Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan: Superior Pamir Highway Jeep Tour

Code: PAMHWY/JEEP/GUI/JUL19
14 Days
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Flexible Departures: See Dates tab above for details.

Do you need to unplug, unwind and spice up your life with a soul-reviving dose of adventure? 

Then adjust your frequency by coming on one of our Superior Pamir Highway Jeep Tours.

The Pamir Highway is one of THE road trips. This glorious route takes you over the highest pass of the ex-Soviet Union, past one of the largest meteor-lakes in the world and through some of the most majestic mountain landscapes on earth.

We’ll drive through epic, untrammelled wilderness alongside rushing turquoise rivers and massive, snow-capped peaks. We’ll meet fabulously friendly people, stay in delightful homestays, learn about Tajik, Kyrgyz and Persian culture, sleep in nomad’s yurts, bathe in hot thermal springs and marvel at ancient petroglyphs, 2000 year old Buddhist stupas, stunning Silk Road fortresses and hyperbole defying views. All whilst following in the footsteps of historical legends such as Timur, Alexander the Great and Marco Polo, accompanied by local guides who know the route and can bring it alive for you.

This itinerary starts and ends in Dushanbe and takes-in the Darvaz region before heading into the Pamir Mountains. You’ll follow the Wakhan valley, drink tea with Wakhi tribespeople and gaze in awe at 7000+ metre peaks under a glittering canopy of night stars.

The car will be a comfortable Toyota Landcruiser 4×4, not some pokey rattle-box that will loosen your fillings.

You’ll be looked after by our brilliant local team. We’re sure you’ll love them as much as we do.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Dushanbe International Airport
DEPARTURE TIME Please ensure you arrive in good time for the expedition to begin, as noted in the itinerary and subsequent information pack we will send to you after booking.
INCLUDED
  • Car with driver
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • Airport transfers
  • Fuel
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Entry into local historical/cultural sites
  • Filtered water
  • Water-to-Go Filter bottle
NOT INCLUDED
  • International flights to/from Dushanbe
  • Alcohol
  • Extra snacks
  • Visas and other permits as required (Tajik visa, GBAO permit x2)

At times it will be roastingly hot, at others you’ll need to hunker down against mountain hailstorms, but at every turn you’ll be amazed, awed and humbled.

There will be a maximum of six people in the group in two cars – we want you to enjoy come comfort rather than feel squished-in like sardines.

Ultimate Pamir Highway : Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan Jeep Tour
April-October only.
Minimum group size 3 persons. Maximum Group size 9 persons.

1

Day 1: Monday

Arrive Dushanbe International Airport, Tajikistan
Flights (usually Turkish Airlines via Istanbul) arrive at the rather ungodly hour of 03.45 so this will be a gentle day of sleeping, acclimatising, eating and drinking.

2

Day 2: Tuesday

Lift Off!
It’s chocks away as we hit the road to Kala i Hussein 220 km east of the capital. We’ll stop for lunch by a lake where you can swim, and by then we will have left the tarmac behind for a few days as we head into the mountains proper.

3

Day 3: Wednesday

Kala i Hussein – Kala-i-Kumb
A thrilling 70 km drive over the 3852 m Khaburabot Pass to Kala-i–Kumb, where we join both the mighty Panj River and the border with Afghanistan. On the way we enter Gorno Badakhshan, the autonomous province that defines the Tajik Pamirs.

4

Day 4: Thursday

Kala-i-Kumb – Khorog
We head deeper into the mountains, following the Pamir Highway and the Panj 240 km south-east to Khorog along the Afghan border. Expect soaring eagles, stunning mountain scenery and dusty roads carved through deep river gorges.

5

Day 5: Friday

Khorog – Yamchun
From Khorog we continue south to Ishkashim. After this we turn east into the Wakhan Corridor, driving in the shadow of both the High Pamirs and Pakistan’s Hindu Kush. Tonight after a total drive of 160 km we stay in Yamchun, home to a 2000 year old Silk Road fortress and some extremely reviving hot springs.

6

Day 6: Saturday

Yamchun – Langar
There’s so much to see in the Wakhan Corridor that today we just drive 40 km to the village of Langar. On the way we climb up to Buddhist stupas, visit a great little museum and stop in some lovely Wakhi villages. The views here across to Afghanistan and Pakistan are quite something, and the family at tonight’s homestay are utterly delightful.

7

Day 7: Sunday

Langar – Hunting Camp
We leave the Wakhan Corridor and the Panj River behind us today and drive 130 km north and east, following the Pamir River through the Zorkul Nature Reserve (conditions permitting). This route lies between the Alichur and Great Pamir mountain ranges and offers some rather spectacular views as we ford a 4400m pass. We’ll spend tonight with a friendly family at a hunting camp at over 4100m. More hot springs await us here!

