Tajikistan

Our annual trip to Central Asia’s remote and mountainous mystery-land

The only tour in the world that can combine ancient silk road cities, Persian New Year celebrations, the flamboyantly violent and absolutely mind-blowing sport of Buzkashi, giant Soviet health spas, epic tunnels under giant mountain ranges, the sculpted monobrow as a fashion statement, and simply the most lovely, welcoming people in the world. Take a chance on this one and we guarantee you will be amazed at this place – Tajikistan!

March 2018

March 22 - March 31 2018

Tajikistan - Persian New Year Tour

Nowruz and Buzkashi + Sogdia
and the Fergana Valley

9-night fully guided tour for those wishing to see
more of this beautiful country and experience its
unique history

From 2,200 USD per person

Please apply by 1st March, 2018.

Tajikistan - Persian New Year Tour

Nowruz and Buzkashi + Sogdia
and the Fergana Valley

9-night fully guided tour for those
wishing to see more of this beautiful
country and experience its unique
history

From 2,200 USD per person

  • Overall

    Dushanbe - Hissar Fortress - Varzob Valley - Buzkashi Event - Khoja Ob Garm Spa - Khujand - Zarafshan Valley and Panjikent - Dushanbe

    Highlights

    • Travel north across the stunning landscape of the Fann Mountains.
    • Drive through the infamous 5-km Anzob Tunnel.
    • Experience the ancient Sogdian culture and the history of the Fergana Valley, crossroads of the world and once the farthest outpost in Alexander the Great’s empire.
    • A taste of Czarist Russia at the Arbob Palace, a recreation of St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace in the heart of Central Asia.
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 10
    1. Thursday 22nd March

      AM

      • Free morning for settling in/exploring/acclimatizing
      PM
      • Hissar Fortress – a stunning UNESCO site at a strategic point on the ancient silk road, destroyed 21 times during its long history
      • Local village to see a school and a Lenin statue
      • Welcome group dinner in Dushanbe

    2. Friday 23rd March

      AM

      • Morning walking tour of Dushanbe, including Victory Park, Rudaki & Somoni Avenues (the main streets in the city), Central and Rudaki Parks, Ismaili Somoni Monument, and much more
      PM
      • National Museum of Antiquities – a deep look at the complicated history of Tajikistan
      • Botanical Gardens – popular for wedding groups and housing a vast range of Central Asian flora
      • National Opera Theatre & Dushanbe Puppet Theatre
      • National Teahouse for end-of-day relaxation – this is the largest teahouse in the world!

    3. Saturday 24th March

      AM

      • Drive north to the stunning Varzob Valley, past scenic lakes and in to the mountains for a light hike
      • See a holiday wrestling match and have lunch at a local family home
      PM
      • Free afternoon to explore Dushanbe - holiday decoration will be up by now and a lively atmosphere on the weekend can be expected

    4. Sunday 25th March

      • Today we go to see the most remarkable sporting event imaginable – Buzkashi!
      • This is a flamboyantly violent and aggressive game played by hundreds of men on horseback, wrestling over a goat carcass to try to score ‘goals’ with it. It simply has to be seen to be believed, the photos you will get will blow the mind of anyone you show them to!
      • The day will be spent at the sports fields, in addition to Buzkashi there is wrestling, people-watching, mingling with the friendliest people in all of Central Asia, and snacks and drinks available for sale. An incredible day is assured!

    5. Monday 26th March

      • Today we head into the mountains, for some stunning views on a long drive that brings us through tunnels and valleys, over peaks and ridges of the amazing mountains of Tajikistan!
      • The destination in the end is Khoja Obi Garm Spa, a vast sanatorium built into the side of a mountain above natural hot springs – like a James Bond villain’s lair meets the hotel from The Shining!
      • A full range of ‘treatments’ can be enjoyed here, from radon baths to massages, leeches to swimming, or simply explore and relax. This is one of those great Soviet-era buildings that are hard to find these days, you will love this experience!

