on September 21, 2007
To visit the Khyber Pass, you need a permit that you can get with a guide (you will be approached by one if you stay at a cheap hostel in Peshawar) at the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Normally, they are only delivered in a few minutes only in the morning but with a bribe you can get it in the early afternoon. Also, you will need an Affridi (local tribe) armed guard that you will find at Peshawar Prison, near the Ministry. Just before entering the Khyber pass in Jamrud, there is a checking point where your permit will be checked. There is also a sign ‘Entrance forbidden to foreigners’. The Khyber Pass entrance is a monumental gate which looks like a mini fort. The Khyber Pass is not on the Afghan border. It is a 45 kilometres-long road between Jamrud and the border post of Torkham, which cross the Suleiman mountains. Several famous warriors went through this pass (Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the British, etc.). All over the pass, you can see several forts, Buddhist stupas, smugglers villages (Landi Kotal among others). Your driver will stop several times on the way so that you can take great panoramic pictures. Also feel free to request a stop if you want to take a photo. After all, you have paid for it! You cannot go further than the checking point of Michni (5 kilometres before Torkham) if you do not have a valid Afghan visa, but from there you have a wonderful panoramic view on the Afghan border, just between two hills. If you want to go further, it is possible to get a visa in 48 hours in Peshawar and hire a guide for less than $50 per day to accompany you into Afghanistan. Also, if the driver stops in Jamrud on the way back to Peshawar (mine did), ask to join him to have a look at the haschich shop. You will see huge amounts of illegal drugs on sale (opium and haschich among others). I am pretty sure there are also other drugs (heroin for instance) but I did not dare ask the retailer. Even though these shops are illegal, the Pakistani army has no power in the tribal regions and drugs are found virtually everywhere west of Peshawar (if you pay attention, you will also see them in the bazaars of Peshawar). Normally, the visit of the Khyber Pass with a driver, a guide, and an armed guard should not cost you more than $20. Prices are negotiable. Definitely worth the price if you feel adventurous.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009