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Surrounded by the vast Pamir Mountain range, Qal'ai Khumb (or Kalai Khumb) is a remote stop-off, popular with travelers making the spectacular overland trip between Kulob and Khorugh (100 miles from Kulob and 150 miles from Khorugh). The isolated and sparsely populated town does offer a few homestays and guesthouses, although amenities in this undeveloped settlement remain very basic.
Translating to "fortress on the banks of the river of Khumb" in Arabic, Qal'ai Khumb sits at the meeting point between the Pamir Pass and the Panj River right in the very south of Tajikistan; you can even see across the river, which acts as a border, into Afghanistan from the town, and many points along the way in and out.
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The mountainous route to Qal’ai Khumb takes you over the stunning Khaburabad Mountain Pass, a stunning road that hits heights of over 10,000 feet. You’ll witness some stunning views across the Pamir Mountains, in this incredibly isolated region, often going for long periods of time without seeing another car. In places, the long and winding road is tricky to negotiate, and a 4X4 vehicle is best to tackle this kind of terrain.
The gushing Panj River is at the heart of Qual’ai Khumb, and the stretch of water also acts as a land border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Many of the guesthouses in the town are located near the river, offering stunning views across to the mountains of Afghanistan.
Qal’ai Khumb is one of the most popular places to take a nights’ rest along the breathtaking mountain pass that follows the panj River, and one of the more common places to stay the night in this tiny town is in a local’s home, who often rent out makeshift guestrooms to passing travelers. Although amenities are sparse, a homestay offers a glimpse into local life, as well as an opportunity to sample traditional Tajik food and drink.
Roadtrippers with a sense of adventure and a love of culture are enchanted by the sights and delights along the M41, the highway that cuts right through the Pamir Mountains. One of Tajikistan’s most beloved destinations, explorers on the Pamir highway will be delighted by the local lifestyle, the pretty mountain towns and the breathtaking scenery.
Over 13 days, this tour will take you on a historic journey through the culture-rich country of Tajikistan. From ancient rock carvings to historic monuments that have stood for centuries, this itinerary guarantees to give you a glimpse of a rare and unseen lifestyle, untouched by the outside world.
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Trekking and driving in the beautiful Qal ‘Ai Khumb valley, while breathtaking, can be tiring work and a comfortable place to bed down for the night will be most welcome. Throughout Basid, Savnob and Bardara are a number of cozy homestays at which local families happily host weary travelers in their houses for a peaceful night’s rest. The only thing warmer than the welcome is the refreshing cup of tea and tasty meal guests will receive, to fill their grateful bellies after a long day of adventuring. Out here in the wilds, there are no luxury hotels and while alternatives are few and far between, we highly recommend a night’s stay in a local home for the unique opportunity to experience true Tajik lifestyle with a real family - to cook, eat, share and stay in a real home is unforgettable. With no other opportunities to purchase food out in the mountains, the breakfast and evening meal provided at the homestays will be most welcome and the care with which they are prepared will warm the heart.