12 day Pamir Highway expedition

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Itinerary

Join us on a wild adventure along Tajikistan’s famous Pamir Highway on this 12 day Pamir Highway road trip Expedition.

Starting from the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, this trip will take us along the legendary M41 and to some truly off-the-beaten-path corners of the Pamir including a lovely trek to the village of Jizeu in the Bartang Valley, a side trip along the Wakhan Valley, and visits to far-flung Zorkul Lake and Great Game hold out Shaimak.

We will finally cross the border into Kyrgyzstan at Kyzyl Art and spend some time exploring the beautiful Tulparkul Lake before continuing onto the Kyrgyz Fergana Valley city of Osh.

Quick Trip Details

Dates: June 25 – July 6, 2024
Duration: 12 days | 12 nights
Start: Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Finish: Osh, Kyrgyzstan
Cost: $1700 USD
Deposit: 30% at time of booking

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 1: Dushanbe-Qala i Khumb

Nurak reservoir, Tajikistan, Pamir Highway, Nurek

Hit the ground running on day one of our Pamir Highway adventure, loading up into our 4WD vehicles after an early breakfast in Dushanbe. 

Our end goal today will be to reach the beautiful town of Qala i Khumb. 

Along the route today we’ll first stop at the gorgeous Nurek Reservoir and a little later visit the 11th-century Hulbuk Fortress before breaking near the city of Kulob to grab lunch at a local chaikhana (tea house). 

After lunch, the Pamir Highway begins to climb up into Shurubod Pass where we’ll reach our first GBAO checkpoint. After completing formalities at the checkpoint, we’ll begin the descent out of the pass with mind-blowing views of the Panj River with glimpses across the border and into neighboring Afghanistan. 

From Shurubod Pass, we follow the course of the Panj, arriving at Qala i Khumb in the early evening where we’ll have a nice dinner on the river’s edge. 

*For those arriving a day or more early into Dushanbe, we can arrange a guided city tour and/or accommodation bookings at an additional cost for those who are interested. Please note that the night prior to day 1 of the trip is not included in the price of your tour.

Drive time: ~10 hours
Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 2: Qala i Khumb to Jizeu

Jizeu, Jizeu trek, Bartang Highway, Bartang Valley, Jizeu Valley, Tajikistan, Western Pamir, Pamir, Pamirs, Tajikistan trekking, Central Asia, Bartang

Day two of the Pamir Highway expedition will take us on a detour from the Pamir Highway and into the beguiling Bartang Valley. 

At the village of Rushon, we’ll turn off the M41 and continue 30 kilometers up the Bartang Valley stopping at a bridge to begin our trek to the picturesque village of Jizeu. 

The hike to Jizeu will take us about 2-3 hours gaining about 500 meters in elevation over nearly 7 kilometers. 

Once we reach Jizeu we’ll have lunch at our homestay and spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring around the village.

Note: Our vehicles will be waiting for us back on the main road so you can leave your large luggage in them overnight. You’ll only need a small daypack with water, layering clothing, and any other personal item you’d like to bring. 

Drive time: ~4 hours
Trekking distance | time: 6 kilometers | 2 hours
Accommodation: Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 3: Jizeu to Khorog

Khorog, Tajikistan

After catching the sunrise over Jizeu Lakes we’ll have breakfast and begin our trek back to our vehicles waiting for us on the Bartang Highway. Entirely downhill, the trek should take about 1 hour 30 minutes. 

Once back in the Bartang Valley, we’ll drive back to Rushon and back on to the Pamir Highway and onto the Pamiri city of Khorog. 

The entire drive today is spectacular with amazing views of both the Tajik and Afghan sides of the Panj River. 

In Khorog we will have time to stroll around the city and visit the Central Park and Bazaar. In the evening we can arrange for a visit to a local banya.