    6. Tuesday 27th March

      AM

      • Those departing Tajikistan will return to Dushanbe for their flight home or onward travels, the others will take the drive onwards to the northern city of Khujand
      • Driving through the Hissar mountains the route itself is part of the adventure including a pass through a 5km long Iranian-built Anzob Tunnel
      PM
      • Lunch at Iskander Kul – Alexander Lake –where Alexander the Great himself stopped for lunch during his advance through Central Asia
      • Cross into the Fergana Valley – the ancient crossroads of cross-continental trade and home to some of the great cities of the silk road
      • Arriving in Khujand (previously known as Leninabad) we’ll stop at a giant Lenin statue at a hydro-electric dam. Communism personified!

    7. Wednesday 28th March

      AM

      • Khujand Market and the sights, sounds, smells of this fascinating city which once market the eastern edge of Alexander’s Empire
      • Local Museum to learn the history of the area
      • Local Mosque, lined with stunning wood panels on the inside
      PM
      • See more of the city – local parks, statues, and mix with the locals too, one of the highlights of any trip to Tajikistan
      • The bizarre Arbob Cultural Palace - a recreation of the St. Petersburg Winter Palace built during the Soviet 1950s, a fantastic local curiosity!

    8. Thursday 29th March

      AM

      • Departing Khujand we drive through the Zarafshan Valley, all the way to Panjikent to have lunch
      PM
      • Panjikent is the centre of Sogdian Culture in Tajikistan. Sogdians were an ancient power in this region, active until the Arab invasion of the 7th Century.
      • See the remains of a Sogdian city – foundations, royal palace, Zoroastrian Temple, and the city bazaar
      • Rudaki Museum – dedicated to the hometown hero and founder of Persian Poetry, the great Central Asian polymath Rudaki

    9. Friday 30th March

      • We’ll spend the day driving back to Dushanbe, stopping at scenic and historic sites & towns along the way
      • We will get back to the city for a last bit of free time and a final group farewell dinner






    10. Saturday 31st April

      • Tour ends and all group members will be taken to the airport for their individual flights.
  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Airport pick up and drop off to and from Hotel Lotus, Dushanbe.
      Hotel accommodation
      Tajiki tour guides
      A driver per group
      A member or Koryo Tours
      All transportation in the country
      All entry fees for attractions and sights
    • Not included
      Flights to Tajikistan
      Single room supplement unless otherwise specified (US $45 per night)
      Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
      Tajikistan visa fees at other embassies vary
      Tip for the guides (approx. US $10 per day)
      Not all meals are covered but we will make recommendations if needed
      We occasionally have the opportunity to visit a performance which is extra
  • Notes

    VISA APPLICATION & ARRIVAL TO TAJIKISTAN

    Koryo Tours will send you a Visa Application Form so that we can issue you a Letter of Invitation (LOI). Please bring with you to Tajikistan:
    1.) Visa Application Form
    2.) Letter of Invitation
    3.) two passport photographs
    4.) USD $35 cash (2015 price so might increase!)

    As you arrive in Dushanbe Airport immigration hall you will find a paper form entitled 'CARD OF IMMIGRATION CONTROL’ which you have to complete in duplicate. Pick one up and fill it in as you join the queue at the VISA APPLICATION windows.

    At the VISA APPLICATION WINDOW present your passport, your original Visa Application and Letter of Invitation. Your visa will be placed in your passport and you will need to pay the US $35 fee.

    You then proceed to the IMMIGRATION BOOTHS where you present your ‘CARD OF IMMIGRATION CONTROL’ one half is kept and the other half stamped and returned to you. KEEP THIS SAFE as you will need it at the hotel and exiting the country.

    There will be a driver with the sign KORYO GROUP waiting for you in the arrival lobby and you will be taken to HOTEL LOTUS.

    IMPORTANT NOTE TO TOURISTS

    This tour is a group trip but designed to have a good amount of free-time. We will give you ideas if you want to go out exploring or just take it easy at a café.Please be on time and return to that the hotel in the evening.

