TAJIKISTAN TOUR WITH THE TRAVEL CAMEL
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In August 2017, join me for one of the world’s greatest road trips – through the Pamir Mountains (the Pamirs) in Tajikistan.
Discover one of the world’s most remote countries – learn about the people and their culture, and admire one of the world’s most spectacular mountains ranges. Visited by only a few travellers every year, this is a destination that will stay long in your memory.
I first visited Tajikistan in 2013 and am excited to return to retrace most of that same journey with the same company, but this time to lead a tour that you can join!
Day 1: Sunday 6 August 2017 – Dushanbe-Kulob-Khalikum
We commence our epic road trip by leaving Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. This is a full day’s drive, but the adventure really beings after arriving at Shurabad Pass. From here you will have your first glimpse of the mountains of Afghanistan and you will visit the impressive Hulbuk fort. Overnight in home stay.
This provides the most dramatic day of driving with winding roads, steep mountains and outstanding scenery – this is what a road trip is all about! We follow the Panj River the entire day and there will be plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos of the incredible scenery that seems to get more spectacular with each passing hour. That afternoon we arrive in Khorog where you will stay for two nights in a hotel.
Day 3: Tuesday 8 August 2017 – Khorog
A more relaxing day where you can explore Khorog. Discover the vibrant local culture of the town and learn more about living in this part of the world. Visit beautiful Khorog Central Park, and also Khorog’s Pamir Botanical Garden, the second highest in the world. Overnight in hotel.
After driving south on good roads to Ishkashim, we head east into the Wakhan Valley. Due to its strategic location, this is home to some to the most notable historical sites of the entire trip, including the Khakha Fortress and the Yamchun Fort which has the best views of the Wakhan Valley. We stay overnight in Yamg, a village famous for the museum of the famous Sufi, Muborak-Kadam. Overnight in home stay.
Day 5: Thursday 10 August 2017 – Yamg-Langar
A shorter day of driving that involves more historical sites, a chance to explore villages on the way prior to arriving in Langar. For those who are energetic, you can climb to see the vast array of petroglyphs, or you can explore the town of Langar instead. Overnight in home stay.
Day 6: Friday 11 August 2017 – Langar-Bulunkul-Kara Kum
This is the first day to climb onto the plateau of the Pamirs where both the road quality improves and the landscapes dramatically changes. It is this day where we join the famous M41 – the Pamir Highway. Overnight in home stay or yurt in the summer pasture area of Kara Kum, near to the village of Alichor.
A short day of driving which takes us past the very unusual Ah-Balyk (White fish) spring and the ancient Chinese tomb near Bash-Gumbaz. From here we head to the Mashaly summer pasture near Kengshiber where we will have an opportunity to learn about the local culture and stay in another yurt.
Day 8: Sunday 13 August 2017 – Kengshiber-Murghab
A morning visit to the Gartigumbez hot springs and another stop and short hike to the Shakty rock paintings. Not as impressive as those as Langar, but the view along the valley is worth photographing. That afternoon we arrive at the major town of the whole area, Murghab, with an afternoon tour. Overnight in home stay.
A morning stop at the Yak House before leaving Murghab and going over Akbaital pass (4655 metres) which is the highest point of the journey. From here it’s a stop at a 19th Century Russian fort, and a long descent to Kara Kul village (3914 metres) the highest salted lake in Central Asia. Overnight in home stay.
Day 10: Tuesday 15 August 2017 – Kara Kul
An easy day exploring the beautiful area around Kara Kul. This day gives us the final chance to learn more about the culture and people of the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan. There will be great photography opportunities on this day. Overnight in home stay.
Day 11: Wednesday 16 August 2017 – Kara Kul-Sary Mogol
Today we farewell Tajikistan and head into neighbouring Kyrgyzstan where the roads and landscape are entirely different. It will be your first view of green landscape for a week! At the major crossroads, we head west to Sary Mogul where you will have another opportunity to stay in a yurt.
Day 12: Thursday 17 August 2017 – Sary Mogol-Lenin Peak Base Camp-Tulpar Kul
An easy day of driving where we head to the base of the 7700 metre Lenin Peak. Here you will learn about Kyrgyz culture and the people. There is an option to go horse riding in this spectacular landscape for an extra fee. Overnight (and your final night) in yurt.
Final day on the road, as we leave Tulpar Kul and drive along great quality roads and descend into the town of Osh. Here we will gather for a farewell dinner with some excellent Kyrgyz food – the finest cuisine in Central Asia! Overnight in hotel.
Day 14: Saturday 19 August 2017 – Osh
Depart Osh for your flight to your next destination.
USD 2400 per person
– Accommodation in home stays and yurts
– Hotel stays in Khorog and Osh
– Three meals a day
– 1.5 litres of mineral water per person per day
– Transport in 4WD
– Driver’s food and accommodation
– Guide and interpreter
– Welcome and transfer at Dushanbe Airport. Transfer to Osh Airport.
– Photography and travel advice from The Travel Camel
– International flights
– Travel insurance (you need this, see Insurance information below!)
– Visa and GBAO Permit Fees
– Personal expenses (alcohol, souvenirs, additional meals etc)
– Tips for driver and guide
– Horse riding in Sary Mogul
– A non-refundable deposit of USD 250 is payable at the time of booking. We strongly advise you to take out cancellation insurance.
