Start: Dushanbe Finish: Bishkek
Physical rating: Low
Special diets catered: Meat, Vegetarians, Vegans
Tour code: TPH
Group size: 4 - 12
Tour operated in:
Extra tourhub saving: $75
This 16 day Tajikstan and Kyrgystan tour is an amzing road trip, travelling along the famous Parmir Highway, the second highest highway in the world running between Osh in Kyrgyzstan to Khorog in Tajikistan. Winding its way through the Pamir Mountains, with their 7,000m peaks, earning this road the title of ‘roof of the world’. As we travel through remote communities scattered along the Highway and beyond, we stay in welcoming homestays, immersing ourselves in a cacophony of cultures, with each village speaking in a unique dialect.
Accommodation Name: Hotel Atlas or similar
Arrival in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan and transfer to your hotel, where a room will be available to check-in straight upon arrival for travellers arriving in the early hours of the day. The rest of the day is at leisure to either relax or start to explore this sublime city.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Drive to the nearby town of Hissar to visit the remains of the 18th century fort as well as two nearby madrassahs. Return to Dushanbe in the afternoon and visit the bazaar and the excellent Museum of National Antiquities.
Accommodation Name: Hotel Karon Palace or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This morning we will cross the Shurabad Pass (2,200m) and visit Hulbuk ancient fortress 8th Century which has been recently restored. We continue towards the Pamirs and Kalaikhumb, driving through beautiful scenery and interesting villages en route. This area is a little more conservative, and we see many men with beards, and women wearing traditional dress.
Accommodation: Hostel, Hotel
Accommodation Name: Day 4 overnight will be at a local homestay Rushan with shared facilities. Day 5 overnight at Lal Inn or similar
Hike in the Geisev valley – Khorog (Total approx. driving time: 1.5 hours; 120km; Trekking time with breaks: 6-7 hours) - After breakfast, travel to Rushan, the administrative centre of the Bartang district. We may have some time to explore upon arrival but we will explore in more depth tomorrow. On Day 5 we drive to the Bartang valley and cross the river to embark on a trek that begins on the river Bartang, just beyond Bhagoo village and is mostly gentle uphill for about 14km to the upper of the three lakes. The first houses in Geisev are reached after about 7km. We stop in the Geisev village for lunch and then continue to explore the Geisev valley. The abundant vegetation, the gnarled trees, the lakes and the ever-changing river - sometimes frothing with energy, sometimes limpid and blue - create a very special peaceful atmosphere. Later we continue to Khorog alongside the River Panj which forms the border with Afghanistan.
Accommodation Name: Lal Inn or similar
Today we have a full day to explore Khorog, the capital of the GBAO region, including the bazaar and the lovely Botanical Gardens which are perched high above the town, affording some great panoramic views.
Accommodation Name: Guesthouse Hanis
About 50kms along the road to our next stop, Ishkashim, we will stop at Garm Chasma hot springs for an (optional) dip in the waters. From here, we enter the Tajik half of the Wakhan Valley (shared with Afghanistan) and pass regional gem mines mentioned by Marco Polo, the most famous being the Koh-i-Lal ruby mine.
Location: Yamchun Fort.
Accommodation Name: Homestay Davlat
Visit 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. There are a number of these ancient fortresses in the area, and we also visit Yamchun fort, perhaps the most impressive of them. We take a break at the Bibi Fatima hot springs, named for the Prophet Mohammed’s sister and where local women believe they can increase their fertility. Continuing on we then stop at the 4th Century Buddhist stupas at Vrang, reminders of the ancient pilgrim caravans that passed through the region.
Accommodation Name: Hotel Pamir
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 Tibetan-plateau style high altitude terrain. Today we can also see some Neolithic rock art dating back some 8000 years in Shakhty cave. It is anticipated to arrive in Murghab in the early evening.
Accommodation Name: Ethnic Kyrgyz House
After breakfast we head for Karakul (135km), one of our highlights on the way. We cross several high altitude passes, including Ak-Baital Pass (4,655 metres) which is the highest section of road in the former Soviet Union. We descend to Karakul Lake and then cross our final Pamir Highway high pass, the Kyzyl Art (4,282 metres), which essentially forms the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Karakul Lake is the highest lake in Central Asia, and at 3,915 metres, too high to support any aquatic life. Karakul means “black lake” but in spring, summer and autumn the water is almost always turquoise blue. At the northern end of the lake a track turns off west to geoglyphs and Saka graves (5000– 3000 BC), located about 500m from the turnoff. Continue to the following village of Sary Tash for the night.
Accommodation Name: Hotel Sunrise or similar
We depart the high mountains of the Pamir Alay range, leaving behind us the crossroads of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. The drive offers a contrast as we encounter lush farmlands and small villages on this side of the mountains, instead of the stark high-altitude plateau of Tajikistan. En route we cross the Taldyk Pass (3554m) and enjoy some beautiful views - if we're lucky we may even catch a glimpse of Peak Lenin, at 7134m the second highest mountain in Central Asia. We expect to arrive in Osh, Kyrgyzstan's oldest city in the afternoon, with time to explore.
Accommodation Name: Hotel Osmon or similar
Today we drive to the Suusamyr Valley along the picturesque mountain Osh highway to the Chichkan gorge. Time permitting, we take a walk in the area and meet the local shepherds who still adhere to age old traditions
Location: Song Kol Lake
Accommodation Name: Yurt stay with 4 – 5 beds in one yurt
Today takes us to stunning Song Kol Lake. The lake itself is 3,016m above sea level and is one of the highest alpine lakes in the world.
Location: Issyk Kul
Accommodation Name: Hotel Altyn Bulak or similar
Travel to Cholpon Ata on the north side of Issyk-Kul Lake to the largest and most beautiful lake in Central Asia. There is an optional opportunity to visit the open-air museum of Stone Inscriptions in Cholpon Ata. Most of the drawings date from several thousand years B.C. up until the 12th Century A.D.
Accommodation Name: Silk Road Lodge or similar
Drive to Bishkek and explore the capital, visiting the enchanting Ala-Too Square and the History Museum among other sites. In the afternoon, time is at leisure for you to relax, visit further the city and do some shopping in the local workshops.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
As described in the itinerary
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No. Visa and GBAO permit (e-visa is available for Tajikistan for most nationalities) required.
No. International flights are extra.
Not in every place. Whereit is available it may be of poor quality.
No. Minimum age is 18.
Yes. We strongly recommend that you contact your doctor’s surgery or a specialist travel clinic for up-to-date
information, advice and the necessary vaccinations.
Yes. Visa and GBAO permit (e-visa is available for Tajikistan for most nationalities) required.
Maximum of 12 people.
Multiple Room Types
Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.
Extra TourHub Saving: $75
Extra TourHub Saving: $81