Where the Pamirs meet the Hindu Kush - Tajikistan and Afghanistan

Where the Pamirs meet the Hindu Kush - Tajikistan and Afghanistan

Badakhshan is one of the less known areas of Pamir/Hindu Kush located among exotic landscapes of snow-covered peaks, high-mountain lakes and rivers, inhabited by mountain communities living in settlements preserving century-old traditions and customs. Left largely untouched by the ravages of the Soviet occupation and the Taliban the Afghan part of the province is often described as an "island of sanity in a sea of madness", and offers a unique opportunity for travelers to experience a country mostly associated with permanent political deadlock, corruption and violent conflicts. The diverse cultural background of Badakhshan is derived from the many great powers that have ruled the region, such as the Turks, Arabs, Uzbeks and the Soviet Union in its recent past. As a stopover on the ancient Silk Road trading path, China has also shown great interest in the province after the fall of the Taliban, helping to reconstruct roads and infrastructure. This 10-day itinerary is designed to reveal both parts of Badakhshan – the Afghan and the Tajik part of GBAO, offering a pioneering adventure in one least explored parts in Central Asia. On this tour we cover almost 800 km of the legendary M-41 - Pamir Highway, the northern segment of the ancient Silk Road trading route described by Marco Polo already in the 13-th century.

HIghlights:
♦ Pamir Highway - one of the highest highways in the world;
Gorno-Badakhshan Region - an autonomous region in eastern Tajikistan; 
♦ Garmchashma - one of the highest ssttlements in the Hindu Kush ranges, famous for its mineral water springs.


Itinerary:

Day 1. Dushanbe
Arrive Dushanbe. The relatively modern town of Dushanbe only became important during the Soviet era, when it was made the capital of the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and given the unfortunate name of Stalinabad – something that was quickly changed after Stalin’s death. Its name means ‘Monday’ in the Tajik language. Pickup from the airport and transfer to our hotel for overnight. -/-/D

Day 2. Dushanbe - Kalaikhumb (370 km/7 hours)
Walking tour in Dushanbes green bazar and Ismaili Somoni Park before we head east along the M-41 into the Pamir Mountains driving over the Sagirdasht Pass. Arrive Kalaikhumb late in the afternoon. Hotel overnight. B/L/D

Day 3. Kalaikhumb - Khorog (240 km/7 hours)
Continue to Khorog, capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. From Kalaikhumb the road follows the river Panj, which forms Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan. Short siteseeing tour in Khorog visiting the park and the botanical garden. Overnight hotel. B/L/D

Day 4. Khorog - Tem-Demogan bridge - Sanoorg village (Afghanistan)
After getting our Afghanistan visa we walk across the Tem-Demogan Bridge over Panj river, the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. After 30 min drive we reach the first village in Afghanistan. We visit local bazaar, Aga Khan Hospital, handicrafts market. Homestay in Sanoorg. B/L/D

Day 5. Sanoorg - Yorkh
Badakhshan population on both sides of Panj river are Ismaili muslims, generally known as the Ismailis, belonging to the Shia branch of Islam - the only Shia Muslims to have a living, hereditary imam. The road along the Afghan part of the river is almost non existing. We pass several villages like Dishor, Sudul, Pojwar and after ca. 6 hours drive we reach the Yorkh lake where we stay overnight in the village bearing the same name. B/L/D

Day 6. Yorkh - Sanoorg
On the way back to Sanoorg we explore some of the villages on our way on foot. Lunch with a local family. Overnight in village house in Sanoorg. B/L/D

Day 7. Khorog - Garmchashma
After passing the passport and customs formalities we walk back to the Tajik border crossing the Tem-Demogan bridge. Lunch in Khorog and drive for another 45 km south to the spa village Garmchashma. The mineral water springs are at least several thousand years old and by now exist as a huge travertine mound going in cascades down to the river. We spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the hot pools of Garmchashma (+45C). Overnight in a local sanatorium. B/L/D

Day 8. Garmchashma - Ishkashim - Langar
Today our trip continues along the Panj river to the south for another 60 km. We stop for lunch in the district center of Ishkashim. Then we head east along the Wakhan Valley with the mighty Hindu Kush on the south and after another 110 km we reach Langar where we overnight. Before that we make a short stop at the remains of Kahkah and the Yamchun fortresses. B/L/D

Day 9. Langar - Pamir Highway - Bulunkul - Khorog
Drive to Pamir Highway via Kargush Pass (4330 m), visiting lake Yashikul and Bulunkul village, nested in the middle of a mountain desert at an altitude of 3730 m, where we stop for lunch. From Bulunkul we drive back the15 km to M-41 and after six more hours (180 km) we arrive in Khorog. Hotel overnight. B/L/D

Day 10-11. Khorog - Kalaikhumb - Dushanbe
Our journey along the Pamir highway continues the same way back to Kalaikhum where we spend the night and on the foolowing day we arrive in Dushanbe in the early afternoon. Free time for shopping and for exploring the city. Hotel in Kalaikhumb and Dushanbe. B/L/D, B/L/-

Day 12. Departure
Transfer to Dushanbe airport for departure.


Price Includes:
7 nights hotels in Dushanbe
Khorog,Kailakhumb and Garmchashma,rooms with en-suite facilities
4 nights in village houses
dorms sharing shower/toilet
all meals outside Dushanbe as per itinerary
all transport and airport transfers
English-speaking local guide
GBAO permit
Afghanistan visa

Not Included:
flight tickets
tips
insurances
drinks and meals not mentioned
personal expenses
visa to Tadjikistan - double entry,electronic visa to Tadjikistan is available,information will be sent upon booking the tour


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Where the Pamirs meet the Hindu Kush - Tajikistan and Afghanistan (Rated 4.73 / 5 Based on 384 Reviews.)
Group Size
4-7
Reservation System Code
Afghanistan
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