The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you
obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas
medical costs, including medical evacuation by air ambulance,
before travelling to Tajikistan. You should check any exclusions,
and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to
Travellers should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains or for expenses incurred by Irish citizens as a result of a personal emergency while travelling.
Safety and Security
We strongly advise against all travel to the Gorno-Badakhshan region, including the city of Khorog. The Gorno-Badakhshan region is located about 500 km to the southeast of Dunshanbe, the capital of Tajikisan. Tajikistan’s security forces launched an attack on militants in the area on 24 July 2012, following the death of a high-ranking security official. A mass demonstration was held in the city of Khorog on 22 August 2012, following the death of a prominent local figure. Two people were injured.
We strongly advise against all travel to the Kamarob Gorge in the Rasht region.
You should be aware of the continuing threat from terrorism which Tajikistan shares with other countries in Central Asia. The overall security situation in Tajikistan is currently stable. However, you should remain vigilant in public places and be alert to any security related announcements by the police. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Recent incidents include the following:
• 8 March 2011: An explosion outside a restaurant in Dushanbe, injuring one person.
• 21 January 2011: Three vehicles containing explosive devices were left outside law enforcement agencies in the Sughd province in northern Tajikistan.
• 19 September 2010: Tajik soldiers were ambushed in the Kamarob Gorge, Rasht region, eastern Tajikistan.
• 6 September 2010: A bomb explosion in Dousti Nightclub, Dushanbe.
• 3 September 2010: Car bomb in the compound of the regional Department for Organised Crime, Gargarin Street, Khujand.
Tajikistan has not yet developed a tourist infrastructure. You should arrange to be met on arrival and guided by a responsible local business, NGO, tourist or other organisation.
The Tajik/Kyrgyz border and borders with other neighbouring states are subject to closure without notice. Travellers should check in advance which official border crossing points are open. Avoid off-road areas close to the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, as these areas may be land-mined.
The kidnapping of foreign citizens in Tajikistan is regarded as a valid concern.
Armed incidents continue between border forces and drug traffickers along the Afghan border. There have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners but Dushanbe is a relatively safe city. Throughout the country there is little evidence of criminality directed against foreigners. In rural areas, however, single women should avoid going out alone at night, and may suffer harassment even during the day. Drinks should never be left unattended in local bars and restaurants or accepted from strangers. Lone visitors, in particular, should never accept lifts from strangers.
Lengthy prison sentences are imposed on those found guilty of drug possession and/or drug use.
It is illegal to smoke in many public establishments.
The local equivalent to the 999 helpline number is 01 (fire), 02 (police) and 03 (ambulance).
You should not venture off-road in areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, as there are both marked and unmarked minefields. You should also take local advice in the Tavildara region of central Tajikistan as there are a few minefields dating from the civil war in the mountains.
Roads outside the main towns are poorly maintained and often only accessible by 4WD. Conditions are particularly treacherous in spring due to the risk of avalanches and landslides. Many interior roads, including the main road from Dushanbe to Khojand, are only open in the summer months. Local vehicles are poorly maintained and driving standards rudimentary. Petrol stations can be limited outside towns and there are no breakdown companies. Make sure you take all you need for your journey, allowing for delays. Emergency communications such as satellite phones are advisable for up-country travel. Road travel should only be undertaken in daylight hours.
You should be aware that neighbouring countries may unilaterally close borders temporarily.
The tourism, health and transport infrastructure of Tajikistan is poor and travel within the country requires careful planning. Tajikistan is a very poor country, with poor medical facilities and a shortage of basic medical supplies. Brand name drugs may not be genuine. Tuberculosis is widespread. An outbreak of polio has been reported. There is a threat of typhoid, cholera and other diseases, including malaria, in summer in the Khatlon region and in the south of Gorno-Badakhshan. It is recommended that whilst in Tajikistan you should drink or use only bottled or boiled water and avoid ice in drinks. You should also take particular care over food and drink preparation. You should seek medical advice before travelling to Tajikistan and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. Medical and rescue facilities are unreliable where they exist at all. Tourist facilities are very underdeveloped, and goods and services taken for granted in Ireland may not be available.
Those intending to travel to, from and/or within Tajikistan should avoid flying on airlines listed under the EU operating ban. Further information about the ban is available at the: European Commission website at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air-ban/list_en.htm
Most international flights to Dushanbe are by Tajik Air. No Western airlines fly to Tajikistan. It is not known whether maintenance procedures on the state airline, Tajik Air, are always properly observed or whether passengers are covered by insurance. Tajik Air is not a member of IATA. Only two of their current aircraft (Tupolevs) are allowed to fly into EU airspace (Munich). Flights in Tajikistan may be cancelled at short notice or substantially delayed. Overloading on local flights is not uncommon.
Local Law and Customs
For entry requirements for Tajikstan, please contact the Embassy of Tajikistan in London at the following address:
Embassy of Tajikistan
26-28 Hammersmith Grove
Tel: +44 (0) 208 8341003
Fax:+44 (0) 208 8341100
Travellers to Tajikistan must have a form of photographic identification to hand at all times. It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport and your Tajik visa at all times, as there are frequent document checks by the local authorities. Always check your visa and visa registration validity dates so that these documents can be renewed in good time if necessary.
The Republic of Tajikistan does not recognise dual nationality and visitors are expected to have only one passport.
Visitors must complete a Customs Declaration Form on arrival in Tajikistan, have it stamped by Tajik officials at the port of entry and retain it until their departure in order to show that they are not departing Tajikistan with more money than the amount they had on entering the country.
• Taking photos of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities.
• Homosexuality is not illegal under Tajik law but is still very much frowned upon socially. Care should taken over public displays of affection.
• Please note that the rationing of electricity is an ongoing practice in Tajikistan, especially during the colder months of the year.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Tajikistan is located in an active seismic zone. Avalanches and landslides frequently block roads in the spring.
Additional Country Information
Tajikistan is a cash-only economy. You should only change money at officially authorised currency exchanges. Very few establishments accept credit cards and none accept travellers’ cheques. There are only a handful of ATM machines, and none in rural areas. US dollars are the most widely accepted foreign currency; others may be difficult to exchange.
The Embassy of Ireland accredited to Tajikistan is located in Moscow, in the Russian Federation. Its contact details are available here.