Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan - Along the Pamir Highway


Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan - Along the Pamir Highway

Style: PioneerGroundbreaking tours to unique destinations
Duration: 16 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Notes

Important Information

Foreign Government Travel Warnings

Before booking your tour please familiarise yourself with the country specific information provided by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. This includes important information such as latest immigration requirements, and details of any travel advisories.

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing there are no travel warnings in place for Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan. It should be noted that this information applies to British citizens. Other nationals are asked to check the current position of their respective government.

Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation Rating

The Pamir Highway tour is in parts very off the beaten track. On 7 nights of this tour you will be staying in accomodation with shared and basic facilities. This will include local Pamiri houses, guesthouses and yurts.

Where the infrastructure exists in main towns and cities we use comfortable guesthouses and small hotels/inns. Some of these may have private bathrooms particularly in the main cities and towns.

We welcome solo travellers and single rooms will be allocated subject to the applicable tour supplement. Please note that on occasions you may not always be allocated a double or twin room, as some hotels have designated single rooms. These may be smaller in size. However, the supplement payable takes this into consideration. On the Pamir Highway small group tour single rooms are not possible for 7 nights of the itinerary and these are mostly in the middle of the tour whilst on the remote parts of the Pamir Highway.   

Food & Drink

The daily meal basis is shown in the tour itinerary; breakfast (B), lunch (L) and dinner (D). Please note that lunch may be a picnic. Most meals outside Dushanbe and Bishkek are included on the Pamir Highway tour. Drinks are not included and will be payable locally in cash. 

Dietary Requirements

If you have any special dietary requirements you must notify us at the time of booking. While we will make every effort to cater for you, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.

Budgeting for your Tour

You will need some extra money to cover meals and drinks not included in the tour price, any optional sightseeing, souvenirs and items of a personal nature such as laundry.

Food

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

Tajikistan
Lunch £3
Dinner £5

Kyrgyzstan
Lunch £3
Dinner £5

Drink

The prices for drinks can vary greatly depending upon location and the prices detailed below are an average guide. In general you would expect that drinks purchased in a supermarket or local bar to be less expensive, whilst drinks in an upmarket bar or restaurant may be more expensive.

Tajikistan
Bottle of water £0.30 - £0.50
Bottle of local beer £1

Kyrgyzstan
Bottle of water £0.30 - £0.50
Bottle of local beer £1

Tipping – Guide and Drivers

Tipping is common practise in Central Asia. If your local guide has been helpful then you could think about tipping. For people travelling on our group tour, a reasonable amount to allow would be around $70-100, to be split between the guide and driver.

Foreign Exchange

ATM Availability: ATM machines are not widely available in Tajikistan – and those that do exist tend to be unreliable. ATM machines are more widely available in Kyrgyzstan but again we do not recommend relying on them
Credit and Debit Card Acceptance: Cards are not widely accepted in either Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan except in large hotels and upscale restaurants
Local Currency: In Tajikistan it is the somani, and in Kyrgyzstan it is the som
Recommended Currency for Exchange: US dollars – these should be crisp and free from any marks as many places will not accept them otherwise
Where to Exchange: Your guide will advise you

Joining your Tour

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive an airport transfer, both on arrival and departure include in the tour price. In order that the transfer can be arranged please ensure that you advise us of your flight information once available. Please advise the date, time and flight number for your arrival/departure. If we have not been advised of this information at least 2 weeks before travel, then you will be required to make your own way to the hotel on Day 1 of your tour. 

Travel Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Undiscovered Destinations that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip.

Visa Information

Most nationalities require a visa for Tajikistan and an "e visa" is now available for many. Please check the website http://www.tajembassy.org.uk/consular-section/visa-enquires. Upon request Undiscovered Destinations will provide any required supporting information. You will need to include a request for the GBAO permit, which allows you to travel the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, which we pass through on this tour.

UK passport holders do not require a visa for Kyrgyzstan for stays of up to sixty days.

Please note that visa regulations can and do change and so you should check this again before your departure.

