A Bespoke Tajikistan Tour
Come hiking and biking with us on an adventurous Tajikistan tour that takes you through the heart of the stunning Fann Mountains.
Trek the Fann Mountains
This stunning range is folded into the north-western corner of wonderful Tajikistan. With us, you’ll walk and mountain bike across this wild, wild country. Turquoise mountain lakes and high mountain passes await.
The Yagnob Valley
This Tajikistan tour will take you to the remote Yagnob valley, where stone houses are clustered beneath sheer walls of rock.
The Yagnob valley is home to the last surviving remnants of the once powerful Sogdian civilization – merchants who controlled much of the Silk Road trade between the sixth and eleventh centuries. On this journey, you’ll stay with Yagnobi people and meet the last speakers of a language that was was spoken from Constantinople to X’ian.
Embrace a Silk Road Adventure
This adrenaline-fuelled adventure 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.
As this is a tailor-made tour, you can alter this itinerary in any way you wish.
|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
- 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.
- 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)
Flexible dates: May to September
Less known than the mighty Pamir range, the Fann Mountains really are fantastic. This two-week trip will leave you smitten by Tajikistan and its warm, welcoming people.
Mountain biking and hiking in the Fann Mountains and Yaghnob Valley, Tajikistan
Start Point: Home Destination: Dushanbe Travel: Plane Notes: Arrival in Tajikistan
After arriving in Dushanbe, it’s your choice whether you just relax and recover from the journey, or spend the day with our guide exploring some of the city’s main sights.
Start Point: Dushanbe Destination: Yaghnob Valley Travel: Jeep and Foot
It’s a 170 km jeep ride north into the Yaghnob Valley – squeezed between the Serafshan and Gissar Ranges – today. After lunch in the remote, mountain village of Margeb you’ll spend the afternoon hiking a gentle 3 km through the Yaghnob Gorge (we’ll transfer you most of the way up the valley by car before your hike starts) to the village of Pskan (2480 metres). You’ll spend tonight in a Yaghnobi homestay, where you’ll have your first chance to get to know the local Yaghnobi people – the last surviving remnants of the once powerful Sogdians.
Start Point: Pskan Destination: Marghreb Travel: Mountain Bike and Foot (+460/-700 metres, Trek 3 km, MTB 30 km)
After a hearty home-cooked breakfast it’s a short hike to the neighbouring village of Numetkan, where we’ll pick up our mountain bikes, saddle up and hit the dusty track. From here it’s a beautiful five-hour, 30 km ride through the Yagnob Valley, through the stunning scenery of these little-visited mountains. This evening we’ll be at another lovely family-run homestay in the Yaghnobi village of Margheb (2200 metres). Set amidst towering mountains, cascading terraces, orchards and rushing rivers, this is a truly lovely spot.
Start Point: Marghreb Destination: Marguzor Travel: Mountain Bike (+1070/-1400 metres, 45 km)
It’s a challenging, but very beautiful 45 km ride today, although you’ll be glad to hear much of it is downhill! We’ll spend tonight in a family-run guesthouse in the village of Marguzor (2140 metres).
Start Point: Marguzor Destination: Vertical Alp Camp Travel: Mountain Bike (+900/-180 metres, 20 km)
This morning will be spent riding 20 km through one of the most scenic gorges in the Fann Mountains. At lunch we’ll say goodbye to our bikes for a bit and meet the donkey handlers and cook who will travel with us for the next eight days. We’ll trek with them up to our base for the night – Vertical Alp (aka Russian) Camp (2500 metres), which has a shower and western-style loos.
Start Point: Vertical Alp Camp Destination: Alaudin Lake Travel: Foot (+950/-900 metres, Trek 14 km)
It’s a beautiful 14 km trek today via the turquoise Alaudin and Mutnoe Lakes. Tonight’s camping spot is on the shores of Alauddin Lake itself (2785 metres), where we’ll eat around a camp fire and enjoy star-spangled skies.
