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.
|Start date||26 August 2023|
|End date||3 September 2023|
|Days||9 days / 8 nights|
Transportation on the ground
Western & local guide
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Single room (€ 400)
Pamir Highway Permit (GBAO)
Tips for the guide
Saturday 26 August – Dushanbe
- Arrival in Dushanbe with airport pick-up.
- At 11.00AM, we’ll start the Pamir Highway Tour with a city tour of Dushanbe.
- Victory Square with the Victory Tank Monument, in memory of the Second World War.
- The famous botanical garden of Dushanbe.
- Highlight: Victory Park, 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.
- Overnight stay in Dushanbe.
Sunday 27 August – Dushanbe – (via Kulyab) – Kalaikhumb
- We start our road trip east towards the Pamirs and Kalaikhumb.
- Stop at the monument in memory of the attack on cyclists in 2018.
- We take the scenic route via Kulyab (also called Kulob), which traverses the lower Shurabad Pass (2,200m) and then follow 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.
- 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.
Monday 28 August – Kalaikhumb – Emts Village (Bartang Valley)
- We continue our epic adventure following the Pamir Highway until we reach the turn for Geisev, through the Bartang Valley.
- The journey runs alongside the Panj river and across it lies Afghanistan.
- Reaching the turn off to the Bartang Valley, 30 km of spectacular terrain lies ahead of us before we reach our overnight stay in a local homestay in Emts village (also called Yemts or Emtz).
- We can explore this isolated area, how they are keeping farming and their Pamir culture.
- Overnight stay in a homestay in Emts Village.
Tuesday 29 August – Emts Village – Khorog
- After a local Pamiri breakfast, the cars drop us off further up at the Bartang river, where we start the hike by crossing the river via a wire suspension bridge.
- Highlight: Today we’ll go for one of the best hikes in the country, Jizeu Trek (pronounced gee-sao, seen spelled Geisev, Jisev…). A mountain village only accessible by foot.
- The hike is a slowly ascending 8km trek in the Giver Valley. We gain 500m elevation during the hike which takes 2-3h in each direction.
- Highlight: Along the way we see incredible landscapes with 3 crystal clear, beautiful lakes reflecting a mirror of the Pamiri sky.
- Lunch in Jizeu village with time to explore the village.
- We hike back down to Bartang river to meet the cars before driving to Khorog.
- Overnight stay in Khorog, the capital of Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO).
Wednesday 30 August – Khorog – via Wakhan Valley – Langar
- We start today’s trip with a visit to the Garmchasma hot springs. The spring reaches temperatures as high as 50–75 °C with the pools filled with hot turquoise water that contains iron, aluminium, magnesium, strontium, fluorine and other elements.
- 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.
- Drop by Sufi Muborak-Kadam Museum, about a famous Sufi scholar who created a solar calendar.
- We leave the M41 motorway (Pamir Highway) and enter the Wakhan Valley, 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.
- 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.
- Highlight: Bibi Fatima natural hot springs, named for the Prophet Mohammed’s sister and where local women believe they can increase their fertility.
- Highlight: On the right you see one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan, the Wakhan Valley (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.
Thursday 31 August – Langar – Khorog
- This morning we set off northwards towards the Kargushi Pass (4,344m) on a six to seven hour journey.
- Today we leave behind the lush valleys of the Wakhan Valley and enter a landscape that is rocky, mostly barren but nevertheless dramatic. We return to the Pamir Highway and take the central route back to Khorog. The route between Khorog and Osh was completed in 1931 across a Tibetan-plateau style high altitude terrain.
- Photo opportunity of the point where the Pamir Highway and Wakhan Route meet.
- Highlight: We reach the Kotezek Pass at (4,272m) on a potholed route of lunar-like, high-altitude desert scenery.
- Overnight stay in Khorog, a small town on the Afghan-Tajik border, where you can unwind and enjoy a relaxing night.
Friday 1 September – Khorog – Kalaikhumb
- Today we take the same way back towards Kalaikumb on a six-hour road trip.
- 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.
- 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 Kalaikumb guest house.
Saturday 2 September – Kalaikhumb – Dushanbe
- After breakfast we take the final seven-hour stretch of our tour back towards Dushanbe.
- We’ll say goodbye to Afghanistan and take the main road towards Dushanbe.
- Lunch and tea stops along the way for a last chance to sample some authentic dishes.
- Final group dinner and Dushanbe nightlife, hopefully finding the local beer ‘Sim Sim’.
- Overnight stay in Dushanbe.
Sunday 3 September – Dushanbe
- End of the Tajikistan group tour.