Essential Information - Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan
The Pamir Highway
Before booking please check the status of the trip you are joining. We do not advise you to book flights until a trip is confirmed to run.
There is a 5% booking incentive discount for all "Available" and "Available 2 More To Guarantee" tours. To confirm your place on a tour please make the deposit payment. Your deposit payment is fully refundable at any stage before the tour shows as "Guaranteed". Your final balance is payable no later than 56 days before the trip start date.
On booking your trip you are agreeing to our booking conditions. Please read them fully via the link here. For each holiday a minimum number of participants is required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed'. You can check the trip status for each departure on our 'Dates and Prices’ page. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has reached guaranteed status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.
Guaranteed Limited - trips are open for booking and confirmed to run but have a limited number of spaces available.
Guaranteed - trips are open for booking and confirmed to run.
Available 2 More To Guarantee - trips are open for booking but not yet confirmed. 2 more bookings will guarantee the running of this tour.
Available - trips are open for booking but not yet confirmed.
Contact - If you would like to book this tour, please contact us.
Fully Booked - trips now closed for booking.
- Support vehicle
- Most meals (see trip notes for details)
- Snacks and mineral water during cycling days
- Airport transfers on the start and end day of the tour
- Local professional English speaking guide(s)
- International flights
- Alcoholic drinks
- Meals not stated on the itinerary
- Visa fees
- Travel insurance
- Tips for guide (s) and support staff
The tour starts in Dushanbe. You will need to arrive on Day 1 of your itinerary. The best way to get to Dushanbe is the twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) Turkish Airlines flights. The start of the tour is timed to coincide with the Sunday flight (arrives around 4am Monday morning).Alternatively, Tajik Airlines flies once a week from Munich to Dushanbe via Istanbul and Domodedova Airlines has a daily Moscow - Dushanbe flight. Please note that flight information is subject to change and you should check before booking. Your flight departure at the end of the trip should be booked for the final day of the itinerary. We appreciate that people join redspokes tours from all over the world. Whatever time you arrive at the airport on the trip start date you and your luggage will be transferred to the joining hotel. Please bear in mind that if you arrive before midday you may have to wait for your room to be made available. If you decide to arrive early or stay on after the tour, redspokes can assist you in booking your extra accommodation and airport transfers at additional cost.
Our tour price does not include your international flight.
You will at all times have the security of a back-up vehicle; either a jeep or a bus. The vehicle will carry your luggage (we transport your main baggage by support vehicle from each overnight stop to the next) and yourself if you want. The backup van will be with us throughout the day stopping around every 12 miles (20 km).
Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems so all you normally need to carry is a daypack, for your camera etc. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be equipped for all repairs, so if you are bringing your own bike on the tour you must ensure that it is in good working order. If in doubt, have it fully serviced by a bike shop before you travel.
If you wish to hire a bike or have a single room for the tour this can usually be arranged for you at extra cost. You will have the opportunity to request these extras at the time of booking or, subject to availability, at a later date, by emailing your request to us.
If you require additional accommodation or transfers in advance of the trip start date or at the end of your trip we can arrange this for you at extra cost.
We have a wide mix of cyclists on our tours from couples, friends to solo travellers. Our prices are based on twin shared accommodation. If you sign up for one of our tours as a solo traveller we will twin share you with another person of the same gender in your group. If you prefer to have your own room this is an option on most of our tours for an extra charge.
Most meals are included in your trip price apart from on non cycling days and some other exclusions. Please check the itinerary for full details. If you have a special dietary request, please advise us at the time of booking. Most diets can be catered for, but it is always important to advise us in advance.
Food in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is generally hearty and tasty. A basic breakfast consists of tea and bread. A wealthy family may eat butter and jam and perhaps eggs or porridge. The staples are Plov, a risotto like rice dish with vegetables and a little meat, and Langhman, mutton soup with noodles. Pork is never eaten. Salads consist of tomato and cucumber. All meals are accompanied by servings of flat bread. The local bread and yoghurt are very good. Bread may not be placed upside down; the crumbs are collected and disposed of ceremoniously. Outside of the main towns there is little or no western food. Apart from apricots and watermelon, fruit is scarce. Although there is not much meat at the best of times, Tajik cooks struggle to cater specifically for
The staple drink is Chia or black tea. Soft fizzy drinks, are available in the towns and from the occasional roadside shop. Safe drinking water is not widely available so we will provide bottled water. Restaurants usually offer Western and Russian food, Teahouses known as Choihonas serve traditional foods. Guests may sit on a platform with a low table surrounded by thin mats. Tea is served to the host first to show that it is safe to drink. A popular Kyrgyz beverage is kymyz a slightly alcoholic drink made by fermenting mare's milk.
