Tajikistan Travel Guide
ON THE GO
Traveling by plane
Domestic air traffic with Tajik Air (7Y) to Khorog (Berg-Badachschan), Khujand and Kulob. However, these connections are dependent on the weather conditions and the fuel shortages that occur all year round.
Dushanbe – Chorog: 1 hour; Dushanbe – Khujand: 1 hour and Dushanbe – Kulob: 30 min.
On the way by car / bus
The road network is relatively good, but some road sections are seasonally impassable. In winter (October to March) three of the four most important connecting roads from the capital to the south-west of the country are closed due to heavy snowfall (to the east the road to Chorog via Khalaikum, to the north-east the connection to the Kyrgyz city of Osh through the Garm valley and North the road to Khujand over the Anzob Pass and Ayni). The only way to reach these regions in the winter months is via Uzbekistan. The road between Khorog and the Kyrgyz city of Osh is passable all year round and leads through the beautiful Pamir mountain range. Many roads are in poor condition due to recent political and economic difficulties.
Foreigners are – in theory – allowed to travel throughout the country (with the exception of the border regions) without special permission. All that is required is a corresponding note on the visa. However, it should be noted that the road from Dushanbe to Khorog is largely a border region. Visitors traveling by invitation on a package deal should inform their tour operator of their plans. Individual travelers should carry as many official-looking documents as possible with them to make negotiating at the checkpoints easier.
Bus: When the streets are open there is a service between the major cities. Buses are an inexpensive means of transport, but they are usually slow and not always reliable.
Taxis and chauffeured cars are available in all major cities. Many taxis are not licensed and it is recommended that you agree the fare in advance. Officially marked taxis are generally safe, but should not be shared with strangers. Many street names have changed since the Declaration of Independence, so make sure to include both old and new street names when asking for directions. Self-drive rental cars are not available. It is theoretically possible to buy or bring your own means of transport.
Documentation: International driver’s license and vehicle insurance coverage.
On the go by train
There is no direct rail link between the south and north of the country. When traveling between north and south, you have to change trains in Termez (Uzbekistan).
There are four train routes: One leads south from Dushanbe via Kurgon-Teppa and Schaartuz to Termez on the Uzbek-Afghan border; the second connects Dushanbe via Kurgon-Teppa with Tugul on the Afghan border; the third is in the north and leads from the Fergana Valley via Khujand to the Uzbek city of Samarkand. The fourth route leads from Kulob to Kurgon-Teppa.
Passengers should stow money and valuables in the train compartment out of sight under beds or seats. The door should be locked from the inside and the compartment should never be left unattended.
Country-specific safety information
On the border with Afghanistan there are occasional exchanges of fire between Afghan drug smugglers and Tajik representatives of the border troops and the drug control authorities.
Trips close to the border with Afghanistan should only be carried out with prior information about the current security situation and with the greatest possible care.
In addition, since the beginning of 2014, there have been repeated armed clashes in the border area between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, some of them fatally. Foreign travelers were not affected, but caution and vigilance are required here too. Tajikistan is a country located in Asia according to softwareleverage.
The risk of terrorist attacks on Western facilities currently appears to be low, but it cannot be ruled out. Caution and vigilance continue to be called for.
In the border areas with Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan there are Islamic groups with a potentially terrorist orientation.
Travel over land
When traveling, it must be noted that there are minefields on both sides of the road on the main route from Dushanbe to Chorog between Kalaikum and Khorog, which are not always well marked. There are also minefields in the border areas with Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and in the border region with Afghanistan. There have also been isolated reports of robbery attacks on, among other things, civilian vehicles that have driven on routes near the Afghan border. Such journeys should, if at all, only be carried out with the greatest possible caution and caution. Attention is drawn to the note in the following section regarding avoiding journeys after dark.
From September to March, heavy snowfalls can be expected in the higher elevations, which can lead to road closures and non-navigable passes. The main traffic routes are also regularly affected. When the thaw sets in in spring, there is an increased risk of snow and mud avalanches, which can make overland trips a great risk. In the summer of 2015, persistently high temperatures in the Pamirs caused floods and mudslides with major damage to the infrastructure.