Accommodation: Mix of Comfortable hotels, basic yurt accommodation with shared facilities, Pamiri style homestay accomdoation with basic shared facilities Included
Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum 12
Start Point: Bishkek
End Point: Dushanbe
Transport: 4WD through the Pamir Mountain range
Countries: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
End Status Price 04 June 2018 19 June 2018 Available
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Along The Pamir Highway.
Traversing the legendary Pamir Highway, this trip starts in the Kyrgyz capital 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 some nights in homestays 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.
Tour Itinerary Notes
While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed in ITINERARY section a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.
- 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 prior 60 days of arrival – no charges;
- Cancellation prior 30 days of arrival – 50% charge;
- Cancellation prior 15 days of arrival – 100% charge;
- Arrival and departure transfers,
- Overland transportation by 4WD coach (Land Cruiser / Mitsubishi Pajero from Dushanbe to Bishkek, ( parking fees, all necessary permissions fuel and taxes per the whole route) with basic English speaking driver.
- All accommodation on twin share basis as indicated above:
- Hotels 9. Guest houses 1. Home stays 3. Yurt stays 1.
- Early check in for first night in Bishkek
- Meals as listed ( 15 B – Breakfasts, 14 L – Lunches, 14 D – Dinners)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- Mineral water (1L per day per person)
- English speaking guide for whole tour
- Ticket for Tajik National park
- LOI (Letter of invitation)
- Visa support and GBAO permit
- Supplement for single room in USD 260
- Travel insurance,
- items of personal nature,
- camera/video fees,
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Alcohol drinks
- 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
Roads in Tajikistan:
The significance of roads does not correspond to their quality. Road surfaces vary and their general state demands 4-wheel drive vehicles in good condition. The quality of roads, the weather conditions and the quality of the vehicles are decisive in calculating the time needed between destinations.
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.
Altitude sickness in the Pamirs.
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. We will provide 2 liters of water per person per day. Try and gain height slowly. On the Pamir Highway between Murghab and Osh, you cross two passes over 4300 meters and some people suffer from altitude sickness. Drink plenty and take pain killers. Do not undertake strenuous physical activity. Also because of the altitude, you are exposed to high levels of ultra violet light. Wear a hat and use high factor sun cream. The commonest complaints are diarrhea and throat infections. Bring anti diarrhea tablets and broad spectrum antibiotics. Also bring a supply of rehydration salts and strong throat sweets. There are plenty of pharmacies, but quality control of pharmaceutical products is uncertain.
Drinking water Don’t drink tap water. You will be provided mineral or simple clean water (2 liters/person/day) In home stays you will be offered tea – this is reasonably safe, as the water has been boiled.
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. 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.
This tour is of an adventurous nature. Our style of traveling 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 traveling 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.
Home stay’ facilities in the Pamirs are basic, shared room for 3-6 people (in Bartang valley and yurt stays), often not private bathrooms, you can take a bucket shower, (toilets are not en suite and are typical Asian squat-style). Occasionally it may be necessary to amend this itinerary for reasons beyond our control, such as bad weather and poor road conditions.
Changes to flight schedules can sometimes occur, which may also lead to changes to this itinerary. Tajikistan and specifically the Pamir is a developing region whose infrastructure, values, customs and standards of service differ from what you are used to at home and other countries. In terms of tourism development Tajikistan is lag behind from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Please bear this in mind as you are traveling in this exciting savagery area and respect the fact that you should not impose your standards and expectations on the local standards of services and culture there. The driving habits in this part of the world are something for which you ought to prepare yourself! This is an ‘Expedition’ trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the local services, culture and reality. Please be open-minded. The easiest way to overcome any problems is to be open-minded and bring with you “The Spirit of Adventure”!
This tour is truly for the experienced open-minded adventure traveler, who understands the reality of High Mountain environment and authentic adventure experience!
Essential kit Always take with you:
- Torch. Essential everywhere. Power cuts are frequent, holes in roads and pavements hazardous, toilets and stairwells to apartment blocks often have no lights.
