This tour starts from Dushanbe and finishes in Osh, Kyrgystan.
Day 1: Dushanbe to Khalaikum.
Today our journey is 400 km. We`ll drive through Kuliab city, Kuliab is the largest province in Tajikistan and also where the best cotton is grown. We stop at the top of Shar-shar pass for a view of the Nurek dam, and then in Vose where we visit the Khulbuk - Kala (9th-11th century). We stop for lunch in Vose, then cross the Shurabad pass, through several villages, where you'll see old men in national dress with long beards and a view of Afghanistan across the river Panj. We arrive in Kalai-kum in the early evening. Kalaikum is the first district of GBAO. Overnight at home stay Roma. BLD. Wi-Fi.
Day 2: Khalaikum to Bartan valley to the Bridge to Geisev canyon.
From Kalaikhumb we leave for towards Khorog with some 210kms of terrain ahead of us, and the promise of some spectacular scenery along the way. The road joins the river Panj, 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. We'll turn from main route to Bartan valley after Rushan then a 30 km drive into the valley then cross the foot bridge before hiking to the beautiful Geisev canyon where you sleep in a tent and have dinner at the local kitchen. BLD
Day 3: Geisev to Khorog.
You'll come down from Geisev by walking and then leave the Bartan valey to Khorog, couple of hours early driving by main route enjoying scenery gat Khorog. We stay in relative luxury tonight, having reached the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) - a restricted part of the country and we have obtained permits to travel here. Nevertheless, be prepared for the possibility of some additional paperwork! We have a little time to explore Khorog including the bazar and the lovely Botanical Gardens which are perched high above the town, affording some great panoramic views. Hotel Kivekas. BLD. Wi-Fi.
Day 4: Khorog to Ishkashim (along the spectacular Afghanistan border).
After breakfast we start our trip to Wakhan valley Ishkashim or further into Yamchun gorge. Our next stop is at Garmchashma hot springs for an (optional) dip. From here, we enter the Tajik half of the Wakhan Valley (shared with Afghanistan) and have a further 100km to cover. We pass regional gem mines mentioned by Marco Polo in his descriptions of what he called the “Mt Shugnon region” the most famous 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 local's guesthouse here. BLD.
Day 5: Ishkashim to Langar (along the spectacular Afghanistan border).
There is little to see or do in Ishkashim itself, so we 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. Please note that the fort is sometime still used by local Tajik army There are a number of these ancient fortress in the area, and we also visit Yamchun fort, perhaps the most impressive of them. We take a break at the Bibi-Fatima hot spring, named for the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter and where local women believe they can increase their fertility. Men and women will have separate bathing time, however facilities are basic. Continuing our sightseeing today visit the sufi museum in Yamg village, we then stop at the 4th Century Buddhist stupas at Vrang reminders of the ancient pilgrim caravans that passed through the region. There are traces of this Buddhist history to be found throughout Central Asia, despite the dominance of Islam in recent centuries. Overnight in Langar home stay Nigina. BLD
Day 6: Langar to Murghab.
Today we get a chance to explore the amazing landscape of this area. Moving on, we cross a second high-altitude pass, Khargusht and Naiza-tash Pass (4137 metres), and pass several lakes. 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 high altitude terrain. We have a total of310km to cover today, drive up to see the Bulunkul& Yashilkul lakes, We stop at Alichor village explore the village have lunch, including a visit o the Shakhty cave rock paintings, arriving in Murghab early evening at the home stay Eraly. BLD
Day 7: Murghab to Pshart.
Murghab is my hometown and is small, with only 17,000 people live in the whole region, the majority of whom are Kyrgyz ethnic. We visit the local handicraft shop, the market (built out of old shipping containers), and the Lenin statue. After exploring the town we drive some 30 km to the north to the Gumbez-kol valley, the summer pasture of Kyrgyz nomads. This is offroad driving and we spend the rest day here with a picnic lunch watching Kyrgyz nomadic life and enjoying the fantastic mountain scenery. Depending on the time of year and your preference we can overnight in a yurt or we can return to Murghab to the same home stay. BLD
Day 8: Murghab to Lake Kara-kul.
From Murghab we drive to Rankul lake. If you like we can do a short hike to enjoy the scenery of Muztag Ata peak in China. We then return to the Pamir Highway to drive to Kara-kul which is the highest lake in Tajikistan at 3960m. We cross the second highest pass in the world, Akbaital at 4655m, and en route stop at the first Russian fort dating back to 1873. Before the Russians came, this place was a caravanserai on the silk road. We have lunch in Kara-kul, then explore the village, and walk along the lake with views of peak Lenin. This is our last night in Tajikistan. Overnight in home stay Saadat. BLD
Day 9: Karakul to Osh.
Our final Pamir Highway high pass is the Kizilart (4270m) which essentially forms the border beetween Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. We also drive along the Chinese border to start with. The border crossing will take at least half an hour, but while you wait you have specatuclar mountain views. Be warned even in summer we could have sub-zero temperatures through the border areas, so make sure you have some extra layers at hand in case we are delayed by formalities. You keep the same guide as you go into Kyrgyzstan. We cross the Taldik pass (3650)m and Chyirchik pass. On the journey we enjoy the scenery of Alay, Tien Shan mountains, river Kyzyl-Suu, and river Gulcha. You will now have the famous views of the Kyrgyz nomads in their pastures (jailoo) with flocks of animals. We drive to Osh, then visit the Sulaiman’s hill and cave, and the famous central market. Accomdation to be booked by yourself. BL
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