It is mandatory that you are well-insured for the full duration of the tour. This must include personal injury, medical expenses, death, repatriation, helicopter or aircraft rescue, loss of luggage or equipment, cancellation or curtailments.
You should also ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for the type of activities included in your tour. Any claims concerning matters for which you are insured must be directed to your insurers. We strongly recommend that you take out insurance at the time of booking your trip to ensure that you are covered in the event of cancellation.
For people within the UK Snowcard Insurance Services specialize in all mountain sports holidays including mountain biking. Follow the link above to obtain full information and a quote.
More than fifty percent of the country is over 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) above sea level. Altitude sickness is the effect of the thin air at great heights. As we are cycling up to 4,566m in Tajikistan you are likely to experience some minor symptoms and discomfort of altitude sickness
(headache, mild nausea, loss of appetite) until your body adjusts to the elevation. This can take from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the individual. Take it lightly, but drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids.
We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room. Should you wish to have a room all to yourself there is a single supplement option on the majority of our tours. For more information on the additional costs please see dates and prices.
The accommodation for this trip is split between either Camping, Yurts, Homestays, Guest House & Hotel.
Some Hotels will have En-suite facilities and Air Conditioning.
For this tour we are unable to offer bike hire. Please see details in Bringing your own bike section for advise on what kind of bike is suitable for this trip.
For this tour we recommend a good tough mountain bike as the roads can be very rough. Front suspension will help with the washboard tracks and potholes, but it is not essential. Full-suspension is OK, but may be hard work on the tarmac stretches. If you have flat bars, fitting bar ends will give you a different hand position and help with the climbs. The trip can be done on a traditional touring bikes, but it is important to ensure it has got strong enough wheels, sufficiently wide tyres (37mm is about the minimum) and low enough gearing. It's worth investing in a pair of 36 spoke, hand-built wheels, using a good quality rim (e.g. Sun Rhyno, Mavic or RigidaLow geared such as a 22-tooth granny cog on the front crank driving an 11-32/34 block on the back should do the trick. Comfortable as there are some long days so it is essential your saddle and riding position are comfortable.
The route is a mixture of poorly maintained tarmac and very rough gravel tracks. The best tyre for the job is probably the Schwalbe Marathon XR. It's very tough and hardwearing, and has a decent tread for the gravel without being too knobbly for tarmac.
We strongly recommend that you have your bike fully serviced before going on the tour. Ensure that wheel spokes are adjusted, greasing all bearings, check gear and brake cables, tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamp and tyres. Put in a new inner tubes and check wheel rims aren't worn.
We recommend that you take the following items with you.
- Multi tool
- Tyre levers
- Spare inner tubes
- Spare spokes
- Check with your bike shop for disc/ brake pads
- A few links for your chain
- Spares for any unique things for your bikes i.e fluid or bleed kit.
Your bike must be carried as part of your luggage allowance. The weight of a bike in cardboard box is about 15-20kg, so please bear this in mind when packing for the trip and you may have to pay for excess luggage.
Whilst we endeavour to provide correct and relevant information obtained directly from the relevant Embassies, High Commissions and Consulate Generals - this information is subject to frequent changes, without warning and at very short notice. Due to this, we cannot be held liable for any errors in the information provided on this site. We strongly advised you to check all information with the relevant embassy for details on your visa/passport requirements.
You must be in possession of a valid passport and visa. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months after date of arrival or 1 month after expiration of visa.
Travel to Tajikistan involves a certain amount of red tape and it is important that you allow enough time (around 4-6 weeks to be on the safe side) to obtain the necessary visas and permits.
