Uzbekistan and Tajikistan trip queries

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stalemate
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Uzbekistan and Tajikistan trip queries

Post by stalemate »

Dear Experts,

I'm planning a trip to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan from 27 August to 4 September, 2016. I'm a Pakistani national and will be flying from London to Tashkent to begin my journey. I have researched this forum and other information available online but still have a few questions which I have listed below.

Background:

I have been invited to speak at a conference in Dushanbe. The conference will start on 1 September and I need to be at the conference venue in the morning of 1st in any case.

I have always wanted to visit Samarkand and Bukhara, and I think I have the perfect opportunity to visit these cities now since I'll be in that part of the world in September. I'm planning to land in Tashkent on 27 August and spend the next 3-4 days in the country before going to Dushanbe. I'm on a very limited (backpacker) budget for this trip so I'm hoping to stay in hostels, take trains to Samarkand and Bukhara, and then try to cheaply cross over into Tajikistan.

LOI and Registration:

1. Based on the information in other threads in this forum, it is possible to get a LOI from a single hostel even if the individual stays in other hostels when they travel to other cities. As stated earlier, I'm a Pakistani citizen and I understand that our passport has a bit more scrutiny than other passports when applying to Uzbekistan. Would it possible for me to get a LOI from a single hostel with my passport and still spend the other nights in different hostels in Samarkand and Bukhara?

2. I understand that registration is needed if an individual is staying in Uzbekistan more than 3 days. I'll be there for 4-5 days so I think I'll need to register. Do I need to register only once at the Tashkent hostel or do I need to register at every hostel I reside in?

Uzbekistan to Tajikistan travel

Since there are no flights between these two countries, I think practically (and cost effectively) I have two options - take a train or cross the land border. The online information about trains is slightly vague. I know that there is a train which goes from Moscow to Dushanbe and stops in Uzbekistan but I have not been able to find any concrete information about its arrival times and location in Uzbekistan. Also, I'll need to cross into Tajikistan on either 30 or 31 august to reach my conference on time and I haven't been able to find if there is a train on these two dates (I have checked train website (rzd.ru) and other online information).

The comparatively clearer option is the land border crossing. I note that there are two possible ones - Samarkand-Denau-Dushanbe, and Tashkent - Khujand - Dushanbe. I have read trip reports on this forum for the Denau crossing and it seems doable. I can imagine that the same case would be for the Tashkent-Khujand route if I can find shared taxis in Uzbekistan.

1. My main concern is the border being closed. 1st September is Uzbekistan's independence day. Do we know if the border will be open at that time? I know that the border between these two countries closes regularly but I'm specifically looking for advice

a. if I should take this land route if I need to be at the conference in any case on the 1st?
b. Are they websites where we can check the border status on a regular basis?
c. if there are previous instances when the border was closed on or near the independence day dates?

2. Are there any shorter routes to reach Dushanble available? I'll have the whole of 31st to travel and I can even start my travel on 30th if needed. The Samarkand route looks promising as it's the closest to Dushanbe.

Thank you very much in advance for your advice.

Regards,

S
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steven
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Re: Uzbekistan and Tajikistan trip queries

Post by steven »

1. Yes
2. The hostel registers you automatically. They will give you a registration slip. It's only an issue for campers.
3a. Go a day earlier if you are worried, or take a plane from Tashkent.
3b. No.
3c. No, I think it will be open. Mostly around election time it's the biggest issue, but ask some tour operators if they know more.
4. The Penjikent border is closed.
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stalemate
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Re: Uzbekistan and Tajikistan trip queries

Post by stalemate »

Thank you very much, Steven. This is very helpful.

I looked at the flights options from Tashkent. There are no direct flights and the flights through Istanbul, Moscow, Almaty, etc take 15-20 hours including transit time. Also, I'm not too sure if I need transit visa for Russia or Kazakhstan.
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steven
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Re: Uzbekistan and Tajikistan trip queries

Post by steven »

You're welcome!
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Provodnik
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Re: Uzbekistan and Tajikistan trip queries

Post by Provodnik »

There are direct trains from Russia to Dushanbe, but these trains don't take passengers getting on or off in Uzbekistan. All stops on Uzbek territory are technical stops and tickets for those trains cannot be issued to/from stations in Uzbekistan. Also these trains don't use the recently built line from Karshi to Kumkurgan (this line was built to connect Termez to the rest of the Uzbek railway network without passing through Turkmenistan), but still use the traditional route via Turkmenistan (via Talimardzhan - Kelif), which makes it quite difficult regardings visas...

You can however take a Uzbek domestic train from Dushanbe or Samarkand to Sariasija (close to the Tajuk border) and continue by taxi from there to Dushanbe (Sariasija - Dushanbe ist about 85 km).
There is a direct train Dushanbe - Sariasija every other day (uneven dates from Tashkent, dep at 20h55, trip takes 15 hrs; train also stops at Samarkand a few hrs after leaving Tashkent). If that train doesn't match your travel dates, you can take the daily Tashkent - Termez train to Kumkurgan (Kumkurgan - Sariasija is about 80 km, so 165 km to Dushanbe).
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