Tajikistan Expedition: Pamir Highway & beyond

16 days
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Small Group Tour
The Pamir Highway: Central Asia’s greatest road adventure. Travelling in 4x4s, we follow this rugged mountainous route through the remote Pamir range, discovering an area along the Afghan border, much of the time alongside the Panj River, that only the most adventurous ever explore. On the way, we visit the ruins of Zoroastrian castles and shrines, see a Budd...
29%
$8,708
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Overview

Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Standard - 3 star
Physical level
Moderate

Highlights

    • Drive along the spectacular Pamir Highway
    • Enjoy views to the Hindu Kush and Karakorum mountains
    • Peer across the Panj river into Afghanistan
    • Trace the lines of the Wakhan Corridor, a region associated with the Great Game
    • Visit archaeological sites and remnants of the Silk Road
    • Search for Marco Polo sheep and markhor goats
    • Take a day walk between remote villages in Bartang

What's this trip about?

    The Pamir Highway: Central Asia’s greatest road adventure. Travelling in 4x4s, we follow this rugged mountainous route through the remote Pamir range, discovering an area along the Afghan border, much of the time alongside the Panj River, that only the most adventurous ever explore. On the way, we visit the ruins of Zoroastrian castles and shrines, see a Buddhist stupa and meet the skeleton of a Sogdian princess. We also head off the main highway to go even deeper into the country, encountering lands where the language changes from one valley to the next. To make sure we see as much as possible, we’ve designed our tour to roughly follow a figure of eight, meaning we mostly avoid retracing our steps.Journey through the remote Pamir Mountains and along the Afghan border

Details

Itinerary focusClassic Highlights
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 16 people
Age range16 years and up
Flights and transportN/A
Start CityDushanbe
End CityDushanbe

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • Nature & Wildlife

Destinations

  • Asia

Attractions

  • Dushanbe

Activities

  • Culture
  • Nature

Trip includes

    • All accommodation
    • All transport and listed activities
    • 14 breakfasts, 11 dinners and 11 lunches (mostly box or picnic lunches)

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Dushanbe

Arrive into Dushanbe today (or very early morning next day) and overnight. Accommodation: Atlas Hotel (or similar)

Day 2 Explore Dushanbe

We leave the hotel around 10.30am and start exploring Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. We start with an overview of Tajik history at the National Museum of Antiquities, where we see the skeleton of a Sogdian princess and a reclining Buddha statue. Next, we visit M...

Day 3 To Kulob and Anjirob

We drive south from Dushanbe passing through hilly landscapes and pastures to reach Norak Dam. We continue to Hulbuk Fortress and museum in Vose to learn more about the regional history. Following a stop for lunch (not included) in the city of Kulob, we visit the maus...

Day 4 Markhor goats and a Zoroastrian water temple. Along the Afghan border into the Pamirs

Following an early start, we drive to Parvor village from where we take a short walk to view markhor goats, the largest member of the goat family, best known for their twisting horns. This animal-watching adventure can take about three hours including the driving. We ...

Day 5 Along the Pamir Highway to Khorog

If we didn't visit Karon yesterday, we do so this morning. We continue our drive along the Panj River, tracing the border, stopping for a box lunch along the way. Early afternoon, we reach Khorog, the capital of the mountainous Badakhshan region. At an altitude of aro...

Day 6 Into the Wakhan Valley

This morning, we visit Khorog bazaar. Here, we can purchase traditional goods, including juraby (woollen socks) and toki (colourful embroidered skullcaps). We also visit Khorog botanical gardens, high above the city. From Khorog, the Pamir Highway heads east. However...

Day 7 Exploring the Wakhan Valley

We start the day with a visit to the lovingly decorated Muborakkadam Wakhoni musuem. Wakhoni was a Sufi educator, astronomer and musician. We see a stone solar calendar in Yamg. Next, we drive back to Yamchun to visit an impressive mountain fortress giving us views ac...

Day 8 The eastern Pamirs: Zorkul Lake and Jarty Gumbez

We visit Langar parish hall and an old shrine decorated with ibex and Marco Polo sheep antlers. A walk across flat granite slabs above the village takes us to an area of nearly 6,000 petroglyphs dating from the Bronze Age to the present. A detour takes us to the ruins...

