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A Two Week Tajikistan & Uzbekistan Itinerary 

Updated April 2024, A Two Week Tajikistan & Uzbekistan Itinerary was originally published in November 2020. 

With only a couple of weeks to spare, it’s entirely possible to visit Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in two weeks, taking in some of the highlights each country has to offer. 

This is a fairly fast-paced itinerary, including a very active agenda on the Tajikistan side. Not to worry if you’re not up for the hike that I’ve included in Tajikistan, I’ve also included an alternative that is a bit more slow-going.

Start your Uzbekistan planning here: The Uzbekistan Travel Guide
I also recommend grabbing copies of Bradt Uzbekistan & Bradt Tajikistan to kickstart your planning

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A Two Week Uzbekistan & Tajikistan Itinerary

State Museum of the History of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Tashkent museum
State History Museum, Tashkent

Tashkent – 2 Days

Begin your 2 week Tajikistan and Uzbekistan journey from none other than the fabulous Uzbek capital city of Tashkent. Tashkent doesn’t get a lot of love from many travelers that visit the city as part of their larger Central Asia itinerary, but truth be told, I’ve been back to Tashkent a few times and I really love the city (and I’m not even a city person, per se). 

A few things not to miss in Tashkent include the ornate and beautiful Tashkent Metro stations, shopping at the Chorsu Bazaar, paying a visit to the Khast Imam Complex and the nearby stunning white marble Minor Mosque, grabbing a bowl of plov at the Central Asia Plov Center, and visiting Tashkent’s impressive array of museums.

For more information on Tashkent to help you plan an amazing visit, check out my Tashkent Travel Guide, including 15 things to do in Tashkent. Tashkent also has an array of great restaurants, so be sure to read me Best Restaurants in Tashkent Guide

Looking for a cool day trip from Tashkent? Check out the Solar Furnace in Parkent and tour the facility

Where To Stay In Tashkent

  • Topchan HostelTop Hostel comes highly rated among the backpacker crowd. Located a short walk from the Tashkent Metro, so getting around the city is relatively easy. Check availability on
  • Eco Art Hotel: a My go-to choice when in Tashkent. The Eco Art is tucked into a neighborhood and located a short jaunt from Novza metro station. Shop for rooms on and
  • Ichan Qala HotelIchan Qala Hotel is a good higher-end choice. Shop rates on and

Getting From Tashkent to Khiva

Getting from Tashkent to Khiva you have two options. The quickest would be by flight. There are several flights per day between Tashkent and nearby Urgench. 

The Tashkent-Urgench flights are roughly 1 hour 30 minutes in duration. Once to Urgench, you can grab a shared taxi from Urgench to Khiva, about 35 minutes’ drive time. 

Your other option is to go by train as there is a newly (as of 2018) built station in Khiva. The Tashkent to Khiva train will take roughly 14 hours and leaves every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday evening. The train departs at 9 pm and arrives at 10:55 am the following day, though 1-2 hour delays are not uncommon. 

There is also a daily direct service from Tashkent to Urgench that departs at 9 pm and arrives in Urgench at 10:10 am the following day.

Kalta Minor Minaret, Kalta Minaret, Khiva, Itchan Qala, Uzbekistan
Kalta Minor Minaret, Khiva

Khiva – 2 Days

Khiva is actually my favorite city in all of Uzbekistan with its blue tile dazzled attractions and labyrinth-like Ichan Qala. The ancient capital of Khorezm is steeped in history, and despite its small size has plenty to offer visitors.

Some of my favorite things to do in Khiva include climbing the Islam Khoja Minaret to catch the sunset from the top over the city, photographing the beautiful blue Kalta Minor Minaret, and exploring the countless madrasas and mosques inside the ancient walled city. For more on the sites Khiva has to offer to help you plan a perfect Khiva trip, check out my Khiva Travel Guide.

Where To Stay In Khiva

Have a month to travel Central Asia? Why not visit Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan too! Start planning with my two week Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan itinerary

Getting From Khiva To Bukhara

Getting from Khiva to Bukhara is simple, with the option of a train or shared taxi.