8

Day 8: Monday

Hunting Camp – Murghab
From the camp it’s a blustery 165 km drive across the extraordinary lunar landscape of the Aksu River valley, to the town of Murghab. Now we really are riding on the Bam-i–Dunya, ‘the roof of the world.’ To our right lies the Saray Kol range and behind it, China. To our rear are Afghanistan and Pakistan; truly one of the most remote tri-borders in the world. Watch out for yaks, Kyrgyz nomads and fat golden marmots. Time and weather permitting, we will visit an abandoned Soviet observatory, and possibly a meteor crater before arriving at Murghab.

9

Day 9: Tuesday

Murghab – Saray Tash
From Murghab we head up over the 4655 m Ak-Baital (the highest pass in the former Soviet Union) to the Kyrgyz border. Once over, we stay in the town of Sary Tash. Today’s driving distance is 235 km.

10

Day 10: Wednesday

Saray Tash – Osh
A beautiful 180 km ride through the southern heart of Kyrgyzstan (the Switzerland of Central Asia) to Osh. We will stop at a UFO cafe (you’ll see what we mean) on the way for a leisurely lunch.

11

Day 11: Thursday

Osh
Day off in Osh to explore this former Silk Road city with its brilliant bazaars, mosques and museums.

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Day 12: Friday

Osh – Khujand
Today we drive from Osh to Khujand, in Tajikistan, via the Tajik – Kyrgyz border crossing at Batken. At 380 km, this is the longest day we’ll do.

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Day 13: Saturday

Khujand – Dushanbe
Our final day’s driving – and the day we tackle the infamous (but recently repaired) Anzob Tunnel. After 220 km on tarmac roads, we’ll be back in Dushanbe for supper.

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Day 14: Sunday

Dushanbe
Day off in Dushanbe – it’s your time to explore this interesting city, maybe visit a spa for a massage, do a spot of shopping, explore the bazaar or just relax in the comfortable hotel.

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Day 15: Monday

Dushanbe – Home
The suggested Turkish Airlines flight (via Istanbul) departs at another ungodly hour of 05.40. Hardly worth going to bed is it?
Tour Start Date End Date Price
Superior Pamir Highway by Jeep June 2020 15/06/2020 29/06/2020 £3,400.00 Taking Bookings
Superior Pamir Highway by Jeep July 2020 06/07/2020 20/07/2020 £3,400.00 Taking Bookings
Superior Pamir Highway by Jeep August 2020 10/08/2020 24/08/2020 £3,400.00 Taking Bookings
Superior Pamir Highway by Jeep September 2020 07/09/2020 21/09/2020 £3,400.00 Taking Bookings

Where will we be staying?

On this expedition, we’ll be staying in good hotels in Dushanbe, Khorog and Osh, guest houses or basic hotels in other towns, and more often in homestays with local people and their families. The homestay concept is widely accepted throughout Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan – particularly the former – so these nights are often highly enjoyable glimpses into local customs and lifestyles. We also stay in yurts in a couple of locations on this trip.

We feel that true luxury is getting to know a place and its people, not necessarily measured by the thread count of the bed linen or the number of hotel restaurants.

What size of group will it be?
Our group sizes are always small, allowing for an intimate experience of the cultures we meet along our path. On the Ultimate Pamir Highway route, group sizes are dictated by the size of the homes we will be staying in. Our group is usually 6 expeditioners, a guide and our drivers. We usually find groups are made of like-minded people, both male and female, from a wide age range.

How is this different to other itineraries in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan I’ve seen?
We’ve been doing this route for some time and we do it differently from others. Our groups are small and our focus is on travelling slowly and immersively. This means our daily mileages are low as there is just too much to see to be tearing through at breakneck pace everywhere. Other tours cover our mileage in far less time, and we wish them well – it just isn’t our desire to rush through. Remember, our ethos is to take the time to stop, breathe and take it all in.

What will the weather be like?
A very difficult question to answer when traversing the fourth highest mountain range on earth. But, you can expect some hot days lower in the valleys and off the high plateaus – temperatures could be in 20-30C range or higher. At altitude, we have experienced every season in the course of a single day – warm sunshine followed by winds and rain, hail or snow on the passes and perhaps down to 0 degrees for a short period of time. In general, the rule of thumb is to expect warm days and cooler nights when we are out of the lowland areas.

I’m a solo traveller – is this for me?
Yes. More than 85% of our expedition clients travel alone as part of our group. You’ll travel as part of the group, not an outsider.

