(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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