Travel in the footsteps of history’s greatest explorers and conquers as you partake in this penultimate road trip along the “roof of the world.” Your journey takes you along one of the most remote, but also most rewarding road routes in the world. Travel through isolated mountain villages, and experience the unique culture of the Pamirs on Tenti’s 4x4 adventure tour. Let’s Wander!
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Start your adventure through the Pamirs in the Tajik Capital, Dushanbe. Our first destination is the Norak water reservoir. The dam here is the tallest earth-fill embankment dam in the world and the second tallest man-made dam overall. We’ll stop so you can get out of the car, stretch your legs, and grab some stunning pictures. From here, we’ll head toward the Afghan border through the Shuraba pass (2,267m). It’s here on the edge of Tajikistan that we’ll officially enter the Pamirs. We’ll drive along the natural border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, formed by the Pyanj River. As we drive you’ll be able to see some of the Afghan villages that have settled themselves along the banks of the river. In the evening we’ll arrive in the Rushan region of Tajikistan. This evening you’ll be staying in a homestay in the village of Kalai-Khum. It’s here that we’ll get our first look into the unique culture of the residents of the Pamirs.
From Rushan we begin the most difficult but rewarding portion of our journey through the Pamirs. The people of the Pamirs are famous in Central Asia for their ability to carve out a life in the harsh, mountainous environment and their amazing hospitality. Today we’ll hike through Jizew Valley, a stunning oasis in the middle of the stark sandy Pamirs. In the afternoon, we’ll return to our homestay in the main valley for dinner.
Our journey today takes us to the remote city of Khorog. The city is located on the confluence of the Shokhdara, Ghund, and Pyanj rivers. Take advantage of your free afternoon to explore the sites of the city. Take a minibus to the botanical gardens on the outskirts of the city, or stick to the city center and explore Khorog Park and Bazaar. Reconvene with the group for dinner at a café and then retire to your guesthouse for the evening.
Today we continue to drive along the Tajik – Afghan border on the way to the village Ishkashim. The village straddles the border and is home to a unique bazaar. Take advantage of your Saturday to visit the border market, located on a river island in no-mans-land between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. This is a great place to pick up some interesting souvenirs for yourself or your loved ones back home. In the late afternoon, take the opportunity to relax in the hot springs and Garmchashma Spa. This area of Tajikistan has long been a popular destination for people who believe the waters possess healing properties. In the evening we’ll head to our homestay for dinner.
*Please note the border market is occasionally closed. If this happens, we have an alternative plan in place for this day of the itinerary.*
Today we’ll travel through the Wakhan Valley. Historically, the Wakhan Valley has served as the divide between eastern and western Asia, as well as later becoming the natural divide between the Russian and British Empires. With such a rich history, there’s a plethora of interesting sites for us to stop at on our way to Langer Village. Our first stop for the day is the ancient fortresses of Kahkaha and Yumchun which date to between 100 and 300 BCE. These ruins once served not only as defensive posts against foreign armies and raiders, but also as ancient temples and customs points controlling the flow of people and goods through Wahkan Valley. Our next stop is the Vrang Stupa. The small complex located at the top of the stupa has unknown origins, but local historians believe it shows signs of being used as both a Zoroastrian and a Buddhist temple during its use. Even its construction period is unknown, with potential dates anywhere from the early 4th to the late 7th centuries. Next we’ll head to the reconstructed home of the Sufi Mystic, Muabara Kadam. The reconstruction of his home has been converted into a museum dedicated to the life of this famous mystic, musician, and astronomer. Highlights include an abundance of his hand bound manuscripts, musical instruments, and the stone pillar he used to calculate a solar calendar. Our final destination of the day is Langer village. We’ll spend the evening at a homestay.
We’ll start the morning by visiting the petroglyphs above Langer Village. The field contains almost 6000 petroglyphs, the oldest of which date back to the Bronze Age. After our hike, we’ll hop in the car and make our way through the Khargush Pass (4344m) to the lakes region of the Pamirs. Yashil Kul and Bulunkul, located at an altitude of 3700m above sea level, are the most beautiful lakes of the region. They’re famous for their stunning blue color and serve as a destination where mountain shepherds graze and water their flocks. If we’re lucky, perhaps we’ll spot a herd of yaks, the domestic animal of choice for this harsh region. We’ll overnight in a homestay by the banks of Lake Bulunkul.
Today we’ll go to the mountain village of Murgab, or the “Roof of the World.” To get to the village we’ll take the Naziatash Pass (4137m). The village of Murgab was established in 1893 as a Russian military post. The remote city sits above 3500 meters making it the highest city in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Because of its isolation, the people living in Murgab often have to go without but they have still managed to carve out a comfortable living. Murgab is the last city before the Kyrgyz-Tajik border. We’ll stop here and take some time to relax after our long journey on the rough roads of the Pamirs. If the day is clear you will be able to catch a peek of Muztagh Ata Mountain in the distance.
A few hours past Murgab is the second highest mountain lake in the world, Karakul (3815m). To get to the lake we’ll take Ak-Baital pass (4655m). Lake Karakul, Black Lake in English, formed in a meteoric crater and is fed by glacial melt. The area is well known for the various bird species that roost there and is thus an ornithology mecca. From Karakul we descend through the Taldik Pass (3615m) as we make our way to the Tajik-Kyrgyz border. Once we make it through the border crossing, we’ll head to Tulpar Kul Yurt Camp at the base of Lenin Peak. The winding decent to Osh Oblast will furnish you with amazing views of impressive mountains and gorges.
We’ll arrive to our hotel in Osh in the afternoon. Take some time to explore the city on your own before joining the group for our final dinner of the tour.
During the tour meals will be provided per the itinerary. Most meals will be prepared specially for the group by each destination's host.
Please inform Tenti of any food allerigies or dietary restrictions when booking your tour, so we can ensure your meal is prepared properly.
All accommodations for the duration of the tour will be provided.
Clothing & Footwear Packing List
We recommend carrying the equivalent of $100 in Som with you on your tour to cover miscellaneous expenses, including drinks other than water and souvenirs. Along the route there are several ATMs if needed. Please remember to inform your bank you are travelling internationally before you depart or you may be unable to use your cards.