DESCRIPTION OF TAJIKISTAN COMPLETELY HOLIDAY
This two week Tajikstan Completely holiday is one serious road trip, travelling along the famous Parmir Highway, the second highest highway in the world running between Osh in Kyrgyzstan to Khorog in Tajikistan and winding its way through the Parmir Mountains, their 7,000m peaks earning this artery the title ‘roof of the world’. As we travel through remote communities scattered along the Highway and beyond, we stay in welcoming homestays, immerse ourselves in a cacophony of cultures, with each village speaking in a unique dialect.
This journey through some of the most exquisite elevated landscapes in the world is more about following in the tracks of ancient traders and explorers than those of modern day tourists, with isolated communities that still see very few foreign visitors, and traditions that haven’t changed for generations.
The trip starts in Tajikstan’s capital city, Dushanbe, a more modern hub, but we very quickly enter a world of mountain passes and impressive peaks. As we continue through the historic and cultural landscapes of the Silk Road, a route that was both traded on and fought over for centuries, there are many fascinating sites to visit such as ancient forts, a ruby mine and an ancient Buddhist stupa.
Moving into Kyrgyzstan and the ancient city of Osh, we also take time to explore some of the natural wonders of this country so beautifully dominated by mountain wilderness. Then we will continue to visit Tajikistan through Fergana valley to Soghd Province. Here we will explore Mosque-medresse of XVI century, and famous Fan Mountain ranges.
- 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;
Date: Program Accommodations:
Day 1 30- May Meeting at the airport transfer to hotel Lotus Hotel Atlas B.L.D Day 2 31- May Dushanbe to Kalaikhumb Guest House B.L.D Day 3 1 - June Kalaikhumb to Rushan Guest House B.L.D Day 4 2 - June Trekking in Geyzev valley After the trekking drive to Khorog Hotel Lall Inn B.L.D Day 5 3 - June Khorog to Ishkashim, Guest house (Hanisa) B.L.D Day 6 4 - June Ishkashim to Langar, Saturday Afghan market home stay (Davlat) B.L.D Day 7 5 - June Langar to Kengshiber Yurt stay B.L.D Day 8 6 - June Trekking to Bel Ayric pass Yurt stay B.L.D Day 9 7 - June Keng Shiber to Murghab Home stay B.L.D Day 10 8 – June Murghab trekking to Gumbezdikol valley Home stay B.L.D Day 11 9 - June Murghab via Kara kul to Osh Hotel Sun Rise B.L.D Day 12 10 - June Osh to Khujand Hotel Grand B.L.D Day 13 11 - June Khujand to Iskandar Kul Home stay B.L.D Day 14 12 – June Iskandar Kul to Dushanbe Hotel Atlas B.L.D Day 15 13 - June Transfer to airport and Departure
- Arrival and departure transfers,
- Overland transportation by 4WD coach (Land Cruiser / Mitsubishi Pajero for whole trip, ( parking fees, all necessary permissions fuel and taxes per the whole route)
- Experienced and basic English speaking driver for whole tour
- All accommodation on twin share basis as indicated above: (5-Hotels, 3 Guest houses, 2 Home stays, 2 yurt stays).
- Full board meals as listed (12B – Breakfasts, 12L – Lunches, 12D – Dinners)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- Ticket for Tajik national park
- 1/2L Mineral water per day per person
- Travel insurance,
- Supplement for single rooms per pax in USD
- Services of English speaking local guide for whole tour USD
- items of personal nature,
- camera/video fees,
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Alcohol drinks
Day 1 – Dushanbe
Arrive with Turkish Airlines 03:35 Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore.
Overnight Hotel Atlas or similar. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 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.
Day 2 – Kalaikhumb, (360 km, 9 hours.)
We set off east towards the Pamirs and 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. We cross the Shurabot Pass (2200 metres), arriving in Kalaikhumb in the early evening.
Overnight in local guest house. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 dinner
Day 3 – Kalaikhumb to Rushan 206 km, 5/6 hours altitude 2131 mh.
