A Day Trip to Madiyan Hot Springs, Tajikistan
Updated February 2023, A Day Trip to Madiyan Hot Springs, Tajikistan was originally published in December 2021
Madiyan Valley, which cuts westward from Murghab is jagged and stark in comparison to its more northerly colorful counterpart Pshart Valley. For those looking for an adventure away from the Murghab area, a visit to Madiyan for its rugged views and a dip in its hot springs are in order. Another possibility is to pair a visit to Madiyan Hot Springs with a drive up the Pshart Valley and hike up Gumbezkul Pass, landing you in Madiyan Hot Springs.
Check out the Eastern Pamir Travel Guide and start planning your trip
How to get to Madiyan Hot Springs
Getting to Madiyan Hot Springs is an adventure all in itself. First, you need to get to the village of Ak Tal, sat right in the middle of Madiyan Valley, about 30 or so kilometers from the mouth of the valley near Murghab. The odd shared taxi leaves Murghab Bazaar for Ak Tal, though you’ll likely find it much more convenient to hire a 4WD and driver to bring you out there here.
In Ak Tal, you’ll inevitably want to ask if you’ll need to take the high route or low route to Madiyan Hot Springs. That is if you’ll be going by 4WD out there. It’s a long haul, but you could opt to hike out to the hot springs if you’ve come to Ak Tal somehow on a shared taxi.
From Ak Tal, you’ll take a turn south, following the Eli Suu River. As mentioned about there’s a low and a high route. More than likely if you are going by vehicle you’ll be taking the high route.
A rough jeep track winds up to a cliff-edge plateau high above the Eli Suu River. The track continues south once you’ve gotten atop to plateau, winding back to a dead end. Park your car here and continue the remainder of the journey on foot.
Take a moment to appreciate the views of the stark Eli Suu River Valley and the lush green pasture below you. The walk down is along a well-beaten path, taking about 5 minutes to reach.
You then will need to cross a rickety bridge seemingly slapped together from scrap metal. While the bridge is a little rough around the edges, I had pictured it to be much more death-defying based on the descriptions of it I had seen.
On the other side, you’ll find a building that houses the Madiyan Hot Spring pools inside. There is a man from Ak Tal that care takes the facility, who you can find somewhere around here during daylight hours to unlock the doors. He walks from Ak Tal early every morning and leaves back around sunset.
Get started with the Tajikistan Travel Guide
The Madiyan Hot Springs Pool
Once inside, there are several rooms for resting on the left side and the pools can be found on the right. Each pool is enclosed by concrete walls giving privacy, in typical Soviet hot spring fashion.
Go inside the pool room and fill a bucket with hot spring water and take it to the “changing” side of the room where you need to strip down and shower before. Make sure to have brought soap with you so that you can clean yourself before hopping in the pool for a soak.
Following your soak, get dressed, and go relax in one of the rooms across the hall. You can ask the caretaker to bring chai, naan, and yogurt to you too (an offering of 20 TJS or so per person should be given).
Note that access to use the Madiyan Hot Springs pools is free.
Staying in Murghab? Plan your stay
Staying the Night at Madiyan Hot Springs
For those keen to spend the night out here at Madiyan Hot Springs, you can ask the caretaker to let you stay overnight in one of the resting rooms. This is a common practice, especially for residents of the nearby villages and towns as it’s widely believed that the hot springs cure a myriad of ailments, so people will pack up and spend a weekend or even a few days out here.
Hiking Gumbezkul Pass from Pshart Valley
A long day hike will bring you up and over 4,731 Gumbezkul Pass from Pshart Valley to Madiyan Valley. Once over to the Madiyan side, you can continue to the hot springs.
Plan your trek over Gumbezkul Pass
Making Arrangements to Visit Madiyan Valley
By far, the easiest way to do this is to hire a local outfit to set up this trip for you. If you just want a car to take you to Madiyan from Murghab and back you can plan for it to cost around $60 USD for the entire car.
If wanting to combine Madiyan Hot Springs with the Gumbezkul Pass Hike, the 4WD to Pshart Valley, and to pick up in Madiyan Valley, take you to the hot spring and back to Murghab will cost about $110 for the driver and car, a guide will cost about $50 additional.
Several operators around Murghab can arrange this trip for you. My lovely friend Saidali of Pamir Guides can set up a tour for you as well as Bekirbek, and Eastern Pamir Eco Tours.
Continuing on to Karakul en route to Kyrgyzstan?
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