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  #1  
Old 28 Jul 2009
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Pamir Highway advise

I want to ride the pamir highway , but I will gon on it from kyrsgystan. I will hopeully get the visa and the permit in bishkek this week . Now I would like to now if there s ay circuit that will take me back to kyrgyz without going back the same way ??? Or Should I just do the first 400km and then go back the same way ??? as my next route is the kkh

any route advise is appreciated
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  #2  
Old 29 Jul 2009
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You can ride the Pamir highway through Khorog until you meet the main road to Dushanbe. From there you can turn away from Dushanbe and head back toward Kyrgyz. This road leads back to Sary Tash.

You can see it clearly on Google maps.

Ben

PS - I seem to remember some mention of the Dushanbe - Sary Tash border crossing being tricky. I can't remember where or why, but it may be worth looking into to check it's all ok.
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Old 3 Aug 2009
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The border at Kara-Mik isn't open to foreigners. I found this out by riding all the way there from Sary-tash, to find a tiny remote Tajik border hut (Kygiz one wasn't manned) who looked pretty shocked to find a foreign motorcyclist pull up. There was no way they were going to let me cross, seemed to be saying that even if they let me go I'd get stopped and turned back further along the road.

*however* I heard off a cyclist I met that a jeep with four americans in it crossed only weeks before me. Apparently they spoke russian so maybe that helped. But my advice would be don't bother trying that border.


I just did the pamhir highway in both directions. Rode the main route to Khorog then looped back round through the Wakan valley road. Definately worth it, great scenery.
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  #4  
Old 3 Aug 2009
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If you are not dependent on public transport, you could take the Bartang Valley back, so you only have the stretch between Sary Tash and Karakul twice (if you leave over Irkeshtam). Otherwise, from Dushanbe over the northern road (Isfana), I don't know how much time you have.
By the way, from Gultcha I took a pass to Karakuldscha and then to Uzgen, so I had not to go to Osh, was a nice small road, to find in the russian maps.
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  #5  
Old 25 Aug 2009
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I am just back from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

In Bishkek you can get a visa on arrival at the airport (US$ 70).

In Bishkek you can also get the visa for Tajikistan in 1 day (US$ 135), through travel agent Kirgiz Concept on Chui Prospect 124, opposite the presidential palace (ask for Miss Saltanat). Make sure you also ask for the additional GBAO (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast) visa at the same time, an area where the Pamir Highway goes through (Khorog, Murghab).

I took 5 different taxis from Bishkek to Dushanbe via Osh, Batken (Kirgis border town), Isfara (Tajik border town), Khujand. The total taxi cost was US$ 450 only for 27 hours of driving.

This border crossing goes through small gravel roads, even a river crossing, as the taxis have to go around the Uzbek exclaves. Adventurous, but doable even in a 2x4.

The road from Khujand (second biggest city in Tajikistan) to Dushanbe is adventurous too, with two high passes on dirt roads (4x4 preferrable, but not a must). The tunnels are still still not finished by the Chinese construction firms and you must prepare for long waiting times, as some road stretches are temporarily closed every day.

From Dushanbe the Pamir Highway back to Osh is mostly asphalt. 4x4 not needed. You can do it in 3 days and sleep in Khorog and Murghab.

The old border crossing south of Sary-Tash is not open to foreigners, as it leads to the Rasht valley, where four UN workers were killed some years ago and where the government doesn't have full control.
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  #6  
Old 1 Feb 2010
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> In Bishkek you can also get the visa for Tajikistan in 1 day (US$ 135),
> through travel agent Kirgiz Concept on Chui Prospect 124, opposite the
> presidential palace (ask for Miss Saltanat). Make sure you also ask for the
> additional GBAO (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast) visa at the same
> time, an area where the Pamir Highway goes through (Khorog, Murghab).

