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Tajikistan

Tajikistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia that borders Afghanistan to the south, China to the east, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and Uzbekistan to the west and northwest. The ancient Silk Road passed through it. The nation is unique in that the majority culture is non-Turkic, unlike its neighbors to the north and west and east. Tajikistan is the poorest country out of the former Soviet states, the poorest country in Central Asia and one of the world's poorest, largely owing to a devastating civil war that broke out shortly after independence in 1991.

Regions

Cities

  • Dushanbe — the capital and largest city by far.
  • Isfara — an ancient Silk Road town in the center of the Ferhghana Valley on the Kyrgyzstani border.
  • Istaravshan — an old city home to the well known and beautiful Abdullatif Madrassah and Mosque.
  • Khorugh — largest city of and gateway to the Pamirs.
  • Khujand — the center of Tajikistan's Ferghana Valley region, and the nation's second largest city.
  • Konibodom — in the heart of the Ferghana Valley, on the Uzbekistani border.
  • Kulob — the country's third largest city.
  • Qurghonteppa — the largest city in Khatlon, and the political heart of the rebellion in Tajikistan's last civil war.
  • Tursunzoda — an aluminium town west of Dushanbe on the road and railroad to Uzbekistan.

Other destinations

  • Pamir mountains, with passes between 3200 and 4500 meters, and Lake Karakol.
  • Penjikent, a town next to the border, 70km from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, with ruins of an ancient city.
  • Zeravshan valley including the Fan Mountains, one of Central Asia's prime trekking and climbing destinations.

Understand

Climate

Mid-latitude continental, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid to polar in the Pamir Mountains.

Terrain

The Pamir and Alay Mountains dominate Tajikistan's landscape. The western Fergana Valley is in north, and the Kofarnihon and Vakhsh Valleys are in the southwest.

The country's lowest point is at Syr Darya (300 m), and its highest point is at Qullai Ismoili Somoni (7,495 m).

History

The region covering today's Tajikistan was part the of Persian empires for much of its history. This region has been an important place for flourishing Persian culture and language.

In recent history, Tajikistan has experienced three changes in government and a five-year civil war since it gained independence from the USSR in 1991. A peace agreement among rival factions was signed in 1997 and implemented in 2000. The central government's less than total control over some areas of the country has forced it to compromise and forge alliances among factions. Attention by the international community in the wake of the war in Afghanistan has brought increased economic development assistance, which could create jobs and increase stability in the long term. Tajikistan is in the early stages of seeking World Trade Organization membership and has joined NATO's Partnership for Peace. In recent years, unemployment has been fought by the government with a huge success, though the country has been unable to cope with the problems left behind of the civil war. Today, most prospects of change are clearly being evident to help recover the country, though much of these measures are proving to be inefficient and unfulfilling.

Get in

Visas

Nationals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia and Ukraine do not need a visa for visits up to 90 days.

Following the trends of other Central Asian countries, visas are increasingly easy to obtain, particularly for nationals of wealthy countries. This policy is designed to stimulate tourist activity in Tajikistan. The big change has been the abolition of OVIR registration for tourist visits under 30 days. Letters of invitation are no longer needed on arrival at Dushanbe airport, but are needed to prearrange a visa from the UK and US embassies.

Since July 2016, evisas for 45 days have been available at www.evisa.tj for $50 for citizens of most wealthy countries. You may apply for a GBAO permit along with the evisa. The evisa can be used at all land borders and airports, and is typically approved within two working days. Some people have reported teething problems with the evisa system (see Caravanistan), but for the most part the system works well as well as saves a page in your passport.

Visas have to have applied for in advance at Tajik embassies, online (see above) or may be purchased upon arrival at Dushanbe airport. However due to a recent change in the law, these visas are now only available to citizens from countries with no Tajik embassy. To save time you can complete and print a form before arrival [1]. It is best to use the Tajik form, bring two passport photos, a handful of photocopies of your passport and cash. The process takes around 10 minutes. Tourist visa in Tajikistan costs $US25 in Dushanbe International Airport and in consular representatives abroad. A separate permit is required if you wish to travel to the GBAO region. It is easily obtained when applying for a visa or in Dushanbe, cost is USD50 locally or at consulates in Central Asia, but is usually free in Europe.

If crossing a land border then get a visa prior to arrival. The embassies in Vienna and London are the more professional. You may struggle to get a visa at some consulates who will simply say “get it at the airport” (e.g. Kabul), which isn't useful if you want to arrive by land.

By plane

National carrier Tajik Air and the new private airline Somon Air are the country's two airlines. From Dushanbe, flights are available to numerous cities across Russia, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Sochi, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Perm, Krasnoyarsk, Orenburg, Irkutsk, Nizhnevartovsk, Surgut, Kazan, & Yekaterinburg. Destinations within Central Asia include Bishkek, Almaty, Ürümqi, & Kabul.

Aside from Russia, the main international destinations to/from Tajikistan are:

  • Istanbul — Turkish Airlines, Somon Air
  • Dubai/Sharjah — Somon Air, Tajik Air
  • Frankfurt — Somon Air
  • Tehran — Somon Air, Iran Aseman Airlines

Somon Air plans to add services to China in the future.

The airport in Khujand has service to about a dozen Russian cities through 8 carriers plus a weekly China Southern Airlines flight to Ürümqi.

