Along Karakorum & Pamir Highways

The places of discovery: Islamabad – Besham – Gilgit – Hunza valley – Gulmit – Sust – Tashkorgon – Kashgar – Sary Tash – Karakol – Murgab – Khorog – Kalaykhum – Dushanbe – Termez – Bukhara – Samarkand – Tashkent. 

Karakorum and Pamir highways are like an island surrounded by the world highest mountains. These roads are two of the three "Silk Roads" that cross the Himalayas and Pamir, but they are also the least known among Western travelers. This itinerary can be started from Samarkand - the pearl of the East, the crossroads of the Great Silk Road. This trip is much more progressive and the chances of altitude sickness are significantly reduced.

There are several choices of the itineraries including the road from Dushanbe to Gilgit via Kashgar, or from Gilgit to Dushanbe via Kashgar, including the beautiful valleys of Whakan and Hunza. If one step of the part of Pamir offering crossed a long the Afghan border with its contrasts and with accommodation at home stays of Pamirian residents, where you will have a real vision on local life and thinking about them, how they have conserved their tradition and customs for centuries. Because the region Gorno - Badakhshan, located in the heart of Tajikistan, a country in Central Asia still unknown, it opened its borders to tourists a few years ago.
And another part - the Karakorum part will charm you with impressive landscapes with massive mountains, where glaciers are a few steps from the road. The inhabitants live mainly from agriculture and pastorals. It can be observed while working in fields or on the slopes of the mountain while watching the animals on pasture: mainly goats, sheep and yaks.

These regions are dreams for anthropologists and a linguist with a wide variation in the diversity of ethnic heritage seems to have been from time to dabble in different valleys. It is even less tourists here , you can be the one to come in the year in some places.

The benefits of travel is that it will give you the knowledge of peoples and discuss with them is much easier if you do not speak their languages will reveal new forms of mountains, unvisited plains and valleys which watered directly from their springs.

If you would prefers an adventure and wants to be in approach contact with nature, there is an untapped potential on this island on the roof of the world.
So if you're interested in this tour, do not delay to go there and see with your own eyes.

Countries: Pakistan – Chine – KyrgyzstanTajikistanUzbekistan

Duration of travel : 20 night/21 days.

Best time of travel : June – September

Day 1: Islamabad/Rawalpindi. Arrival to Islamabad the capital of Pakistan. Meet at the airport and transfer to the hotel accommodation. Short sightseeing program of the capital. Overnight.

Day 2: Islamabad - Besham. Route to Besham (265 km) – a major town on the upper course of the Indus River. Along this river follows the ancient Silk Route via Gilgit and Hunza Rivers up through Kunjerab Pass into China. We will take this route too, not on the camels, by comfortible jeeps, to discovery the beautifull views and meeting the different ethnics. Accommodation at Motel uppon arrival. Time for enjoying the village. Overnight.

Day 3: Besham – Gilgit (310 km, 7-8 hrs). Route to Gilgit the capital of Northern Pakistan, by Karakorum Highway via Chilas, which usually takes 8 Hours with stops on the way at Shatial Rock drawings, The Nanga Parbat view points and Lunch stop at a local restaurant. Overnight.

Day 4: Gilgit – Hunza valley - Gulmit (100 km). After breakfast we will a brief tour of Kargah Nulla and Gilgit Bazaar. Route to Hunza valley, which take a slow drive stopping at different places for Photos and short walks. Hunza, a remote mountain kingdom, may have been the inspiration upon your arrival there. The fair skinned and light-eyed of the local people claim to be descendants of soldiers lost from Alexander's army as he invaded India. The beauty of this mountain paradise is matchless; from the soft blossoms of the apricot trees to the dark snowcapped rock mountains of Rakaposhi (7788 m.) and Ultar Peaks (7388 m.). Free time for enjoying of the surrounding and the bazaar. Overnight.

Day 5 : Gulmit - Sust (75 km). Transfer to Sust, on the route visit a small Tadjik village and photographing the spectacular Passu Cones. Subject to permission, we shall pay a brief visit to Raja Bahadur Khan, one of the Mirs of the Royal family to behold his invaluable personal collection of antique weapons, musical instruments, rugs, pots & jewelry. Overnight at hotel.

Day 6 : Sust – Tashkurgan (220 km). Route to Tashkurgan (China). Crossing the borders via Khunjerab Pass 4703 M, is the highest border crossing on a paved road in the world. The Khunjerab Pass is the continental watershed, on the Pakistan side flowing down to the Indian Ocean and that on the Chinese side being swallowed by the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin. The scenery is remarkably different on either side of the pass. The Pakistani side is marked with barren deserted gorges with no sign of human life, the Chinese side, however, is wide, open, grassy, high altitude plateau, with herds of yaks, sheep & low humped Bactrian camels tended by the smiling colorful TAJIKS. Arrival to Tashkurgan and hotel accommodation. Overnight.

