Trekking Tajikistan: Pamir Mountain Lakes


We will be traversing through the heart of the mountain range. Along the way, we will stay in the homes of the Pamiri natives, camp near centuries old caravanserais and explore the shores of shimmering blue Alpine lakes.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    • Activity Level Challenging
    • Group Size Medium Group
    All about the Trekking Tajikistan: Pamir Mountain Lakes.

    Of all the Greater Ranges on the Asian continent, the Pamir Mountains are probably the least known and the least visited of them all. They boast the world’s largest glacier outside the Polar Regions, the 77km long Fedchenko Glacier, and harbour three mountains taller than 7000m.

    We will be traversing through the heart of the mountain range. Along the way we will stay in the homes of the Pamiri, camp near century’s old caravanserais and explore the shores of shimmering blue alpine lakes. To complete the traverse the team will scale a mountain pass that’s taller than Mont Blanc. Be prepared to be spoiled for life!


    • Stay in the homes of the hospitable Pamiri people
    • Camp on the shores of shimmering blue alpine lakes
    • Scale a pass taller than any summit in the European Alps

    Start point  – Dushanbe, Tajikistan
    End point   – Dushanbe, Tajikistan
    Maximum number of people: 10
    Number of days: 16

    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, including tents during the trek
    • All meals except in Khorog and Dushanbe
    • Transport
    • Experienced international trekking guide
    • Local trekking crew
    • Pack animals
    What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
    • Any necessary visas and permits
    • Insurance
    • International flights 
    • Entrance fees
    • Drinks
    • Tips
    1. Day 1 Dushanbe – Kalaikhum

      After flying into the capital of Tajikistan Dushanbe we will be heading straight to one of the most spectacular mountain roads in the world: the Pamir Highway.
      Our four-wheel drive vehicles will scale the first pass over 3000 metres and descend to the valley of the mighty Panj river.

      Overnight in Kalaikhum at local Guesthouse.

      Driving: 9 hours
      Altitude: 1600m

    2. Day 2 Kalaikhum – Khorog

      Today we will follow the Panj river, also known as the Oxus in ancient times. The other side of the river is Afghanistan. During the drive, you can see daily life in the mud-brick Afghan villages. At times the Pamir Highway squeezes through dazzling gorges and crosses rickety suspension bridges.

      We will stay in the capital of the Pamirs, Khorogh.
      Overnight in Khorogh at local Guesthouse.

      Driving: 6 hours
      Altitude: 2150m

    3. Day 3 Khorogh – Shakhdara Valley

      Our drivers will take us up what the Pamiri people call Bam-y-Dunya, or the Roof of the World. As a part of our acclimatisation schedule for the trekking we will ascend 1300 vertical metres and stay in a Pamiri home stay at an altitude of 3470m. The skyline is filled with peaks over 6000m, of which the distinct Pik Karl Marx (6723m) is the tallest.

      Explore Rebot Village with its surrounding area and spend the evening with a local family.
      Overnight in Shakhdara Valley at Homestay. 

      Driving: 3 hours
      Altitude: 3470m

    4. Day 4 Shakhdara Valley – Bulunkul

      On our way to the trailhead of the trek from Bulunkul we return to the Pamir Highway, that now crosses one of the highest sections. We will drive through an icy, high altitude landscape with jagged peaks as far as the eyes can see. The highlight of the day is the crossing of the 4271m Koitezek Pass. After a bone rattling day we will arrive in Bulunkul, officially the coldest inhabited place in Central Asia where the temperature once plummeted to a whopping -63 °C.

      Overnight in Bulunkul at Homestay.

      Driving: 5 hours
      Altitude 3750m

    5. Day 5 Bulunkul – Marjanay River

      After four days on the “road” it’s time to stretch the legs and hit the trail. Following a short drive in the morning we reach a small river which feeds into Lake Yashilkul, and we cross on a small tin boat. A 14km walk will lead us to our first camp on a peninsula west of Sumantash, on the shores of Yashilkul and at the mouth of the Marjanay River. Along the way you’ll pass next to the remains of an ancient caravanserai, the Mahjura hot springs, and pre-historic stone circles near the mouth of the Marjanay River. The view from your tent is the beautiful mountain lake of Yashilkul.

      Overnight in tents.

      Trekking: 5-6 hours
      Distance: 14 km
      Altitude: 3750m

    6. Day 6 Marjanay River – Yashilkul Lake / Langar Valley Junction

      Today we head in westerly direction along the north shore of Yashilkul. We have a small river crossing before our lunch stop. We continue our trek to the end of the lake and set up camp with the junction of the Langar valley.

      After 18km walk we will pitch our tents at the North West end of Yashilkul, near some homes of the local nomads.
      Overnight in tents.

      Trekking: 7 hours
      Distance: 18 km
      Altitude: 3750m

    7. Day 7 Yashilkul Lake / Langar Valley Junction – Top of the Langar Valley

      Today we follow the spectacular Langar valley which is a classic Pamir broad, U-shaped valley carved out by a glacier or icefield. These types of valleys are ideal grazing grounds also known as aylaqs. The shepherds go up to the aylaqs in summer time with their often massive herds of fat-tailed sheep and goats.

      We will set up camp at the top of the valley, sharing a camp site with the local shepherds.
      Overnight in tents.