By car

While relations with Uzbekistan are the best among Tajikistan's neighbours, it is the most crossed by travellers and the roads to these crossings are in much better condition than those leading to Kyrgyzstan or Afghanistan. The current situation (June 2010) is unknown, but in recent years Tajik vehicles have not been allowed into Uzbekistan and Uzbek vehicles needed to pay large tariffs to enter Tajikistan. So your trip may require taking one vehicle to the border and catching a ride on another after crossing the border. The journey from Tashkent to Khujand takes about two and a half hours and is frequently travelled by private cars and marshrutkas (minibuses) which will take you along for a small amount (under USD10). The short (60km) trip from Samarkand, Uzbekistan to Penjikent is also frequently travelled by private cars and marshrutkas. Currently (July 2012) border crossing near Penjikent is closed due to strained relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. If you want to go to Samarkand from Khujand, you have to cross border at Oybek post (250km from Samarkand). There are marshrutkas and taxis from Khujand to Oybek. Taxis cost from 50 to 100 somonis depending on time of a day.

In winter months, snow blocks the passes connecting Dushanbe with the north of Tajikistan. To travel to Dushanbe during these months, you need to head south and cross from Termez, which will take you around the west & south sides of the mountains and take you to Dushanbe.

From Kyrgyzstan, there are a couple of options, mostly from Osh and none make for a very smooth journey. The rugged, remote Pamir Highway (see next paragraph) is the slowest, but most popular. From the crossroads at Sary-Tash, a road leads west for 500km through the Karategin Valley to Dushanbe. A little rugged near the border, but not nearly so as the Pamir Highway. A third option is from the Batken region to Isfara, but it passes through several of the Uzbek enclaves within Kyrgyzstan, necessitating a multiple-entry Uzbek visa and plenty of time for border crossings; bypassing these enclaves is a pain and requires navigating lots of poor, local roads with little or no signage. Travelling through the Ferghana Valley, it also has the least interesting scenery and recent ethnic confrontations in the region make this a poor choice for travellers.

A scenic, albeit rough, journey into Tajikistan is via the Pamir Highway which runs from Osh to Khorog to Dushanbe. Just about the only highway in the GBAO region, this route ranges from smooth tarmac full of busses, trucks to a single-lane road carved into a cliff. The border crossing lies at 4280m and peaks at the Ak-Baital Pass at 4,655m. The journey takes 2-3 days from Osh-Khorog and three on the rougher stretch from Khorog to Dushanbe, longer if you want to stop and enjoy the scenery. Minivans travel the route from Osh to Murghab every few days for USD15; hitch hiking on Kamaz trucks and ZIL petrol tankers is also possible anywhere en route for USD10. A 4-wheel drive is necessary and large portions of the highway are impassible in winter and frequently blocked by mudslides in spring.

The US has funded a couple of bridges connecting Tajikistan with Afghanistan. Roads from Qurghonteppa, Kulob, & Dushanbe lead to the main crossing at Nizhnii Panj. From there, a road leads south to Kunduz which unfortunately, as of 2010, is a stronghold of the Taliban in the north of Afghanistan. There is a bridge at Khorog leading to Feizabad, Afghanistan as well as a few mountainous roads elsewhere in the GBAO leading to Afghanistan.

A border crossing with China was opened in 2004. The crossing and connecting roads link the Pamir Highway with the Karakorum Highway and provides a link to Kashgar (Kashi) to the north and Pakistan to the south. As of 2010, it remains closed to foreigners.

By boat

There is currently a ferry operating across the Pyanj river between Afghanistan and Tajikistan that costs roughly USD10 one way. However, the opening of the US funded bridge over the Pyanj will likely end this service, which crosses roughly three times per day and does not run on Sundays.

By train

The train to Moscow is popular with migrant workers. It takes around five days and crosses through Uzbekistan (twice), Turkmenistan, & Kazakhstan; transit visas are required for all these countries.

Train 367 - 08:08 leaves Dushanbe (Mondays & Wednesdays). 14:04 Arrives Khujand next day. Final destination Kanibadam.

Train 335 - Khujand-Samarqand-Saratov is three times a week. 18:44 depart Khujand (Mon, Thur, Sat) 02:15 arrives Samarqand.

Train 336 - 06:10 departs Samarqand (Wed, Fri, Sunday) 14:27 arrives Khujand.

Get around

By minivan / shared taxi

Scheduled minivans run between the major cities but otherwise hiring a vehicle or sharing one with other passengers is the only way to travel around the country. Prices are generally per person, not for the vehicle, and divided by the number of passengers.

SUV's can be hired and leave daily from Khujand's large minibus terminal located just outside the city. Prices are negotiable but should be in the range USD60 per person. Assure the vehicle is fit for long road travel, inspect spare tire.

By plane

As the country is broken into many isolated areas by mountain passes that are closed in winter, travel during this time is by air only, if the planes are flying. Tajik Air and Somon Air operate several daily flights to Khojand (between 35 and 70 minutes, depending on the plane) and Khorog, a thrilling plunge through mountain peaks. This flight does not go if it is windy. Ticket vendors next to the Green Market in Dushanbe can provide a reliable estimate of their timetable. Make sure you arrive early for your flight. Also, passports and visas will be checked on domestic flights, so bring them with you.

By train

Train 368 - 16:34 leaves Khujand (Fridays & Sundays). 22:36 arrives Dushanbe the next day.

Talk

Tajik, mutually intelligible with all Persian dialects, is the primary and historical language of Tajikistan. It just so happens to be one of the several dialects of the Persian language alongside Farsi, Dari, Hazaragi, and others. In addition, due to Soviet promotion of Russian throughout Central Asia, almost all Tajiks speak Russian. There are also ethnic Russians with Russian as their native language. Russian is widely used in government, which makes it widely spoken by government officials such as politicians. However, English is hardly spoken, and the only people likely to speak a word of it are youths residing in Dushanbe. But even to them, Russian is often more popular since it is widely taught to them by their parents.

See

There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tajikistan: the proto-urban site of Sarazm in Panjakent and the Tajik National Park encompassing the Pamirs in the east of the country. The mountains of Tajikistan are among the highest in the world with three peaks higher than 7,000m and more than half of the country is located over 3,000m above the sea level.

