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What’s A Journey to the Excessive Pamirs Actually Like? M41 Pamir Freeway Tour Journey | Koryo Excursions

Ever puzzled what it is actually prefer to journey the Excessive Pamirs? The way you do even go about travelling on one of many world’s highest highways? And… is it value it? 

Wealthy Beal, an knowledgeable within the Central Asia area and Koryo Excursions tour chief, tells all. 

Why the Excessive Pamirs?

Central Asia: Earlier than the Excessive Pamirs

The First M41 Excessive Pamir Journey

M41 Excessive Pamirs Tour (tips on how to be part of)

Why the Excessive Pamirs?

Each August, we run an journey by way of the guts of Central Asia, delving into the deep valleys and beautiful mountain passes of the Pamir Area.

This mountainous space dominates Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In order that’s the place our journey takes place.

Nevertheless, I’d been travelling to the area for years, and I by no means solely managed to traverse this epic journey myself…

So, right here’s the story of my first mountain crossroads journey!


Central Asia: Earlier than the Excessive Pamirs

All through my years as a tour chief for Koryo, and earlier than that at different corporations, I’d spent plenty of time in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Nevertheless, I by no means managed to hyperlink them collectively and journey by way of the Pamiri area.

I’ve at all times been a giant fan of highway journeys. As a agency believer that the journey is extra essential than the vacation spot, I’d lengthy been enamoured by the thought of driving alongside the unbelievable M41 Pamir Freeway. This beautiful ribbon of tarmac winding by way of the area had at all times eluded me.

Historical past within the Excessive Pamirs

The area itself is steeped in historical past.

The location of ‘The Nice Sport’ which noticed the British and Russian Empires going through off over their management of the mountain passes which dominate this a part of the world.

Later, as a part of the Soviet Union, the M41 Pamir Freeway was constructed to cement management and bind collectively these mountain republics, conserving them carefully linked and traversable. Lastly, it linked up the small cities and villages and launched infrastructure and connectivity to their communities.

So, with all this historical past so close by, but so inaccessible, I made a decision at some point I’d discover a technique to journey the size of the M41 Pamir Freeway.

Since that point, I’ve spent a few years working for Koryo within the area, ultimately changing into the director of our excursions to the area and changing into our Central Asia knowledgeable.

It was right now I started pushing for the creation of a Pamir tour. And ultimately, we created one.

The First M41 Excessive Pamir Journey

Our first Pamir mountains tour started in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

Right here I met the tour group. A group of seasoned travellers and intrepid adventurers who have been simply as eager as I used to be to tackle this epic problem!

Not like subsequent adventures, I didn’t have the expertise I’ve now. So, regardless of plenty of data in idea, I felt very very similar to I used to be becoming a member of them as a fellow vacationer experiencing all of this for the primary time.

Bishkek – Osh

From Bishkek, we travelled south to the town of Osh. This was the start line for our journey.

After spending an evening on this metropolis surrounded by Soviet grandeur and equally spectacular historical historical past, we boarded our trusty automobiles and set off into the countryside.

Into the Countryside & Rolling Hills

The additional south we drove, the extra spectacular the panorama turned. The flat lands turned rolling hillsides which, in flip, became shallow mountain peaks and rocky outcrops.

Finally, the foothills of the Pamir Mountains started to dominate our environment and at last, we arrived at our in a single day halt. A small homestay within the village of Sary-Tash within the Pamir mountain vary.

A Homestay within the Pamir Mountains

This homestay was primary. It is run by a neighborhood household and nothing to brag about.

Nevertheless, I’d select it over a 5-star lodge any day. Purely for the view which greeted us each time we opened the entrance door!

This little village boasted one of the crucial unbelievable views I’ve ever seen – looking into the excessive peaks that we might quickly be travelling to.

That night, I sat with the group and our native hosts, having fun with some beers, chatting, and steeling ourselves for what could be an unbelievable journey.

