40 photos that will inspire you to visit Tajikistan!

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TAJIKISTAN – “Never heard of it. No idea where it’s located. Isn’t that a dangerous country?…” Just a couple of responses I got from people when I told them I traveled through Tajikistan, a country you generally don’t hear a lot about. Undeservedly so. Tajikistan is absolutely stunning and the people are incredibly friendly and hospitable. Even though you will only meet a handful of other tourists, it’s quite easy and safe to get around. About 50% of the country lies above 3000 meters, so it’s a true trekkers paradise! I definitely want to return to Tajikistan one day, and I truly hope others will join me in visiting this beautiful, wild and unspoiled country! Are you in?

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Lake side camping at the Alaudin lake at 2780 meters. Alaudin lake marked the start of my trek through the Fann mountains! © Bunch of Backpackers
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When you arrive at a (tea)house in Tajikistan you are welcomed with candy, cookies, bread and a cup of hot tea! The white candies in the middle are supersweet, but delicious! © Bunch of Backpackers
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Conquered the Alaudin pass (about 3860 meters)! About 1060 ascent in 7 km! But what a view, hey? I did the trekking without a local guide, but I teamed up with two experienced trekkers who had all kind of equipment/navigation. The mountains (as in Lord of the Rings) can be treacherous, so do not underestimate the level of trekkings in this area. © Bunch of Backpackers
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Ready to go after another night of lake-side camping!  © Bunch of Backpackers
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The surreal beauty of the Kulikalon bowl at about 3000 meters. Absolute magic! © Bunch of Backpackers
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Crossing a small stream! Not as easy as it looks with a heavy backpack! © Bunch of Backpackers
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View from my tent in the Fann mountains! © Bunch of Backpackers
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Lada Niva’s 4×4 are old Russian cars you will see everywhere in Central Asia. They’re strong and will take you anywhere! In the background you see one of the homestays in the Seven Lakes area :) © Bunch of Backpackers
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One of the houses at the Seven Lakes. Unfortunately the Seven Lakes are terrorized by heavy landslides which destroy both roads and houses. © Bunch of Backpackers
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The market in Khorog! © Bunch of Backpackers
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We stayed in a busy old Sovjet bungalow park at Iskander lake, with loads of local tourists enjoying their weekend. These guys were friends from high school. I spent two evenings with them and had lots of fun! © Bunch of Backpackers
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Picknicking at Iskander-Kul at 2195 meter with beautiful mountain shapes in the background. © Bunch of Backpackers
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The magnificent Pamirs! While driving you casually pass by breathtaking sights like this! © Bunch of Backpackers
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In many places in Central Asia and along the Silk Road, bread is baked against the inside walls of ovens like this. It’s round and flat, and beautifully decorated. © Bunch of Backpackers
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The small town of Bulunkul, and reportedly the coldest place in Tajikstan. In winters it can get minus 40 degrees! © Bunch of Backpackers
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A local family providing us with an entrance ticket to the lake! © Bunch of Backpackers
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Enjoying the view of bulun-kul at 3737 meters! © Bunch of Backpackers
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Walking around in Bulunkul town! Most houses have been made of mud. © Bunch of Backpackers
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Collecting water! © Bunch of Backpackers
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A yak in front of the local mosque, with the mountains in the backdrop in the remote and sleepy town of Alichur at 3991 meters. During your time in the Pamir’s, many of the accommodations will be located above 3500 meters. © Bunch of Backpackers
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The Milky Way… As there is almost no night pollution in Central Asia you will see the most beautiful starry skies! © Bunch of Backpackers
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Grazing yaks! © Bunch of Backpackers
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One of the highest passes of the Pamir Highway! Respect to all the crazy cyclists who conquered this pass! © Bunch of Backpackers
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The cute Sabat homestay! Just as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan is building up a network of professional homestays. Most of them are well-organized. You pay a few dollars 10-20 USD for a bed, dinner and breakfast. Some of them have showers, but you will find most only have bucket showers. I really enjoyed staying in homestays and it truly adds to the Central Asia experience. It’s all there is available in Wakhan Valley and the Pamirs!  © Bunch of Backpackers
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Housing along the way in Central Asia, this was my bed in the homestay at the Seven Lakes. Most of the time you will sleep on comfortable thick sleeping mat with heavy blankets. © Bunch of Backpackers
The Afghan cross border market in Khorog. During this market Afghans are allowed to come over to Tajikistan for one day in a designated and closed area to sell their goods.
The Afghan cross border market in Khorog. During this market Afghans are allowed to come over to Tajikistan for one day in a designated and closed area to sell their goods. © Bunch of Backpackers
The weekly cross border in Khorog is a way to meet people from Afghanistan. The other cross border market in Ishkashim was unfortunately closed due to Taliban treats.
The weekly cross border in Khorog is a way to meet people from Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The other cross border market in Ishkashim was unfortunately closed due to Taliban treats. © Bunch of Backpackers
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My homestay with Gulsha in Jizeu in Bartang Valley. All food was cooked outside. The only way to get to this homestay in Bartang valley is via a 2,5-hour walk up a steep valley! There are no roads leading there, just a narrow walking path. This area is also terrorized by heavy landslides, so the walking path often changes. I’d say it absolutely worth visiting this place and stay overnight. © Bunch of Backpackers
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Jizeu. Beauty.  © Bunch of Backpackers
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The pretty, secluded and little visited Jizeu lake. © Bunch of Backpackers
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View from our car while driving through Wakhan Valley!  © Bunch of Backpackers
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The beautiful Wakhan valley with Afghanistan on the other side of the river.  © Bunch of Backpackers
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The only souvenir shop I came across in Tajikistan. This local family was selling beautiful local jewelry. Me and my friend Hanna bought matching bracelets! © Bunch of Backpackers
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A 3rd century fortress in Wakhan Valley (Yamchan). It’s currently still used as a military post, with Afghanistan right across the river. Not too far from the fort you will find the Bibi Fatimi hotsprings. © Bunch of Backpackers
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During this particular drive from Dushanbe to Khorog we had about 6 breakdowns. One at a military checkpoint. As the roads are rocky, breakdowns are common. Fortunately, drivers in Tajikstan not only know how to drive these difficult roads, but are also skilled mechanics.  © Bunch of Backpackers
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When we were visiting Wakhan, it was rumour that the Talib’s were hiding in the mountains across the river. © Bunch of Backpackers
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Music is an important part of the Wakhan Valley culture. Here we have a small party at a homestay. © Bunch of Backpackers
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Wakhan Valley afternoons! A beer and a book :) © Bunch of Backpackers
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Saying goodbye to the absolutely stunning and interesting Wakhan Valley! © Bunch of Backpackers
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If you’re lucky you may spot free roaming camels. This cheeky one crossed the river. © Bunch of Backpackers
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A happy Manouk in Tajikistan. © Bunch of Backpackers

