Pamirs: open or closed?
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Oct 23, 2012 3:01 AM Last Post By: autreche
Aug 31, 2012 1:47 PM
Pamirs: open or closed?Hello everyone
Does anybody know what is the current situation in Khorog? Is the road open?
I will be in the Pamirs at the start of October, It is a bit of yet and I know that things can change fast in the Stan's but in this way I can have a sort of "back up plan".
I already have the GBAO permit with all the districts on it. It was issued to me by the embassy in Brussels 2 days after the Khorog "incident". Albeit I have to say that I had a LOI for Tajikistan and I had to go to a short interview. Normally the visa was ready for pick up in a week but because what happened, and to be on the safe side I paid the double fee and had it stamped in my passport 2 hours later.
1 is the road to Khorog currently open or can you only fly there? If so, do sell tickets to foreigners and how much are they?
2 Is the road from Khorog to Murgab and onwards to Osh open at the moment?
3 Is the border with Afghanistan at Ishkashim open? And does the Afghan embassy in either Khorog or Dushanbe still issue visas.
I have traveled in Afghanistan for 3 weeks in 2009 and am planning a return since the day I left there.
Any info would be appreciated.
Sep 1, 2012 9:58 PM
just from what I heard over last week or so in Dushanbe. I haven't been there myself...
Pamir is officialy opened again. However, OVIR in Dushanbe is still NOT issuing permits (tho some people managed to get one by bribing the officals).
Given you have the permit already, the road is still not a way to go. Some people made it through by bribing their way through all 10 or so checkpoints. However, most of the people trying to go by road were turned back sooner or later with no room for discussion.
Flying into Khorog should be no problem. The ticket is 440 somoni or so (roughly 100 USD). The schedule is highly unreliable and you have to buy your ticket one day in advance at the Tajik Air office at the airport. Once in Khorog you are free to go anywhere you want.
No info about Afghan border. But even in case it is open, the Tajik border guards will probably refuse to let you back into Tajikistan. The same applies if you leave Khorog by road, let's say to Murghab. Police at the checkpoints will refuse to let you go back to Khorog and tell you to continue to Kyrgyzstan.
That's what I heard, not my personal experience. So take it as that :) Clear is, that the situation is very confusing at the moment.
Sep 2, 2012 1:47 AM
Sep 6, 2012 11:17 AM
3I'm right now in Bishkek and we were planning to get Tajik visas tomorrow and head to Gorno-Badakshan. However we heard that it may not be possible. At least one local guy that seemed to be well-informed said to us that border crossing to GB is closed and it's not likely to open for a while. Hopefully we find out more in the following days.
Sep 7, 2012 3:49 AM
Sep 7, 2012 9:38 PM
We are in Dushanbe right now. We tried to get to Khorog yesterday after everybody told us that the route was open (nobody seems to be 100% sure though).
When we reached Tavildara after a bumpy ride of 7 houres, we were stopped by the police and told that only the route via Kulyab was open for tourists. We had to get out of our taxi and get back to Dushanbe. On our way back to Dushanbe ( we got a ride from a truck), another police post said that the route via Kulyab was also closed. It`s very difficult to get correct information, so it`s not easy to decide what to do (and Dushanbe is not really the place for days of waiting)
Hope this helps others!
Sep 8, 2012 6:36 AM
Thanks for all the replies and information. It seems that is currently still dificult/uncertain to get into Khorog and the GBAO region.
I hope that the situation will change in the next couple of weeks.....
If there is anybody in Tajikistan at the beginning of October and wants to do an attempt of getting there let me know.
Sep 12, 2012 4:23 AM
Sep 27, 2012 8:16 PM
8Fun being back on this branch!
I did this route in 2003 and had a great time. Of course less problems then...
I took one of the jeeps from Dusnabe to Khrog, and then hitched the rest of the way to Osh. I met the head of the border patrol in Khrog and he invited me to stay at his house. He then arranged for me to cross the border to Afghanistan, just for fun, but we had car problems and had to turn back... Bummer..
Next he drove me out to the last police check point on the road to Murgab and set me up with a ride on a truck.
There really isn't anywhere to stay in Murgab, but the truck driver knew some people who would let you sleep in their house. I stayed a couple of days with them. It is REALLY cold in Murgab in October. Well below freezing, so be prepared for that!! Everyone in town was helping me find my next ride. It was great!! Finally, got another trucker who took me all the way to Osh, and then let me stay at his house for the night!
Loved the people in Murgab.
Oct 11, 2012 8:27 AM
Oct 15, 2012 7:20 AM
10I just came back from 10 days in Badakhshan. The GBAO permit from Dushanbe worked fine the whole way. There are many checkpoints, but we had no problems except for one officer who asked for "5 dengi" without giving a currency. I said I'd call my embassy and he let us go with no hassles.
That being said, I also just heard of two Israelis who tried to go last week with their permits and got turned back, possibly at the Obi Garm checkpoint (intersection of M41 and A372). Unfortunately, this is just heresay and I don't have details. We were hitchhiking and walked by this checkpoint without being asked for documents.
Oct 23, 2012 3:01 AM
11We (one german, one spanish) traveled Dushanbe, Kulyab, Khorog, Ishkashim, Wakhan valley, Murghab, Osh, Khujand through Fergana, Dushanbe. One of us had a GBAO permit from a tajik embassy in Berlin but the other of us had to apply for a GBAO permit in Dushanbe and it was a bit of hassle (coming back to the OVIR office several times), but in the end we managed.
As the previous post says, expect many police controls + checkpoints between Kulyab & Murghab. We only had to pay $10 in one of them to let us go through (just after Kulyab in direction Khorog).
We encountered really few tourists (a german couple, plus two american girls). In all homestays they told us they did not receive any travellers in the last 2 months. Despite the warnings from several governments in Europe/US recommending not to trouble to GBAO, we did not notice any danger or unrest in khorog or further in the Wakhan, and local people were incredibly friendly and hospitable.
Lonely planet guide starts to be a little outdated, specially in the prices. Few remarks:
- There is now a ATM in Ishkashim.
- Price Dushanbe-Khorog in a shared jeep: 300 som (it was the price paid by other locals). Our driver was awesome (it was handy he was working with the militaries before since it made it easier in the checkpoints). He is called Ubai and his number is +992 935969120 (he speaks russian). We left Dushanbe at 10.00am and arrived to Khorog at 1.00am. We have heard of people arriving at 10.00am next morning.
- Price of a jeep from Khorog to Murghab through the Wakan valley: we got prices from $400-$600. Russian Niva: $400, Pajero: $500.
- There are plenty of cashpoints in Osh (lonely planet says there is a single one).
- No cash points, neither useable electricity in Bulunkul nor Murghab. In bulunkul, we recommend metrlodge sharodge "guest house". His number is +992 355421059, and he is the meteorologist of the town (he speaks russian).
- Shared car from Osh to Batken avoiding Uzbek enclaves, around 2,000 kyrgyz som per person. Locals paid less (1,000 kyrgyz som).
- In homestays in the Pamirs, we paid around $16 per person including dinner, breakfast and accommodation.
- We found prices in Osh (Kyrgyztan) much cheaper than Tajikistan. Coffee in Osh: $0.25.
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From US$13.94 per night