Do

Tajikistan is a stunning place, and there is plenty to do, from the Silk Road mystique of places like Khujand and Istaravshan, to the stunning, untouched mountain scenery of the Pamirs and their accompanying allure of unclimbed peaks and virgin trekking routes. Fan Mountains could be a good alternative to the Pamirs. They are easy to reach and provide good trekking options.

Buy

Money

The Somoni (Tajik: c?????) is the national currency. Wikivoyage uses the ISO international currency code TJS placed before the amount in all our articles. However, when you're shopping locally, you may see a variety of notations placed before or after the amount.

Banknotes come in TJS1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 denominations and you may find TJS0.05, TJS0.10, TJS0.20, TJS0.25, TJS0.25, TJS0.50, TJS1, TJS3 and TJS5 coins in circulation.

Shopping

  • Traditional Tajik padded coats. Comfortable and perfect for the colder weather in the mountains. The ensemble can be completed with a hat and sash.
  • Mercedes Benz (~US$7,000) cars and Land Cruisers from Dushanbe's Sunday Car Market. Also available: Russian cars, jeeps, minivans and an assortment of other models.
  • Vodka. Ruski Standard is the best one by far.
  • Rugs and carpets. The good ones are imported from Afghanistan or Uzbekistan.

Eat

Food in Tajikistan is a cross between that of Central Asia and that of Afghanistan & Pakistan along with a bit of Russian influence. If you like Russian food, you will probably have a good culinary experience. If you find Russian food bland, you may have a rough time here.

  • Plov- The national dish is made with rice, beef or mutton, and carrots. All fried together in vegetable oil or mutton fat in a special qazan (a wok-shaped cauldron) over an open flame. The meat is cubed, the carrots are chopped finely into long strips, and the rice is colored yellow or orange by the frying carrots and the oil. The dish is eaten communally from a single large plate placed at the center of the table. Plov is generally referred to as "osh" in Tajikistan.
  • A traditional dish that is still eaten with hands from a communal plate is qurutob, before serving the dish is topped with onions fried in oil until golden and other fried vegetables. No meat is added. Qurotob is considered the national dish.
  • Laghman- a pasta soup dish served with vegetables and lamb or beef. Try the stir-fried Uyghur varieties available at several restaurants in Dushanbe.
  • Sambusa- (baked pastries)
  • Shashlik (shish-kebab)- Grilled-on-coal fish, liver, chicken, mutton and beef.
  • Tushbera soup- (like ravioli, or pasta with meat in it)
  • Ugro soup- (handmade spaghetti soup served with cheese cream and basilic)
  • Jiz-biz- (fired freshcut lamb or mutton on its own juice)
  • Dolma- (steamed rolls with grape leafs and meat inside, served with sour cream and red pepper)
  • Mantu -(steamed dumplings with meat inside, served with sour cream and fried onions)
  • Shurbo- (fresh vegetable soup with lamb or beef, served with green onion and basilic)
  • Many types of bread like chappoti, kulcha, nan, fatir, qalama, etc.
  • Damlama- (like English stew, steamed lamb or beef with vegetables in its own juice)
  • Khash- (soup with sheeps' legs and arms, joints and tendons)
  • Melons and watermelons are extremely popular among locals and are very cheap in local markets

Take care with street food and do NOT eat unwashed vegetables and fruits. It's best to soak them in distilled water and cook thoroughly.

Now, the situation is different. National cuisine is becoming more popular in Tajikistan, such as Shurbo, Oshi Palov, Mantu, Sambusa, etc.

Drink

  • Green tea- Tajiks customarily enjoy drinking unsweetened (or sweetened) green tea all throughout the day. Hence, it is the country's national beverage.
  • Compote- A distilled fruit punch.

Sleep

Sleeping options in Tajikistan include the following:

Hotels In Dushanbe, there are a small number of large hotels. The Hyatt Regency opened its doors in March 2009. Another one of big hotels is "Tajikistan" (recently renovated), located in the central city. Most are ex-Soviet era and tend to be over-priced and in poor condition. There are a couple of newly-built hotels offering western standards of accommodation for around from US$70 to US$220 per room.

MSDSP guesthouses

The Aga Khan's Mountain Societies Development Support Programme has a network of guesthouses in places like Kalaikhum and Khorog, offering a good standard of accommodation. Full board is around US$40 per person

Formal homestays

The French NGO ACTED is establishing a network of Homestays in the Pamir region, around Murghab. For around US$10 per person per night you get a comfortable bed in a family home. The facilities are basic, i.e. no running water and an outside toilet, but guests can expect comfortable clean rooms, good local food and a very warm welcome.

Independent guesthouses

In Dushanbe, Khorog, and Murghab there are a small but growing number of independent guesthouses. These are similar in standard and price to the ACTED homestays.

Online accommodation (couchsurfing)

Many cities of Tajikistan offer free accommodation in homestays through the couchsurfing.com

Work

At embassies, NGOs [2], some hotels. A few hundred expatriates live in Dushanbe. Several ads each week in the electronic newsletter WhatsOnInDushanbe. For investors, cf. [3] and similar publications.

Habitat for Humanity-Tajikistan, [4], constructs homes for needy, low-income families in addition to completing many unfinished Soviet-era homes and apartment blocks, provides seismic retrofits, works to provide sanitary water, and more. Once or twice a year, volunteer trips (through HFH "Global Village" program, [5] ) are offered, entailing 2 weeks of building houses combined with a few days of sightseeing.

