Eastern Tajikistan has an almost entirely different character from the rest of the country. Mountainous, remote and difficult to access, the land is incised by deep river canyons along the edges of which cling rural hamlets, decorated by ribbons of cultivation in an otherwise barren landscape. High above these river valleys lie the Pamirs, a series of level pastures where herders lead their yaks, sheep and goats across the wilds in a semi-nomadic life, battling the ravages of winter for eight months of the year and relaxing into the brief respite of spring.
Officially called Kohistani Badakhshan (GBAO or Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast), the region accounts for 45% of Tajikistan’s territory but only 3% of its population. The famous Pamir Hwy, the second highest international highway, traverses this sparsely populated 'Roof of the World'. Mostly unpaved, potholed, often flooded and one car wide, it's an experience not to be missed.