The Pamir Mountains have long been known as ‘The Roof Of The World’, a region of utterly breathtaking scenery and home to a fascinating mélange of cultures. Follow in the footsteps of ancient traders and pilgrims, and Victorian explorers in discovering a region largely isolated from the world beyond, a land where each village speaks its own different dialect and local traditions have been maintained for centuries. Traversing the legendary Pamir Highway, this trip starts in the Kyrgyzstan capital city Bishkek but quickly leaves the modern world behind as you wind your way along difficult mountain roads and high passes, in the shadow of some of the highest mountains on our planet. We visit ruined forts from the days of the old Silk Road, and pass gem mines mentioned by Marco Polo. Spending many nights in home stays in small communities, we are able to gain a great insight into what it means to live in this harsh but majestic region. This trip ventures to a remote and enchanting land that has remained hidden to the rest of the world, a land of towering peaks, turbulent rivers and fascinating people. Travel with us on one of the most amazing journeys you are ever likely to make.
Day 1: Bishkek
Your driver will pick you up at Manas International Airport and accompany you to the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, just a 30-minute drive from the airport. The first half of the day is dedicated to a guided tour of Bishkek. It includes visiting Pobeda Square (Victory Square), Duboviy Park (Oak Park), Central Ala-Too Square, Old Square, National Philharmonic, and many others places of interest
Overnight at the hotel “Rich Hotel or similar”. Meals: 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner.
Day 2: Bishkek to Chichkan
Continue our trip to Suusamyr valley to the Chichkan gorge. Time permitting, spend some time with opportunities to take hikes, ride horses or simply meet the local shepherds who still adhere to age old traditions. Communicating with local shepherds who still keep customs and the way of life of their ancestors.
Overnight Motel Ak Ilbirs or Oson or similar. Meals: 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner.
Day 3: Chichkan to Arstanbap
After breakfast depart to Arstanbap. The Arstanbap Valley which is near the Dashman Forest Reserve where there is a largest walnut forest in the world. Arstanbap is a unique creation of nature and is situated at 1,600 meters above sea level. The main treasure of the southern forests is the walnut tree. Walnut trees can live up to 1,000 years, can reach enormous sizes, and they produce an abundance of walnuts. Muslims consider the picturesque fruit forests to be sacred. According to legend, in the ancient times there lived an extremely hardworking man called Arstanbap, who served the prophet Muhammad (S.A.S). All those who visit the forest can take away with them a bit of its paradise.
Overnight at a local family run guest house. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 4: Arstanbap to Osh
Early in the morning leave from Arstanbap to Osh. Before arriving in Osh we suggest going on excursion in the ancient minaret and mausoleums in Uzghen town (60 km from Osh). Uzghen was one of the capitals of Karakhanid State, occupied vast areas in Central Asia in 10-12 centuries AD. Islam became state religion in this khanate in Central Asia that is why minaret and mausoleums of governors were situated in the very citadel (center) of the city.
Overnight in Hotel Sun Rise. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Osh is ancient – various sources date it back around 2500 years, and legends abound over who founded it, including Alexander the Great and King Solomon. On the edge of the Ferghana Valley it is home to both Uzbek and Kyrgyz people, with its position on the border giving rise to an extremely lively market, one of the most interesting in Central Asia. The rock known as Solomon’s Throne is an reconstructed, with excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Osh is also home to the largest mosque in Kyrgyzstan, and is one of the few places in the former Soviet Union still to have a statue of Lenin.
Day 5. Osh to Sary Mogul
Today we drive from Osh to Sary Moogul village, via beautiful Alay ranges and over the Taldyk Pass (3615m). We will stop for a lunch in between. Once we pass the village of Sary Tash, the natural scenery of Pamir Alay range is spectacular. You could even see, we will arrive Kyrgyz nomadic village near the lake Tulpar Kul,the village is close to see Lenin Peak (7134m).
Overnight in Nomadic yurt stay. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 6. Tulpar Kul to Lenin peak (Horse riding)
Today in the morning we will start with horse our adventure to see the Lenin Peak more closely, These open valleys are beautiful. There many nomadic herders living in the lower plans of the peak Lenin.
Overnight in Tent camp. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 7. Lenin peak – Kashka Suu – Sary Mogul (Horse riding)
After the breakfast we start to ride from near the Lenin peak to Kashka Suu village, Then our adventure and nomadic horse riding will be end, Our cars will meet you from Kashka Suu then we will drive to Sary Mogul village, You may drink Kyrgyz traditional Kumyz, (fermented horse milk). Local herders consume as local alcohol.
