Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

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Christian77
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Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

Post by Christian77 »

I'm finding that the situation with accomodation on the Tajikistan side of the Wakhan to be in need of some updating... After a couple of trips, lots of online research, and discussions with other travellers, I have a tips and thoughts on homestays here.

Langar: Most people who travel through the Wakhan Valley stay a night in Langar, the last village before the road heads up towards Khargush Pass. I stayed here two years ago and my group had a bad experience: the most unwelcoming homestay/guesthouse that any of us had at anytime in Central Asia. At the time I put it down to the family - all of them - having a bad day/week. But since then I've been told or read similar stories about Langar, and I recently returned to the town last week.

What did I find? I found out that Langar has made a progression that many tourist towns make as part of tourism fatigue: A village shop put a 400% increase on a bottle of water for a travel companion (she had no context for Tajik prices yet); the children here are aggressive and annoying as compared to every other town in the valley where even the most rambunctious boys are still fun to interact with; groups of men make comments as you walk by and then break out in laughter behind your back, something that villagers elsewhere do not do; and you get a general 'give us your money and leave' vibe. I spoke with a foreigner who has worked for a few years in the region, and they are not surprised about the unwelcoming environment. Apparently some locals now have a very utilitarian view of foreign visitors. Adjust your hospitality expectation accordingly.

What is the alternative? The neighbouring villages of Hisor and Zong. Misha's homestay at the edge of Langar feels closer to Hisor, and it was perfectly OK for the $15 (aside from a weak flow in the shower). I also stayed at Davlatkhon's in Hisor. Shockingly, they asked for $20 per person ($15 or 150 Somoni is the standard asking price on the Pamir Highway), arguing that their food is really, really good. Turns out their food is not good, it's the best. I had the best dinner in a decade of Central Asian homestays. They even had good vegetarian dishes. Breakfast was above average. The entire family seems to speak English. And your $$ go towards paying for their daughter's pharmacy degree at a foreign university. Down the road near Zong is Barieva's homestay, and I saw a couple of glowing reviews online.

Yamchun: on the top of the road towards the Yamchun fort and the Bibifatima hotsprings there are several guesthouses that all get good reviews from visitors. I stayed at the homestay closest to the Yamchun fort and had a great stay with a very friendly and enthusiastic family. Our driver hinted that the accommodation next to the hotsprings is more geared towards local tourists.

Ishkoshim: Not my type of town, as it is a district centre and much bigger than a village. But criss-crossing the town I found the people here to be wonderful, and the children to be great fun (including the quartet of boys that had just downed a huge energy drink). You can get a real village vibe in the neighbourhood up the hill. Anis/Hanis guesthouse was booked out by a tour company, so my group headed to Ren Guesthouse ($15 with dinner and breakfast), which is technically in the village of Ren ('Ryn' on some maps), but feels like part of Ishkoshim. You can walk a few hundred metres into Ishkoshim. It straddles the categories of small hotel and guesthouse. It is very new, so the small trees are still growing and the neighbourhood is a little bare. But the grandpa in charge was a real great guy, and he speaks a little English. Super great showers (two of them) and some occasional wifi (our first since Osh). Everything feels brand new. There are several locations given on MAPS.ME, two of them comically almost on a military base. Don't go there. I did some editing, so within two months (by November 2019), MAPS.Me should be showing the one correct location (indicated in real life by a sign on the road).

Back to Khorog: I have a new favourite place in Khorog. The online reviews were over-the-top glowing, so I had to check it out. It's called 'Welcome Inn' (but feels like a hostel), and it's in the centre of town. The manager Zhandiya is the coolest woman you will meet in your travels. $15 gets you the bed & breakfast treatment. Breakfast was really good, and actually featured an amazing vegetable side. There are two cats that believe they own the place. Beer is available in the fridge for 20 Somoni. Wifi is good. Zhandiya can arrange for a spot in a car to Dushanbe for 300 Somoni with a pick-up at the hostel (a 20 Somoni taxi to the new terminal). MAPS.Me shows the hostel about 50 metres down the road, where there is a no-name homestay. I fixed the location on the map, and it should appear in the next MAPS.ME update (by November 2019). The real Welcome Inn has a sign on the street and on their door.
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steven
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Re: Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

Post by steven »

Great report, very useful! Absolutely agree on Langar. Don't stay there. We also stayed at Davlatkhon's last year, that's the place to be.
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ET_
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Re: Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

Post by ET_ »

Was at Ren Guesthouse 2 days ago and it was great, food was very decent and the owner overly nice. Never been happier to see a flushing toilet!
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lulo
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Re: Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

Post by lulo »

.
Thank you Christian, very helpful information. ;)
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ZulKaz
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Re: Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

Post by ZulKaz »

Really thoughtful report! Maybe we were lucky but we had a totally different experience in Langar. Everyone was very nice, we did not feel harassed. Not sure if it's due to limited tourism in covid times. We actually struggled to find a homestay because we were there in November and everyone was clearly surprised by our presence. Instead, one or two homestays, who couldnt accommodate us (seems there were a lot of weddings that day and rooms were filled with relatives and visitors...) called around to others to help us find somewhere. We stayed at misha's, in the end, which was very nice.
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murg
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Re: Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

Post by murg »

Great information!

Yamchum

We stayed at Akim's Guesthouse in 2019.

It's on the road towards the Hot Spring, after a couple of minutes to the left.

Friendly people, average food, typical Outdoor toilet.
Paid the usual 15$, had a good night's rest.

Cars / Bikes can be parked behind a looked gate.


Definetly worth a recommondation.
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Re: Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

Post by Nikopol »

Image

Hey, does anyone know what hot spring is this in Corridor, near Chinese and Afghan borders? I randomly found it and can't find anything about it online. Thanks
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sebhoff
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Re: Wakhan Corridor/Valley Accomodation

Post by sebhoff »

I think this is it: https://3x9.ru/otchets/2012_Pamir/Pamir ... c347240799 - use Google translate to make sense of it if you don't read Russian... Pictures 153-156.
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