From Kalaikhumb we leave for Rushan the administrative center of Rushan district with some 206kms of terrain ahead of us, and the promise of some spectacular scenery along the way. 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 Home stay. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner)
Day 4 – Rushan to Gisev valley and trekking, after the trekking transfer to Khorog. (9/10 km trekking, 120km driving, altitude 2412mh)
From Rushan we leave for Geisev through Bartang valley with some 30 km of terrain ahead of us, and again the promise of some spectacular scenery along the way. 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 Khorog for overnight. From Baghoo village, after the trekking we leave for Khorog along river Pianj, border of Afghanistan. We have reached the capital of Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO).
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 5 – Ishkashim, (140 km 5/6 hours)
About 50kms along the road to our next stop, Ishkashim, we will stop at Garmchasma hot springs for an (optional) 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. The most famous mine is Koh-i-Lal ruby mine which is visible from the road. Ishkashim itself may be the regional centre, but it is essentially still a large village and we stay in a traditional style guesthouse here. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 dinner
Day 6 - Langar (135 km 7/8h)
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 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. You will have time to talk with local people and explore local farming and way of living.
Overnight in home stay. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 dinner
Day 7 - Langar to Keng Shiber,, (240 km 7/8 hours)
Today we get a chance to explore the amazing landscape of this area. Short stop and walking to Petroglyphs. We drive up to Keng Shiber via the Khargush Pass (4344 meters). On this journey we leave behind the lush valleys of the Wakhan Valley and enter a 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.
An excellent and adventures trip will take us on the unspoiled lunar landscape of high mountains and wide plateau to Keng Shiber herders camp. Short stops at the “Ak Balyk” Lake and Mouseleum of Alimbek datka at Bashgumbez en route. The Eastern Pamirs have been populated by nomadic ethnic Kyrgyz since the 17th century. The traditional architecture is beautifully represented by yurts, mobile habitations made of felt on an ingenious wooden frame, with the interior decoration bearing witness to the wealth and skills of the owners. Felt and wool serve as the basis for handicrafts. Precise stones, including rubies and emeralds, are also found in the area, and these are sometimes used in local handicrafts. You will have time to explore semi nomadic pastoral life, talk with herders’ family and take.
Overnight as nomads herders’ yurt. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 dinner
Day 8 – Trekking to Keng Shiber jailoo hike to Bel Airyk pass
Drive to Zorkul Lake after short walking near by the Lake an excellent and adventures trip is hike up the Bel Airyk pass (4835m) which is a migration route of Marco Polo sheep, starts from the foot of the mountain. Ascending up the pass in four/five hours walk you can see the majestic northern wall of Afghanistan Hindikush and fantastic Zor Kul Lake. Along the western half of the Zorkul Lake runs Afghan – Tajik border. The lake’s eastern half lied in Tajikistan. In 1842, Lieutenant Woods of the British India Navy Explored the Pyanj and Pamir rivers as far as the latter’s source in Zorkul. Zorkul 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 (ovisammonpoli) 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.
Good eyes and a sporting scope or more powerful binoculars are essential tools and a field guide for wildlife viewing.
These areas are all unique in their own way, and trips to these places are always fascinating.
Overnight in nomadic yurt stay. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner)
Day 9: Keng Shiber to Murghab. (128km 4/5 hours)
We leave for Murghab the center of East Pamir. The road up Murghab, however, is spectacular an, passing through again the settlement of Mamazair. 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 Mustag Ata is visible to the northeast of town, 110 km away in a direct line.
Overnight in home stay. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 dinner
Day 10 - Murghab trekking to Pyshart
From Murghab we will drive about (35km) to Pyshart valley Gumbezdykul nomadic village. We will get start to hike up the pass Gumbezdykol (4731 meter) and down to Madian valley, the car will meet on the road drive back to Murgab for overnight.
Overnight Home stay: Meals: (BLD)
Day 11 - Murghab via Kara kul to Osh, (420km 8/9 hours)
We depart today to Osh via Karakul lake. 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. 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. We descend to Karakul Lake, the highest lake in Central Asia, and at 3915 meters, too high to support any aquatic life.
Continue our trip to Osh our final Pamir Highway high pass is the Kyzyl Art Pass (4282 metres), which essentially forms the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Border formalities take place shortly after crossing the pass, with 20kms of ‘no man’s land’ to cross. Be warned, even in August we could see sub-zero temperatures through the border areas, so make sure you have some extra layers to hand in case we are delayed by formalities. Having crossed to Kyrgyzstan, we will keep our driver – although we are in a different country, the ethnic lines in this region are greatly blurred, and Russian, Tajik, Kyrygz and Uzbek are all spoken with interchangeable ease!
