Kyrgyzstan and Tajikisatn (High season: 2018) Tour route: Osh, Murghab, Kengshiber, Kara Jylga, Kok Jigit, Langar, Ishkashim, Khorog, Kalaikhumb, Dushanbe From Kyrgyzstan we cross into Tajikistan and we start to explore nomadic ethnic Pamir Kyrgyz people, we cross turbulent rivers and fascinating people, stay in yurt stays. Travel with us on one of the most amazing journeys you are ever likely to make.
BOOKINGS AND PAYMENT CONDITIONS
By booking with us and paying the nonrefundable deposit 50% of payment per customer for all trips, or full payment, acknowledge that you have confirmed and agree with to be bound by these booking conditions. Acceptance of your booking will be confirmed in writing to you a confirmation letter or email.
2. Payment conditions: - Payment of 50% upon group confirmation; - Payment of 50% 30 days before group arrival;
CANCELLATION BY YOU
If you wish to cancel all or any part of your booking, notification of cancellation must be made to pCa in writing. The date of the cancellation is the date on which written notification is received by pCa. Days before departure Charge applicable as follows, per person: Cancellation Charges: - Cancellation prior 60 days of arrival – no charges; - Cancellation prior 30 days of arrival – 50% charge; - Cancellation prior 15 days of arrival – 100% charge;
Included to the price
All accommodation on twin share basis (Guest houses 2,home stays 3, yurt stays 2)
Meals as listed (7 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 7 Dinners)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
All transfers according the program by 4WD jeep Land Cruiser Toyota or Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD AC with basic
English speaking driver (price includes driver's per diem, road and parking fees, all necessary permissions fuel and taxes;)
LOI (Letter of invitation)
1/2L water per person day
Excluded to tour price
Any airport taxes
Visas and GBAO permit
• Important – early arrival is not included.
• Some sightseeing places and excavations might be closed / not possible to visit due to local changes, reconstruction, roads condition, and security reasons. We do not guarantee all advised places will be covered, but we will try to do our best to cover them.
• Pricing is confidential & non commissionable
Country Notes – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
Tajikistan is safe place, much more than many European countries. However, because of the civil war of the 1990s, your embassy will have a website setting out their view of the latest assessment of the security situation.
Most nationalities will need to apply for a visa for both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Should you require an invitation letter, we will provide this for you. However currently British passport holders do not require a visa for stays of less than 60 days in Kyrgyzstan – for other nationalities please check with your nearest embassy.
For Tajikistan you will need to request the embassy to issue the GBAO permit, which allows you to travel the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, which we visit on this tour.
Please note that visa regulations can and do change and so you should check this again before your departure.
From 1st June, 2016 in Tajikistan earned a new portal for the issuance of e-visas and GBAO permit “e-Visa” https://www.evisa.tj enabling foreign citizens entering the country with tourist or business purpose, fill out an online application and e-visa without appearance at the Consulate of Tajikistan abroad.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, valid for at least six months after the date of return to the UK.
We strongly advise that your passport contains a minimum of two blank pages, as this may be a requirement of the local immigration authorities. In addition certain countries will stipulate that the two blank pages are opposite each other. If you are unable to meet these requirements you may be refused boarding by your airline or denied entry by the immigration authorities.
For specific information about the requirements for your destination please check with the country’s embassy or consulate. Alternatively UK citizens can visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
No departure tax currently applies when leaving Kyrgyzstan by air. There are also no border taxes to pay for the land borders crossed within this tour.
Health and Immunisations
We strongly recommend that you contact your doctor’s surgery or a specialist travel clinic for up-to-date information, advice and the necessary vaccinations. For a visit of less than one month, almost certainly you will be advised to have immunisations against the following: Diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningitis.
Health at Altitude
95% of Tajikistan is mountainous. On the Pamir Highway between Murghab and Osh, you cross two passes over 4300 metres and altitude sickness is a possibility. It is quite normal to feel tired for the first few days in mountain areas and it is important that you drink plenty of water. Do not drink any tap water. We will provide you with 2 litres of water per person per day. We will always try and gain height slowly.
What should my travel insurance policy cover?
medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
24 hour emergency service and assistance
personal liability cover in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property
lost and stolen possessions cover
cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover
Extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such as certain sports
The policy should cover the whole time that you are away.
Your policy may also have:
personal accident cover
legal expenses cover
Common travel insurance policy exclusions
Always check the conditions and exclusions of your policy:
most policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents
You must take reasonable care of your possessions or your policy will not cover you.
