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First steps into Central Asia
February 2010

tajikistan Flag Tajikistan: Arrival to Dushanbe Flag tajikistan

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Boarding the Air Baltic plane from Riga to Dushanbe

Central Asia... For a long time I wanted to come here, but I have never had the chance before.
Thanks Air Baltic for opening the line and for these promotional fares!

After Helsinki I switched planes at Riga Airport and boarded a flight to Dushanbe.

It was a five hour night flight, but I couldn’t get much sleep on the plane.

Somon Air boeing 737 from Dushanbe to Teheran

The plane landed in Dushanbe at 5am. There were very few planes at the airport.

Tajik Air, Tajikistan’s national airline is rather small company and not many foreign carriers fly there.

In fact, when I visited only two airlines had direct routes between Dushanbe and the European Union: Somon Air to Frankfurt and Air Baltic to Riga.

Dushanbe Airport is quite small, not really modern, but functional and very close to the city centre.

Border guards spoke someEnglish and smiled while stamping passports.
There is a consular office at the airport, where I had to collect my visa presenting my letter of invitation from Hamsafar Travel.

Yes, I this time I made an exception to the rule: I booked and organized tour.

Normally I never do this, but I needed to do so in order to have a letter of invitation and to collect my visa at the airport.
Yes, like in the old Soviet days, most foreign visitors need a letter of invitation (LOI) in order to get a Tajik visa at the airport.

It is also possible to obtain a visa at a Tajik embassy, sometimes without the LOI, but the nearest Tajik Embassy from home was in Brussels! So the easiest way for me to get a visa was to contact a local travel agency.

At first I wanted to book only accommodation with Hamsafar Travel, but finally I booked a short tour because it’s quite hard to get around inTajikistan in winter.

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Central Asia Travel Guide

Central Asia Travel Guide

Borat may not have been the most savoury of ambassadors, but at least he shone a light on Central Asia. With a history starring Alexander the Great, a landscape featuring snowcapped mountains in Tajikistan, and semi-nomadic Kyrgyz herders to hang out with, why wouldn't you go?

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