If wanting to go by train there are fast (afrosiyob) and slow (sharq) trains. The fast train departs Khiva Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings at 8:23 am, arriving in Bukhara at 1:35 pm. The slow train departs Khiva every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoon at 4 pm, arriving at Bukhara at 12:15 am. 

A taxi between Khiva and Bukhara will take about 6-8 hours, and give you a bit more flexibility on departure timing. From Khiva, you’ll want to grab a shared taxi to Urgench, which takes about 35 minutes. Once to Urgench, you can easily get in a shared taxi (or pay for the remaining seats in the car for a private trip) to Bukhara, shared taxis will depart when full.

For a thorough rundown of the journey between Khiva and Bukhara, check out Ellis from Backpack Adventure’s ‘how to get from Khiva to Bukhara guide‘.

Magoki Attori Mosque, Carpet Museum, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Bukhara carpet museum
Magoki Attori Mosque that now houses the carpet museum, Bukhara

Bukhara – 2 Days

With over 140 historic buildings, Bukhara packs in over 2,000 years of history. A few not-to-miss sites include the Po i Kalon Complex & Minaret (nicknamed the ‘death tower’), Labi Hauz, Chor Minor, the covered bazaars, the Ark, and countless mosques, madrasas, and mausoleums. If you’re feeling a bit tense, make sure and visit one of the cities hammams.

Plan your perfect stay in Bukhara with my Bukhara Travel Guide, including 19 things to do there

Where To Stay In Bukhara

Getting From Bukhara To Samarkand

A fast train connects Bukhara to Samarkand daily in 1 hour 30 minutes, departing Bukhara at 3:50 pm, arriving in Samarkand at 5:20 pm. 

To grab a shared taxi to Samarkand from Bukhara, head to the northern, central bus station. A shared taxi ride should take about 4 hours, 30 minutes to Samarkand. 

Ulugbek Observatory, Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Ulugbek Observatory, Samarkand

Samarkand – 2 Days

The most well-known of Uzbekistan’s Silk Road cities, Samarkand boasts countless historical sites and stunning Timirid-era architecture. Centered around the gorgeous buildings that comprise the famous Registan, just a few Samarkand highlights include the Gur e Amir Complex, Shah i Zinda Ensemble, Ulugbek Observatory, the Siob, Bazaar, and the Hujum Carpet Factory.

To get the most out of your visit to Samarkand, check out my Samarkand Travel Guide for a full list of everything to do and see in the city. I’d recommend either crossing the border in the late afternoon on your second day in Samarkand or the following morning. 

Where To Stay In Samarkand

  • Amir HostelAmir Hostel comes highly rated, with great room rates and helpful staff. Check for availability on and
  • Hotel Caravan SerailConveniently located s short walk from the Registan, Samarkand Center Hotel is my top choice. The family who runs the small hotel is incredibly welcoming and can help you plan your time in Samarkand and arrange onwards transit. Check what rooms are available on
  • Konstantin HotelKonstantin Hotel is an upper-scale option in Samarkand with spacious rooms, a great breakfast spread, and a pool. Check rates on and
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Ancient Panjakent

Getting From Samarkand Across The Border To Panjakent, Tajikistan

Getting from Samarkand to Panjakent, your jumping-off point to Tajikistan’s Haft Kul is a simple and easy process thanks to the re-opening of the Panjakent-Samarkand Border in 2018. 

From Samarkand, go to the Kaftarkhona Bus Station on the eastern outskirts of the city, you can take marshrutka #41 for 1,300 UZS from the Registan, or call a taxi. From Kaftarkhona Bus Station you’ll grab a shared taxi to the Tajik border for 7,000 UZS per seat. 

After you exit Uzbekistan and enter Tajikistan there will be cars waiting on the Tajik side to take you to Panjakent Bazaar for 10 TJS per seat. Panjakent is pretty small, so your accommodation will likely not be too far away. For ideas on what to do in Panjakent, read my quick Panjakent Travel Guide, and for more info on the border crossing itself, check out my Panjakent-Samarkand Border Crossing Report.

Looking to connect Tajikistan with other destinations in Central Asia? Check out my guide to all of Tajikistan’s border crossings.

