HH pamir Highway - 3 weeks, Dushanbe to Osh

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HH pamir Highway - 3 weeks, Dushanbe to Osh

Post by nielba »

I have successfully hitchhiked the pamir, through the wakhan corridor, over 22 days during the last july.
I'll write some general info and thoughts and then a "detailed" day by day report to give you an idea about what to expect.

- HH the pamir is DEFINITELY possible, but it is not for beginners or improvisized adventurous. You need to know what you doing, you have to know how to deal with long waiting times, you have to be prepared to camp wherever you are, to cook and carry your own food, to say "stop", to hold a conversation in a language you don't speak (assuming you don't speak either Russian or Farsi) etc.
If you are cool with that just hit the road and enjoy the view, the right car will come whenever you need it.
And YES, most of the cars will ask you money just because, it is the way they manage "public" transportation around here.. I personally at first try to explain I don't have money (bezplatna/niet dyengee/avtostop) and see what happens.. I would say 50% of the times they decide to pick you up anyway, otherwise I politely say thx and wait for the next car.
If we are talking about tourists with a rented car and local driver you have to understand that basically is up to the driver to decide, no matter what the foreigners think.
And also remember most of the cars you will see are completely full and packed: if you are alone is doable, in two (and backpacks) challenging, more a lottery.

- regarding water I personally didn't find any clorium tablets either in dushanbe or khorog. The official answer was the tajikistan water is clean. And somehow it is true, but it might be not clean enough for your stomach. At the end I did it without and probably got very lucky not getting sick (I was sick a couple of times still but not because water). Buying water is possible according to few persons I met, otherwise I would suggest a filter or to bring drops/tablets from home.
Dushanbe has one small and expensive (Western prices) outdoor shop and they sell the lifestraw system, 50$+10 for the small foldable plastic "bottle"

- camping is possible everywhere without much problems. When you are following the panje river, specially before khorog (coming from dushanbe) the road is very narrow, with the river on one side and a steep mountain on the other: if you decide to walk check where u will might able to camp. And don't camp on the side of the road, specially trucks are around 24/7 and they drive like crazy.
If you are close to a village u can ask people, but keep in mind they won't just offer you a spot in their garden, but probably food, a bed, a donkey, daughters etc.. if you are not comfortable with that try to avoid, people are super gentle and welcoming, sometime a bit too much.
Hostels and Guesthouses are pretty common and basic: most of the time no running water inside, no toilette (a hole in the ground is what you get), no wifi (except khorog and murghab), outside "shower" with a bucket. Included with the price breakfast and dinner, usually around 5/10$.

- food and specially junk food is available a bit everywhere, you won't starve. But the selection of fruits and vegetables is very limited for example. Rice, pasta and noodles always.

Day 1: easy HH to kulob. Camp
Day 2: hard to leave kulob, manage to do only 50km. Camp
Day 3: again some struggle in the morning, arrive at qalai khumb late evening after a loooong day changing three flat tires on the truck which picked me up. Camp
Day 4: all the way to rushan with four nice kirghiz tourists. Hosted
Day 5: hiking day to jizew inside barthang valley (~30km). Camp
Day 6: lucky ride on the way back but no luck any further, even with the police "helping" at the checkpoint. Camp
Day 7-8: truck lift (and another flat tire) to khorog. Two nights @Pamir lodge (?) hostel.
Day 9: no luck leaving khorog, walked all day long. Camp
Day 10: same, another full day walking. Camp
Day 11: lift to ishkashim. Camp
Day 12: lift to yamchun. Camp
Day 13: an amazing french couple with a crazy MAN truck picks me up before langar. Camp
Day 14: we visit yashikul and surroundings. Camp
Day 15-16: we reach murghab and split. Two nights @(I don't remember the name. Half price compared to the Pamir hotel)
Day 17: no luck HH out of murghab. Camp.
Day 18: a friend of mine picks me up to karakol. Guesthouse
Day 19: few km before the border the car breaks. We find a ride (we were in 5 at that point) to sary tash. Camp
Day 20: hike and hh to tulpar lake. Camp
Day 21: hike and hh back to sary Tash. Camp
Day 22: lucky ride all the way to osh.

I have spent around 70$ in total, but you can easily lower that up to half probably.
No really need to stay 2+2 days in khorog and murghab for example. The shared car we paied for at the border is another extra (~10$) and another 10$ to the guy who hosted me in rushan.

Anyway amazing experience, amazing landscapes and sightseeings and most important amazing people, both locals and travellers. Whatever way u decide to do it if possible give urself at least 10 days. The road is long and shitty, in less u would spend just a lot of time in the car.
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Re: HH pamir Highway - 3 weeks, Dushanbe to Osh

Post by bwv812 »

Thanks for the helpful information.

Personally, I find it difficult to understand not paying for rides. Most of the folks there are quite poor, and as you note it is normal for everyone to pay. They may agree to take you without paying, but do you think they agree to take other locals without paying? If you don't think they do, then you're probably getting a free ride because you're a foreigner and they feel obliged out of a sense of hospitality. To me it doesn't make much sense to travel to a place and leave the locals in a worse position than if I was never there, and cost them money, especially when they're a lot poorer than me.
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Re: HH pamir Highway - 3 weeks, Dushanbe to Osh

Post by Freeloader »

That is how Freeloaders,begpackers are behaving now

This is an interesting snapshot of how some travelers behave in 2019...imo many people like this..calling themselves "experienced travellers"

But everyone is free to behave the way they wish...and that is fine because in the end he spent 70usd...+70 for the visa

Happy to know that some people out there thinks this is not good

On the funny side
That dude may be owns an iPhone... 😆
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Re: HH pamir Highway - 3 weeks, Dushanbe to Osh

Post by nielba »

Happy to see that your "traditional" and higher freeload spirit brought you to the point you feel in the position to judge. Typical Western mindset, always believing we know better what others should think or behave, specially if they are from a third world country and not enlightened enough I guess.

Anyway no, you don't beg when you hh, you don't force anyone to stop or pick you up.
I am taking "advantage" over a car which is already going in the same direction I am, not asking to go any further, occupying an empty seat which 99% of the time would stay empty anyway. Do I leave you poorer for a 30km or less ride..?! I don't think so.
And what about what I give to the driver..?! What about them just being happy having a foreigner in their car..?! What about the human interaction you create when money is not on the table..?! I guess you can't fit such a thing in your vision..

And at last, to finish this always interesting evergreen conversation, I do value where I am, I do value what people gives me, I do already help the country i am visiting respecting their culture, I do help the country I am visiting buying local food, paying for accommodations and transportations when and if I need it, I do help the country I am visiting everytime I smile, take a photo, answer a question, play with a kid, share something.
As I have written in the original post if you don't feel comfortable with locals giving you too much, when clearly they have close to nothing, stop asking. I did, after gifting my 130€ darbuka to a family who gave me a place where to pitch my tent and a bowl of soup. I wasn't feeling comfortable anymore with their ossessive and unnecessary and blind genorisity, and i stopped. But hitching a ride is a completely different thing. How many rides do you think I can hitch on the pamir with 130€..?!

Have a nice day..
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