Trip Report

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Trip Report

Two Weeks in Afghanistan with Central Asia Extension

This three part trip includes Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia and can be easily extended to include more destinations at the start and end of the trip!

by notripophobiaAbout Me:As a little girl growing up in Ohio, I dreamed about traveling the world. I finally made it to Europe when I was 15 and have been hopping around the globe ever since! I have now visited 123 countries and all 7 continents and have lived ... read more

India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan25 days / February 2020

Highs & Lows

Getting to experience Afghani culture first hand

Security concerns can make certain aspects of the trip a little stressful.

Itinerary Overview

Afghanistan is a destination that can either fill travelers with dread or with excitement.  More well known for never ending war than its jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape,  incredibly welcoming (and often, insanely attractive) people and mind-boggling diversity, Afghanistan has sadly been mostly overlooked as a tourist destination since its days as part of the overland "hippy trail."

Afghanistan has a lot to offer visitors and while security concerns ARE an issue, reputable tour operators and experienced guides will know how to mitigate your risks.  PLEASE NOTE:  DO NOT TRAVEL TO AFGHANISTAN ALONE AND ALWAYS USE A GUIDE.  

During my trip, I combined an overland border crossing from Delhi to Islamabad via Amritsar and Lahore with a two week guided tour of Afghanistan.  I crossed from Afghanistan into Uzbekistan and then continued to Tajikistan.  I flew back to India from Dushanbe with a one day layover in Almaty, Kazakhstan.   Central Asia is very easy to travel around so this itinerary can easily be extended to include more time there. 

 

  • 2 Nights: Delhi
    Culture, history, street food
  • 2 Nights: Amritsar
    Sikh culture, the Golden Temple and the Wagah Border (the Gateway to Pakistan)
  • Day trip: Wagah
    Border crossing from India to Pakistan
  • 2 Nights: Lahore
    Culture, history
  • 1 Night: Islamabad
    culture
  • 5 Nights: Kabul
    culture, history, museums
  • 2 Nights: Herat
    culture, history, monuments
  • 3 Nights: Bamyan
    culture, history, monuments, landscape
  • 2 Nights: Mazari Sharif
    culture, history, monuments
  • 1 Night: Termez
    Border crossing from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan
  • 2 Nights: Samarkand
    history, monuments
  • Day trip: Bukhara
    culture, history, monuments
  • 2 Nights: Dushanbe
    architecture, museums, culture
  • 1 Night: Almaty
    Russian baths, museums, city life

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would have allowed more time for Pakistan and tried to time the trip for when the Panmure Highway was accessible.

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    It was pretty challenging to get the Pakistan visa despite the major improvements in their e-visa processing. Luckily, I did manage to get he visa but I didn't have enough time to explore the country properly.

  • How was the food?

    I am vegetarian and most of the region is pretty meat-heavy. Be prepared to eat lots and lots of bread!

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    If you have the opportunity to travel Pakistan and Afghanistan, do it! Although Afghanistan does have some unique risk factors, a guided tour helps mitigate the risks. Accidents, crime and terrorism can happen almost everywhere in the world so this alone should not deter you from going. The security situation does change so be sure to check the most recent updates and find a guide that has great recommendations from recent travelers.

  • Packing tips?

    Pack lots of layers. Thin, long sleeve shirts are perfect when you need to cover your arms and sarongs are useful as head scarves and can even be worn as a normal scarf in case it gets chilly!

  • Transportation Tips?

    In Pakistan, you can travel by tuk tuk throughout Lahore and by bus from Lahore to Islamabad. Low-cost trains connect most large cities in Central Asia making it extremely easy to get around.

  • Any surprises?

    Always, always check the most up to date information on visas in any country that you go to in Central and South Asia. It has become much easier over the years to travel there and most countries are now visa free or offer e-visas.

  • Booking details?

    I booked the Afghanistan tour directly with the tour guide and paid cash once I arrived in Kabul. For Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, I booked my hotels using Booking.com.

Lodging

  • My apartment in South Delhi

  • Saraghari Sarai at the Golden Temple - I had originally booked another hotel to stay in but when I arrived late in the evening, I didn’t feel safe there. I stopped mid check-in and headed out to this hotel. They normally don’t allow any single men or women stay (only couples and families) but I argued until they agreed.

  • I stayed at the Rose Palace Hotel. It is very comfortable with huge rooms and the neighborhood felt very safe. A delicious breakfast was even included at the on site restaurant.

  • Backpackers Hostel Islamabad - a chilled out hostel with comfortable beds and laid back environment

  • A nondescript hotel in Kabul city center

  • 3 star hotel in the city center