Pamir Highway

Pamir Highway, Dushanbe: Hours, Address, Pamir Highway Reviews: 4.5/5

Pamir Highway
4.5
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
About
The Pamir Mountain range is part of the Western Himalaya and features several peaks over 7000m. The terrain is diverse from towering peaks to high altitude desert plains and climate conditions can vary from +35C to -40C depending upon the time of year. The Pamir Highway follows paths forged long ago by the ancient Silk routes, when that precious commodity travelled from China to European and Arabian markets and traded goods returned in its stead. Legacies of those forgotten times can still be seen with cliff top fortresses and ancient caravanserais. The highway winds over 2000km from Samarkand in Uzbekistan through Dushanbe (capital of Tajikistan) and the Pamir mountains to Osh in Kyrgyzstan and then on to Bishkek (capital of Kyrgyzstan) through the Tien Shan mountain range. The peoples of Central Asia hold hospitality as a value of great importance and travellers are warmly welcomed whether the visit is planned or otherwise!
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The area
Address
Murghab 70 Soolagi Murgob, Dushanbe 734000 Tajikistan
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
132 reviews
Excellent
106
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20
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4
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Robert
1 contribution
We booked offroad tour with Pegas Adventure, and the owner is friendly and willing to provide assistance, helped a lot. Starting from Osh to Dushanbe via Wahkhan corridor, This place has become quite famous for helping travellers plan their Pamir Highway road trip.This is the option we went with and recommend. Having your own transport and driver allows you to go at your own pace, stop for photos and breaks and have a bit of comfort as well. Our Car was Toyota Land Cruiser this is best car for this roud, our driver also was English speaking, it was very good to comminucate with him, We liked Pegas Adventure services. Highly recommend to everyone!!!
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Elizabeth H
St. Albans, UK66 contributions
The conventional route Osh/Dushanbe was not possible when we visited due to the closure of the Tajik/Kygyrz border. Nonetheless, Talant from Visit Alay in Osh helped us organise an excellent trip, was good at communicating and promptly helped with our questions online before we arrived. In Dushanbe, we met our driver, Tamreez (+992 93 555 4136). Tamreez (who speaks English) is from the Pamir region and knows and loves the area, this was evident throughout our trip, he seems to know everybody and did everything to make sure we had a brilliant time. He suggested extra areas to visit, (this did cost more, all of which were well worth it) and altogether made our whole trip so much better. He organised the Homestays we used and we were without exception well looked after by kind and friendly hosts. It was a pleasure to be in their homes. Tamreez has an great Land Cruiser 4 x 4 and is a very good driver. Thanks to Tamreez and to Talant we had a trip of a lifetime and are highly recommended.
Written August 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

alikarim
Dallas, TX1,253 contributions
We booked a 4WD tour with Destination Pamir in Osh, to take us from Osh via Lenin Peak, along the Pamir Highway crossing over from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan and then to Murghab via Lake Karakul, a detour to the Shakty Caves (petroglyphs) in the Kurteskei Valley, then to Shorbulak (or Shor-Buloq) Observatory, Jarty-Gumbez Hot Springs, Alichir, Bulunkul, Yashikul, Langar, Wakhan Valley, Ishkashim and finally to Khorog. The trip was wondefully organized, and the brothers (Erali, Sherali, Ahmadali) that run the tours took excellent care of us and showed us whatever we wanted to see and more. A most memorable trip and wonderful people all around
Written August 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John
Paris, France1 contribution
The Pamir Highway is a road traversing the Pamir Mountains through Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. It is the only continuous route through the difficult terrain of the mountains and serves as the main supply route to Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. The route has been in use for millennia, as there are a limited number of viable routes through the high Pamir Mountains. The road formed one link of the ancient Silk Road trade route. In this way internet connection is very bad only 2G. We had English speaking driver, he speaks very well English, Car also very clean and 4by4. We spent best time, Worth to visit this destination
Written January 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

GoranWembley
United Kingdom4,092 contributions
Solo
The Pamir Highway is supposed to be one of world's most scenic drives. It certainly is of the best drives I've ever been on. The scenery changes frequently for the length of highway; it's never dull and never boring. I did it clockwise starting in Osh, KG then stayed in Gorno Badahshan - a mountainous huge part of south Tajikistan bordering Kyrgyzstan, China and Afghanistan. Stayed in this area for the next 10 days. Important: GBAO permit is needed to visit this part of Tajikistan; this is usually issued with your visa but you'd need to ask for it when applying for TJ visa, otherwise it should be possible to buy it in Dushanbe, I think.

