The mountain countries of Central Asia have been a bit of a hidden gem for adventure travel in recent years. While the vast majority of people can’t find Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan on the map as of yet, the more adventurous travelers have begun to hear tales of rugged, remote mountain trails that weave their way through mostly unspoiled backcountry with some of the most stunning views on the planet.
That’s exactly what London Times reporter Caroline Eden found when she traveled through the High Pamir mountains of Tajikistan recently. She wrote about her experiences trekking amongst the 7000 meter peaks of the Geisev Valley, describing crystal clear mountain lakes, wide open skies, and tiny, remote villages populated by friendly, hospitable people. Best of all, the country has few tourists, which meant she often had the trails to herself, and many of her nights were spent staying with locals, which gave her a very personal glimpse into their daily lives.
The travel experience in Tajikistan has a lot to offer on the cultural and historical level as well. The former Soviet satellite has long been a crossroads for trade between the East and West, with major routes along the Silk Road passing through the country. Islam is the predominant religion now, but there are elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and even Zoroastrianism, each having an impact on the people that live there.
While that culture and history is interesting however, the big draw for the country is what it has to offer adventure travelers. Aside from the amazing trekking, there is plenty of rock climbing, horse and camel riding, and backpacking to keep you occupied for week, and mountaineers are also discovering the challenge of the “three giants” of the Pamirs, namely Peak Somoni, Peak Lenin and Peak Korzhenevskaya, which have earned there place amongst the top alpine climbing destinations in the region.