There are large parts of Tajikistan you can reach only on foot, and trekking is unbeatably the best way to explore the national parks and see wildlife up close. You might even be lucky and see a snow leopard or Marco Polo sheep! The Hissar Valley is a great spot for a short trek, as it’s close to Dushanbe and not too demanding, but there are some amazing longer hikes through the villages, passes, and petrified forest of the Yagnob Valley, between the jewel-like lakes of the Fann Mountains, and along the dramatic Wakhan Corridor, the border with Afghanistan.
Tajikistan has a significant number of peaks over 6,000m, some of which have never been climbed. The mountaineering season in the Pamirs is relatively short (typically June to September), but that’s ample time to make an ascent of Mount Mayakovskiy (6,096m) in southwest Gorno-Badakhshan. Paramount Journey can also tailor a trip for you, helping with logistics and permits as well as providing reputable guides, which is ideal if you want to try to climb Ismoil Somoni (7,495m), Korzhenevskaya (7,105m), or Peak Lenin (7,134m).
Getting your own bike out to Tajikistan can be a challenge, so on our ]mountain biking adventures we provide all the gear you need. The two-week expedition combines trekking and biking in Fann Mountains and Yagnob Valley. You’ll bike a variety of terrains by day, steadily climbing passes and then sailing down dirt tracks, rugged peaks all around you. Nights are spent camping under the stars, or staying with local families in home stays.
Rafting and kayaking
Tourists tend to talk of Issyk Kul, the seventh deepest lake in the world, as being a gem of Kyrgyzstan. But those who have spent longer in Kyrgyzstan recognise that the real treasure is Song Kol, a second, much more remote lake with none of the over-development of its more famous sister.
The unmade roads to reach Song Kol are rough, but all along the way there are things to see. Kyrgyz nomads live off the land while tending to their grazing flocks amidst the lush summer pastures. Now and then you’ll pass a village or a Lada limping its way to or from Naryn, the nearest town.
The yurt camps are on Song Kol’s shore. Staying here with a family you can experience rural life authentically. The matriarch will prepare food in a traditional style, demonstrate her felt making skill, and perhaps teach you to milk a cow or horse. The children will want to show off their horsemanship; however competent a rider you are, there’s no doubt that even the pre-teens will put you to shame.
Paragliding is in its infancy in Tajikistan, but if you have your own equipment and are confident in how to use it, there are some stunning vistas to explore. The village of Alakjin, close to Dushanbe, is a recommended site: you can climb the track through the orchards above the village, which takes about 45 minutes, then land on the water basin at Chorbogh, or in the flat lands either side of the river.
Tajikistan is a land for horsemen. Every nomad requires horses to carry his yurt and to shepherd his flocks, and there are plenty of legends about horses, from the hoof print of Ali’s horse near Khorog. to the ghost horse Bucephalus at Iskanderkul. With Paramount Journey you can horse trek through the mountains, following in the hoof prints of Silk Road travellers, and also participate in a thrilling game of buzkashi, Tajikistan’s horseback rugby match, where the ball is replaced with the headless carcass of a goat!
If you are wondering where to travel for an action-packed trip, choose Tajikistan. The mountains are higher, the rivers wilder, and the opportunities more exciting than almost anywhere else on earth. And with Paramount Journey you can make the most of every day, whether you’re planning a week-long trek, a fortnight’s mountain biking, or as many sports as you can possibly fit in to your trip.