Start planning out your time in Tajikistan: The Tajikistan Travel Guide

Where To Stay In Panjakent

  • Salom HostelWith a leafy and shaded courtyard and two dorms, Salom Hostel is a perfect budget option in Panjakent. Owner Safar and his wife are extremely welcoming and helpful. Check availability on and
  • Gostinitsa UmariyonLocated smack in the middle of Panjakent along Rudaki Avenue, upstairs from a western-style supermarket. The staff is inviting and helpful but only speak Tajik and Russian. Book a room on
Haft Kul, Tajikistan, Seven Lakes, 7 lakes, 7 lakes of Marguzor, Fann Mountains, Marguzor Lakes
Marguzor Lake, Haft Kul

Haft Kul – 1 Day

Welcome to Tajikistan! This is where your 2 week Tajikistan and Uzbekistan itinerary gets a bit more adventurous. 

From Panjakent reaching the Haft Kul is a breeze. I recommend you arrange a 4×4 to take you to visit the Haft Kul as a day trip, though if you have some spare days, you can spend the night in the Haft Kul, getting from and back to Panjakent using public transport.

The Haft Kul, which translates out to Seven Lakes, is a string of seven lakes, each a different hue of blue set in a narrow and craggy valley located about 90 minutes’ drive time from Panjakent. Six of the lakes are reachable by a dirt road, the seventh you’ll have to continue about 30 minutes on foot to reach.

In the late afternoon, make your way back to Panjakent for the evening. For those with a bit of extra time, I recommend spending a night in the Haft Kul. A lovely man by the name of Jumaboy runs a homestay near Nofin Lake. 

Getting To & From The Haft Kul

A 4×4 and driver for the day will cost $80 for the return trip. Enquire with your accommodation in Panjakent, as they typically can help you arrange a driver.

Shared taxis depart in the morning near the Panjakent Bazaar to the Haft Kul area. Plan to pay about 50 TJS for a seat. Shared taxis will depart when full. 

Getting To Artuch (Lakes Loop Hike)

To get to Artuch, where you’ll begin your next venture, to the Fann Mountains Lakes Loop, you can grab a shared taxi in the morning near the Panjakent Bazaar. A seat in the shared taxi will cost about 70 TJS, and it will depart when full. 

Alternatively, you can pay for the remaining seats in the shared taxi or ask your homestay/guesthouse in Panjakent to arrange a driver to drop you off.

Lakes Loop – 3 Days

Bibijonat, Kulikalon, Fann Mountains, Tajikistan, Sughd, Central Asia
Sunrise from Bibijonat Lake in the Kulikalon Bowl

Day 1: Artuch To Kulikalon

After you arrive in Artuch in the morning from Panjakent it’s time to start the prepossessing Lakes Loop, a popular route in the Fann Mountains. From the Artuch Alplager, you’ll continue along the dirt track in which you arrived on. About 2 km beyond the Alplager, the road ends.

You’ll continue following fairly clear-cut shepherd trails up in the Kulikalon Bowl where you can take your pick at which lake to sleep by. The distance you’ll cover today is about 11 kilometers in length with an elevation gain of just over 1,000 meters. 

In the summers (since 2019), a friendly family runs a small chaikhana (teahouse) between Kuliseyakh and Bibijonat Lakes. They also rent out tents that they’ve already set up near the chaikhana. 

Plan to spend the remainder of today exploring around the Kulikalon Bowl area- it’s absolutely stunning. Stargazing in the Kulikalon Bowl is usually always epic, so make sure to look up tonight. 

On a side note, I recommend you pick up a copy of Trekking in Tajikistan to help you plan your trek in the Lakes Loop (and beyond if you have more time). Get a full packing list for the Fann Mountains here.

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Looking over Kulikalon from Alovaddin Pass
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Views of Lake Alovaddin from Alovaddin Pass

Day 2: Kulikalon To Alovaddin

Get an early rise on day 2. Shoot for just before sunrise, trust me you won’t be disappointed. Sunrise, especially around Kuliseyakh and Bibijonat is something that you have to witness while camping in the Kulikalon Bowl. 