Stay safe

Tajikistan is a safe country, though some factional fighting spilling over from nearby Afghanistan (as well as local warlordism) still occurs in Tajikistan. Visitors should keep abreast of the security situation and not take any unnecessary risks. After sunset, it is not advisable to walk around outside alone; and generally do not travel unaccompanied to rural areas. Any concern you should have during your stay in Tajikistan, please write about as soon as possible it to your embassy or the European Commission – External Relations Directorate General in B-1049 Brussels [roselyne.mancheron@cec.eu.int].

Of significant concern is the inability of Tajikistan’s law enforcement entities to provide adequate and immediate assistance. Lack of manpower, low salaries, and inadequate training all contribute to a lack of professionalism among law enforcement entities. Police officers in Dushanbe have been known to ask for bribes from expatriates and tourists, even when no crime has been committed. It is always best to travel in groups if you are travelling at night and avoid areas heavily patrolled by the police (including Rudaki Park) if you have been drinking. If you are asked for a bribe, play dumb. Even if you speak Russian or Tajik, it is best to pretend like you do not understand the officer's request. They will usually lose patience and leave you alone. Never argue with or provoke the police. If you are the victim of a crime, consult to your embassy. Your embassy may be able to help you locate stolen items or to renew your passport.

Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal, but you may be breaking local law too.

In some places it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in prison These criminal penalties will vary from country to country.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Tajikistan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

The number of items that can be exported may be limited. It is illegal to export or possess unprocessed stones and metals and jewelry without a hallmark (mark of authenticity). Even if travellers have a receipt confirming legal purchase of such items at a store in Tajikistan, the items must be declared upon departure.

Stay healthy

The health care system in Tajikistan is significantly underdeveloped below western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics and antibiotics. Elderly people are at great risk. Most medical personnel are not qualified, adding on a significant concern.

DO NOT drink tap water. There is no working purification system, and outbreaks of typhoid and cholera (rarely) are common. Other preventable endemic illnesses are hepatitis A, rabies, poliomyelitis and tick-borne encephalitis. The occasional anthrax case comes in, but it's rare nowadays. There are, during the hot season, a few pockets where malaria can occur. HIV is a growing health threat in Tajikistan. There is now an English-speaking comprehensive primary care clinic in operation by the name of Prospekt Medical [6], right behind the Embassy of China. In the Pamir mountains, the risk of altitude sickness is substantial - one may read up on this here: [7] (in English) or [8] (in German). In case of ANY accident, call your embassy. Health insurance and medical evacuation insurance are strongly recommended.

Longer stays may consider the hiring of private drivers and home security guards. Rent out secure known owners places. [9]

Respect

Tajikistan is sort of a conservative society, and women should be fairly modest in public. Headscarves and face-coverings are exceptions and not the norm. For men, shorts will generally attract disapproving stares, even in larger cities like Dushanbe. Although some Tajiks can be extremely friendly, it is not uncommon for people to be equally rude. Tajiks in general are very welcoming to tourists. While you should be wary of scams in the larger cities, do not be alarmed if young people approach you to say hello and practice their English. When speaking to older Tajiks, be sure to place your right hand over your heart. This is a sign of respect reserved for older men or women in Tajik society.

Connect

Note that Tajik telecom companies charge for internet usage by the amount downloaded. This is especially important to note for persons planing on living in Tajikistan and paying directly for the service, for example USD50 per month for up to 1GB of downloads. You will need to have a Ministry of Immigration registration form to purchase private internet service.

Cope

Embassies

  • United States - 109A Ismoili Somoni Avenue, Zarafshon, Dushanbe 734019, tel: +992-37-229-23-00, fax: +992-37-229-2309. The consular section is open from 08:00 to 17:00 Monday - Friday, and closed on US and Tajik holidays.

The Amateur Traveler talks to Michael Soncina again about his trip to Tajikistan in Central Asia. Tajikistan is smack dab between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Unlike the other countries Tajikistan is mostly mountainous. A lot of its influences, history and culture is influenced by Persia while its neighbors have more Mongolian or nomadic influences.

Travel in Afghanistan

How to Travel Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor

Afghanistan

In August 2016 I traveled through Afghanistan for two weeks, an American backpacking across the beautiful Pamir mountains in the Wakhan Corridor. This is how I did it.

DISCLAIMER: The US government warns against travel to Afghanistan. Just because I went, does not mean I recommend everyone should go. The safety situation changes on a weekly basis, and requires a good deal of research/planning beforehand.

When I told family & friends I was planning a trip to Afghanistan, they thought I’d lost my mind. Afghanistan, that war-torn middle eastern country full of terrorists, soldiers, car bombs, predator drones, and IEDs.

Why the hell would I want to go there?

Afghanistan has been on my bucket-list for a few years after I met fellow traveler and public speaker Shane Dallas who happened to share his experience with me at a travel industry conference.

I learned that the version of the country most of us see each night on the evening news is simply not the full story…

Parts of Afghanistan can be dangerous, sure, but it’s also full of beauty, hospitality, and history too.

This is the Afghanistan I was on a mission to seek out and share.

Wakhan Corridor

Exploring the Wakhan on Foot

Wakhan Map

Map of Wakhan (Courtesy of Wildlife Conservation Society)

The Wakhan Corridor

Afghanistan’s remote and desolate Wakhan Corridor is called the “roof of the world” by the local people who live there. It’s located in the far North East corner of the country, surrounded on three sides by Tajikistan, Pakistan and China.

The Wakhan is incredibly cut-off from the rest of Afghanistan.

There are no government services, large parts of the region have no roads, and people are basically living on their own in the mountains.

The area is inhabited by two main ethnic groups, the Wakhi and the Kyrgyz. The Wakhi often have two homes, one for winter and one for summer months, made of stone.

The Kyrgyz are more nomadic, living in semi-portable yurt tents made of felt. They move their homes and animals to different valleys depending on the season.

