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“Fantastic scenery and an area with a tremendous history”

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303 reviews
97 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
“Fantastic scenery and an area with a tremendous history”
Reviewed July 25, 2012

This was certainly a holiday with a difference. Bamyan and its hinterland is a fantastic mix of the old (a rich architectural tapestry in the heart of this Hindu Kush region) and the new (modern farming methods apparently influenced by New Zealand). I am told the time to visit is from about May to September otherwise the beautiful landscape takes on something akin to a barren wilderness. I have uploaded various photographs to give the reader a view of this area but sadly my camera mal-functioned part way through my trip so one of the photographs (the Budha site) was given to me by a friend.
I am told thousands of tourists flocked to this area in the 1960s but sadly there was little evidence of many foreign tourists the few days I was around. As this area is sacred in Buddhism I guess many of the tourists were pilgrims. There is fantastic potential for tourism in the area but I saw the landing strip and it is only gravel with frequent unmanned crossing points for locals. It seems there is some plan by the ambitious female Governor to attract Japanese funding to make a proper runway. This will be essential if tourism in the area is to flourish.
Other reviews have alluded to the destruction of the Budhas by Taliban extremists over ten years ago which is really tragic but the site is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. Oddly enough the fantastic road in my photographs stops short of this site leaving a very rough, dusty track. That surely has to change and I am told will do so soon. I have included photographs of the Red City remains not far from Bamyan. There is spectacular scenery there and for those with stamina and good joints an opportunity to climb the mountain. There is a fantastic restaurant and garden area (including a children’s play-park beside this). At the top is the remains of what I guess must be an old Russian gun emplacement.
There are a number of hotels in the area but I did not visit any so cannot comment.
Agriculture with foreign aid is well developed as indicated in the photographs.
I did not feel frightened or in any way intimidated whilst walking through the City. The people (mainly hazaras) were friendly and a lot of the women did not wear the traditional burka.
I also visited the Dragon Valley just outside Bamyan. It was not as pleasant as one had to drive through what seemed poor villages. Local legend suggests the Dragon was rather too fond of village maidens who were sacrificed to it so a local man fought the dragon and cut it in two. The dragon now spews out tears of repentance down the mountainside leaving sulphur like staining (see photographs). A grand tale; the stuff of legends.
My trip to Bamyan was certainly different and one that will live long in the memory.

Visited July 2012
5 Thank CDinNI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 reviews from our community

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English first
Corinth, Texas
Level Contributor
64 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Beautiful and Peacful”
Reviewed March 10, 2012

When I flew into Bamyan I couldn't believe how green and beautiful the valley was. It was so relaxing and comforting knowing that there was no security threat in the area. Living in Afghanistan can be stressful, dealing with constant threats and attacks. Not to mention the constant chaotic Afghan government rules, regulations and thee insurmountable corruption throughout Afghanistan.

Anyway, when I arrived and began exploring the valley and main street shops and restaurants I could finally experience good things about Afghanistan. The air was so fresh and the people were so nice. I could see why everyone raved about the place.

The potato plants, (main supplier for the whole country), were in full bloom and filled the air with a sweet fragrance.

The archaeological remains of the Buddha’s were very impressive. They are enormous carvings in the side of the mountain which the Taliban blew up over a decade ago. They actually just blew the outer detail of the shapes off the main statues, leaving the indent and statue forms intact. There are three; small, medium and large and another rumored Buddha lying on its side along the face of the mountain.

I hiked up and over the large Buddha’s which took me about two hours and went into the caves the people lived in back in that time. Each cave had frescos and an eerie feeling of what it was like to be living there 1400 years ago in the seventh century. That was when the statues were carved and that's when people started living in these caves. Still today, people live in similar caves on down the row of mountain faces.

When Afghanistan finally reaches a point of no insurgency and foreigners can freely travel the country this should be the number one destination.

Visited July 2011
4 Thank rowdy45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tartu, Estonia
Level Contributor
65 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“Even without Great Buddhas is Bamyan valley extraordinary place”
Reviewed November 14, 2011

Me and my husband visited Bamyan valley twice. We lived together in Afghanistan from 2006-2008 and we took our first holidays on May 2006. The experience was so good that we took our second inside Afghanistan holidays in Bamyan on June 2007.
Trip to Bamyan takes one day by car, but we used small regular plane because we had so few days and we were interested to spend those days on spot. First time we stayed with friends at their compound, but next time we took lovely roof room at hotel Roof of Bamyan.
Yes, it is very sad to see that the Great Buddhas are gone. But even without Buddhas is valley one of the most beautiful places in the world. Hazaras are very friendly, there is no fight. It is possible just to walk around and to relax. Hazara ladies do not like burkas, they do not cover they faces and use colorful headscarves.
You can buy ticket in order to enter the caves around Great Buddhas. There are thousand of caves digged by monks. And some caves still have some remains of paintings like flowers, ornaments etc. (most of them are destroyed unfortunately).
Also I suggest to visit two ruined castles - Shar-e Zohak(destroyed by Genhis-Khan) and Shar-e Gholghola. Interesting architecure, still worth to visit. Just warn: quite hard climbing.
Nature around valley in extremely beautiful - especially Darya-e Adjahar (the Dragon Valley, the hill what reminds splitted Dragon...), badlands-type landscape.
Some more information of Hazaras and Bamyan is available in my blog:

Visited December 2010
6 Thank qnne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eance, France
Level Contributor
45 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2011

Standing in front of the cavernous holes left behind after the Taliban used the original giant stone Buddha's for artillery practise leaves one with a terrible sense of loss.
These ancient icons had stood for centuries and were destroyed in less than 24 hours.

When I was last there, I heard talk that an Italian NGO were going to start the rebuild process, as the majority of the rubble was still lying about in front of their previous resting places.

If you are lucky enough to ever get to Bamiyan for any reason, the sight of those enormous holes leave a memory that will never leave, sadly for all the wrong reasons.

Visited September 2010
3 Thank Bobleponge216
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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