Here’s part 2 of our amazing journey along the Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan where we explored impressive ancient castle ruins, fortress and soaked in natural hot springs. In case you missed part 1 where we cruised along the Pamir highway and experienced the coldest place (-38°C) in Tajikistan and explored ancient rock engravings left behind by people in the early centuries.
Langar to Ishkashim – Yamchun Fort
Yamchun Fort is one of Wakhan Valley’s most impressive castle ruins where part of its walls and round watchtowers still exist. As we walked through the rumbles, it almost felt like we were transported back into time! It was fun imagining what went on here in the castle back in the 12th century. We were happily choosing our “rooms” and guessing which was the kitchen, the torture chamber, the grand hall, etc.
Langar to Ishkashim – Bibi Fatima Springs
We were really looking forward to this hot spring as we’ve not had a hot shower for almost 3 days already! There’s a separate hot spring for both men and women. According to Daniel, his hot spring was sort of outdoor and there was even a “cave” where he could crawl in and stand fully with the water level reaching up to his shoulders! This natural hot spring was named after the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter and apparently the local women believe that by visiting the womblike calcite formations, it’ll help boost their fertility! Unfortunately for the female’s hot spring, the water level was pathetically low! It only measured up to our ankles! How to soak like that 🙁 My guide said that it’s not like that during summer and it’s probably because it’s low peak now and they’re using this period to clean the pool. But at least there was a nice strong gush of hot water from a pipe near the top of the room which left me more than satisfied 🙂
Tip: Leave your valuables in the car. There are no locker facilities at the hot spring and a lot of locals frequent this place and it might not be safe to just leave your valuables unattended on the bench outside the hot spring.
Langar to Ishkashim – Khaakha Fortress
This fortress was built way back in the 3rd century BC and has since been reused by many civilisations. Not too bad, still worth a stop, but not as impressive as the grandiose Yamchun Fort which was much larger in scale and had more remains left.
Ishkashim to Khorog – Garam Chashma Hot Spring
This was the second natural hot spring that we went during this tour and both hot springs left us with a different experience. For Garam Chashma, the hot spring for the guys was in the open while for women, it was inside a room. This time round for the girls, the hot spring’s water level was much higher and we could enjoy it properly while sitting down on the steps inside the pool (unlike the Bibi Fatima hot spring where the water only reached up to our ankles!).
Overall we had a really enjoyable time travelling the Pamir Highway and Wakhan Valley and it’s definitely recommended if you’re planning to travel to Tajikistan too! Apart from the attractions, the drive itself was also picturesque and Daniel requested to stop the car almost every 30 minutes to take a snapshot of the stunning scenery. That’s one benefit of having your own private taxi, you have the liberty to stop anytime you wish to have a photo taken.
Tour Company: Pamir Offroad Adventure Tours
We highly recommend Pamir Off Road Adventures as they were very professional and responded promptly to our emails. They provided us with a skilled driver, Musa, and guide (his wife), Nadezhda who spoke fluent english, and a solid 4X4 jeep! Trust me, the jeep’s one of the most important factor to consider when travelling the Pamir Highway! The price that we paid was actually for the driver only, and it was a bonus to have a knowledgeable english speaking guide to join us for this tour 🙂 Throughout the 5 days, they were very attentive to our needs and ensured that we were always kept warm and comfortable at night in the different guesthouses. We were exceptionally pleased when on the very last day, both Musa and Nadezhda sent us to the market at Khoroq to negotiate a very cheap price for a taxi to send us to Dushanbe. This was an extra value added service which we really appreciated. Overall we were very satisfied with their excellent service!
Contact Information: Januzak (Director), 900577888, firstname.lastname@example.org