THE greatest road adventure in SOVIET asia
Southern Kyrgyzstan – Pamir Highway – Eastern Tajikistan – Afghanistan
Summer-only departures: this tour is only offered in the summer season (May through September). Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.preferences.
Warning: entry to Afghanistan will be refused to Israeli passport holders and travellers with any evidence (stamp, visa, permits) of visiting Israel.
DAY 1/2 - Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek
In the morning you will meet our tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).
We will then devote two days to the architectural and cultural exploration of Bishkek, visiting both the heavily Russified downtown full of nostalgia and Soviet-era buildings and the archetypically Central Asian outskirts.
Meals and overnights in Bishkek.
DAY 3 - Kyrgyzstan: Osh
We will leave Bishkek early in the morning for the 8-hour-long journey to Osh, a bustling market town where Silk Road magic and Soviet nostalgia blend together.
Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the long haul in Toktogul, a traditional Kyrgyz town built on the shores of the namesake artificial lake.
Dinner and overnight in Osh.
DAY 4 - Kyrgyzstan: Sary Tash
We'll spend the entire morning touring Osh and its main sights such as the unmissable Lenin Statue Lenin, the towering Solomon's Throne, the exotic Grand Bazaar and the grandiose Central Mosque.
After lunch we'll begin our journey along the legendary Pamir Highway and head towards Gorno-Badakhshan, a mountainous autonomous region in Eastern Tajikistan.
Our destination for today will be Sary-Tash, an otherworldly Mad-Max-style Kyrgyz hamlet along the road and the last major human outpost in Southern Kyrgyzstan before the border with Tajikistan.
Dinner and overnight in Sary-Tash.
DAY 5 - Tajikistan: Pamir Highway
After having crossed the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (a pretty straightforward process), we'll reach Karakul, a tiny Soviet-era concrete village built along the dusty shores of the namesake lake.
We'll then continue our epic journey along the Pamir Highway heading towards Rangkul, yet another remote hamlet surrounded by unreal natural beauty and crumbling Soviet ruins.
After lunch we'll drive south to Murghab, the main urban settlement in Northern Pamir.
After a quick tour around the rather dull downtown (Soviet nostalgia, deserted bazaars and empty mosques), we'll visit the local headquarter of the National Mountaineering Association to learn more about the history and the explorations of this extremely remote corner of Central Asia.
Dinner and overnight in Murghab.
DAY 6 - Tajikistan: Pamir Highway
Another full day driving down the legendary Pamir Highway.
We'll first head to the tiny village Alichur where we'll enjoy a traditional Pamiri lunch.
We'll then reach the extremely isolated Bulun-Kul Lake and the nearby fishing hamlet.
Dinner and overnight in Bulun-Kul.
DAY 7 - Tajikistan: Wakhan Valley
Today we'll finally reach the Wakhan Valley, arguably the most beautiful dale in the whole Pamir region.
We'll drive on remote mountain roads and catch stunning glimpses of Afghan villages located a few metres away on the opposite bank of the Panj, the narrow whitewater river marking the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the journey in semi-abandoned Soviet outposts, perfect locations for photographic discoveries.
In the afternoon we'll reach Vrang, a pretty rural village mostly inhabited by the Wakhi people, an Iranic ethnic group predominantly living in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor and in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region.
Dinner and overnight in Vrang.
DAY 8 - Tajikistan: Wakhan Valley
We'll continue our adventure across the Wakhan Valley visiting hot springs and ancient pagan temples along the way.
We'll stop in several traditional Wakhi hamlets along the way and after lunch we'll reach Ishkashim, a relatively large village functioning as crossing point into Afghanistan.
Dinner and overnight in Ishkashim.
5-DAY AFGHANISTAN EXTENSION ACROSS THE WAKHAN CORRIDOR
We'll leave Ishkashim early in the morning and enter the mighty land called Afghanistan.
The border formalities here are usually a straightforward process and we'll be able to reach Afghan Eshkashim (not to be confused with its Tajik counterpart) before lunch.
We'll visit the local bazaar, your last chance to buy packaged food supplies and basic camping gear before entering the remote Wakhan Corridor.
We'll then continue our journey towards Langar, a tiny mountain hamlet, where we'll meet local shepherds and taste traditional delicacies.
Before dinner we'll eventually reach Khandud, a larger village inhabited by the Wakhi people and the centre of one of the four administrative districts of the Wakhan Corridor.
We'll spend the followings days hiking along the many shepherds trails crisscrossing the valley and/or driving (where possible) to the secluded hamlets dotting the Wakhan Corridor.
Major settlements and attractions will include: Qala-e-Panja (domed tombs and rickety old mosques), Ab Garch (mud houses) and Sarhad (last hamlet accessible by road); a further extension to the remote Kyrgyz nomad camps of the Little Pamir is available upon request for experienced trekkers only.
DAY 9 - Tajikistan: Khorog
Lazy morning in Ishkashim and transfer to Khorog, the capital of the Autonomous Badakhshan.
Khorog Soviet Tour: House of the Soviet, Aga Khan Botanical Gardens, Pamir University, Central Bazaar, Lenin Statue.
Meals and overnight in Khorog.
DAY 10/11 - Tajikistan: Dushanbe
Early morning start for an epic 10-to-12-hour drive to Dushanbe, the capital of the country.
Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the long haul in Rushan, Kalaikhum, Tavildara and other fascinating traditional villages along the way as well as in the Soviet resort town of Obigarm, home to a colossal modernist sanatorium nestled in an awe-inspiring setting of high mountains and forested slopes.
Please note: theoretically there is a daily flight from Khorog to Dushanbe; in practice, however, the flight schedule is absolutely unreliable, as it largely depends on 1) weather conditions 2) number of booked passengers 3) the unforeseeable whim of pilots, flight attendants and airport authorities. If lucky enough, then we might be able to skip the bumpy odyssey to Dushanbe gloriously flying over an epic landscape of high peaks and narrow gorges. The flight is included in the tour price.
After a well-deserved good night’s sleep and a sumptuous breakfast at our hotel in Dushanbe, we will spend our last day thoroughly touring both the main Soviet wonders and the pre-Soviet sights of the country’s capital.
Highlights will include: Concert Palace, State Circus, Old Chaikhana, Mevlana Mosque, National Theatre, City Library, Green Bazaar, Ministry of Economic Development, Cable Car Station and a surprisingly vast amount of well-preserved Soviet mosaics and modernist architectures.
Overnight in Dushanbe.
DAY 12 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Tajik breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: transfer to Dushanbe International Airport for your flight back home.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: transfer to the train/bus station.
End of the tour.
3 to 7 participants: 2990 € per person
Are you up for the trip across Northern Afghanistan?
Please contact us for quotes and further details.
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euro/night), private transport in the region (jeep or minivan), one-way flight from Khorog to Dushanbe (only if available), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility. It is also possible to make the tour the other way round, starting from Dushanbe and finishing in Bishkek.
Airport pickup/transfer in Bishkek and Dushanbe is available for just 35 euros per ride.