M41 Pamir Highway Tour

5
Days
Dushanbe, Kalaikhum, Khorog, Bulunkul, Murghab, Karakul

The Pamir Highway, otherwise known as the M41 Road, was constructed by the Red Army in the 1930s and is now counted as the second highest road on the planet. It snakes its way through the Roof of the World, the towering Pamir Mountains that are home to the gorgeous Bulunkul and Karakul lakes, endless breathtaking views and sparsely populated villages where yaks outnumber people.
The M41 Pamir Highway Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to The Roof of the World, a trip bursting with adventure in the beautiful Pamir Mountains with all of their wild beauty and remote settlements. This 5-day journey begins in Dushanbe and climbs through the settlements of Kalaikhum, Khorog, Murghab and Bulunkul. View the world from Ak Baital Pass, the highest elevation in the former Soviet Union, overnight in mountain homestays and relax near one of the highest lakes on Earth before ending your tour with a drive over the Kyrgyzstan border and into the city of Osh.

After breakfast, your driver will meet you at hotel reception in Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital. Depart Dushanbe to begin your tour of the Pamir Mountains. With a qualified driver in 4WD transport, drive to Kalaikhum (290km, 6-7hrs) via the Khaburabad Pass (3200m) and the M41 Highway, which winds through the Pamir Mountains.
Arrive in Kalaikhum, a small town founded at 1400 meters above sea level. Enjoy free time to walk about the town and interact with the friendly local people, most of whom still wear traditional clothes. Overnight at a hotel in Kalaikhum.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Depart Kalaikhum in the morning and drive along the Panj River to Khorog (250km, 6-7hrs). You’ll be able to see Afghanistan across the river on the right-hand side.
Khorog, a small mountain town that lies in a valley over 2000 meters above sea level, is the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO).
Upon arrival have a small tour of Khorog’s main attractions:
  • Relax in the Pamir Botanical Gardens, which at 2,320 meters is considered to be one of the highest botanical gardens in the world. The park contains many examples of local foliage and a great panoramic view of Khorog.
  • Visit the Khorog Regional Museum, filled with fascinating and chronological presentations of the history and culture of Khorog from ancient times through the Soviet era.
Free time in evening. Overnight in a Khorog hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast, drive to Bulunkul (190km, 4hrs) along the banks of the Gunt and Toguzbulok Rivers and through the high-alititude Koy Tezek Pass (4270m), admiring the rugged landscape and numerous mountain villages along the way.
Arrive in Bulunkul Lake (Blue Lake), where the natural scenery of the High Pamirs is absolutely spectacular. Wander about the tiny town, sit on the quiet shores of the beautiful lake and gaze into the clear, starry sky. Overnight in a Bulunkul guesthouse.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
In the morning visit Yashikul Lake, whose pristine waters are highlighted all the more by the earthen tones of the surrounding mountains. Continue on to Murghab (160km, 4hrs) via the Nayzatash Pass (4300m).
Arrive in Murghab, the capital of Murghab region and largest town for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. Free time in the evening to rest, see the large Lenin statue and walk about this determined little town. Overnight in the Murghab guesthouse.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Start your drive at 7am. Your first stop is Karakul Lake (130km, 2hrs) via the Ak Baytal Pass (White Horse Pass, 4655m), the highest point in the former Soviet Union. Stop to enjoy the indescribable view of Karakul Lake, which at an elevation of almost 4000 meters is one of the highest lakes in the world.
Continue driving to the Tajikistan/Kyrgyzstan border crossing known as Kyzylart (50km, 1hr). Pass through border formalities and cross into Kyrgyzstan, where a new driver will complete the drive to Osh (250km, 4hrs).
Arrive to your hotel in Osh. End of the M41 Pamir Highway Tour.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Notes:

  • Internet access will be limited while touring the Pamir Highway.
  • Traveling the Pamir Highway may cause altitude sickness manifested in headaches, dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, lethargy, etc.
  • We highly recommended bringing entertainment items with you (music, books, board games etc.) in addition to sunglasses, a first aid kit, water bottle, portable charger, flashlight, warm clothes and sturdy shoes.
  • Road conditions are poor in certain areas, with dirt roads and poorly maintained pavement.
  • There are few to no ATMs in the Pamirs, so bring enough cash with you in both USD and Tajik Somoni. Guesthouses and restaurants accept both currencies.
  • Altitudes on the Pamir Highway: Dushanbe: 800 meters / Kalaikhoum: 1400 meters / Khorog: 2100 meters / Ishkashim: 2600 meters / Langar: 2900 meters / Murghab: 3600 meters / Karakul: 3900 meters / Sarytash: 3100 meters / Osh: 1000 meters.