Overnight in Home Stay. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 8 – Sary Mogul to Kara Kul
Today we will start our trip to Karakul. Our first step the High Pamir, we depart the high mountains of the Pamir-Alay range, leaving behind us the cross roads of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. This drive will see us enjoying some of the most dramatic scenery of the trip, with the lunar-like landscapes and bright blue lakes providing plenty of opportunities to take our breath away. Kara kul means “black lake” but in spring, summer and autumn the water are almost always turquoise blue. Karakul lake spread its waters in Markansu valley – one of the most driest place in Central Asia. Surrounded by high mountains which block humid air masses the valley has less than 30 mm of precipitation a year which is 3 times less than in Karakoram desert. Fluctuation of temperatures is a usual thing for desserts and in Karakul lake they are just incredible. Tonight you will sleep on Asian style bedding on the mattresses and blankets on the floor in a few rooms of a Pamiri House with shared bathroom facilities
Overnight at Home stay (Saadat). Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 9 – Kara Kul to Murghab (135 km, 3/4 hours altitude 3650 mh)
This small town bestrides the Murghab River at an altitude of 3,650 m. Younghusband visited it in 1890 and wrote “It is a dreary, desolate spot… with a certain amount of grassy pasture and a few scrubby bushes by the river, but surrounded by barren hills, and bitterly cold. How these Russian soldiers can support existence there is a marvel…shut up in dreary quarters, with nothing whatever to do – week after week, month after month passing by in dull monotony….” Over a century later, nothing much has changed. We anticipate arriving in Murghab in Lunch time. Murghab (3670 m) itself has few attractions, but it will serve as our base for a one night as we explore the area a little. The 7546 m – high Chinese peak of Muztag Ata is visible to the northeast of town, 110 km away in a direct line.
Overnight in Home stay Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 10 – Murghab to Langar (240 km, 6/7 hours altitude 2882mh)
Today we will drive at Langar via the Kargushi Pass (4344 meters). On this journey we leave behind the lush valleys of the M41 and enter to Wakhan Valley landscape that is rocky, mostly barren but nevertheless dramatic. This is the Pamir Highway we have anticipated, with the route between Khorog and Osh completed in 1931 across a Tibetan-plateau style high altitude terrain.
Overnight in Home stay Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
The Wakhan Valley (also pronounced Vakhan) is a majestic alpine valley in the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan and Tajikistan (the “Wakhan Corridor” refers to the part of the valley in Afghanistan). It is located in the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia. Its upper reaches consist of two wide, hilly plains surrounded by alpine peaks, beginning near the Chinese border in one of the most remote regions of the world. Further down, where the Pamir and Wakhan rivers join to form the Pyanj River, the valley narrows, finally becoming a severe canyon with roaring river rapids at its end in Ishkashem. Its muddy rivers are fed by water from huge glaciers on some of the highest mountains on the planet, fantastic views of which are visible throughout the area.
Day 11 – Langar to Ishkashim (110 km, 6/7 hours altitude 2665 mh)
Driving along wakhan valley and 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. number of stops will be made throughout the day. Drive to Vrang a stroll through the village will bring you to a number of caves dug by Buddhists who inhabited the area at one time. In addition there the remains of a number of fire – worshipping platforms and Buddha stuper. At Yamg, visit a quirky museum of Sufi Muborak-Kadam, a local Sufi scholar. After short driving you will be to see the Kakhka kala Fortress which dates from the 3rd C. Yamchun fortress or Zulkumor Fort is located on ridge overlooking the valley and river below. Further up the hillside there are the hot springs at Bibi Fatima. The water at Bibi Fatima is crystal clear. It is possible to take a natural stream bath in a rocky cave.
Your next stop will be at the Abrashim Fortress. It was built to guard this branch of the Silk Road from Chinese and Afghan Invaders. Afternoon you will arrive to Ishkashim the center of Wakhan valley, which stands at the mouth of wakhan River valley. This is where the 19th C Great Game ended; When Britan and Russian signed a treaty adding a strip of the Wakhan valley to Afghanistan to create a neutral buffer zone between their two empires. As you enter the Wakhan, there are amazing views of the Pamirs to the right and the Hindu Kush to the left. Driving along wakhan valley and 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.