General information about my Tajikistan trip

  • It was part of my Silk Road trip (read more about the route, costs and highlighs of my four month Silk Road adventure here)
  • I traveled solo and independently, without anything booked in advance. I entered from Uzbekistan and then traveled on to Kyrgyzstan.
  • Public transportation is extremely limited in Tajikistan. Hitchhiking is challenging as most cars are already full with (paying) passengers. I used buses in cities or I would rent a car solo or with other travelers. For the Wakhan/Pamir part, I rented a car with driver with four other girls in Khorog. This also easily arranged on the spot. Just go to the PECTA and check out the notice board. Also, quite a few travelers I met, simply hiked the Wakhan Valley! An even greater way to see Wakhan!
  • You will need a permit to travel the Pamirs! This permit can easily be obtained in Dushanbe.
  • In Dushanbe I’d highly recommend the Green House hostel and in Khorog I’d recommend the Pamir Lodge. Both great places to meet other travelers (mostly cyclists)! Another good place to meet other travelers is the Segafredo cafe.
  • During my Tajikistan trip I visited the Seven Lakes (haft-kul), Penjikent, Bartang Valley/Jizeu, Iskander Kul, Alaudin/Kulikalon lakes, Khorog, Wakhan Valley (with stops along the way) and the Pamir Highway (with stops along the way).
  • Remember there is only a short trekking season in Tajikistan: jun-sept. In winter many hostels and guesthouses are closed.
  • Tajikistan visas have become easy these days! You can get an e-visa!

