Experience the unique Waghan culture on a Tajikistan group tour
Pamir Highway Tour
Experience one of the most beautiful road trips in the world with our spectacular Pamir Highway Tour. Expect impressive scenery, deserted Soviet bus stations and a few lost Lenin statues scattered throughout Tajikistan. For group tours we will follow the Wakhan route. That means we will drive a large part alongside Afghanistan, where you can have a unique view across the border. Our tour starts in Kashgar (China) or in Osh (Kyrgyzstan) and then slowly makes its way towards Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
|Friday 13 September 2024
|Saturday 21 September 2024
|9 days / 8 nights
€ 4,745 (Karakoram Highway Tour Combo)
Transport on the ground
Lunch & dinner outside of Dushanbe
Single room (€ 300)
Pamir Highway Permit (GBAO)
Tips for the guide
Personal expenses, drinks
Friday 13 September – Kashgar (China) – Irkeshtam Pass – Sary-Tash (Kyrgyzstan)
- For those continuing from the Karakoram Highway Tour or starting in Kashgar will start with an early departure towards the China / Kyrgyzstan border at Irkeshtam.
- After the border we meet our new guide.
- Participants who want to skip China leave in the morning, together with our local guide, from Osh (Kyrgyzstan) to Sary-Tash. The price is for both options the same.
- Drive to Sary-Tash, a small town in the south of Kyrgyzstan.
- If there is time we go for a walk through this remote village.
- Overnight stay in Sary-Tash.
Saturday 14 September – Sary-Tash – Lake Karakul (Tajikistan) – Murghab
- Early rise and shine for our drive to the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.
- Upon leaving the village we see (with nice weather) the Lenin Peak (7134m).
- See in the distance the remains of buildings from the Soviet era, as the area is far away from anything most remains are just left here.
- Border crossing between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
- Highlight: After the border crossing we drive towards Lake Karakul via the Ak-Baital Pass (4644m). This section is the highest section of the Pamir Highway.
- Short stop at Lake Karakul to stretch our legs. As the lake is on a high altitude no fish can actually live in the lake.
- We continue towards Murgab, a village that feels like the (almost) end of the world.
- We take a short walking tour around the village, passing by a big Lenin Statue and the traditional local market.
- Overnight stay in Murghab.
Sunday 15 September – Murghab – Langar
- We continue on the Pamir Highway. Today we leave behind the rocky, mostly barren landscape of the motorway route of the Pamir Highway and we enter the lush valleys of the Wakhan Valley. We return to the Pamir Highway in a few days for the route to Khorog / Dushanbe.
- The Wakhan Valley is one of the wildest landscapes on our planet. It is 210 kilometers long and between 20 kilometers and 60 kilometers wide valley splitting the Pamir Mountains from the Hindu Kush and named after Wakhi people who inhabit the area. Most people who take the Pamir Highway take this route, as it’s the most scenic part of the area.
- Short stop at Yashil Kul (the green lake) and Bulung Kul.
- Photo opportunity of the point where the Pamir Highway and Wakhan Route meet.
- We cross the Khargush Pass (4,344m) and travel further southwards.
- Highlight: On the left you see one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan, the Wakhan Corridor.
- Overnight stay at a guest house in Langar, located at the end of the Wakhan Valley and is the point where the Wakhan and Pamir rivers combine to make the Pyanj. The village is set deep within the gorge, where steep, rocky slopes surround the verdant green valley.
Monday 16 September – Langar – Vrang – Ishkashim
- Drive to Vrang. We continue on the Afghan route of the Pamir Highway. The journey runs alongside the Panj river and across it lies Afghanistan.
- Stop at a few old caves where Buddhists used to live.
- Drop by Sufi Muborak-Kadam Museum, about a famous Sufi scholar who created a solar calendar.
- Highlight: Khahkha Fort which gives a great view over the border with Afghanistan. It’s one of the ancient sights of Pamir and the Wakhan corridor. It was built on a huge natural cliff over the Panj River. This fortress had been serving as a defense construction from the 2nd century B.C up to the 7th century A.D and is one of the oldest fortresses in Wakhan valley.
- Highlight: Bibi Fatima natural hot springs, named for the Prophet Mohammed’s sister and where local women believe they can increase their fertility.
- Yamchun Fort, an old fort that served to protect the Pamir route, built on the top of the cliff overlooking the valley. It is thought to have been a greatest defense fortification in the ancient Wakhan.
- Overnight stay in Ishkashim.
Tuesday 17 September – Ishkashim – Khorog
- We continue along the Wakhan Corridor.
- Highlight: You’ll see the strong contrast with life across the river. While Tajikistan is not a well developed country, life in Afghanistan is a lot harder.
- Arrival in Khorog, one of the poorest areas of Tajikistan, but it used to be very important in the Soviet Union times.
- Overnight stay in Khorog, the capital of Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO).
Wednesday 18 September – Khorog – Kalaikhumb
- Drive to Kalaikhumb.
- Highlight: We reach the Kotezek Pass at (4,272m) on a potholed route of lunar-like, high-altitude desert scenery.
- The highway wasn’t a road as we now see it, but just a trail suitable only for packed animals or people. The highway was built much later by Soviet engineers exploding granite walls, breaking thru the rocks and by building the bridges over the Pyanj side feeders. It was complicated as the road could only go by the right side of Pyanj river as the left one belong to Afghanistan.
- Overnight stay in a guesthouse in Kalaikhumb. “Fortress on the banks of the river of Khumb” in Arabic, Qal’ai Khumb sits at the meeting point between the Pamir Pass and the Panj River right in the very south of Tajikistan. Across the river, which acts as a border, you can see into Afghanistan from the town.
Thursday 19 September – Kalaikhumb – Dushanbe
- We start our road trip west departing the Pamirs and Kalaikhumb.
- We take the scenic route via Kulyab (also called Kulob), which traverses the lower Shurabad Pass (2,200m) and follows the Afghan border along the Panj river gorge, driving through beautiful scenery and interesting village’s en route.
- We stop for photos along the seven-hour winding journey through the Kulyab region.
- Highlight: Short visit to the partly restored Hulbuk fortress. This medieval citadel once guarded the western entrance of the Pamir Highway.
- Stop at the monument in memory of the attack on cyclists in 2018.
- Arrival in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
- Overnight stay in Dushanbe.
Friday 20 September – Dushanbe
- See The famous botanical garden of Dushanbe.
- Highlight: Victory Park & Victory Square, set up on a hill the park has an impressive World War 2 memorial & provides a beautiful view over the city.
- Rudaki Street, Central Park and the Somoni monument, the most important place in Dushanbe. It was Ismail Somoni that united the Samanid states in 892. His empire ruled over what is nowadays Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- Nowruz palace, the largest teahouse in the world.
- Dushanbe’s flagpole, which was built for the 20th anniversary of Tajik independence in 2011. For 3 years it was the tallest freestanding flagpole in the world with 165m.
- We visit the Ismaili Centre, a cultural centre and praying house for the local Shia Ismaili minority.
- Final group dinner and Dushanbe nightlife, hopefully finding the local beer ‘Sim Sim’.
- Overnight stay in Dushanbe.
Saturday 21 September – Dushanbe
- End of the Pamir Highway group tour. Departure at your own convenience.