Expedition to the historical relics: from Buddha statues of Bamyan to Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif


July 29 to August 5, 2023
Tour Afghanistan

tour to Afghanistan expedition to Wakhan corridor Wakhi Kirgiz Kyrgyz people travel Afganistan Tajikistan Ishkashim horseback trekking to the mountains Himalaya Karakorum tour to Tibet

Dassanech Karo tribe Bulls jumping ceremony Assale Afar
This is a journey to an ancient country with a rich history, the first mention of which was made in the 6th century BC. A country that stores a huge number of the most diverse historical monuments. You will drive through northern Afghanistan, visiting such ancient cities as Herat, Balkh and Mazar-i-Sharif, spend the day admiring the landscapes of the Bande Amir National Park and breathe in the authentic culture of the country, created over the centuries under the influence of the cultures of India, Persia, China and Greece. This is the perfect trip for those who prefer off the beaten path. Immerse yourself in the unique and original spirit of Afghanistan!

For those who prefer truly unbeaten paths, who want to feel like a traveler, explorer and welcome guest, who looks for deep dive into the lifestyle and culture of indigenous peoples preserved in the lost northeast appendix of Afghanistan, the place where the great ranges of the Himalayas, Karakorum and Tien Shan converge at one point, where the peoples of the Wakhi and Kyrgyz graze their sheep at the dizzying heights of Pamirs.


Dates: July 29 to August 5, 2023.

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

Day 1. July 29, 2023 (Saturday). KABUL

Morning arrival by air in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. Short rest in the hotel.
Visit to culture ministry, tourism department section, for permission letter. Then we altogether proceed to Tourist office for registration and report (official mandatory procedure). If it is finished fast, after lunch, walk around Kabul city center. Visit to Babur Shan Garden and Birds' bazaar.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Kabul Star.

Recommended flights:
— with KamAir from Dubai, arrival to Kabul at 7:00 am, flight RQ-902,
— with any other flight that arrives to Kabul no later than at 8 am on July 29.

Accommodation: Kabul Star hotel or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 2. July 30, 2023 (Sunday). KABUL — MAZAR-I-SHARIF

Flight to Mazar-i-Sharif, the fourth-largest city of Afghanistan, with a population estimate of 1 million people.
It is the capital of Balkh province, located about 55 km from the Uzbek border. The city is also a tourist attraction because of its famous shrines as well as the Islamic and Hellinistic archeological sites.
The region around Mazar-i-Sharif has been historically part of Greater Khorasan and was controlled by the Tahirids followed by the Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Timurids and other dynasties. Eventually the city passed to a few local rulers before becoming part of Afghanistan in 1849.
Visit to information culture office, share our plans, take permit letter for historical area. Sightseeing around the city, visit to Blue Mosque, Shrine Azrat Ali, Tashkurgan Palace, and if time permits, Park-e-Ariana.
Check-in to hotel Zarafshan (or Rabat Hotel). Dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Zarafshan Hotel (or Rabat Hotel, or similar)
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Breakfast in the hotel. Drive to Balkh district (40 km, 1 hour) to visit the ancient city of Balkh and the area. Balkh was historically an ancient place of religions, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism, and one of the wealthiest and largest cities of Khorasan , since the latter's earliest history. The city was known to Persians as Zariaspa and to the Ancient Greeks as Bactra. Marco Polo described Balkh as a "noble and great city".
Visit to Nine Vault mosque called Haji Pyhada, Fortress Balkh (Balayisar), Shrine Shish Messenger, Jawon Mardi Qasab.
Lunch at the restaurant. We continue our sightseeing with Rabia Balkhi, Khaja Abdul Ansari Mosque, Baba Quyi Mastan. Back to Mazar-i-Sharif.
Dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Accommodation: Zarafshan Hotel (or Rabat Hotel, or similar)

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4. August 1, 2023 (Tuesday). MAZAR-I-SHARIF — KABUL

Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the airport to catch flight to Kabul.
Arrival in Kabul, capital and largest city of Afghanistan. According to late 2022 estimates, the population of Kabul was 13.5 million people. Rapid urbanization has made Kabul the 75th-largest city in the world.
The modern-day city of Kabul is located high up in a narrow valley between the Hindu Kush, and is bounded by the Kabul River. At an elevation of 1800 meters, it is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Kabul is said to be over 3500 years old, mentioned since at least the time of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Located at a crossroads in Asia, it is situated in a strategic location along the trade routes of Central Asia and South Asia, and was a key destination on the ancient Silk Roar.
Visit to the historical area of Kabul, National Museum, Kartai Sakhi Shrine, Chicken street.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Kabul Star.

