Asht Salt Flat - A hidden gem in Tajikistan (Guide + Request for further exploration)

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Asht Salt Flat - A hidden gem in Tajikistan (Guide + Request for further exploration)

Post by Laneo »

I'm sure you have heard of the world famous Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia, but do you know there's a smaller, yet as stunning and otherworldly version in Tajikistan?

The Asht Salt Flat, or Asht Namak, is a large salt-encrusted plain located off Khujand, near the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border. In the summer, locals visit this unusual natural landmark to soak in mud baths located in the salt flat, and admire the seemingly Martian-looking landscapes.

I recently came back from Central Asia, and one of my goals was to visit this hidden gem. Information about the Asht Salt Flat is extremely scarce, other than an old blog post and a few Google Review comments.

Unfortunately, I did not get to experience the mud baths/salt flat proper, as the location is only open from Mid-May (now) till early August. Nevertheless, I did visit the surrounding salt mines, and the workers graciously offered me a tour of the mines, as well as providing me a few pictures of the actual salt flat, which I have also attached.

I hope that this post can inspire/serve as a guide to future travelers who are seeking something really unique in this off-the-beaten-track country, as well as also share with us how the experience is actually like! Here are some instructions on how you can visit this place.

Instructions on how to get to Asht Salt Flat by yourself:

1. In Khujand, make your way to Rokhi Abreshim (can be found in Google Maps with this name) bus station by taxi (10-15 somoni, around US$1 from city center) or the local city Marshrutkas (more info needed).

2. Go to bus bay 9, located at the back of the bus station. Do confirm with the locals if the bay is where the Marshrutka (bus) to Asht is located, as I'm not sure if the bus bays are fixed.
Note: I have attached the bus schedule. There seem to be buses running daily till evening (Most of the bus passengers are heading to different villages along the way), but I recommend taking the morning bus as it'll take about 2 hours to reach the salt flat from Khujand.

3. Inform the bus driver that you will be heading for Asht Namak (the locals will understand if you use this term), and he will drop you off at a small village located near the entrance of the salt plain. The bus ride costs 20 somoni (~US$2). From there, you can ask the locals living there about bringing you to the salt plain proper (help is needed here for someone to share their experiences!)

There will be buses back to Khujand till evening as well, but please also double-check the timings with the locals.
Alternatively, you can charter a private taxi (about 300 somoni, or US$30, for a return trip, according to the old blog post), or try to catch a shared taxi with locals. But personally I think taking the bus is part of the experiences, but please let us know your experiences!


So, if you are in the area and looking for an adventure, please consider visiting this place and let us know what you find out! Do keep in mind that the salt flat is open only from Mid-May (now) till early August.

If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask me, thanks! ~ Laneo
Salt Flat 1.jpg
Salt Flat 1.jpg (64.62 KiB) Viewed 453 times
Salt Flat 3.jpg
Salt Flat 3.jpg (186.78 KiB) Viewed 453 times
Bus to Asht Salt Plain schedule.jpg
Bus to Asht Salt Plain schedule.jpg (119.14 KiB) Viewed 453 times
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Re: Asht Salt Flat - A hidden gem in Tajikistan (Guide + Request for further exploration)

Post by Benish »

We went here in late August 2023, by public transport as above (still open for bathing in the mud!).
We took city marshkrutka #100 to the Abresim bus stand. Then the marshrutka going to Asht, ours left at 10am, and from bay #9. We asked for 'Asht namak'. It took around 1.5hr, 20 somoni each, and we were dropped on the roadside at the junction to the salt flat, which is quite near the village of Rohat. Road not on googlemaps or The marshkrutka driver told us it was around 5km from the road. We managed to hitchhike from there, again saying Asht namak, though the people who gave us a lift didn't know where it was!
Beyond the village we came to a gate and metal chain across the road (initially thought we were accidentally at the Uzbek border) but this was the entrance to the salt flat. There are some small guesthouses and cafes here. One of the people there spoke a bit of English. It cost 20somoni p.p. to go in. They helpfully gave us a lift from there to the actual salt flat, which is not far away.
Then there is a men's and a women's area for the mud and salt water bathing! Lots of fun. Very hot. You are coated head to toe in mud, lie in it for a while, then rinse off in little salt water pools.
We then got a lift back to the guesthouse area where they let us have a shower (necessary, you are covered in salt!). When we left and started walking back to the main road, they drove after us and then insisted on giving us a lift back to the road, which was great!
We waited at the bus stop for around 20 mins, saw lots of marshrutkas going the other direction, but none coming our way then (around 2.30pm). A friendly family stopped and gave us a lift back to Khujand instead, but I'm sure if we'd waited longer then there would have been a marshkrutka.
A great day trip! Thanks for the info here.
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