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Fann Mountains Trekking in Tajikistan: 6 Things You Did Not Know

tajikistan trekking

Tajikistan is known for being a mountainous country in the heart of Central Asia. This is the land of the ancient Silk Road, rugged mountains, and the famous Pamir Highway. 

What many people don’t realize, however, it that all of the hype around the Pamir Range and Wahkan Corridor bordering Afghanistan means that a major mountain range system is often forgotten about: meet the Fann Mountains.

The Fann Mountains are located in western Tajikistan and are home to one of the most intact cultures in all of Central Asia. Azure lakes, snow-capped peaks, and wide open spaces in every direction… trekking in Tajikistan is like walking into a hiker’s dreamland. So of course, Epic Backpacker Tours needed to run trips there.

To help you guys better understand this unique region, we put together a list of things you did not know about what Fann Mountains Trekking and Trekking in Tajikistan are all about.

Photography by Epic Guide Andrey Golovachev

The Fann Mountains are Home to the Seven Lakes Trek

The big draw for us to this region is no secret: we are all about Tajikistan trekking and getting off the beaten path into the mountains. 

Over the course of the Fann Mountains trek, you will experience 7 different high-altitude lakes and a couple of mountain passes, culminating with a crossing of Chimtarga Col at 4,750 meters.

The total trekking distance is 70 km, with 9 nights spent in a tent under the vast Tajik sky.
For reference, this trek is 30% shorter than the Everest Base Camp Trek, yet slightly more difficult due to the remoteness and terrain. For experienced hikers this Fann Mountains Trek provides one of the most scenic Tajikistan trekking opportunities out there.

Tajikistan Was Part of the Soviet Union

Many people from the west do not realize that most of the “Stan” countries were in fact part of the former Soviet Union. Within the Soviet Union, the country’s modern borders were created when it was part of Uzbekistan as an autonomous republic before becoming an official Soviet republic in 1929.

Much the same as other countries behind the Soviet “Iron Curtain”, during the Soviet Era it was difficult to get reliable news and information as to what exactly was happening in Tajikistan during this period.

Remarkably, ethnic Tajiks retained their sense of identity and culture, despite the extreme suppression of all non-Soviet culture by Stalin and the USSR during the 68 years it existed.

Ready to trek in the Fann Mountains?

Join us in Tajikistan in 2023 and let us show you how amazing this country really is!

The People of Hunza Valley are Related to Tajiks

The Hunza Valley in Pakistan is one of the most popular areas for trekkers and international tourists to visit in the country. 

Centuries ago, people living as nomad herders in the mountainous area that borders Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan known as the Wakhan Corridor migrated to this far-flung region of Nothern Pakistan and settled there. 

Ethnically speaking there are distinct cultural links between Hunza Valley people and Tajiks – namely the language both speak.  The Wakhi language in upper Hunza Valley is thought to be a dialect of other Pamir languages and a dialect of Tajik.

The people in the Fann Mountains are more straight up Tajik than Wakhi or Iranian culturally – however if you put them in a room with people from Hunza, they would be able to understand each other. 

Wine is Produced in the Fann Mountains

Ok wine is not technically produced in the actual mountains, but there is a town close by where local wine is produced and sold. The bazaar town of Penjakent is the main wine-producing hub of the region.  

Though Tajikistan is a Muslim country, locals do like to enjoy a glass or four of local wine. 

Who said trekking in Tajikistan had to be a wine-free affair? 

Samarkand, the Silk Road, and Uzbekistan are Not Too Far Away

One of the most important hubs during the times of the ancient Silk Road, Samarkand in Uzbekistan is only a few hours away from the Fann Mountains by car (and only 1 hour from the Tajikistan border). 

Starting off the trip by exploring the beautiful markets and mosques of Samarkand means our Trekking in the Fann Mountains adventure is not all about backcountry hiking experiences. 

Travelers starting their Fann Mountains journey in Samarkand means you will get to take in the people and culture of Uzbekistan for a couple of days before departing for the trek in Tajikistan. 

For Most Nationalities, Getting a Tajikistan Visa is Easy

While most foreign nationals will need to apply for an e-vsa in advance for Uzbekistan (usually takes only a few days to get), the visa policy of Tajikistan is much more relaxed. Most western nations, including the USA and Canada but excluding British nationals, may enter the country for a period of 30 days without needing to get a visa in advance (Tajikistan visa on arrival (VOA) ).

The chill Tajikistan visa policy means that the country and the Fann Mountains in particular are more accessible to hikers without needing to navigate the world of visa bureaucracy – which is always a win!

Fann Mountains Trekking / Trekking Tajikistan: FAQ

Participants will need consider visa procedures for two countries on this trip: one for Uzbekistan and one for Tajikistan.

