Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

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ryanang94
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Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by ryanang94 »

Hi guys,

My friend and I (two Singaporeans guys) are planning to fly out of Dushanbe to Tashkent after our trip to the Fann Mountains.

Ive been reading horror stories about corrupt police and border officials at Dushanbe Airport. Has anyone here encounter this issue recently?

Do you think it is better to avoid Dushanbe completely and make our ways back to Samarkand and travel to Tashkent via train instead. We prefer the flight option due to time constraints but are very concerned about the crooks at the airport.
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willemspie
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by willemspie »

I don't know but it is true Asian travellers were targeted at Dushanbe Airport.
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Mathilde_P
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by Mathilde_P »

I don't know about flying out of Dushanbe Airport, but I flew into it a few weeks ago and had no issues whatsoever.
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LohKuanYew
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by LohKuanYew »

ryanang94 wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2023 8:22 am
Hi guys,

My friend and I (two Singaporeans guys) are planning to fly out of Dushanbe to Tashkent after our trip to the Fann Mountains.

Ive been reading horror stories about corrupt police and border officials at Dushanbe Airport. Has anyone here encounter this issue recently?

Do you think it is better to avoid Dushanbe completely and make our ways back to Samarkand and travel to Tashkent via train instead. We prefer the flight option due to time constraints but are very concerned about the crooks at the airport.
Fellow male Singaporean traveller here and will be heading to Dushanbe (for two days) later this week.

Hope to also hear from other travellers on any ongoing issues because there was another thread about the shenanigans happening at Dushanbe Airport: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=13682

I don't have an option besides using Dushanbe Airport because my flights in and out of the city are confirmed. Particularly concerned over my 01:00AM departure from Dushanbe, and perhaps the crooks at the airport may be targeting people given the late-night (lack of) traffic. Any advice or recommendations on avoiding pesky crooks would be most welcomed.
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Kalpazan
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by Kalpazan »

Well, advices were given in this other thread:

viewtopic.php?p=46351#p46351

I departed late night from Dushanbe Airport a month ago and haven't noticed an official harassing anyone. But that was a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul and most of us were from EU (Germany, Italy, etc.)
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LohKuanYew
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by LohKuanYew »

Kalpazan wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2023 10:04 am
Well, advices were given in this other thread:

viewtopic.php?p=46351#p46351

I departed late night from Dushanbe Airport a month ago and haven't noticed an official harassing anyone. But that was a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul and most of us were from EU (Germany, Italy, etc.)
Thank you.

As I am only carrying Euros and USD, should I change for the local currency and get a local SIM card upon arrival at Dushanbe Airport?
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Kalpazan
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by Kalpazan »

You can't buy SIM card at the airport (no kiosk there). You can do it next day in Dushanbe.
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sebhoff
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by sebhoff »

To prepare for things to come, I would:
1) carry as little cash as possible. I've read (but don't know from personal experience) that anything above 500$ needs to be declared on exiting the country, and that taking somoni out of the country is prohibited (https://www.centralasia-travel.com/en/c ... adjikistan). So if it's less than 500$ cash, put a few notes in your wallet, and put your other notes somewhere else where they can't directly get their hands on.
2) be as self-assured as you can be in this situation, look intently at their name badges (assuming they carry them), and just make it clear to them that you are not falling for their games. If they claim that you're breaking a rule, ask them to show written evidence of this rule. If they threaten you with missing the flight, say "fine - but I'll report you if you are wrong!". Point to security cams and say that their actions are being recorded. My hunch is that they don't want you to actually miss your flight because that would then attract more attention than they want (Post #16 in https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g ... hanbe.html is from someone who managed to get some people sacked - but that was a Tajik national...)

But it's easy for me to say all of this from the safety of my living room... Whatever happens, please report back to us...
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LohKuanYew
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by LohKuanYew »

Thanks to all for their advice. There was no huge problem with arrival — just that the passengers baggages for the flight came out on all three luggage belts, so it was a hot mess for everyone to retrieve theirs.

Just wanted to share my departure experience which may be of interest.

On departure at Dushanbe Airport, there are so many "manual" checks. (1) One before you enter the terminal building, (2) one before accessing the check-in desks, (3) one after that before heading up the elevator to the departures level, (4) one at the departure level before immigrations, (5) final one right after that. With so many "checks" you can see how the potential for abuse / possibilities for shady stuff might happen.

In my case I was rather late for my flight. I was actually stopped at no. (2) when the guy saw my Singapore passport, but my Tajik driver started hollering at the dude that stopped me, saying I was late for check-in and I think that saved me from further interrogation there.

At no. (4), there were two middle-aged men who pulled me aside and asked me if I was carrying more than USD3,000, to which I said no — I only had about EUR1,500 and USD800 in my wallet. They also asked me to show prove that I was not carrying any Tajikistan somoni. These two men tried to make my life difficult by looking through my passport and holding it for some time, "reading" through the numerous stamps in my passport (even though they were not the immigration officials in the booth). I think this was an attempt to "break" me as they did point out the amount in my wallet and kept gesticulating at it (it was in the tray - the one before it goes through the x-ray scanner). One of the two men also kept pointing to the forms at the table along the wall but I knew that declaration form was not applicable for me. After a number of minutes of meaningless back and forth banter I think the two just gave up and waved me through to the immigration officer. This was quite a harrowing episode.
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Kalpazan
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Re: Dushanbe Airport Dilemma

Post by Kalpazan »

That (about the manual checks) is something new. There were no such checks when I was flying out a month ago. Sad to see they are still trying to scam people. May be it depends on the flight as well, because on my one there were very few officials at the airport and none of them bothered to do whatever is minimum to let you pass. On the passport control they even asked me how was my time in Tajikistan. Anyway, happy it went well for you as well.
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