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First steps into Central Asia
February 2010

tajikistan Flag Tajikistan: Mountains & Snow Flag tajikistan

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Ruslan and Farhod from Hamsafar Travel were waiting for me at the airport.
The travel Agency is very professional and has been around for a long long time, under the name of The Great Game Travel.

I really recommend it to anyone going to Tajikistan.
Their prices are competitive, but of course it’s more expensive than travel independently... so this trip cost me a bit more than usual, but it was absolutely worth.

Hey, you don’t get often the occasion to get to Tajikistan!

Ruslan and Farhod drove me to the Adventurer's Inn, The Hamsafar Travel Guesthouse where I could have some rest until 9AM.

I have planned to go to Iskander Kul, or Alexander Lake, which is a gorgeous lake in the Fan Mountains.
It’s named after Alexander The Great.

Unfortunately, the lake was inaccessible. To get there one has to drive through the Anzob Pass, or in winter through the Iran-financed Anzob Tunnel.

This road is part of the highway which is aimed to be “The New Silk Road”, linking China with Iran.

Due to hard weather conditions, the road was closed and apparently there has been some people blocked there for two days.

So, Iskander Kul was not an option anymore and Ruslan suggested heading to Southern Tajikistan.

Yes, that’s right, near the Afghan border...

I didn't really planned to get there... but that sounded OK to me!

We slept in the city of Kulyab, which lies a mere 30 kilometres from Afghanistan.

But Tajikistan is a safe place and Afghanistan problems have not spread over there.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case of another neighbour, Pakistan, where Taliban legions are on the rise.

In fact, Northern Afghanistan remains quite safe, and I even consider crossing that border and visit the city of Mazar-e Sharif if one day I have the chance to back to Tajikistan.

Before heading south we stopped by an ATM from the National Bank so I could get some local money.

Well, the first ATM didn’t work and the second had electricity when touching the pad!
I had to put on my gloves to use it but finally I could get some Somoni.
The local currency is named after Ismoili Somoni (Also known as Ismail Samani), which is considered as the father of the Tajik nation, back in the 9th Century.

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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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