    Please note we will be driving relatively long distances and seats can be hard so we suggest bringing a travel pillow/neck support – the view and experience more than make up for a little discomfort though.

    Khoja Obi Gharm Spa - please note this is a Radon spa which has radioactive properties. There are various thoughts on whether this is good for you or not! - please read up beforehand and make your own decision. The various types of treatment with steam sauna and water jets, massage etc. It is in a beautiful mountain area and worthwhile even for those not taking the spa treatments. The spa was built by the Russians over a religious shrine – for those of you not taking a sauna go pop out and try and find it in this beautiful mountain scape. Massage is 60 somoni head body arms, just need to wear pants or towel provided (radon shower included if you want! )

    Carry a colour photocopy of your passport with you at all times.

    USEFUL TIPS

    Taxis – In 2015 most journeys cost around 20-30 somoni, but make sure you agree a price beforehand.

    Segafroid Café in Dushanbe is a good place for internet and Western food- open for billiards and ten pin bowling cost 120 somoni per hour. The Segafroid Café is about a 20 somoni taxi ride from the Hotel Lotus.

    Dushanbe has the the world’s largest tea house is open for billiards and ten-pin bowling cost 120 per hour.

    Bring sun protection cream.

    Bring hand sanitiser and toilet paper.

    WEATHER

    Early Spring weather so bring a light jumper and jacket, however, we will be heading into the mountains so have some warm clothing also as there will be snow.

Please apply by 1st March, 2018.

April 2018

April 19 - April 26/27 2018

Run Dushanbe **New for 2018**

Tajikistan - Half
Marathon Tour

Seven night tour for passengers wishing to run the Dushanbe half marathon
and explore some of Tajikistan's most incredible scenery and other
highlights.

From 1,250 USD per person

Please apply by 1st April, 2018.

Run Dushanbe **New for 2018**

Tajikistan - Half
Marathon Tour

Seven night tour for passengers wishing to run
the Dushanbe half marathon and explore some of
Tajikistan's most incredible scenery and other
highlights.

From 1,250 USD per person

  • Overall

    Highlights

    • Participate in the little known Dushanbe half marathon, as the streets are lined with locals cheering you on
    • Explore the UNESCO-listed ruins of ancient Panjikent
    • Journey across the beautiful snow-capped Fan mountains
    • Camp on the shores of stunning glacial Lake Alexander
    • Get a massage at the surreal Soviet health spa of Khoja Obi Garm, which looks like something straight from a movie
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 8
    1. Thursday April 19th

      AM

      • The tour group meets at 13.30 in the hotel reception for an orientation meeting.
      PM
      • Afternoon drive to the Hissar fortress. This large fort is said to date back to Cyrus the Great (600BC) and to have been captured 21 times by invading forces. Much of this area has been restored, but it has a lovely museum that is a nice introduction to this fascinating country - a great chance to learn about the country's history and catch up with local people.
      • Upon our return to Dushanbe we will stop by a local school to photograph an interesting statue of Lenin.  


      **Lunch and Dinner included**
    2. Friday April 20th

      AM

      • We begin our day with a half day walking tour of the sleepy capital of Dushanbe, including Victory Park, Rudaki street, Central park, Monument of Ismaili Somoni. We will also follow the route of the Dushanbe Marathon.

      PM

      • This afternoon is free for further exploration or for training for tomorrows big event, we have secured the use of Dushanbe premier gym should you wish to work out. 


      **Breakfast and Lunch included**

    3. Saturday April 21st

      AM
      • Today we start early for the unique opportunity to run the streets of Dushanbe in Tajikistan's half Marathon event.
      PM
      • The afternoon will be free for relaxation, or for further exploration with tour leader visiting the nearby local market.
      • There may also be celebrations in the near by park commemorating city day.

