The Pamir Highway - Along the Silk Road from Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan
The Pamir Highway known more formally as the M41, is the world's second highest international road. It runs 1250 km from Tajikistans capital Dushanbe to Kyrgyzstans southern town Osh. It is the northern segment of the ancient Silk Road trading route described by Marco Polo already in the 13-th century. This trip takes us to the “Roof of the World”, a remote and fascinating land, spending some nights in remote villages, each village speaking its own different dialect where local traditions have been maintained for centuries.
Day 1: Arrive Dushanbe.
Arrive Dushanbe and transfer to a homestay for some rest. Free day, relax or explore the city on your own.
Day 2: Dushanbe - Kalaikhumb
After breakfast we set off east towards the Pamirs and Kalaikhumb, driving through beautiful landscapes and visiting some villages en route. We cross Khaburabot Pass (3252 m), before arriving in Kalaikhumb. Overnight in local guest house.
Days 3-4: Geisev Valley - Khorog
Drive to Rushan, administrative center of Rushan (Bartang) district. Overnight in homestay and drive on the next day to Geisev valley, crossing Bartang River. Trekking along the river beyond Bhagoo village. After trekking drive to Khorog (90 km) alongside the river Panj, which forms the border with Afghanistan. This is the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). We spend some time exploring Khorog including the bazaar and the lovely Botanical Gardens, perched high above the town. Overnight homestay.
Day 5: Ishkashim
We drive another 50km along the road to our next stop, Ishkashim. Stop at Garmchasma hot springs for a dip in the waters. From here, we enter the Tajik half of the Wakhan Valley (shared with Afghanistan) and pass regional gem mines mentioned by Marco Polo. Overnight in a guest house.
Day 6: Langar
Visit detour to the nearby village of Namadguti to visit the Khahkha Fortress. This impressive structure rises from a naturally formed platform of rock and dates back to the Kushan era of the 3rd century. There are a number of these ancient fortresses in the area, and we also visit Yamchun fort, perhaps the most impressive of them. We take a break at the Bibi Fatima hot springs, named after Prophet Mohammed’s sister and where local women believe they can increase their fertility. Overnight homestay.
Day 7: Murghab
Leave behind the lush valleys of the Wakhan we hit the Pamir Highway with the route between Khorog and Osh completed in 1931 crossing high altitude terrain. After 240 km drive we arrive in Murghab for overnight in homestay.
Day 8: Karakul Lake
We cross the highaltitude pass, Ak-Baital (4655 m) which is the highest section of the road before descending to Karakul Lake (meaning Black Lake), the highest lake in Central Asia (3915 m). The lake is too high for any aquatic life. Overnight homestay.
Day 9: Osh
A long day driving to Osh (420 km), the trip offering some of the most dramatic scenery. We cross the border at Kyzyl Art Pass (4336 m.), with 20 kms of ‘no man’s land’ . Even in August the temperatures may fall below zero. Overnight hotel in Osh.
Day 10: Departure
Transfer to the airport in Osh for departure. You can extend your stay with a roundtrip in Kyrgyzstan.
The price includes: ► 2 nights at hotels in Osh and Khrog in a double room with private facilities incl. breakfast ► 7 nights guesthouses and home stays with all meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner - from breakfast on day 1 to lunch on day 9), rooms with shared facilities ►mineral water (1 L per day per person) ►ticket for Tajik National park and permit ►all transport in a 4WD (Landcruiser or Pajero) ►letter of invitation ►English (very basic) speaking driver
The price doesn not include: ►Insurance ►international flights ►drinks and meals not mentioned in the program ►local English speaking guide (on request) ►tips
Price of extra service: ►single room supplement (only possible at the hotel in Osh): 50 EUR
►Supplement per pers. at 3 pers. sharing a vehicle: 170 EUR (single room supplement is not included if any)
►Supplement per pers. at 2 pers. sharing a vehicle: 500 EUR (single room supplement is not included if any)
Visa: The electronic visa portal «e-Visa» https://www.evisa.tj allows foreign citizens to receive Tajikistan visa and GBAO Permit (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region) online, prior to departure (70 USD to be confirmed upon ordering the visa). After paying the visa fee by credit card and once the application is successful, the applicant will receive an electronic visa, which is to be presented upon crossing the state border of Tajikistan along with the valid travel document and two passport photos.
The citizens of most European countries do not need a visa to Kyrgyzstan.
Practical information: ►Home stays’ facilities in the Pamirs are basic, often not private bathrooms, you can take a bucket shower, (toilets are not en suite and are typical Asian squat-style) ►Tajikistan is safe place, much more than many European countries. However, you can always check the information about the current situation on your Foreign Ministry website ►95% of Tajikistan is mountainous. It is quite normal to feel tired for the first few days in mountain areas. Drink plenty of water. Do not drink tap water.►Because of the altitude, you are exposed to high levels of ultra violet light. Wear a hat and use high factor sun cream. You might suffer of diarrhea and throat infections during the tour. Bring anti diarrhea tablets and broad spectrum antibiotics. Also bring a supply of rehydration salts and strong throat sweets.►Tajikistan is almost completely undeveloped in terms of tourism and has a basic infrastructure outside Dushanbe. During this journey the group will spend time in remote areas without home comforts or easy access to medical facilities. Although a high level of physical fitness is not required, travelers should be comfortable with the realities of a wilderness adventure, and prepared for very basic conditions in the countryside. The roads in the region are rough and often unsealed, with some sections traveling on single-track roads above river valleys. We use 4-WD vehicles and highly experienced drivers, however this itinerary may not be suitable for those who suffer from heights or are nervous passengers! This is truly an adventurous itinerary for the experienced traveler.►Bring USD in cash, credit cards are of very limited use and only in the major cities.
Recommended travel period of the year: May-October
Necessary equipment: dust proof bags, torch, warm hat and warm clothes, sun hat, sun screen, lip balm, long sleeve blouses, thin and thick fleece, waterproof clothing, personal first aid kit, insect repelent, day carry sack , sun glasses, wet wipes
Exploring the nomads land - Kyrgyzstan