TAJIKISTAN FACT FILES
Tajikistan was the only nation to not want independence from the Soviet Union. With China, Afghanistan and Pakistan all close neighbours, it does feel like the final outpost of European influence.
It is your responsibility to arrange visas. Visa requirements vary from embassy to embassy but we will provide letters of invitation and any other visa support that you may require. For our trip in the Pamirs besides a Tajik visa you will need a GBAO permit, as we travel through the autonomous region of Badakhshan.
If you are based in the UK or Australia then we can recommend using The Visa Machine as a visa agent. Visit the Untamed Borders page at their website – untamedborders.thevisamachine.com
Tajikistan is 5hrs ahead of GMT
Health and vaccinations
Please consult your local GP about the necessary vaccinations for Tajikistan. Note that many of our trips to Tajikistan involve journeys over high passes, whilst there is no real risk of severe altitude sickness if you have a history of heart problems it may well be worth contacting your doctor.
Travel insurance is your own responsibility. We will ask for a copy of your insurance policy at the beginning of the trip to ensure that we can take action in the unlikely event that anything happens. Please ensure that your insurance agent is aware of where and what you are doing. Many policies will state that they are worldwide policies but may not pay out if there are government travel warnings against travel to that region.
If you have any concerns please contact us and we can provide a list of insurers we and others have used in the past. They all have years of experience insuring expeditions, journalists and ex-pats in some of the worlds wildest places. They will be able to provide a number of comprehensive insurance options for Tajikistan.
Weather and climate
The lower parts of Tajikistan, where most of the population lives and the larger cities are located have an arid climate with cold winters and baking hot summers. As 93% of the country is considered mountainous the majority of the land has an alpine climate. In winter it’s bitterly cold with high levels of snow fall that isolate certain regions from the rest of the country. Even in the summer it can get chilly when at altitude, especially at night. It’s best to bring thermals and sun block, you’ll probably need both.
Cash is the best form of currency. In Dushanbe and Khorog there are cash machines that take credit cards and even some debit cards. If you bring cash, dollars are best although money changers in Dushanbe and other bigger towns will be happy to change euros, pound sterling and of course Russian Roubles.
The unit of currency in Tajikistan is the Tajik Somoni. One of the few currencies that has a 3 denomination note.
For current exchange rates please have a look at www.xchange.com
Electricity and Internet
Tajikistan relies heavily on hydro power. In the summer months there’s usually no issues with the power supply in the main towns (except after heavy rains), in winter time the electrical supply is highly unreliable. Electricity in rural Tajikistan is generally less reliable as the infrastructure is quite fragile. It’s a good idea to pack your head torch, just in case.
Internet facilities are available in Dushanbe and the bigger towns. Mobile internet coverage is growing and sometimes available in surprisingly remote places. But it’s not reliable, so don’t assume that you will have access to internet outside the main cities.
Food and Alcohol
Tajikistan offers many traditional Central Asian foods. Heavy on rice, meat and bread and subtly flavoured. Food in rural Tajikistan can be basic and the lack of variety can be a bit of a drag for gastronomes. Unlike some other Islamic countries, Ramadan is not always strictly observed. Especially in Dushanbe all restaurants and shops are open and you’ll see Tajiks happily eating and drinking in public. In the mountains you’re more likely to experience a situation where food and drinks are not available until sunset and eating in public is frowned upon.
If you have any special dietary requirements or are a vegetarian please let us know ahead of time and we will do our best to accommodate.
One of the Soviet legacies in Tajikistan (and all the Central Asian countries for that matter) is acceptance of alcohol. It is widely available in Tajikistan, with beer, vodka and a local cognac being the most popular ones. Away from the cities alcohol is not consumed in public, but indoors you’re sometimes offered a shot of vodka or locally made spirits.
Language and Religion
Tajikistan’s official language is Tajik (a form of Persian). Russian is still routinely used for business and communication. The majority of the population follow Sunni Islam, with the small minority being followers of Russian Orthodox, Catholicism and Shia Islam.
Safety & Security
Following the break-up of the Soviet Union Tajikistan suffered from a five year civil war. This ended in 1997 and although Tajikistan has been relatively stable since then, there are still tensions between the different clans and ethnic groups within the country.
Occasionally incidents do flair up and are blamed on ethnic tensions. Although they have usually been over the control of the opium route from Afghanistan into Tajikistan.
Please contact us if you have any further concerns or questions about how we work to ensure the safety of our guests.
This list is not comprehensive, in fact it is very subjective. It is stuff we like and think you may as well:
Great Game – Peter Hopkirk A rattling read about how Tsarist Russia and Victorian Britain fought a century long cloak and dagger battle over Central Asia. From Genghis Khan to Sir Francis Younghusband. Tajikistan is at the heart of this battle for power.
Tajikistan and the High Pamirs – Robert Middleton A comprehensive and in-depth guide full of background information on Tajikistan’s rich and turbulent history, culture as well as a great portrayal of contemporary Tajikistan.
We do not directly arrange international flights to Pakistan. We can suggest routes and operators. You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes. Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966 They will match any price you find online.
From Europe flying with Turkish Airways offers the most convenient way to get to Tajikistan.
From elsewhere it may be better to come via Dubai. FlyDubai are a reliable way to reach Dushanbe from the Gulf.