Many Western nations do not need a visa to visit Uzbekistan. US citizens will need to arrange a visa beforehand. Those who need visas can acquire them either via an online portal or by applying at your local embassy.

Note: you will need a DOUBLE-entry visa for Uzbekistan.

The visa policy of Tajikistan is much more relaxed. Most Western nations, including the USA and Canada, don’t need one to enter the country.

Always check before booking the visa policy of both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for your nationality.

The dominant language in Uzbekistan is Uzbek, a form of Turkic. In Tajikistan, it is Tajik, a form of Persian. Various communities also peak their own dialects. 

Russian is the de facto language of both countries though and is widely understood by all. 

The total length of the self-contained section of the trek is about 60 kilometers done over 9 days. Yet unlike hut-to-hut trekking common in Europe and Nepal, our trip involves wild camping, mostly on pristine alpine meadows above the treeline.

Remaining self-contained allows for more tranquility and enables a more intimate connection with nature. This also means no lodges, no showers and no maintained trails. We may spend days – or even the entire trek – without seeing any other humans.

The trekking season in the Fann Mountains is short, and sometimes made shorter by high snowfall in either spring or autumn. Summers are relatively dry but storms can happen at any time of the year. By September, it can be quite cold at higher elevations. 

For the first five days of the trek, we will have a team of pack mules helping to carry a bunch of our group gear and personal luggage. 

We will then get to a point where we need to cross a mountain pass in which the mules can not cross. 

At this point you will need to carry your own backpack OR there is the opportunity to hire a human porter for an additional $100 USD. 

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Welcome to our Journal!

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Here at Epic Backpacker Tours, adventure is constantly on our minds. 

Our blog – or Journal as we like to call it – contains epic trip stories, photo diaries, and news about new tours. 

Thanks for checking it out! 

What's new in the journal?

The trip we're most stoked about

Discover the Hunza Valley

Next trip: October 7th – 21st, 2023
epic backpacker tours team

Adventure Guide

Our man in Nepal, Sandip is what we like to call a “Swiss Army Knife”. There is not much Sandip can’t do when it comes to helping Epic to run our expeditions smoothly in Nepal.

His tireless work ethic, passion for all things trekking in the Himalayas, and smart decision-making mean that Sandip is a truly invaluable member of our team.

Sandip is passionate about showing visitors to his country an amazing time, and he goes above and beyond to make sure that happens. 

His company Himalayan Masters is Epic’s trusted partner in Nepal and one of the country’s top new tour agencies.

We really enjoyed the entire journey, and I would like to say that Sandip is truly professional. He guided us and he is a hardworking person, providing us with the best service and taking care of each one of us. Plus, he is super funny! The kind of professionnal you always want to find on your path for your explorations! 

– Alexandra Ruth

Fairy Meadows

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Our Favorite Experiences

#1 Sunrise from Reflection Lake

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#2 Hiking to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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#3 Playing cricket with the locals

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Trips Where We Visit Fairy Meadows

Our flagship Pakistani adventure tour.  Road trip with some  hiking and cultural immersion.

A trekking-style tour that features some very remote locations, inlcuding a K2 viewpoint.

Adventure Guide

João has born in the mountains of Madeira Islands in Portugal. Nature lover, writer, musician, guide, for him, a day without contact with outdoor vibes is a nightmare. 

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K.

João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Guiding, crazy trekking missions, and sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions. 

After trekking to K2 Base Camp and exploring all over Northern Pakistan, he fell in love with the country and the local people. His experiences resulted in his desire to share these feelings with the world.

João is one of the most experienced guides at Epic and his skillset and positive mindset in the mountains is second to none

When not in Pakistan, João is  guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails –  discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

João I can not thank you enough for the off the beaten paths and views you keep giving. Definitely one of the most challenging and amazing hikes we did 1200m meters all the way up to Fanal forest and circling back to the hidden village. Wow!

– Jeffery 

travel hunza valley

Adventure Guide

Sohail is the newest addition to the Epic Backpacker Tours team and we are beyond stoked to have him on board. As a veteran of the Karakoram and a native of Karimabad in Hunza, there is not much Sohail can’t do in the mountains. 

Besides having the ability to speak more languages than we can count, Sohail has explored every corner of Gilgit Baltistan and logs more trekking miles 

in a year than most people will do in a lifetime. As of the summer of 2022, Sohail has summited Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and K2 – three of Pakistan’s five 8000-meter peaks. Sohail guides several trips including our annual bespoke expeditions but specializes in Hunza Valley tours.