After Sary Tash village we depart the high mountains of the Pamir-Alay range, leaving behind us the crossroads of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. The drive offers a contrast as we encounter lush farmlands and small villages on this side of the mountains, instead of the stark high-altitude plateau we recently crossed in Tajikistan. En route we will cross the Taldyk Pass (3554m) and enjoy some beautiful views. We must travel about 185km from Sary Tash, and depending on road conditions and travel times we expect to arrive in Osh, Kyrgyzstan's oldest city early evening. Our first night in Kyrgyzstan is spent at a hotel Pekin near crowded market, and we have free time to explore this sleepy town or simply relax. Overnight in Hotel Sun Rise. 3* Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 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 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 12 - Osh to Khujand (415 km, 8/9 hours)
Today we continue our adventure as we drive from Osh, crossing Kyrgyz-Tajik border and continuing on to the Tajik town of Khujand. Khujand is a further 110 kilometres from the border, the second largest city in the country and capital of Soghd Province. We will arrive to this ancient city early evening and our sightseeing here for today and next day will include the local museum and the ancient citadel that dates from the 10th century and which fell to the Mongol invaders who swept through this region in the 13th century, Mosque-medresse of Sheykh Muslihiddin of XVI century). Overnight in Hotel Grand. 3* Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner)
Khujand is the capital of northern Tajikistan and the second largest city in the country. Khujand, continuously occupied for 2500 years, was founded by Alexander the Great. The city became one of most important places in Central Asia. It was a key junction of the Silk Road. The beautiful city was razed by Gengiz Khan. Through history it remained a center of considerable power. Prior to the Russian invasion in the nineteenth century it was one of the main emirates in Central Asia. Khujand stands at the entrance to the fertile Fergana Valley. Owing to this it was one of the main centers of the Great Silk way and enjoyed prosperity and richness. One of the ancient cities of the Central Asia Khujand has been known since the 7th century.
Day 13 - Khujand to Iskandarkul (285km 8/9 hours)
We continue the 95kms to Istaravshan, with its hilltop citadel guarding the beautifully preserved town. En route short stop will be in Istaravshan, which is a museum city, the ancient center of trade and crafts, one of the most ancient cities of the Central Asia. In 2002 Istaravshan turned 2,500 years old. Exploring the old town we visit the blue-domed mosque and medressa complex of Kok-Gumbaz, dating back to the 15th century.
Today we drive to Iskandarkul. A good asphalt road winds up the valley to the lake which has its name derived from Alexander the Great – in Persian called “Iskander”. He camped at Iskanderkul’s shore during one of his campaigns en route to India. According to one of the many legends originating from this time, Alexander’s famous battle horse Bucephalus drowned in the lake – and to this day may be seen racing over its surface at full moon.
Arrival to Iskandar Kul Lake the rout is along the Fan darya valley and Iskandar Darya. The Lake is surrounded by mountains, and is about four km across. The views across the lake are impressive in all directions. At 2000 m, it is pleasantly cool in summer. “Iskandar Kul or Lake Alexander is indeed a beautiful spot”, there are many waterfowl and it is possible to fish in this tranquil and beautiful spot. We will walk to the impressive waterfall of 40m height. A platform allows spectators to stand right above the thunderous torrent.
Overnight at home stay in Saratog village. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 14. Iskandar Kul to Dushanbe (150km 4/5h)
Our final destination today is the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, We have a tough drive ahead of us as a picturesque serpentine road goes through the huge gorge along Zarafshan River, and then climbs to Anzob Pass (3372m). A wonderful panorama of high mountains reveals from the pass. Coming down to Varzob Gorge and further arriving in Dushanbe we take a short rest at our comfortable hotel before heading out for an evening stroll. ‘Dushanbe’ means Monday in Tajik, with the town named for the small weekly bazaar which was once all the town had to recommend it. Now it is a pleasant, if small, capital, with broad tree-lined avenues and pleasing architecture surrounded by mountain scenery.
Overnight at the hotel Atlas. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 15 – Dushanbe
Transfer to the airport
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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
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