Afghan Winter Tour + Buzkashi

from US$4,450

We start in Kabul before taking a short flight across the Hindu Kush to Herat, the most architecturally complete city in Afghanistan. Then we will move on to Bamian where we spend three days exploring the valleys, the Buddha niches and the lakes of Band e Amir. It is an area that allows us to experience what life is like in rural Afghanistan in safety. Finally, we cross the spine of the Hindu Kush through to Mazar e Sharif to see the blue-tiled shrine of Hazrat Ali and the remains of the once great Silk Road city of Balkh. We also hope to take in a game of Afghanistan’s national winter sport – Buzkashi.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
      Culture
    • Activity Level Moderate
      3/8
    • Group Size Small Group
      8
    All about the Afghan Winter Tour + Buzkashi.

    We start in Kabul before taking a short flight across the Hindu Kush to Herat, the most architecturally complete city in Afghanistan. Then we will move on to Bamian where we spend three days exploring the valleys, the Buddha niches and the lakes of Band e Amir. It is an area that allows us to experience what life is like in rural Afghanistan in safety. Finally, we cross the spine of the Hindu Kush through to Mazar e Sharif to see the blue-tiled shrine of Hazrat Ali and the remains of the once great Silk Road city of Balkh. Hopefully taking in a game of Afghanistan’s national winter sport – Buzkashi.

    Highlights:

    • Experience the national sport of Buzkashi
    • Discover the remains of the Buddhas of Bamian
    • Explore Herat
    • Visit the Shrine of Ali in Mazar e Sharif
    • See the lakes at Band e Amir

    Start Point: Kabul, Afghanistan
    End Point: Kabul, Afghanistan

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
    What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
    • All accommodation
    • Breakfast
    • Transport/transfers
    • Guiding
    • 6 internal flights within Afghanistan (Kabul-Herat/Herat-Kabul, Kabul-Bamian/Bamian-Kabul, Kabul-Mazar/Mazar-Kabul)
    What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
    • Any necessary visas
    • Insurance
    • Flights to Afghanistan
    • Entrance fees
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    • Drinks
    • Tips
    • Any additional flights needed in Afghanistan that may be necessary due to security concerns.
    1. Day 1 Arrive - Kabul

      Tuesday 29th October 2019
      Arrival and briefing. For those who arrive early, we will have time to take an afternoon tour of the city. This will include a visit to the British Cemetery, the hills of Bibi Mahru and Sakhi shrine.

    2. Day 2 Kabul - Herat

      Wednesday 30th October 2019
      Fly from Kabul to Herat. The flight is early in the morning, leaving us the afternoon to enjoy Herat.
      Overnight in Herat

    3. Day 3 Herat

      Thursday 31st October 2019
      Herat has the largest collection of ancient buildings in Afghanistan and we will take a full day to explore the city and its surroundings including the Friday Mosque, the Tomb of Gowar Shad, the Masullah Complex and the atmospheric shrine of Khoja Ansari at Gazar Gah.
      Overnight in Herat.

    4. Day 4 Herat - Kabul

      Friday 1st November 2019
      A morning in Herat to visit any sights we may have missed on day 3. Fly to Kabul in the evening.
      Overnight in Kabul.

    5. Day 5 Kabul

      Saturday 2nd November 2019
      Day in Kabul to visit Kabul Museum, Shah-e Doh Shamshira mosque and Babur’s gardens – the final resting place of the first Mughal emperor.
      Overnight in Kabul

    6. Day 6 Kabul - Bamian

      Sunday 3rd November 2019
      We will fly between Kabul and Bamian, the capital of the Hazarajat – home of the Hazaras and one of the most peaceful places in Afghanistan. When we arrive in Bamian we will have time to look at the hillsides containing many caves in which monasteries and Buddhist carvings were once situated.
      Overnight in Bamian

    7. Days 7 - 9 Bamian

      Monday 4th – Wednesday 6th November 2019
      We will spend three days in and around Bamian, an area of striking natural beauty. Dotted around the mountains and valleys are ruins from Afghanistan’s past as well as friendly Hazara villages. It is one of the few places in Afghanistan where we can walk freely and safely in a rural environment.
      The lapis lazuli blue waters of Band-e-Amir are often the highlight of any trip to Afghanistan. Legend has it that Ali – the prophet Mohamed’s cousin and son in law – made the dams separating the five lakes. However, geologists insist they are natural dams built from mineral deposits. The lake’s contrast to the stark landscape surrounding them adds to the beauty of this area.

