7 days
Duration
Destination
PDF of Tour
Map of Tashkent

Tajikistan | Small Group Tour

On this Tajikistan small group tour, we explore the Central Asian country's astonishing scenery and monuments, as well as its history and culture. Tajikistan is the smallest of the 5 'Stans and it is also the most mountainous, with 90% of land being upland. With incredible peaks scattered with villages and bright blue, shimmering lakes, Tajikistan is home to some of the most striking landscapes in Central Asia. On our tour, designed specifically for mature travellers to enjoy, we encounter remote communities and spectacular mountain ranges that reach well over 3,000 metres above sea level. This is one of the reasons Tajikistan is sometimes referred to as 'the Roof of the World'.

The country is set between China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan with the Uzbekistan border to the west and the Afghan border to south.  Tajiks also lay claim to areas of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, which these countries reject.

The country remains economically poor by Western standards. A large percentage of the adult population work overseas, mainly in Russia, and many traditional village communities have struggled to adapt to a changing world. However, Tajiks are renowned for the hospitality and their unfailing cheerfulness despite the difficulties they might face. This is one the reasons, Tajikistan makes such a unique and fascinating travel experience.

One of the countries main resources is water, and although they cannot sell water, they do produce hydro-electricity for sale in neighbouring countries. This is seen as a future solution to a current lack of supplies of electricity in Tajikistan, particularly in its rural areas during winter. In the future, it is hoped that this hydro power will assist the long term economic development of the country.

Highlights of Odyssey Traveller's Tajikistan Tour

One of the highlights of this tour is the chance to see the amazing mountain ranges that make Tajikistan the unique travel destination it is. The north is home to the Trans-Alay range, while the east and centre are home to the Tien Shan (Turkestan Mountains). Finally, the southeast is occupied by the icy peaks of the Pamir Mountains. We will see these ranges on our tour and also some of the most magnificent alpine lakes, including Iskander Lake.

Near Iskander lake is Penjikent, home to the Museum of Rudaki, devoted to Abu Abdullah Rudaki, which you will also have the chance to explore. Rudaki, born in Penjikent in 885, is considered to be the ‘father of Persian poetry’ and a Tajik national hero. The museum’s scope is broader than that – make sure to visit the frescoes from the ancient city of Penjikent, depicting a banquet, a battle, and daily life scenes. Other archaeological remains include statues of Zoroastrian divinities and exhibits from Sarazm, a Neolithic site recently found nearby, including the richly decorated remains of a young woman believed to be the ‘princess of Sarazm.’

We will also visit the ruins of ancient Penjikent, which are preserved nearby. The city was founded by the Sogdians in the 5th century, but abandoned after the 8th century Arab conquest. Foundations of houses, a number of Zoroastrian fire temples, and the city bazaar are visible among the excavated ruins. We will spend time at the Museum of Archaeology and Fortification, which is in the middle of the northern part of Khodjent  set within a 7th C to 8th C enclosed fortress. It was destroyed several times by various conquerors and the last reconstruction was in the 18th C. Khodjent is also home to the biggest oriental bazaar of Central Asia, known as the Payshanba Bazaar. This is sure to be one of the most interesting experiences of your trip, with the bazaar attracting all kinds of people with various languages and tastes.

Of course, we spend some time in the capital city, Dushanbe with a full day of sightseeing. This begins with the Tajikistan United Museum, which includes exhibits on history, natural history, and art, as well as a stroll around the city, which is framed by mountains.

Tourists who have made it to Tajikistan have commented that the hospitality of the Tajik people is one of the highlights any visit. Outside of Dushanbe, hotels are rare and tourists frequently homestay, giving an unparalleled insight into the traditional culture of the region. High mountains and valleys are home to remote towns where life has been largely untouched by the Soviets, or by the opening up of Tajikistan to the West.

There is an optional 23 day tour to Central Asia & the Stans prior to this tour. This program provides another incredible and compelling insight into this often misunderstood region. Odyssey's groups continually praise the friendliness of the local communities visited as well as their hospitality as you explore Tajikistan. You can learn more about Tajikistan with our country profile.

For more details about  the Tajikistan small group tour please click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tajikistan

Yes! Though hearing that Tajikistan shares a border with Afghanistan might be the cause of some concern, very little conflict has spilled over. As long as you stay away from regions very close to the border, you should be fine. Tajikistan’s most interesting cultural sights and beautiful scenery are all perfectly safe to visit. Just exercise the same good sense you would travelling anywhere.

Tajikistan’s long place at the crossroads means that the country is highly ethnically and linguistically diverse.

Tajik is the official language and is spoken by most people in the country. It is a member of what is known as the southwest group of Iranian languages, closely related to the mutually intelligible dialects of Farsi and Dari, spoken in Iran and Afghanistan respectively. In fact, more Tajik people live in Northern Afghanistan than in Tajikistan itself, while nearly one million Tajiks live in Uzbekistan.

Unlike Farsi and Dari, however (which are written in Persian script, derived from Arabic), Tajik is written in Cyrillic script due to the long period of Russian and Soviet rule.

Tajikistan is also home to several other language groups: particularly the Pamirs and the people of the Yaghnob River valley, both of whom speak a language also related to Persian. Uzbek is the second most widely spoken language.

