As the trip progressed strangers became friends. Particularly special was the effortlessness: perfect logistics, never having to worry about anything, and, of course, the charming and thoughtful way you organised everything.
Located near the Panj River on the Afghan border, the town of Ishkashim lies directly opposite a town of the same name in Afghanistan. A bridge connecting these towns was constructed in 2006, where the border has been sliced through the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. It's a small town that lies at the mouth of the Wakhan Corridor, a narrow strip of sparse grassland that stretches between some of Asia's highest mountains.
The landscape here is bewitching; beautiful and remote with stunning views of the Pamir mountain range. The region itself is considered sacred and a number of historical and archeological sites are located in Ishkashim. Located on a branch of the historical Silk Road, known as the Buddhist Silk Road, the whole Ishkashim district beholds great cultural significance to the people of Tajikistan. Furthermore, a number of natural hot springs are located throughout Ishkashim, renowned for their healing and energizing properties.
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Held on the Afghan side of town, the Ishkashim market is held most Saturdays and is where the Tajik and Afghan cultures mix to buy and sell their goods, mostly clothing and household items from China. Cross the bridge over the border and experience this unique market event where exotic items and extreme hospitality provide an experience like none-other.
Kah-Kaha in Namadgut
Located on a rocky peak on the bank of the Panj River, the legendary fortress of Kah-Kaha stands proud against a mountainous backdrop and azure open skies. It is one of the oldest fortresses on the Silk Road, thought to have been constructed around the 4th century A.D., and is said to be named after an epic king of dark-skinned fire-worshippers.
Museum of Sufi Muborak-Kadami Vakhani
At this museum, visitors can explore the life of a local Sufi scholar, theologian, traveler and poet who lived in this region until 1910. Some of his most marvelled achievements can be seen here, including a stone pillar with a hole carved in it near his house, which he used this to calculate a solar calendar.
Buddhist Stupa in Vrang
Approximately 55 miles from the city on a rocky slope lies a huge Buddhist Monastery. Nearby are the remains of a stupa, dating back hundreds of years and encompassing local Buddhist traditions. On top of the stupa lies a stone on which locals believe Buddha himself once left his footprint.
Auj Hot Springs
These hot springs are located in the town of Auj, approximately 16 miles from Ishkashim, with mineral-rich water said to heal the body and spirit of everyone who uses them. It is also believed that the water is beneficial for eyes and bathing in it is a wonderfully relaxing experience.
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.
Explore a hidden and untouched beauty and connect with the natural elements which dominate Central Asia with this 19-day trekking tour of Tajikistan’s Pamir mountains. After passing over high peaks and crossing rocky terrain, you’ll discover natural springs, ancient villages and historic sites for an unforgettable experience.
For visitors to Ishkashim, we recommend Hani’s Guesthouse where the accommodation may not be luxurious, but the welcome is warm. Well located in the center of town, next to the police station and close to nearby amenities, the two storey guesthouse provides clean and comfortable rooms with double or single beds. One of the town’s best places to rest up for the night, guests can usually rely on getting a hot shower and, what’s more, there are western-standard toilets. This might not seem noteworthy but it’s something of a perk in the area and certainly a welcome addition to the facilities for international visitors. There’s a pleasant outdoor space with eating area and garden, not to mention laundry and ironing facilities. Guests can make use of the communal kitchen, which is well equipped with fridge, freezer, oven and stove.