There are a lot of things to think about when going for a multi-day trek in the mountains of Tajikistan. It starts with choosing a trek that suits your physical shape. Knowing what to expect is vital in order to prepare adequately. Going far away from civilization, you need to carefully think what to bring – and what not to bring. Here you find some practical info when you decide to go trekking with us in Tajikistan.
Easy walks are hard to find in Tajikistan. Almost any trek involves uphill hiking on rough paths and camping far away from civilization. Nonetheless, trekking in Tajikistan is accessible for hikers with different experience and fitness levels. The variety of trekking routes in the Tajik mountains is endless. As long as you are ready to challenge yourself, there is nothing holding you back to embark on the adventure.
Choosing a trek that suits your physical shape is important to get the most out of your trekking experience. We work with a grading system to indicate what physical challenges you can expect for each trek. The classification is mainly based on the total walking distance, altitudes and the trail roughness. Reducing the difficulty of existing treks however is often possible, for example by limiting the distance and vertical ascent per day, incorporating rest days, or skipping certain mountain passes. The accommodation types available also play a role in the difficulty of the treks. For instance, homestays are not available everywhere in the mountains. Check out below the difficulty levels to pick the right trek for you!
Easy treks are the least demanding for Tajik standards. Treks are short with limited elevation gain per day. The terrain can be difficult but you will always be hiking on a trail. The trails offer panoramic views without crossing tough mountain passes. The walking distance per day is typically below 10 km. Nights are usually spent in homestays, so there is no need to carry heavy backpacks. The term ‘easy’ may be misinterpreted as a reasonable fitness level is still required.
Moderate treks are relatively short (less than one week) and involve hiking days between 4 to 6 hours. The treks usually offer a mix of homestays and campsites to spend the night. Altitudes are generally between 1500 to 3000 meters, which is on the low side for Tajikistan. The elevation gain per day is always below 1000 meters. Treks can still be difficult for untrained hikers. We advise regular physical exercise in the period leading up to a ‘moderate’ trek.
Challenging treks are only suited for people with a very good fitness level. Treks may take over a week with nights often being spent in tents. The vertical height gain may be considerable per day (up to 1000 meters). Trekking altitudes are mostly between 2000 and 4000 meters. You will walk 5 to 7 hours per day over rough terrain and partly off-trail, for example over rock or ice fields. Although ‘challenging’ treks are not the most difficult ones, a solid physical preparation is indispensable and you need to be familiar with hiking in the mountains.
Hard treks are highly demanding and require a strong physical condition. Long hiking days of 6 to 8 hours are common to cover distances up to 20 km. You will be hiking on rough trails and off-track stretches across ice fields and scree slopes. Prepare for elevation gains up to 1500 meters in a single day and crossing mountain passes up to 5000 meters high. Most nights — which are frigid at altitudes above 3000 meters — are spent in tents. Compared to ‘extreme’ treks, ‘hard’ treks often offer more opportunities to stay in homestays and allow for baggage transport with mules. Together, this results in some more comfort and allows for carrying a less heavy backpack. Plentiful high mountain hiking experience is an advantage to make it through these treks.
Extreme treks have the highest difficulty and are located in the most remote parts of Tajikistan and at the highest altitudes (above 4000 meters). A considerable elevation gain of more than 1500 meters may be covered in a single day over steep slopes. The treks lead over rough terrain with possibly technical off-trail stretches. Facilities like homestay accommodations are scarce or even non-existent. Most nights are spent in tents in the wilderness. The landscape at the highest altitudes is barren and you will be fully exposed to the elements. The terrain is often too difficult for baggage transport with mules, so that a heavy backpack (> 16 kg) has to be carried to bring camping equipment and all food necessary for the duration of the trek. An optimal fitness level is required as well as a willingness to push your limits. Specialized mountaineering skills however are not a prerequisite, as the treks do not involve the usage of any climbing equipment.
Standard included in our treks and advertised prices:
Improve the comfort level with any of the options below:
For most trips, we require a 15% deposit. The remaining amount can be paid later at any moment before the start of the trip. This can even be after meeting the guide, so you are entirely sure that everything is fine and you can travel with peace of mind. You are free to choose betwen any of the payment methods below:
Hiking, Eating, Sleeping. From a very practical viewpoint, you could say that this is what a trek boils down to. In reality, a trek of course is above all filled with adventure, fun, amazing views and sharing experiences. Nevertheless, it is good to know what you can expect from the fundamentals.
Accommodations in the Tajik mountains are generally quite basic, with a focus on homestays offering insights into local hospitality. While amenities like warm water and western-style beds are common in the Fann Mountains, homestays areas like the Pamir Mountains may have only limited electricity and involve sleeping in traditional beds on the ground.More info – Accommodation
Tajikistan boasts plenty of adventurous hiking routes. These routes often follow shepherd tracks, but may also cross rocky terrain and includes rivers crossings or snow fields. The trails can present a real challenge for inexperienced hikers.More info – Trails
Good preparation is half the job. Apart from altitudes and walking distances, your preparation is a major factor in determining the difficulty of a trek. Get into shape, pick the right equipment and eat enough throughout the trek to get the most out of your trekking experience.
Build up your physical shape and stamina before traveling to Tajikistan. Hiking day after day with a full equipment at altitudes above 3000 meters is highly demanding for your condition. Exercise regularly and practice long hikes to start off with a good fitness level.
Pick your personal equipment wisely. Do not take unnecessary items and limit the amount of clothing. Every gram adds up to the total weight that needs to be carried over all the mountain passes. Also take a comfortable backpack to ease the strain on your back and shoulders as much as possible.
