The safest way about seeing afghanistan?
Replies: 48 - Last Post: Sep 15, 2012 1:37 AM Last Post By: musafir
Jun 27, 2012 12:49 AM
30Yes, on my own, wearing "western" clothing: long cotton trousers and a collared, short-sleeved T-shirt.
Plenty of Afghans dress that way, there is no need to "dress up as a native" or to grow a beard as has often been suggested here.
This is also what locals told me, adding that when they first saw me they thought I was a local myself (I did by then have a tan and have dark brown hair and have in the past been taken for local in Morocco too though).
But honestly, if you are a fair-skinned. blue-eyed blonde, I think dressing up in shalwa kamez would make you look even more ridiculous.
So I share the opnion of emmeff and P_C on this.
On the subject of Kabul, note that it is much riskier than Mazar by all accounts - even locals said so.
Kidnap for ransom is the main worry, and if you are already worried about walking on your own in Mazar, how will you do in Kabul?
I had initially (when getting my visa) also planned to head down there as I had an invite from an expat friend to stay with him (in a safe compound), but he had to withdraw the invite for family reasons in the end, so even though the road to Kabul is said to be safe, I thought even if I only stand a 10% chance of getting kidnapped and having to cough up the $20.000 fee apparently asked for a "nobody-special-Westerner" once there, the city's minuscule sights were not worth it.
Edited by: emd_two on Mar 6, 2013 6:13 AM
Jun 27, 2012 12:53 AM
31OK - also always you pull through Laszlo! Nice with someone trustworthy. I have a feeling that there is alot of bull around regarding traveling i Afghanistan
Jun 27, 2012 1:00 AM
Jun 27, 2012 1:50 AM
33You can fly to Herat from Mazar with a transit stop in Kabul.
Or you want to avoid flying altogether and go overland from Kabul?
Good luck then! :-)
I've also been to Yemen, and would rate it, as of 2-3 years ago, far less risky than most of Afghanistan is now.
Not sure if being a group of 4 Scandinavians together makes it safer or not - certainly you will attract a lot more attention, which I was happy to avoid as much as possible.
Jun 27, 2012 2:01 AM
Jun 29, 2012 2:17 AM
35ok from the sound of it I think Im going to skip kabul.
So wakhan valley, Mazar and Herat it is.
does anyone have contact for a reliable taxi in mazar and Herat?
How easy is it to get around the wakhan without a private vehicle? Is this even possible?
What does everyone reccommend in terms of villages/guesthouses to stay at in the wakhan?
Is it pointelss to go if Im not trekking?
Jun 29, 2012 2:34 AM
36check out this site: www.juldu.com AND be prepared to be blow away :) In the past Julien has been happy to answer questions...
My local bikerepairist is Afghan :=) I asked him to look into a few this for me and he called a few relatives in Kabul and Mazar. They all say that Kabul is unproblematic. The farther in the bike shop came up with the following statistics. Mazar - Kabul 10 % change of a problem where as he estimated 30 % for the Kabul - Bamiyan drive :)
How this is calcualted remains uncertain :)
Jun 29, 2012 2:48 AM
37They all say that Kabul is unproblematic.
Well, quite apart from the fact that everyone I personally met in Afghanistan thought otherwise, there was a widely reported hostage-taking incident in a Kabul hotel by Taliban just a week ago.
Of course on a brief visit chances should be higher that nothing goes wrong, but to say the place is "unproblematic" sounds a bit strange to me.
Jun 29, 2012 2:55 AM
38well well - probably they ment for Afghanistan. :) But of course you are right!
Nothing is unproblematic that is for sure! But the did say that the REAL problem
was between towns. But the probably have a totally different perspective on things.
I do not advice anybody to base their decission on whether or not to go to Kabul on what
my bike guy said!
Jul 4, 2012 3:32 PM
Jul 15, 2012 2:38 AM
40I'm a bit amused by these places being considered "the highlights" of Afghanistan.
Surely Bamiyan was one, when the giant Buddhas were still there - but they are not any more.
As for Band-e Amir, based on photos of it, I could think of any number of lakes in Central Asia which are a LOT more beautiful or impressive.
If I ever go back to Afghanistan, my priority will be Herat and (conditions allowing) the minaret of Jam.
Though of course it would be nice to be able to roam the country freely and see more - based on current trends, I'm not horribly optimistic though
Kara-Kol (TJ) is the closest most beautiful place
The others on the Pamir, don't come close
Song-Kol, nope. Issie-Kol, nope.
The beauty of Band-e-Amir is the microclimate that appears at the edges of the lake, when you look down. I have never seen a picture that shows this.
Bamiyan is still a highlight. Although to me, it would be number two or three now. If they still existed, it would be THE highlight of the whole region.
As for seeing the minaret of Jam. I've been told, it is defiantly not worth the long slog to get there - if you are just going simply to go to the minaret of jam.
Jul 15, 2012 11:53 AM
41I thought about making a comment about this earlier but decided against it but since imadingo mentioned it I'll pile on with the Band e Amir love in.
I could think of any number of lakes in Central Asia which are a LOT more beautiful or impressive
I really struggle to think of anywhere quite like it. Maybe Ala kol in Kyrgystan or Rush Phari in Pakistan but they are both Alpine Lakes wheras Band e Amir is a vast high altitude travantine series of lakes in a vast canyon on a huge desert plateau with it's own microclimate. I can't rate the best thing I've ever seen but they are like nothing I've seen in years of travel. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course but most people rate Bamian and Band e Amir as their favourite bit of Afghanistan (I did meet on Aussie who just found it boring to be fair). Partly because it is so safe that you can wander freely in the bazaar and get to know people without worrying too much about any consequences.
Anyway, that's my two paisa's worth.
Jul 15, 2012 10:17 PM
Aug 16, 2012 8:32 AM
Aug 23, 2012 2:14 PM
why have you changed your plans? Anything apart from safety concerns?
To my best knowledge that I collect since a couple of months (and I'm in touch with locals in Mazar and Kabul) in Mazar, Kabul and Herat you should be on a safe side. Provided you fly between the cities.
Of course the situation is dynamic and "safe" may not mean exactly what you (me too!) are used to...
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