Overnight in Guest House. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 12 – Ishkashim to Khorog (130 km, 6/7 hours altitude 2780 mh)
After breakfast we will drive via Wakhan valley to Khorog, along the road to our next stop at Garmchasma hot springs for an (optional) dip in the waters. After exploring or taking a shower we will have a lunch than transfer to Khorog. Khorog The capital of Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast, Khorog is a small town that at various times has been under the control of the Russia, the Emirate of Bukhara and Afghanistan. The Russians built a fort here in the Soviet era, with Khorog being in a highly strategic location on the border with Afghanistan, but today it languishes and is one of the least developed parts of the country, with the Aga Khan Foundation contributing to the bulk of the local economy. It holds the distinction of being home the second highest botanical garden in the world, at 3900m.
Overnight in Hotel Lal In. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner)
The capital of Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast, Khorog is a small town that at various times has been under the control of the Russia, the Emirate of Bukhara and Afghanistan. The Russians built a fort here in the Soviet era, with Khorog being in a highly strategic location on the border with Afghanistan, but today it languishes and is one of the least developed parts of the country, with the Aga Khan Foundation contributing to the bulk of the local economy. It holds the distinction of being home the second highest botanical garden in the world, at 3900m.
Day 13 – Khorog to Rushan, trekking in Gizev valley (9/10km trekking 120km driving, altitude 2412mh)
Today our trip for Rushan village, Rushan in the Eastern part of Tajikistan, the administrative center of Rushan district of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region. The village is located in the Pamirs, on the right Bank of the Panj river at the confluence Woman are river, on the border with Afghanistan Travel to Rushan the administrative centre of the Bartang district.
Arrival in Baghoo village in Bartang valley. We will cross the river by the small bridge.
Our trek begins on the river Bartang just beyond Bhagoo village. The hike is mostly gently uphill, for about 8km to the upper of three lakes. The first house in Geisev are reached after about 5km. The abundant vegetation, the gnarled trees, the lakes and the ever-changing river – sometimes frothing with energy, sometimes limpid and blue – create a very special peaceful atmosphere, ideal for a short break without too much physical effort. This rout passing lakes, and the rivers traversing some of the most magnificent scenery in the Pamirs. We will again cross the river and drive to Rushan for overnight. From Baghoo village, after the trekking we leave for Rushan along river Pianj, border of Afghanistan.
Overnight in Home stay. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Picnic, 1 Dinner)
Day 14 – Rushan to Kalaikhumb ( 206 km, 5/6 hours altitude 1345 mh.)
Today we set off in Kalaikhumb, driving through beautiful scenery and interesting villages en route.This area is a little more conservative, and we see many men with beards, and women wearing traditional dress. The road joins the river Pianj, which in turn forms the border with Afghanistan. The contrast across the river valley is telling, Tajikistan is undoubtedly a poor country, but in general the roads are sealed and buildings are connected with electricity. The situation barely 100m away is even starker, and it is as if the river represents not just a physical divide, but also a step back in time. Overnight in Guest House. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner)
Day 15 – Kalikhumb to Dushanbe, (360 km, 6/7 hours)
After breakfast drive to Dushanbe the capital of Tajikistan. We will cross the Shurabad Pass (2200m high) On the road we will visit to the ancient fortress Hulbuk dated by VIII century recently restored under the decree of the president. The local guide will talk interesting stories about the life in the fortress, shows outlines of the bases of rooms, halls and harems of the local governor’s palace. In front of the fortress there is a big square where concerts are held on the occasion of holidays and visits of distinguished guests. Guide in Khulbuk fortress Across the road from the fortress yiu can see the museum of local lore where, to speak frankly, because of restoration we will be show only one big banner on the wall. It was a map of all historical places and sights of Tajikistan.
Overnight at the hotel “Vatan or similar”. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Dushanbe is a relatively modern town that rose to prominence during the Soviet era, when it was made the capital of the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and named Stalinabad. Its name means ‘Monday in the Tajik language, arising from the fact that this was the day that the market was held when Dushanbe was still a small and fairly insignificant village. The ousted Emir of Bukhara, fleeing from the Bolsheviks, stayed in Dushanbe and cooperated with Enver Pasha’s Basmachis until he had to leave the region. From Dushanbe, he fled to Afghanistan in 1921, the year the town was freed from the Basmachis as well.
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