Bike tour in Tajikistan, Pamirs
Type of tour: Over past two years the Pamirs Guides has been organizing bike tour along Pamirs highway, Tajikistan. The Pamir Guides are highly recommended, among other tour agencies, for this kind of tour due its experience and high quality of service. The bike tour in Tajikistan, Pamirs is 18 days in total, starts from Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan and end in the city of Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan. Unlike other itineraries, this bike tour includes the Wakhan valley, which is off the main Pamir Highway M41.
Estimate Duration: 18 days of a bike tour along Pamir Highway in total, 2 day of jeep ride before reaching Kalaikum and Khorog. The cycling starts in Khorog and ends in Osh. We ride on a jeep in Khargush valley due to the extreme of the road condition for the cyclers.
Group size: 13-15 people maximum
Day 1 Dushanbe
Arrival in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Welcome & Transfer to Hotel. Today we will visit National Museum of Antiquities: excellent archaeological collection. Dushanbe is a relatively modern town that rose to prominence during the Soviet era, (named Stalinabad). Its name means “Monday" in Tajik language: this was the day that market was held when Dushanbe was still a small and fairly insignificant village. The ousted Emir of Bukhara, fleeing from the Bolsheviks, stayed in Dushanbe and cooperated with Enver Pasha’s Basmachis until he had to leave the region to flee to Afghanistan in 1921, the year the town was freed from the Basmachis as well. Hospitality in Dushanbe, Hotel (BLD).
Day 2 Dushanbe – Kalaikumb - 360 km - 9 hrs / jeep
We set off East towards the Pamirs, driving through beautiful scenery and interesting villages. We drive along the lake Nurek (dam). We cross the Shurabat Pass (3252 m). We arrive in Kalaikumb at the end of the afternoon. The Pamir Mountains: Spreading across Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China are situated at the junction of some of the world’s highest mountain ranges – the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush and the Tian Shan among others, and with peaks exceeding 7000 m., they are known locally as ‘the Roof of the World’. With numerous glaciers and covered in snow throughout the year, the climate here is unforgiving with a nice summer season. The Pamirs are home to both people and wildlife – of the latter notable species include the Marco Polo sheep and snow leopard. Communities and villages in the Pamirs are isolated, separated from each other in valleys with different villages often speaking different dialects, even though they may not be far from each other. It was in this region that the last stages of the ‘Great Game’ – the territorial rivalry between the empires of Russia and Britain – were played out in the late 19th century, with intrepid adventurers mapping the high passes and staking claims for king and country. The Pamir Highway (M41), running from Dushanbe to Osh, Kyrgyzstan is the second highest road in the world. We enjoy the hospitality in Kalaikum, Guesthouse (BLD).
Day 3 Khalikum – Khorog -260 km - 7 hrs / Jeep
Today we drive through wild and superb scenery, alongside the Pianj river which forms the border with Afghanistan. Lunch: pic – nic. In Khorog we stay in the relative luxury Hotel Serena. Khorog is the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). Eventual visit of bazaar and Botanical Garden, one of the highest in the world, 2800 m. Khorog is a small town that at various times has been under the control of Russia, the Emirate of Bukhara and Afghanistan. The Russians built a fort here in the Soviet era, with Khorog being in a highly strategic location on the border with Afghanistan. Overnight in Khorog, Hotel (BLD).
Day 4 Khorog – Garm-e-Cheshme – 50 km - 5 hrs
Today we start cycling. Morning start with biking from Khorog to Garm-e-Cheshme hot springs. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in Garm Shashma, Guesthouse (BLD).
Day 5 Garm-e-Cheshme – Ishkashim - 50 km - 6
Biking along the Pianj river to reach Ishkashim, the regional center of Wakhan valley. It is a large village and we stay in. Lunch; pic-nic and leisure time in Ishkashim, Guesthouse (BLD).
