The Bartang Valley
“The one who has not visited the Bartang, has not seen the Pamirs at all” – Pavel Luknitsky, former Soviet travel writer & explorer.
This saying from the early 1930’s is still valid because the Bartang Valley is one of the wildest, less explored, and most adventurous ways of crossing the Pamirs. The Valley is also famous for its legendary and incredible hospitality confirmed many times by those who have already crossed it.
The Bartang Valley is probably the only place where many fascinating ancient traditions are still alive, including some of the manual agricultural techniques and equipment such as oxen-plowing, threshing grains and winnowing and many more. Many rites and traditions are still performed locally in a specific way different from other people in the greater region.
We offer a budget tour package to our clients from Dushanbe and Khorog to explore the still relatively unexplored Bartang Valley and the Pamirs. In addition, we are ready to offer tailored tours in the region depending on the preferences of our clients. If you are ready for adventure and would like to experience some of the warm hospitality in Tajikistan, please get in touch and we would be happy to assist you.
Sarez Lake-“The Sleeping Dragon”
The Lake Sarez is called “Sleeping Dragon” due to its absolute unpredictability and mysterious nature which can potentially cause a catastrophic natural event. It was in 1911, when a 2-km3 earthquake-triggered rock slide blocked the Murgab River, forming a 600m high natural dam – the Usoy Dam. It is the highest natural or man-made dam in the world. The lake is 60 km long, with a maximum depth of 500 m and a volume of approximately 17 km3. The water in the lake exits the downstream face as a series of large springs that reform as the Murgab River. If the blockage were to fail, a worst-case scenario could cause danger to hundreds of thousands of people in the Murgab, Bartang, Panj, and Amu Darya valleys downstream. Among the many other lakes in Tajikistan, Sarez Lake is definitely the most mysterious and beautiful one.
Usually, it takes 6-7 hours hiking time to get to the Lake. The water in the Lake is turquoise blue. Visitors can enjoy the natural landscape around the Lake, boating, fishing and relaxing on its shore. The best time to visit Sarez Lake is between June –August.
The well-known Jizeu Valley is one of the best short-hike destinations in the Pamirs. This picturesque gorge offers a relaxing landscape around a series of seasonally overflowing, tree-lined lakes. There are a total of 5 lakes in the Jizeu Valley, located along the course of the river with an absolutely breathtaking, timeless atmosphere and scenic beauty. The lakes are emerald green; the water is clean and very cold. Access to the valley footpath starts by crossing the Bartang River on a swaying footbridge to the right bank and hiking about 3 hours uphill before getting to the small beautiful hamlet. It is a small village at an altitude of 2500 m and consists of 14 households. Trekking to the Jizeu valley is one the easiest options for those who want to get the feeling of the Bartang Valley.
Khafrazdara Valley & Grum-Grzhimaylo Glacier
Trekking to the Khafrazdara Valley in the Bartang will take you to one of the best viewpoints to see the beautiful Grum-Grzhimaylo Glacier. It is one of the easiest to reach by trekking. The trekking to the Grum-Grzhimaylo Glacier starts in Pasor village in the Upper Bartang. The total distance of trekking is about 70 km (both ways). Depending on the fitness and interestsof the visitors the journey can be divided into 3-4 days.
Tem Border Market
This Border Market usually happens on the Tajik side of the Panj River every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm. This Border Market is one of the 3rd Border Markets in the area which brings together people from Afghanistan and Tajikistan to trade goods. This is also a great encounter spot for people on weekends. Every Saturdays except some special holidays, Afghan traders and merchants cross the River Panj which is the dividing line between Afghanistan and Tajikistan to trade their goods in the Tem Border Market to the Tajik citizens and in turns buy necessary goods mainly food from their Tajik counterparts on their way back. The border bazaar is accessible to the Tajik locals and foreign tourists as well. No immigration process is required for foreigners to enter the market. Visitors can buy various local souvenirs from both Afghan and Tajik merchants and also experience the local foods.
The Wakhan Valley
The Wakhan Valley is one of the most visited placeS in the Pamirs. It is a place where you will come across the ancient Silk Road traces and many other historical places on every footstep. The valley is also well-known for its multiple Hot Springs where guests and visitors can take bath. The famous Garmchashma, Bibi Fatima Zahra and Avj hot springs are believed to have healing qualities. En route, our guests are expected to see many historical traces such as caves, petroglyphs, “holy” places, fortresses, a museum, and a Buddhist Stupa. Visitors can also enjoy the spectacular view of the Hindukush Mountain Peaks.
Places to see:
- Garmchashma, Ajv and Bibi Fatima hot springs
- Museum of Muborakqadam Vakhani
- Buddhist Stupa
- Petroglyphs in Langar
- Spectacular views of the Hindukush Peaks
- Silk Road traces (Yamchun & Kah-Kaha Fortress-built around 4 century BC) Mazor (shrine) of Shah Qambari Oftobi
Shokhdara Valley-The Valley of Kings
In the Valley of Kings visitors can see breathtaking views of Engels and Karl Marx Peaks (nearly 7,000m), the village of Jawshangoz-one of the largest shepherd summer pasture in the Pamirs and the ruins of Roshtqal’a Fortress. There are many beautiful and easy trekking routes between Shakhdara and Wakhan valley.
Tajik National Park
The Tajik National Park covers almost 50 % of the Pamirs with the total area of 2.5 million hectares and included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Most of the lakes, rivers, and glaciers in the Pamirs (170 rivers, about 400 lakes, and 1,085 small and large glaciers) are located within the territory of the National Park. In addition, the Park area is also home to some of the Pamir biodiversity such as “Marco Polo Sheep, argali, ibex, snow leopard, birds of prey, migrating birds, yaks, and Bactrian camels.
Other places of interest to visit in the territory of the Tajik National Park are:
- Former Mining city of Bazar Dara
- A temple in Bazar Dara
- Tombs of the Saka civilization (Kara Domor, next to lake Yashikul, Ak Tash, Togorok–Baman, ZorKol, Kalta-Tor)
- Petroglyphs in Shakarak, Naiza-Tash, Ak Jylga.