Start Point: Alaudin Lake Destination: Bibijanat Lake Travel: Foot (+960/-800 metres, Trek 8 km)
After yesterday’s relatively easy trek, today we ramp it up a bit – walking up and over the 3860 m Alauddin Pass. From here the views over the Fann Mountains are incredible – jagged peaks, green valleys and glittering, turquoise lakes. And don’t forget the hardy little donkeys will be carrying your gear! Tonight’s campsite is beside the picturesque Bibijanat Lake (2880 metres), where you can dive into the cool blue waters.
Start Point: Bibjinat Lake Destination: Artuch Alp Camp Travel: Foot (+300/-700 metres, Trek 7 km)
After a delicious camp breakfast, whipped up by our resident cook, we’ll explore three nearby lakes then trek for three hours downhill to the Artuch Alpine Camp (2200 metres), built in the Soviet era for climbers. A gentle day to rest weary muscles with (hopefuly!) a sauna at the end of it!
Start Point: Artuch Destination: Zimtud Travel: Mountain Bike (+500/-1000 metres, 26 km)
It’s back on the bikes today, starting with a nice warm-up ride downhill to a small museum dedicated to Rudaki, the famous 10th century Tajik poet and national hero. After lunch here, it’s a slow ascent to Zimtud (1600 metres), where we’ll spend the night in a family-run homestay.
Start Point: Zimtud Destination: Tovassang Pass Travel: Mountain Bike and Foot (0/-750 metres, Trek 4 km, MTB 16 km)
It’s a mixture of biking and trekking today, starting with a 20 km ride to the remote village of Humorigung. After lunch here, we’ll leave the bikes and continue on foot to our camping spot beneath the Tovassang Pass at 2950 metres.
Start Point: Tovassang Destination: Hazorchashma Lake Travel: Foot (+900/-1000 metres, Trek 11 km)
Fuelled up by a nourishing camp breakfast, you’ll trek to the top of the Tovassang Pass (3305 m), where you’ll be rewarded by superb views over rivers, lakes and peaks. It’s downhill from here, to our fantastic camp spot on the shores of Hazorchashma (2450 metres), one of the Seven Lakes.
Start Point: Hazorchashma Lake Destination: Shing Travel: Bike (+300/-1300 metres, 23 km)
After breakfast and a walk around this gorgeous alpine lake, we’ll get back on our bikes and continue on down to Shing. It’s a fantastic, exhilarating ride via all of the Seven Lakes (said to have been formed by the tears of seven daughters), to our lunch in a mountain village. We’ll spend tonight in a family-run homestay in Shing after a swooping downhill ride.
Start Point: Shing Destination: Panjakent Travel: Mountain Bike (+300/-1070 metres, 40 km)
It’s a 40 km ride to the ancient Silk Road city of Panjakent today, on a mix of tracks and proper roads. As we’re mainly going downhill, you can relax and enjoy the mountain views as your wheels do the work. After lunch in Panjakent, we’ll have the afternoon to explore the Panjakent Historical Museum and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sarazm, learning about the rich ancient history of this region. Tonight you will stay at a local hotel.
Start Point: Panjakent Destination: Dushanbe Travel: Jeep
Sadly, it’s time to leave the mountains today, and we drive 240 km back to Dushanbe, where we’ll have a celebratory dinner and a night in a comfortable hotel. There will be time for shopping, souvenirs and more exploration of this interesting capital city.
Start Point: Dushanbe Destination: Home Travel: Plane
We will get you to the airport in good time for your flight home today (probably around 5am…). You’ll fly away with wonderful memories of this country, majestic mountains and delightful people.
Where will we be staying?
On this trip, you’ll be in a comfortable hotel in Dushanbe, and then 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. If you’d prefer not to camp, then we can ensure you stay in homestays each night instead.
What will the weather be like?
It depends when you choose to go, but generally it will be warm – in the 20’s Centigrade during day times 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 (although 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 4WD vehicles 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 also book your flights as part of an ATOL-protected package.
What will the food be like?
Simple but good. The food in the mountains will be prepared by the local families you are staying with and will 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?
This depends on how many are in your group, and whether you’ve said you’d like your own room. But if you are in a group of more than four people then yes, in the mountain homestays you may have to share a room.
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. You will be spending quite a number of days between 2500 metres and 3500 metres altitude. If you feel that you might suffer from altitude sickness, or have a 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. The 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.