We crossed the border from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan by land. We bought a SIM card in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan which is about an hour from the border.
If you stay in Tajikistan for more than 10 days, you need to register your stay. In our case, today is the first day of our stay in Tajikistan, and we don’t want to register our stay if possible… but if we don’t, the SIM card will expire in 10 days.
Buying a SIM card in Dushanbe
We crossed the border overland from Uzbekistan to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. We went to the Tcel office near our hotel to purchase a SIM card.
It was a small office, but the lady inside spoke good English and was very kind. She explained the SIM card internet plan to us in a very friendly manner.
We bought a 10 GB plan valid for 30 days
Tcel has the best reputation in Tajikistan. They allegedly cover all areas of the country and the salesperson assured us that the internet connection is very good.
There are five plans listed above, but as we are planning to leave Tajikistan within 10 days, we opted for the 10 GB plan, 80 Somoni (SIM card is extra). Payment is by cash only.
Registration of stay in Tajikistan
The reason I wrote ‘we want to leave Tajikistan within 10 days’ is because if you want to stay in Tajikistan for more than 10 days, you need to register your stay in Tajikistan. You are supposed to get this done at your hotel or at a special department called ‘OVIR’, but it costs money. So if you don’t have to do it, don’t!
We were thinking of going out of Tajikistan towards Samarkand in Uzbekistan and re-entering Tajikistan later. In that case we don’t have to register our stay in Tajikistan.
However, the SIM that we bought was originally valid for 30 days, but if we don’t register, it will expire in 10 days. If we register our stay, we can use it within 30 days when we re-enter the country, but if we do not register our stay, we were told that we cannot use it when we re-enter the country.
Internet in Tajikistan
After Dushanbe, we travelled to near Lake Iskanderkul and Panjakent afterwards, but in the mountainous areas, the internet was not working. A lot places are quite internet connection iffy while travelling, so you shouldn’t rely on it too much, especially if you are going to the countryside. However, there is no wifi in those places, so a SIM card might be better than nothing.