Nature has given Tajikistan a precious advantage over its neighbours, namely some of the most inspiring, high-altitude landscape in the world. Tajikistan landscape is dominated by the Pamir and Fann mountains. The largest body of water is Karakul lake, located in the Tajik National Park in the Pamir area.
Tajikistan is almost all mountains (93%), dominated by the Alay Range in the north and the Pamir Mountains to the southeast. In fact, more than half of the country is higher than 3,000 m, (9,842 ft.) in elevation.
In terms of water reserves Tajikistan takes the first place in the Central Asia.
The smallest of the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia, Tajikistan has an area of 143,100 square kilometers, of which 400 square kilometers is water.
The population of Tajikistan is the third largest within other Central Asian countries.
The largest ethnic group in Tajikistan are Tajiks with almost 80 %, Uzbeks with 15 % and smaller minorities are the Russians and Kyrgyz
Somoni is the national currency of Tajikistan. Value of somoni has been constantly dropping during the last 5 years.
Tajik, Russian, Pamiri
The official state language of Tajikistan is Tajik, which is closely related to Persian. Russian is still widely used by authorities and in business.
Variants of Tajik are spoken in the mountain regions and even the ancient Sogdian language can still be found in the Fann mountains. In the GBA region, people speak Pamiri.
Tajikistan Quick tips
It’s not safe to drink tap water in Tajikistan as there are mostly no working purifying systems even in big cities. Bottled water can be purchased across the country from every shop.
Tajikistan maintains a low rate of violent crime. Do double-check weather and road conditions before traveling in the mountains, particularly the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, which is prone to close or damaged roads, mudslides, and avalanches.
Best time to go
The best time to enjoy Tajikistan would be summer. The markets are full of cheap fruits and vegetables, which any tourist will enjoy and appreciate. If you are going to Pamir, the weather in summer there is pleasant above 3000 m and actually, some of the roads in Pamir like the Bartang valley and South-East of Murgab become only accessible during the summer period.
In the lower lands, spring and autumn are also pleasant as the summer usually brings +40 degree heatwaves.
US Dollars, Euros and Russian Rubles can be freely changed mainly in the banks. It’s rare to find exchange offices.
The cost of living in Tajikistan is very low. The cheapest accommodation could be about 10$- 17$ in hostels or homestays and fast food lunch can be bought with 3$.
However, traveling to Pamir Highway and beyond might be not cheap due to the road conditions and the requirements of transportation.
Tajikistan’s economy is based on cash and therefore international banking services are limited.
There are ATMs in Dushanbe and other larger cities that offer both US Dollars and Tajik Somoni, however, they are often out of order or out of cash so better resupply on cash when you have the chance. Restaurants or shops do not always accept cards, especially outside Dushanbe.
Local SIM card
Foreigners can buy local sim cards in the operator shops with a registration from the hotel or other accommodation.
The fares for the mobile data are considerably high (higher than Western prices) and the quality of service even in Dushanbe is far from adequate. A lot of Western digital services like Facebook or Youtube are only usable through VPN.
In Tajikistan, internet speed is slow compared to Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan. Watching online videos is only possible during the low traffic times meaning the middle of the day and late at night.
Most hotels and hostels in cities provide free Wi-Fi access. Rural areas commonly have no internet access at all.
The majority of the population in Tajikistan are Muslims, with 85 % Sunni and 5 % Shiah. The other 10% comprise orthodox Christians and the rest are Baptists and Roman Catholics.
Nevertheless, tourists can find light alcohol anytime in shops in Dushanbe and other bigger cities.