    8. Day 10 Bamian - Kabul - Mazar e Sharif

      Thursday 7th November 2019
      Early morning flight from Bamian to Kabul.
      Lunch in Kabul. Afternoon flight to Mazar e Sharif.
      Overnight in Mazar.

    9. Day 11 Mazar e Sharif – Balkh – Buzkashi

      Friday 8th November 2019
      Full day in Mazar & Balkh.
      Our aim today is to watch a game of Buzkashi. Afghanistan’s national sport played on horseback with a dead goat in place of a ball.
      You will also have time to visit the majestic blue tiled tomb of Hazrat Ali, Afghanistan’s most important religious site. You will spend part of the day visiting the ancient Silk Road city of Balkh, called Bactria to the Greeks. Bactria was the birthplace of Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism as well as Rumi, the legendary Persian poet. Legacy of its Islamic and Buddhist past can be found in the stupas at the entrance to the town, at the blue-tiled shrine of Khoja Parsa and the oldest mosque in Afghanistan, the 9th century No Gombad mosque.
      Overnight in Mazar e Sharif.

    10. Day 12 Mazar e Sharif – Samangan

      Saturday 9th November 2019
      A day trip to the Buddhist monastery remains at Samangan; two hours drive south of Mazar e Sharif. The 1500-year-old complex contains a huge stupa carved out of the bedrock as well as several caves used as places of worship.
      En route, you will also be able to visit Tashkurgan and the old king’s hunting lodge.
      Overnight in Mazar e Sharif.

    11. Day 13 Mazar - Kabul

      Sunday 10th November 2019
      We will fly back to Kabul and ensure you get to see anything you may have missed on our earlier visits. You will have time for a trip to Chicken Street for last-minute souvenirs.
      Overnight in Kabul.

    12. Day 14 Kabul - Panjshir

      Monday 11th November 2019
      We will visit the Panjshir Valley, described as the most beautiful place in Afghanistan by locals. We will stop to view the tomb of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Lion of the Panjshir and Afghanistan’s most universally revered Mujahedin commander. There will also be time to relax at a local fish restaurant on the banks of the Panjshir River.
      Overnight in Kabul.

    13. Day 15 Kabul - End

      Tuesday 12th November 2019
      We will ensure that you are taken to the airport to catch your flight.

    Accommodation

    We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest, and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
    The accommodation is based on two people sharing.
    An optional single supplement is US$500 per person

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
    Included in the price:
    • All accommodation
    • Breakfast
    • Transport/transfers
    • Guiding
    • 6 internal flights within Afghanistan (Kabul-Herat/Herat-Kabul, Kabul-Bamian/Bamian-Kabul, Kabul-Mazar/Mazar-Kabul)
    Not included in the price:
    • Any necessary visas
    • Insurance
    • Flights to Afghanistan
    • Entrance fees
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    • Drinks
    • Tips
    • Any additional flights needed in Afghanistan that may be necessary due to security concerns.

    We do not directly arrange international flights to Afghanistan. We can suggest routes and operators.
    You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
    Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
    Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

    We do not arrange Afghanistan visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Afghanistan visa application.

    With the exception of breakfast, meals are not included as part of the trip. In our experience people sometimes want to eat different things in different places at different times. We know some great places and will also happily show you some of our favourite restaurants and tea houses. Some are luxurious, some are earthier, but all have character. However, we do not pretend to be the arbiters of good taste and are equally happy for you to go off and find your own favourites.

    In Afghanistan, we take at least two vehicles when driving between towns if there is a big group for safety reasons. If there is a breakdown, we will not be left stranded. When we choose our vehicles and drivers, we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of the journey, and the competence of the man behind the wheel. In a country that should be the setting for a live-action version of the Wacky Races, it’s a matter we take seriously. Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is our top priority.

    Two Untamed Borders team leaders accompany you on this trip. This allows for greater security. It also means there will always be someone on hand to help or assist you, even if the other team leader is busy arranging something.
    Sometimes we also hire local guides. If we are a large group, we may wish to split into smaller groups for city tours to allow greater flexibility and keep a lower profile. An additional local guide will enable us to do that.

    Trips to Afghanistan create dangers all of their own. While we want you to have as much freedom as possible, we must state that the leader has the final word in regards to changing the itinerary for safety-related reasons. The route we have chosen passes through areas that we consider to be stable. However, we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice if things change.
    If there is an extra expense incurred due to the change of itinerary, then you may be asked to bear part of that cost. For example, if we have to fly between cities rather than drive.

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