Lifestyle - Travel with S&B

Wakhan Corridor; The Hidden Gem You All Need To Visit

Wakhan-Corridor-Feature-Image

They say difficult roads lead to the most beautiful destinations. The saying can’t be more true when we speak of the journey to the Wakhan Corridor

Is Wakhan Corridor a city? No, it is a narrow strip of land in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan and is about 217 miles long and less than 9 miles wide. It is situated at the crossroads of Pakistan, Tajikistan, China, and Afghanistan.

Geographical Location

The corridor connects China with Afghanistan. It is this narrow piece of land that also separates Tajikistan from Pakistan. Hence, it has excellent geo-strategic importance.

You can only safely enter the corridor from Ishkashim, Tajikistan, as entering from Afghanistan is relatively dangerous. Crossing into China or Pakistan is illegal. If you wish to visit the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan, it is super easy, although a bit expensive. 

The place also has great historical value as it was part of the great silk route. In the 19th century, it also served as the buffer zone between Russia and Britain due to the awesome geo-political games.

The Wakhan Corridor tourism has recently gained acclaim among trekkers and mountaineers for its breathtaking beautiful sights. With uncertain security situations and challenging terrain, it appears to be a land frozen in time. Hence, it has remained untouched by mainstream tourism, preserving the inhabitants’ traditional way of life. 

However, the adventurous journey to Wakhan is promised to be well worth all your efforts and resources. With beautiful landscapes, scenic views, rich history, and rustic traditions, you will need a week at least to fully see and explore the Wakhan Corridor, a place of incomparable beauty.

It is essential to have a thorough plan of action when making this journey. So that you may be aware of all the hurdles that may come your way and make the best use of your resources, this list will provide you with all the information you’ll need for an adventure to this hidden gem.

Sensational Seasons

Wakhan Corridor - Sensational Seasons

 

As Wakhan is a cold region, the tourist season lasts a short period, from May to October. August to mid-September time is the optimal time for any hiking. 

By early September, however, snow can close trails and roads for the season. The region’s inhabitants travel from higher altitudes to lower areas during the winter due to the extreme temperatures.

Planning your trip from mid-September to October will bring you to Winter Wonderland with snow-laden mountains, icy rivers, and frozen lakes, which are perfect for ice skating if you are that adventurous.

From April to early June, melting snow swells rivers and high water blocks road access to many areas, making some river crossings impassable. Flooding and landslides are also possible in some areas.

The beautiful autumn colors in Pamir, Wakhan Corridor, are a swoon-worthy sight. However, the pretty autumn evenings usually predict that rough winters are around the corner. 

Majestic Mountains

Wakhan corridor is surrounded by steep, rough mountains of the Pamir, Tien Shan, Karakoram, and the Hindu Kush. These major mountain ranges are beautiful backdrops all around the Wakhan Corridor.

These mountains are one of the biggest attractions of the Wakhan Corridor for trekkers, hikers, photographers, and adventurers. Wildlife enthusiasts also flock to these wildlife preserves.

Gorgeous Landscapes

Wakhan Corridor - Gorgeous landscape

 

It is just a little sneak peek into what this place offers. Some of the most beautiful views of Wakhan Corridor look like they came straight out of a fantasy movie. Wouldn’t you want to experience the beauty of this Utopia for yourself?

Wakhan Corridor is also called the land of lakes.

Scenic Sunsets

The sunsets in this mountainous region are so dramatic that they give an old wild west-type vibe where you can picture a cowboy riding off on a horse. Sitting on the edge of these mountains and enjoying such majestic sunsets will surely be the best part of your trip to the Wakhan corridor. 

The Starry Heavens

Wakhan Corridor - The Starry Heavens

 

The sky stretches on forever, revealing millions of galaxies and nebulae. A sight lost to the new generation; it remains clear and beautiful in this part of the world. A vision of utter grandiosity, and purity, the beautiful starry sky is to be celebrated and cherished.

So plan a camping trip with your loved one, family, or friends and spend a night under the stars, huddled under cozy blankets and watching the celestial ring.

Wild And Free Nature

Watching cattle grazing in the wild is a peaceful and beautiful picture that resonates deeply within the soul. Seeing a herd of horses running together on open grounds under the open sky is an epic dream. Such relaxing visions are plentiful in the wild Wakhan Corridor for a getaway to soothe the soul.

