Tour type: auto, trekking
Duration: 13 days, 12 nights
Best Season: May - October
Altitude: passes at 2400 - 4700 m
Requirements: Trekking shoes, waterproof & warm clothes, hat, sunscreen & sunglasses
Overnight stay: yurt, guesthouses, hotels
DESCRIPTION: Stunning highland landscapes, alpine lakes, remote villages cut off electricity and the great history of “Great Game” make Tajikistan the most attractive place in Central Asia. Explore this country if you are seeking unforgettable adventure.
ITINERARY: Dushanbe - Darvoz (Kalaikhum) – Khorog – Ishkashim – Langar – Bulunkul and Yashilkul lakes - Alichur – Murgab – Karaku l lake – Sarymogol - Lenin Peak base camp – Osh city
Day 1: Dushanbe to Kalaikhum, 5–6 hrs
Drive towards Kulob on A385 road. Enjoy the views of one of the world’s highest hydro power station Nurek in a distance. Visit 11th century Hulbuk Palace before Kulob village. Head on to the Shurobod pass. After pass, deep rocky valleys and gorgeous mountains open up. Drive along Panj River with amazing mountain views and through numerous local villages. Arrival in Kalaikhum village. Dinner and overnight in a homestay.
Day 2: Darvoz (Kalaikhum) to Khorog city, 5-6 hrs
Breakfast. Travel to Khorog city. Road continues along the Afghan border with picturesque scenery. Road widens up in the Vanj valey with gorgeous mountain views along the river. Arrival in Khorog city. Accommodation in a hotel. Afternoon, do evening hike in a Botanical Garden that has various plants and trees to explore.
Day 3: Khorog city - Ishkashim village - Yamchun fortress & hot springs - Yamg village, 5-6 hr
Breakfast. Drive to Yamg village in Wakhan valley. Visit fortress Khaaka on the way at Namadgut village right after leaving Ishkashim village. It is worth a 10 minutes stop. Take another detour on the way at Yamchun to admire the 12th century Yamchun Fortress rising from a platform of natural rock. Walk up to edge of the fort and you will have amazing view of Wakhan valley. Further up the hillside are located the hot springs of Bibi Fatima with its crystal waters rich in minerals. Continue to driving to Yamg village for overnight.
Day 4. Trekking to Engels Peak in Wakhan valley, 8-9 hrs
Do a challenging day hike (5 hour up and 4 hour down). It is easy walk with the only pass before the meadow at 4000 meters even though the distance could be long. Your trek starts at Zong village by driving up to the north end of the village. Turn right to take obvious trail along the manmade water channel joining the stream coming from the foot of Engels peak. Walk along the channel until you reach the stream and follow it to get to the green lush meadow valley. While walking up, enjoy the towering peaks of magnificent Hindu Kush Mountain Range of Pakistan behind and lush valleys of the Panj river. Arrival at the meadow at 4000 meters and break for the lunch here or on the shore of small lake beyond the meadow with the stunning view of Engels Peak. Back to your car and drive to Langar village for overnight.
Day 5: Langar village - Panorama Ridge trek ( 3-4 hrs) at Kargush pass – Bulunkul lake – Alichur village
Breakfast. Travel to Kargush pass, 2hrs. Road follows the river Pamir all the way to Kargush checkpoint with the chance to admire the Big Pamir of Afghanistan with nomadic Afghan Kyrgyz caravans. Arrival at the Kargush pass and start the 3-4 hrs trek to Panorama Ridge at 4800 meters. While walking up, two small lakes behind you at roadside open up to cheer you. View a snowy Afghan Wakhan and spot stunning mountain scenery of Great Pamir on Afghan border at the top of Panorama Ridge and walk back to your car. Take another detour to see alpine lakes Bulunkul and Yashilkul with an overnight in one of the guesthouses at Bulunkul lake or drive directly to Alichur village right after the trek, 1 hr.
Day 6: Alichur village - Observatory hill - Murgab village - Karakul lake , 6-7 hr
Breakfast. We take a detour to Observatory hill. You will see nice view of Muztak Ata peak of China on top of the hill if no clouds on the sky. Down the hill there is a soviet truck full of skulls of sheep inside. Once upon a time it was a hunting camp. Arrival in Murgab village and lunch in a local guesthouse or café. Travel goes on to Karakul lake with the highest pass Akbaital (4655 m) you will ever do in Tajikistan, 3hr. Take photos of glaciers on the pass. Arrival in Karakul lake. Overnight and dinner in a guesthouse.
Day 7: Karakul lake - Sarymogol village – base camp of Lenin Peak , 4–5 hrs
Breakfast. Drive to check point, 1hr. Cross the borders and head up to the base camp of Lenin Peak via Sarymogol village, 3 hrs. Arrival in the yurt camp at the base camp and lunch in a yurt. Explore the snowcapped Lenin Peak in Pamir mountain range by taking a day hike from your yurt camp to the Traveler’s pass at 4130 meters, 3 hrs. Enjoy the beauty of glaciers while walking up to the pass. Rest at the top of the Traveler’s pass to gaze at glaciers tumbling off the massive peak. Back to your yurts, 2 hrs. Overnight and dinner in a yurt.
Day 8: Base camp of Lenin Peak – Sarymogol village - Osh city, 4–5 hrs
Breakfast. Drive to Osh city with numerous Kyrgyz village and shepherd’s yurts scattered in mountains slopes, 5 hrs. Arrival and be accommodated in your hotel.
Day 9: Osh city – Kaldama Pass - Kazarman village, 5–6 hrs
Highlight of the day is Kaldama pass. Bushes along the road and in mountain slopes delight your senses. Amazing mountain ranges opens up on top of the pass. Descend down the pass. Arrival in Kazarman and accommodation in CBT guesthouse.
Day 10: Kazarman village - Ak Tal village - Naryn city - Tash Rabat , 6–7 hrs.
Head on to Naryn city. Enjoy driving along the over flowing river Naryn, the largest river in Kyrgyzstan. Pass by yurts of shepherd’s while driving over passes. Lunch in Naryn city. Afternoon drive to Tashrabat. Overnight and dinner in a yurt.
Day 11: Tash Rabat – Naryn city – Kochkor village , 3-4 hrs
Breakfast. Morning visit Tashrabat Silk Road caravanserai. Walk around the area to get the best view of Tashrabat. Drive to Kochkor city, 3 hrs. Arrival and be accommodated in a local guesthouse. Overnight and dinner in a CBT homestay.
Day 12: Kochkor city – Song Kul lake, 3 hrs
Travel to Song Kul lake. Exotic view of alpine lake Song Kul opens up when you reach Kalmak Ashuu pass. Drive down to the shore of the lake and be accommodated in a yurt. Afternoon, walk around the lake to experience nomadic life of Kyrgyz people.
Day 13: Song Kul lake - Bishkek city, 6–7 hrs
Travel to Bishkek city. Drive down the southern shore of the lake to head up to Kyzyl Oi village, 4 hrs. Lunch in Kyzyl Oi village. After lunch, head on to Bishkek via amazing Suusamyr valley and Too Ashuu Pass. Stunning mountain views opens up on top of the pass. Arrival in Bishek. End of the tour.
Note about trekking options on Pamir Highway: There are three day trekkings in this itinerary on days 4, 5, 7. You can remove or leave it according to your physical fitness. There are other one day trekking options on Pamir Highway. You can add them to this itinerary if you think they are interesting for you. Then the price given will change slightly. We have GPS or KML of trekkings to do them without guide.
Other trekking options on Pamir Highway: