Young Pioneer Tours

A 2024 Guide to Currency in the Stans – Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

This article is a guide for travellers to navigate currency in the Stans. As each of the 5 Stans became independent from the Soviet Union, they joined Afghanistan and Pakistan as Nations with their own official currency. The economic state of each Stan varies from strong and prosperous to very very challenged. When travelling, it can be difficult to remain up-to-date with the exchange rates, value and even the names of the currency. Below is a complete guide to currency in the 7 Stans.


The official currency of Afghanistan is the Afghan Afghani (AFN). The Afghanistan economy is unsurprisingly and unfortunately the worst performing currency in the Stans, but is also one of the worst performing currencies in the world. This is due to a number of converging factors including the limited export value of Afghanistan, sanctions limiting the economic development of Afghanistan and the lack of international investment in Afghanistan. As of 2024, $1 USD is roughly equivalent to 78 AFN.

When travelling to Afghanistan, you can expect to pay up to $30 per day on expenses such as food and other items such as drinks, small purchases and donations. Because of the state of the country, there are no ATMs available. You will have to bring all money (including an emergency kitty) in the form of USD as exchanging money can also be difficult and most foreign currency will not be accepted.

cuurency in the Stans - Afghan Afghani


On the other end of the spectrum, Kazakhstan is the most economically developed of all the Stans. Recent economic prosperity has come from Kazakstan wealth of natural gas resources which have been exported at record rates to Europe after sanctions against Russia lead many states to find alternative suppliers. The official currency of Kazakhstan is the Kazakhstan Tenge.

As of 2024, $1 USD is equivalent to 449 KZT.

Kazakstan has the strongest currency in the Stans and is one of the more pricey countries with many western restaurants and fancy hotels, however there are definitely affordable options for budget travellers. ATMS are widely available and USD can even be withdrawn. There are plenty of currency conversion businesses that can convert regional currency to Tenge or to USD. The exchange rate is relatively stable and cards can be used at many places (even Apple Pay) making it the most convenient of all Stans in terms of currency, money and spending.


The currency of Kyrgyzstan is the Kyrgyzstan Som (KGS). While many places such as large supermarkets, restaurants and hotels can accept card payments, the further out of Bishkek and major cities, cash is more common and card payments become less available. However, many currency convertor offices make converting cash easy and the country is more affordable compared to its northern neighbour. The Som is another currency where black market rates are not needed, however, payment is still dominated by cash rather than card, particularly in rural areas.

In 2024, $1 USD is equivalent to 89 KGS. 


The official currency of Pakistan is the Pakistani Rupee (PKR). ATMS are available in large cities and are international debit and credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants, shops and cafes. As always, carrying cash is I’m portent as local sellers and street vendors will require payment in local currency. Prices differ significantly from larger cities to smaller towns and USD is not as widely accepted as in some other Stans. However, if you bring other foreign currency into the country such as Euro, you should be able to find a decent exchange rate at exchange kiosks throughout larger cities. 

In 2024, $1 USD equals 278 PKR. 

currency in the stans - pakistan


Tajikistan uses their local currency Tajikistan Somoni. ATMs rarely exist in more rural towns such as Penjikent and therefore it is highly recommended to bring USD notes to Tajikistan to be exchanged upon arrival. For a couple of days, $40 – $60 should be exchanged depending on spending habits. 

In 2024, $1 USD is equivalent to 10.9 Tajikistan Somoni. The rate can fluctuate between exchange offices, banks and local currency convertors however the difference is ever so slight. 


As expected, Turkmenistan can be pedantic with currency conversion. You must bring USD into the country to exchange. The Turkmenistan official currency is the Turkmen Manat (TMT). You can exchange money at banks and exchange offices located in Ashgabat or at the airport. Turkmenistan has a varying currency so buying black market rate is a lot more favourable than the official rate of exchange. It is not advised to change local currency by yourself, but do so on the advice of your YPT Tour leader or Local Guide.

Turkmenistan is known for having pedantic elements and bureaucracy so we recommend bringing new, crisp and clean USD notes. Do not bring Euro or other foreign currency. Bring a mix of USD notes as smaller denominations can be handy. Credit and Debit cards will not work in Turkmenistan at all so cash is completely necessary. 

The official rate is $1 USD equals 3.5 TMT, however, on the black market, you will get the more favourable rate of 14 – 17 TMT per USD.

currency in the stans - Turkmenistan


In Uzbekistan cities such as Tashkent and Samarkand, exchanging money is very simple with many exchange counters available. Uzbekistan uses the Uzbek Som. As a general rule in all the Stans, cash is king in Uzbekistan too, however ATMs can be found and used in larger cities. There are certain ATMs which can exchange USD notes for Uzbek Som.

However, if you are happy to do it the old fashioned way, flagging down an independent exchanger in markets, squares and tourist areas is just as effective and quick. Almost everyone will give you a very fair rate and most street vendors can be trusted (however, it is always advised to check the rate online or ask a local if you are not sure).

In 2024, $1 USD is equivalent to 12.5 Uzbek Som. When exchanging money, you are likely to get a rate around 12.4. While cards are increasingly accepted. It is still advised to keep cash as foreign cards may not always work in each store or restaurant.

Final Thoughts on Currency in the Stans

In conclusion, cash is king in terms of currency in the Stans, specifically USD. The default international currency can easily be exchanged for local currency in most larger cities. It is advised always to bring a kitty of emergency money incase ATMs are unavailable or prices differ from expectations.

Would you like to join YPT in the Five Stans? Check out our tour this September!

Are you the adventurous type? Check out our Pakistan and Afghanistan tours.

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