Getting there and away, Getting around by Air, Train, Bus, Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Hitchhiking, BicycleInternational Travel:
Travelers are advised to avoid all but essential travel to districts adjoining the Afghan border due to the continuing threat from terrorism and unrest in Afghanistan and to the partly-mined areas bordering Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Particular care should be taken in the Gorm Valley. The overall security situation in Tajikistan has improved since the end of the civil war in 1997. Visitors should be aware of the continuing threat from terrorism which Tajikistan shares with other countries in Central Asia.
The national airline is Tajikistan Airlines (website: www.tajikistan-airlines.com). Other airlines serving Tajikistan include Air Kazakstan, Eurasia Airlines and Samara Airlines. The UN operates flights for staff and visitors of humanitarian organizations working in Tajikistan.
Approximate flight times
From Dushanbe to Moscow is four hours, to Karachi is two hours and to Delhi is one hour 30 minutes.
Dushanbe Airport (DYU) is 1 mile (2km) south of the city. Bus nos. 3 and 12, and trains 3 and 4, run to the city center 0600-1800 (travel time - 20 minutes). Taxis are also available 0800-2000 (travel time - five minutes). Airport facilities include first aid, left luggage, chemist, post office, restaurants, snack bars, tourist information and nursery.
Trains are the most reliable way of reaching Dushanbe for those not arriving by air. Passenger railways are, however, restricted at present. Dushanbe is connected to a spur of the Trans-Caspian Railway which winds down to the Afghan border in Uzbekistan before heading north towards Dushanbe. Travelers are advised to sit with their back to the engine, as throwing rocks at the windows of passing trains seems to be a popular pastime among local children. The journey from Tashkent to Dushanbe takes approximately 22 hours; from Moscow it takes approximately four days. Khojand in the north of the country can be reached directly from Samarkand in Uzbekistan. There is also a train service between Dushanbe and Volgograd in the Russian Federation.
Tajikistan can be approached by road from Uzbekistan, subject to occasional unannounced border closures and snow. Cars with a Tajik registration, however, are not allowed to enter Uzbekistan, unless the vehicle belongs to a government body. It is not advisable to attempt to cross the border from Kyrgyzstan at present. A new road has recently been built into China (PR). The border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan is officially closed. Bus: Services have been severely disrupted by border closures and should not be relied upon. A service normally operates connecting Dushanbe with Tashkent and Samarkand.
Reasonable quantities of goods for personal use may be imported into Tajikistan by persons of 18 years of age or older without incurring customs duty; however, certain items attract a 10 per cent import duty.
A detailed customs declaration form must be filled in and retained by all travelers.
The domestic airline is Tajik Air, offering internal flights to Khorog in Gorno-Badakhshan (one of the most technically demanding regularly scheduled flights in the world), Khojand and less frequently to Kulyab. All flights are subject to the weather and the endemic fuel shortages of the region. Flights from Dushanbe to Khorog take one hour, to Khojand one hour and to Kulyab 30 minutes. Internal services are subject to cancellations, long delays and overloading of passengers.
Passenger railways are restricted at present. There are only three railway lines in Tajikistan: one leading south from Dushanbe through Kurgan-Tyube and Shaartuz to the Uzbek/Afghan border at Termez; one that leads due south from Dushanbe, through Kurgan-Tyube to Tugul on the Afghan border; and one in the northern region which runs from Samarkand, through Khojand to the Fergana Valley. A branch from Kulyab to Kurgan-Tyube is currently under construction.
Travelers are advised to store their valuables in the compartment under the bed/seats, to ensure the door is securely shut from the inside by tying it closed with wire or strong cord, and not to leave the compartment unattended.
There is a reasonable road network in Tajikistan, though some parts may be seasonally impassable. During the winter (October to March), three of the four main roads from the capital and the southwest of the country (east to Khorog via Khalaikum, northeast to Osh via the Garm valley, and north to Khojand via the Anzob Pass and Ayni) are all closed by snow. The only way of reaching these areas is through Uzbekistan. The road between Osh (in Kyrgyzstan) and Khorog is kept open all year round and traverses one of the most beautiful and unspoilt regions in the world, the Pamir Mountains. Recent political and economic troubles have meant that road maintenance has been widely neglected. Foreigners are, in theory, allowed to go anywhere except border zones - it is worth noting that the road from Dushanbe to Khorog is in a border zone for much of its length - without having to get special permission (other than an endorsement on their visas). Tourists should inform their tour operator of their plans. If traveling independently, it is worth getting as many official-looking documents as possible in order to negotiate the many checkpoints. Traffic drives on the right. Bus: There are services between the major towns when the roads are open. In the south, buses go to Kurgan-Tyrube and Kulyab and as far down as Pyanj and Ayvadaz. Buses to the east reach only around 100km (60 miles), as far as Komsomolabad. Information on timetables and fares can be found at the bus station, or autovokzal. Taxi: These and chauffeur-driven cars for hire can be found in all major towns. Many are unlicensed and travelers are advised to agree a fare in advance. Officially marked taxis are safe, but sharing with strangers should be avoided. As many of the street names have changed since independence, it is also advisable to ascertain both the old and the new street names when asking directions. Car hire: Self-drive car hire is not currently available. Documentation: It is in theory possible to bring, or buy, one's own transport: drivers should have an International Driving Permit and have arranged insurance before departure ...