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Trekking in the Fann Mountains

A Wild Expedition to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

TOTAL DISTANCE: 60km trekking

MAX ALTITUDE: 4750 meters

TOUR DURATION: 14 days

LODGING: Mix of camping, hotels

GROUP SIZE: 10 people Max

trekking in fann mountains
Map of tour route

Overview

Nestled in one of the world’s most rugged, remote, and rarely visited corners lies a stash of priceless jewels and artifacts, guarded by staggering giants. 

These jewels are the pristine, sparkling lakes and alpine scenes of the Fann Mountains. 

The Fann Mountains of Tajikistan hide some of the most beautiful natural attractions and exciting trails in all of Asia. Crystalline lakes, barren mountain peaks, and the occasional nomadic family are all that is to be found in this remote land.

And for that reason, we are beyond stoked to take you there. 

Join us on a new trek unlike any we’ve done before. Explore the Fann Mountains and visit the fabled Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara in addition.

This expedition is a cultural and natural wonder for those who truly want to get off the beaten path. 

Why We Love This Trip

  • Alpine lakes – The Fann Mountains hide some of the bluest and purest lakes you may ever encounter.
  • Trekking in remote areas – This is not a typical itinerary and features a lot of off-the-beaten-path locations in the Fann Mountains. It’s a true wilderness experience.
  • Interacting with local communities – Shepherd families regularly tend to their herds in the surrounding mountains, and they’re very interested in visitors.
  • Self-supported trekking – The terrain is rugged and the nearest civilization is very far away. If this excites you, you’ll be in your element.
  • Silk Road history – The legendary oasis cities of Samarkand and Bukhara are also featured on this itinerary. We spend several days in both.
  • Natural and cultural sites – Mosques, mountains, madrassas, and multi-colored lakes — this program has it all.

Upcoming Dates

Dates

Places

Deposit

Full

August 20th - September 2ndAvailable$500$2690

REFUNDS RELATED TO COVID-19  

  • Clients are entitled to have FULL TRIP BALANCE moved to a future trip (credit) OR request a FULL REFUND if we cancel the tour due to complications related to Covid-19

GENERAL REFUND POLICY – Read our full Refund Policy

  • Cancellation Less than 90 days until the start of the tour: NO REFUND – Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 
  • Cancellation with more than 90 days before the start of the tour: 50% of the trip balance payment (less the deposit amount). Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip.
  • Cancellation with more than 160 days before the start of the tour: Full refund minus the trip deposit. Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip.  

Have a question or ready to book?

Whether you’re just curious about this trip or are ready to make a deposit, we’re here for you.

To submit an inquiry or make a trip deposit, please fill out and submit the form below.

Highlights of the Tour

  • Trekking in some of the most obscure mountains in the world. 
  • High-alpine adventure and crossing a 4750-meter pass.
  • The chance to meet and interact with local shepherd communities.
  • Lots of opportunities to photograph the Fann Mountain’s famous turquoise lakes. 
  • Lakeside camping and plenty of stars.
  • 3 days exploring the legendary silk road oasis cities: Samarkand and Bukhara. 
  • Some of the most elegant madrassas and tilework in the Muslim world.
  • Comradery, new skills, and team-building with your fellow adventurers.

Itinerary

Early morning arrival in Samarkand either via Istanbul or Tashkent. After meeting, we spend the rest of the day exploring the cultural sites of the old city, including the famous madrassas of Registan.

In the evening, we will meet again for a group dinner and will have a briefing outlining the rest of the trip.

We depart from Samarkand early and head for the Tajik border, situated only 40 km away (1 hour drive). We will walk across the border and meet jeeps on the other side.

From the border, we will drive to ancient Panjakent and stop at a local market before moving on Artuch Base Camp. We will spend the night here before beginning our 9 day/8 night trek.

6 km walking. 670m elevation gain.  Sleep at 2830m.

Today is the first of our 8-days trekking, We depart from Arctuch Camp and make for the picturesque Kulikalon Lakes. Overall, today is a moderate hiking day and a good chance to get our legs warmed up.

5 km total walking. 160m elevation gain. Sleep at 2990m.

An easy trekking day as we walk a relatively short distance to a nearby group of lakes. Situated at the base of a mountain cirque, this is one of the most photogenic spots in our Fann Mountains trek.

 

9 km total walking. 870 meter elevation gain and 1080 meter loss. Top out at 3860m. Sleep at 2780m.

The first alpine pass we cross in the Fann Mountains! At the top, you will be afforded amazing views of the lakes below and surrounding mountains. 

Following our descent of Alaudin Pass, we will arrive at the Alaudin (Chapdara) Lakes. Total trekking time should be around 6 hours. We will eat dinner at a local teahouse near the lakes and will pick up a food stash for the following days.

7 km total waling. 740m elevation gain. Sleep at 3520m.

Today we veer south and head for Mutney Lake: the halfway point of this trek. A moderate hiking day before the push up to the trek’s highpoint,  Chimtarga Pass, the next day. Sleep at the lake.

6 km total walking. 1040 meters elevation gain. Sleep at 4560m.

