11-Days Excursion to Eastern Pamir, visit to Wakhan valley & Remote Bartang valley
This 11 Days Kyrgystan and Tajikstan trip is one of the 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 home stays, 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.
We drive up to explore, Eastern Pamir part and visiting to Ethnic Kyrgyz nomadic Jailoo (summer pastures camp) and try 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.
We continue down alongside the Afghan border on the Wakhan Corridor, before swinging north through Khorog to Dushanbe. There will be ample time to explore on foot and meet many of the diverse people who call these harsh lands their home.
Day 1: Osh to Murghab (420 km 8/9hours)
Meeting at your hotel and we leave from Osh to Murghab. En route we cross the Taldyk Pass (3554m) and enjoy some beautiful views – if we’re lucky we may even catch a glimpse of Peak Lenin, at 7134m the second highest mountain in Central Asia.
Countinue our trip 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 cross Kyzyl Art Pass (4282 meters), 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. We descend to Karakul Lake, the highest lake in Central Asia, and at 3915 meters, too high to support any aquatic life.
We will 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 Lunch and Dinner)
Day 2: Murghab to Keng Shiber (125 km, 5/6 hours altitude 4115mh)
Today we get a chance to explore the amazing landscape of this area. We drive up to Keng Shiber. 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. Arrival to Keng Shiber jailoo (herders summer camp in yurts). The inhabitants have rarely seen Europeans and are friendly and hospitable. Walking on this area 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 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. 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 yurt camp. Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner)
Day 3: Keng Shiber to Langar Wakhan valley (230 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 4: Langar to Ishkashim Wakhan valley (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 5: 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 Guest house
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 6: Khorog to Bartang valley Gizev village (9/10km trekking 120km driving, altitude 2412mh)
Today our adventure trip to Bartang Valley. The cultural identity and lifestyle of the population, In Bartang is well preserved: their music is very attractive,dialect, way of life. There is a mountain lake Sarez . From tourists who visited in Pamir and especially Bartang which is one of the remotest areas, you can often hear stories of fabulous hospitality of the locals. This hospitality and welcoming culture is preserved in Bartang and other remot areas in Pamir.
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 stay in local Home stay in this remote place.
Please note: Transportation can’t drive till the village, this night your transport with driver will stay other side of the river.
Overnight in Home stay.
Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Picnic, 1 Dinner)
Day 7: Gizev village to Basid Bartang valley (2/3hours walking, altitude 2540mh)
After the local Bartang’s breakfast we will walk back till the river Bartang and ceoss the bridge, Our driver of Jeep will meet with you and continue your adventure tour in Bartang valley to Basid village.
House will meet again us, the locals ‘Chid’ call and its diverse Symbolik has emerged over the centuries. In it combines elements of Zoroastrian origin and performances of the pamirischen Ismailis. After the Imam Ismail ibn Djafar is called a relatively small, temperate in their interpretation of the Koran religion of Islamic-Shia denomination that has taken root in the East of modern Tajikistan (Tadjikistan) a long time ago. Convinced the Pamiris according to a House to recreate the universe. Five pillars are usually the wooden ceiling of the main room – according to the five prophets of Ismaili Islam. At the same time, the houses are places of daily prayer there until today no mosques in GBAO. Arrive to Basid sightseeing in the village, seeing amazing holy trees, the Ismail prayer house and explore local life, tentatively light trekking to upper village.
Overnight in Home stay.
Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Snack, 1 Dinner)
Day 8: Bardara to Rushan (98km, 4/5 hours altitude 2340 mh.)
Today we leave Bartang valley, driving back through the Bartnag River we will ariive to Rushan.
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
Overnight in Guest House.
Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Snack, 1 Dinner)
Day 9: 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 10: 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 “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: 11 Departure
Transfer to airport and departure
END OF THE SERVISE
All accommodation on twin share basis (Hotels 2,Guest houses 3, home stays 4,Yurt stay 1 )
Meals as listed: 9 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 10 Dinners
All transfers according the program (price includes driver’s per diem, road and parking fees, all necessary permissions fuel and taxes;)
Experienced and basic English speaking drivers, type of cars: (A/C Toyota Land Cruiser, Mitsubishi Pajero or Nissan Patrol)
Arrival and departure transfers
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
Ticket for Tajik National park and permition
Mineral water (1/2L per day per person)
Supplement for single room USD 69
English speaking guide service for whole tour USD 483
Any airport taxes
Tips and gratuities
Any personal expenses
Any services not included in the above itinerary
_ PS 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