      **Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included**

    4. Sunday April 22nd

      • The tour continues as we depart Dushanbe and follow the Varzob river into the mountains, driving up through the Varzob valley where we will stop on the way for photos of this scenic area. Our goal for this morning is the small village of Takob. Upon arrival we will hike for 30 minutes through this hamlet where we will be rewarded by a visit to a local family whose home has amazing views of the surrounding area
      • We will have lunch given to us in the local Tajik way sitting on the floor, and we will lose count of the number of courses!
    5. Monday April 23rd

      AM
      • We begin with as long drive from the health resort over mountain roads out across the fan mountains working our way up through the tunnel of death. We stop along the way from breathtaking shots of this beautiful mountain range. Our destination is Panjikent. We will make a detour en route to visit the tomb and Museum of Rudaki - as Panjikent is the birthplace of Abu Abdullah Rudaki, considered by many to be the father of Persian poetry.
      PM
      • This afternoon we have a historical tour of ancient Panjikent, viewing ruins of Sogdian town founded in the 5th century and abandoned in the 8th century by Arabs. Foundations of houses, a citadel city bazaar and Zoroastrian fire temples are all visible as we walk around this UNESCO listed site. Dinner tonight will be a tradition style in a beautiful local home. 

      **Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included**
    6. Tuesday April 24th

      AM
      • This morning we bid farewell to Panjikent but not before we visit its interesting local market, driving out back to the Fan mountains we will stop at an old Soviet Cognac factory we have the opportunity to sample its produce and photograph this large partially abandoned site.
      PM
      • We work along small mountain roads past small villages, abandoned factories eventually arriving at the remote and secluded Alexander Lake. We have the option of hiking or relaxing by its beautiful shores. 
       
      **Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included**
    7. Wednesday April 25th
      • After a relaxing morning for photos, further hiking or sleeping, we return over the mountain pass to Dushanbe. We should arrive into the capital mid afternoon. You can make the use of your free afternoon for some last minute sight seeing into one of the history museums, local shopping or browsing one of the unique Soviet era antique shops.

      **Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included**
    8. Thursday April 26th

      • Tour ends and all group members will be taken to the airport for their individual flights.

      Extensions are possible.
  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Airport pick up and drop off to and from Vatan, Dushanbe.
      Hotel accommodation
      A Koryo Tours leader, Tajiki tour guides and a driver per group
      Warm up in Dushanbe's no 1 Gym pre-marathon
      All transportation in the country
      All entry fees for attractions and sights
    • Not included
      Flights to Tajikistan
      Single room supplement (unless otherwise specified, US $45 per night)
      Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
      Tajikistan visa (visa fees vary at different embassies)
      Tip for the guides (approx. US $10 per day)
      Almost all but a few meals are covered
      We occasionally have the opportunity to visit a performance - this is to be paid on the spot

Please apply by 1st April, 2018.

August 2018

August 18 - August 27/28 2018

The Mountain Crossroads **New For 2018**

Travel across the
roof of the world

We follow the route of the ancient Silk Road and the adventures of Marco Polo. Cross the high Pamir Mountains
and visit remote towns and villages, infamous from the times of the Great Game. Many of the towns remain little
changed since the Soviet period.

From 2,300 USD per person

Please apply by 1st August, 2018.

The Mountain Crossroads **New For 2018**

Travel across the
roof of the world

We follow the route of the ancient Silk Road and the adventures of Marco
Polo. Cross the high Pamir Mountains and visit remote towns and villages,
infamous from the times of the Great Game. Many of the towns remain little
changed since the Soviet period.

From 2,300 USD per person

  • Overall

    This tour starts in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Following the route of the historical M41 Pamir Highway, we cross into Tajikistan over high passes and past beautiful lakes and snow capped mountains. Staying in small towns and villages along the way, this journey will take you to some of this region’s most remote but rewarding destinations, to ultimately arrive in Dushanbe — Tajikistan’s lovely, laid back capital.

  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 10
    1. Saturday August 18th

      After your arrival in Osh (Kyrgyzstan), all group members will be meet at the airport and taken to the tour hotel. Here, we will gather at 13:00 in the hotel reception for our tour briefing and orientation.