A steep ascent up to Chimtarga High Camp just below Chimtarga Col. We will bivvy here and cross the pass the next day.

Note: our pack animals will only be able to walk until 4000 meters and will not be able to cross the pass. Porters can be hired in the place of pack animas but this must be done in advance.

9 km total walking. 190m elevation gain and drop 1,600 m. High point is 4,750m. Sleep at 3,150m.

Chimtarga Col is the highest pass on this Fann Mountain itinerary. But it won’t feel like a difficult crossing since we gained most of our elevation the day before!

Following a brief rest at the top of the pass – where we are afforded excellent views of the two highest mountains in the range, Chimtarga (5,489m) and Energyia (5,109m) – we make the long descent down to Big Allo Lake.

We arrive at Big Allo Lake and give our feet a much needed rest. 

0 km total walking. 0m elevation gain. Sleep at 3,150m.

We spend a full day resting at Big Allo Lake after conquering Chimtarga Col. Those feeling EXTRA brave can attempt to go for a refreshing swim in the frigid lake.

6 km total walking. 810 meter descent. Sleep at 2,340m.

A moderate hiking day where we descend down to Small Allo Lake from Big Allo Lake. This is our last night camping in the wilderness.

6 km total walking. 560 meter descent.

We make our final descent  and meet our jeeps at the end of the trail before saying goodbye to our hosts for the last week: the Fann Mountains. 

From the trailhead, we head straight to the border and cross back into Uzbekistan. We spend the night in Samarkand again, where hot showers await.

We depart from Samarkand at midday and take the high-speed train to Bukhara: another fabled oasis city on the old Silk Road. Bukhara is similar to Samarkand but offers a superior sightseeing experience.

We check into a guesthouse upon arrival and spend a half-day exploring the city while guided.

We spend the morning in Bukhara before catching the afternoon train back to Samarkand. 

We check into our hotel and have one last debriefing, talking all about our favorite moments from the trip.

The final day where we say goodbye to one another and the amazing country that has hosted us. Transfers from the hotel to Samarkand International Airport will be arranged. 

Note: Epic Backpacker Tours will not be responsible for arranging transport for those departing from Tashkent International Airport or elsewhere.

night in khiva uzbekistan

Extra Excursions and Ad Ons​

Spend an extra two days with us as we go on a side trip to Uzbekistan’s least visited but arguably most beautiful oasis town: Khiva

Khiva is far off the beaten path and much harder to access than Bukhara or Samarkand. For this reason, many exclaim that it offers the most authentic experience of all Uzbekistan’s oasis towns. It’s ancient walls, minarets, and madrassas are all impeccably preserved and can rival anything in Registan or Old Bukhara. 

This trip extension includes additional accommodation in hotels, train ticket from Bukhara to Khiva, return flight to Tashkent, and a local guide for the entire 2-day duration. 

Total price: $360

Dates in question: September 7th – 8th

What People Have to Say

FAQ

Participants will need consider visa procedures for two countries on this trip: one for Uzbekistan and one for Tajikistan.

Many Western nations do not need a visa to visit Uzbekistan. US citizens will need to arrange a visa beforehand. Those who need visas can acquire them either via an online portal or by applying at your local embassy.

Note: you will need a DOUBLE-entry visa for Uzbekistan.

The visa policy of Tajikistan is much more relaxed. Most Western nations, including the USA and Canada, don’t need one to enter the country.

Always check before booking the visa policy of both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for your nationality.

The dominant language in Uzbekistan is Uzbek, a form of Turkic. In Tajikistan, it is Tajik, a form of Persian. Various communities also peak their own dialects. 

Russian is the de facto language of both countries though and is widely understood by all. 

The total length of the self-contained section of the trek is about 60 kilometers done over 9 days. Yet unlike hut-to-hut trekking common in Europe and Nepal, our trip involves wild camping, mostly on pristine alpine meadows above the treeline.

Remaining self-contained allows for more tranquility and enables a more intimate connection with nature. This also means no lodges, no showers and no maintained trails. We may spend days – or even the entire trek – without seeing any other humans.

The trekking season in the Fann Mountains is short, and sometimes made shorter by high snowfall in either spring or autumn. Summers are relatively dry but storms can happen at any time of the year. By September, it can be quite cold at higher elevations. 

Fairy Meadows

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Our Favorite Experiences

#1 Sunrise from Reflection Lake

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#2 Hiking to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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#3 Playing cricket with the locals

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Trips Where We Visit Fairy Meadows

Our flagship Pakistani adventure tour.  Road trip with some  hiking and cultural immersion.

A trekking-style tour that features some very remote locations, inlcuding a K2 viewpoint.

Adventure Guide

João has born in the mountains of Madeira Islands in Portugal. Nature lover, writer, musician, guide, for him, a day without contact with outdoor vibes is a nightmare.

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K.

João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Guiding, crazy trekking missions, sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions.

After his trek to K2 Base Camp and other adventures in the north of Pakistan, the love of the country and the local people resulted in his desire to share these feelings with world.

