CHINA & TAJIKISTAN
COST: $1,950 USD
Includes: food, internal travel, transportation, accommodation, guides, activities, and entrance tickets.
Does not include: international airfare, visa fees, insurance, and personal spending.
- Kashgar's Sunday Livestock Bazaar
- Crossing the Qolma Pass
- Living with Kyrgyz nomads
- Looking for Marco Polo in the Pamirs
- The Pamir Highway
- Kashgar's Old Town
DAY 1 :: SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2018 :: ARRIVE IN KASHGAR (KASHI), CHINA
Arrivals in Kashgar throughout the day. Kashgar (spelled Kashi in Chinese) is connected to the rest of China through Urumqi (spelled Wulumuqi in Chinese) by plane, train and bus. Urumqi has a large international airport with connections throughout China, Russia, Korea, Central Asia and Southwest Asia. Participants may choose to arrive today, or may arrive (tomorrow) a day late if they need to. We will host a welcome dinner in Kashgar's old town tonight.
DAY 2 :: SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018 :: KASHGAR
In the morning we will explore Kashgar's Sunday Bazaar and livestock market. Held only once a week, the Sunday livestock market brings ethnic Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik and Hui people together to buy, sell and trade sheep, horses, donkeys and camels. We will have a very local lunch at the market before returning to Kashgar proper. Travelling largely by foot, we will spend the afternoon in the Old City. Much of Kashgar's original old city was destroyed and rebuilt by the Chinese government in 2012, save for a small section of original houses. We will see see both sections and explore this still very much alive Uyghur neighbourhood.
DAY 3 :: MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2018 :: KASHGAR / IRKESHTAM / MURGHAB
We will depart from Kashgar by car in the early morning for the Irkeshtam Pass, high in the Pamirs about 3 hours west of Kashgar. We will exit China at the Irkeshtam Border Post before hitching a ride on some of the Kamaz trucks headed into the Kyrgyz Republic through several kilometres of no-man's-land. Once we arrive at the Kyrgyz border post, we will proceed through Kyrgyz immigration and customs formalities before continuing meeting our Tajik team on the border. We'll load into the trucks and head south for the Tajik border high in the mountains. We'll enter Tajikistan in the Gorno-Badakhshon Autonomous Region (GBAO) where we will be spending the next several days with nomadic Kyrgyz yak and sheep herding families high in the Pamir mountains.
Please note: we will transit through the Irkeshtam Pass. This route will briefly pass through the Kyrgyz Republic, and most OECD nationalities no longer require a visa to enter the country.
DAYS 4-6 :: TUESDAY-THURSDAY, JUNE 26-28, 2018 :: NOMAD LIFE IN THE PAMIRS
Over the next three days we will be in the deep, mountainous backcountry of Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshon Autonomous Region (GBAO) living with Kyrgyz nomads. We will participate in daily life activities, including herding sheep, horseback riding, moving yaks, cooking, food preparation and hiking into the backcountry to find ancient human petroglyphs. The experience of living with and enjoying the company of local families is just incredible.
DAY 7 :: FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2018 :: MURGHAB / QOLMA / TASHKURGAN
Today we will bid farewell to our host families and drive back up to the Qolma Pass, exiting Tajikistan and re-entering China for a brief one-day stay. We will spend the evening in the Chinese town of Tashkurgan, which is largely ethnically Tajik and Wakhi and is the last major settlement before the Pakistani border.
Should the Qolma Pass be closed to foreigners for any reason, which does happen during times of regional ethnic tension, we will transit through the Irkeshtam Pass again and spend the evening in Kashgar.
DAY 8 :: SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 2018 :: TASHKURGAN / KASHGAR (OR CONTINUE ON TO PAKISTAN)
Today the group will split, with those only staying for the core week returning to Kashgar by road, and those continuing onto the peripheral week driving south across the Khunjerab Pass into Pakistan. Core week only participants will spend the evening at a local hotel in Kashgar this evening.
DAY 9 :: SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2018 :: DEPARTURES FROM KASHGAR (KASHI), CHINA (CORE WEEK ONLY PARTICIPANTS)
No activities are planned for today. Participants are welcome to fly out of Kashgar at any time.