A majority of the population raises livestock for a living. They trade sheep, goats and yaks to merchants from Pakistan or other parts of Afghanistan for clothing, food, and necessities they can’t produce themselves at these remote high-altitude locations they call home.

The Wakhan used to be part of the ancient Silk Road, and explorers Marco Polo and Alexander the Great both passed through this part of Afghanistan on their travels around the world.

Afghanistan Safety

Friendly Faces in Afghanistan

Woman in Blue Burka

Afghan Woman Wearing a Burka

Safety In Afghanistan

Travelers don’t have to worry about the Taliban or Al-Qaeda in the Wakhan. It’s one of the few places in Afghanistan that has remained relatively conflict-free over the years.

The Wakhan is part of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province. While the Taliban does have a presence in parts of Badakhshan, the Wakhan region itself is terrorist-free (for now). The main road leading in is currently controlled by the Afghan Military, who keeps the Taliban out.

Most locals living in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor are Ismaili Muslims, who practice a moderate form of Islam. They despise the Taliban, and generally welcome foreign travelers. It’s become an important part of their economy.

But that doesn’t mean the Wakhan is a tourist hot-spot.

The area sees a total of about 100 tourists every year. This is partly due to the taboo of traveling in a war-torn country, lack of reliable travel information, and remoteness of the region.

Afghanistan Visa for Americans

My Tourist Visa from Afghanistan

How To Get A Visa

There is a very specific process for obtaining a visa to enter Afghanistan’s Wakhan corridor, and it involves a trip to the neighboring country of Tajikistan and a town called Khorog near the border.

But first, you’ll need a double entry visa for Tajikistan. You cannot get a double entry visa on arrival at the airport, so you must apply for one in advance at an official embassy or consulate.

Why? After you travel into Afghanistan through Tajikistan, you’ll need to leave through Tajikistan too. Which counts as a 2nd entry into Tajikistan. But typical visas for Tajikistan are only single entry.

With your double entry Tajik visa, the next step is to travel to the town of Khorog, where it’s possible to apply for an Afghanistan visa at the local consulate. Keep reading to learn more…

Dushanbe Monument

Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Arriving In Dushanbe

Flying into the city of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, is going to be your first adventure. Tajikistan has a reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the world — and you’ll soon know why.

Dushanbe airport officials asked me for bribes on 2 separate occasions. If you refuse, they send you to the back of the line, or move you to another line, over and over again until you give up and pay them.

Dushanbe Accommodation:

Twins Hotel | Rohat Hotel | Green House Hostel

I recommend spending at least one night in Dushanbe, but probably more. You’ll need to exchange cash, buy last-minute supplies, and get a local sim card for your phone.

The best cell phone company to use is TCell for cell service in the Pamir Mountains. You’ll even have some service on the Afghanistan side for a while.

There’s a basic outdoor shop in Dushanbe called “BAP3ИШ” where you can buy a knife, stove gas, and other camping supplies you might need in the Wakhan. Nothing high-end, just cheap Chinese made stuff.

Khorog Tajikistan

Khorog from Above

Traveling To Khorog

Khorog is a mountain town in the heart of Tajikistan’s remote GBAO region. To travel in Tajikistan’s GBAO region, you need a GBAO permit.

This can be obtained either when applying for your double entry Tajikistan visa, or in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe at the OVIR office.

Now you must travel to Khorog and apply for the Afghan visa in person.

This requires a rough, dusty, 20 hour long 4×4 taxi journey over the Pamir Highway from Dushanbe.

While there’s also a short flight from Dushanbe to Khorog, it’s not easy to get a ticket and is often canceled due to weather.

Khorog Accommodation:

Mountain River Guest House | Delhi Darbar Hotel | Pamir Lodge

Khorog is a major stop for trekkers/cyclists/motorcyclists who are exploring the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. It’s also the last place you’ll find an ATM, there are 2 or 3 in town. Plan on spending a least a night or two here before heading to Afghanistan.

Khorog Downtown

Downtown Khorog, Tajikistan

Visiting The Afghan Consulate

Khorog is home to a small Afghan consulate that has a reputation for giving out Afghan visas in as little as an hour. As an American, this same-day visa service cost me $200 USD.

Why so much? Because the United States makes it difficult for Afghans to get a visa. So they return the favor with a high visa fee for Americans.

The woman at the consulate was trying her best to persuade me not to visit. Saying the visa is too expensive for Americans, that it won’t be easy to travel there, etc. I assured her I was prepared, and had been planning this trip for years.

At the consulate I had to explain why I wanted to visit Afghanistan (hiking in the Wakhan), and write/sign a letter acknowledging I alone was responsible for myself and my actions in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Border

Afghanistan Border Crossing

Afghanistan Checkpoint

Hanging with Soldiers at a Military Checkpoint

Crossing The Border

With my shiny new Afghan visa in hand, I traveled to the Tajik border town of Ishkashim. It’s a 3 hour drive South of Khorog. One or two shared taxis head to Ishkashim from Khorog each morning.

The desolate Afghanistan border post sits on the right side of the road before you actually reach the town of Ishkashim. Tajikistan border guards have a reputation for requesting bribes, so just be aware.

On the Afghan side of the border, they searched my bags and scanned my passport through the INTERPOL database to ensure I wasn’t a fugitive. After that, I was in! Welcome to Afghanistan.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling nervous standing on Afghan soil.

The border post is a few kilometers away from the nearest Afghan town of Sultan Eshkashim, so unless you want to walk there, an overpriced taxi ride costs $20 for a 10 minute drive.