Kyrgyzstan – Tajikistan

The subsequent day, we bid farewell to our native hosts and set off deeper into the mountains. Finally, we reached the Kyzyl-Artwork Border Checkpoint the place we might say goodbye to Kyrgyzstan and head into Tajikistan.

It took us about an hour to cross from the Kyrgyz aspect to the Tajik aspect, trundling by way of this no man’s land between republics. 

Finally, the formalities have been full and we headed onward into Tajikistan. Alongside the best way, there was after all beautiful surroundings throughout. However we additionally stopped to go to Karakul Lake.

It is a large lake created by a meteor strike, and now a lovely relaxation cease on this unusual, high-altitude world.

In some ways, travelling by way of this area felt like driving on mars, or another fully alien world. The dearth of individuals, and even proof of individuals turns into unusual after some time.

That’s till you crest the highest of the most recent hill and all of the sudden see a city or a village the place native tradition and group exist even right here in the course of nowhere.

Cities & Villages Alongside the M41 Freeway

Visiting Cities & Villages

Finally, one in every of these small cities was our stopping level. The city of Murghab.

The location of a former Russian base, the city marks the furthest south the Russian Empire ever reached. A statue of Lenin nonetheless graces the center of the city, and regardless of the slight falling-downness of our lodge, the character of this little settlement was relatively endearing.

The subsequent day, we set off from Murghab.

We continued our journey as we headed south in direction of the famed Wakhan Hall.

Any longer, a lot of our journey would comply with the Panj and Amu Darya rivers which function the Tajik-Afghan border.



Wakhan Hall

Afghanistan/Tajikistan Wakhan Hall

Winding alongside this valley highway, with the mountains of Tajikistan on our proper and the huge mountains of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan to our left is a sight which is able to really by no means go away me.

Since then, I’ve but to discover a view extra spectacular than the view of that mountain vary within the distance as we peered over into the forbidden land of the Afghans.

Regardless of the repute of this harmful neighbourhood, the folks all throughout Central Asia are a number of the kindest, sweetest, and most hospitable I’ve ever encountered.

A truth which made this perilous journey simply that little bit simpler.

We continued alongside the valley with the roaring Panj river a relentless distraction from our perilous drive.

In actual fact, one of many causes we do the journey on this path, relatively than beginning in Tajikistan, is to verify we’re at all times on the most secure aspect of the highway throughout this part of the journey. I’d at all times relatively be up towards the cliff face than out close to the sting.

Huge Open Fields

Lastly, the valley opened up and the view modified from beautiful mountain terrain to huge open fields, all cultivated by native farmers (Tajik and Afghan). This created a powerful patchwork of greens and yellows, punctuated by the river and the mountains behind.

It’s right here that we encountered the primary highway signal for miles pointing us within the path of Afghanistan.

Turning the other method, we adopted a mountain highway main away from the river, taking us throughout the plains of central Tajikistan and at last into Dushanbe. One in every of my favorite cities.

Dushanbe Metropolis


It was a reduction to be greeted by a metropolis I knew so effectively.

Dushanbe is unbelievable. The folks, the meals, the structure.

Tree-lined streets, small hidden cafes, large Soviet-era buildings. On every other journey, this place would really feel surreal, however after our journey by way of the Pamirs, this felt like residence.

An M41 Excessive Pamirs Tour

Since that journey, we’ve been working our Excessive Pamir Journey each August.

Regardless of now having taken that route many instances, each time brings up some new journey or creates a brand new distinct reminiscence.

Maybe that’s why I hold doing it.

It really by no means will get previous.

And in case you be part of us on this expedition, you will be positive you’ll depart with some recollections that may stick to you for all times, belief me.

AUGUST 17 – AUGUST 30 2024

The Pamir Freeway Mountain Crossroads Tour

Journey throughout the roof of the world!

A singular tour from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan.

This 10-night tour traces the route of the traditional Silk Street and the adventures
of Marco Polo. Beginning within the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, we are going to comply with
the M41 Pamir Freeway to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, whereas passing probably the most superb
mountain surroundings.

From 2900 USD per individual

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