Passports

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, valid for at least six months after the date of return to the UK.

We strongly advise that your passport contains a minimum of two blank pages for each country visited, as this may be a requirement of the local immigration authorities. In addition certain countries will stipulate that the two blank pages are opposite each other. If you are unable to meet these requirements you may be refused boarding by your airline or denied entry by the immigration authorities.

For specific information about the requirements for your destination please check with the country’s embassy or consulate. Alternatively UK citizens can visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Vaccinations & Protection

We strongly recommend that you contact your doctor’s surgery or a specialist travel clinic for up-to-date information, advice and the necessary vaccinations. For a visit of less than one month, almost certainly you will be advised to have immunisations against the following: Diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningitis.

Preparing for your tour

Climate

The Pamirs can only really be visited between mid-June and August due to the possibility of snow closing the roads at other times of year. During the middle of summer temperatures can be hugely different depending on which part of the tour. Dushanbe and Bishkek can be fiercely hot with temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius not uncommon. However once you travel in the mountains temperatures will be much more comfortable by day with an average high of around 30 degrees Celsius at 2000m altitude. When travelling over high mountain passes temperatures can be much lower and at night in the mountains temperatures can drop into low single figures. You should be prepared for a wide range of temperatures on the Along the Pamir Highway tour.

Clothing

When it comes to clothing it is usually recommended that lighter clothes are worn through the day, and warmer ones at night. A hat is also advised to be worn through the day to protect from the sun as in the mountains the UV levels can be very high. Sunglasses are essential to avoid glare in the mountains. You should also have a hat suitable for cold weather. A warm fleece would be advisable. You should make sure that you bring a waterproof/windproof jacket for any rainy/windy days. As the region is conservative in terms of dress codes you should make sure that you bring a few outfits that are suitable for entering mosques and religious buildings – long sleeves and trousers / skirts are a good idea.

Equipment

The first thing on your list should be a first aid kit. Whilst there is no undue cause for alarm, travellers are best advised to travel well-prepared: adequately immunized, with sufficient supplies of prescription drugs, along with a medical kit. A torch or head torch is essential everywhere as power cuts are frequent and areas are commonly dimly lit. Bedding will be provided in the homestays but you may wish to bring a sleeping sheet and an inflatable pillow. A travel towel is also essential.

Altitude
95% of Tajikistan is mountainous. It is quite normal to feel tired for the first few days in mountain areas. Drink plenty of water whilst you are on tour which can help ward off the effects of altitude. Do not drink tap water. 2 litres of water per person per day will be provided. On the Pamir Highway between Murghab and Osh you will cross two high mountain passes over 4300 metres. When you are altitude try to walk slowly and keep physical exertion to a minimum.

Road Conditions

Please note that road conditions on the Pamir Highway can be rough in parts. However we will be using 4WD transportation suitable for such conditions. This is a road trip in remote areas so you need to be prepared for bumpy conditions for much of the journey.

Footwear

Footwear is a main priority on this tour. Comfortable walking shoes/boots are recommended. Sandals are suitable when travelling although bear in mind that temperatures can be cool in the mountains.

Luggage on tour

Your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). Our style of travelling means that it is desirable to carry a soft bag as your main luggage and use a daypack for items you will want to access during the day. Please bear in mind that your luggage will be loaded into a 4WD vehicle for a large proportion of the tour and we are travelling on bumpy roads - fragile items should be well protected, and you must be prepared for your luggage to get dusty and be thrown about a bit. Please pack as light as possible since there will be times when you will need to carry your own luggage and this will also maximise space in the vehicles. Investment in protective bags for camera equipment and similar is well worthwhile.

Electric Supply & Plugs

Electrical supply is 220V and plugs usually have two round pins like most European countries.

Tour Itinerary Versions

Please ensure that you have an up-to-date copy of these tour notes immediately before you travel, as from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. You will be informed of any major changes to your tour but small changes may just be added to these tour notes. These notes were prepared 22/05/2016.