Bulunkul Lake,Tajikistan.

© NOWAK LUKASZ/Shutterstock


The Pamir Highway

Mirrorlike lake Bulun-Kul (3737m) looks magnificent in the morning light, reflecting the mineral streaks of a low, multicoloured ridge opposite. The water's edge invites a picnic but the bitter wind and tiny fire ants, which make a beeline for uncovered skin, mean it's better observed on the hoof. Close by, the end-of-the-world settlement of Bulunkul (Булункӯл) – reportedly the coldest place in Tajikistan – offers ways in which to connect with the lakes through horse riding and hikes (enquire at the Monira Homestay).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Pamir Highway attractions

1. Yashil-Kul


Much bigger but arguably less photogenic than neighbouring Balun-Kul, 3734m Yashil-Kul (Яшилькуль) means 'green lake'. This is surprising because it is in…

2. Hargush Pass

16.65 MILES

The road from the Wakhan Valley rejoins the Pamir Hwy via the beautiful Hargus Pass. At 4344m and the highest of the three passes around Alichur, it is…

3. Koi-Tezek Pass

19.93 MILES

The potholed Koi-Tezek Pass (4272m) leads into lunar-like, high-altitude desert scenery to the east, framed by a series of snowy if relatively…

4. Jelondy Hot Springs

23.2 MILES

These springs lie alongside the Pamir Hwy in Jelondy. A Soviet-era hotel offers basic accommodation and a spa of sorts.