Travel the famous Pamir Highway
Highlights of this 19-day tour travelling on the Pamir Highway:
– the impressive nature during the entire trip
– experiencing the Pamir Highway; not only nature but also the different peoples who live along the Highway and their legendary hospitality
– a short impression of Kyrgyzstan
– a unique and safe travel experience in Afghanistan!
We have helped the Dutch edition of the international TV program “The Most Dangerous Roads in the World” in 2017 in organizing their tour across the Pamir Highway.
This trip is without a doubt extreme. That has to do with the state of the roads, on certain parts, the altitude and the distances. The circumstances along the way (accommodations, meals) are also adequate but not luxurious.
From 2022 a visa is not necessary anymore for a visit to Tajikistan for people from many countries!
You can read more about travelling in Tajikistan and in Central Asia here. Including much practical advise.
Day 1, Arrival in Bishkek, Kyrgystan
Transfer to Hotel. Sightseeing. Accommodation in a Bishkek Guest House. (breakfast only).
Your tour travelling on the Pamir Highway starts in the capital of Kyrgyzstan.
Day 2, Flight to Osh
Please note that there are international flights to and from Osh and you may choose to start or finish in Osh, skipping Bishkek.
Transfer to Hotel. Sightseeing. Accommodation in an Osh Guest House. (breakfast only)
Day 3, Osh – Peak Lenin Base Camp
day distance: 262 kms, 3-4 hours (travelling times are inclusive stops on the way)
Today we will drive toward Pamirs and first will visit the Lenin peak base camp for the first overnight and adaptation. If the weather will be clare we will see the Lenin peace from a view point of Alay Valley of Kyrgyzstan.
Accommodation in a Camp/Guest House. (full board)
Day 4, Achik Tash Base Camp – Karakul
day distance: 200 kms, 6-7 hours
Setting off for Karakul, about 100km from Sari Tash, we take the Pamir ‘highway’, a road built in the 1930s in order to link the isolated communities with the rest of the world. Travelling up to the Kizil Art Pass (4336m) we will cross the border and pass through the gateway to the Pamir Plateau, or as Marco Polo called it – ‘The Roof of the World’.
Hidden deep in this expanse of arid landscape is the stunning Karakul Lake, a body of water created millions of years ago by a meteorite and noted as one of the most geologically fascinating places on earth. We’ll have the opportunity for a short walk along the lake to our homestay in Karakul village. The surrounding area offers some spectacular views, which are especially dramatic with the sun setting over the nearby snow-capped mountains. Accommodation in a homestay. (full board)
Day 5, Karakul – Murgab
day distance: 135 kms, 5-6 hours
Leaving Karakul Lake, the road takes us to the Muzkol Valley, and eventually up to the Ak Baital Pass (The White Horse Pass), which at 4,655 meters stands as the highest pass in the former USSR. Views of mountains and glaciers along the way are simply breathtaking. During the journey, we will take a detour to the Shor and Rankul Lakes, where we will stop for a picnic lunch.
Continuing on to Murgab, we will check into a small guesthouse. This quiet town (with the only bazaar of the High Pamir region) is still struggling with its development due to the nearby Russian border guards’ base being closed down, which was the last remaining Soviet influence in the region. The recent opening of the Chinese Qolma Pass, however, has slowly aided the town in its progression. Guesthouse. (full board)
Day 6, Murghab – Yashil Kul Lake
day distance: 238 kms, 7-8 hours
We will continue on to Yashil Kul Lake today and if the weather is clear enough, we’ll head up to the Shorbulak Observatory, from where you can see the Muztag Ata and Kongur Peaks, which are part of the Khun Lun Range.
Following the Alichur Plateau we will come to Yashil Kul Lake, where we will stay in the small hamlet of Bulunkul, either staying in yurts or a small guesthouse. The people living here are Kyrgyz pastoralists living in a harsh but hospitable environment. Our stay here will deepen our understanding of how people have adapted to live in such remote mountainous areas. Home/Yurt Stay. (full board)
Day 7, Yashil Kul Lake – Langa
day distance: 150 kms, 6-7 hours
Continuing south we will pass a number of other interesting salt lakes, before crossing the Khargush Pass, which brings us spectacular views of Afghanistan, with the ice-capped summit of the Wakhan Range ahead of us, and the Pamir River marking the border just a few miles away. There will be plenty of chances to stop for some dramatic photos of this unique view.
Once our passports have been checked through the Kargush army base, we will continue along the Pamir River, from both the High Pamir and the Wakhan Valley, Bartang is dotted with small villages and plots of land are carved out of the mountainsides to provide for the local farmers. Considered to be one of the most beautiful spots in the western Pamirs, the valley is famous for its superb hiking, hospitable villages and local musicians. We will spend the night in Siponji village, historically used as a shelter from neighbouring Afghan slave traders. Accommodation in a guesthouse. (full board)
Day 8, Langar – Ishkashim
day distance: 125 kms, 6-7 hours
After breakfast a short trek to famous Wakhan Corridor Petrogliphs. There are about 6000 petrogliphs from IV-III BC. Picnic lunch on the mountain with amassing view to Wakhan Corridor and Hindukush Range. Drive along the Panj River taking in the cultural change between the Kyrgyz and Pamiri people of the Pamirs.
We will have some stops along the way to look at the old castles that once guarded this branch of the Silk Road, including Yamchun Fort. These are all built quite high up so as to dominate the surrounding valley. This part of the Pamirs is also dotted with a variety of religious sites from Sufi shrines, Buddhist stupas and Zoroastrian Fire Temples. We’ll stay overnight in Yamg village, where you can take a short walk, visit the local shrine or simply relax. Accommodation in a guesthouse. (full board)
Day 9, Ishkashim-Qalai Panja
day distance: 130 kms, 7-8 hours
Entering Afghanistan today for five days!
