Walking Among Giants in Beautiful Tajikistan
Has it really been nearly two weeks that I’ve been in Tajiksitan? It sure has flown by.
Because it’s amazing here! Tajikistan has easily become one of my favorite countries I’ve ever visited. I’m still a little shocked that it’s not more visited. Geographically I know it makes sense that it doesn’t get many tourists: it’s between a rock and a hard place. That border with Afghanistan seems to stave off the vast majority and I wish that didn’t detour people, but it does.
So what have I been up to?
Well… It all started with a long trip over there. My alarm didn’t go off the morning I was flying out so I woke up literally as I needed to be running out there door. Needless to say, the last minute things didn’t get done and before I knew it I was on a 30 hour journey from Anchorage to Seattle to Dubai and finally to Dushanbe.
I finally stepped foot into Dushanbe at about 4 am on August 31st. I was a little worried about clearing immigration after reading some people’s bad experiences but it turns out I had nothing to worry about, it went pretty smoothly. I had applied for and was approved for an e-visa and GBAO permit back in June, so just a stamp plater and I was in.
Day one I spent wandering around lovely Dushanbe. Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. My first stop was to find an ATM to get some cash. Finally, on like ATM 17 I finally got money out. What a pain in the ass. Then I made my way toward Rudaki Park where I spent most the day wondering about Dushanbe’s unusual monuments.
Day two in Tajikistan started with my drive out to the Fann Mountains where I would spend the next 10 days. Prior to leaving home, I had arranged a car to come to pick me up and bring me to my homestay at Nofin Lake. I had arranged everything through Munira at ZTDA. If you are thinking about coming to the Fanns, Zerafshan Mountains or the Yagnob valley do get in contact with her, I cannot thank her enough for all her help! The drive out to the FannMountains is an absolutely stunning one, I’m glad I opted to spend the money on a private vehicle overtaking a shared taxi since it gave me the freedom to stop whenever and wherever I wanted.
And by the way the Anzob Tunnel, in my opinion, was nowhere near as scary as every other site I read led me to believe. Either that or no one has ever been to the Fanns had also been to the Rainbow Mountain in Peru- now THAT is the scariest road in the world!
My Fann Mountains hike would start with a night at Nofin Lake staying at Jumaboy’s Homestay (arranged by Munira), which has got to be the best place to start from your trip. (If you’re starting from the Haft-Kul (Seven Lakes).
Jumaboy is one of the kindest people I have ever met in my life. From Nofin I was brought to the stunningly beautiful Marguzor Lake and then up to. Kiogli Village to start the climb.
Over the next few days, I would climb up and over the Tovasang Pass to camp at the Sarymat River, then follow the Sarymat until it split into the Amshut River and then to where it forked again into the Zindon River. Eventually following the Zindon led to the impressive Bolshoi Allo Lake, of course before Bolshoi Allo there was a small lake with a perfect reflection of the sky in it (I don’t know the name).
Then for the hardest day of all days the trip up and over the 15,700 foot Chimtarga Pass sandwiched between two wicked mountains- Gora Chimtagra, and Gora Energia.
Following the Pass, I’d drop down to Mutnyi Lake that’s studded all around with impressive peaks. Finally down from Mutnyi I’d make way to Lake Alovaddin, which you would swear looks like it’s filled with the bright turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea- trust me, it’s not.
That shit is ice cold. From there I’d take Alauddin Pass up and over to Dushakha Lakes and then continue
onto Kul-i-Kalon Lakes before descending down into Artuch Village to be picked up and taken to Iskanderkul Lake and spend the next two nights in nearby Satytag. Yet again, all arranged by Munira.
Finally, I’d make my way back to Dushanbe to spend a couple more days in the capital. My last day was spent at a 5 hour long picnic with a giant (mostly female) family who proceeded to try to feed me to death.
One of these days I will write a more detailed post on the how-to’s, how-much, who to contact and what to pack but for right now I need to get to re-packing because I leave for Kala-i-Khum tomorrow morning to start my trip up the Pamir Highway and through the Eastern side of beautiful Tajikistan. I don’t know when or where I’ll have access to the internet again, at least until I reach Bishkek for sure.