Tajikistan: Pamir Highway Adventure

12 Days, from AU $3,532

The Pamir Highway is undoubtedly one of the world’s most stunning roads and yet few Westerners have ever travelled its length, lying as it does in a rarely visited and remote part of Central Asia. It begins, as does our journey, in the ancient city of Osh (Kyrgyzstan) the head of the fertile Fergana Valley and then winds its way slowly southwards towards the mighty Pamir range, which form part of the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Following this road for the most part, we will stay in the shadow of the epic Peak Lenin (7134m) before heading up into the High Pamir, from where we will head due south through Murgab and down alongside the Afghan border on the Wakhan Corridor, before swinging north through Khorog to Dushanbe.

 

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Fly into the second biggest city in Kyrgyzstan, Osh to commence your trip.

Osh in the Fergana Valley remains the country’s breadbasket and one of the delights of reaching Uzbekistan for us has been the mass of fresh fruit and vegetables that are sold in every market and most street corners. Osh is often referred to as the capital of the south. Osh is actually one of the real ancient towns dating back to the 5th century BC.

Day 2: Osh

On day 2 you will explore the excellent Sunday Jayma bazaar. The huge oriental market stretches for kilometers along the western Ak-Bura riverside and is the best preserved ancient markets in Central Asia. Traders not only from all over Kyrgyzstan, but also from China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan come in flocks there.

Day 3: Murgab, Tajikistan

Today we will drive via Sary Tash close to the base of Lenin Pik (7,134m). Moving on we cross the Kizil Art Pass into Tajikistan, travelling the Pamir Highway along "the roof of the world. The views of mountains and glaciers along the way are breath-taking as the road takes us to the Ak-Baital Pass (The White Horse Pass 4655 m) – which is the highest pass in the former USSR, Travelling on we pass the Lake Karakul we reach the large but very remote town of Murgab (3,618m).

Day 4: Murgab

On day 4 we venture into the spectacular Madiyan Valley that is home to some of the most impressive scenery anywhere in the region. Return to Murgab where you’ll have free time to explore the town. Be sure to visit the Yak House in town that supports local Pamiri women. Of the traditional Pamiri and Kyrgyz crafts sold here, the most impressive are pure-woollen shoulder-bags and colourful felt shyrdak squares. The shop is within the beautifully designed, circular Murgab House, symbolically incorporating architectural elements from both Kyrgyz yurts and Pamiri houses.

The Pamir Highway, built by the Soviets in 1931-1934 to facilitate troop transport into the remote region. It was off-limits to travellers until recently and its still a pretty remote road mostly used by Chinese trucks.

Our two nights here are spent in a family run homestay.

Day 5: Langar

We travel to another seriously remote area today, stopping at a yurt camp for lunch with the local nomads. We stay the night in a small hamlet near Yashil Kul Lake, where people have had to learn to live in a harsh environment.

Today we travel stop at the remarkably holy Ak-Balyk (White Fish) spring near in Alichur for a fish lunch, visit the turquoise Yashil Kul Lake (3,734m), marvel at the moonscape that surrounds Bulunkul before traversing the Khargush (4,344m) and Nayza-Tash (4,137m) passes to Langar.

Upon arrival we visit the nearby petroglyphs where more than 600 rock carvings made by prehistoric people lying under the open sky in that area. In Langar we look out for a unique view of Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush Mountain range in Pakistan. Some of the peaks in this range are over 7,600 metres in height.

We spend the night in a family run homestay.

Day 6: Ishkashim

Today we drive along the Afghan border from Langar to Ishkashim. En route we visit the Buddhist Stupa in Vrang, the ruins of Yamchun Fortress, the sacred hot springs of Bibi Fatima Zahra and the old fortress of Kah-Kaha in Namadgut.

We arrive in Ishkashim in the late afternoon and settle into our family run homestay.

Ishkashim is a small town at the mouth of the Wakhan corridor, where the 19th century Great Game ended. Continue up the north side of the river with amazing views of the Pamirs to the left and the Hindu Kush to the right; a number of peaks in view are above 6,000 m.

Day 7: Ishkashim Saturday Afghan Market and Khorog

Day 8 is Saturday morning which is when the weekly border Tajik-Afghan market on the Afghan side is hosted. Traders from the northern part of Afghanistan fill the market with their wares in a frantic and colourful few hours. It is very safe to visit this market. An Afghan visa is not required to cross to the market.

The market operates from 8am until 11am and after lunch we visit the famous mineral hot spring Garam Chashma and ruby mines of Kuhi Lal in Khorog before reaching Khorog. Khorog is a small mountain valley town, the capital of the autonomous Gorno-Badakhshan region. The city lies 2000 m above the sea level, strung out irregularly along the slopes of both sides of the dashing Gunt River.

We spend the night in a travellers guesthouse.

Day 8: Bartang Valley

We leave Khorog and drive into the spectacular Bartang Valley today. Exploring in 4x4s and on foot this valley is dotted with villages and famous for hiking and is a perfect place to unwind.

We spend the night in a family run homestay.

Day 9: Kalai Khum

This morning we'll head out of the village on foot along the river, before driving on to Kalai-Khum. You may notice more conservative attitudes of local dressing style and beards, but the hospitality is just as welcoming. We travel along the Panj River the marks the Afghan/Tajik border to Kalai-Khumb.

We spend the night in a family run homestay.

Day 10: Dushanbe

Leaving Kalai Khum we pass over the Khaburabad mountain pass and meet highway M41 (its more like a rugged dirt track!) via Tavildara to Dushanbe.

Day 11: Dushanbe

On day 11 we’ll explore the city taking in the Tajikistan National Museum of Antiquities where the famous statue of Buddha in Nirvana is preserved, the botanical gardens, where locals love spending leisure and to local bazaar. Drive out of the city (30 km) to the remains of Hissar Fortress. Visit two local madrasas and a mausoleum.

Our 2 nights in Dushanbe is in a 3 star hotel.

Day 12: Dushanbe

Day 12 here is departure day. There are no activities planned and you may depart at any time. Hotel check out is at 11am.

Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Standard:from AU $3,532

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information

Accommodation:

Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.

Inclusions:
  • All breakfasts at your hotel, homestays or gueshouses each morning.
  • All airport transfers.
  • All Internal airfares and transport on tour.
  • All itinerary attractions including fees or permits.
  • Professional tour guides for all airport pickups, day tours and activities.
  • 7 dinners are included in this trip to avoid a lack of options on these days. We do not include dinner where it is practical for you to make your own choices, as we find that GetAboutAsia customers prefer the freedom of eating what they want, which is one the of joys of travelling.
Notes:

Set group departures for 2015: July 4 to 15 & August 15 to 26. Maximum group size: 12 persons. Private trips can be operated on any day of the year.

Visas for Tajikistan

All nationalities require a visa and a Letter of Invitation for Tajikistan and the Pamir Highway. Please contact Get About Asia in order to apply.

Money in Tajikistan

Your ATM, Visa or Mastercard will work in Tajikistan but only in Khorog (day 7 of the trip) and Dushanbe (day 10 of the trip) but please bring USD to change into Tajik Som for days 3-7 of the trip.

Some ATMs in Khorog and Dushanbe have been known to not dispense local currency.

Please bring cash in US dollars (100s, 50s, 20s) with you to change into the local currency. You will use this local currency while in the country.

The notes should be crisp and perfect with no folds or marks and should be no older than 2006.

 

Price Dependent:

Availability and the price of our hotels vary from season to season.

Trip Information

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