“They can come true, yeah. They can come true.” – Gabrielle
Dreams can come true, apparently. Central Asia continued to inspire as I left behind the bright lights and modern parks of the Tajik capital city of Dushanbe on route to the Pamirs region, Gorno Badakhshan. This was off the wall stuff. Off the cliff I could almost say as our jeep/4 by 4 Land Rover almost sent me over the cliff into Afghanistan by default (with an Afghan visa I must stress). Instead my driver, cool as you like diverted me to the gorgeous valleys in the Pamir region and better late than never I arrived in Pamir Lodge. Is this the best welcome I have ever had on my journeys? Quite possibly, YES!
At 4am in the morning, Said and Zabaida are still awake to meet and greet me after my crazy 22 hour journey. My body said sleep, my mind said explore. As the Pamirian snow gaped in on me, I had a home and a base for three days and this place left a mark. It left a mark so deep, I need to return and give something back to the people I met here in Khorog. Their hospitality, their friendship, their willingness to help the lonely Northern Irish travel blogger. For two of those days, I was the only tourist in town and I could not have felt so welcome in my life.
Pamir Lodge then – make it number one on your list when you backpack through Tajikistan. It’s a retreat, a safe haven, a home away from home. It offers camping, beds, hot showers, WiFi (in Summer), sublime hospitality, views, tranquility and emotion. I’ll list my six outshining reasons to stay here at Pamir Lodge, with a huge thanks to Zarbanoo for help organising my stay and keeping me updated on road conditions on route, via Focus Humanitarian Assistance, based in Dushanbe. My journey here was somewhat insane, will write separately about it!
Run by local Pamir couple Said, Zubaida and family, hospitality is second to none. If you want to join in with the family for fun, food, playing chess, watching TV, then you can. Despite being busy touring and working on my laptop, I was able to eat with the family, join in chat and games and watch Sinon, Said’s son pose in Taekwando uniform. Sinon is the Gorno Badakhshan region champion for his age at Taekwando.
When you wake up and look out your window to see this view, you cannot cease to be inspired. The views are fantastic. A photographers dream, a dreamers photograph.
I was there in winter – the snow was epic. Most tourists visit in summer and rave about this area. As a bonus, you can veer across the border into Afghanistan too.
OK so there are really four seasons, but in our lifetimes if we have to pick two seasons to see the Pamirs it should be winter and summer. I was here in Winter and loved the snow, the peace, the tranquility of it.
However I have been told I must go back in Summer to see this place with sunshine and warmth. I can’t imagine mosquitoes here, or grass. It was all snow on my visit.
4.This is Your Base
You can make Pamir Lodge your base. You can leave your bags here and go across the border into Afghanistan for a few days (can get your Afghanistan visa here in Khorog, or in Dushanbe or Bishkek). Pamir Lodge can help organise your homestay across the border too.
You can tour the Pamirs and head to Ishkashim for a few days and then come back. This is your home, but book ahead in summer months, or bring your tent and camp on the lawn!
5.Value for Money
This is a backpackers gem and a steal for this price. For just $7 US a night you can stay here in a cosy room like the one I stayed in. In the winter I even had a heater – thanks Said and Zubaida!
Or even cheaper $4 if you prefer to sleep under the stars on the veranda, or $3 if you set up your tent in the garden, a popular option for overlanders in summertime. Fit three people in a tent and that’s a dollar each right?!
6.Food and Drink
You can also eat and drink here for a few extra dollars per day (payment can be in Somoni or USD). Here are some photos from my meals with the family. Food was, you’ve guessed delicious and provided me with the energy I needed to tour the region.
During my time in Khorog, capital of the Pamirs, I also met up with Zohir and Sulhiya who offer brilliant volunteer projects with Umedvor. If you are keen to volunteer with Umedvor, please check out this post and get in touch with them. I toured the sights of the city here too and I’ve written a bit about my time in Khorog already and there should be more to follow. What a brilliant experience, please please head to the Pamirs and stay in Pamir Lodge!
Here are the details for booking Pamir Lodge:
Facebook Page: Pamir Lodge on Facebook
Telephone: +992 – 3522 – 2-65-45
+992 – 93 592-1004
UK contact: 07930885342
Address: Pamir Lodge, Kuchai Gagarin 46, UPD Microrayon, Khorog 756000, GBAO, Tajikistan
Here are some videos from my stay at Pamir Lodge: