Afghanistan Travel Guide

Afghanistan Adventure Travel Guide: Ideas and Inspiration

PureTravel says: “For the first time in many years, it is actually possible to travel to beautiful Afghanistan. It’s the ideal destination for trekking these mountainous lands so well-known for the friendly and hospitable people who live here. Turbaned men sell their wares as you wind through Kabul’s crowded streets. Explore mysterious archaeological sites and tour the Bandi Amir Lakes. With so few visitors coming, the options are open to you. As long as you remain cautious and follow security concerns in your travels, you can stay safe while you take in the proud cities and surrounding valleys and passes.”
Tour Highlights

Trekking – You should get a competent guide to lead the way, one who is trained in security. This will assure your safe travel as you trek the Khyber Pass or discover the deep-blue waters of the five lakes of Band-e-Amir (Dam of the King). You’ll be moving up to an altitude of over 9,500 feet (2,900 meters). You’ll pass fascinating nomads as they travel to high pastures on their camels and you’ll see the farmers below in the valleys tending their fields.

Horse Trekking – Starting in Salang, you can take yaks and horses into the Wakhan corridor. This is one of the least visited places in the entire world, and few have managed to make the trip to this breathtaking area.

Camping – If you obtain permits from the village elders, you can camp safely in the Wakhan. Once again, it is important you hire a guide who is trained to care for your safety.

Culture – To wind through the incredible bazaars of Afghanistan's capital has been a dream of many that hasn’t come to fruition. Kabul was destroyed by war in 2001, but you can still find many attractions for visitors. There is a museum within the Gardens of Babur, which you simply can’t pass up, and the ancient walls of a citadel. Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar Province and has beautiful flowering shrubs and cypress trees. The Red City or Shahr-I-Zahak is the location of yet another citadel you can view. A key archaeological site is the ancient city of Balkh where you can take in the history of Afghanistan. See the city that Alexander the Great made his headquarters by going to Bactria. This land is dramatic and mostly untamed and is something not to be missed.

Climbing – In Bamiyan, you can climb the carved niches in the cliffs overlooking the valley below. These are 180 meters high and will give you a view you won’t forget.
When To Go

Ensure your trip to Afghanistan is planned not only by checking the weather, but also by checking what is happening in the country politically. From September to November is the best time to visit since the weather is pleasant with little rain. The temperature is around 80 degrees F (20 degrees C). If you don’t mind some rain, March to May is also a good time as the blossoms are grand. Roads can be a bit difficult to navigate due to the rain and melting snow at this time of year, however.
Top Tips

- Use a specialist tour operator who will have local knowledge.
- There are mines through much of Afghanistan so to travel outside the urban areas can be risky.
- Avoid political gatherings and demonstrations.
- Travel only during the daylight hours.
Classic Itineraries

- A short taxi ride from Mazar-e-Sharif will bring you to the ancient city of Balkh, once compared to Babylon as to its size and splendour.
- In Herat, you should see the Pai Hesar castle, a fortress with towering walls which was built for Alexander the Great.
- If you drive to see the Salang tunnel, you will be driving through one of the highest tunnels in the world.
- Minaret of Jam, built in the 12th century, is a 213-foot (65 meters) archaeological wonder that has dizzying views from the top.
UNESCO World Heritage Site

- Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam
- Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley
Travel Resources

By Julie Bowman

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