- Apart from in parts of Dushanbe, most toilets are squat type.
- Are any of the areas we will be visiting likely to have malarial mosquitoes?
There is a risk of malaria from June-October in the southern border areas (Khatlon), which is excluded from our tour.
Prevention: take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Prophylaxis: Chloroquine plus proguanil.
Temperatures: please note that there can be large variations in temperatures. In daytime it can be very hot and a thin layer of clothing will be comfortable but long sleeves protect you from the sun rays. At night it can be cold so a layered approach is best. Predicting temperatures is very hard but they could range between 5’C and + 45”C. Rainfall in the Pamirs at this time of year is not expected but dust storms are. Please take a waterproof layer and warm clothes.
Suggested thing to take:
- dust proof bags
- camera/spare film/memory cards
- warm hat
- sun hat
- high factor sun screen
- lip save
- long sleeve T-shirt, thin fleece, thick fleece
- waterproof clothing
- personal medication/first aid kit
- insect repellent
- day carry sack
Money you will need USD cash in all countries. A credit card is of very limited (only in capital cities) use and is really only useful as back up but should in no way be relied upon as source of money
Day 1 – Bishkek (40km 30min)
Arrive in Bishkek in the early hours of the morning and your room will be available to check in straight away. After some rest this afternoon we explore the capital, visiting Ala-Too Square and the History Museum among other sites. Overnight Silk Road Lodge Hotel or similar. Single rooms are available tonight and accomodation will have private bathroom facilities (BL)
Kyrgyzstan’s capital is a modern city, originally founded in 1825 but developed extensively by the USSR and at that time named Frunze after a famous Bolshevik general. With over a million inhabitants it follows the typical Soviet city pattern of wide boulevards and drab apartment blocks, large squares and public parks and before Kyrgyz independence had a majority Russian population, although not now. Although not blessed with the interesting sights of other Central Asian cities, it does have a few things worth visiting – the impressive Ala-Too square, the History Museum and the Orthodox Church, a reminder that not all Russians left in 1991.
Day 2 – Bishkek to Cholpon-Ata and Lake Issyk Kul (260km 4/5h)
Travel to Cholpon-Ata on the north side of Issyk-Kul Lake to the largest and most beautiful lake in Central Asia. En route we visit the Burana tower which marks the original site of Karakhanid town. There is an optional opportunity to visit the open air museum of Stone Inscriptions in Cholpon Ata. Most of the drawings date from several thousand years B.C. up until the 12th Century A.D. Overnight at the Hotel Amin or similar. Single rooms are available this evening and the accomodation has private bathroom facilities. (BLD)
At 170km long and with a maximum depth of 695 metres, Issyk Kul is the tenth largest lake in the world and with its high levels of salinity never freezes, even in the harshest of winters here. Fed by many rivers, none flow from it contributing to a salt content of around 0.6%. In Soviet times it was a popular spa resort, and ongoing excavations show that there has been settlement around here for 2500 years or so. It is home to a number of different species of fish, many of which can only be found here.
Day 3 – Cholpon Ata - Song Kol Lake (240km 6/7h)
Today takes us to stunning Song Kol Lake (240km). The lake itself is 3916m above sea level and is one of the highest alpine lakes in the world. Overnight yurt stay with 4 – 5 beds in one yurt and shared basic bathroom facilities (BLD)
Song Kol Lake
Song-Kul is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan with an area of 278sq. km. It is situated in a valley between two mountain ranges at an altitude of 3016m above sea level. The lake is inhabited by 10 species of fish and around the shores some 70 species of birds are present. The lake is famous for its changing appearance in terms of the colour of the water depending on the weather conditions. The landscape around the lake is devoid of trees, with spacious meadows used by shepherds for their cattle during the summer months.