      In the afternoon, we will tour the city and visit the Sulaiman-Too sacred mountain and its included sites. This beautiful area has amazing views over Osh and was once a place of worship for Muslims and pre-Islamic people. It is also one of Kyrgyzstan's first UNESCO listed sites.

      At the top of the mountain we will view the Babur's house, which is now a mosque. The history of this small building is quite interesting, and we'll learn about the stories surrounding it. Other sites that we will visit on the mountain are the Tahti Suleiman mosque, a cave complex and the Museum of Sulaiman.

      Meals: Lunch and dinner.

      Accommodation: 3-4* hotel in Osh.


    2. Sunday August 19th

      This morning we visit the Jaima Bazaar, an amazing market that is one of the largest in Central Asia and sells everything you could possibly need. Locals say Jaima Bazaar has been in existence for over 2000 years. We will have some time to explore the stalls and see trade being conducted from the backs of old shipping containers and the remains of Soviet-era trucks. Practice your haggling skills before lunch.

      This afternoon we begin our adventure with a drive to the village of Sary-Tash through the high Taldyk pass. This road was constructed between 1930 and 1932, and offers some grand views as we snake up over 3615 meters.

      After our first day of driving we stay in this remote village with a population of only 1500. This small backwater is surrounded by high mountains, seemingly cut off from the world outside.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local homestay.




    3. Monday August 20th

      After an early start we leave heading out back onto the highway, driving up through the Kyzyl Art border point, to 4,280 m. We say goodbye to our Kyrgyz guides and drivers and greet our Tadjik hosts at the Kizil Art border point. The stark landscape on our route will make for some great photography as we make stops along the way.

      After lunch we continue on to Karakul lake. This high altitude lake was formed millions of years ago after a meteorite impact. We will stop here to enjoy the stunning views of the lake with the snow-capped Lenin peak (which reaches 7134m!) as its backdrop.

      We then continue to drive upwards over the 4650m Ak-Baital pass, the highest point on the M41 (Pamir) highway. In Tajikistan it is said that you are closest to the moon here, not only for the height of the place but also for the scenery looking like a lunar landscape. We eventually arrive in Murgab — formerly known as the Pamirsky Post, which was founded by the Russians in 1893 as their furthest military outpost. The town is now home to around 4000 inhabitants. In Murgab, we will pay an afternoon visit to the local bazar, the nearby Lenin statue, and some Soviet reliefs.

      Before dinner we will stop by a local yak herder's house to see what life is like in these remote regions of the country.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.







    4. Tuesday August 21st

      Today we drive to Langar village, continuing along the Pamir highway over the Khargush pass at 4344 meters, driving past mountain lakes and arid lunar landscapes. We will stop for photos as we go.

      The pass leads us out to the Wakhan Valley, which runs for about 350km sandwiched between the Pamir's and the Karakorum mountain range. The valley supports around 12,000 inhabitants in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Along the route we will drive following the Panj River as it flows along the border with Afghanistan. We will regularly stop to take photos of the beautiful landscapes; time permitting we will also view some ancient petroglyphs.

      We will stay the night in Langar village, which is not to be confused with the village of the same name just across the border.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local guesthouse.


    5. Wednesday August 22nd

      After breakfast and a short walk though the village, we continue along the Panj river and the border with Afghanistan following the Wakhan corridor.

      We will stop at Vrang village to see Osorkhonai Abdullo Ansori and its museum. This once important site is well worth the visit to view the ancient cave dwellings of the Buddhist monks as they lived on the fringes of the late Buddhist empire.

      As we continue onwards after lunch, we will also stop at the Kahkaha fortress — one of the oldest fortresses in central Asia. This once great, clay built fortification is said to be named after a legendary epic hero, a king of fire worshippers. Its ruins now offer views of the surrounding countryside.