      Trekking: 5-6 hours
      Distance: 15 km
      Altitude: 3890m

    8. Day 8 Langar Valley – Chapdarkul – Ushkul Lake

      Today we climb up to the Chapdarkal Valley and up to the shores of the dramatic lake of Chapdarkul which takes us above the 4000m mark. Enjoy a scenic lunch spot on the lake shore before continuing our journey to reach the 3-in-a-row Uchkul Lakes.

      Depending on the speed of the group the aim is to make camp at the end of the second lake.
      Overnight in tents.

      Trekking: 6 hours
      Distance: 18 km
      Altitude: 4530m

    9. Day 9 Uchkul Lakes - Zaurbek Lake Area

      Walking pass the beautiful turquoise lakes surrounded by pastures grazed by yaks and sheep. We leave the Uchkul area and make our way to the Zaurbek Lake area which sits at 4500m, making it our highest and coolest campsite.

      The landscape is again very different from the previous days, with Mount Kulin dominating the skyline in the distance.
      Overnight in tents.

      Trekking: 4-5 hours
      Distance: 15 km
      Altitude: 4530m

    10. Day 10 Zaurbek Lake Area – Zarojkul Lake

      We take a short morning walk from our camp to Zarojkul Lake.
      Enjoy a relaxing afternoon exploring what is arguably the most beautiful mountain lake in the Pamirs, fringed by snow-capped mountain giants.

      Overnight in tents.

      Trekking: 4 hours
      Distance: 6km
      Altitude: 4510m

    11. Day 11 Zarojkul Lake – Shtik Lazar Pass – Bardara Valley

      Early start for a challenging but visually spectacular day as we cross the highest point of the trek, the 4840m high Shtik Lazar Pass. Although it’s just over 300 vertical meters of climbing to the top of the pass, it will be a tough day climbing up to the glaciated pass and walking on the rocky moraine.

      From the top you can see one of the biggest mountains in the Tajik Pamirs, Peak Revolution (6940m). The 1100m descent takes us to our camping spot at 3720m, by the junction with the Bardara Valley.

      Overnight in camps.

      Trekking: 7 hours
      Distance: 13 km
      Altitude: 3720m

    12. Day 12 Top Bardara Valley – Bardara Village

      The final day is a long one but all downhill. For 20km we will follow the crystal-clear Bardara River. The geography changes from board upland valley through upland pasture, river gorges before we arrive in one of the remotest settlements in the Pamirs, Bardara Village.

      Here we will sleep inside underneath a Pamiri roof again.
      Overnight in local Homestay.

      Trekking: 8 hours
      Distance: 22 km
      Altitude: 2830m

    13. Day 13 Bardara Village

      A rest day. This day it will be all about eating, sleeping and exploring village life in the Pamirs at a very slow pace.

      Overnight in local Homestay.

      Altitude: 2830m

    14. Day 14 Bardara Village – Kalaikhum

      Our drivers will pick us up and drive us through the wonderful Bartang Valley, back to the Panj river where we make a right turn towards Kalaikhum.

      Overnight in Kalaikhum at local Guesthouse.

    15. Day 15 Kalaikhum – Dushanbe

      This is the last full day drive back to Dushanbe. We will leave early which will enable us to explore the capital of Dushanbe a little bit.

      Overnight in Dushanbe at hotel.

    16. Day 16 Dushanbe – End

      Transfer to airport.
      End of trip. 


    We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards in Dushanbe cannot be compared to a homestay in an isolated valley in the Pamirs. 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 will be based on 2 people sharing a room when that is available. When we are in the Pamirs we will be staying in tents and in local homestays that sometimes only offer central communal areas to sleep in.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
    Included in the price:
    • All accommodation, including tents during the trek
    • All meals except in Khorog and Dushanbe
    • Transport
    • Experienced international trekking guide
    • Local trekking crew
    • Pack animals
    Not included in the price:
    • Any necessary visas and permits
    • Insurance
    • Flights to Tajikistan
    • Entrance fees
    • Drinks
    • Tips

    Our trekking trips are designed to be physically engaging and provide a level of challenge for most people. As a general guideline, we recommend that you have some prior experience walking with a 10-15kg day pack for up to 8 hours over 5 or more days through uneven & varied terrain (and weather); ranging from hard-packed earth, tussock grass, boulder fields, scree slopes, soft snow patches, and knee-deep rivers.

    We do not directly arrange international flights to Tajikistan. However, we can suggest routes and operators.

    You may require a visa to enter Tajikistan. If so, a single-entry e-visa is the quickest method.

    You will require a Tajikistan visa for this trip as well as a GBAO permit for the Badakhshan region where we will be travelling in.

    In Tajikistan meals are sometimes included with the accommodation, and these are included in the price. This also applies to the meals produced by our high-altitude cooks while we are trekking in the mountains. The food in Khorog and Dushanbe is not included in the price as we want people to have the freedom to choose their preferred restaurant.

    When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. We will only be travelling by four-wheel drive vehicles because most of the road is essentially a dirt track (despite that “Pamir Highway” suggests smooth tarmac). Your comfort, enjoyment and safety of the journey is top priority.

    On this trip you will be accompanied by an experienced international trekking guide plus an English-speaking local guide from Untamed Borders. This allows for greater flexibility and means that there will always be someone on hand to help or assist you even if the other team leader is busy making arrangements.

    Tajikistan including the Autonomous Region of Badakhshan is currently a stable area. However, we monitor the situation closely and we listen very carefully to advice from the foreign office and from our friends in the areas we visit. Our client’s safety is our primary concern. We must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas which we consider to be stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.

    Overall Rating


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