The Pamir Highway / Wakhan Valley combination is one of the greatest road trips in the world, and one of my favourite travel experiences to date. The breathtaking landscapes, the warm and welcoming people, the unusual animals, the ruined 2,000-year-old fortresses, the utter remoteness; it all comes together to make an amazing – and quite often challenging – travel experience.
The start of the trip, dealing with transport issues in the border town of Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan.
Crossing Kyzyl-Art Pass (the Kyrgyz/Tajik border), stopping for a tea break at Karakul, a town on the shores of the highest navigable lake in the world.
A long drive through the high alpine regions of the GBAO region of Tajikistan, snow when crossing Ak Baital Pass, and arrival at the end of a long day into the remote settlement of Murgab.
A search for the un-signposted cave painting at Shakhty, Tajikistan
Time out to admire yaks and golden marmots; exploration of an ancient, abandoned tomb.
Breakdown at the Afghan border, encountering Bactrian camels and the Hindu Kush mountains range, and descent into the Wakhan Valley.
Exploring one of the strange Pamiri spirit shrines in the town of Langar in the Wakhan Valley. Climbing the slope behind Langar to a much-graffitied petroglyph site.
Visiting the leafy, picturesque town of Vrang; climbing the arid mountain behind the town to visit the obscure ziggurat.
An off-putting encounter in the hot springs, and the sublime ruins of Yamchun Fortress.