Badakhshan's largest town sits in a valley surrounded by high peaks and alpine meadows. Its remoteness has been a virtue – it sat out the Soviet occupation and civil war completely. Even today, animal traffic seems to outnumber vehicles. Faizabad has an interesting bazaar and lapis lazuli and local knitted goods make good souvenirs. The whole area tempts you to start trekking, but be aware that opium production is rife in the province.