Afghanistan Journals

A Sliver of Afghanistan

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A September 2009 trip to Afghanistan by fallschirmhosen

Sarhad-e Broghil Photo, More Photos
Quote: Contrary to what the media and western governments tell us, there are pockets of Afghanistan that are very safe for tourism. In September 2009 I ventured into the Wakhan Corridor, wedged between Tajikistan and Pakistan, for a week of hiking in the Pamir Mountains.

Getting to Afghanistan

Quote:
There are two ways to get from Dushanbe to Ishkashim: entirely by road, or a combination plane/road route. Both routes have their pros and cons.The road route is a brutal two-stage run, first from Dushanbe to Khorog, and then Khorog to Ishkashim. The first stage is at least 17 hours; guidebooks and others say it averages 22 hours. If you leave Dushanbe around 7am (from the car park near the airport), you can be in Khorog by around midnight. Shared taxis/vans will do the first stage in one long day, which is brutally uncomfortable (unless you score the front seat), though if you hire your own car/driver you can break the journey into two days (stopping in Kalaikhum). Along the route, y...Read More
Quote:
Many tourists to Tajikistan pass by this border crossing as they tour the Tajik side of the Wakhan Valley, not thinking twice about whether or not they want to cross. For many, the name "Afghanistan" is enough to make them stay far, far away. I, on the other hand, was not going to pass this border crossing.After getting dropped off by the shared taxi from Khorog, I walked over to the two, armed Tajik guards at the barbed wire fence (though I read recently they are actually Russian army guards). They asked to see my passport, then radioed ahead to the customs/immigration building set up a few hundred yards away. After getting some sort of confirmation, they opened the gate, let me in, a...Read More

Ishkashim

Aria Guest House

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Hotel | "A Slice of a Western Hotel in Remote Afghanistan"

Quote:
Unless you want a more authentic experience when staying in Ishkashim, the only real Western-like hotel option is the Aria Guest House.At the time of my visit, there was a main guest house with approximately five rooms available, with an addition being built to accommodate more guests. Each room had between 2 and 4 beds, none with a private bathroom. The beds were small, twin-sized beds, with thin mattresses that your back will absolutely hate. But, the sheets were clean. All rooms faced a common area, which leads out to the front porch.In the main guest house, there is a large shared bathroom that includes both a toilet and hot water. The hot water is heated from a large ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 3, 2010

Aria Guest House
46 Alfath Guzar - New City
Ishkashim, Afghanistan

Wakhan Tourism Company

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Attraction | "THE Tour Company for the Wakhan Corridor"

Quote:
I had been daydreaming of hiking in the Wakhan Corridor for some time in 2009. A website I had found months earlier described how one could hike in the corridor by hiring local guides and animals, etc. But, I didn't know the language, and did not know anyone in the region who could help me get a visa to visit Afghanistan. The only way that seemed feasible for me would be to pay a pricey sum to an expensive company who ran a tour or two a year in the region. So, I continued to do my research, and then found a website decicated to the Wakhan Festival of 2008, which had an email address for anyone interested in tourism in the area. After being redirected and recommended to someone else from this ini...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 3, 2010

Sarhad-e Broghil

Pamir Hiking in the Wakhan Corridor

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Attraction | "Trekking in the Wakhan Corridor"

Sarhad-e Broghil Photo,
Quote:
Until recently, trekking in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor was something you could only do with a lot of patience and help from the local people, or if you shelled out a ton of money to take a tour with an expensive company. There have been trekkers coming here for years, but almost all of them would require a way to communicate and coordinate with the local guides, donkey men, and shops to get you the supplies needed. Because of this trouble, and the fact that it is located in scary Afghanistan, arranging a trip to the Wakhan was something only the serious and determined would do.In 2009, though, the Wakhan Tourism Company came on the scene as a way to coordinate guides, donkey men, etc....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 3, 2010

Hiking from Sarhad-e Broghil to the Pamirs

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Attraction | "Trekking from Sarhad-e Broghil to the Pamirs via Darviz Pass"

Quote:
If you're starting/ending your trek from Sarhad-e Broghil, the last village at the end of the road from Ishkashim, you will most likely be heading over the Darviz Pass on your first day of hiking. Though I did not venture many days further than the Darviz Pass, it is said this is the hardest pass on the main trekking routes in the area.Immediately after leaving Sarhad, the trail begins a slow, steady ascent. The road may end in Sarhad, but for the next 45-60 minutes you will pass several dozen homes built outside of the village and more in the foothills of the big Pamirs. Children who see you will often stop and stare, wondering who the weird guy is hiking in this part of the world. Th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 3, 2010

Hiking in the Wakhan Corridor to Pakistan

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Attraction | "Trekking from Sarhad-e Broghil to Broghil Pass (Pakistan)"

Quote:
Less than a day's hike away from Sarhad-e Broghil is the Broghil Pass to Pakistan. At the time of my hike, September 2009, the pass was closed and no tourists were allowed to cross the border (I believe this is often the case). Before setting out on this trek, you must have your guide inform the Afghan border police that you will be attempted the trek towards the pass, so that they can contact their counterparts at the border so they are aware of your intentions. The last thing you want is to be arrested and part of some sort of international incident.It is quite posible to leave Sarhad very early, be at the end of the hike by lunch, and return in one day. But, I do not recommend doing...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 3, 2010

Taliban in the Wakhan Corridor?

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Story/Tip

Quote:
When you think of Afghanistan, you probably think of wars, maybe Al Qaeda, and maybe the Taliban. Basically, you probably think of bad things. The Wakhan Corridor, however, has historically been known as an area that was free from any of the troubles the rest of the country faces (in terms of wars and violence). It was this historical fact that assured me that my visit to Afghanistan would be trouble-free. I wouldn't need to worry about the Taliban, who would reportedly kill a foreigner on-sight. Or, would I?After being in Afghanistan for more than a week, and my only problems being a little snow and a bad ankle, time was coming for my visit to end. The plan was to meet with another ...Read More

Quch Bagh's Guesthouse

Hotel | "A Place to Base Your Pamir Treks"

Quote:
Surprisingly, Sarhad-e Broghil is loaded with a bunch of small guesthouses, all run by the local families. During my several nights in Sarhad, I spent my time at Quch Bagh's Guesthouse. Signs for the guesthouse, as well as all the others, can be found along the "main road" through town. When coming from Ishkashim, this guesthouse is on the right.The guesthouse is one large, traditional room that can sleep possibly 10 people. If sleeping in a traditional room does not suit you, two twin sized beds are found in an adjacent room, as well as a bathroom with sit-down toilet. The beds are relatively firm, but good enough for hardy travelers. There is electricity in the evening, but no runn...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 3, 2010