Pamir Highway holiday, Tajikistan
Description of Pamir Highway holiday, Tajikistan
Join us on this 20 day adventure exploring part of the world well off the tourist track with a journey through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
The Pamir Highway is a wild and remote mountain road that stretches between the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe and passes through the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, Osh. Built by the Soviets, and better known as the M41, it’s 1250km of dirt track that winds its way through raging rivers, mountain passes and some of the most isolated villages in one of the least-known corners of the world. In short, it’s the ultimate road trip for the adventurous traveller.
Travelling as a small group, we’ll start in Tajikistan and make our way east, sometimes using 4WD vehicles to cross the rugged landscapes, until we reach the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan. We won’t just be admiring the view from the windows, however, as there are plenty of chances for hiking the trails, including a two day hike to the spectacular Song Kul alpine lake. Other highlights include the fascinating rock formations of Fairytale Canyon and Charyn Canyon, the hot springs in Garmchashma, and Ak Baital Pass, the highest pass of the former USSR.
We’ll meet local people, stay overnight in a traditional yurt, watch a horse and folklore show and have the option to take a horse riding lesson. We will also visit some of the metropolitan cities of central Asia, where we can browse the colourful bazaars and do some sightseeing.
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PlanetTourism is very much in its infancy in this part of Central Asia, especially so in both Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. We therefore want to ensure our groups are leading by example by recycling and re-using where possible, and ensuring that all waste is disposed of appropriately. We manage water consumption and reduce waste on this trip by encouraging people to bring along re-usable bottles and by supplying a large tank of fresh drinking water on our minibuses, available for refills.
As a travel company we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key, and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage.
PeopleThis exciting trip visits the three Central Asian countries of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Tajikistan is the poorest of all Central Asian countries and is relatively little-visited so the income we bring to this area really helps local development; particularly as we use locally owned services throughout the tour. One of the highlights of this tour is having the chance to get to meet lots of the local people we encounter along the way. We’ve factored in plenty of time so that we really get a chance to chat with the locals, learn about their traditions and daily life and interact with them in a manner which is both insightful yet respectful. Your local guide will be a great facilitator in this regard. Buying crafts directly from them cuts out the middle man and enables them to supplement their income in an area where the economic opportunities are few.
In Kyrgyzstan we are also working with the German government organisation ‘GIZ’ to help our partners train locals further down the supply train – from guides and drivers to hoteliers and restaurant owners. This helps to professionalise the industry in Kyrgyzstan at a local level and benefits all businesses that we interact with.
As a company we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of the UK travel industry body AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.