Ishkashim vs. Sultan Eshkashim: These are two different towns, and it can be confusing. Ishkashim is the border town on the Tajikistan side, Sultan Eshkashim is the border town on the Afghanistan side. Wakhan Guesthouse

Marco Polo Guesthouse in Sultan Eshkashim

Wakhan Corridor Permission

Hand-Written Wakhan Permit

Eshkashim & Wakhan Permits

Sultan Eshkashim is the entrance to the Wakhan Corridor. Many travelers are happy to just hang out there for a few days to experience a taste of Afghanistan before heading back to Tajikistan.

But if you want to go hiking in the Wakhan, you need to acquire additional permits.

Sultan Eshkashim Accommodation:

Marco Polo Guest House (no website)

While getting these permits on your own is possible, it’s a huge pain in the ass if you don’t speak Persian/Farsi. Instead, I hired an English speaking local to help for about $50.

The permit process involves multiple passport photos, paperwork, plenty of tea, and stops at a few different government, police, and military offices. You’ll have to explain yourself to local officials questioning why you are there, what you do, etc.

The whole ordeal takes 3-4 hours, provided all the offices are even open. They sometimes close down on certain days (Friday/Saturday). I got lucky, but if something is closed you may have to return the next day.

Local officials eventually gave me a hand-written letter granting permission to travel to the next village, where I’d have to request permission again to move on further.

Driving in Afghanistan

Driving in the Wakhan Corridor

Khandud Afghanistan

Ruined Mosque in Khandud

Driving To Sarhad-e Broghil

Now that I had my permits for the Wakhan, it was time to make my way 200 km up the valley in an expensive 4X4 taxi to the village of Sarhad-e Broghil, where the road ends and the true wilderness begins.

I hired a local translator/guide to join me on the trek.

For the next 2 days, Yar Mohammad Attahi helped me navigate additional checkpoints and permit stops as we drove into the mountains, while giving me the opportunity to actually communicate with locals.

The 4X4 journey to Sarhad navigates some of the roughest roads I’ve ever seen. Over boulder fields, into rivers, along the edge of cliffs, and through deep desert sand.

Our beat-up Toyota van was equipped with crappy shocks, broken windows, and was repeatedly crippled by flat tires (5 times). It was one wild ride!

But because so few cars travel out here, and the route is unforgiving to vehicles, the price of this “taxi” journey is high — $350 one way.

Once we made it to Sarhad-e Broghil, Yar and I spent the night at a guesthouse. The next day we began our 100 mile trek across the towering, snow-capped Pamir Mountains.

Tent in the Pamir Mountains

Camping in Afghanistan

Crossing a River in the Pamirs

Hiking in the Wakhan

Hiking In The Wakhan

While I’ll go into more detail about the trek itself in future articles, I just wanted to share some logistics here. I found my guide/translator Yar in the Afghan border town of Sultan Eshkashim.

At the end of the road in Sarhad, we hired a pack horse accompanied by its owner Panshambe to help carry our food & gear for the next 10 days of hiking.

The three of us were completely on our own in the wilderness after Sarhad. Only passing through tiny Wakhi or Kyrgyz communities made up of a few stone huts and yurts. No markets, no doctors, no roads.

I’d brought a camping stove and enough freeze-dried meals for 12 days, along with energy bars and trail mix for snacks. My companions packed rice, tea, and bread for themselves. Over the course of the trip we mixed and shared our supplies with each other.

Unless you bring your own trekking food, your options are going to be limited. Canned fish, beans, rice, and sugar are available to buy in Sultan Eshkashim. But that’s about it. You can sometimes buy flatbread from locals in the mountains.

The 10 day trek maintained altitudes between 12,000 and 16,000 feet. The trails themselves weren’t terribly difficult, as they are used by locals on a daily basis, but it’s the altitude and the dramatic weather that can mess you up.

Some of the trails were perched on the edge of 300 foot drops, and when it snowed (yes, in August), these became much more dangerous. There were many river crossings, but nothing deeper than your knee.

We hiked a loop from Sarhad to Chaqmaqtin Lake, starting on the “high” route through the 16,000 ft. Garumdee Pass, returning on the “low” river route back to Sarhad. You can read more about these trekking routes here.

How Much Did It Cost?

I spent 2 weeks in Afghanistan, with 10 days of those trekking. It cost me about $1800 USD. That doesn’t include 1 week spent in neighboring Tajikistan before and after the trip. Because just getting to the border of Afghanistan is a separate adventure that takes 2-3 days!

To keep things simple, prices are in US Dollars.

Tajikistan Costs

Double Entry Tajikistan Visa: $55 USD GBAO Permit: $4-$20 USD Dushanbe Hotel: $10-$80 USD per night (x 2) 4X4 Taxi to Khorog: $38 USD (x 2) Khorog Hotel: $20-$50 USD per night (x 2) Taxi to Ishkashim: $9 USD (x 2)

Afghanistan Costs

Afghanistan Visa: $200 USD (cheaper if you’re not American) Taxi to Eshkashim: $20 (x 2) Guest House: $10-$25 USD per night (x 8) Wakhan Permits: $50 USD 4×4 Taxi: $350 USD one way (x 2) Pack Animal: $20 USD per day (x 10) Guide/Translator: $30 USD per day (x 14) Camping: Free

I’d say you want to budget at least $2500 USD and 3 weeks for a similar trip, not including flights. Stuff goes wrong, delays happen, prices change, and credit/ATM cards are useless once you’re in Afghanistan.

It’s a tough place to travel in that respect. You need to plan at least a few buffer days, and bring plenty of extra cash for unexpected situations.

Wakhan Hiking Guides

My Horseman (Panshambe) and Guide (Yar Attahi)

Warnings

Afghanistan is still a very volatile country. While the Wakhan Corridor itself is pretty safe, a foreigner did disappear there recently, and other parts of the province have seen kidnappings and Taliban attacks.