The currency in Tajikistan it is the somani, and in Kyrgyzstan it is the som. For current exchange rates visit www.xe.com
Where currency can be exchanged
It’s relatively easy to exchange money in Dushanbe, either at banks or moneychangers. ATM machines are not widely available in Tajikistan – and those that do exist tend to be unreliable. The best way currency to bring is US dollars – these should be crisp and free from any marks as many places will not accept them otherwise. Other currencies can be extremely difficult to exchange. Outside of Dushanbe you will find it difficult to exchange money. When you cross borders into Kyrgyzstan, your guides will be able to assist you with obtaining local currency.
Credit cards and travellers cheques
Changing travellers’ cheques can be difficult and we do not recommend that you bring these. In addition to this, credit cards are not widely accepted. We recommend that you bring sufficient cash in US dollars to last your visit.
Best time to go
The Pamirs can only really be visited between mid April and October due to the possibility of snow closing the roads at other times of year
In Tajikistan the official language is Tajik, from the Persian language family. In Kyrgyzstan it is Kyrgyz. English is becoming increasingly widely spoken but it is still not always easy to find someone who speaks it. With both countries only recently released from the Soviet Union, Russian is widely spoken.
The region is predominantly Sunni Moslem, although in the Badakshan region of Tajikistan most are Ismaili and follow the Aga Khan. Islam is interpreted less strictly here than in other parts of the world. There are also small pockets of Orthodox Christianity.
Food and drink
Central Asian cuisine tends to feature a fair amount of mutton as a staple. Food here is influenced by Turkish style cuisine and often involves kebabs, breads and various dips. Plov is a regional favourite – a mixture of rice, meat, fried onions and vegetables which is similar to a pilaf. Other dishes to look out for are steamed pumpkins, stuffed cabbage and vine leaves, and a variety of dishes made from fermented dairy products. The food in Central Asia contains a fair amount of spices but tends not to be too hot – cumin, coriander and sesame seeds are some of the most popular spices used. In summer, fruit, vegetable and nuts can be found in abundance. In home stays you will be offered tea – this is reasonably safe, as the water has been boiled.
If you have any special dietary requirements you must notify us at the time of booking. While we will make every effort to cater for you, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible. Vegetarians may experience a lack of variety in food as much is made or flavoured with meat. As a rough guide, a simple meal will cost around $4-8, while something more elaborate will cost $8-10 or more depending on where you eat. Street snacks are cheaper, at around $1-3.
Transport & Roads
On our tours through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan we mainly use 4WD vehicles. On some sections of the tour, when a 4WD is not required, a minivan will be used. The significance of roads does not correspond to their quality. The quality of roads, the weather conditions and the quality of the vehicles are decisive in calculating the time needed between destinations. The roads in the region are rough and often unsealed, with some sections travelling on single-track roads above river valleys.
We use highly experienced drivers, however this itinerary may not be suitable for those who suffer from heights or are nervous passengers. The driving habits in this part of the world are something for which you ought to prepare yourself!
Travelling in the destinations that we visit requires a good deal of understanding that often standards simply won’t be as they are at home. While we aim to make your trip as comfortable as possible, please be aware that we are visiting remote, less developed regions that have little infrastructure. This is particularly the case with regards to Tajikistan, where the tourism infrastructure lags behind its neighbouring countries. Tajikistan is almost completely undeveloped in terms of tourism and has a basic infrastructure once outside Dushanbe. During this journey the group will spend time in remote areas without home comforts or easy access to medical facilities. Apart from in parts of Dushanbe, most toilets are squat type. Although a high level of physical fitness is not required, travellers should be comfortable with the realities of a wilderness adventure, and prepared for very basic conditions in the countryside.
What to take with you
First Aid Kit
The first thing on your list should be a first aid kit. Whilst there is no undue cause for alarm, travellers are best advised to travel well-prepared: adequately immunized, with sufficient supplies of prescription drugs, along with a medical kit.
When it comes to clothing it is usually recommended that lighter clothes are worn through the day, and warmer ones at night. A hat is also advised to be worn through the day to protect from the sun as well as a hat for the cold. You should make sure that you bring a waterproof jacket for any rainy days. As the region is conservative in terms of dress codes you should make sure that you bring a few outfits that are suitable for entering mosques and religious buildings – long sleeves and trousers / skirts are a good idea.
Torch / Head torch
Essential everywhere. Power cuts are frequent, there are holes in roads and pavements and toilets
and stairwells often have no lights.
Footwear is a main priority on this tour. Comfortable walking shoes/boots are recommended.