The Pamirs on my way started as a huge wall rising from the planes in Kyrgyzstan and after it resembles the Tibetan plateau with mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys. Beautiful.

The drive along the Wakhan Valley are dominated by the wonderful views of Afghanistan. So weird to be so close to a country that has been present in the news (for all wrong reasons) since I was little.

The landscapes in between Ishkashim and Rushon were pretty much of arid mountains, occasional green valley and the Panj. The mountains become to resemble the Grand Canyon landscapes between Rushon until you loose the Afghan border and the river Panj becomes monster flowing fast and turbulent in sections.

Below is how I the Pamir Highway.

Day 1:
Osh to Murgab; private 4x4 organised through Osh CBT. The road was surprisingly OK; the border crossings super easy; the first views of the Pamirs impressive and the landscapes stunning. We regretted for not taking a normal public service from Osh to Murgab and saving some money as everything seemed straightforward.

Overnight in Murgab at Ibragim Anara and the homestay was wonderful. Proper beds, banya style bathroom and great food. And Fatima speaks English.

Day 2:
A nightmare to leave Murgab, no petrol! A nightmare, but not for me. I met these Czech guys who came from the opposite direction and they told me that their driver had to go back to Langar on this day. They gave me his phone number and I met the driver; he got the petrol from someone his relatives in Murgab knew and off we went to Wakhan Valley. Ever so grateful to my Czech friends considering that only few people managed to leave Murgab on this day.

The drive upon exiting Murgab was nice but then it got dusty after we got off M41. The usual Murgab to Khorong road was out of use due to some landslides so the only way between these two places is via Wakhan Valley. This so suited me as it saved two days of my holidays for not reaching the valley from Khorong and coming back as originally planned.

The drive became spectacular again once we reached the Pamir river in the Wakhan corridor. Overnight in Langar.

Day 3:
Langar and Zong - see Wakhan Valley entry.

Day 4:
Zong to Darshai via Yamchun Fortress and Bibi Fatima hot springs
Darshai Gorge trek - see Wakhan Valley entry.

Day 5:
Darshai to Khorog via Ishkashim - see Wakhan Valley and Khorog entries.

Day 6-8: See Jiseu Valley

Day 9: Khorog to Dushanbe

Wakhan Corridor in detail:

Wakhan Valley in the Pamirs is squeezed between the ranges of Shokhdara (in the Pamirs, TJ) and Hindu Kush (Afghanistan). It's a beautiful area dominated by the views of Afghanistan. In fact, the best thing about Tajikistan's Wakhan Valley are the views of Afghanistan!

Below is how I experienced it.

Day 1: Langar and Zong
First thing in the morning, off to see petroglyphs in Langar and hoping to get to Engels Meadows for a good views of Peak Engels.

Tried to get to see some petroglyphs above the school in Langar, but the accent was far too dangerous. Well, it's going down on sandstone, sand and scree made me abandon the attempt to find petroglyphs after some 30 mins of climbing up. Also, it wasn't possible to find a guide to take me to Engels Meadows so that had to be abandoned as well; the path to Engels Meadows is not at all obvious.

It's the trip to Zong that I did instead and I don't regret it.

It's 5km from Langar to Zong. I asked locals on how to get to Abrashim Qala, the fortress above Zong and they directed me to hike the short possible way. That was via the wheat fields. There are many ways to go up, just ask the locals to point you to the right direction.

It took an hour to climb up passing thorough the fields, the village then via the steep ascent. The views of the Tajik Wakhan, Afghan Wakhan, rivers and Hindu Kush in Pakistan were spectacular, you definitely don't go there to see the ruins but for views. I spent 2.5 hours up there relaxing my mind by admiring the views. This viewpoint was one of those you're sad having to leave.

Back to the main road by taking the longest, but the least steep way; the one west of the fortress.

I'd choose to stay in Zong instead of Langar if I was to repeat this trip. I'd stay in Langar only if I was 100% sure I'd find a guide to take me to Engels Meadows.