Today we will drive to Qala Panja (135 kms) with short stops en route for photo sessions. A rough road built by the Soviets takes us into the Wakhan Corridor. There may be some river crossings to negotiate. Picnic lunch at Khandud. Accommodation in guesthouse. (full board)
Day 10, Qalai Panja – Sarhad-e- Broghil
day distance: 120 kms, 6-7 hours
A big drive to the end of the road at Sarhad e-Broghil. With the valley barely 20km wide in places this road is rough and not for the fainthearted and there may be some river crossings to negotiate. The scenery however is truly magnificent and in addition the group will undoubtedly meet many of the local Wakhi and Kyrgyz people. The women are especially noticeable with their bright red scarves and beaded necklaces. Accommodation in a homestay (full board).
Day 11, Stay in Sarhade Wakhan Village
Day of rest and walk around the village to familiarize with the Wakhi people lifestyle. The people leaving here are Pamirian with their own ”Wakhi”
language. This language is also used by the people nearby on the Tajik side of the border and in the North Part of Pakistan, which also has a border with Wakhan Corridor. Mostly the people from in border areas are relatives. The people of Wahan belong to the Ismaili branch of Islam, which differs from Orthodox Islam in many of its customs and traditions. Women here do not cover their faces and are always dressed in bright clothes. But unfortunately the propaganda of the Islamic state of Afghanistan began to leave its imprints on them.
Accommodation in a homestay (full board).
Day 12, Drive back to Qalai Panja
day distance: 120 kms, 5-6 hours
Drive back to Qalai Panja (120 km/5-6 h).Today, on the way back to Kalai Panja, we will see other landscapes of the Wahan Corridor, which we missed on the road to Sarkhad Wahan. The road will always go down and the trip to Kalai Panja will not be tedious.
Accommodation in a guesthouse. (full board)
Day 13, Drive to Sulton Ishkashim
day distance: 130 kms, 6-7 hours
This road, built by Soviet Soldiers, is a way of life for the people of this valley. It is especially important for the Kyrgyz, living at a
distance of six days from the last village, Sarkhad Vakhan, in the Small and Big Pamirs, which are located on the border with China in the east.
Accommodation in a guesthouse. (full board).
Day 14, Cross the Afghan-Tajik border and drive to Khorog
day distance: 128 kms, 4-5 hours
Returning from Afghanistan into Tajikistan.
It should be a pretty smooth journey. Not far from Khorog are the Ruby Mines of Khu i Lal (where Badakhshani rubies were mined as far back as the 14th century).
Khorog is the administrative centre of the Pamir region, dramatically set deep in the valley at the confluence of the Panji and Gunt rivers and boxed in by the mountain peaks. There are a number of places to visit, from the Ethnographical Museum to the surprisingly well stocked Botanical Gardens (one of the highest in the world), and the town is the site of one of Central Asia’s few university campuses. Accommodation in a hotel. (full board)
Day 15, Khorog-Bartang Valley
day distance: 120 kms, 3-5 hours
Leaving Khorog behind us we head east and spend the day exploring in 4x4s and on foot the enchanting Bartang Valley. Very different from both the High Pamir and the Wakhan Valley, Bartang is dotted with small villages and plots of land are carved out of the mountainsides to provide for the local farmers.
Considered to be one of the most beautiful spots in the western Pamirs, the valley is famous for its superb hiking, hospitable villages and local musicians. We will spend the night in Siponji village, historically used as a shelter from neighbouring Afghan slave traders. Accommodation in a guesthouse. (full board)
Day 16, Bartang Valley – Kalai-Khumb
day distance: 260 kms, 6-7 hours
This morning we’ll set out on foot, crossing the river and walking to the next village, where our drivers will meet us. We’ll continue by road to Kalai-Khumb, where we’ll spend the night. Today’s journey takes us so close to Afghani villages just across the river that you’ll be able to wave to each other. Accommodation in a guesthouse. (full board)
Day 17, Kalai-Khumb – Dushanbe
day distance: 370 kms, 8-9 hours
Today we will have a full day’s drive through canyons and farmland to Dushanbe, the capital city. Once we have checked into our hotel and freshened up, we will walk into town for dinner. Accommodation in a hotel. (breakfast & lunch included)
Day 18, Dushanbe
Today we will have all day to explore Tajikistan’s capital, see the sights and maybe pick up some souvenirs. Depending on opening hours, we will visit the impressive Museum of National Antiquities, which houses Asia’s largest statue of Buddha in nirvana (a mighty 13 metres), ancient weapons and portraits of Alexander the Great. Accommodation in a hotel. (breakfast included)
Day 19, Dushanbe, Transfer to Airport
Departure to home. (breakfast included)
Prices upon request.
Included in the offer are:
– all accommodations based on stay in double rooms incl. breakfast, in homestays and in hotels according to program
– all transfers by car/minibus
– services from an English-speaking guide during the entire trip
– entrance tickets for sights and nature parks according to the program
– all lunches & dinners (full board) except in the cities of Bishkek, Osh, Khorog and Dushanbe.
International flights, flight Bishkek-Osh, meals in Bishkek, Osh, Khorog and Dushanbe, early check-ins, visa for Tajikistan and Afghanistan and all other services not mentioned are not included. Finally, we withhold €15 per booking for the Dutch GGTO Guarantee Fund.
|Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pamirs, Afghanistan|