Pamir Hwy: Dushanbe -> Khorog -> Osh

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Pamir Hwy: Dushanbe -> Khorog -> Osh

Postby tekach » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:49 pm

Dear all,

I am on a roadtrip from Europe to China and am currently in Samarqand, UZ. In few days (end of September) I plan to start driving on a Pamir hwy in the direction Dushanbe -> Khorog -> Osh. I am driving my own car, it's an old Mercedes C240, and until now :) had no problems with altitude sickness. I consider myself a decent driver.

As far as I understand, the popular driving direction for Pamir hwy is the opposite way, that is Osh -> Dushanbe. Judging by the post on various forums, road from Dushanbe to Khorog is way more dangerous than part from Khorog to Osh. Few question for you:
- Is Pamir Highway, especially the part between Dushanbe and Khorog, doable by normal, non 4WD car?
- This is one lane road, can I expect problems by going in the direction that is less popular (Dushanbe to Osh vs Osh to Dushanbe)?
- I can find numerous posts about how bad and dangerous this road is, but... can't imagine how bad and how dangerous. Any hint or information will be greatly appreciated.
- Do you have any fresh information on the road conditions?
- Do you have any tip, advice, recommendation on the driving? Like - stick behind the big truck ... or something? :)

Sorry for newbie question and thanks for any advice.

Best regards,
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Re: Pamir Hwy: Dushanbe -> Khorog -> Osh

Postby steven » Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:07 am

1. Yes, but side roads in the valley not, and chances of breakdown increase of course. But in principle possible.
2 It is not a 1 lane road. You can go either way.
3 It is not terrible or terribly dangerous. The valley roads can be ridiculously bad, but Pamir Highway has some bad bits, some good bits. It is ok-ish.
4 Road is open.
5 Be careful, drive slow.

All info re Pamir Highway road conditions at
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Re: Pamir Hwy: Dushanbe -> Khorog -> Osh

Postby tekach » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:33 pm

I'll add some information to Steven's post (big thanks) and answer my own question. Comment relates to direction Dushanbe - Kulob - Khorog - Murghab - Osh, I have no idea of condition on other parts of Pamir highway or side roads.

Status as of 2.10.2016; it would be great if other would share their first-hand info.

Pamir highway is mostly paved, asphalt/bitumen is everything from terrific to bad, but not terrible. Bad means many potholes, uneven road, chunks of asphalt missing etc. It is comparable to some regional roads in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Albania, etc. All obstacles can be avoided or run over (very slowly).

It has some long gravel sections and a small patch of sandy piste, again not terrible. It is a two lane road and in approximately 99.99% of cases two vehicles can easily meet.There are two small bridges missing which means you'd need to do some water crossing, but it's very shallow (5-10 cm).

Ascend in the direction from Dushanbe -> Osh is way slower than in the opposite way.

I wouldn't call the highway dangerous, but there obviously isn't much tolerance for driver mistakes. I suggest you don't drive at night, don't drive and poke your phone/gps/camera, concentrate on the road and adjust your speed. Inform yourself about current road conditions - avalanches, weather forecast, etc. There was already some snow at TADJ-KYRG border.

Bottom line is it can be done with sedan, I didn't get stuck once and finished it without any damage or breakdown. Also, I've met numerous locals driving Mercedes, Opel, Lada, Volga and even BMW sedans. Key is to drive slow and careful.

Locals are great, very friendly and ultra hospitable. Please respect them and their way of life, they deserve it.

Wish you a good travel,
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Re: Pamir Hwy: Dushanbe -> Khorog -> Osh

Postby Kohop1218 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:35 am

this is very helpful tekach! Thank you for your information and updates on the conditions. Did you happen to notice the availability of diesel in the region? I'm renting a truck from bishkek and they only had diesel engines available.

Thank you!

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