Today we will drive to the village of Kalai Khum through the city of Kulob. You will see Norak lake on the way. The highest point of the day is the Shurabad pass (2267 m), after which the drive along the Afghan border begins. This part will amaze you with its unique mountains - this is the Territory of the Pamir Mountains. For centuries, the Pamirs have inspired the world's greatest explorers - Marco Polo, Xuan Zang and Mirza Muhammad Haidar. And now you have the opportunity to come here. You will pass along the natural border - the Panj River. Having visited the Pamirs, many travellers called this giant mountain system the ocean of blue and white mountains.
In the morning we continue along the border, enjoying the views of Afghanistan. The road to Khorog will take about 5-6 hours. Khorog is perhaps one of the tiniest cities on the world map. It is surrounded by rocky mountains on all four sides. The city was built at the confluence of 3 rivers, where the Shokhdara River and the Gund River flow into the Panj River. Among the Pamiris, there is a high percentage of people with blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes. The Pamir Mountains are the highest inhabited mountains in the world after the Himalayas in Tibet. Life in the mountains has changed the traditions of the locals.
We continue our adventure towards the Wakhan valley. Wakhan, known as it, served as a buffer zone between the Russian and British empires in the 19th century. Located in the heart of Asia, Pamir is a corner of skyscrapers, snow-capped majestic mountains, clear blue waters of lakes and rivers, wide valleys and dry deserts. For hundreds of years, people have referred to these highest mountains in the world as the "Roof of the World". Today you will understand why. On the way, we will stop at the Kah-Kakha fortress dating back to the 3rd century. Here you will have a stunning view of the Afghan side of the Wakhan. Continuing towards Wakhan, we will have a detour uphill to visit the Yamchun fortresses and further down the hillside is the Bibi Fatima hot spring. In Yamg village, we will visit the reconstructed house of the Sufi mystic Mubarak Kadam, who died in 1910. Near this house is a stone pillar with a hole, which he used to calculate the solar calendar. Another stop will be in the village of Vrang. Here is a Buddhist complex dating from the 4th-7th centuries.
In the morning we continue driving along the Khargush valley. On the way, you will pass through the Khargush pass (4344 m). The most beautiful lakes of the Pamirs - Yashilkul and Bulunkul, spread at an altitude of 3,700 meters above sea level, are located in the Murghab region. The colour of the water in Bulunkul is a subtle weave of purple and blue in the sunlight. Such species of fish are found in abundance in the lake. It is possible to see yaks, a unique species of domestic animals that share features with cows and sheep, which were traditionally used as beasts of burden, in addition to milk and meat products. Upon arrival at the lake, you will have a short walk of about 1-2 hours around the lake. Then you drive to Murgab along the legendary Pamir Highway.
Right on the highway of the Pamir Tract is situated the light-blue lake of Karakul (3, 815 m), the name of which can be translated as “The Black Lake”. On the way to the lake, you will drive over the highest Ak Baital pass (4 655 m). Karakul is the highest large mountain lake in the world, excluding those in Tibet and Titicaca. The lake is situated in a meteorite crater and surrounded by swampy and wet meadows and bogs with rich flora and fauna and several endemic species. Flooding, melting permafrost and buried ice sheets shape the landscape with small hillocks and a large variety of small creeks and water courses between 3 500 and 4 000 m. The rich plant cover is grazed by wild and domestic ungulates. You will go for a short hike around the lake and then you drive back to Murgab for an overnight.
In the morning we will drive to Khorog along Pamir Highway, known as M41 Pamir Tract. It is considered the second-highest mountain road after the highway of Tibet. The road lies over mountains and passes at elevations of more than 4 000 meters above sea level. On the way, you will drive Koitezak pass (4 271 m). The almost inaccessible landscape and the rocky mountains of this corner of the world have given safe haven to a unique diversity of wildlife. The Pamirs provide a large and thriving population of Marco Polo sheep, the largest sheep in the world, all year round and a strong population of the highly endangered snow leopard.
Today we will drive to Bartang valley. The Bartang Valley is one of the wildest and most memorable valleys in the western Pamirs. Even the Pamiri themselves consider the Bartang valley as the maybe most prototypical region of their homeland. You will drive to the junction with Jizev side valley and hike up for about 2-3 hours up to the village. Today you will spend the night in a real Pamir traditional house and get acquainted with the mountain life of the locals. Overnight and dinner with locals.
In the morning you will descend to the main road where your driver will pick you up and drive you to Kalai Khum. The road from Rushan to Kalai-Khum is the same as before. This area consists of high rocky mountains over 6,000 meters high and only one road could be built. Passing through the Pamirs, tourists have a rare opportunity not only to admire the beauty of virgin nature but also to learn more about the ethnography, history and life of the highlanders and thus imagine how the history of mankind developed, like in a story. creation. Along the way, we will stop at small villages to interact with the locals and see how they live. Settlements are located on both sides of the river in narrow mountain valleys. On the other side of the river, you will see rocky Afghan villages and gardens.
In the morning we will drive to Dushanbe via a mountain road. You will drive over the high Khoburubot Pass (3 252) known as Western Pamir Tract. The road goes through the most picturesque river valley and amazing gorges in the terrain, where one can stop for rest and shoot photos of the mountain and rivers. On the way, you will see small villages and meet local people. Tajiks are by nature hard-working, hospitable, and kind-hearted. This nation greatly respects its traditions and folklore. This trip is attractive for lovers of exotics, those curious about the ethnic and cultural diversity and captivated by the beauty of wild nature. Dinner will be in a restaurant. The night is in a hotel. End of the trip!
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The Tajik currency is called the Somoni (TJS). In the capital Dushanbe there are a few ATMs that you’ll find in shopping centres, supermarkets or on the main streets, but most of them accept only Visa cards. Outside of Dushanbe we don’t recommend relying on ATMs as there are only a few of them and they may run out of money.
We recommend bringing cash in new USD bank notes of denominations of at least 20 USD. There are many exchange offices, some working 24/7. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with credit card is still not possible at most places, except for few high-end restaurants and hotels. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.
The political situation in the country has been calm in recent years and there are no indications of upcoming tensions. The border area with Afghanistan is safe as well, but we do not recommend crossing the border for a trip into Afghanistan. Guests and locals are treated with respect and Tajikistan can be regarded as safe destination for travelers. That being said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and only take official taxi rides. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Tajik partners and we closely monitor political events.
Citizens of almost every country can obtain an e-Visa online for stays of up to 45 days in Tajikistan. All you need to do is enter the requested information then pay a fee of 50 USD by credit card and you will receive almost immediately the eVisa by email. You can print it out and use it just like an ordinary visa to enter the country. Please note, if you are planning to visit Pamir region, you need a GBAO permit, which you can purchase online, together with the eVisa, for an additional fee of USD 20.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Tajikistan.
The climate of Tajikistan is continental and dry across most of the country, including the largest cities. In regions situated at relatively low altitude, such as the capital Dushanbe, the south of Tajikistan around Kulob and the Khujand region, summers are very hot with day temperatures between 30° and 40° Celsius. However, most of the country is situated at high altitudes, where temperatures are in the mid 20s or less during the summer. If you visit the Fann or Pamir Mountains, make sure to bring some warm clothes, as it can get very cold at night at elevations of more than 3000 metres. The best season to visit is during summer.
Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Tajikistan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Tajikistan are basic at best. Please note: there is a small risk of malaria in the south of Tajikistan by the borders with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. None of our tours visit this region.