Day 4 – Chichkan ( 260km 6/7h)
Today we drive to the Suusamyr valley along the picturesque mountain Osh highway to the Chichkan gorge. Time permitting we take a walk in the area and meet the local shepherds who still adhere to age old traditions. Overnight Hotel Oson or Ak-ilbirs where single room not available and shared bathrooms (BLD)
Day 5 – Osh ( 430km 7/8h )
We depart early this morning for the journey to Osh. Before arriving in Osh we visit the ancient minaret and mausoleums in Uzghen around 60km from Osh. Osh is Kyrgyzstan's oldest city and in the afternoon on arrival if time permits we should have some time to explore the town. Overnight Hotel Sunrise or similar,
Single rooms are available this evening and the accommodation has private bathroom facilities. (BLD)
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 important place of pilgrimage for Muslims, and a 15th century mosque on the top has now been 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 6 – Osh – Sary Tash ( 185km 3/4h)
Today we take the journey to Karakul, our first step towards the High Pamir. We depart the mountains of the Pamir-Alay range. En route we cross the Taldyk Pass (3554m) where we will enjoy the spectacular views and if we're lucky we may even catch a glimpse of Peak Lenin, at 7134m the second highest mountain in Central Asia. On arrival recommended little walking around the village for acclimatization, next day you will rise to the height in Pamirs altitude.
Overnight in Guest House, tonight you will sleep on Asian style bedding on the mattresses and blankets on the floor in a few rooms of Ethnic Kyrgyz House with shared basic bathroom facilities (BLD)
Day 7 – Sary Tash via Kara Kul – Murghab (240km 6/7h)
This drive will see us enjoy some of the most dramatic scenery of the trip with the lunar like landscapes and bright turquoise lakes providing stunning backdrops. We also cross the Kyzyl Art pass (4282 metres), which essentially forms the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan before arriving at Lake Karakul.
Karakul Lake is the highest lake in Central Asia, and at 3915 metres, too high to support any aquatic life. Surrounded by high mountains which block the humid air masses, Karakul receives less than 30mm of precipitation a year. Karakul means “black lake” but in spring, summer and autumn the water is almost always a spectacular turquoise blue.
After lunch or Picnic around the lake we head for Murghab anticipating an arrival time in the late afternoon. En route we shall cross more high passed including the highest point on the tour the Ak-Baital Pass (4655 metres). Murghab itself situated at 3670m has few attractions but we will explore the area a little and if we are lucky to have clear conditions we may be able to view the distant Chinese peak of Muztag Ata (7546m). Overnight Pamir Hotel or similar, where single rooms are available, but shared bathroom facilities. (BLD)
The Pamir Mountains
Spreading across Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China the Pamirs are situated at the junction of some of the world’s highest mountain ranges – the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush and the Tian Shan among others, and with peaks exceeding 7000m are known locally as ‘the Roof of the World’. With numerous glaciers and covered in snow throughout the year, the climate here is unforgiving with only a short summer season. Nevertheless the Pamirs are home to both people and wildlife – of the latter notable species include the Marco Polo sheep and snow leopard. Communities and villages in the Pamirs are isolated, separated from each other in valleys and with different villages often speaking different dialects, even though they may not be far from each other as the crow flies. It was in this region that the last stages of the ‘Great Game’ – the territorial rivalry between the empires of Russia and Britain – were played out in the late 19th century, with intrepid adventurers mapping the high passes and staking claims for king and country. The Pamir Highway, running from Dushanbe to Osh, is the second highest in the world (after the Khardung La Pass in the Ladakh region of India).
