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Classic Tajikistan Tour

9 Days

Overview

These lands of the Persian-speaking Tajik people have been continuously inhabited for over 6,000 years and were once part of the Samanid Empire. The country’s treacherous peaks and dizzying altitude passes weren’t enough to keep outsiders at bay, having been subject to invasions from Ghengis Khan to the Soviets, as well as a devasting civil war. Today Tajikistan is Central Asia’s least visited destination providing a pristine canvas, untouched by tourism and development.

Beginning in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, home to the largest surviving Buddha in Central Asia, you’ll learn about the country’s contemporary history at ‘Friendship Square’. Then, setting off to explore the north-western highlights for a week, the first stop is the brilliantly cyan lake of Iskander Kol, named for Alexander the Great, where you’ll spend a couple of nights at a family homestay in the Fan Mountains. Altitude hiking is complemented with a tour around the modern and ancient cities of Penjikent and a hearty meal of Penjikent plov, before heading back into the mountains for a rural homestay and some more hiking between the varying tones of turquoise at Margazor lakes.

Lastly, continue over high-altitude passes through the mountains to Istarafshan, whose wonderfully preserved old town is a maze of small alleys and mud-walled neighbourhoods, and Khojand, for a look around Tajikistan’s second city and the chance to swim in the Tajik Sea. The tour ends with a final night back in Dushanbe.

Itinerary

Upon an early arrival to Dushanbe, your guide will be waiting to meet and take you to your hotel to rest up after the long journey. This afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the modern capital visiting Dushanbe's Museum of Archaeology which now holds the largest surviving Buddha in Central Asia; the world's tallest flagpole at 165 metres, erected in time for the country's 20th anniversary of independence in 2011; and the main square and its monument of Ismoili Somoni, the forefather of Tajikistan. This evening, you'll be taken out to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Leaving Dushanbe head north and cross the Anzob Pass (3,372m) before arriving at the striking Fan Mountains and Iskandar Kol lake, the 'lake of Alexander the Great' (2,200m). Some of the world's highest peaks - and some of Central Asia's most beautiful countryside - can be found in Tajikistan, whose surface is 93% covered with mountains. The scenery is totally unspoilt, and you may wish to take the opportunity to walk to a spectacular waterfall before arriving at your guesthouse in the quaint mountain village of Saratog (2,400m).

Setting off from your homestay on foot, you'll walk down to the brilliantly cyan Iskandar Kol lake to spend the day within the breathtaking scenery of the Fan Mountains. Explore the lake's borders and the natural beauty that surrounds it, including some of its smaller springs, eventually following the Snake Lake Trail that tracks an icy water river flanked by rocky mountains leading to the Fan Mountain's 'Niagara Waterfall'. You can return to your homestay for lunch and take the afternoon to relax after the active morning, perhaps making use of the 'banya' (a Russian-style sauna) in the village, or continue exploring the area.

Leave Iskandar Kol this the morning for one of Tajikistan's historical highlights, the city of Penjikent. Check into your hotel before a traditional Penjikent plov lunch at a chaykhana, or tea house. The afternoon provides time to visit the ethnographic museum for an introduction to the culture and history of ancient. Penjikent, before proceeding to explore it with your guide. Notable sites include the ruler's fortified citadel, the Shakhristan (inner walled city) that contained two Zoroastrian temples and the necropolis. Then, take a trip down to the city bazaar for a chance to meet some of the stall owners and soak up the local atmosphere. Today's finale brings you to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sarazm, meaning "where the land begins", which is one of Central Asia's oldest settlements that demonstrated the existence of cultural and commercial exchange across the Central Asian Steppes to the Iranian Plateau and as far as the Indian Ocean.

Head south to the eye-catching Margazor lakes - there are seven lakes in total, each a different tone of turquoise to spend the morning hiking paths around the lakes of Mijgon, Soya, Hushyer and Nofin. Take a break to check in at your community-based tourism homestay in Nofin village and for some time to refuel with some lunch and a rest. The afternoon is then free to continue exploring more of the striking glacial lake scenery or to simply take it easy in the company of your homestay family.

The journey continues through stunning mountain landscapes to the town of Istarafshan. Its fascinating and well-preserved old town, or shaar-i-khuna, is a maze of small alleys winding through neighbourhoods of mud- walled houses of a distinctly Central Asian design. Explore the town with your guide before moving on to Khojand where you'll overnight.

Learn about Tajikistan's second city - Khojand - its madrassahs, bazaars and palaces via a private-guided tour. On the agenda this morning is a visit to Khojand's citadel, built in the early Middle Ages and used up until the early 20th century; the history museum of Soghd; the Orient Bazaar Panjshanbe; the Sheihk Muslihiddin memorial complex; and the largest statue of Lenin in Central Asia. In the afternoon your guide will take you out to the Kayrakkum Reservoir, known as the Tajik Sea, and the mighty Syr Darya river for a walk along the coast and a swim.

Depart Khojand and cross over the Anzob Pass (3,372 m) on your way back to the capital. On the way there's also the option to visit the 18th and 19th century Gissar Fortress, the remains of the Emirate of Bukhara's palace. Enjoy a relaxed stroll along Rudaki, Dushanbe's main street; wander through the Bogi Iram botanical gardens; or simply spend your final evening unwinding back at the hotel.

Your guide and driver will take you back to the international airport after breakfast and check-out. Depending on your flight time, you may have some time for some last-minute exploration before your transfer and a friendly farewell at the airport which marks the end of your adventure in Tajikistan.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Package Includes

  • MEALS
  • TRANSPORT
  • ENTRANCE FEES
  • EXPERT TEAM
  • ACCOMMODATION
  • WILD MILES

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Classic Tajikistan Tour
From $ 2,265
/ Adult
From $ 2,200
/ Child
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