Drive time: ~3 hours
Trekking distance | time: 6 kilometers | 1 hour 30 minutes
Accommodation: Hostel-style inn
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 4: Khorog to Yamchun

Tajikistan, Tajikistan travel guide, Tajikistan travel, Wakhan, Tajik Wakhan, Wakhan Valley, Wakhan Tajikistan, Wakhan Valley Tajikistan, Tajikistan, Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, Badakhshan, GBAO, Pamir, Yamchun, Afghanistan, Hindu Kush

After an early start, we’ll depart Khorog bound for one of the highlights of Tajikistan- the Wakhan Valley. 

The Wakhan has a fascinating history, bisected by the Tajik-Afghan border along a stunning narrow valley. The Wakhan Valley is home to the Wakhi people who mostly follow a unique sect of Islam called Ismailism and who have their own dialect.

We will reach the entrance to the Wakhan Valley in the small town of Ishkashim about three hours after departing Khorog. 

From Ishkashim the valley is strewn with ancient caravanserais, fortresses, and bygone solar calendars. 

About 15 km beyond Ishkashim we’ll reach the village of Namadgut, home to the Kushan-era Khaakha Fortress that we’ll have the chance to explore. 

A little further down the Wakhan Valley, we will come to the village of Darshai where we’ll grab a simple lunch and take a little time to visit the Shrine of Oston i Bobo Khokhi in the nearby village of Shitkharv.

In the afternoon, we reach Tughoz, where we will turn off the main road and head up a winding mountain road to reach the remarkable ruins of Yamchun with stunning views of the Hindu Kush Range that forms the natural border between Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor and Pakistan. 

Tonight we will stay in a charming homestay in the Yamchun area that is operated by a lovely family who cooks up some fantastic meals.

We will also have the opportunity to take a dip in Bibi Fatima Hot Springs which sits at the top of the mountain road. Bibi Fatima is famous in Tajikistan because many women go there in hopes of boosting their fertility. 

Note that the hot spring does have separate hours for men and women- bathing is to be done completely in the nude here.

Drive time: ~6 hours
Accommodation: Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 5: Bibi Fatima to Pik Engles Meadows

Pik Engles Meadows Trek, Tajik Wakhan, Tajikistan

After saying our goodbyes to Yamchun, our first stop for the day is just a short distance away at the village of Vrang where we will make a brief yet steep walk up to the Vrang Buddhist Stupa. 

Continuing along the Wakhan Valley, we stop in Zong for views of the Vishmqala Silk Fortress that would have served as a lookout to protect this stretch of the route from would-be Chinese and Afghan invaders.

Around midday, we will reach the village of Zong from where we’ll start our overnight hike to the spectacular Pik Engles Meadows.

From Zong, we follow a path that eventually meets with an irrigation canal. Along the canal be rewarded with amazing views of the Wakhan Corridor to the south before turning into a narrow valley above Langar village that leads to the meadows beneath the distinctly shaped mountain of Pik Engles.

We’ll reach the meadows in the late afternoon where we’ll have time to relax and explore the surrounding area. 

Note that the trek does gain nearly 1,000 meters in elevation over the course of 12 kilometers with us camping at an elevation of 3,950 meters.

Trekking distance | time: 12 kilometers | 5 hours
Drive time: ~2 hours
Accommodation: Camping
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 6: Pik Engles Meadows to Hisor

Langar Petroglyphs, Wakhan Valley, Tajikistan

After breakfast, we’ll begin our descent from Pik Engles Meadows only this time to the village of Langar. On the way down as we near Langar, keep your eyes peeled for petroglyphs that can be found scattered all around- there are over 6,000 of them!

Our vehicles will meet us in Langar and shuttle us the short distance to the nearby Hisor village where we will be spending the night tonight. 

Hisor is home to the ruins of Zangibar Fortress and the Shrine of Oston i Nuri Muhammed which we will have time to visit for those interested. 

Otherwise, we will spend the afternoon relaxing in Hisor.

Tonight we will be staying in a great homestay run by a loving family who cooks up some delicious traditional food.

Trekking distance | time: 7.5 kilometers | 3 hours
Drive time: ~2 hours
Accommodation: Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 7: Hisor to Jarty Gumbez

Marco Polo Sheep, Jarty Gumbez, Tajikistan, Eastern Pamir

Back on the road today, we’ll begin our journey toward the Eastern Pamir. Beyond Hisor and Langar, the road climbs up and past the village of Ratm and onto Khargush Pass. 