Besides, the Bibi Fatima hot springs on the Tajikistan side of the Wakhan Corridor are a refreshing and rejuvenating haven after a long and exhausting day of traveling. To be warned, though, wearing any sort of clothing in the waters is a grave offense.

Ruins & Fortresses

A remote land with a rich history and landmarks of the antiquity period reflects the hustle and bustle and the grandiosity of the silk road. 

The ruins of the fortress of Alexander the Great fortress, overlooking the Pamir mountains and the Silk Road, Wakhan Corridor is one of the most ancient sites worth visiting. The huge Yamchun Fort is yet another grand spectacle of the past and the silk road.

Wakhan Corridor - Ruins And Fortress

 

The Khaakhaa fortress, dated 3rd century BCE, Namadgut, a tiny village in Tajikistan, Wakhan Corridor, is another ancient site you must visit. A little fort town built to protect the traders of the ancient silk road is yet another quaint little relic of the past in Gilgit-Baltistan, Wakhan Corridor.

The Wakhan valley has multitudes of such temples and pagoda ruins speaking of old religions and faiths known to the region.

Wildlife Sanctuary

The entire Wakhan region was designated as the protected Wakhan National Park in 2014. Flora and fauna include some 600 plant species. The snow leopard, wolf, brown bear, ibex, Marco Polo sheep, etc., are some animals of this region. 

So spread the word to bird watchers and animal enthusiasts. Gear up and bring your photography equipment to capture some of these wonderful creatures for yourself.

Beautiful People

The two major ethnic groups living here are the Wakhis and Kyrgyz. The nomadic Kyrgyz shepherds had fled to escape from Russian influence in the early 20th century to the rougher high altitudes. The Wakhis practice agriculture in the river valleys, and the Kyrgyz herd animals in the summer pastures at higher elevations, both rely on each other for survival.

 

Wakhan Corridor - Beautiful People

 

The people living in poverty and harsh conditions with limited resources are severely criticized due to their opium addiction, which is usually their only source of medication. However, most of them have hearts of gold. They are friendly, hospitable, and welcoming to guests and tourists.

Culture & Traditions

The Wakhis are mainly of the Ismaili faith, while the Kirgiz are of the Sunni faith. However, many traces of different faiths can be found in the Wakhan Corridor. Many burial sites have been adorned with clothes and horns of the Marco polo sheep, an Ismaili tradition or that of the pre-Islamic faith.

 

Wakhan Corridor - Culture & Traditions

 

The Kyrgyz people mainly live in Yurts, houses made of straw, clay, and wood. The people of Wakhan are extremely hard-working. While the males go out to earn their livelihood, the women and children work in the fields, milk cattle, weave, etc. The men hold gatherings around the fireplace at night where they discuss affairs and enjoy each other’s company.

The men also enjoy a horseback sport called Buzkashi, which they play with a goat’s head. The sport can be quite brutal, as people can end up with broken bones or fractures.

Adventure Trails

Are you looking for an adventure? If so, Wakhan Corridor is the perfect place for you. Walking on these roughly made bridges fright many people, so if you’re brave, an explorer, or an adventurer, this is your chance to discover the place for yourself.

How does Kayaking in the clear blue waters of the lakes sound? Imagine yourself being there. The sights are unimaginably pretty. Are you a hiker? A mountaineer? The Wakhan Corridor has plenty of high peaks. Prepare your gear and head to Wakhan. Your new adventure has come calling.

 

Wakhan Corridor - Adventure Trails

 

How about dirt biking in the dunes or cycling? Maybe you are a thrill seeker? Wakhan Corridor is a challenge waiting for a conquerer. There is always something to do for all of you. So what are you waiting for? Make your next trip to the Wakhan Corridor and tell others about this paradise. If you are a first-time traveler, I would suggest keeping these 12  things in mind before making your journey to this beautiful place. 

Munazza Aasim, a Psychology student currently doing her Master, also shares a passion for writing and literature. Currently residing in Karachi with her family, she has big dreams for her future and a vivid imagination. An INTJ personality type, she is an Introvert who enjoys solving puzzles, writing, and reading. She also enjoys watching movies, series, dramas from different countries, and anime.

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