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 natives, camp near centuries 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
    End point   – Dushanbe
    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 to Tajikistan
    • 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.

      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, Khorog.

      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 homestay at an altitude of 3470m. The skyline is filled with peaks over 6000m, of which the distinct Pik Karl Marx (6723m) is the tallest.

      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.

      Driving: 5 hours
      Altitude 3750m

    5. Day 5 Bulunkul – Peninsula West of Sumantash

      After four days on the “road” it’s time to stretch the legs and hit the trail. The first day is literally a warm up. An 18km walk will lead us to our first camp on a peninsula west of Sumantash on the shores of Yashilkul. 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.

      Trekking: 5-6 hours
      Altitude: 3750m

    6. Day 6 Peninsula West of Sumantash – North West Shore Yashilkul

      Today we head in a westerly direction along the north shore of Yashilkul. After 18km walk we will pitch our tents at the North West end of Yashilkul.

      Trekking: 7 hours
      Altitude: 3750m

    7. Day 7 North West Shore Yashilkul – Langar Valley

      We will leave the shores of Yashilkul and enter the classic Pamir valley of Langar. A Pamir is a broad, U-shaped valley carved out by a glacier or icefield. These type 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 halfway the valley.

      Trekking: 5-6 hours
      Altitude: 3890m

    8. Day 8 Langar Valley – Chapdarkul

      The 14km climb to the shores of the dramatic lake of Chapdarkul takes us above the 4000m mark. Depending on the speed of the group there is also the option to proceed further for up to one hour and camp nearby Langar Pass (4630m). The thin air at this altitude make even the easiest tasks an effort.

      Trekking: 6 hours
      Altitude: 4530m

    9. Day 9 Chapdarkul – Uchkul

      We will descend from Langar Pass towards the Uchkul area and camp in the Zaurbek area which is a series of three beautiful turquoise lakes surrounded by pastures grazed by yaks and sheep. The landscape is again very different from the previous days, with Mount Kulin dominating the skyline in the distance. We’ll be staying close to a shepherd’s camp at 4100m just after the Uchkul area.

      Trekking: 4-5 hours
      Altitude: 4100m

    10. Day 10 Uchkul – Zarojkul

      From Uchkul you’ll venture through more ever more wild terrain to reach what is arguably the most beautiful mountain lake in the Pamirs: Zarojkul, which is fringed by snow-capped mountain giants.

      Trekking: 6-7 hours
      Altitude: 4510m

    11. Day 11 Zarojkul – Top Bardara Valley

      In this section the team will reach 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. 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.

      Trekking: 7 hours
      Altitude: 3720m

    12. Day 12 Top Bardara Valley – Bardara Village

      The final day is a long one. For 20km we will follow the crystal clear Bardara river before we arrive in one of the remotest settlements in the Pamirs, Bardara. Here we will sleep inside underneath a Pamiri roof again.

      Trekking: 8 hours
      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.

      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.

    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.

    16. Day 16 Dushanbe – End

      You will be dropped at the airport in the early hours of Sunday morning.


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

    A single entry Tajikistan e-visa is the quickest method.

    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.

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