– The balance is due no later than 1 April 2017 otherwise we will treat your booking as being cancelled by you.
– If you are booking after 1 April 2017, you must pay in full at the time of booking.
– Any paid money (except the deposit) can be refunded if cancelled in writing by you prior to 1 April 2017.
– All monies are refunded if tour is cancelled by The Travel Camel.
Please Provide The Following After Paying Your Deposit:
– Passport scan of personal information (Full Name, Passport Number etc)
– Arrival and departure information
– Any dietary or other requirements
Before booking, ensure you are familiar with all the “Road Trip Information” below, especially accommodation, altitude, cultural immersion, food and road information.
Please fill in the form to commence your preparations for one of the world’s greatest road trips! There are only two places left, so send this form now!
ROAD TRIP INFORMATION
With the exception of Khorog and Osh, all accommodation will be in small guest houses or home stays. Bathroom will be shared and showers are mostly provided. At best you will be staying in 3 star properties, but mostly will be less. If you are looking for a luxurious experience, you will not find it on this trip.
Be aware that the highest point on this journey is 4655 metres. Most of the time you will be at altitudes in excess of 3000 metres. The itinerary has been chosen to minimise the chance of you getting altitude sickness because the journey from Dushanbe allows us to slowly move into the higher part of the mountains. Many tours to the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan come from Osh, but the ascent is far more dramatic and puts you at greater risk of altitude sickness.
A Typical Day
You should expect to spend on average 4-5 hours in the vehicle most road days on this trip, though the first day could be double that. There will be frequent stops for photographs, so plenty of chances to stop and stretch your legs.
This journey will strongly immerse you in the culture – everything from food, language, and customs will all be different from what you have experienced before. Even in places where you have a television set (such as Khorog) there will be no English language stations. It’s important to be aware of this strong immersion before you book this tour.
Tajikistan uses the two round pin plugs usually found in Europe. Electricity supply is reliable in places such as Dushanbe, Khorog and Osh, but elsewhere it is variable. Electricity power may be weak during peak times, so you will need to charge your batteries overnight to reach full charge.
Outside of Dushanbe and Khorog, all food will be local Tajik and Kyrgyz cuisine. International fast food or restaurant chains will not be found on this journey – so your chance of having “comfort” food is almost nil. The local food (with the exception of laghman in Kyrgyzstan) does not have strong flavours or spices. If you have dietary requirements, please let us know, but we cannot guarantee that we will meet your requirements.
Travel insurance is compulsory for everyone on this trip. You can choose the highly recommended World Nomad Insurance, or you can choose your own provider.
Internet is widely available in Dushanbe but less reliable and powerful connections can also be found in Khorog, Murghab and Osh. Outside of these cities, it is highly doubtful that you will get an Internet connection.
Outside of Dushanbe, English or European languages (except Russian) are rarely spoken. Instead you will hear Russian, Tajik, Kyrgyz or other local languages. Our drivers/guides will be able to assist with language barriers.
Bring all medications with you (they will be hard to find in this area), and if you use any prescription medicine, have a doctor’s certificate. There is no malaria or Yellow Fever here. Consult your doctor for any inoculations you require. Medical facilities will be limited away from Dushanbe and Osh.
Outside of Dushanbe, Tajikistan is a largely a cash economy. The only place you are certain for an ATM to work or credit/debit cards to be accepted is Dushanbe. Therefore, bring enough US Dollars and/or Euros with you into the country. Money is best changed into the local currency (Tajik Somani) in Dushanbe.
This is one of the most spectacular places in the world to photograph. Extra days have been added to this itinerary to ensure plenty of opportunities to photograph the surrounds and to meet with local people. Purchasing memory cards or extra batteries will be difficult, so bring them all with you.
This journey takes place on roads of a lesser standard than you would experience on any major highway in Europe, the Americas or Australia – there are often potholes, broken asphalt, or packed dirt stretches in many places. There will be bumps and possible delays due to landslides and other events. Most of the road does not have guard rails either. We only use the best and most experienced drivers to ensure your journey is both an enjoyable and safe one.
There is no single supplement – I don’t like them.
All transport will be in vehicles similar to the photo below – a good quality, comfortable and spacious 4WD (such as a Land Cruiser). We do not use minivans.
The tour is restricted to 3 vehicles. The maximum number of passengers on this tour is 10. This is in addition to 3 drivers, 1 guide, and The Travel Camel.
Visas are your responsibility. You will need to obtain a Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) region permit, so please list the following GBAO regions: Darvaz, Ishkashim, Khorog, Murghab, Rushan, and Vanj. The single-entry visa and permit is available for many nations on the official government website: https://www.evisa.tj/index.evisa.html
The visa for Kyrgyzstan is obtained at the border for more than 60 nationalities. Further information is here: http://www.kgembassy.org/en/consular-issues/applying-for-a-visa/general-visa-information/
If you require a Letter of Introduction (LOI) to obtain your visa, we can provide it for no extra charge.
Please contact us if you require any clarifications.
Don’t drink the tap water. 1.5 litres of bottled water will be provided for you each day.
The climate will be mild to warm, but the sun at high altitudes can be fierce, especially on your lips and face. Ensure you bring adequate sun protection for both. Bring something to protect yourself from the wind as it can get cold.