      Our aim today is to make it to the town of Khorogh, the regional capital of the GBO area (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region) with a population of 28,000. If we make it there in time, we will be able to squeeze in a few more stops at Garm Chashma hot springs and the grave of Nosiri Khisrav Qabodieni.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.




    6. Thursday August 23rd

      We continue our journey along the Panj river bordering Afghanistan, following the route of the old Silk Road and tracing in the footsteps of Marco Polo.

      On our drive today we will visit the many small towns and villages that line this well trodden path. In Rushan, Dekh, Amun, and Kevran we will visit local family homes and catch a glimpse of life in this remote corner of the world.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Accommodation: Local hotel.  

    7. Friday August 24th

      As we trace the Panj river, we eventually bid farewell to the Pamir territory and enter Khatlon province.

      Khatlon province is located in the Southeast of the country and is one of the least visited parts of Tajikistan. During the country's Soviet period, it was also one of the country's poorest regions. Along the route, we'll stop to view towns and cities along the way where we can still find fantastic Soviet architecture. One of these towns is Shurobod, where very few changes have taken place since Soviet times. We will stop here to see impressive mosaics of Lenin that remain on the side of the buildings.

      We will also stop at Kulyab, the center of Khatlon province and fourth biggest town in Tajikistan. Kulyab has a history stretching back over 2500 years and borders Afghanistan. We will tour the city and view the local museum and market, again immersing ourselves in the local culture.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.




    8. Saturday August 25th

      Today is our last drive on the M41 highway as we drive to towards the capital, Dushanbe. On our way there, we will stop to see the amazing Khulbuk fortress, which was built in the 9th - 12th centuries AD and once a governor's palace. The fortress has been shortlisted at UNESCO as a place of "outstanding universal value to the world".

      Later, we will also stop to view Norak Basin, a large reservoir that was created in 1961 when the 300 meter Nurek Dam was constructed. The dam is currently the second highest in the world. Unfortunately, we cannot get close, but can view it from a distance.

      We make our final leg driving into the capital Dushanbe for a much earned rest! We'll have dinner, and afterwards will have the opportunity to have a much needed drink in one of Dushanbe's bars!

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.



    9. Sunday August 26th

      This morning we begin our day with a city tour of of Dushanbe. We will visit Victory Park on the hills above Dushanbe, where we'll have great views of the city. We will then stop on Rudaki Street to walk to Dushanbe's Central Park, stopping for photos at the the Monument of Ismaili Somoni that is situated on the site of the old Lenin statue. Passing Rudaki Park, we will then walk on to the entrance of the National Museum where we will learn a little more about the beautiful country we have been visiting.

      After lunch we will drive to the Victory tank monument (“Oslinie Ushi” — “The donkey ears", the local name for this monument), and visit the botanical gardens, before finishing our day with a visit to the world’s largest tea house with its amazingly decadent interior.

      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

      Accommodation: Local hotel.



    10. Monday August 27th

      Departure day! Airport transfers are provided for everyone regardless of the time of flight or where you are going.

      There is also the option of extending your room until a later date.
  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Airport pick up and drop at the start and end of tour.
      Hotel accommodation
      Tajiki tour guides
      A driver per group
      A member or Koryo Tours
      All transportation in the country
      All entry fees for attractions and sights
    • Not included
      Flights to Tajikistan
      Single room supplement unless otherwise specified (US $45 per night)
      Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
      Tajikistan visa fees this must include GBAO travel permit
      Tip for the guides (approx. US $10 per day)
      Not all meals are covered but we will make recommendations if needed
      We occasionally have the opportunity to visit a performance which is extra

Please apply by 1st August, 2018.

Next tour departure dates

Tajikistan - Persian New Year Tour

View tour

Run Dushanbe **New for 2018**

View tour

The Mountain Crossroads **New For 2018**

View tour

info@koryogroup.com | + 86 10 6416 7544
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Chaoyang District. Beijing 100027. P.R China

中国北京市朝阳区北三里屯南 27 号 (东侧院),
邮编:100027
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