I travelled around Tajikistan for about one month this August and I had hired a guide and a driver through the Murghab based provider Pamir Guides. They were very well organised and my driver and my guide were really very good. You definitely want a good driver once you get off the Pamir Highway, especially in places like the Bartang Valley. I would definitely recommend Pamir Guides.I also asked Pamir Horse Adventure for a quote for my trip and they also came across as very serious. Both of these answered all my e-mails and promptly and in great detail. According to The Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association (PECTA) both providers are serious and have a good reputation.
The Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association provides an exhaustive list of local tour operators. I would generally choose one of the local providers over a western outfit as they support the local economy and probably have better local connections anyway. Another good site with information and tour providers (including western ones) is Pamirs -The Roof of the World and is, I believe, run by Robert Middleton, one of the authors of the ‘Tajikistan and the High Pamirs’.
The two main books I used to plan my trip to Tajikistan were:
- Bradt’s Guide to Tajikistan by Sophie Ibbotson and Max Lovell-Hoare
- Tajikistan and the High Pamirs by Robert Middleton and Huw Thomas.
The latter book is the ultimate guide to Tajikistan as it provides travel advice and dwells into the history of the country. Unfortunately, it is pretty hefty (about 700 pages) so you are unlikely to take it with you as it adds a substantial amount of weight to your luggage. The Lonely Planet Guide of Central Asia also has a section on Tajikistan but it is very condensed and I did not find it very useful.