Hello,
we're planning a motorcycletour to the pamir-highway and will organize the visa for all countries here in Germany. Is this GBAO visa identical with the permit for the pamir-highway - or are these two different things? We're coming from Usbekistan and will go over Dushanbe -> pamir -> Kyrgyzstan. Where can we get these additional documents on our way?

Thank you for your help...

Andreas
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  #7  
Old 1 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anju View Post
>
Hello,
we're planning a motorcycletour to the pamir-highway and will organize the visa for all countries here in Germany. Is this GBAO visa identical with the permit for the pamir-highway - or are these two different things? We're coming from Usbekistan and will go over Dushanbe -> pamir -> Kyrgyzstan. Where can we get these additional documents on our way?
Andreas
Hallo Andreas.

You will get everything in Berlin. GBAO is just a a stamp next to visa. Remember to ask for GBAO in visa aplication.
You don't need any special permits for Pamir Hgwy...
Last year I have done the same route...
Visas to Tajik and Kyrg are easy to get. You can do it in 2 days in Berlin.

Tschuss

Sambor
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  #8  
Old 4 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sambor View Post
Hallo Andreas.

You will get everything in Berlin. GBAO is just a a stamp next to visa. Remember to ask for GBAO in visa aplication.
You don't need any special permits for Pamir Hgwy...
Last year I have done the same route...
Visas to Tajik and Kyrg are easy to get. You can do it in 2 days in Berlin.

Tschuss

Sambor
Hallo Sambor,
thank you for the information. It's easier, than I thought...

I've read and watched your travelstory on advrider - really nice, even I don't like rivers and mud and deepsand with my Tiger, but ...

Andreas
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  #9  
Old 9 Feb 2010
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Circle

@Kebabtomten:
You could come in from Krygyzstan, go as far as Khorog then turn South into the Wakhan corridor and back up onto the Pamir Highway. You'd still do a bit of it twice (from where the Wakhan corridor joins the Pamir Highway, back to Sary-Tash), but in those gorgeous mountain landscapes, I don't think that matters.
Then again –*I really enjoyed the route from Khorog to Dushanbe as well. Guess you could do the Pamir Highway to Khorog, then the Southern route from Khorog to Dushanbe, along the Panj river. Then the Northern route from Dushanbe back to Khorog and THEN go down South into the Wakhan corridor.
I envy you! Tajikistan is beautiful!!!
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  #10  
Old 9 Feb 2010
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Hi,
I've seen a lot of info about the Pamir Highway and the Wakhan valey.
But, does anybody have done the road in the between, the one that is marked on some maps with a village named Roshtkala?

Cheers
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  #11  
Old 9 Feb 2010
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Yes. I rode about half of that road, but gave up when I got a bit lost. I believe Sambor wrote a report of a trip to Afghanistan on advrider forum and did the whole of that road and included some photos in that story.

The road to Roshtkala is a good one, I think quite bit of it (maybe all) tarmac, and easy to find your way on to it from Horag (if you're coming from either the North or the East then cross the river and turn left). Roshtkala was a medium sized place, I think it had some shops and at least one homestay.

After that the road is good gravel. When I was there a small section of it was partially flooded by waters from the river running next to it but nothing bad. The road goes up through a fantastic valley, and crosses the river a couple times. The track got a bit rough in places but nothing too bad. I got lost in a small village and couldn't find the road onwards, and couldn't understand the directions off a couple of villagers I spoke to, so gave up (though not before riding up a terrible steep rock track that had become a fast flowing stream that turned out just to lead to someone's house). I don't know what the track is like after that, but I suspect worse - It must have been kept in fairly good condition to that point to allow access to that and a few other small villages.

I had also tried to ride this track in the other direction a day or two previously, but then with all the luggage on my bike. I wasn't sure where it started, and the track I followed a little way was pretty dodgy and didn't seem to have seen any traffic for at least a month or so - I gave up as I figured if it got much worse I could get myself into trouble. The track I started off on was from the Western side of the village of Djelondi, it climbed up the start of a valley then crossed over a small river before dissapearing over the mountain. If someone could clear up if this was the correct track or not I'd be really greatful as it was something I was quite baffled with at the time and found quite frustrating.

