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.