Tajikistan: Last Adventure in Bartang Valley

A scary road, a great home-stay, and a lovely trek at Jizew village, where no car can go.

After the high lands of the Pamir Highway and the emotions of the Wakhan Corridor, the last part of our road trip through the Pamir ended in Bartang Valley, a right turn just before the town of Rushon.

Bartang Valley was special for three reasons. First of all, the difficult dirt road through the valley, with all those slippery screes on the side of the mountains, ready to collapse on the road at any moment, is both spectacular and terrifying.

A short trait of the road along the river in Bartang Valley

Indeed, some debris fell on the road behind us at one point, in a kind of a high point, with a roaring river 20 m. down a vertical cliff, and when we had to go back our driver did a crazy manoeuvre to go over them, the debris, as only half the road was accessible, not nearly enough for a car as big as our four-wheeler drive to go through. We got off the vehicle first of course, also to help from the outside. It went fine, yet, mental! 

Khidjez village, just over the bridge, hiding in between a small oasis of green in the vast and rocky Bartang Valley

Bartang Valley is long, and it connects with the Pamir Highway at some points, but we had the time only to go up to Khidjez village. Here we were in the best homestay of the whole trip for two nights, which is the second special thing about it. Really, what a nice village, right on the side of the river after crossing a bridge. It was like a mini oasis of peace. The food at this homestay was also outstanding, and with more variety than previously encountered, thanks to the proximity with bigger cities.

Fairy tale Jizew village on the other side of the lake, clenched between the two sides of the mountains

The third great thing of a detour to Bartang Valley is the possibility to go trekking to Jizew village. There’s a bridge 10 Km before Khidjez that can be crossed only by foot to enter a side valley rich of greenery among high rocks.

The tiny, isolated village is at about 6 Km from the bridge on a steady, easy uphill, right at the edge of a natural and beautiful lake formation. It’s possible to do homestays there too, or camp, but we preferred to just go on a day hike.

A man at Jizew village is cooking fruits to make jam. He told us it would take about 50 minutes for it to be ready.

With another 6 Km of steady uphill you can reach a second lake formation (featured image), with higher mountains in the background, and no villages. Really a beautiful place, and not too high, especially if you are coming from the Pamir Highway.

Yet, all in all, it turns out to be a more or less 25 Km hike with 800 m. altitude difference. Just saying. It’s easy, but not short if you go to the second lake. Totally worth it for our last trek in Tajikistan. All places mentioned here are indicated on Maps.me.

Another view of Jizew village

After this, we just had to travel back to Dushanbe. For my buddy, who joined me for a month of travel through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, it was time to go back to Italy. For me, time to keep going West, direction Europe. 

That’s 500 words, let’s go!


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