Few photos from this road attached. Very beautiful scenery there, and a different feeling than on the main roads as far less tourists visit there. I wish I'd made a better effort at riding the whole road, and that I'd ridden more of the other sideroads in the Pamhirs!
Attached Thumbnails
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Pamir Highway advise-dscf2874.jpg  

Pamir Highway advise-dscf2880.jpg  

Pamir Highway advise-dscf2881.jpg  

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  #12  
Old 10 Feb 2010
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Yes, we rode this section last year. There is good tarmec to Roshtkala. Then it is quite easy until 3300 meters and then start rough and litlle difficult truck. There is some really cold water near the pass with many stones
Descend to M41 can be a real problem.
There is no villages and I don't think it is a good plan to ride there alone. If you get hurt you will be in big shit.
Pictures you can find here
Afghanistan ride. How to enter, survive and return in one piece... - Page 7 - ADVrider

Navigation is easy but if you need there is kmz file... Send me PM with your e-mail if you need it.
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  #13  
Old 11 Feb 2010
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Thank you, Nath and Sambor!!!!

Good information you gave me.

I'm on an early stage of planning a trip to Central Asia, Russia and Mongolia and I read yours RR on advrider, Sambor, but some how I missed that particular description.
Great report by the way, that one, and the others. I've had a very good time reading it and watching the wonderful pictures you took. Let me just tell you they are truly inspiring.
I'll PM you sometime in the future.

Once again thank you both.
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  #14  
Old 29 Jun 2011
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We will drive Pamir Highway in late June 2012 in our 4x4.
Our plan is:
Almaty - Lake Ysyk-Kol - Kochkor - Naryn - Ak Tal - Kazarman - JalalAbad - Ozgon - Osh - Sary Tash - Murgab - Ishkashim - Khorog - Rushan - Bartang - Roshorv - Gudara - Muzkol - Sary Tash - Jalalabat - Karakol - Toktogul - Toluk - Kyzyl Oy - Kyzart - Kochkor -Almaty

Do you know how the roads from Rushan to Gudara and from Toktogul to Kochkor look?
Thanks
kamil + Helena
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  #15  
Old 21 Jul 2011
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Re Roshtkala-Jawshangoz route

That tempting track that runs between the two main routes East from Khorug (the Pamir Highway and Wakhan Corridor) is, I think, more comfortably done from East to West as part of a circuit from Khorug. If you have time. This way you do the short tricky bit going uphill and within half an hour the hard work is done, river crossing included. As Sambor said, doing the tricky bit downhill (heading East) is dicey because of the loose rock – possible, but you’d be on your brakes almost constantly and taking it very easy.

I left Khorug and first headed along the Wakhan Corridor route. Fill your tank with decent 92 octane fuel in Khorug. Next opportunity is Ishkashim and the last opportunity (I believe, other than begging) pre-Murghab or a return to Khorug is the sparse settlement of Langar - a couple of kms before the blue sign-posted homestay; from barrels in a lone white-washed building/shop on the left – ask around since there are no signs.

WAKHAN

The Wakhan route is beautiful. Asphalt runs out 20km or so after Ishkashim (c2.5 hours from Khorug), but the road is fine: compact surface with tyre tacks through loose gravel and occasional patches of small rock/sand/corrugation, though on the whole it’s fine, standing up on your pegs at a sensible 40-50 kph +/-.

Stay at one of the homestays between Ptup and Langar - marked on the Gecko 1:500,000 map (e.g. a few km up the track from Ptup to Bibi Fatima Springs). The next day you can cross over the pass and camp by the lovely lake of Yashil Kul, beyond the village of Bulunkul, just off the Pamir Highway. There’s a hot spring en route, just after the village. 20km after Bulunkul, towards the end of the lake, and beside a passable broken down stone bridge, is a perfect river plain for camping. Apart from the stars, you’ll be blissfully alone.