Your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). Our style of travelling means that it is desirable to carry a backpack as your main luggage and use a daypack for items you will want to access during the day. Please bear in mind that your luggage will be loaded in a jeep and we are travelling on bumpy roads – fragile items should be well protected, and you must be prepared for your luggage to get dusty and be thrown about a bit. Please pack as light as possible since there will be times when you will need to carry your own luggage and this will also maximise space in the vehicles. Investment in protective bags for camera equipment and similar is well worthwhile.
Suncream/sunblock is a must. Insect repellent, including a bite spray will also be useful to have.
This tour does not require any special degree of fitness but you will find it more enjoyable if you are reasonably fit.
Cultural and environmental guidelines
Women should not enter mosques unless specifically told they can do so and you should always refer to your guide regarding dress code and behaviour in and near religious sites.
You may come across beggars while on tour in Central Asia. Every traveller has different perspectives on this and ultimately the choice is up to you. Many sources recommend that you watch to see if local people give, and then follow their lead with genuine beggars. We do not recommend giving money, sweets, pens etc to children as this can encourage a begging mentality and can lead to children choosing to beg rather than go to school.
Haggling is a way of life in Central Asia when making many purchases, especially with tourist souvenirs. Usually, but not always, the vendor will start with a price that is higher than they are prepared to accept, and the buyer is expected to haggle. There are no hard and fast rules with this – some vendors may initially quote a vastly overinflated price, others may start with a price close to the true value, while others may just present you with one price and not be prepared to discuss it. Although many tourists may feel uncomfortable with this, it’s important to remember that this is best entered into in a relaxed manner. Once you have agreed upon a price, it is extremely bad form to then not pay this. Please also bear in mind that a small amount of money to you can be a relatively large amount for the vendor, and that it is not necessarily best practice to ‘beat the vendor down’ to the lowest possible price. Remember that they also have a living to make.
A sleeping bag is not required as bedding will be provided when camping. However, you should take a lightweight sleeping bag liner as this will be required in the home stays when only blankets may be provided. We also recommend that you bring a towel.
Email us now on firstname.lastname@example.org to make your reservation
Please make sure that you take any rubbish back to the hotels or camps with you where it can be properly disposed of – this includes cigarette butts as well.
Please do not buy any products made from endangered species – this is not sustainable and hastens the species’ decline.
You should always ask permission before taking anyone’s photograph and respect their decision if they say no. In more remote areas women and older people often do not want to be photographed. Some people may also ask for some money – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot – in return for a photo. Taking photos of military installations, state buildings, and airports can lead to problems with local authorities. If you are unsure about whether it is acceptable to take a photo, please ask your tour leader or guide.
Please note that many sites charge photography fees, which are not included in the cost of your tour. You should allow around $40 or so if you wish to take photos at a wide range of sites.
Tipping is common practise in Central Asia. If your local guide has been helpful then you could think about tipping. For people travelling on our group tour, a reasonable amount to allow would be around $70-100, to be split between the guide and driver.
Foreign Office Advice
We constantly monitor the advice posted by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing there is an FCO advisory in place for travel to the GBAO area of Tajikistan. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns or if would like to know in detail what measures are being taken to ensure visits remain trouble free and without incident. It should be noted that this information applies to British citizens. Other nationals are asked to check the current position of their respective government.
Public Holidays in Tajikistan:
1 Jan New Year’s Day.
8 Mar Women’s Day.
21 Mar Navruz (New Year)
1 May Labour Day
9 May Victory Day
27 Jun National Unity Day
9 Sep Independence Day
6 Nov Constitution Day
9 Nov National Reconciliation Day
In addition to there are a number of Islamic holidays which follow the lunar calendar and so vary annually.
Dates are for guidance only and may vary year to year
Electrical supply is 220V and plugs usually have two round pins like most European countries.
Central Asia – The Lonely Planet Guide – Bradley Mayhew
The Great Game – Peter Hopkirk
The Lost Heart of Asia – Colin Thubron
IMPORTANT NOTES – PLEASE READ
Please note that the information provided is correct at the time of writing but may change. It is intended as a guide only. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health visit www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk or contact your local healthcare provider.