Day 2:
The plan for Day 2 was to move from Langar to Vichkut in order to visit Yamchun Fortress and Bibi Fatima hot springs. The plan for Day 3 was to move from Vichkut to Darshai and do the Darshai Gorge trek. Then a stroke of good luck happened.

Went to the main road in Langar after breakfast and had to wait 1.5 hours for someone to pick me up. There were only three vehicles going my direction in 1.5 hours. The first one was a lorry with a trailer similar to the one that overturned on my way from Murgab to Langar; no way I was gonna be stopping that one. Then it was a vehicle with locals not driving as far as I wanted to go. And then Oleg and his son Dima, Kazakh Russians, who took me on board their super nice 4x4.

They changed their plans and we all went together up to the fortress and hot springs together. There was a clear sign on the main road directing to these two attractions. Both attractions are accessible by 4x4. The homestays seemed not to be starting to prop up until maybe one or two km from the main road. Thanks to the lift up I needed not to spend the night in Vichkut, but later continued with my drivers to Darshai.

Yamchun Fortress:
In much better state than Abrashim Qala in Zong with as equally nice views.

Bibi Fatima hot springs:
Men and women don't mix so there's a chance of needing to wait for a while. The lockers don't lock so one of us had to stay with our belongings until others finished with the bath. The water is very hot; it's OK after the initial scalding shock.

Darshai:
Stayed at this phenomenal homestay with no name but 'homestay' just after we passed the little bridge the Ishkashim direction. Btw, this was the only signposted homestay in Darshai. Sara speaks English.

Darshai Gorge trek:
A wonderful and unusual, in a nice way, trek. Not a soul in sight but just rocks smelling of sulphur, canyon and sounds of raging river below.

The trek starts before the bridge, the Ishkashim direction, where the volleyball court is. You go up then keep to the right; what seems to be wrong is actually correct. The path takes you all the way into the gorge trekking above the river. The path is very narrow for the large part of the trek.

At one point, maybe 1.5 hours into the trek, you have to cross this manmade path built on sheer rock face. It's proper scary looking at in from the other side. Then keep to the right again, up the slopes, no need to go down to the river until you see the new bridge from the distance. 30 minutes later and you're at the bridge(s) where the gorge walls are close to each other and the river is gushing through. Took me two hours to the bridges and a little less than that back. NB: not sure this hike is for those who fear the heights.

Day 3:
Darshai to Khorog via Ishkashim

I had to wait less than five minutes on the road before the shared taxi to Ishkashim appeared. Ishkashim in normal circumstances hosts the Afghan market on Saturdays. The circumstances are far from normal at present so no market on Saturdays until further notice. So it was a shared taxi drive to Khorog. End of the Wakhan Valley visit.

Juseu (aka Giseu or Gisev) Valley trekking:
Jiseu Valley starts some 25km off M41 near Rushon. It's a wonderful and very easy trek. The village is only 2hrs away from the bridge over the Bartang (this is the nearest you can get by car to Jiseu). The trek upstream from the village takes some 2 hours to reach the nicest lake. A further 1.5 hours was repetitive with walking over hot scree. Still nice though.

Possible to get to the bridge on shared taxi from Rushan on Mon-Sat, difficult on Sundays. Taxi, ordinary car, one way from Khorog to the bridge can be arranged for TJS200 and 4x4 for USD200 (?!). The tourism info office in Khorog is very keen for some reason to recommend the latter very expensive option. Btw, the ordinary taxi will pick you up for the same amount if you give TJS100 deposit. It takes 1.5 hrs to walk back from the village to the bridge.

I stayed with Lola Homestay. It's one of the first houses you'd hit after 2 hrs trekking from the bridge. This a really nice family, lovely house and Anisa speaks English.I trekked up from Lola's place until the landscapes became desolate and passed many beautiful lakes and ponds.