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40 PHOTOS THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO VISITTAJIKISTAN

On a more personal note – Hi all, it’s a been a while! Lately, Bunch of Backpackers has been a bit quiet on social media and the blog. For a good reason though! After my RTW trip ‘BoB’s Epic Adventure’, I started to work as a medical doctor at the General Surgery department. As you can imagine, this job is fun and interesting, but also quite intense. Additionally, as you may remember, I’m still writing my Ph.D. thesis in evenings/weekends. However…I’m very happy to announce to announce that this is almost finished and the defense of my thesis will likely take place this September. Yay! Furthermore, From June 1st I will change job and city. I’m going to work in Amsterdam! Very exciting! The first few months I’ll be living together with my friend and successful travel vlogger Grietje from Travel Gretl!

Bunch of Backpackers is still going strong with about 18k unique visitors per month. Of course, I still aim to keep this number growing! Meanwhile, I try to combine career, sports and friends/family AND Bunch of Backpackers in a sort of healthy way ;) After all, it remains my hobby, a place to share tips and stories with like-minded travelers and I like it this way! I trust you guys understand and heaps thanks for following Bunch of Backpackers! I still have plenty of ideas for articles. So, stay with me!!

Would you travel to Tajikistan?

If you have questions about independent travel in Tajikistan (or Central Asia/Silk Road), don’t hesitate to drop me an email! 

Coming soon: Portrait photos of the Pamirs AND Female solo backpacking in Iran 

15 COMMENTS

  1. Brilliant post and beautiful pictures. I visited Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan last year and absolutely adored my time there, so I’m planning to go back and continue the trip in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan this summer. Camping by lakes and trekking through mountains has to be one of the best feelings in the world. I did a few treks in Kyrgyzstan, the mountains there are so stunning. I would love to read more about the treks you did in Tajikistan, and any recommendations you have as I’ll also be travelling solo and hoping to get a car with others for the highway trip.

    • More posts will be up soon :) But that’s awesome Anastasia! I did many day hikes and one multiple day trekking (the one at Allaudin Lake). If you’re into multiple trekking, I’d highly recommend to bring your own equipment (tent, stove, sleeping bag, matress). For my Pamir Highway trek, I actually found one girl through the LP thorntree forum, another girl I had previously met at the Seven Lakes and two other girls we met through PECTA. If you give yourself some time in Khorog, I’m sure you will people to share a car with! Let me know if you have more questions!!

  2. What a great set of photos! Tajikistan came on my radar this spring after a trip to the Caucasus region. They look similarly breathtaking! I’m also insanely jealous of your Silk Road trip… that must be an absolute adventure. Central Asia is a seriously underapprecaited part of the world. Thanks for sharing some more glimpses of the area, and keep it up!

    • He Tom! Thank you so much! If you ever make it to the Silk Road, let me know. Happy to give tips! I saw you went to the Caucasus? That’s high on my wishlist :)! Cheers, Manouk

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  4. Beautiful photos Manouk! Thanks again for the help last summer when I had questions about tajikistan! I loved it so so much that I’m going back again this year. Best of luck in work and on your phD!

  5. Such beautiful photos! I absolutely love Tajikistan! I went there solo last fall, and had an amazing time in the Fanns. Looks like we hiked a very similar route there. :) I can’t wait to return to the country to travel through the Pamirs. Perhaps next year?

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