Discover with Odyssey
Escorted small group tours to Tajikistan.
Hisor Fortress castle
Mausoleum of Sheikh Muslihiddin, Khujand
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. The public transportation services in Tajikistan are somewhat limited. Train services across the country are largely restricted to rail lines between a few major cities, with several regions devoid of any rail services. Buses, minibuses and taxis are cheap and commonplace in major cities, though intercity services are few and far between.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, Environment, & Weather
Tajikistan is a very mountainous country, with mountains covering over 90% of Tajikistan’s surface area. The two dominant mountain ranges of the country are the Pamir and Alay Mountains, while the Tian Shan mountain range rises in the north of Tajikistan. Valleys and rivers cut through the mountainous landscape, while glaciers and lakes characterise the mountains in the east.
The climate in Tajikistan is continental, with hot summers and cold winters. Temperatures often drop below freezing during winter, so depending on when you intend to travel, check the weather reports and dress accordingly.
World Heritage sites
Tajikistan has 2 properties listed on the World Heritage List, with a further 16 listed on the Tentative List. You can view the listed properties here: (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/tj). The listed properties include:
Proto-urban site of Sarazm, the archaelogical site of one of the earliest urban settlements in Central Asia
Tajik National Park (Mountains of the Pamirs), which covers an area of more than 2.5 million hectares and features towering snow-capped mountains and stunning freshwater lakes.
Festivals & Events
Being a Muslim majority nation in Central Asia, Tajikistan shares several cultural traditions that are widespread throughout the region. Like elsewhere in Central Asia, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is observed with fasting and prayer, the conclusion of which is celebrated with the Kurban Ait (Eid al-Fitr) holiday, featuring family gatherings and feasting. Another regional event popularly celebrated in Tajikistan is Norvuz, the Persian New Year, which is marked by feasting, parades and concerts. The local traditions and customs of regional Tajikistan are celebrated through local events such as Sayri Guli Lola, a flower festival held in northern Tajikistan, and the Roof of the World Festival (Bam-i Dunya) held in Khorog, which celebrates Pamiri culture with live performances of dance and music.
The birth of Tajikistan, by Paul Bergne
Transforming Tajikistan: State-building and Islam in Post-Soviet Central Asia, by Hélène Thibault
The City Where Dreams Come True, by Gulsifat Shahidi
Expressions of Sufi Culture in Tajikistan, by Benjamin Gatling
Eating & Drinking
The culinary influences and flavours of Central Asia feature prominently in Tajikistan’s cuisine, with dishes such as palav (rice cooked with onion, carrot and meat), laghmon (meat served with pulled noodles and vegetables), and shurbo (a stew made from meat and vegetables). Non, a flatbread common in Tajikistan, is served with almost every meal, while pastries such as sambusa (triangular pastries filled with meat or vegetable stuffing) are also popularly consumed.
Tea is a focal point for socialising in Tajikistan, with tea often offered as a gesture of hospitality to guests and choykhona (teahouses) acting as social hubs in Tajikistan.
Health & Safety
As of writing, smartraveller advises travellers to exercise a high degree of caution while travelling in Tajikistan due to the potential for civil unrest. In particular, carefully consider your need to travel to border regions with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as the Gorno-adakhshan Autonomous Oblast region, due to the risk of violence in these areas.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Tajikistan’s electricity supply runs at 220V and 50Hz. Tajikistan uses Type C and Type I electric plugs, so make sure you have the right travel adaptor with you.
Tajikistan has a single time zone, Tajikistan Time (UTC+5). Daylight savings are not observed in Tajikistan.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services. Tipping is not generally expected in Tajikistan, though it is more common in services that cater to tourists, such as tour guides, drivers or higher-end restaurants. A standard tip would be about 10 percent of services.
Wifi should be freely available in most hotels in major cities, though internet access may be more sporadic in rural areas.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Tajikistan. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Responsible travel tips for Tajikistan
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Before departing on your trip, contact your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of somoni in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.