After you’ve watched the sunrise, head back to camp, and have a big breakfast before you pack up and set out for the day. The trek to Alovaddin Lake today will take all day. There are two routes to choose from to reach Alovaddin, a shorter but stepper jaunt over Alovaddin Pass and a longer and lower elevation gain over Lauden Pass. The Alovaddin Pass route is roughly 14 km in distance with 1,310 meters of elevation gain, and the Lauden Pass route is 18 km in distance with 1,060 meters of elevation gain. 

While Lauden Pass is beautiful, Alovaddin Pass offers lovely views of both the Kulikalon Bowl and of Alovaddin Lakes from the top of the pass. Route finding over both passes is a cinch as shepherds use these trails daily, spring through fall. 

Once to Alovaddin, you can either rent an already set up tent from the family that runs the chaikhana on the north shore of Lake Alovaddin, or set up your tent on one of the sites they have provided there, or you can head for the south shore of Lake Alovaddin to set up camp. Personally, I usually opt for the south side as the sunrise views from that side are a sight to behold. About 1.5 kilometers downhill and north of Lake Alovaddin you can rent a room at Vertical Alovaddin, an old Russian mountaineering base camp. 

Lake Alovaddin, Lake Alauddin, Fann Mountains, Tajikistan, Central Asia, Sughd, Pamir Altai,
Sunrise at Lake Alovaddin

Day 3: Alovaddin To Vertical Alovaddin

Just like day two on your Lakes Loop itinerary, I recommend rising just before the sun to watch sunrise unfold here at Alovaddin. Take a walk around the lake to view the color changes from every angle. 

After the sunrise show, grab breakfast and spend the day exploring around Lake Alovaddin. If you’re up for another day of trekking, make the journey up to Mutnyi Lake and back, just below Chimtarga Pass

In the afternoon, plan to get picked up at Vertical Alovaddin Base camp to start your trip down to Dushanbe. Alternatively, you can spend a second night here at Alovaddin and make the journey to the capital in the morning. 

For those of you that have more time to add to your Tajikistan and Uzbekistan itinerary, you can easily spend this exploring the Fanns, as there are countless more routes in the range. Check out my Fann Mountains Trekking Guide for more info on various hikes in the area.

Getting From Lake Alovaddin To Dushanbe

In order to do this, you’ll want to arrange a pick up ahead of time to take you from Vertical Alovaddin Base Camp to Sarvoda or Dushanbe. 

If you’re trying to cut costs, you can arrange a 4×4 in advance of your Lakes Loop hike to take you from Vertical Alovaddin to Sarvoda. If you have sharp bargaining skills, you can get this cost down to about 200 TJS. From Sarvoda, shared taxis depart the bazaar along the main M34 Highway when full for about 70 TJS.

Hiring a 4×4 driver for the entire drive from Vertical Alovaddin to Dushanbe will likely cost you about 1,700 TJS. 

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Views of the Barak form inside the Parchan, Dushanbe

Dushanbe – 2 Days

You’ve reached the end of your 2 weeks in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Welcome to Dushanbe, the eccentric Tajik capital. Dushanbe doesn’t boast very many things to do, but surely you’ll want a slow-paced first day after your adventuring in the Fann Mountains

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Dushanbe over the years and am quite fond of the city. Some of my favorite things to do include hanging out in Rudaki Park, visiting Mevlana Yakub Charki Mosque, lazing at the beach at the artificial Komsomol Lake right in front of the Kokhi Navruz that boasts gorgeous ceilings, doing some shopping at the new Mehrong Bazaar, and catching the sunset from Victory Park. 

If you’re looking to try a quintessentially Tajik lunch, head to Kurutob Olim (you can hop in any taxi and they’ll know where to go) to try a bowl of delicious Kurutob, Tajikistan’s national dish. If you’re looking for other restaurants to try, foreign and Tajik, check out my Dushanbe Restaurants post. 

Enjoy visiting fortresses? Don’t miss nearby Hisor Fort, which makes a nice little half-day trip from Dushanbe. Read more about it in my post How to get to Hisor Fort. 

Where To Stay In Dushanbe

Leaving Dushanbe

Now that your trip has come to a close you have a couple of options for departing. Dushanbe’s small international airport has flights that connect to Moscow and Dubai, as well as other cities in the region such as Tashkent, Bishkek, and Almaty. Alternatively, if you plan to book a roundtrip ticket to Tashkent, you can grab a shared taxi from Dushanbe to Tashkent (you’ll change cars at the border). The journey is long and I would recommend spending the night in Khujand to break it up. 

