Trekking in Tajikistan (Guidebook Review)

Trekking Tajikistan Guidebook Review

One of the biggest problems (or I suppose greatest adventures, depending on your point of view) of travel in the Wakhan Corridor and in Central Asia more generally is the lack of widely available information about the region. This is particularly true of the Wakhan region, so we’re always happy to come across another good resource.

I’ll say up front that, as the author himself points out, this is not a general interest guidebook. If you need something to help you find the best homestay in Penjikent or the tastiest restaurants in Dushanbe stick with something like the Tajikistan Lonely Planet. However, if you’re looking to get out and explore the mountains of Tajikistan (the Afghan Wakhan’s Little Pamir) then keep reading.

trekking tajikistan promo shotJan Bokker’s Trekking in Tajikistan offers a thorough guide to trailheads and routes in Tajikistan’s Fann Mountains, Pamir Mountains, and in the Afghan Little Pamir. He presents some basic cultural notes and info on hiking generally (health and safety tips, ideas for equipment and where to stock up on supplies while in Tajikistan, and some basic notes on flora and fauna).

Mostly, though, this guidebook will be useful to those who want to go trekking! To wit, it provides a detailed account on two main regions and the hiking routes to be found within them:

Fann Mountains
Yagnob Valley Trek
Mura Pass Trek
Kulaikalon and Alaudin Lakes Loop Trek
Dukdon Pass Trek
Kaznok Pass Trek
7 Lakes Trek

Pamir Mountains
Bachor Mountain Lakes Trek
Pik Engels Meadows Trek (which starts in the Wakhan,  near Langar)

Afghan Wakhan
Little Pamir Trek

The only two of these I have any personal experience with are the Kulaikalon and 7 Lakes hikes in the Fann Mountains, so I used that information as a baseline for comparison as I was reading through the guide.

camping at kulaikalon

My first thought is that there are SO many trails I would love to visit in this region, and Jan does a good job of pointing you the right way. I think that as an experienced trekker I could comfortably take these pages and navigate based on the descriptions and maps provided for all but the most difficult of the hikes in its pages. As the author himself points out, however, this may be a bit much for a novice hiker. If you consider yourself in the latter category, I would certainly suggest reading this for inspiration and a sense of what each hike will offer; however you might still want to consider hiring a guide locally if you’re not confident about your orienteering or outdoors skills.

village near seven lakes hike in Tajikistan's Fann mountains

My one main complaint, though this actually applies to Tajikistan generally and not just to this guidebook, are that the maps are not nearly as detailed as I prefer to orienteering in the backcountry. Until the Tajikistan government or some outside body surveys these areas and releases that information to the public, however, there isn’t much that the general public can do about this. The guidebook does list the best maps available for the region and where to find them (hint: this is generally easier before you arrive in Tajikistan. See the ‘maps’ section of Jan’s website for info).

Iskender Kol in Tajikistan's Fann Mountains

Overall, I think this is a great resource if you want to do any trekking while in the Wakhan and the rest of Tajikistan. There certainly could be more information and it would be lovely to have better maps. You will have trouble getting by with less information than is presented here, however. While you COULD probably run around Penjikent or Khorog for a few days trying the pull the relevant details together, you would be going to quite a lot of trouble to save six Euros. If you’re looking into trekking Tajikistan, buy the book.

Note that Travel Wakhan was provided with a review copy of Trekking in Tajikistan but all opinions (and trekking photos) here are our own. To learn more about the book visit Jan’s site at Trekking the Pamirs, or to purchase a copy for yourself visit the Order Guidebook page. At only €6, there is no better value way that we know of to find all this info!

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