Day 9 In search of Marco Polo sheep; Shorbuloq; to Murghab

We have an early start and head off with a ranger in search of Marco Polo sheep herds. It may take us a few hours to find them. If we're lucky, we might see ibex too. After returning to the guesthouse, we visit Scythian burial grounds. We now head north, crossing the ...

Day 10 Akbaital Pass and Karakul

We have a short tour around Murghab, seeing the market and yak house where we can purchase yak-wool handicrafts. Yurts were common in pre-Soviet times, but following construction of permanent houses they are less common. On our way to Karakul Lake, we reach the highe...

Day 11 Into the Bartang Valley

We leave Karakul and the Pamir Highway and head southwest into the Bartang Valley. The road is particular rough and travel is very slow but we're rewarded with a route few tourists take and spectacular mountain scenery. The name Bartang translates approximately as ‘na...

Day 12 Castles and legends in the Bartang Valley

We continue slowly making our way through the Bartang Valley, enjoying the landscapes along the way. We stop at Savnob village to see a 19th-century castle and hear its legends. Inhabitants of the Bartang are among the most hospitable people in the Pamirs. We stay the...

Day 13 Walk in the Jizewdara Valley

Walk in the Jizewdara Valley We hike in one of the side valleys of Bartang today. You may remain in Yemts on your own if you don't wish to do the hike. We start by crossing a long bridge over a river and can see tiny terraces, small orchards and fields. Barberry and ...

Day 14 Return to Kalai Khumb

We visit an old mazar this morning, a shrine where Zoroastrianism and Ismailism mix. Shortly after leaving Yemts, we exit the Bartang and are back on the Pamir Highway and return to Kalai Khumb.  Along the way, we pass white-sand dunes by the river. On the Afghan side...

Day 15 Over the Saghir Dasht Pass to Dushanbe

This morning, we return to Dushanbe over the Saghir Dasht Pass (10,670ft/3,252m), a different route to the one we took on our outward journey. As we leave the high mountains of the Pamirs behind, the view changes completely. We have a break in Tavildara, where we can ...

Day 16 End in Dushanbe

The trip ends today in Dushanbe. We begin our return journey home. Alternatively, if you’d like to explore a little more, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $6,150
Price per day$384
Last Updated: 2/23/2024
Start Date
Finish Date
Double Standard
Availability
14 Jun 2024
29 Jun 2024
$6,375
7 spots left
02 Aug 2024
17 Aug 2024
$6,150
8 spots left
13 Jun 2025
28 Jun 2025
$6,750
8 spots left
12 Sep 2025
27 Sep 2025
$6,750
8 spots left

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Exodus Travels.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Tour Operator

Exodus Travels

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It is all about adventure. That is what Exodus was founded upon and what the company is still all about. Discovering countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles; exploring this amazing planet we all live on.

At Exodus, we know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, we always remember that we are only guests. So we travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise our impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.

This is a philosophy we take with us around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across over 90 separate countries. We also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as we possibly can, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.

Exodus started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.

All our office staff have a passion for travel and adventure, and between us we’ve notched up experience that spans 171 different countries. That’s not all. In their former lives, our team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – so no-one is better placed to create tours that appeal to a wide range of specialist interests.

Their care in putting all the details in place really shines through too. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are a sign of our commitment to providing a holiday where your enjoyment, value for money and safety come first. It’s a telling reason why we remain one of the leading worldwide adventure tour companies. It is no exaggeration to say that our tour leaders can make a world of difference to the enjoyment of your holiday – so we choose them carefully. The result is that, in 2013, 93% of our clients stated that their leader exceeded their expectations. Where possible, we train and employ local leaders because they can provide invaluable insights that enrich the trip. What’s more, this investment in local staff really helps us benefit both them and their community.

Why we love this operator
With a huge range of trip styles and themes, they cater to basically every type of traveler out there- even those with super specific interests.
What they’re known for
Global trips to both classic and exotic destinations with a focus on themed adventures, exciting physical activities and discovery of local culture.

