Pamir Expedition

Adventure in Pamirs

Pamir Expedition - spectacular views and unforgettable adventures



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Group size: Max 8

Countries: Tajikistan


  • Dushanbe
  • Wakhan Valley & Pamirs
  • Dushanbe

Themes: Active Adventures, Cultural Tours

This ultimate itinerary for mountain lovers whisks you up above the clouds to the Roof of the World. Focused on the natural wonders of Tajikistan and the Pamir Mountains, from alpine lakes and glacier-fed rivers, to soaring peaks and high altitude desert, there’s no better way to escape the chaos of everyday life and reconnect with the natural world.

In little-visited Tajikistan you can compare and contrast the modern capital of Dushanbe with ancient ruins and the stark environment of the High Pamir. Together we will drive along the Pamir Highway – renowned as one of the world’s greatest road trips — reaching the dizzying height of 4,655 m when we cross the Ak Baital Pass on the Murghab Plateau.


  • Discover Dushanbe, the lively and fast-changing capital of Tajikistan.
  • Visit the ancient Yamchun Fortress in the dramatic Wakhan Corridor.
  • Experience the hustle and bustle of oriental bazaars.
  • Hike in the picturesque Jizev Valley.
  • Drive the length of the Bartang Valley, from Karakul to the Panj River.
  • Drive the Pamir Highway, renowned as one of the world’s best road trips.


Dushanbe sightseeing Rudaki park

Welcome to Tajikistan! You will arrive at Dushanbe Airport at 03:35 on the Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul, or at 02:55 on the FlyDubai flight from Dubai. Transfer to the hotel for immediate check-in, have a rest after the long flight and breakfast.

As well as being the capital, Dushanbe is the largest city in Tajikistan. Before the 20th century it was a just small village with a market every Monday. The Persian word for Monday is Dushanbe, and that’s how the settlement got its name. It was not until the Soviet period that Dushanbe grew into the political and industrial center of Tajikistan.

Our Dushanbe city tour will start at the Navruz Palace, which was conceived as the largest teahouse in the world, but became so impressive during its construction that it is now used as a palatial venue for official government meetings and conferences. It’s over the top inside and out! Next, we visit the newly built Independence Monument, where we can enjoy a nice city view from the top. Then we will have a walk in Rudaki Park, dedicated to the great Persian poet Rudaki; and our final stop, the golden statue of Ismail Somoni, which commemorates the 1,100th anniversary of the foundation of the Samanid State, a golden age in Tajik history when science and the arts flourished. Dinner in a local restaurant.

Overnight at Hotel Atlas (4*) or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kalai khum in Tajikistan

Gently gaining altitude, we will leave Dushanbe behind and begin our journey towards the Pamir Mountains.  The roads are rough enough to shake your bones and it is going to be a long day, so do not forget your snacks, and charge up your batteries to make sure your chosen soundtrack lasts until evening.  Of course, we will make plenty of stops to stretch our legs and take photos, the first of which is at the Nurek Reservoir.

In the city of Kulob in Tajikistan’s southern region of Khatlon, we will have lunch before driving north-east and slowly gaining slowly altitude. The road will take us up and over the Shuraba Pass at 2,267 m.  The scenery becomes wilder and more dramatic as we climb; it’s the backdrop for countless adventures. The roaring Panj River will be our constant companion. It forms the natural and political boundary between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, which is clearly visible on the opposite riverbank.

Tonight, our accommodation is in an immaculate, modern hotel in the small town of Kalai Khumb, the gateway to the Pamir.

Overnight at the comfortable, modern Karon Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Khorog, botanical garden view, Pamir

Today’s scenic journey continues along the glacial Panj River. Looking across the water you can spot Afghan villages clinging to the cliffs, and pathways which traverse and snake their way through the rocky mountains. We expect to reach Khorog, the biggest city and capital of the Pamir region, in the mid-afternoon. We will visit the bazaar, which often has visiting traders from Afghanistan, and also the botanical garden, which is high above the valley and thus offers panoramic views of Khorog and the surrounding peaks. You may notice the characteristic features which distinguish the Pamiri people: unlike other Tajiks, a high proportion of Pamiris have blonde hair, fair skin, and blue eyes.

Overnight in a simple 2* hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Garm Chashma Hot Springs Pamir Tajikistan

Before we depart to Ishkashim we will visit Ismaili Center in Khorog and Botanical Garden from where you can have a nice view of the town. On the drive south from Khorog, our first stop is at Garm Chashma, a naturally occurring hot spring, for an (optional) dip in the mineral-rich waters. We will then reach the Wakhan Corridor, a remote region shared by Tajikistan and Afghanistan, which became famous in the 19th century when it functioned as a buffer zone between the Russian and British Empires during the Great Game.
The Wakhan’s history is much older than this, however: it was a Silk Road pass through the mountains for millennia, and even Marco Polo calmed to have walked this.