At Khargush Pass we’ll reach a checkpoint, from which we will show our permits for Zorkul and veer off the main Wakhan Valley Road and to the east to travel along bumpy jeep tracks into the truly off-the-beaten-path corner of Tajikistan’s Eastern Pamir. 

We will eventually reach the famous Zorkul Lake that straddles the Tajik-Afghan border, one of Tajikistan’s most remote locations.

After exploring around Zorkul, we will continue toward Jarty Gumbez for the night, a popular sheep hunter’s camp in the winter months. Here we will have access to hot springs and if we’re lucky we’ll see some Marco Polo sheep in the area.

Drive time: ~10 hours
Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 8: Jarty Gumbez to Shaimak

Shaimak, Ak Suu, Aksu, Ak Suu Valley, Aksu Valley, Tajikistan, Eastern Pamir, Ak Tash

Today we head for Tajikistan’s most strategic point of Shaimak, a grand holdout of the Great Game. 

From Shaimak it is possible to see into Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China all at the same time, making it a key strategic point for spies gathering intel when the British and Russians were vying for power in Central Asia. 

Keep an eye out for yurt camps belonging to semi-nomadic families who graze their livestock in these mountains on our way to Shaimak.

Driving time: ~6 hours
Accommodation: Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 9: Shaimak to Karakul

Ak Baital, Ak Baital Pass, White Horse Pass, Tajikistan, Eastern Pamir

From Shaimak we’ll travel north along the Ak Suu Valley to the village of Toktymush and on to the tombs of Konye Kurgan before we meet again with the main Pamir Highway after a multi-day detour from it.

Beyond Konye Kurgan, we’ll reach the town of Murghab in the afternoon where we will grab lunch and visit the bazaar before continuing another 3 hours north and over 4,655 meter Ak Baital Pass. 

As we cross Ak Baital, keep an eye out for Marco Polo sheep as they do frequent this area.

In the late afternoon, we will descend into Karakul village, perched along the shore of Karakul Lake. 

Driving time: ~10 hours
Accommodation: Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 10: Karakul to Tuparkul, Kyrgyzstan

Tajikistan Travel, Tajikistan Travel guide, Karakul, 10 reasons to visit tajikistan, tajikistan travel, tajiksitan travel guide, pamir highway, pamir, tajikistan

We’ll get an early start toward Kyzyl Art Pass, which forms the natural border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. 

We’ll bid a final ‘khair’ to Tajikistan at the top of the pass where we’ll go through immigration and customs formalities before we descend into the stunning no-man’s-land between the two countries. At the bottom of the pass, we will reach Bordobo and officially enter Kyrgyzstan.

Once we have cleared immigration and customs at Bordobo we will continue onto Sary Tash where we’ll grab some lunch and then continue another hour to reach dazzling Tulparkul Lake where we’ll be staying in a yurt camp for the night.

Driving time: ~4 hours
Accommodation: Yurt camp
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 11: Tuparkul

Peak Lenin, Kyrgyzstan, Sary Tash, Pamir, Pamirs, Pamir Mountains

Today we’ll spend exploring the area around Tulparkul. Some of us can opt to trek toward Peak Lenin Basecamp or you can spend the day relaxing near the lake.

Accommodation: Yurt camp
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition Day 12: Tuparkul to Osh

Suleiman Too, Osh, Kyrgyzstan

We start our final day of this 12 day Pamir Highway road trip by packing up everything and departing Tulparkul back toward Sary Mogul and Sary Tash, eventually reaching Osh in the early afternoon. 

We’ll take some time to explore a bit of the city today before having our final farewell dinner in a hip restaurant in Osh.

Drive time: ~3 hours
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Included

  • Transport in 4×4 vehicles
  • 3 meals per day
  • Accommodations based on double occupancy
  • Tents for the two nights camping

Excluded

  • Visa costs (if applicable)
  • GBAO permit
  • Personal kit and equipment
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities to local staff

2 thoughts on “12 Day Pamir Highway Expedition”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top