Friday, September 10, 2021

How To Travel To Tajikistan

AsiaTajikistanHow To Travel To Tajikistan

By plane

The country’s two airlines are Tajik Air, a national carrier, and Somon Air, a new commercial airline. Flights from Dushanbe to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Sochi, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Perm, Krasnoyarsk, Orenburg, Irkutsk, Nizhnevartovsk, Surgut, Kazan, and Yekaterinburg are available. Central Asian destinations include Bishkek, Almaty, Ürümqi, and Kabul.

The Khujand airport serves approximately a dozen Russian cities through eight airlines, as well as a weekly China Southern Airlines route to Ürümqi.

By car

While Tajikistan’s ties with Uzbekistan are the finest among its neighbors, it is the most traveled through, and the roads leading to these crossings are in far better shape than those going to Kyrgyzstan or Afghanistan. The present status is unclear, although Tajik cars have not been permitted into Uzbekistan in previous years, while Uzbek vehicles have had to pay high taxes to enter Tajikistan. As a result, your journey may need driving one vehicle to the border and then getting a ride on another after crossing. The trip from Tashkent to Khujand takes approximately two and a half hours and is often taken by private vehicles and marshrutkas (minibuses) for a nominal fee (under USD10). Private vehicles and marshrutkas regularly make the short (60km) journey from Samarkand, Uzbekistan to Penjikent. Due to poor ties between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, a border crossing near Penjikent is now blocked (July 2012). If you wish to go to Samarkand from Khujand, you must pass the border at the Oybek checkpoint (250km from Samarkand). From Khujand to Oybek, marshrutkas and taxis are available. Taxis range in price from 50 to 100 somonis, depending on the time of day.

During the winter, snow closes the passes that link Dushanbe to Tajikistan’s north. During these months, you must go south and pass from Termez, which will take you around the west and south sides of the mountains and to Dushanbe.

There are a few choices from Kyrgyzstan, mainly from Osh, and none are very pleasant. The slowest, but most popular, route is the rough, isolated Pamir Highway (see next paragraph). A route runs west for 500 kilometers through the Karategin Valley from the junction at Sary-Tash to Dushanbe. It’s a bit rough towards the border, but nothing near as bad as the Pamir Highway. A alternative route is to go from Batken to Isfara through numerous Uzbek enclaves inside Kyrgyzstan, which needs a multiple-entry Uzbek visa and plenty of time for border crossings; avoiding these enclaves is difficult and involves navigating several poor, rural roads with little or no signs. Traveling via the Ferghana Valley also has the least interesting landscape, and recent ethnic clashes in the area make it an unappealing option for visitors.

The Pamir Highway, which stretches from Osh through Khorog and then to Dushanbe, is a beautiful, though difficult, route into Tajikistan. This route, which is almost the sole roadway in the GBAO area, varies from smooth asphalt full with buses and trucks to a single-lane road cut into a cliff. The border crossing is located at 4280m, while the Ak-Baital Pass is located at 4,655m. The trip from Osh to Khorog takes 2-3 days, and three days on the tougher section from Khorog to Dushanbe, with more time if you want to stop and enjoy the landscape. Every few days, minivans traverse the road from Osh to Murghab for USD15; hitchhiking aboard Kamaz trucks and ZIL fuel tankers is also available anywhere along the route for USD10. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required, as significant sections of the route are impassable in the winter and often blocked by mudslides in the spring.

The United States has financed two bridges linking Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The major crossing at Nizhnii Panj is reached by roads from Qurghonteppa, Kulob, and Dushanbe. From there, a road goes south to Kunduz, which, as of 2010, is a Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan. There is a bridge in Khorog leading to Feizabad, Afghanistan, as well as a few hilly routes leading to Afghanistan elsewhere in the GBAO.

In 2004, a border crossing with China was established. The crossing and associated roads connect the Pamir Highway to the Karakorum Highway, linking Kashgar (Kashi) to the north and Pakistan to the south. 

By boat

There is presently a ferry service running over the Pyanj River between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, which costs around USD10 one trip. The inauguration of the US-funded bridge across the Pyanj, however, would most certainly put a stop to this service, which crosses approximately three times each day and does not operate on Sundays.

By train

Migrant laborers like taking the train to Moscow. It takes around five days and passes through Uzbekistan twice, Turkmenistan once, and Kazakhstan; transit permits are needed in all of these countries.

Train 367 departs Dushanbe at 08:08. (Mondays & Wednesdays). The next day, at 14:04, he arrives at Khujand. Kanibadam is the last destination.

Train 335 runs three times a week from Khujand to Samarqand and Saratov. 18:44 departure from Khujand (Mon, Thurs, Sat) and 02:15 arrival in Samarqand.

Train 336 leaves Samarqand at 06:10 (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) and arrives in Khujand at 14:27.