Homestays in the Tajik mountains
First-time visitors to Tajikistan often find themselves uncertain about the accommodations during their mountain trek. Given the absence of mass tourism, homestays are the most common form of lodging. Homestays offer more than just a place to rest your head, providing unique insight into Tajik hospitality, traditions and everyday life. But what is an homestay precisely from a practical point of view and what facilities do they provide? Across Tajikistan, there are quite some regional differences. In this short guide, you can find out the general characteristics of the available accommodation in the Fann Mountains, Pamir Mountains and Yaghnob Valley.
Accommodation in the Fann Mountains
Homestays are available throughout the Fann Mountains. Most villages have a place available to spend the night. Over the years, the tourist accommodations in the Fann Mountains have developed and the comfort level is increasing slowly but steadily.
The sleeping arrangements typically feature western-style beds. The bathroom facilities are always shared and separate from the individual rooms. Bathrooms do frequently have the convenience of warm showers. The homestays typically have communal spaces that allow all the guests to gather and socialize together.
Although accommodation in the Fann Mountains predominantly comprises homestays, also a number hotel-style lodging options have emerged, for example in relatively well-visited villages like Artuch and Gazza. Iskanderkul has a decent tourist camp situated at the lakeside with simple rooms available. Close to Alauddin Lake, there is an alpinist camp with a number of cabins.
The accommodation capacity of most villages is quite good so that generally you will find a double room available without the need to share a room with many others.
Electricity is available in all accommodations in the Fann Mountains so you can always charge your electronic devices. It is important to note that WiFi is never available in any of the accommodations.
Accommodation in the Pamir Mountains
Accommodations in the Pamir Mountains are mainly small-scale homestays with an overall lower comfort level compared to the Fann Mountains. Even the availability of electricity can be limited, and facilities may operate on alternative power sources. This has to do with the very remote nature of many of the villages. The villages also generally have a smaller capacity to host guests.
Toilet facilities in the Pamir Mountains are typically not western-style, but rather a small cabin with a squat toilet above a hole dug into the ground. Hot water for showering is rarely available. Sleeping arrangements often involve traditional sleeping areas or mats on the ground, which is a common practice in the region. Western-style beds are not used by the local inhabitants.
Mountain villages the Pamir Mountains do not offer hotel-style accommodations. Only in the village of Jelondy, there are some facilities that resemble hotel-style lodging since it is frequently visited by locals for its health resorts close to hydrothermal springs. The hydrothermal waters also allow for taking a warm bath.
Despite the relatively basic comfort level, homestays in the Pamirs provide a rustic experience and an opportunity to connect with the local way of life. Also the meals served are unique and reflect the local culinary traditions, providing you with a taste of authentic Pamiri cuisine.
Accommodation in the Yaghnob Valley
The eastern parts of the Zerafshan Range including the Yaghnob Valley are considerably less visited than the Fann and Pamir Mountains. Accordingly, tourist accommodation is quite limited and you will not find any hotel-style accommodations in the Yaghnob Valley. Still, small homestays exist in most villages.
As for the facilities, homestays in the Yaghnob Valley are about at the same level as in the Pamir Mountains. That means generally no western-style beds and bathrooms (so no hot showers). The sleeping arrangements are simple with traditional sleeping mats on the ground.
There is no access to WiFi in the homestays and also electricy is not always available. Although that means that staying in the Yaghnob Valley disconnects you from the modern world, it does allow you to fully immerse yourself in the unique culture and natural splendor of this remarkable region.