Overland and Border crossings See bottom section for vehicles
There are two websites to refer you to for maps and the news on Central Asian as well as Tajik border crossings.
Planes (Dushanbe, Tashkent & Almaty), Trains and Automobiles
There are limited flights to Tajikistan. The big news here, unfortunately is that AirBaltic, the budget airline is no longer flying to Tajikistan in 2012.
Turkish Airlines – go via/from Istanbul. This has been the established route from Western Europe to Dushanbe and it is a good airline.
Somon Air – Tajikistan’s first private airline (without very expensive prices), based in Dushanbe. Flies to/from Frankfurt, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk, Khujand, Dubai and has has good reviews.
Connecting in Moscow: Further flights to Dushanbe originate in Moscow and so you can book connecting flights there. Most flights go via St Petersburg. These flight companies include:
Rossiya Airlines (Russian Government owned).
Orenair – flights from Orenburg, Russia.
Siberia Airlines – (has an easy to use website)
A quite useful website to use to see what is flying from Russia is: Alternative Airlines
Flights to Neighboring countries:
Tashkent and Almaty have much larger flight hubbs than Dushanbe and these make sense if doing a Central Asian tour.
Flying into Uzbekistan:
There are no flights between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and therefore if flying to Tashkent will need to travel overland to Tajikistan. This choice isn’t difficult and is quite economical if time-consuming. Many public buses and taxis go from Tashkent (capital of Uzbekistan) to Samarkand (which is always nice for a couple of days) and this takes about 5 hours. Samarkand is only a couple of hours from the Tajik Penjikent border. It is best to check that the borders are open as Uzbekistan frequently shuts it’s borders with Tajikistan and also there are many holidays. Foreigners can often get across shut border crossings even if locals cannot.
Western airline companies flying to Tashkent include: Lufthansa, Air Baltic, Turkish Airlines and Czech Airlines.
Flying into Almaty, Kazakhstan:
Tajik Air flies from Almaty to Dushanbe.
Airlines flying to and from Europe include:
Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, KLM, BMi
(Thanks to Mark at Seat61 and more recently Steven Hermans of caravanistan website for this more recent update).
*The 367 train that used to run from Dushanbe to Khujand and the 368 from Khujand to Samarkand Train stopped running in 2011 as there is now much faster road travel between the cities .
For train route: Khujand-Samarqand-Saratov
There’s two sets of information regarding the train that runs Khujand-Samarqand-Saratov, three times a week. According to SEAT 61 Train 335 depart Khujand 18:44 Mon, Thur, Sat, arriving Samarqand at 02:15 (ouch!). Train 336 departs Samarqand 06:10 on Wed, Fri, Sun, arriving Khujand 14:27. Again, looks like 4-berth kupe and platskartny, probably no 2-berth. No mention of any restaurant car. ‘
According to Caravanistan (which is likely to be more up to date) the ‘ Train 335 departs from Khojand in Tajikistan at 20.03 and arrives in Samarkand, Uzbekistan at 3.35 3 times a week. In the other direction, it leaves Samarkand at 6.46 and arrives in Khojand around 15.00. The schedule seems to be (couldn’t find out for sure): Monday, Thursday and Saturday departure from Khojand, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday departure from Samarkand.’
For train route: Dushanbe – Moscow
The train leaves Dushanbe at 3.51 am and arrives at Moscow Kazanskaia 3.28 am. The train leaves Moscow Kazanskaia station at 12.08 and arrives in Dushanbe at 16.14, 5 days later. This train isn’t advisable for most tourists (unless a member of the CIS) as it will require a lot of visas for the trip: Uzbekistan (double entry), Kazakhstan and Russia.
*For general train travel, including all info for Central Asia – Seat61 has traditionally been THE resource but there is also now the most excellent Caravanistan website that provides and links to background on the railway systems.
If you have your very own car and thinking of making an overland expedition, these should be of interest for starters:
*Horizons Unlimited & The Hubb forum
*If wanting to do something a bit different / go with others / or leave the vehicle there: Roof of the World Rally
The main highway on the western side of Tajikistan running from the Anzob Pass to Dushanbe has been significantly improved. There is a toll road on the highway running north of Dushanbe. Roads heading towards the Pamirs, via Tavildara or the Afghanistan border road are still very rough.