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Logistics

What's excluded

    • Travel Insurance
    • Single accommodation (available on request)
    • Visas or vaccinations

Accommodation

,Most of the accommodation on this trip is in simple homestays (seven nights) and guesthouses (two nights). The remaining six nights are in hotels. Homestays are basic (see Essential Information for more detail) but are the only option in many places and are the best way to gain an insight into life in this region and meet local people. Some homestays have the option of sleeping on a tapchan (a large platform/bed) outside. Some homestays are in traditional Pamiri houses called chids. These have philosophical and religious significance. The main room is divided into a few sections, such as a cooking and sleeping area, a place to study or keep clothes, and has only one window called a ravzana. The ceiling symbolises four elements of the universe: fire, earth, air and water. Dinner in a homestay usually consists of two courses: a bowl of soup and a main dish with sides, homemade bread and jam. Usually, it is noodles or rice soup with or without meat, stewed or fried potatoes, plov, and fried vegetables with beef. Expect jam, sweets, biscuits and jurgot, a local Greek yoghurt made from yak or cow milk. For breakfast, a traditional meal is shirchoy, a mixture of milk, butter and salt boiled with black tea leaves. Pieces of bread and a little pepper can be added. In Dushanbe, we stay in a four-star hotel (local rating). We pass through Kalai Khumb twice. On our outbound journey, we use a homestay, on the return journey we stay in a three-star (local rating) hotel, which will be welcome after several nights in homestays. In Khorog, we stay in a pleasant local-style hotel. In Murghab, we stay in a very simple hotel. Atlas Hotel Dushanbe: Karon Hotel, Kalai Khumb: Lal Inn, Khorog: Jarty Gumbez guesthouse: Pamir Hotel, Murghab:
Cancellation policy

The cancellation policies of this trip when booked through Travelstride are determined by the stated policies of the tour operator - Exodus Travels.

If you or any other member of your party decides to cancel a confirmed booking you must notify Travelstride in writing. Your notice of cancellation will only take effect when it is received in writing by Travelstride and will be effective from the date on which we receive it.

If You Cancel Your Holiday
You, or any member of your party, may cancel your travel arrangements at any time. Written notification from the lead name or your travel agent must be received at our offices. 

Since we incur costs in canceling your travel arrangements, you will have to pay cancellation charges as follows (see also the exceptions below): 

  • More than 42 days - No cancellation fee. Deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original booking. Any remaining balance will be refundedThis excludes all non-refundable costs as set out in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 41 and 21 days (inclusive) - No cancellation fee. Balance and deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original bookingThis excludes all non-refundable costs as further explained in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 20 and 15 days (inclusive) - 80% of the holiday cost
  • 14 days or less; or failure to join the holiday (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Certain trips may involve different cancellation charges; you will be advised if this is applicable to your holiday during the booking process.For Polar holidays, the following cancellation charges will be made for all Polar holidays. Period before departure in which you notify us: 

Cancelation charge

  • More than 133 days - Deposit only
  • 133 days or less (or failure to join the holiday) (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Notes (i) Your deposit is non-refundable, even if the cancellation charge calculated is lower than the deposit amount paid; (ii) If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges; (iii) certain travel arrangements may be subject to higher cancellation charges and could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements from the moment the booking is confirmed.

If You Change Your Booking

If, after our Booking Confirmation has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example your chosen departure date or accommodation, we will do our utmost to make these changes but it may not always be possible. Any request for changes to be made must be in writing from the lead name or your travel agent. You will be asked to pay an administration charge of $60, and any further cost we incur in making this alteration (including those charged by third party suppliers who provide the component parts of your booking).  You should be aware that these costs could increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made and you should contact us as soon as possible. Note: Certain travel arrangements may not be changeable after a reservation has been made and any alteration request could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements.

You can transfer your booking to another person, who satisfies all the conditions that apply to this booking, by giving us notice in writing at least 7 days before departure provided that the new lead passenger accepts the transfer and these Terms and Conditions. Both you and the new traveler are responsible for paying all costs we incur in making the transfer. Please bear in mind that certain airlines and other transport providers treat changes as a cancellation and charge accordingly, up to 100% of the cost for that part of the arrangement. Where applicable these charges will be passed on to you.