Khorog Transportation:
Getting out of Khorog for Dushanbe is easy by using the ground transportation (just be at the bus place by 6.30am), but flying to Dushanbe on a short notice is difficult. Getting the ticket involves placing your name on a waiting list (up to 14 days full) for the first two daily flights. Or chancing it on a shorter waiting list for the possible third daily flight. Or bribing someone to get the ticket for you. And always with possibility of being kicked out of the list by those with better connections, ie anyone local as they all know each other. Such a shame that they don't operate 2-4 seats quota for foreigners; countries with the similar difficult booking system do this.
Written July 3, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

deadbeatdave
surrey61 contributions
Couples
We took a trip to this amazing part of the world with "The Traveller" - the ex-British Museum travel company now owned by Steppes. We travelled from West to East as recommended in a previous review and benefitted generally from the slow acclimatisation. Unfortunately we were told at the last minute that the route into Tajikistan via Penjikent was not open and that we would have to enter from Tashkent to Khojand and the Dushanbe. This involves some very high passes, inspiring scenery, but hairy bends and drops (not for the faint haearted and not the best introduction!).

There is only one current guide to Tajikistan and the Pamirs - a new edition is due shortly. Distances travelled are long. Many sites are remote. A good local guide is essential - particularly for visiting historic sites, Each place we went had some fascinating things to see. In Khojand, preparations were underway for an anniversary - look out for the statue of Lenin being spruced up and surrounded by a beautiful park. The museum in Dushanbe was very rewarding and clear - once we were able to explore it by ourselves. The tour took us to the south with the Amu Daryr River and to the area where the spectacular Oxus treasure (a British Musem highlight) was discovered. Then we travelled east and the scenery got more and more dramatic, the towns and villages smaller and smaller, and the imagination began to run riot on what it must have been like 2000 years ago when camel and donkey trains took goods on one ot the most difficult of the many Silk Routes from China to the west. And then, there we were! On the opposite side of the river was Afghanistan! And a pack horse train taking goods along minute narrow paths cut into the side of 1000ft+ cliffs - just as they had always done! Absolutely the highlight of my trip.

We stayed, as previous reviews say, in homestays - pretty basic. Sadly - presumably because we were on a group tour, we got little chance to make contact with the home owners or their families. A pity that, because as we have found in previous countries, it is very interesting and instructive.

The High Pamirs were desperately bleak and, even with vast subsidy from the Aga Khan Foundation, very poor and down trodden. But they made up for that with spectacular mountain scenery - snow capped peaks and rushing water wherever one looked. And, as a highlight of a different sort, we moved from 30C heat to minus 5C snow and had to help push the tour bus up the hill!!

Getting out of the country towards Osh was a bit of a problem - and if you want to play safe, you will need special travel insurance for the small sliver of Kirghistan in which travel is not advised by the FCO.

Over the past 15 years, I have been travelling, with tour companies, across as much of the Silk Roads as is "safely" possible. Sadly, this journey was marred by poor preparation and information from The Traveller and a local guide who provided little background information about his country and its historical sites. But..

Go! Tajikistan is an unknown very poor part of the ex-Soviet Union and needs to be better known. Great scenery. Fascinating sites. And an insight into life as it has been led in that part of the world for thousands of years. But do choose your tour company and guide carefully.
Written July 29, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

874World
Lisbon, Portugal109 contributions
Family
Our route was: Dushanbe-Kalikum-Khorog-Ishkashim-Langar-Alichor-Murghab-Sary Tash. We chose Pamir Guides/META (Saidali Goibuldaev) - who we highly recommend. It was an unforgettable trip.
Thoughts: The altitude is the biggest challenge. It is easier to acclimate going the direction we went rather than the reverse. A significant portion of the road from Dushanbe to Khorog is extremely dangerous due in large part to the many semi trucks from China transporting goods. If you are squeamish about cliffs, fast moving rivers, and ever present threat of head-on collisions it would be better to take the flight from Dushanbe to Khorog and then begin your road trip. On the other hand, the view across the river of Afghanistan from Kalikum to Khorog is interesting/stunning/worth the risk. The Afghan Market across the river from Ishkashim is worth seeing...even to just, have a "taste" of that country. If you are traveling on to Afghanistan that would be the best place to cross the border. Other highlights include: the Museum of Sufi mystic Muabata Kadam at Yamg. We highly recommend staying at his grandson's Homestay in that same town. He is a retired school teacher and curator of the museum...and a really nice guy. Nearby is Bibi Fatima hot spring - the best you will find anywhere (and way better than Garm-e-Chasma). The Wakhan Valley is spectacular. Beyond Yamg (between Ishkashim and Langer) the terrain for the remainder of our journey was bleak and brown high mountain desert. If we did this again, we would try to figure out how to skip Langer to Murghab...though that isn't really logistically possible. During those days of travel, the countryside will be more enjoyable if you take time to trek, horseback or yak ride, and be sure you have enjoyable travel companions that you really want to have a unique experience with! Don't forget to take your guitar and a deck of cards.
Overall: this is a challenging trip. If you choose to do it, you will rightfully earn bragging privileges to something few have experienced. Be sure to believe and prepare for the temperature and altitude extremes that you read about. Also, plan that your trip will be very different than you expect...if you enjoy unknowns, adrenaline spikes, and adventure, this is a good trip to create some memories. However, the risks are real...especially altitude sickness and very dangerous driving conditions as noted above. We would agree with a previous reviewer that this is definitely THE reason to visit Tajikistan. If you can't get the GBAO permit, don't waste your time...go to Kyrgyzstan instead.
Written August 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

