Considering travel to Tajikistan or Central Asia? Yeah, you’re making the right decision—let these photos of Western Tajikistan inspire you to get that ticket! Includes a healthy smattering of tips on travel and trekking in Tajikistan.
For adventurous travelers, Tajikistan’s got it all.
Gigantic mountains covering more than 90% of the country. Busy bazaars, ancient mazars, and then some from the Silk Road era. Forward, friendly people always ready for a good chat. Hardly any tourists to speak of, let alone fight with for views.
What more could you ask for?
But don’t take my words at face value. Here are 70+ photos of my recent ventures through western Tajikistan to prove traveling to Tajikistan is definitely one of the best decisions you can make in the coming year.
70 photos of Western Tajikistan because it’s stunning AF
My favorite view from my blogger trip in Western Tajikistan: this pass overlooking Kulikalon Lake, which means “big lake” in the local language.
Why yes, it is, in fact, big.
Waking up for sunrise is usually difficult… but not when we were camping in the Fann Mountains.
How could you say no to sunrise views like this?
See, the Fann Mountains are the highlight of Western Tajikistan, and a paradise for trekkers. There are endless routes of varying difficulties…
… more lakes than you can shake a stick at…
… and hardly any people, even in summer.
Not bad, eh?
Though there aren’t many humans… there are sheep. And goats.
Lots of them.
Lots and LOTS of them.
The lake trek around Kulikalon and Alauddin Lakes is one of the more popular treks in the Fann Mountains…
(For obvious reasons.)
… but the trek/track along the Haft Kul is another popular tourist route.
The Haft Kul, which means “Seven Lakes” in Tajik, are only several hours’ drive from the western town of Panjakent.
The dirt road to the Haft Kul is rocky and winding…
… but the views are undoubtedly worth the bumpy ride.
An extra treat: the villages lining the road to and past the Haft Kul are almost as scenic as the lakes themselves.
Like most places in Tajikistan, the locals are also sweet.
(Until it comes time to herd their flocks, that is.)
Visitors can camp virtually anywhere around the Haft Kul, but many tourists choose to stay at the 3 Juniper Branches homestay near Nofin, the fourth of the seven lakes pictured here.
The homestay is like a slice of simple paradise: seating by a trickling brook, cozy beds, and fantastic spreads of fresh local fruit when in season.
(Did I mention the fruit scene in Western Tajikistan is fantastic? Because it is.)
Just look at the detail work on the tombs of the mausoleum’s carpenters.
Typical Tajikistan: not only did the caretaker show us around, he also treated us to tea and snacks afterwards!
There’s another beautiful—if less ancient—mausoleum a drive away from that of Bashoro: a recently renovated mausoleum for the poet Rudaki, considered one of the founding fathers of Persian poetry.
Some things in Tajikistan look ancient, but aren’t quite. An example: the 18th century Hissar Fort outside of Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital.
Though the fort’s foundations are old, most of it is new—it’s still in the process of being renovated.
Nevertheless, the fort and nearby 17th century madrassa make a good day trip from Dushanbe…
… and are perfect for people watching.
Another chill day trip from Dushanbe: Iskanderkul Lake. If you’re willing to make it an overnight trip, you might get to see the lake under the moonlight like this!
But even if you don’t stay overnight, it’s all good—the water is impossibly blue and beautiful during the day.
Of course, there’s plenty to do in Tajikistan’s pleasant capital if you don’t feel like venturing out of the city.
Both old and new.
One photogenic highlight is the Mehrgon Bazaar in northern Dushanbe.
A replacement for the capital’s Green Bazaar, you can buy everything from spices to vegetables to home products within its halls.
The Rohat Teahouse on Rudaki Avenue is another picturesque place to while away the hours over tea and traditional food in Tajikistan’s capital. You can either sit inside this hall or in a columned open air area.
If you’d prefer to dine on traditional food in a more low key setting, I recommend trying kurutob from Olim Restaurant in Dushanbe. Made from strips of bread, yogurt, herbs, and vegetables, kurutob is, hands down, Tajikistan’s best national food.
I’m not much of a museum person, but the top floor of the National Museum of Tajikistan contains a fantastic assortment of very quirky, colorful art from local artists.
But above all, my favorite pastime in Dushanbe was simply hanging out in its plethora of parks, like this square around Independence Monument.
Numerous, walkable, and flower-filled, they’re a peaceful way to pass the time.
Oh, and fountains. Fountains for days.
If you’re pressed for time, Rudaki park is the biggest and most impressive of all the parks.
… and offers good views of the Palace of Nations, where Tajikistan’s President works.
But, of course, everyone is different, and what catches my eye might bore yours! The best thing you can do is dive into Tajikistan and see for yourself. Don’t forget to report back and let me know which tickled your fancies the most!
Yay transparency! This publication/activity is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs Activity in Central Asia. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Lost With Purpose (that’s me!) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Don’t worry, all the photos and rambling and drooling over food is most definitely from me.
American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.
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