I finally arrived in the capital city of my 126th country, Dushanbe in Tajikistan, which is the official start of my two month travels around Central and South Asia! As you may already know, I am on a mission to visit every country in the world, according to the list of 196 UN and non-UN countries.
On this part of my journey, I’ll be visiting 11 or 12 new countries, depending on whether I am able to get my visa for Afghanistan at short notice while here in Tajikistan. The full list of countries I’m aiming for in the next two months is; Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Qatar, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
Using my Philippines passport the only country that I can enter visa-free is Mongolia, so I have had to apply for visas for every other country. Iran is the only country that I can enter with visa-on-arrival at the airport, but as I will be entering by land, I needed to apply for a visa with the Iranian embassy in Croatia.
On Saturday, Jonathan drove me to Dubrovnik Airport in Croatia from our home in Herceg Novi, Montenegro. From there I caught my first flight to Riga, Latvia for an overnight stop, so I took the chance to see the city in the summer, rather than winter like my last visit. Then a 5-hour flight to Almaty, Kazakhstan and finally a 2-hour flight to Dushanbe, Tajikistan!
By lunchtime, I had landed at Dushanbe Airport and was quickly on my way to Hotel Shumon, which is a 15-minute drive from the airport and very close to the city centre. Located right next to the hotel is the National Flag Park, home to the 2nd tallest flag in the world at 165 meters high! This also places travelers with a couple of minutes walk to the National Museum of Tajikistan.
Shumon Hotel is extremely strategic for business travelers as well, being in centrally located in the business district.
For me, it was the perfect base for my first ever visit Tajikistan, comfortably and luxuriously decorated with all the best facilities you would expect from a high-end hotel catering to business and luxury travelers but for an affordable price. The hotel also has its own restaurant on the ground floor that serves local and Georgian dishes.
There are business rooms that start from only $75 US per night, that includes all of the essentials like WiFi, satellite tv, 24-hour room service, safety boxes, breakfast included and professional staff who can take care of your every need! There are only 40 rooms in the hotel (13 Double Superior Deluxe Rooms, 18 Double Rooms, 8 Deluxe Twin Rooms, and 1 single room).
From my own room on the 9th floor, I had a perfect view of the National Flag Park and the impressive flagpole itself!
More cool facts about Hotel Shumon:
The hotel is located in the business and trading center of Dushanbe and on the right bank of Varzob. The hotel is located 10 km from the Airport, 7 km from the Railway Station, 10 km from the Bus Station, on F. Niyozi Street 34.
Some important buildings nearby:
- National Flag Park (“Park of national flag “) is 50 meters away this is where the 2nd highest flagpole in the world (at 165 meters high). You can also see the artificial lake from most of the rooms and they said that the park also has children’s attractions and sculptures of historical figures of Tajikistan.
- National Museum of Tajikistan
- the Dusti (friendship) square where the monument of Ismaili Samani is.
- Palace of the Nations (Kasri Millat) – the residence and the reception area of the President of Tajikistan when there are high-ranking guests visiting the country.
- Park of Rudaki – the monument of I. Somoni, the main square of Dushanbe and the monument of Abu Abdullo Rudaki ( great Tajik and Persian Poet) aside from cool fountains in different colors.
- Modern Water Park – perfect for kids if you travel with family
You can also read reviews on Tripadvisor about the hotel.
Getting around Dushanbe and to and from the hotel is a breeze because, while the hotel staff is obviously more than happy to call you a taxi, you can also simply request one using a local taxi app (not entirely unlike Uber) which takes some of the language barriers out of the equation!
Things to see and do in Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Located right next to the hotel and home to the 165-meter tall national flag, Rudaki Park is home to a collection of ornamental gardens, fountains and various museums.
The perfect place to gain a greater understanding of the country, its people and their history. There are various exhibitions including natural history, the arts, archaeology and even a reconstruction of a 7th Century Buddhist monastery!
National Museum of Antiquities
One of the most impressive exhibits here is the original reclining Buddha which was located in the 7th-century monastery recreated in the National Museum. The museum contains a huge range of original artifacts related to the country and the region as a whole and unlike the National Museum, they are not replicas!
Visit the Local Market
Local markets are always a great way to get to know a little more about a place, its people and how they live, so the central food market is the perfect place to check out, as well as grab some food items for your onward journey (whichever direction that may be)!
Palace of Nations
You would be excused for mistaking the Palace of Nations for a much older building, but the reality is that construction only began in the year 2000 and was completed in 2008. The ornate building is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city.