Overnight in a guesthouse with shared western bathrooms (single room not guaranteed)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Yamchun fortress in Pamir Highway

Our journey continues along the Wakhan Corridor, with several points of interest to see along the way. In the village of Namadgut we will find the Kah Kakha Fortress, which dates from the 3rd century, and we will scramble up to the dramatically situated Yamchun Fortress a little further along the valley. We will also visit the Bibi Fatima Hot Springs, which are named after the Prophet Mohammed’s sister. Local women believe that taking the waters here will increase their fertility. Further we stop is at the Sufi Muborakqadam Museum, which has an interesting solar calendar.

In Zong we can stop for a short hike to a 4th-century Buddhist stupa which was once part of a much larger monastery. Locals will tell you that there is a stone on top of the stupa which is imprinted with the Buddha’s footprint, and this made it an ancient place of pilgrimage. Todays final destination is Langar village, where our accommodation for two nights – an authentic Pamiri family-run guesthouse.

Overnight in a simple family homestay (shared bathroom; single room not guaranteed)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Buddhist Stupa on the Pamir Highway road

Today we hike up to see the collection of over 6000 petroglyphs. The ancient petroglyphs of Langar – the message left by Scythians, Arians, Zoroastrians and other habitants of these area, for next generation. The petroglyphs date back to Bronze and earlier eras and show the hunting scenes, ibex, different symbols and unknown marks. We continue our trek among the narrow gorge to the foot of Engels peak. The gorge very soon turns to green lushes with Small River, where we can meet the shepherds and stocks. We enjoy the view to Engels peak and surroundings and have picnic lunch here. And trek down to the guesthouse. 7-8 hours. Elevation gain +/- 1200m, 16km.
Please note: It’s optionally possible to do a shorter trek or stay in the village if you prefer to skip the trek.

Overnight in a simple family homestay (shared bathroom; single room not guaranteed)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Coldest village in Pamirs is Bulunkul

Today we will leave the lush valley behind and climb steadily to the rockier, almost lunar environment which characterises the high altitude desert of the Great Pamir. We will cross the dramatic Kargushi Pass at an elevation of 4,300 m above sea level before dropping back down slightly. This reconnects us to the world-famous Pamir Highway: the stretch between Khorog and Osh was completed in 1931 and at points it reaches almost 4,000 m above sea level.

A little off the main road, we will visit the beautiful mountain lakes of Yashikul and Bulunkul. We will have lunch in the village of Bulunkul at the family homestay. This village is famous for being the coldest place in Tajikistan and sixth coldest settlement in the world. In the afternoon we continue driving a bit further to reach the small village of Bashgumbez where spend the night.

Overnight in a simple family homestay (pit latrine; single room not guaranteed)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Pamir yurts

We will start our journey from Bashgumbez to Murghab, with a half-day hike in the beautiful Madian Valley. Discover the stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage of the region with an experienced guide by your side.

Hike through the valley, visit Kyrgyz nomads, observe unique flora and fauna, and take in breathtaking mountain vistas. End the day with a relaxing stay in a local hotel in Murghab, where you can enjoy a meal and rest for the next day’s adventures.

Overnight at the Pamir Hotel (simple rooms with private bathrooms)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

It is a relatively short drive from Murghab on to Karakul. In the morning we will have a short tour of the town of Murghab. We visit the local market, the small Mosque and the white Lenin statue.

Then we will drive to Karakul over the highest pass in the former Soviet Union, the Ak Baital Pass (4,655 m). From the pass we will descend to Karakul, which lies at a more comfortable 3,800 m. The name Karakul translates as “Black Lake”, as it appears dark when it is not in direct sun. It’s one of the highest navigable lakes in the world, and hosts the Roof of the World Regatta.

We will spend the night in the village of Karakul (which is close to the lake shore) in a simple family homestay. There is no shower but there is a western-style toilet in the house.

Overnight in a simple family homestay (shared bathroom, single room not guaranteed)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Pamir highway

Today we will start our journey through one of the least-explored areas (and along one of the least-used mountain roads) in the Pamir. The road connects the Eastern  Pamir with the Bartang Valley over Kok Jar Pass (4,000 m). We will drive along the Tanimas River to reach Upper Bartang. The river comes from the Tanimas Glacier and flows into the Bartang River. We will sleep in the village of Sawnob in a simple family-run homestay.

Overnight in a simple family homestay (pit latrine, no shower – they can provide hot water for you to wash yourself; single room not guaranteed)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast we will drive through the Bartang Valley. It is one of the wildest valleys in the Pamir, a place where you can see the most authentic Pamiri villages and traditional ways of life. In the morning we will visit Rowshorv (3,300 m), a village situated at the bottom of Lab Nazar Peak (5,990 m). In the afternoon, we will reach the bridge near to the Jisev Valley, stop the car, and start a gentle uphill hike for about two hours, entering the Jisev Valley on foot. We will then spend the following two nights in a very simple family homestay amidst an idyllic landscape at an altitude of about 2,500 m.

Overnight in a very simple family homestay (pit toilet outside, shower tent with solar-heated water and a calm river with clean water nearby; single room not guaranteed)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we will spend a full day in the Jizev Valley, enjoying the scenery and getting acquainted with the villagers and their daily routines. If you wish, it’s also possible to hike a bit further up the valley to a picturesque mountain lake.