scud56
Royal Tunbridge Wells, UK583 contributions
This route is one of the three major 'Silk roads' that cross the Himalaya but is also the least known amongst western travellers. It also benefits from being the least well developed and, so, has little vehicle traffic on it making for a much enhanced journey (assuming that your behind and vehicle suspension can cope with the bumpy ride...).

Start in the west and travel east - the journey is then much more gradual and the chances of altitude sickness are greatly reduced. The road starts in Dushanbe (capital of Tajikistan) and ends in Osh (Kyrgyzstan) although there is a strong incentive to carry on through to Bishkek (the route through the Tien Shan mountains is also incredible).

There are several choices of particular route from Dushanbe onwards, including diversions down to the Whakan corridor. Much of the first part of the journey hugs the Afghan border and provides a contrast in travel styles - the Afghan side has a shepherd's path that undulates under, over and along near vertical cliffs for over a hundred kilometers.

A noteable stopover is Khorog but in between are many small hamlets that will provide accomodation in 'home stays' - very basic but providing a real outlook on local life and the way things have been for centuries. This area is also an anthropologists and linguists dream with a huge variation in ethnic heritage diversity that seems to have been time-bubbled in different valleys. Genuine blonds and redheads are not uncommon.

Enough of this - you get the idea. Go and check this out for yourself.
Written July 23, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

S H
Cardiff, UK68 contributions
Friends
We hired a 4WD in Osh and slept in Karakol (taj.) after visiting Peak Lenin and passing through Sary Tash. Slept at Murgarb, Bulunkul, Langar and Yamchun (up by the fortress near the hot springs). Final day drove all the way to Khorog only topping in Ishkashim for lunch as the border market is shut and has been for some time.

Landcruisers are better than the Mitsubishi's you might get offered.
We used home stays all the way really most of the time sleeping under a pile of warm rugs in most homes.
Tips: your driver may be a driver not also a guide, he may not speak English, insist on this when arranging your transport if this matters to you.
Our driver was a good driver, his 4WD was a bit beat up - cracked windshield, wobbly wing mirror etc - but he knew ho to drive. Again check the condition of the car if possible in advance if you are concerned.
We did the trip through CBT and only met driver and car the day we left.
We paid upfont, 900 dollars split 3 ways. Accommodation was on top.

If you want to stop for pictures etc make sure you tell your driver. You are the boss.
If you want to make side trips you may have to pay extra for this.
It is very important to confirm before you leave what places are included in your schedule.

We loved the trip, the different types of people living in the area, the lakes, small and end of the world towns, the hospitality, the mountains, the old forts.

Zong fort was impressive, tough climb but worth it.
Written August 22, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LiliiaSokotun
Kharkiv, Ukraine91 contributions
Family
I think it is a lifetime experience for everyone who will dare to set a foot there! Absolutely beautiful :)
Dont miss Wakhan valley, for us it was the highlight of the trip. we did multiple hikes, found hotsprings, were invited to the people's houses etc...
There are no public transport, however there are shared taxi-jeeps that run between villages and it is much cheaper than hiring a private car.
We spent in overall about 10 days on the Pamirs, a fair amount of days to get the feeling of the area.

I wrote the whole article that i posted on wordpress, the blog name is bringbabyabroad
Written June 30, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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