The Pamir mountains capture the imagination of travelers more than any other destination in Central Asia. From the high wind-swept semi-desert of the far east, to the Wakhan valley where you can wave and chat to villagers in Afghanistan: the Pamirs are a unique place that have captured the hearts of many adventurous, hardy travelers.
Hardy and adventurous are keywords here, though. The roads are bad, the homestays rudimentary at best, and a stomach bug is difficult to avoid. If you are not fussy about comfort, get ready to dig into the distinct landscapes and culture of the Pamirs.
To all adventurers who prefer their trails unmarked: the Pamirs are your spiritual home. Get on the Pamir Highway.
The rest of Tajikistan
With all the focus on the Pamirs, you would almost forget there is another side to Tajikistan as well.
Dushanbe is the natural hub for travelers, and it’s a pleasant place to prepare for or cool down from mountain exploits. From Dushanbe, hikers can move north to the Fann mountains. They are just as stunning as the Pamirs, but not as big. East of the capital lies the Garm valley. Few people visit the mountains here.
Penjikent and Khujand are trade towns near the Uzbek border, more bustling in their vibrations than the laid-back tempo of the rest of Tajikistan. These are the gateways to Uzbekistan and Southern Kyrgyzstan.
The Khatlon district south of Dushanbe is boiling hot in summer, but works great for day and weekend trips when the mountains become too snowy.