Day 7: Tashkurgan – Kashgar (280 km). After short visiting of the city transfer to Kashgar. Arrival to Kashgar and accommodation at hotel. Overnight.

Day 8: Kashgar. Today We will visit Kashgar's lively markets, which attract thousands of people from the far corners of the region. They come here to sell, bargain, and trade everything ranging from camels to raisins. Our sightseeing tour will also include the the famous Eidgah Mosque and the tomb of Abbak Hoja. We visit the various shopping alleys full of noodle shops, bakeries, teashops, blacksmiths and carpenters. Overnight.

Day 9: Kashgar – Irkeshtam – Sary Tash (300 km). Route to the Chinese- Kyrgyz border “Irkeshtam”, crossing the borders. Meet with Kyrgyz guide and driver. Transfer to Sary Tash village – where from antic time is a junction of Great Silk Route between Xi’an by Karakorum Highway and Samarkand by Pamir Highway. Accommodation at home stay.

Day 10: Sary Tash village – Kyzylart (border between Tadjikistan and Kyrgyzstan) – Karakul village (105 km). Transfer to the border through Taldyk Pass (3600 m), stop to the pictures of the Alay range mountains. Continue of route to the border. Crossing to Tadjikistan. Meet with Tajik guide and driver. Transfer to Karakol village. On the route stop a near of Karakul Lake for the nice pictures with Lenin Peak (7154 m). Home stay accommodation upon arrival to Karakul village.

Day 11: Karakul – Murgab (125 km). Transfer to Murgab city – small city in Alichur valley, through the Ak Baytal Pass (4652 m). This valley is located at more than 3000 m altitude and surrounded by high snow covered mountains and inhabited by Kyrgyzs and Pamir Tadjiks people. From here you will enjoy a high summit of Muztagh Ata Peak’s (7546 m). Walking to discovery the city and its traditionnal market and can test a kyrgyz delicieuse dishes « Mantu ». Overnigh at home stay.

Day 12 : Murgab – Khorog (324 km). Route to Khorog the center of Gorno Badakhshan autonomy region the small town Murgab via Khargoush Pass (4344 m). Accommodation upon your arrival. Littl walking to discovery the city and its central parc on the bank of Panj river. Dinner at local restaurent. Overnight.

Day 13: Khorog – Kalaykhum (230 km). Route to Kalaykhum a littl town on the Pamir Highway. This day you will cross through the magnific views and accross the Khoburobod Pass (3252 m), from where you can have a views to the Pamir Mountain range. And then will pass along Tavildara canyons. Accommodation at home stay.

Day 14 : Kalaykhum - Dushanbe (260 km). Transfer to Dushanbe - the capital of Tajikistan. On the route crossing the Khaburabat Pass (3252 m) and follow the broad Obi-Khingaou River, the branch of Vakhsh River, to Tavildara, than continue the drive to Dushanbe. Arrival late afternoon and accommodation at hotel. Overnight.

Day 15 : Dushanbe - Termez. Short city tour in Dushanbe and transfer to the Tajik/Uzbek border. Meet with Uzbek guide and driver, transfer to Termez a cradle of Buddhism in Central Asia. Overnight.

Day 16: TermezBukhara. Route to Bukhara. On the way visit of the Archeological museum, Fayaztepa (a site of ancient settlement 2-3rd cc.), Mausoleum of Hakim At Termezi (9-15th cc.), Buddhist Stupa Zurmala. Arrival and accommodation. Overnight.

Day 17: Bukhara. Full day sightseeing program of Bukhara. Visit Samanid’s Mausoleum (IX-X cc), the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum (XII-XVI cc), oriental market of Bukhara, Bolo Khouse Mosque, Poyi Kalon ansemble with its Minaret Kalon (XII c), Kalon Mosque (XVI c) and Mir-i-Arab Mosque. Free time to the leasure by your self. Dinner. Overnight.

Day 18: BukharaSamarkand. Train to Samarkand the Pearl of Orient. Arrival at 11 AM, accommodation at hotel. Discovery of the monuments of Samarkand. Visit of Gur Emir mausoleum, Registan square with three Madrasas, Ulugbek (XV c), Cher Dor and Tilla Kori XVII c). Overnight in Samarkand.

Day 19: Samarkand - Tashkent. Continue of discovery of the city; visit of ansemble of Shakh-i-Zinda mausoleums, oriental bazaar Siyab and Bibikhanum Mosque (XV c). Lunch and free time till departure by the train to Tashkent at 5 PM. Arrival at 8^42 PM. Overnight at hotel.

Day 20: Tashkent. Full day sightseeing program of the capitale of Uzbekistan. Overnight.

Day 21: Departure from Tashkent.