Accommodation: Kabul Star hotel or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5. August 2, 2023 (Wednesday). KABUL — BAMIYAN — BAND-E-AMIR

Early morning drive to Bamiyan via Maydan Wardak and Hajikak pass (180 km, 3.5 hours). Go to information culture office to share our plans and take permit for Band-e-Amir.
Lunch and drive to Band-e-Amir (65 km, 2 hours), sightseeing at the lakes.
Band-e Amir National Park established as first national park in 2009 to promote and protect the natural beauty of a series of intensely blue lakes created by natural dams high in the Hindu Kush. Band-e-Amir is a chain of six lakes in the mountainous desert of central Afghanistan. The lakes formed from mineral-rich water that seeped out of faults and cracks in the rocky landscape. The site of Band-e Amir has been described as Afghanistan's Grand Canyon, and draws thousands of tourists a year.
Back in Bamiyan. Dinner and overnight at Ghulghula Hotel (or Shayii hotel) in Bamiyan.

Accommodation: Ghulghula Hotel (or Shayii hotel, or similar)
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6. August 3, 2023 (Thursday). BAMIYAN — GHULGHULA — KABUL

After breakfast, visit to 2 Buddhas of Bamiyan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th-centurymonumental statues carved into the side of a cliff at an elevation of 2500 meters. The smaller 38 m "Eastern Buddha" was built around 570 CE, and the larger 55 m "Western Buddha" was built around 618 CE. The Buddhas were surrounded by numerous caves and surfaces decorated with paintings.The statues represented a later evolution of the classic blended style of ancient art in Afghanistan.
Then sightseeing in Ghulghula historicalcity nearby Bamiyan.
Drive along way to Kabul (190 km, 3.5 hours), lunch en route.
Arrive in Kabul. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Kabul Star.

Accommodation: Kabul Star hotel or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7. August 4, 2023 (Friday). KABUL — HERAT

Flight from Kabul to Herat. Getting permit letter, sightseeing. We visit to the historical places of Khaja Abdul Ansari, Nation Garden (but in here not allowing photos only sightseeing), Balayisar Ikhtiharaddin Castle Fortress, Malan bridge. We finalize our visit of Herat at the local market.
Herat dates back to Avestan times and was traditionally known for its wine. The city has a number of historic sites, including the Herat Citadel and the Mussala Complex. During the Middle Ages Herat was known as the Pearl of Khorasan. After the conquest of Tamerlane, the city became an important center of intellectual and artistic life in the Islamic world. In 2021, it was announced that Herat would be listed as a UNESCO world Heritage Site
Dinner and overnight at Tejarat Hotel.

Accommodation: Tejarat hotel or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8. August 5, 2023 (Saturday). HERAT — KABUL — RETURN FLIGHT

After breakfast, flight from Herat to Kabul. Lunch. Visit to the street with plenty of souvenir shops and authentic goods from Afghanistan.
Afternoon transfer to the airport of Kabul. Check-in and return flight from Afghanistan.

Recommended flight:
— with KamAir to Dubai, departure from Kabul at 17:20, flight RQ-901, arrival at 19:50,
— with any other flight that departs from Kabul any time on August 5 or in the night from August 5 to 6.

Accommodation: no
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Cost includes:

· flight ticket Kabul – Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul roundtrip
· flight ticket Kabul – Herat – Kabul roundtrip
· double/twin accommodation in hotels
· transport along the route: minibus Toyota Hiace 2005-2006 or similar with experienced drivers
· airport transfers
· full board meals (3 meals a day) along the whole route
· drinking water along the whole route
· all permits and paper work in Afghanistan
· Afghanistan visa facilitation
· all entrance tickets as per program for all historical sites and parks
· experienced local English speaking guide along the route, local guides
· english and Russian speaking team leader

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid)

· international flight to Kabul roundtrip (about USD 900 – 1200)
· international medical insurance,
· Afghanistan visa (100 – 150 USD in Afghanistan embassy in advance, price can be changed),
· personal items, souvenirs,
· alcohol, soft drinks,
· photo fees to the people you photograph
· single supplement
· tips

To take with:

· two wear sets (trousers, long sleeve shirt, T-shirt, underwear, socks, sun hat);
· light jacket, warm jacket with wind stopper for highlands (can be cool, up to +10 C in the mountains);
· comfortable shoes, slippers;
· raincoat;
· swimsuit;
· sun and wind protection means (cream, sunglasses, sun hat)
· travel backpack (or bag, or suitcase);
· small waterproof backpack for personal stuff and photo-, video cameras;
· personal medical kit (analgesic, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydration, court plaster, medicine from motion sickness, your personal medicine, pills from mountainous sickness);
· personal hygiene items (towel, soap, many wet tissues as no shower for number of days);
· anti mosquito repellents;
· photo-, video camera;
· additional batteries for cameras and power bank

Best season: June – September

One of the highest capitals in the world, which has absorbed the influence of the most diverse cultures of the world - Persian, Indian, Chinese and even Greek

The Bamiyan Buddha statues - monumental structures from the 6th century CE that were the largest standing Buddha sculptures for years.

The ancient city of Herat, which for many centuries remained the center of science, trade and culture.

Bande Amir - six stunningly beautiful bright blue lakes and fantastic landscapes of the national park.

Immerse yourself in Afghan flavor, Afghan cuisine and Afghan hospitality.

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