºC (91 ºF) in July and August. Humidity is generally low.
In the mountains, it can reach -45 ºC (-49 ºF) when the wind factor is taken into consideration, and rise to 20 ºC (68 ºF) in summer. In the Pamir Mountains, the climate is between semi-arid to polar.
Although you might think this is a cheap country, it is not, and talking about accommodation, you do not have plenty of options.
In the cities
Decent mid-range options and hotels have been cropped up in the main cities like Dushanbe and Khorog.
Hotels are not of the best quality in this country and they are also the most expensive option.
In the countryside
In the countryside, homestays are basic. Backpackers might have to pay 10$ for a single bed and an outdoor toilet.
Homestays are mainly the only option outside the cities and they are often not the greatest way to spend your money. Spending a night here, you are helping the community injecting some cash directly into the local economy. Homestays charge around 10$/night per person. They generally consist of well-heated shared rooms with roll-out mattresses on the floor. It’s very comfy if you don’t have bad back pain and are not too fussed about privacy. The best ones have Western-style toilets, a shower and private rooms with beds.
Dushanbe International Airport (DYU) is located in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. It is the main airport in the country and the gateway through which most overseas visitors arrive. There are 12 domestic and military airports in Tajikistan, linking with various parts of the country as well as with some overseas destinations, mostly Russia.
For flying in and out of the country, both, Dushanbe and Khujand Airports host international flights. Dushanbe also has internal flights to Khujand and Khorog to cut travel time.
Public transport in Tajikistan usually means shared taxis and jeeps hurtling across the often bumpy roads.
Full-sized buses travel between towns, offering a very cheap way to travel. However, they can often be very crowded and there have been reports of frequent breakdowns, so travelers are advised to bring water for the journey. Tickets can be booked at bus stations. It is a good idea to start the journey early in the day to avoid arriving at the destination at night.
Regarding the train, in my opinion, it is the comfiest way of traveling across the country. The north and south of Tajikistan are not directly connected by train, so those wishing to traverse the country via rail will need to go via Termez in Uzbekistan, which is a much slower journey than by taking a bus or car. However, trains are a viable way of getting around Dushanbe city and from Dushanbe to Khujand. The train number 368 is an overnight train operating on weekends, I highly recommend it!
The main dish in this country is:
Plov: A rice-based dish that is cooked for hours, with chickpeas, carrots, a head of whole garlic, lamb meat and a lot of oil.
Meat is not really common due to the low economic level of the citizens. A vegetarian diet is what most of them practice.
5 things to do in Tajikistan:
It is an impressive alpine lake of glacial origin in the province of Sughd province in northern Tajikistan. Located at an altitude of 2195 m in the Fann Mountains. It is a complete must if you visit Tajikistan!
The historical Pamir Highway, officially called M41, is an excellent challenge for a 4×4 adventure travelers. Most of the road is paved, except for the mountain passes, and the length of the road is 2.038 km kilometers linking Termez (Uzbekistan) and Kara-Balta (Kyrgyzstan) going through the Pamir Mountains. The road is heavily damaged in places by erosion, earthquakes, landslides, and avalanches.
Do not travel this pass in severe weather conditions. Some sections of the road have a notorious lack of oxygen and a high degree of steepness. Most people feel altitude sickness at around 2,500-2,800 meters. Not all, but most of the Pamir Highway is located in Tajikistan. It is an incredible experience but you need to be prepared for the adventure and a good vehicle to go through it!
Trekking in Jizeu valley
It is one of Tajikistan’s best short hikes that will take you to a lovely mountain village set along a chain of seasonally overflowing lakes. To get here you’ll have the adventure of crossing the raging Bartang River by a suspension bridge from the Bartang Valley. What makes the village an appealing hike is that there is no road access, so the only way to get here is on foot. You can also go on a great overnight trek in Jizeu Valley. Do not forget to visit the village that can easily be seen in one day.
The Fann Mountains are a dream for hikers and climbers. It is a very scenic mountain range in the Western Pamir. They are roughly halfway between Samarkand and Dushanbe, in Western Tajikistan. Most of the range rises above 4000m, with a few peaks above 5000m. There is easy access from Samarkand or Dushanbe to Panjakent, the gateway town.
What do I mean by Silk Road?
The Silk Road is a set of trade routes that were specifically organized for silk trade since the 1st century BC., which covered almost the entire continent of Asia. It began in China and could cross many of the countries of Central Asia, plus Iran and Turkey. There, the goods were scattered throughout Europe. This legendary one through which caravans have traded products from the East and West through centuries. In addition to this, it also functioned as a bridge through which ideas, knowledge and also the foundations of Buddhism and Islam were transmitted.
Nowadays, instead of a merchant purpose, some brave travelers do it by motorbike, hitchhiking, car or public transport. Do not worry; stay tuned to read the article about the Silk Road I did in 2018! Tajikistan is one of the countries I passed through.