Day 6 Iskashim – Darshai. 65 km -5 hours / hiking / biking
Saturday morning visit of Afghan bazar (if it's open). From here we are biking in the Wakhan valley (shared with Afghanistan). Visit of Kakha fortress, III BC, Zoroastrian period. Lunch; pic-nic. Today we camp in Darshai region, Tent (BLD).
Darshai – Yamchun – Bibi Fatma - Hisor. 80 km - 6 hrs / hiking / biking
Biking up to Yamchun: 35 km. We go up to Bibi Fatima hot spring by Jeep or biking ( Yamchun-Bibi Fatma: 7 km of steep gravel road to reach 3000 m.): thermal bath & pic-nic. Visit the Khakka fortress: this impressive structure rises from a naturally formed platform of rock and dates back to the Kushan era of the 3rd Century. There are a number of these ancient fortresses in the area. Bibi Fatima hot springs is named for the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter and local women believe they can increase their fertility. We will stop at the 4th Century Buddhist stupas at Vrang, reminders of the ancient pilgrim caravans that passed through the region. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in Yamching, Homestay (BLD).
Day 8 Hisor – Bulunkul. 135 km - 9 hrs / Jeep/biking
Today we continue to explore the amazing landscape of this area. Short stop and walking to Petroglyphs Steep path / 30 min up. We drive up to Khargush Pass (4344 m). On this journey we leave behind us the lush valley of the Wakhan and enter a landscape that is rocky, mostly barren. Pic-nic. When we will reach the Pamir highway / M41 (completed in 1931), you may bike up to Bulunkul. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in Bulunkul, Camping (BLD).
Day 9 Bulun kul – Alichur - Bashgumbez. 85 km - 6 hrs /biking
An excellent and adventurous trip will take us on the unspoiled lunar landscape of high mountains and wide plateau to Chatir Tash herders camp. Short stop at the “Ak Balyk” Lake and Mausoleum of Alimbek Datka at Bashgumbez. Pic- nic. The Eastern Pamirs have been populated by nomadic ethnic Kyrgyz since the 17th century. The traditional architecture is beautifully represented by yurts, mobile habitations made of felt on an ingenious wooden frame, with the interior decoration bearing witness of the wealth and skills of the owners. Felt and wool serve as the base for handicrafts. Precious stones, including rubis and emeralds, are also found in the area. Region of nomadic pastoral live. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in Chatyr Tash among nomads, Yurt stay (BLD).
Day 10 Bashgumbez - Murghab. 90 km - 5-6 hrs / biking
The road up to Murghab is spectacular and passing through settlement of Mamazair. This small town bestrides the Murghab River at an altitude of 3,650 m. Younghusband visited it in 1890 and wrote "It is a dreary, desolate spot… with a certain amount of grassy pasture and a few scrubby bushes by the river, but surrounded by barren hills, and bitterly cold. How these Russian soldiers can support existence there is a marvel…shut up in dreary quarters, with nothing whatever to do - week after week, month after month passing by in dull monotony…." Over a century later, nothing much has changed. Pic-nic. We arrive in Murghab (3670 m) in the afternoon. Murghab serve as our base for a one night as we explore the area. The 7546 m – high Chinese peak of Mustag Ata is visible to the northeast of town, 110 km away in a direct line. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in the town of Murgab, Hotel Pamir (BLD).
Day 11 Murghab - Ak Baytal - 90 km - 5-6 hrs / biking 70km / Jeep 20 km
After breakfast we start to bike towards the North across a very dry and rocky high plateau. Pic-nic. At the foot of the Ak Baytal Pass (4654 m) you may sit in the jeep and reach camp site on the other site of the pass. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in Ak Baital, Camp (BLD).
Day 12 Akbaytal – Karakul – 60 km / 4 hrs / biking
We depart today to Karakul. This biking will see us enjoying some of the most dramatic scenery of the trip, with the lunar-like landscapes and bright blue lake. Pic-nic. We descend to Karakul Lake, the highest lake in Central Asia, and at 3915 meters, too high to support any aquatic life. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in Kara Kul villages, Guesthouse (BLD).