When not in Pakistan, João is  guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails –  discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

João I can not thank you enough for the off the beaten paths and views you keep giving. Definitely one of the most challenging and amazing hikes we did 1200m meters all the way up to Fanal forest and circling back to the hidden village. Wow!

– Jeffery 

travel hunza valley

Adventure Guide

Sohail is the newest addition to the Epic Backpacker Tours team and we are beyond stoked to have him on board. As a veteran of the Karakoram and a native of Karimabad in Hunza, there is not much Sohail can’t do in the mountains. 

Besides having the ability to speak more languages than we can count, Sohail has explored every corner of Gilgit Baltistan and logs more trekking miles 

in a year than most people will do in a lifetime. As of the summer of 2022, Sohail has summited Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and K2 – three of Pakistan’s five 8000-meter peaks. Sohail guides several trips including our annual bespoke expeditions but specializes in Hunza Valley tours.

Chris and Sohail, and the team at Epic are FANTASTIC! Highly recommend anyone to do a tour with ‘Epic’. They have the perfect balance of fun, excitement and wild adventures, tied in with being super professional and ensuring your safety/health in a foreign environment. Don’t waste a moment and book a tour with these guys as the value for money is UNREAL!

– Borgan

iran travel tour

Adventure Guide

Pedro’s been traveling all around the globe since 2009. His keen interests in documentary photography, rural life, and local people from different ethnic groups have been the focus of many of his professional projects.

Since 2012, he has developed his passion for travel and awesome shared experiences into a full-time adventure photography tour leader position.

Pedro has found himself continuously going back to the Middle East, with his likely favorite destination being Iran. Pedro will be leading his 11th tour in Iran with EBT this coming spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Backpacker Tours, you’ll find him based in the western south of Portugal planning he’s next adventure missions, logistics and working out his photos in local exhibitions.

 I loved the combination of hiking, camping around breathtaking scenery mixed with the cultural aspects. The guide (Pedro) is knowledgeable and work very hard to make the trip as memorable as possible. All in all an epic adventure with some extremely epic individuals! Go for it, you won’t regret it!

– Saisun

Touring Iran with EBT in May 2022 was way above our expectation: itineraries well planned and carefully executed, perfect mix of sights and trekking, delicious food, nice accommodation, great guides and wonderful fellow travellers. Trekking can be handled by anyone physically fit. Highly recommended for those who want to experience the real Iran.

– Sumera

Diane Bouvet

Adventure Admin / Marketing

After fleeing from the corporate fashion world in Paris towards the start of 2020, Diane has been working as a web developer and graphic designer remotely from various bases across the globe

She brings all of her incredible design and organizational power to Epic Backpacker Tours and is responsible for many of the beautiful behind-the-scenes design elements. 

Diane has been to Iran and to Pakistan twice including all over Gilgit Baltistan and KPK.

k2 base camp trek guide

Head of Operations | Guide

A veteran of Pakistan travel, Ralph is an experienced guide, photographer and writer who specializes in documenting remote locations. 

Not one to simply go where everyone else does, he insists on exploring new and lesser-known areas.

Together with Epic Backpacker Tours, he shows people parts of Pakistan that most other operators don’t even know about. He is particularly fond of the village of Barah, which he believes will become just as famous as Hunza one day.

Just got back from EBT’s Trekking Amongst Giants 15 day tour. The experience was first class. Ralph, our head guide, ensured that the entire trip ran smoothly and relatively on time (a bonus for anyone travelling in Pakistan). We had so many unforgettable days on the tour and the trekking was well-planned, safe but also a rewarding challenge. 

– Calvin


Traveling to a non-tourist destination can be a little intimidating but EBT takes all of the worry and trepidation away. From the pre-trip call to meeting the wonderful staff in person you can tell that you are dealing with a company that has a passion for what they do each and every day. Ralph, Zahid, and Khan were supportive, kind, and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone on the trip was getting what they wanted out of the experience.

– Katrina 

adventure tours pakistan

Founder | Adventure Guide | Director

For the last eleven years, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe and had visited more than 65 countries along the way. 

Since 2011, Chris has logged more than 6300 trail miles across five continents and climbed multiple 6000 + 7000 meter peaks in Pakistan and Nepal.

In 2017, a distant dream and a deep passion for the mountains and people of Pakistan led Chris to found Epic Backpacker Tours at a time when foreign adventure tourism in Pakistan was almost nonexistent. Since then, Chris has guided more than 15 expeditions to various parts of Northern Pakistan.

Chris believes in using photography and powerful adventure experiences to dismantle negative stereotypes regarding what mainstream media considers “dangerous” countries while facilitating unique and meaningful memories in the mountains for countless people from around the globe. 

Long-distance hiking, learning languages, meaningful conversations, all things Turkish food, mountaineering, and making tasty coffee above 6,000 meters rank among his favorite things in life. 

For him, an ideal start to the day begins with a steaming cup of good coffee, the beam of a headlamp, alpine boots, and a camera in hand.

When he is not leading or planning tours, Chris works as a writer and photographer on his blog Off the Atlas – an adventure travel blog all about Pakistan. 

 

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Will De Villers

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Alicia Anne Bjerkseth