In addition we strongly advise you to check the information and any travel advice provided by your government. For British citizens you should visit the Foreign Office website www.fco.gov.uk.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1 Meeting at the hotel in Osh. (420km 7/8hours 3670mh)
Today we will start our trip to Murghab via 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. En route we will cross the Taldyk Pass (3554m) and enjoy some beautiful views. 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
We will again cross a high-altitude pass Ak-Baital Pass (4655 meters) which is the highest section of road in the former Soviet Union. This is the Pamir Highway we have anticipated, with the route between Osh to Khorog completed in 1931 across a Tibetan-plateau style high altitude terrain. With a total of 240kms to cover today, we anticipate arriving in Murghab early evening. Arrival Murghab, Murghab (3670 m) itself has few attractions, but it will serve as our base for a couple of nights as we explore the area a little. The 7546 m – high Chinese peak of Mustag Ata is visible to the northeast of town. The Eastern Pamirs have been populated by nomadic ethnic Kyrgyz since the 17th century.
Overnight at Home stay
Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 2 Murghab to via Keng Shiber Kara Jylga (186km 5/6h 3980mh)
This morning we will drive thru Pamir Highway we have anticipated, with the route between Khorog and Osh completed in 1931 across a Tibetan-plateau style high altitude terrain. This region is inhabited by nomadic Kyrgyz herders. Drive to Keng Shiber visit Rock paintings dated 8000 years BC in Shakhty,
Arrival to Keng Shiber. During summer nomads set up temporary yurts around the lake llowing their animals to graze on the lush vegetation. In the autumn they cut the grass for winter forage. The inhabitants have rarely seen Europeans and are friendly and hospitable.
After lunch an excellent and adventures trip to Kara jylga herders summer pasture. Secondary road leads to the Little Pamir and the Afghan frontier(actually the no man – mans land border area) at Kara jylga pasture, where herds of cattle and yak graze in short summer months (from June to September). Most of the scenery en rout resembles a moonscape and was once on the bottom of the ocean.
Overnight at Nomadic Yurt stay
Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 3 Kara jylga trekking to Kok jigit and Zor kul Lake,
Trekking to Zor kul lakes, you can see the majestic northern wall of Afghanistan Hindikush and fantastic Kok jigit Lake en-rout. Along the western half of the Zor kul Lake runs Afghan – Tajik border. The lake’s eastern half lied in Tajiksitan. In 1842, Lieutenant Woods of the British India Navy Explored the Pyanj and Pamir rivers as far as the latter’s source in Zor kul. Zor kul itself is 20 km long – the road runs along its northern shore.
Wildlife observation will be undertaken during the trek. The famous and endangered Marco Polo sheep (ovis ammon poli) world’s largest-horned argali sheep, Snow leopard endangered and fully protected species, ibexes, marmot and Brown bear, fox, hare are not full list of representatives of wild life of the area. From birds one can find the mountain goose (ular) pigeons, eagles, vulture, and etc. Picnic lunch will be on the way to the pass.
Good eyes and a sporting scope or more powerful binoculars are essential tools and a field guide for wildlife viewing.
Overnight at Nomadic Yurt stay
Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Picnic and Dinner)
Day 4 Kok Jigit – Langar (258km 7/8h 2817mh)
Drive to Langar visit Yashil kul (Green Lake) and Bulung kul en rout. On this journey we drive the lush valleys of the Wakhan Valley and enter a landscape that is rocky, mostly barren but nevertheless dramatic.
Cross over Khargush Pass (4344 m) and continue the road and we enter the Wakhan, there are amazing views of the Pamirs to the right and the Hindu Kush to the left.
Overnight at Home stay
Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Picnic and Dinner)
Day 5 – 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 6 – 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 7 – Khorog to Kalaikhumb ( 260 km, 7/8 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 8 – Kalaikhumb 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 “Lotus 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.эEnd of service
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Agency's InfoOur friendly team of experienced specialists, managers and guides are always ready to help you to organise tours on request in Tajikistan and throughout Central Asia. Tours offered can begin in Dushanbe, Bishkek or Tashkent or Almata. On our tours we give all our guests the opportunity to experience something completely different, your own adventure, and thereby giving you the tour you want at a price you can afford. We have a deep and long-standing bond with the amazing countries of Central Asia. We want, you to experience the beauty of the arched mosques and mudbrick minarets, as well as the fabulous bazaars piled with pomegranates and vivid handloomed carpets. And we want to introduce you to the amiable people who live among these treasures. We visit ruined forts from the days of the old Silk Road, and pass gem mines mentioned by Marco Polo. Our tours runs through the Pamir Highway, Pamir Mountains have long been known as ‘the roof of the world’, a region of utterly breathtaking scenery and home to a fascinating melange of cultures. This is an ‘Expedition’ trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the local culture. Please be open-minded. The easiest way to overcome any problems is to be open-minded and bring with you “The Spirit of Adventure”! Take a look at your options, from small group escorted tours to independent trips, from luxury rail journeys to custom and private travel: “Pamir CENTRAL ASIA” team
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