Before you go:
The quickest and easiest way to get your visa is by applying for an e-Visa and GBAO permit in advance. You can complete this process through the official site, and it should only take a few minutes. Keep in mind that this option is for single entry visas only. If you need a double-entry visa, you’ll have to apply for two different visas using the system.
If you are ineligible or unwilling to apply for an e-Visa, then go to an embassy that provides Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) region permit. I had no issue getting mine from the embassy in Almaty, Kazakhstan and it was costless as opposed to the $50 fee in Tajikistan. That being said, not every embassies will agree to give you this permits so make sure to check ahead of time. All the regions GBTO must be listed on the application form before submission including Darvaz, Ishkashimm Rushan and Vanj.
If you’re planning on travelling to Tajikistan, be sure to pack warm clothes and items that can protect against the wind. The country is very mountainous, so you may find yourself at high altitudes—sometimes even more than 4000 metres in the Pamir Mountains.
Accommodation: Dushanbe has a wide range of accommodation options, although it becomes more restricted when traveling further. Some areas, such as Khorog and Murgab, have actual hotels, but the majority of places will be guesthouses with shared (and usually high-quality) bathrooms. It is also possible to stay in a homestay or yurt in the Pamir region if you arrive in a city.
In the Pamirs, there are voltage issues where lights barely illuminate and batteries charge slowly. Murgab has a similar issue, so waiting until later in the evening when power consumption is low makes the lights brighten and batteries recharge more quickly.
Food: If you’re looking for a wide variety of food options, Dushanbe is the city for you. However, if you leave Dushanbe, your only choices will be local Tajik or Kyrgyz fare. Even in larger cities such as Khorog and Murgab have limited food options, so most of your time in the country will be spent eating local cuisine.
Transport: When you leave Dushanbe’s boundaries, transportation options become restricted. A shared taxi is the most popular form of transportation in Tajikistan; however, they are usually 4WD/SUV vehicles. They drive for lengthy hours and into the evening along some hazardous routes if you can afford to hire your driver and vehicle.
In the GBAO, even taxis are hard to come by. If you want to get around without waiting for days, it’s best to plan your transportation in advance. This is especially true if you’re trying to travel from Khorog south or from Ishkashim east along the Afghanistan border.
Permits: If you want to go to the Pamir Mountains, which is the primary aim of your visit to Tajikistan, you will need a GBAO permit. As previously said, attempt to obtain this for free ahead of time if possible. If you wish to explore areas around Sarez and Zorkul, you’ll almost certainly require a specific permit; however, these can only be acquired inside Tajikistan. More information on permits may be found at the excellent Carivanitia site.
Safety: Although Tajikistan is close to Afghanistan, it’s safe in terms of security issues. In 2012, there were some local protests in Khorog that caused the town to be closed off to tourists. Even though this didn’t pose a physical threat to foreigners, it caused a lot of frustration for people wanting to visit the Pamir Mountains (the Pamirs). The welcome in Tajikistan is genuine and warm, and because tourists are still a rarity, you’ll frequently be greeted by inquisitive locals. Despite the fact that it is safe for visitors’ safety, there are three additional variables to consider.
If you’re driving in Tajikistan, be aware that police corruption is common in the western part of the country. They’ll set up “checkpoints” as an opportunity to stop drivers and demand bribes. And if you’re a foreigner living in Dushanbe, the police will find reasons to try to fine you for minor infractions–like stepping on grass. Be prepared for this and be ready to confront it if necessary.
In certain areas, the roads are especially dangerous – negative camber corners, winding roads with no guard rails overlooking precipices, landslides, rockfalls, fording swollen creeks and navigating through cattle. And if you must take a shared taxi that plans on driving at night, use caution. The drivers usually will have been driving for 12+ hours during the day and will continue doing so into evening. Given the state of the roads already mentioned earlier, I would advise against taking chances by trusting a driver who has already been fatigue behind the wheel for more than half a day now.
Symptoms of altitude sickness include but are not limited to nausea, lightheadedness, headache and fatigue. This is most likely to happen in the Pamirs where travellers often reach altitudes higher than 4000 metres. A slower ascension rate will give your body more time to adjust and prevent sickness both for your health’s sake as well as allowing you to take in all the landscapes has offer. If you experience any symptoms while on vacation, it is best either remain at that level or return down to a lower one until feeling better again.”