Tom O'Donnell

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Tags: Travel and Wikipedia

Having caught the travel bug recently, I find myself enjoying reading travel advisories for Americans traveling abroad. While perusing reddit I came upon Central Asia/ Silk Road solo where /u/balconylife expressed interest in traveling the Silk Road. I noticed balconylife was probably not going to Tajikistan.

Being a country I was only questionably aware of existing, I figured I’d do some investigation into Tajikistan. Wondering if balconylife was avoiding it for some safety reason, I visited the US Travel Advisories. They have these for every country. With my recent visit to Colombia and my upcoming visit to Mexico, I found that I learned a lot about the recent history of these countries which I was unfamiliar with. Like that Colombia is one of the oldest democracies in Latin America, and despite over half a century of conflict with various armed groups, they maintain peaceful elections and civil liberties.

So looking at Tajikistan’s advisories, I didn’t see any explicit warnings, but I found it interesting that there was a restricted region Gorno-Badakhshan. Wow, takes up pretty much half the country. And damn, that’s a mountainous country. Only one main road travels through the region, the Pamir Highway. A road through the mountains that’s been in use for thousands of years. And one that was a part of the Silk Road.

Fun fact: Khorugh in Gorno-Badakhshan is the highest altitude where bandy has been played.

Anyway, I did some more reading on Tajikistan’s travel advisories and came to the Travel & Transportation section. Beside the landmine warning, I wanted to look more at the capital and what appears to be its more major city Dushanbe. I always wonder how many of these random cities have hostels while many US cities have very few or none. And Dushanbe has a couple. I put in some random dates for the most popular hostel on Hostelworld Green House Hostel Dushanbe. And hey, some people from Canada, Germany, and Spain are staying there!

One last thing before I got off my Tajikistan kick, I decided to read some comments on the hostel. Turns out a lot of people were staying for the Mongol Rally. A race from Europe (UK or Czech Republic) to Mongolia (now Russia actually) described as the “Greatest Adventure in the World”. There’s no set route, but apparently some choose to ride through Tajikistan. Whatever route you take, Wikipedia says that none is comfortable or safe.

Before I go I’ll leave you with a brief Team Fagowi Mongol Rally Record. The Bold and the Map-less indeed.