What better way to explore Tajikistan’s unbelievably scenic Fann Mountains than by mountain bike and foot?
This lung-busting, soul-reviving trip takes you through the heart of the little-visited Fann Mountains, a stunning, lake-strewn range folded into the north-western corner of wonderful Tajikistan. You’ll bike around 200 km and walk another 60 km, via turquoise mountain lakes such as Iskanderkul and Bibijinat, over high (3900 metre) passes and beneath towering 5,000 metre peaks. This is big, wild country, and we know you’re going to love it.
You’ll also be exploring the remote Yagnob region, an isolated valley where stone houses are clustered along the Yagnob River beneath sheer walls of rock. An anthropological microcosm, the valley is home to the last surviving remnants of the once powerful Sogdian civilisation – merchants who controlled much of the Silk Road trade between the sixth and eleventh centuries. Few places in this unspoiled country are as remote or fascinating.
This is an adrenaline-fuelled adventure which will, at times, be challenging – but your efforts will be more than rewarded by the extraordinary landscape and your interactions with the Tajik people, who – in our experience – are among the friendliest on earth.
Less known than the mighty Pamir range, the Fanns really are fantastic, and this two-week trip will leave you smitten by Tajikistan and its warm, welcoming people.
This brilliant trip will be led by our fantastic Tajik team
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Dushanbe International Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please ensure you arrive in good time for our scheduled departure from Dushanbe|
- All accommodation. These will range from simple family-run homestays or guesthouses, to a few nights in tented camps in the mountains, to 4* hotels in Dushanbe.
- All meals
- Local airport transfers
- A professional guiding team with a local guide who knows every inch of the trails you’ll be travelling
- Local transport and luggage transfers by car and donkey
- A Water 2 Go water filtration bottle, in order to reduce plastic waste
- International Flights to/from Dushanbe – we can organise these for you as part of the package – please advise us if you need this.
- Guide gratuities
- Your personal clothing and any mountain biking or hiking equipment you might need
- Mountain Bike hire – many people bring their own, but you can also hire a Specialized bike from us for £220
- Extra daily costs for snacks, alcohol or souvenirs
- Your personal travel insurance including medi-evac
- Visas and other permits as required (Tajik E-visa only)
If you’re looking for a short, sharp dose of adventure in a wonderfully scenic place, then this two-week itinerary in the Fann Mountains is just the ticket.
Where will we be staying?
On this expedition, you’ll be in a comfortable hotel in Dushanbe, and then we’ll be staying with local families or camping in the hills. We love this way of travel and you’ll come away with a real sense of the people and culture of Tajikistan.
What will the weather be like?
Warm – in the 20’s Centigrade during daytimes and cooler in the evenings. You’ll need a warm jacket and sleeping bag for camping at higher altitudes.
What kit do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful. For now though, here is an indication of some of the things you will need.
- Mountain bike and Helmet (these can be rented from us if needed)
- MTB backpack (+20 liter)
- Padded cycling shorts/trousers
- Biking specific shoes if you use them
- Short-sleeved and long-sleeved cycling or wicking tops
- Bike gloves
- Hydration system – we like bladder-based systems for easy hydration
- Backpack (+50 liter) for your main kit
- Daypack for essentials
- Sleeping bag
- Trekking poles – if you use them
- Trekking shoes
- Warm and windproof clothes
- Rain jacket and pants
Is there a back-up vehicle?
Yes. We will travel with cars that will transport your kit, camping gear and bikes when not needed. We will also be using donkeys with porters for carrying your luggage when in more remote areas that the cars cannot reach.
How much are flights?
This totally depends on factors outside our control, but from experience the best flights are with either Turkish Airlines via Istanbul or Fly Dubai via Dubai. Pricing from London to Dushanbe return is around the £600 mark.
We can book your flights for you on our ATOL license, so just let us know if you’d like us to take the booking hassles from you
What will the food be like?
Simple but good. The food in the mountains will be prepared by the local families we are staying with and will normally include plenty of bread, meat and dairy products. We will arrange for some extra food ‘treats’ to come with you, including energy bars for days out on the trails.
Will I have to share a room?
Yes, at times. There will be hotels where we will have separate rooms and wherever possible we will arrange this, but much of the time we are in family houses (or tents) where shared rooms are the norm. This is all part of the adventure, and a reason we love to travel here. It makes sense for light sleepers to bring good earplugs and eye-masks, in case of snorers or the host family waking early.
Will I be affected by altitude?
Altitude can affect different people in different ways. It can also affect the same person in different ways from trip to trip. We will be spending quite a number of days above 2500 metres, and up on to 3500 metres. If you feel that you might suffer from altitude sickness, or have history of it, you should consider discussing this with your doctor prior to booking and travel. Diamox and other similar prescription drugs are available to ease symptoms, but the key way to address any onset of altitude sickness is to descend. Luckily, from anywhere particularly high, descent is possible rapidly thanks to our vehicles. Our route is also planned to gain altitude in the smallest increments possible to aid acclimatization. Simple precautions and awareness go a long way.
Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?
Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. And we always carry a satellite phone if there is any danger of being out of signal in the places we travel through. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.
Is this really for me?
Although this is an extremely enlivening way to spend two weeks of your life, it’s also potentially dangerous.
Trekking and mountain biking are inherently risky activities and to compound this, you will be travelling in a developing part of the world.
Not only could you be hurt, maimed or even killed but in the event of an accident it could take hours for the emergency services to reach you.
It will also be physically tiring and you’ll be at altitude for some of the time.
Don’t even consider signing up for this adventure if you aren’t fully aware of the risks you are taking.
If you like your holidays to include foie gras, butlers and miles of quilted loo roll then please look elsewhere.
If however, you want a proper, unique and delightful experience that you’ll remember forever, then you are in luck!