If We Cancel Your Booking

Exodus reserves the right to cancel an itinerary before departure for any reason whatsoever, including too few participants ,logistical problems, a Force Majeure Event (as defined in Section 8), or any other circumstances that may make operation of the trip inadvisable. All trip payments received will be promptly refunded, and this refund will be the limit of Exodus’s liability without any further obligation on Exodus’s part. Exodus is not responsible for any expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip, including non-refundable or penalty-carrying airline tickets, special clothing, visa or passport fees, or other trip-related expenses.

If We Change Your Booking

  1. Changes to the price. We can change your holiday price after you’ve booked, only in certain circumstances. Changes in the price of the carriage of passengers resulting from changes to the cost of fuel or other power sources, the level of taxes or fees imposed by third parties including tourist taxes, landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports, or exchange rates mean that the price of your travel arrangements may change after you have booked.

  2. Changes other than the price. It is a term of your booking that we are able to make changes to any aspect of your booking. If the change is insignificant, we will ensure that you are notified about it. Examples of insignificant changes include alteration of your accommodation to another of the same or higher standard. If we are forced by circumstances beyond our control to alter significantly any of the main characteristics of the travel services that make up your package you will have the rights set out below.

    2.1 - We will contact you and you will have the choice of accepting the change or having a refund of all monies paid. You can also accept an alternative holiday, where we offer one (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value). We will tell you the procedure for making your choice. Please read any notification of changes carefully and respond promptly as if you do not respond to us within the timescale given your booking may be canceled.

    2.2 - If you choose to accept a refund then that is the only liability we have and we will not be liable for any further sums, compensation or otherwise and you are advised to adequately insure yourselves against cancellation for any reason

Please note that insurance premiums and amendments charges are not refundable in any circumstances. 

Once you have put down a deposit for a tour, you are unable to cancel and re-book within a promotional period and we reserve the right to amend the pricing on any new booking you make within that time. If you cancel a tour and book the same tour under a promotional code, we reserve the right to decline the booking.

Important Note: Certain arrangements may not be amended after they have been confirmed and any alteration or cancellation could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements in addition to the charge above.

If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges.

Where possible, we will deduct the cancellation charge(s) from any monies you have already paid to us.

For more additional details, see the booking conditions of TruTravels at the following web address: https://www.exodustravels.com/us/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions.

Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance alongside your travel package to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances such as medical expenses, trip cancellations, and other contingencies. It offers you peace of mind and ensures you are prepared for unexpected events that may occur before or during your journey
Visa requirements
Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin and your country of destination. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the relevant requirements. For a handy tool that can help you quickly find the requirements, please visit this link .
Meals Included
When travelling in Tajikistan, be prepared for the meat-heavy cuisine of Central Asia. Over the centuries, it was influenced by various cultures, mainly Persian, Afghan and Russian. Beef and lamb are most commonly eaten. In the Pamirs, you might get to try yak meat in homestays. Different types of beans, grains, meat and vegetables are used. In the summer and autumn, tables will be filled with varieties of sweet organic fruits and vegetables. In the Pamirs, food tends to be high in fat. Non (a flatbread) is served first with meals. The centrepiece and national dish in Tajikistan and Central Asia is plov. The main ingredients are meat, oil, rice, shredded carrots, chickpeas, garlic and sometimes raisins, and usually eaten with your hands. In the Pamirs, choice is limited. Expenses are high to transport fresh produce. The general meal during the trip is plov, qurutob (vegetarian), manti (steamed meat or pumpkin dumplings), different soups, sambusa (puff pastry with meat), laghman (noodle soup with meat), rice, french fries, shish kabab, fresh salads and fruits. During picnic lunches, on the first days, apples, pears, watermelon, tomato and cucumber, cheese, sausages and salads will be served, followed by jam, honey, instant or espresso coffee, tea, dried fruits, candies, herbal tea, honey, cookies and bread. Dinners include a first and second course followed by various types of cooked salads, tea, dried fruits, biscuits, sweets, jam and honey. Vegetarians can be catered for if we are aware before travel, though there will be limited choice. Other dietary requirements are likely to be difficult to accommodate on this trip. Please ask us.
Age Requirements
16 years and up
Additional Information
An adventurous trip through a spectacular and little-visited region, with limited comfort Most travel is by 4×4 along often-rough roads Six nights in hotels, two nights in guesthouses, seven nights in homestays Single supplement available only in Dushanbe and Khorog
Trip ID
exodus-ATJ

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