Major Tourist Attractions: Pamir Mountains, Sarez Lake, Nurek Dam, Muztagh Ata, Fann Mountains
If you are looking for a mountainous adventure in one of the most remote areas in the world, Tajikistan is the place to go. The Pamir and Fann Mountains offer some of the most scenic hiking opportunities in the world, without the crowds you might find elsewhere.
The Pamirs were closed to foreigners until just recently and a permit is still needed to visit. Getting to Khorog, the first major town in the region, is an adventure in itself, requiring either a 15 hour drive or a harrowing plane ride. Once there, you’ll encounter friendly Tajiks who will eagerly invite you into their homes and treat you like family.
Long part of various Persian empires, the Tajik culture today draws heavily from the Persian culture and the language is nearly identical to the Farsi spoken in Iran. Tajiks tend to be more conservative than their Central Asian neighbors, with women often covering their heads and donning long sleeves, even in the summer. Tajik cuisine is similar to Iranian, Afghan and Uzbek cuisines, with a strong Russian influence as well. As in Uzbekistan, plov is the most popular dish.
A few hotels in the capital of Dushanbe are up to Western standards, but many aren’t and the best ones are often booked far in advance by government and NGO workers. Hostels are unheard of, but small guesthouses and homestays can be found in smaller towns and villages around the country. Community-based tourism organizations in both the Zerafshan Valley and the Pamirs can help arrange guides, accommodations and transport.
Here are a few of the adventures that await travelers to Tajikistan:
- Take a heart-stopping flight from Dushanbe to Khorog.
- Stay with a family in the Zerafshan Valley.
- Hike to Lake Iskander Kul.
- Visit the Seven Lakes in the Fann Mountains.
- Take a road trip through the Pamir Mountains.
- Sample traditional dishes like plov and shashlik.
- Stroll along Rudaki Avenue in the center of Dushanbe.
- Enjoy a beer at the beer garden at the top of Victory Park.
- Visit the 13th century Fort Hissar.
- Go shopping at Dushanbe’s Shakhmansur Bazaar.
- Make the sometimes treacherous drive from Penjikent to Khujand.
- Take a tour of ancient Penjikent.
- Stop at the Ishkashim Bazaar along the Afghan border.
Address: 109-A, Ismoili Somoni Avenue
Dushanbe, Tajikistan 734019
Phone: 992 (37) 229 20 00