Russian is widely used for administration and business, but there are few native speakers. English is frequently spoken by younger people in the cities, but don’t expect anyone in the countryside to be able to understand you!

The most convenient and fastest way to get to Tajikistan is taking a flight to Dushanbe, which is where our Odyssey tour begins. The Dushanbe airport of Dushanbe receives international flights from Moscow, St Petersburg, Almaty, Bishkek, Istanbul, Dubai, Urumqi, Teheran, Frankfurt and several other major world cities. If you are flying from Australia and New Zealand, you will likely stop-over in Dubai before flying direct to Dushanbe.

It is also possible to arrive in Dushanbe via train from Moscow, for example, but this will be a far more complicated and lengthy journey.

Tour Notes
  • This tour can be taken in conjunction with Central Asia & The Stans.
  • Group size is limited to a maximum of 15 participants.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Overview: Upon arrival we will come to the hotel individually. Participants joining from the Stans Odyssey tour will fly from Bishkek to Dushanbe at 15:00 pm, arriving at 15:30 pm.

Dinner will be at the hotel this evening.

(D)

Accommodation: 2 nights at Tajikistan Hotel or similar.

Overview: Following breakfast there will be a full day of sightseeing in Dushanbe beginning with the Tajikistan United Museum, which includes exhibits on history, natural history, and art. The statue of Buddha in Nirvana is one of the valuable exhibits of the museum. We then visit the Bazaar, an oriental market and the most crowded place in the city.

Accommodation: Tajikistan Hotel or similar.

Overview: After an early breakfast we have a 250 kilometre drive north to Penjikent via the Anzob Pass, 3,373 metres above sea level. After passing over the Zerafshan Mountains we stop at Iskandar Lake in the Fan Mountains. Iskandar Kul, known as the Lake of Alexander the Great, was built as a reservoir in 1969.

Lunch is at a local restaurant, then we continue our drive on to Penjikent.

Dinner will be at our guest house.

(B,L,D)

Accommodation: 2 nights at Penjikent Hotel or similar.

Overview: Following breakfast we will visit the Museum of Rudaki, an important local site given that Penjikent is the birthplace of Abu Abdullah Rudaki, considered by many to be the father of Persian poetry.

We continue our sightseeing at Ancient Penjikent with the ruins of the old Sogdian town founded in 5th C but abandoned in the 8thC after the Arab conquest. Foundations of houses, a citadel with a couple of Zoroastrian fire temples, and the city bazaar are visible in the excavated ruins. We then drive to the Seven Lakes area to see 4 of these picturesque water bodies with different colors set in the mountains of Tajikistan, at just over 2,000 metres above sea level.

We have a picnic lunch at one of the lakes then drive back to Penjikent for some free time and dinner.

(B,L,D)

Accommodation: Penjikent Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast and checkout we drive east to Khodjent via Istaravshan, a journey of about 230 kilometres.

Lunch is at a local house and followed by visits in Istaravshan, a well preserved town located at 3,378 metres in the Turkestan Mountains. Here we see Mug Tepa. Situated in Ura-Tube, it is one of the most ancient settlements in Tajikistan. We will see the Khazrati Shoh architectural complex from the 19th C, which consists of Khazrati Shoh mausoleum, the grave of brother of Kusam ibn Abbas, Khudayar Valami mausoleum, and mosque Namozgoh. The Bazaar completes our day. It is claimed this oriental market is a place where you can find everything.

We drive about 40 kilometres to Khodjent (Khojand) where we have dinner and overnight.

(B,L,D)

Accommodation: 1 night Sogd hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we have some local visits, then cross the border and complete the day with some sightseeing as we drive to our hotel in Tashkent.

Khodjent is on the Amu Darya river, and very close to its source in the Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan. We will visit the Museum of Archaeology and Fortification, which is in the middle of the northern part of the city set within a 7th C to 8th C enclosed fortress. It was destroyed several times by various conquerors and the last reconstruction was in the 18th C.

The biggest oriental bazaar of Central Asia is Payshanba bazaar, one of the most interesting places in Khodjent, attracting people with various languages and tastes. Lunch is at local restaurant and after lunch we drive to Tajik-Uzbek border at “Shirin.” From here we drive north to Tashkent for dinner and overnight.

(B,L,D)

Accommodation: 1 night at City Palace Hotel or similar.

Overview: The tour ends after breakfast.

1
Complete the set of former Soviet Block countries by visiting Tajikistan.
2
Enjoy the extensive mountain scenery of Tajikistan as we cross the Zerafshan Mountains, the Fan Mountains, and the Turkestan Mountains.
3
Experience the capital Dushanbe and its Oriental Bazaar.
4
Travel through ranges where we reach well over 3,000 metres above sea level.
5
See a wide range of Tajik monuments ranging in age from the 1st to the 19th centuries.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 6 nights of accommodation including breakfast daily.
  • Lunches and dinners as specified.
  • Transport and field trips as indicated.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Services of a Tour Leader.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.
  • Service charges and gratuities.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return international airfares and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Local visas, of required
Tajikstan small group cultural tour
Pamir mountains Tajikstan
Parliament house Tajikstan
Mosque decoration, Tajikstan
Hisor fortress, Tajikistan
Exploring Tajikstan
Mosque Tajikistan
Tajikstan Opera House
Tajikstan
Tajikstan mountains
Tajikstan landscape
Red tents in the Pamir Mountains