Overnight in a very simple family homestay (pit toilet outside, shower tent with solar-heated water and a calm river with clean water nearby; single room not guaranteed)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Pamir Highway Expedition

After breakfast, we will hike back down to the bridge, where our driver will meet us. After less than an hour of driving along the Bartang River, we will reach the main Pamir Highway again. This is at the point where the Bartang River flows into the Panj River. The ride from Rushan to Kalai Khumb (170 km, c. 4 hours) is part of the same Kalai Khumb – Khorog road which we took at the beginning of our Pamir trip. Upon arrival in Kalai Khumb we will spend the night again in the comfortable Karon Hotel.

Overnight at the comfortable, modern Karon Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Pamir Highway Panj river

On the penultimate day of the trip we will drive back through the mountains to Dushanbe. This time we will take the northern road via Tavildara. We depart in the early morning from Khalai Khumb, so we will arrive in Dushanbe in the late afternoon. Check-in at the hotel and farewell dinner.

Overnight at Hotel Atlas (4*)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Teahouse Dushanbe Tajikistan

Very early in the morning you will transfer to the airport (a 10-minute ride) to catch your Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul (departing 05:35), or the FlyDubai flight to Dubai (departing 04:30).

Please note: If you like, you can proceed continue your trip and join our Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan trip.


Foot, Minivan
15 Breakfasts,14 Lunches, 14 Dinners
Hotel, Guesthouse/ Homestay
Included Activities
  • Dushanbe – City Tour
  • Hike to Jisev Valley
  • Visit oriental bazaars
  • Folklore Show at Ishkashim
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dates & price

You can choose to join a small group on a guaranteed departure or book a private tour on the date of your choice
Total trip price





Single supplement available for $340

Deposit: $500

2 Sep 2024
16 Sep 2024
+ Available
Price includes
  • All transfers, pick-ups and drop-offs
  • Accommodation based on two people sharing a double/twin room; breakfasts included
  • Full board (all lunches & dinners)
  • English-speaking local guide accompanying the group
  • All entry fees as per itinerary
  • Visa support letters for tourist visa
Price does not include
  • International airfares to and from Central Asia
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • E-visa & GBAO permit fee for Tajikistan (70 USD)
  • Travel insurance policy
  • Personal expenses (e.g. souvenirs etc)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips for guides and drivers

Important notes

  • Travel insurance is required for this tour. Which insurance you choose is up to you.
  • Be aware this trip includes long driving days on bad roads without real toilets along the way, high altitudes of up to 4655m, a few accommodations with pit toilets outside, mostly local food only, unreliable electricity supply, and wifi is only available in larger cities. You are traveling in some areas which have, relatively speaking, seen few travelers and the infrastructure is basic at best.
  • Departure for this tour is guaranteed.



The Tajik currency is called the Somoni (TJS). In the capital Dushanbe there are a few ATMs that you’ll find in shopping malls, supermarkets, or on the main streets, but most of them accept only Visa cards. Outside of Dushanbe, we don’t recommend relying on ATMs as there are only a few of them and they may run out of money or have very small withdrawal limits.
We recommend bringing cash in new USD banknotes of denominations of at least 20 USD. There are many exchange offices, some working 24/7. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with a credit card is still not possible in most places, except for a few high-end restaurants and hotels. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.


The political situation in the country has been calm in recent years and there are no indications of upcoming tensions, except for the border conflict with Kyrgyzstan in the Fergana valley - we do not visit this area on our tours. The border with Kyrgyzstan is closed due to political tensions and it is not clear when it will open again. The border with Afghanistan is closed as well. Guests and locals are treated with respect and Tajikistan can be regarded as a safe destination for travelers. That being said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and only take official taxi rides. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Tajik partners and we closely monitor political events.


Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Tajikistan for a period of up to 30 days. A notable exception is the United Kingdom - UK citizens need to apply for an electronic visa to visit Tajikistan. You can get the visa yourself through the official government website for 30 USD per person: If you book a trip to Tajikistan with us we will get the visa for you.
Please note, if you are planning to visit the Pamir region, you need a GBAO permit, which you can purchase online, together with the eVisa, for an additional fee of USD 20. If you book a tour with us, we can get the GBAO permit for you.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Tajikistan.


The climate of Tajikistan is continental and dry across most of the country, including the largest cities. In regions situated at relatively low altitudes, such as the capital Dushanbe, the south of Tajikistan around Kulob, and the Khujand region, summers are very hot with day temperatures between 30° and 40° Celsius. However, most of the country is situated at high altitudes, where temperatures are in the mid-20s or less during the summer. If you visit the Fann or Pamir Mountains, make sure to bring some warm clothes, as it can get very cold at night at elevations of more than 3000 meters. The best season to visit Tajikistan is during summer when it's possible to go to the mountains.


Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered, or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing your teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Tajikistan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Tajikistan are basic at best. Please note: there is a small risk of malaria in the south of Tajikistan by the borders with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. None of our tours visit this region.

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