Chris and Sohail, and the team at Epic are FANTASTIC! Highly recommend anyone to do a tour with ‘Epic’. They have the perfect balance of fun, excitement and wild adventures, tied in with being super professional and ensuring your safety/health in a foreign environment. Don’t waste a moment and book a tour with these guys as the value for money is UNREAL!

– Borgan

iran travel tour

Adventure Guide

Pedro’s been traveling all around the globe since 2009. His keen interests in documentary photography, rural life, and local people from different ethnic groups have been the focus of many of his professional projects.

Since 2012, he has developed his passion for travel and awesome shared experiences into a full-time adventure photography tour leader position.

Pedro has found himself continuously going back to the Middle East, with his likely favorite destination being Iran. Pedro will be leading his 11th tour in Iran with EBT this coming spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Backpacker Tours, you’ll find him based in the western south of Portugal planning he’s next adventure missions, logistics and working out his photos in local exhibitions.

 I loved the combination of hiking, camping around breathtaking scenery mixed with the cultural aspects. The guide (Pedro) is knowledgeable and work very hard to make the trip as memorable as possible. All in all an epic adventure with some extremely epic individuals! Go for it, you won’t regret it!

– Saisun

Touring Iran with EBT in May 2022 was way above our expectation: itineraries well planned and carefully executed, perfect mix of sights and trekking, delicious food, nice accommodation, great guides and wonderful fellow travellers. Trekking can be handled by anyone physically fit. Highly recommended for those who want to experience the real Iran.

– Sumera

Diane Bouvet

Adventure Admin / Marketing

After fleeing from the corporate fashion world in Paris towards the start of 2020, Diane has been working as a web developer and graphic designer remotely from various bases across the globe

She brings all of her incredible design and organizational power to Epic Backpacker Tours and is responsible for many of the beautiful behind-the-scenes design elements. 

Diane has been to Iran and to Pakistan twice including all over Gilgit Baltistan and KPK.

k2 gondogoro la trek

Head of Operations | Guide

A veteran of Pakistan travel, Ralph is an experienced guide, photographer and writer who specializes in documenting remote locations. 

Not one to simply go where everyone else does, he insists on exploring new and lesser-known areas.

Together with Epic Backpacker Tours, he shows people parts of Pakistan that most other operators don’t even know about. He is particularly fond of the village of Barah, which he believes will become just as famous as Hunza one day.

Just got back from EBT’s Trekking Amongst Giants 15 day tour. The experience was first class. Ralph, our head guide, ensured that the entire trip ran smoothly and relatively on time (a bonus for anyone travelling in Pakistan). We had so many unforgettable days on the tour and the trekking was well-planned, safe but also a rewarding challenge. 

– Calvin

Traveling to a non-tourist destination can be a little intimidating but EBT takes all of the worry and trepidation away. From the pre-trip call to meeting the wonderful staff in person you can tell that you are dealing with a company that has a passion for what they do each and every day. Ralph, Zahid, and Khan were supportive, kind, and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone on the trip was getting what they wanted out of the experience.

– Katrina 

adventure tours pakistan

Founder | Adventure Guide | Director

For the last eleven years, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe and had visited more than 65 countries along the way. 

Since 2011, Chris has logged more than 6300 trail miles across five continents and climbed multiple 6000 + 7000 meter peaks in Pakistan and Nepal.

In 2017, a distant dream and a deep passion for the mountains and people of Pakistan led Chris to found Epic Backpacker Tours at a time when foreign adventure tourism in Pakistan was almost nonexistent. Since then, Chris has guided more than 15 expeditions to various parts of Northern Pakistan.

Chris believes in using photography and powerful adventure experiences to dismantle negative stereotypes regarding what mainstream media considers “dangerous” countries while facilitating unique and meaningful memories in the mountains for countless people from around the globe. 

Long-distance hiking, learning languages, meaningful conversations, all things Turkish food, mountaineering, and making tasty coffee above 6,000 meters rank among his favorite things in life. 

For him, an ideal start to the day begins with a steaming cup of good coffee, the beam of a headlamp, alpine boots, and a camera in hand.

When he is not leading or planning tours, Chris works as a writer and photographer on his blog Off the Atlas – an adventure travel blog all about Pakistan. 

Read this interview our staff did with Chris to learn more about him!

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Will De Villers

Pakistan is a magical country! Had 3 of the best weeks of my life thanks to Epic Backpacking Tours with owner, and one of our awesome guides, Chris. From detailed itinerary, preparation with an equipment list, and visa assistance. To amazing food, great porters, helpful guides, and great accommodations. Epic really hit home run after home run. […]

Their desire for adventure and amazing trip is just as high as yours. Bring a good pound of coffee for the trip. French press coffee every morning and no average tin coffee, plus you’ll be in your guides good books.

– Clark Tyler

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