Day 89 (2): The most impossible to find hostel in the world

Dushanbe Travel Blog

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Presidential palace

Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Tim & Wim (Belgium)


We arrived in Dushanbe at sunset. We had picked a hostel from the Lonely Planet and once again I marvelled at how useless the Central Asia guide is. The hostel was marked incorrectly on the map and instructions on how to get there only made sense AFTER we had found it.

Fortunately the people who live in the area are quite used to tourists getting lost here, so they kindly pointed us into the direction of the Adventurer's Inn. It was a nice hostel, with a small camp ground, several private rooms (no dorms) and a communal area with Wi-Fi. Good for some much-needed blog updates.

The price on the other hand, was not as nice.

The Adventurer's Inn
20 bucks per person for a room. And that is with shared shower and toilet. That is twice what I paid in Uzbekistan for a room with private facilities (and TV and A/C!). But what was the alternative? Sleeping in the car in the street didn't exactly seem an option in this city. I figured that since last night had been free the 20 bucks fitted in the budget and took the room, while Tim and Wim slept in the car, parked within the compound, paying the 'camping' tariff of $10. So basically they paid 10 bucks for breakfast and a shower. What a rip off.

The staff at the hostel explained the high prices by telling us that Tajikistan is a very poor country. Erm, yeah, so because it is a poor country, the prices are high? That doesn't make any sense. If it would work like that, then why aren't Norway or Japan bargain destinations?
He explained to me that Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have issues and that the borders are closed for trade.
At Keller's restaurant
Now with the issues with Kyrgyzstan in the north, and Afghanistan in the south, the only neighbour Tajikistan can trade with is China. So all goods have to be imported from China and be shipped over the Pamir mountains to Dushanbe - a trip which takes a minimum of five days for a truck.

So that makes life expensive and therefore tourism (pretty much the only source of income for Tajikistan) is exploited as much as possible. Hmm... I still didn't agree with it.

We had dinner at Keller's restaurant. A place with good (read: big) meat dishes and excellent German-style micro-brewed beer. We discussed the plans for the next days. I had planned to stay in Dushanbe for a day or two and then find onwards transportation to the city of Khorog, probably in the form of an organised tour.
The crazy taxi we took back to the hostel

Tim and Wim were a bit more in a hurry. They wanted to travel along the Pamir Highway all the way to Murghab, near the Kyrgyz border, but given the recent problems in that country they wanted to have the option to turn back to Dushanbe again and leave via Uzbekistan. And since they only had a 15 day permit for the car, and needed at least 4 days to drive from Murghab to the Uzbek border, they only had 9 more days left to reach Murghab.

I really liked travelling with these guys though. They're really nice guys and we got along very well. And I loved the freedom travelling by car gave. So I asked them if they'd mind me tagging along until the city of Khorog, from where it would be easier for me to book a tour or transportation into the Pamirs. Fortunately for me they welcomed my company and agreed to take me along for another three days.

So this meant we wouldn't have any time to visit Dushanbe, but after the relatively disappointing visit to Tashkent I couldn't really be bothered. I mean, we were in a mountain country now, no need to linger in Soviet cities any more!

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Presidential palace
Presidential palace
The Adventurers Inn
The Adventurer's Inn
At Kellers restaurant
At Keller's restaurant
The crazy taxi we took back to the…
The crazy taxi we took back to th…
Dushanbe
Dushanbe
Dushanbe
Dushanbe
Leaving Dushanbe
Leaving Dushanbe
My wonderfully branded Tajik deodo…
My wonderfully branded Tajik deod…
Dushanbe Hostels review
The most impossible to find hostel in the world
This is a decent, but expensive, choice in a quiet residential area in northern Dushanbe, just behind the Varzob bazaar. Rooms come with a fan and… read entire review
Dushanbe
photo by: AndySD