Day 8 – Murghab – Langar (240km 6/7h)
Today we journey to Langar via the Kargushi Pass (4344m). It is today that we enter the rocky and barren but nevertheless dramatic landscapes of the Wakhan Valley. Overnight local homestay where single room not available and with basic shared facilities (BLD)
Day 9 – Langar – Ishkashim (135km 5/6h)
Today we drive along the fabled Wakhan Valley. We stop at the 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 for the Prophet Mohammed’s sister and where local women believe they can increase their fertility. Continuing on we then stop at the 4th Century Buddhist stupas at Vrang, reminders of the ancient pilgrim caravans that passed through the region. Before arriving in Ishkashim and if time allows we shall stop at Abrashim fortress, built to guard this stretch of the Silk Road from Chinese and Afghan invaders. Overnight local guesthouse where single room not available and shared bathroom facilities (BLD)
The Wakhan Valley (also pronounced Vakhan) is a majestic alpine valley in the Badakhshan region of Tajikistan and Afghanistan (the Wakhan Corridor refers to the part of the valley in Afghanistan). It is located in the Pamir Mountains and 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 Panj River, the valley narrows and becomes essentially a canyon with roaring river rapids fed by glaciers from some of the highest mountains on the planet.
Day 10 – Ishkashim – Khorog (138km 4/5h)
After breakfast we continue our drive through the Wakhan Valley stopping at Garmchasma hot springs for an (optional) dip in the waters. On arrival in Khorog we will take relax, overnight at the Hotel Lal Inn or similar where single rooms are available but bathroom facilities are shared. (BLD)
Day 11 – Exploring the Khorog
After the breakfast we will start to explore the town including the bazaar and the lovely Botanical Gardens which are perched high above the town, affording some great panoramic views
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.
Overnight at the Hotel Lal Inn or similar where single rooms are available but bathroom facilities are shared. (BL Traditional Pamirs Dinner)
Day 12 – Khorog – Bartang valley back to Rushan (120km 1/2h (trekking time 6/7h) ).
Travel to Rushan the administrative centre of the Bartang district. From Khorog to Rushan 60km away, we continue drive to the Bartang valley and cross the river to embark on a trek that begins on the river Bartang just beyond Bhagoo village and is mostly gentle uphill for about 8km to the upper of the three lakes. The first houses in Geisev are reached after about 5km. We will stop in the Gizev village for lunch, after lunch we will continue to explore the Bartang valley. 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. This route passing lakes and rivers traverses some of the most magnificent scenery in the Pamir region. After the trekking we will drive back to Rushan for overnight. Overnight at the local home stay or similar where single room not available and with shared bathroom facilities. (BLD)
Day 13 – Rushan – Kalaikhumb (200km 5/6h)
Today we drive through magnificent scenery and interesting villages. The areas we pass through today are a little more conservative and we shall see more men with beards and women wearing traditional dress. We may also see some relics of the civil war of the early to mid-1990’s. Overnight Hotel Karon or similar, at the hotel single rooms are available and with private bathroom facilities. (BLD)
Day 14 – Kalaikhumb to Dushanbe (360km 7/8h)
After breakfast we start the journey to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. We cross the Shurabad Pass (2200m). We visit the recently restored Hulbuk fortress dating back to the 8th Century. Later we arrive in Dushanbe and if time allows we can start to explore the city. Overnight Hotel Atlas or similar, at the hotel single rooms are available and with private bathroom facilities (BLD)
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.
Day 15 – Hissar (60km 1/2h)
Drive to the nearby town of Hissar to visit the remains of the 18th century fort as well as two nearby madrassahs. Return to Dushanbe in the afternoon and visit the bazaar and the excellent Museum of National Antiquities. Overnight Hotel Lotus or similar. Single room accomodation is available and the accomodation has private bathrooms (BL)
The history of Hissar fort is colourful, with the fortress the stronghold of local basmachi forces resisting the might of Russia. Through the 1920s a power struggle was played out in the region between Bolshevik forces and Pan-Turkic would-be occupiers under the Ottoman Enver Pasha, who was eventually killed in Tajikistan. Today the fort is largely in ruins although the impressive main gate has been reconstructed. Opposite sit two madrassahs dating back to the 16th century, one of which has a small museum in it.
Day 16 – Dushanbe
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight (B)
Book now and we will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your booking.
Responsible Pamir Central Asia!Our 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
Starts from: 877 USD
Starts from: 880 USD