Do you charge single supplements – I can’t see them in your information?
Sometimes we cannot avoid it. We don’t believe that solo travellers should be penalised with extra charges.  It goes against our ethos, so unless totally unavoidable or astronomically expensive,  all costs are included in the expedition price. Please note that in many of our destinations, single rooms are simply not available due to the nature of the available tourism infrastructure.

What kit do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful.

How much are flights?
This is a moving feast! It depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. From London, the cheapest flights to Dushanbe might be via Moscow. We use Turkish Airlines via Istanbul because they are good, cost-effective connections. Costs are usually around the £450 mark, return. Again, we’ll send you an information pack containing all the information you need when you book your place.

We can book your flights for you through our trade ATOL partners – please just ask us for details.

What will the food be like?
Varied; the Pamir area is not particularly agriculturally inclined, mostly due to the precipitous nature of the topography, and often poor soils. But many of our homestay hosts pride themselves on making good meals for their guests, so we will be well looked-after. If you are a vegetarian, food can be a little dull (lots of bread, potatoes and eggs with salads) but perfectly acceptable. For meat-eaters, pilaf is the main dish. Usually rice and meat in one dish and often very tasty. Freshly made non (bread) is available almost everywhere and can be delicious. We try to ensure we have some treat foods in the back-up vehicle for picnics. In general we think food is a core part of any cultural experience and there are a good number of local dishes to try on our route.

Will I be affected by altitude?
Altitude can affect different people in different ways. It can also affect the same person in different ways from trip to trip. We will be spending quite a number of days above 3000 metres, and up on the Alichur and Murghab plateaus, often above 4000 metres. We also cross some high passes, with the Ak Baital being 4700m (over 15,000 ft). If you feel that you might suffer from altitude sickness, or have history of it, you should consider discussing this with your doctor prior to booking and travel. Diamox and other similar prescription drugs are available to ease symptoms, but the key way to address any onset of altitude sickness is to descend. Luckily, from anywhere particularly high, descent is possible rapidly thanks to our vehicles. Our route is also planned to gain altitude in the smallest increments possible to aid acclimatisation. Simple precautions and awareness go a long way.

Will I have to share a room?
Yes, at times. There may be hotels and guest houses where we will have separate rooms and wherever possible we will arrange this, but there will also be times where we are staying at homestays or in yurts when there is no option but to share rooms. This is all part of the adventure, and a reason we love to travel here. It makes sense for light sleepers to bring good earplugs and eyemasks, in case of snorers or the host family waking early.

Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?
Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. And we always carry a satellite phone if there is any danger of being out of signal in the places we travel through. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.

I can’t do your dates but love the sound of your expedition – can you be flexible?
Yes. We offer set group dates for many of our expeditions, but we can organise and deliver bespoke expeditions to groups and individuals to suit your itinerary and budget. More information is available on our tailor made tours page.

Is it a guaranteed departure?
As with any itinerary we need to reach a minimum number of guests to make it viable. On the Ultimate Pamir Highway Jeep tour this is 3 people from a possible 6.  When you express interest in this expedition, we will send you a deposit invoice to hold your place. This is refundable according to our terms and conditions if we do not reach the minimum numbers. We recommend that you do not book your flights or other arrangements until we have communicated that the expedition is definitely departing as planned and will aim to do this in order to give you at least 3 months prior to the scheduled departure in which to make your travel arrangements.

Value for Money
We are very proud of the routes we design and the way in which we travel them. We don’t cut corners and we plan meticulously. We are a small company that treats every guest as our friend and you won’t find that kind of service in many places. 85% of our customers have re-booked to travel again with us and some of them come on a trip every year. We also do annual expedition and remote medicine training and pay for 24/7 remote medical assistance cover. We employ professional military-grade risk assessments and plan for every possible negative scenario whilst hoping that none ever come to pass. We take our obligations to you and your safety very seriously and this all does cost money. We think the price  price represents great value for this once in a lifetime experience.

Is this really for me?
Although this is an extremely enlivening way to spend two weeks of your life, it’s also potentially dangerous.

Travelling by 4×4 is an inherently risky activity and to compound this, you will be travelling in a developing part of the world.

Not only could you be hurt, maimed or even killed but in the event of an accident it could take hours for the emergency services to reach you.

It will also be physically tiring due to altitude.

Don’t even consider signing up for this adventure if you aren’t fully aware of the risks you are taking.

If you like your holidays to include foie gras, butlers and miles of quilted loo roll then please look elsewhere.

If however, you want a proper, unique and delightful experience that you’ll remember forever, then you are in luck!

Enquire

From£3,400.00