Just because it felt safe when I was there does not mean it always will be.

Also, it’s important for me to point out that the Afghanistan/Tajikistan border sometimes closes without warning. Usually because of Cholera outbreaks, sometimes just because of bureaucratic arguments.

If it closes when you’re on the Afghan side, you’ll be stuck there until it opens again. Which could be a few days, or a few weeks. You need to be prepared for that possibility.

Traveling overland to Kabul from the Wakhan is not a safe option at the moment.

Helpfull Websites About The Wakhan

Other Areas Of Afghanistan

Wakhan Corridor Guide

If you’re planning a trip to the Wakhan, I highly recommend Yar Mohammad Attahi as a guide and translator. Tell him I sent you!

More From Afghanistan

This was just a brief overview of the logistics for traveling in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. I’ll be sharing much more about the incredible trek itself in future articles.

If you’d like a notification when I publish something new about Afghanistan, make sure to sign up for my newsletter here. ★

READ NEXT: Should You Go To School Or Travel?

Have any questions about Afghanistan? Would you ever consider traveling there? Drop me a message in the comments below!

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.

Tajikistan (Bradt Travel Guides)

Sophie Ibbotson

Epic mountain landscapes, glacial lakes and the mighty Oxus River encircle ancient Buddhist sites, Silk Road trading posts, medieval shrines and planned Soviet cities alike. The guide includes tried and tested trekking routes in the Frann, Zerafshan and Pamir mountain ranges and comprehensive bird-watching and wildlife sections. Rich historical detail, entertaining anecdotes along with first-hand descriptions of everything from Soghdian ruins to playing the traditional sport of buz kashi or 'dead goat polo', bring the country alive.

Tajikistan and the High Pamirs: A Companion and Guide (Odyssey Illustrated Guides)

Robert Middleton

Fringed by the two great rivers of Central Asia, the Oxus and the Jaxartes, Tajikistan can boast not only of breathtaking mountain scenery, but also of 3,000 years of history. The land where Alexander the Great fought desperately against the Scythian n

Tajikistan - Loosening the Knot

Ross Howard

The narrative is of travels through Tajikistan, the poorest country economically in Central Asia. As the Soviet Union disintegrated, the economy collapsed, the people suffered extreme privation and large elements of the country reverted to what became known as a "yak economy". Shortly after the declaration of independence in 1991, the country descended into Civil War, with open hostilities between the warring factions only coming to an end in 1997. The country is still recovering from the economic devastation wrought by the conflict and today, over half the population is deemed to be in poverty, surviving on an income equivalent to or less than US$2.00 per day. Tajikistan is the smallest nation in Central Asia with over 50 per cent of the land-mass being more than 3,000 metres above sea level. It is also the most water rich country with lakes, major glaciers and more than 900 of its rivers over 10 kilometres in length. The journey follows the border with Afghanistan and traverses the High Pamirs and the so-called Pamir Knot. This term identifies the junction of the Himalaya, Karakoram, Tian Shan, Kunlun and Hindu Kush mountain ranges. Collectively, these mountains form the roof of the world. The ethnic composition of a population of 8 million is 60 per cent Tajik, who include the Pamiris who occupy much of the Pamir region, followed by 23 per cent Uzbek. The balance is made up of Russian, Kyrgyz and several other smaller minorities. The majority of Tajiks are Sunni Muslims, while the Pamiris are almost exclusvely followers of the Ishmaeli sect of Shia. Tajikistan is a secular republic and elections are held for the presidency and the parliament. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the system has been dominated by the same power structure, and Emomalii Rahmon, the President, came to power in 1994 following a disputed election, and has remained in place through a sequence of similarly disputed ballots. His regime is seen to be corrupt and he has been described as running the country for his own pesonal profit and is prepared to use threats and intimidation to remain in power. The narrative considers the issues of corruption and poverty and how the majority of people were focused on survival and didn't wish to be distracted by those things over which they had no control. However, they do know that the aspirations they have for their children and the future will not come to pass unless the constraining knot of poverty, dictatorship and corruption is loosened and brought undone. Only then with the human spirit prevail.

Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan 1:1.35M/1.1M (English and French Edition)

ITMB Publishing LTD

hese three countries, bordering on Afghanistan, Iran, and China, have proved to be remarkably stable in a very volatile part of the world. They constitute the heart of Central Asia; a bit difficult to reach, but definitely suitable for adventure travel. Turkmenistan occupies one side of the sheet, and the other two smaller countries share the other side at a better scale. Turkmenistan stretches from the Caspian Sea to a major river (the Amuder) that forms its eastern boundary with Uzbekistan and its border with Afghanistan. An inset map of the capital just north of the Iranian border, Ashgabat, is included. The other side concentrates on the mountainous western Himalayan peaks, which are largely unexplored by outsiders. This is a region of trekking trails rather than highways, although the fabled Great Silk Road goes right through the middle of the map, from Kashgar in China to equally fabled Tashkent. Branches also go to Konduz, in Afghanistan, and to Dushanbe, while the northern route is shown as well (the Silk Road having several alternative routes). This side is still showing signs of the Soviet era, with Russian names occasionally appearing. No doubt, these are being changed over time. This is a very interesting map, of an of-the-beaten-track part of the world. It reflects the best information we have, but will improve over the next decade as more information becomes available.

TAJIKISTAN Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Tajikistan

CIA

A brief yet detailed report on the country of Tajikistan with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan Map (English, German and Hungarian Edition)

GiziMap

This folded tourist and road map of Kazakhstan also includes the surrounding countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The map features shaded-relief and elevation tinting. Major and minor roads are depicted along with railways, distance in kilometers, state boundaries (& disputed boundaries), airports, historical sites, point of interest, and natural features. Index of placenames is on reverse side of map. Legend in 5 languages: English, German, French, Russian, and Kazakh. Scale is 1:3 million.