To undertake this trip, you will require the following:
A visa is required for Tajikistan. Travel along the Pamir Highway requires a special permit to visit the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). It is important that you specify that your permit is needed for "ALL AREAS, including Khorog, Darvoz, Vanj, Rushon Ishkashkim, Wer, Jelandy, Alichur, Murgab and Kara Kul". Permit duration is for a maximum 45 days from start date. 30-day tourist e- visas and GBAO permit are obtainable via the link here www.evisa.tj/index.evisa
Visa for Kyrgyzstan. Since late 2012 Kyrgyzstan has allowed most nationalities to visit for tourist or business reasons without having to obtain a visa. Depending on nationality, no official invitation letter is now needed. Please note visa requirements frequently change and as such we advise that you check with the relevant embassies.
Important: You will have to specify the start and end date for your Kyrgyz Visa. The start date should be no later than 15 days after the start of the tour.
We strongly recommend that you contact your doctor or local Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks before going on your trip for advise on the correct vaccinations required for your trip. Also please refer to advice from National Travel Health Network and Centre.
There are no mandatory vaccinations for this trip, however the following are recommended Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis.
Vaccination requirements can change and we aren't medically qualified to answer your questions regarding vaccinations so please also check again with your health professional before departing for your trip.
Being very mountainous countries the temperature and rainfall in Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan vary with the altitude. Cold winters are accompanied but very hot summers. Early spring is when the most rain falls. Some days in summer the temperature will rise above 35 degrees, but in the mountains it remains considerably cooler, and can go down to around freezing.
In terms of clothing this is clearly up to you and we can only supply a rough guide as to what to take. This guide is entirely flexible and should be tailored to your specific needs.
- Cycle Helmet
- Water bottles or camelbak
- Base layer tops
- Fleece jacket/ pullover
- Waterproof cycling jacket (breathable fabric)
- Down Jacket
- Padded cycling shorts
- Cycling shoes Over Shoes – extra warmth
- Lightweight socks & heavyweight socks
- Trekking Shorts
- T-shirts– lightweight
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Fingerless cycling gloves
- Warm gloves
- Warm fleece hat
- Lipbalm/ sunscreen
Our guides carry first aid supplies, however we recommend you bring your own first aid kit which should contain the following item;
- Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen (or whatever you prefer for headache)
- Lomotil or Diacalm
- Rehydration salts (Dioralite)
- Antiseptic cream
- Throat lozenges
- Plasters (band aids)
- Nasal spray
- Eye drops
- Ear plugs
- Anti bacterial hand wash
- Antiseptic wet wipes
- Insect Repellent
- Energy Bars (gels, power bars)
- Energy/recovery drinks
Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. 50-60USD for the guide and team at the end of the tour is recommended.
It is customary for this to be collected up and given to your guide who will distribute it amongst the team. Unfortunately there is usually a hierarchy for the division between guides, helpers and drivers.
Spending money depends on your taste for souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that £200/£250 will be more than enough to cover the tour.
Republic of Tajikistan - Capital: Dushanbe
Population 9 million
Area 143,100 sq km (55,251 sq miles)
Major languages Tajik, Uzbek, Russian
Major religion Islam
Life expectancy 68 years (men), 74 years (women)
Currency Tajik somoni
Kyrgyz Republic - Capital: Bishkek
Population 6 million
Area 199,900 sq km (77,182 sq miles)
Major languages Kyrgyz, Russian
Major religions Islam, Christianity
Life expectancy 67 years (men), 75 years (women)
Our professional cycling tops are designed with three rear elasticated pockets to give you plenty of space for your cycling essentials and comes with a silicone bottom hem. Lined with COOLMAX ® to keep you cool and comfortable and ensure moisture wicking. Available in varies sizes so please refer to size charts for more information.
Dushanbe: capital of Tajikistan.
Khaburabot, Koi Tezek, Baital mountain passes.
Pyanj valley, Gunt valley and Pamir Plateau.
Khorog: capital of the Pamirs.
Lake Kara Kul: highest Pamir plateau lake.
Osh: the oldest city in Kyrgyzstan.
"This was an extraordinarily tough trip but well organised and utterly rewarding. Furthermore, as a committed solo cyclist I would recommend anyone to consider doing this route with Red Spokes..."