Pamir Highway / Wakhan Valley

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.

Part 1:

Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan – tackling the Kyrgyz/Tajik border

The start of the trip, dealing with transport issues in the border town of Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan.

Downtown Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan

Stuck in Sary Tash, Kyrgyzstan. Photo credit: Ben White

Part 2:

Kyzyl-Art to Karakul, Tajikistan – the highest navigable lake in the world

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.

Karakul, Tajikistan

The town of Karakul, in the GBAO region of Tajikistan. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Part 3:

Ak Baital to Murgab, Tajikistan – breakdowns and snowy mountain passes

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.

Murgab, Tajikistan

Murgab, Tajikistan – like a pod city on Mars. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Part 4:

The Neolithic cave paintings of Shakhty, Tajikistan

A search for the un-signposted cave painting at Shakhty, Tajikistan

Shakhty neolithic cave paintings, Tajikistan

The neolithic cave paintings of Shakhty, Tajikistan. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Part 5:

Bash Gumbaz, Tajikistan – yaks, golden marmots, and a Chinese merchant’s tomb

Time out to admire yaks and golden marmots; exploration of an ancient, abandoned tomb.

Chinese merchant's tomb, GBAO, Tajikistan

A Chinese merchant’s tomb, near Bash Gumbaz, Tajikistan. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Part 6:

Arrival at the Afghan border, Tajikistan

Breakdown at the Afghan border, encountering Bactrian camels and the Hindu Kush mountains range, and descent into the Wakhan Valley.

The Hindu Kush mountain range, Wakhan Vally, Tajikistan

The Hindu Kush mountain range. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Part 7:

Langar, Tajikistan – petroglyphs and Pamiri spirit shrines

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.

View from petroglyph site, Langar, Tajikistan

The town of Langar in the Wakhan Valley. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Part 8:

Vrang, Tajikistan – apricot groves and a mysterious ziggurat

Visiting the leafy, picturesque town of Vrang; climbing the arid mountain behind the town to visit the obscure ziggurat.

Ziggurat, Vrang, Tajikistan

The ziggurat at Vrang. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Part 9:

Yamchun Fortress and Bibi Fatima Hot Springs, Tajikistan

An off-putting encounter in the hot springs, and the sublime ruins of Yamchun Fortress.

Yamchun Fortress, Tajikistan

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Part 10:

Ishkashim – coming soon

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