Lonely Planet Central Asia (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Central Asia is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Sample lamb kebabs and nan bread from roadside grills, hike through the spectacular canyons of the Kyrgyz Alatau Range, or marvel at Yasaui Mausoleum's beautiful architecture; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Central Asia and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Central Asia Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money, and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, the Silk Road, religion, art, literature, film, music, architecture, landscapes, border crossings, outdoor activities, wildlife, environment, and cuisine Over 65 maps Coverage of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Almaty, Taraz, Astana, Tashkent, Khorezm, Karakalpakstan, Bishkek, Tamchy, Naryn, Dushanbe, Khojand, Khorog, Ashgabat, Merv, and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices)

Zoom-in maps and images bring it all up close and in greater detail Downloadable PDF and offline maps let you stay offline to avoid roaming and data charges Seamlessly flip between pages Easily navigate and jump effortlessly between maps and reviews Speedy search capabilities get you to what you need and want to see Use bookmarks to help you shoot back to key pages in a flash Visit the websites of our recommendations by touching embedded links Adding notes with the tap of a finger offers a way to personalise your guidebook experience Inbuilt dictionary to translate unfamiliar languages and decode site-specific local terms

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Bradley Mayhew, Mark Elliott, Tom Masters and John Noble.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

The Pamirs: 1974 USA-USSR Pamirs Expedition Climbing Journal of John Evans (Climbing Journals of John Evans)

John Evans

In the summer of 1974, the Soviet Federation of Mountaineering invited the United States to send a climbing team to an international mountaineering festival—termed an “Alpianade”--in the Russian Pamirs. In addition to establishing a number of satisfying personal relationships with climbers from many nations, the nineteen-person US team made the first American ascent of the much-climbed 23,406-foot Pik Lenin and a new technical route on 19,300-foot “Peak Nineteen”. All of this and all the Russians’ good intentions, however, were transcended by an appalling series of tragic accidents, most of which were weather and /or avalanche - related. These resulted in a total of 13 deaths, including that of American Gary Ullin on Peak Nineteen, and an entire team of eight Russian women. This journal is augmented by the author's letters and explanatory notes.

Exercise a high degree of caution; see also regional advisories.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

Areas bordering Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan (see Advisory)

The security situation along the border with Afghanistan remains unstable as this area is used as a transit point for drugs and other forms of illegal trafficking.

Marked and unmarked minefields are present in areas bordering Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan. Exercise a high level of caution when travelling to these areas.

Gorno-Badakhshan province (see Advisory)

Violent clashes involving Tajik security forces took place in Khorough in July 2012. Communications in this area could be affected. Those in Khorough should leave the area immediately, if it is safe to do so. You should also register online with the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) service in order to receive the latest advice from the Canadian Embassy in Astana (Kazakhstan).

Crime

While security in Tajikistan, including in Dushanbe, is generally stable, there has been a rise in criminality.

Pickpocketing and mugging are not uncommon. Do not show signs of affluence or carry large sums of money. Exercise caution, particularly in tourist areas and commercial and public establishments (hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreation events) frequented by foreigners. You should be particularly vigilant in crowded public places such as markets.

Terrorism

Terrorist violence occurs. Exercise a high degree of caution, regularly review your security practices and remain alert to the changing situation.

Women’s safety

There have been a number of reports of harassment of women. Travel in groups and in daylight. Please consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Guide to Safe and Successful Travel for more information.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Regional travel

Exercise caution in the Rasht Valley (Karategin) and the Tavildara district as tensions may still exist following clashes between Tajik security forces and militant groups in 2010.

Border areas

Some border crossings, especially in the Fergana Valley, are not well defined and therefore very porous.

Neighbouring countries may close their borders unilaterally.

Transportation

Rail service is unreliable and underdeveloped.

Air travel is limited. In winter, poor weather conditions make unannounced delays and flight cancellations common. Reservations on regional airlines are not always respected.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

There are numerous checkpoints, and security forces may shoot if vehicles do not stop. Exercise caution when travelling east of Dushanbe, as armed groups have established checkpoints and are known to target foreigners.

Carry a photocopy of your visa and passport with you at all times. Keep your original documents in safekeeping facilities. Leave a photocopy of your travel documents with a relative or a friend at home.

Tourist facilities are very limited.

Energy, water and food shortages are common throughout Tajikistan, especially in winter and spring.

Blackouts and brownouts occur frequently.

Maintain a stock of emergency items at your residence and prepare and review personal emergency plans with your family if you intend to remain in Tajikistan for extended periods.

Emergency services

Dial 01 for fire, 02 for the police, and 03 for an ambulance.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Polio

There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Central Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Central Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, malaria, and tick-borne encephalitis.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.


Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Asia, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities in Tajikistan are scarce and below Western standards. Frequent shortages of energy and water can interrupt or impede the provision of medical services. There is also a severe shortage of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics and antibiotics.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.

Homosexual activity is legal but is not widely accepted by Tajik society.

Penalties for drinking and driving are strict.

Possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs may result in jail sentences and heavy fines. The government is stepping up its raids to counter narcotics trafficking.

An International Driving Permit  is required.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Please see our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Culture

Although Tajikistan is a secular country, Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.

Money

The economy is primarily cash-based. The currency is the Tajik somoni. Canadian currency and traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted. Few international banking services are available, although an increasing number of automated banking machines can now be found in Dushanbe. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels, some restaurants and most banks. U.S. dollars are readily accepted.

Climate

Tajikistan is located in an active seismic zone.

In higher-altitude areas, there is a significant danger of floods, avalanches and landslides, especially in the spring.