(Make sure to check out our video at the bottom!)

After just one night in Bulunkul, we packed up again and hit the road. With the jaw-dropping sites we had seen so far, it was hard to believe that the trip could get any better. Today would prove that the best was yet to come.

pamir highway bulunkul
yet another glass-calm lake during our drive through the mountains

After about an hour of driving, we began climbing up the twisted road towards Khargush Pass at 4,344 meters. From the top of the pass we had more spectacular views of the peaks and valleys around us. Reading this blog series and seeing the photos, the sites and views along this trip may sound redundant. But to be in the vehicle, with the crisp mountain air rushing in the window and the sound of the rivers rushing beside us was never boring and always incredibly exciting.

bulunkul pass
Us at the top of the pass

We went through yet another check point and handed our passports over to the smiling guards with AK-47’s hung from their necks.

As we left the check point, we followed the Pamir River and we were suddenly within 20 meters of the Afghanistan border, the closest we had been yet! From the check-point on, the views opened up and were absolutely breathtaking.

pamir river
As if out of nowhere, this beautiful rushing river appeared

We first had views of Carl Marx and the Great Pamir Mountains where we stopped for a quick lunch. We parked on an outcropping which hung precariously over the river border. The spot rewarded us with our final views of the Great Pamirs.

travelling the pamir highway
Pulled over for a quick bite to eat

After Lunch we reached The Road Of Fallen Soldiers, so named for the amount of soldiers who died on this dangerous stretch of dirt road during the war. From here began the views of the spectacular Hindu Kush (Killer of Hindus Mountains) on the border with Pakistan.

hindu kush pamir highway
The spectacular Hindu Kush Mountains
pamir highway bulunkul to langar
The most spectacular drive yet

The road was etched deep into the cliff side. On the left was a steep cliff to the roaring river 100 meters below, straight ahead were the almighty peaks, piercing the sky like icy daggers, and to the right, an ominous looking, dynamite blasted wall.

road of fallen soldiers pamir highway
Now can you see why it’s called the Road of Fallen Soldiers?!

After The Road Of Fallen Soldiers, we started to descend into the infamous Wakhan Valley. Shrubbery turned to trees, which then gave way to lush farmland and alpine forests. Steep, babbling creeks drenched the road and fell towards the border river beneath us.

langar river
The lushness of Langar was very refreshing

After another hour we were entering the picturesque village of Langar, without a doubt the most beautiful town on the entire journey. The roads were covered by an arch of green trees and rivers followed along our path. We passed by cheerful kids who yelled and waved as we drove by. The farmers were hard at work in the fields, tilling and collecting their precious golden wheat, which gleamed in the afternoon sun.

langar pamir highway
It’s harvest time in the Pamirs! Men (and donkeys) are hard at work

We checked into our delightful little guest house and immediately set out on the village. After a short stroll through Langar, taking photos of the friendly locals along the way, we knew we were going to want more time here.

langar village pamir highway
The people of Langar Village were so friendly

The next morning we woke up and Nurali walked us 500 meters above the village to a rocky lookout point. Although the views of Langar were outstanding, we were here to gaze upon the rock carvings known as petroglyphs, which were carved here during the Bronze Age. Almost all of the pictures depicted scenes of stickmen hunting ibex, but some illustrated ancient Buddhist temples, a small reminder of the religion’s presence in the area. The petroglyphs were very interesting, despite the incredible amount of graffiti carvings added by locals.

petroglyphs langar
A petroglyph depicting a hunter shooting an Ibex

After our hike and some lunch, we hopped back into the vehicle and headed for Abrashim Qala, a fort built to guard this part of the Silk Road from Chinese and Afghan invaders.

abrashim qala fort langar
Abrashim Qala Fort

We hiked up to the fortress and spent a couple of hours inspecting its ancient roofless rooms and corridors. I even spent some time repairing one of the fallen walls. The sun was getting low in the sky and from Abrashim Qala, way above the valley floor, we had excellent views into the Wahkan Corridor, a narrow, scenic strip of land separating Pakistan from Tajikistan.

abrashim qala fort pamir highway
Enjoying the views of the Wakhan Corridor from the Abrashim Qala Fort

After yet another perfect day on this trip, we retreated, cold beers in hand, back to our cozy homestay. That night we enjoyed a delicious (vegetarian) dinner and taught Nurali how to play Kniffel (German Yahtzee). We played 3 games, he had 5 Yahtzees and won every time! Beginners luck. We bedded down around midnight, with a slight buzz, again excited for the rest of the trip.


Check out our video: Travelling The Pamir Highway, Bulunkul to Langar:

This is truly one of the world’s greatest road trips! If you have any questions or pointers for future readers, please comment below.

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Nick Wharton & Dariece Swift

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Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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6 thoughts on “Travelling The Pamir Highway: Bulunkul to Langar – The Road Of Fallen Soldiers

  1. I never seen anything quite so clear as those little, light blue streams. And the gorgeous mountains in the background definitely don’t hurt. 😉

    So glad you’re showing pictures of a lesser seen part of the world, I’m loving it!

  2. Thanks for this informative series of posts! We’re reading them from Bishkek where we are planning our Pamir trip for next month, and they’ve been very useful to help us plot an itinerary.

    How did you manage to eat vegetarian in the Pamirs? Did you bring your own cooking stove to cook your instant noodles or were you able to get hot water at villages and homestays? If you ate meals at homestays, how did you communicate your preferences to your hosts so that they understood and weren’t offended?

    We don’t eat much meat at home and we’ve been struggling with the greasy mutton in Central Asia. We recently got sick from mutton at the Holy Lakes near Arslanbob, and this has somewhat dampened our enthusiasm for a long trip through Tajikistan unless we can figure out a way to avoid meat whenever possible.

    1. Hey guys!

      I hear ya, we got sick of the food in Central Asia as well.

      We had our own stove and fuel during our trip, and we stocked up on a lot of food before setting off for two weeks. Instant noodles, instant potatoes, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, cheeses, smoked meat, smoked cheese, nuts, oatmeal, eggs, those sorts of things were great. You could get hot water at the homestays if you wanted though.

      We had a driver/guide for the trip, so he was able to tell the homestays that we didn’t eat meat. I would eat it if it were plov (rice) or some other vegetables, and bread. So I didn’t always say no…only if it were random meats that I didn’t want 🙂

      Definitely don’t miss out on this journey though, it’s incredible!

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