Traveling to Tajikistan continues to get easier and many nationalities can enter without a visa. Nevertheless, the entry requirements may vary by nationality. So always check the latest requirements that apply to you on this page.
What do you need to bring yourself when you going on a trek with us? Going out into the wild for maybe more than a week, you want to be sure to not forget about anything. Below you find what we provide and what we recommend that you bring your own. Personal needs can vary obviously, but some essentials are not to be missed! Needless to say, any of the equipment that we provide is optional – you can always bring your own gear.
Tajikistan has a land climate with hot summers and cold winters. The trekking season is in summer and runs from May to September when temperatures are most pleasant. In the mountains, daytime temperatures are usually around 20 to 25˚C in summer. In the lower regions (including Dushanbe), it can be extremely hot (> 40˚C) in summer with pleasant temperatures at night.
Trekking in most of Tajikistan is not possible all year round. Outside the main season, the conditions can be icy cold in the high mountains with trails covered by lots of snow. For the highest hiking routes in the Pamir Mountains (> 4000 m), snow may complicate trekking all the way until the end of June.
The amount of precipitation in Tajikistan varies throughout the year. During summer and early autumn, there is almost no rainfall at all. Precipitation is more frequent the rest of the year with rainfall amounts being highest in early spring. Good rainwear is a must when you go trekking outside the main trekking season in summer, especially in the mountains north of Dushanbe, including the Fann Mountains and the Zerafshan Range. The Pamir Mountains are more arid with relatively low rainfall throughout the entire year.
Tajikistan uses the Tajik Somoni (SOM) as currency. US dollars or euro are also sometimes accepted, but are not an official currency. 10 somoni equals to about 1 dollar. It can be difficult to withdraw money from ATMs with foreign credit and debit cards. Especially foreign debit cards are hardly accepted. Credit cards usually do work after some trying here and there. It can be recommendable to bring cash dollars or euros for exchange. There are many banks where dollars and euros can be exchanged.
Tajikistan is a relatively cheap country. Here are some price indications:Main dish in restaurant: 2-4 USD 0.5L of beer in a bar: 1 USD 0.5L bottle of coke: 0.5 USD 15 min taxi drive: 2-3 USD
Bargaining is common in Tajikistan on the bazaars or when dealing with drivers. Most shops, bars and restaurants are open seven days a week. Precise opening times vary.
Public transport is limited in Tajikistan. Dushanbe has a bus network that you can use to move around the city. There are also mashrutkas (smaller vans) and clandestine cars that operate fixed lines within the city. Taxis are relatively cheap. A taxi ride within Dushanbe usually costs less than 2 USD.
For regional travel, for example when going into the mountains, there are no public transport options. For this, the Tajiks mostly make use of shared cars. Each destination has its own gathering place in Dushanbe with cars departing as soon as they fill up. These gathering places are not well indicated, which can make it difficult to find out where to go precisely. Car rental options are scarce and tend to be expensive, even by western standards. In most cases, it is easier to rent a personal driver with car.
When traveling in summer, you mostly need light clothing to cope with the high temperatures. Only at night in the mountains, you need warm clothes as the temperature can drop sharply once the sun goes down.
There are no restrictions as to what you can wear on the street in Tajikistan. For example, even though Tajikistan is an islamic country, women are not required to wear head coverings. Although you can wear whatever you want, it is good to remind that Tajikistan is quite a conservative country. Especially in the mountain villages, it is considered inappropriate to wear clothes that are too short. It is good to keep this in mind, as people are usually too polite to say anything about it.
Traveling to Tajikistan continues to get easier and many nationalities can enter without a visa. Passport holders of most western and former SSSR countries can travel to Tajikistan without a visa. Nevertheless, the entry requirements may vary by nationality.
If you do need a tourist visa, it can be acquired fully online through evisa.tj for almost all nationals. Alternatively, a visa-on-arrival is also available for most travelers. Check out this detailed overview page for more information on the entry requirements.
A local SIM card typically costs around 10 USD and can be acquired upon showing your passport. This usually takes 5 to 10 minutes. In the larger cities, there are many telecom shops selling SIM cards. Among the biggest providers are MegaFon and Tcell. There is no coverage in the remote parts of the mountains.
Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, although the speed may not always be optimal. Homestays in the mountains usually do not have Wi-Fi.
Tajik cuisine has much in common with the other countries in Central Asia. The staple foods are rice, bread, meat and dairy products. The Tajiks adore meat, which can make life hard if you are a vegetarian. The menu includes dishes such as plov, shurbo and laghman. Check out this page for some of the most typical Tajik dishes.
Tea occupies an important place in Tajik culture. Every meal or social gathering is usually accompanied by tea. So be prepared to drink a lot of tea when you visit Tajikistan.
Alcoholic drinks are widely available throughout the country, mainly owing to the former Soviet influences. Drinking alcohol is not extremely important in Tajik culture, but it is widely accepted. There are even local beers and wines. So no worries for those who like to go out, there are plenty of bars and clubs where you can have a drink.
Tajikistan is safe for tourists. Even at night time, it is safe to walk on the streets. It is very rare for tourists to be the target of robberies. There are generally only minor risks in Tajikistan as there are for traveling in almost any country in the world (pickpocketing, etc.).
The hospitals and healthcare system are not among the best in the world. Always make sure you are properly insured.
Before departure, always check up-to-date travel advice for Tajikistan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country.
Do you have a question or want more info? Contact us!
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