The Not So Intense Tajikistan Itinerary

I know that the Tajikistan side of the itinerary I created above may be a little bit too intense for some of you, and that’s okay. If you’re looking for a less intense, easy-going version I recommend taking the time to explore the Tajik and Uzbek Fergana Valley before returning to Tashkent to depart back home. Note that on this itinerary, I still recommend you visit the Haft Kul so that you can get a taste of the beautiful mountain nature since you can drive to 6 of the 7 lakes. 

Istaravshan, Tajikistan, Mug Teppe
Mug Teppe, Istaravshan

Istaravshan – 1 Day

The day after you visit the Haft Kul, I recommend getting up early and making the jaunt to Istaravshan. A day will give you plenty of time to check out everything there is to see in Istaravshan. While not as impressive as other Silk Road cities you have visited already in Uzbekistan, there’s still something special about little Istaravshan.

Before you leave make sure to visit the blue-domed Kok Gumbez, the rebuilt Mug Teppe, Hauz i Shangin, and Hazrat i Shoh Mosque. Don’t forget to visit the bazaar and wader around the Shahr e Kuhna too (the old city). For more information to help you plan your stay in Istaravshan, check out my Istaravshan Travel Guide.

Where To Stay In Istaravshan

  • Gostinitsa Sadbarg: Gostinitsa is the best option in town. Typically you can just stop by and get a room without a problem. 

Getting To Istaravshan From Panjakent

You can find shared taxis leaving fairly frequently in the earlier part of the day from a lot opposite Rudaki Avenue from the clothing bazaar. A seat will set you back about 100 TJS to Istaravshan.

Getting To Khujand From Istaravshan

Head to the north side of the bazaar for Khujand bound shared taxis. It’s a quick journey between the two cities and a set will cost you about 20 TJS. 

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Kamoli Khujandi Mausoleum, Khujand

Khujand – 1 Day

Sat on the banks of the Syr Darya River, Khujand is Tajikistan’s second-largest city. With a long history along the Silk Road, Khujand boasts a number of historic sites. Don’t miss the Panjshanbe (Thursday) Bazaar, the Sheikh Musil ad Din Complex, the Lenin statue, the Citadel, and Kamoli Khujandi Park. Plan your perfect itinerary with my Khujand travel guide.

Where To Stay In Khujand

How To Get To Kokand From Khujand

To get to Kokand, you’ll first need to grab a marshrutka (minibus) from Khujand to Konibodom, a town on the Tajik side of the border. Once in Konibodom, you’ll need to take another marshrutka to the border from the same bus station that you have just arrived at. The marshrutka will drop you about 100 meters from the border. 

After crossing the border you’ll get another marshrutka, this one to the town of Besharyk that is very close to the border on the Uzbek side. Once to Besharyk, you can either get on a fourth marshrutka that goes to Kokand, or you can hire a taxi to take you the remainder of the way. If you want to read more details check out Joan Torres’ post about the Konibodom-Besharyk Border Crossing.

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In the courtyard of Khudayar Khan Palace in Kokand

Kokand – 1 Day 

Take the remainder of today to explore Kokand’s sites now that you’re back in Uzbekistan. Don’t miss Khudayar Khan’s Palace and Juma Mosque.

Use my Uzbek Fergana Valley Travel Guide for more in-depth information to plan your time in Kokand, Margilan, Fergana City and beyond.

Where To Stay In Kokand

Getting From Kokand To Margilan

Shared taxis to Margilan and other destinations in the Uzbek Fergana Valley depart at a taxi stand near the Dekon Bazaar. 

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Woman making silk at Yodgorlik, Margilan

Margilan – 1 Day

Margilan is the Silk capital of Uzbekistan and no visit would be complete without a stop into the Yodgorlik Silk Factory, where you can watch women make silk right before your eyes. Yodgorlik also has a large showroom where you can purchase all sorts of silk pieces.

Other spots in Margilan not to miss include Chakar & Toron Bazar Mosques, Khodja Maggiz Mausoleum, Said Ahmed Khodja Madrasa, and Pir Siddiq Complex.