Note: there have been several reports from cyclists that the guard at the police checkpoint a few kms before the Khargush Pass tries to extort fines (e.g. $15) for crossing the barrier without registration – he hides behind a boulder, waits till you pass the barrier, then springs out in a fury. I thus stopped pre-barrier, dismounted, walked to the hut where I found him, said hello cheerily and there was no problem. I caught him a good-ish mood and after the standard registration of passport details I was on my way.

ROSHTKALA-JAWSHANGOZ

If you felt confident all the way along the Wakhan route and are up for some more adventure, then I would recommend you take a look at this and see what you think.

Day three, rejoin the Pamir Highway heading to Khorug and 51km later, a few kms after the pass, you’ll see on your left a dirt track running up the hillside – it’s not steep. Turn left off the highway over the small bridge. The first 200 metres or so is a little tricky, since the track runs alongside the rocky river bed, but take it easy in 1st and 2nd gears and you’ll soon be on a track which is more compact dry dirt than rock. The next couple kms before you reach the plateau reminded me of Cumbrian uphill farm track, with patches of Christmas pudding-sized rocks. I came across an old Russian truck coming down, and since there were fresh tracks ahead of it, I imagine it does this route each day or so, in case you’re worried of being stranded. There are also shepherds around.

There was just one tricky spot between the road and the river-crossing: just after you start to climb up from the river, there’s a 10 or so metre stretch of these pudding-sized rocks to ride over and where the left side of the track has subsided. Don’t let this put you off. Dismount, walk beyond it and you’ll see over the brow over the hill that the track is good. Then 1st gear, up on your pegs, and gently power your way over the rocks. (And if you don’t like it, you can turn back.) 1 km or so later of track and you’re up on the plane, since you already started at a high altitude. You’ll barely believe it.

After the first plain, you then reach the river crossing. By mid-July (this one, at least), the initial thrust of glacial melt having passed, the river was low – just 4 or so metres across, maybe ¼ metre deep. The tricky bit is the 15 or so metres of larger rock leading up to it. Football-sized. Again, just take it easy. Going in this direction you have the benefit of exiting the river onto a smooth surface.

[I'll try and attach some photos of the river etc, though I'm struggling from this machine.]

That’s it. Hard work over. Just a beautiful mountain plane and lake to enjoy. On the map it’s the tiny lake to the left of the track: I didn’t take the detour to the East to the bigger Turumtal Kul lake. I think if I did it again, I would camp up there and explore around.

The track then continues in a SW direction. Before it turns sharply westwards towards the first settlement of Jawshangoz (homestay), there are two more river crossings: the next one is a smaller version of what you’ve just done and the second has a bridge, as do the crossings further down the valley.

If you have the Gecko map, heading in this direction you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way. Only if the weather changed (unlikely this time of year, though something to be ever aware of – if the clouds did descend, haul up and camp and wait for the sun). It’s a clear track. Ignore the occasional smaller ones branching off and stick to the main one. The descent down to Khorug is gentle all the way, albeit with occasional rocky/sandy patches, though very manageable compared to what you’ve already done. Great views of Kar Marx and Engels mountain peaks. The Gecko map shows the asphalt starting a little before Roshtkala, which it does, though it’s old and patchy all the way to Khorug. Nevertheless, as always it’s welcome, since by this point your wrists and forearms will probably be aching a little from so much standing up.

Re. timing and distance. I left my camping spot at Yashil Kul at around 9 AM and got to Khorug around 6 pm. The distance from the point of leaving the Pamir Highway (the bridge at the start of the track) to Khorug was 165 km.

Having said all of that, whatever route you take through the Pamirs, highway or otherwise, is stunning.

Have fun.

Bob
Attached Thumbnails
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Pamir Highway advise-main-river-crossing.jpg  

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