Trekking Around the Pamir Mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan
A trip to Balkhout in Afghanistan is considered incomplete without a trip to the town of Kabul. It is in this town that the US invasion of Afghanistan began, on foot and by helicopter. Kabul was one of the few towns to have remained unharmed by the US troops and still retained some of its traditional cultural properties. It is a beautiful, heavily built town that enjoys one of the highest population densities in northern Afghanistan. Its cosmopolitan society and history of serving as a crossing point for trade, travel and social intercourse have made it a favorite location for people wishing to spend their vacations.
The capital city of Herat is a bustling town with a lot of interesting historical sites. On your Herat trip you will visit the tomb of Herat’s first president, Taleq bin-Khan. It is situated in an area near the Daman-Khoai River. The river valley also gives you a glimpse into the lives of Afghanistan’s Turkmen, who depend on fishing and boating for their livelihood. The riverfront market in Kundalpak comes alive on the last Sunday of every month, selling everything from fruits and vegetables to carpets and crafts.
In Kundalpak you will find two major bazaars: the Sayulanka bazaar and the Paghman bazaar. The Sayulanka bazaar is a famous place for the handicrafts produced by local artisans. You will find all kinds of small and large handicrafts, including ceramics, metalwork, leather goods, embroidery, jewelry, and many other products. The main street of the bazaar, Chorosthi Road, boasts a row of small shops, restaurants and cafes. The Paghman bazaar, opposite Kundalpak’s busy bazaar, sells all kinds of handicrafts, mainly hand-woven fabrics, but also machine-crafted items.
Just north of Kundalpak is the beautiful city of Herat. Herat, which is sometimes spelled Hradebir, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, and one of the largest cities in all of northern Afghanistan. Herat is a vibrant modern city with modern amenities. This is the ideal place for a stay in a Herat hotel, as the city offers plenty of shopping opportunities, and the bazaar is just a few kilometers away.
Finally, to get to the truly great shrines in Kundalak and Herat, you will need to make a day trip out of the country. A day trip to Balkh will require you to take a train from the capital to the town of Herat. It is possible to rent a minibus in Herat to take you there, or you can just walk. However, a minibus ride is extremely dangerous, and even if you are walking to the shrines in both Kundalak and Herat, this can be a very arduous task.
Once you reach the small town of Mankot near the Afghan-Chinese border, you will need to hire a taxi or a motorcycle to drive you to the town of Kundalak. From there you will need to walk to the Shogol mountains, which are actually hundreds of kilometers away from Kundalak. The trek is extremely difficult, and many climbers die every year from the sheer climbing heights. To get to the real shrines in Kundalak and Herat, you will probably need to take a helicopter, although the flight is extremely safe.