Given its small size and isolated location, Kalai-Kum has a surprise in store for travellers liking a soft pillow: it boasts the only five-star hotel in the Pamirs. Offering a similarly pleasant surprise are some excellent nearby homestays, including some of the country’s best in the Bartang and Jizeu Valleys. Little wonder, then, that drivers of all types of transport try to make it in one go from Dushanbe to Kalai-Kum or beyond.


When it comes to eating, and in comparison with the eastern portion of the Pamir Hwy, the western end of the highway benefits from better supplies from Dushanbe and from a wealth of delicious fresh produce. This includes temperate-climate fruits (including apricots and peaches) and various mountainside herbs that appear in salads and soups. In common with the east, however, eating after Kulob is mostly a homestay affair.