Where To Stay In Margilan

Getting Back To Tashkent From Margilan

You can either take a shared taxi or a train to reach Tashkent, they both take roughly 5 hours. It may be easier to hop over to nearby Fergana City to grab a shared taxi to Tashkent.

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Chilonzor Metro Station, Tashkent

Tashkent – 1 Day

Use this final day of your 2 week Tajikistan and Uzbekistan itinerary in Tashkent to do any final souvenir shopping or visiting any sites you missed when you arrived. 

Have Any Questions About This Two Week Tajikistan & Uzbekistan Itinerary?

Ask in the comments section below.

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8 thoughts on “Two Week Tajikistan & Uzbekistan Itinerary”

  1. Hi, is it possible to do the lakes loop without bringing camping equipment and rent tents along the way?

    1. Usually there are tents already pitched to rent at Alovaddin Lake and on the shore of Bibijonat Lake in the Kulikalon Bowl between July and early September but it’s not a guarentee. You can also get in contact with ZTDA (Zeravshan Tourism Development Association) who can rent tents out.

  2. Hello Nicole, its me again. Your blog is really useful and fun to read. It has been my main source for our trip later this year. At the end, only my wife and I will be travelling. So far, our plan is something like this (need your advise between day 10 and 12):
    – Arrive directly to Urgench from Istanbul
    Day 1: Khiva (includes ~0.5 days to recover from long trip)
    Day 2: Khiva
    Day 3: Early taxi to Bukhara + Bukhara
    Day 4: Bukhara
    Day 5: Bukhara + midday train to Samarkand + Samarkand
    Day 6: Samarkand
    Day 7: Samarkand + early afternoon border crossing to Panjakent and rest in Panjakent
    Day 8: Haft Kul with private taxi and afternoon in Panjakent
    Day 9: Get to Iskanderkul early morning and rest of day in Iskanderkul
    Day 10: 1/2 realx in Iskanderkul and then… (here I need avise)

    a) We could go to Dushanbe and visit the city for ~2 days
    b) We could go back to Tashkent (via Panjakent or via Khujand) and spend ~2 days in Tashkent
    c) Something else

    Which city would you recommend to spend a couple of days?
    BTW, we are not heavy trekkers so we are skipping the 3 day lake loop (and it will be ~2nd / 3rd week of October). So, what would you suggest? Or maybe spending more time in the Uzbek cities and flyback directly from Samarkand -> Istanbul.

    Thanks a lot?

    1. Hi Jorge,
      I love both Tashkent and Dushanbe, so in my opinion you can’t go wrong with either. Tashkent is much larger than Dushanbe and has much more to do and a wider variety of restaurants and such. So I think maybe it would boil down to if you’d like a more lowkey and relaxed end to your trip or to have a bit more sites to stack in. Samarkand is also a great option too and there’s plenty to see in two days too.

  3. Thanks a lot for your answer. My wife and I – in our mid 40s – are planning a trip next Sep-Oct to Uzbek and after your post we are considering mixing it with Tajik. We might bring her parents (early 70s and in great shape), so just to be sure we dont end doing something very hard. Campsites along the lakes loop have any kind of facilities? Or it is camping in the wild 100%?

    1. Pretty primitive along the Lakes Loop but it’s been getting better. At both Kulikalon and Alovaddin there’s families that run little tea houses preparing simple meals and with tents but can’t always promise that they will be open or have tents available (especially later season as they usually clear out in mid-late Sept). At Alovaddin they have a couple of basic squat toilets near the tea house. So personally, I’d err on the side of caution and bring camping equipment unless you plan to organize trekking there with an operator.

  4. Hello! The Tajikistan trails you describe in this itinerary, how difficult they are? Is it possible to do them in late Sep / early October?

    1. Both trails are possible in September and October. The Haft Kul is the easier of the two and 6/7 lakes have a road connecting them that you can either hire a cr for or walk between. The 7th lake is the only one that isn’t on the road and is a short gentle walk to reach from the 6th. The Lakes Loop is more strenuous with a 3860 meter pass and about 18 km distance between Alovaddin and Kulikalon.

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