Day 13 Kara kul – Sary Tash 100 km / 6 hrs / biking & Jeep
We start biking towards the border. Our last Pamir Highway pass is the Kyzyl Art (4282 m), which forms the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Border formalities will take minimum 1 hour at each border. After crossing the pass there is 20km of ‘no man’s land’ on an are very rugged gravel road to reach Kyrgyz post. Pic-nic. Be warned, even in August we could see sub-zero temperatures through the border areas, so make sure you have some extra layers to hand in case we are delayed by formalities. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in Alai valley, .Guesthouse (BLD).
Day 14 Sary Tash (3000 m.) – Sary Mogul – Tulparkul lake (3850 m. 60 km / 5 hrs / biking
After breakfast biking on the flat road of Pamir Alay plateau (excellent asphalted surface road). Pic nic at Sary Mogul village. From here we ware biking on an gravel road and will reach our yurt camp in Tulparkul lake in the afternoon. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in Tulpar Kul lake, front of peak Lenin, Yurt Stay (BLD).
Day 15 Tulparkul lake – Lenin Peak base camp. Hiking / 5 hrs /
From Yurt camp we will hike to the base camp (4000 m.) situated at the foot of Lenin Peak (7134 m). Pic-nic above the base camp. Afternoon hiking towards Lenin Peak and return to the yurt camp. Lunch; pic-nic. Overnight in the same place, Yurt Stay (BLD).
Day 16 Tulparkul lake / relaxing day
Possibility of very nice hiking along the numerous lakes. These days will give a relaxing and enjoying the time after long cycling in the Pamirs. Overnight in the summer pasture in Tuiuk pasture, Yurt stay (BLD).
Day 17 Tulparkul lake – Osh. 260 km / 5 hrs / drive
After Tulparkul lake we depart the high mountains of the Pamir Alay range, leaving behind us the crossroads of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. The drive offers a contrast as we encounter lush farmlands and small villages on this side of the mountains, instead of the stark high-altitude plateau we recently crossed in Tajikistan. En route we will cross the Taldyk Pass (3554m) and enjoy some beautiful views. We must travel around 185 km from Sary Tash and we expect to arrive in the afternoon to Osh, Kyrgyzstan's oldest city. Our first night in Kyrgyzstan will be spent at hotel Eco House hotel. Free time to explore the city. Osh is ancient – various sources date it back around 2500 years, and legends abound over who founded it, including Alexander the Great and King Solomon. On the edge of the Ferghana Valley it is home to both Uzbek and Kyrgyz people, with its position on the border giving rise to an extremely lively market, one of the most interesting in Central Asia. The rock known as Solomon’s Throne is an important place of pilgrimage for Muslims, and a 15th century mosque on the top has now been reconstructed, with excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Osh is also home to the largest mosque in Kyrgyzstan, and is one of the few places in the former Soviet Union still to have a statue of Lenin. Overnight in Osh,
Day 18 Good bye Pamirs, Tajikistan
We hope you had a wonderful time in the Pamirs. Today you will fly back to your country. We are always glad to have you back in the Pamirs again. Have a good flight back to motherland.
Items to bring with you
· Sleeping bag
· Silk sleeping bag
· Mattress Term-a-rest
· Rain gear
· Dawn jacket
· Water bottle
· trekking socks
· Sun hat
· Sun glasses
· Sun cream with high protection - lipstick
· Flashlight or headlamp
· Water purification
· Personal medical kit
· Solar panel
Temperatures: please note that there can be large variations in temperatures. In daytime it can be very hot and a thin layer of clothing will be comfortable but long sleeves protect you from the sun rays. At night it can be cold so a layered approach is best. Predicting temperatures is very hard but they could range between 5°C and + 25°C. Rainfall in the Pamirs at this time of year is not expected but dust storms are. Please take a waterproof layer just in case.
Price & date on request