If I ask you to name 3 countries you’d like to visit in the world I am sure my next destination would be in everyone’s choice. Yes, sorry to make you jealous, you guessed it right, Tajikistan. Seriously when I planned this trip I had 4 main destinations in mind: Nepal, Myanmar, Papua and Tajikistan. Only Papua will have to wait for next time as it is quite expensive.
The closest village to the border on the Kyrgyz side is Sary Tash. That was my 1st goal and I started hitchhiking from Osh. As the traffic is very little in these areas almost any vehicle would stop but they may ask for money sometimes. Among the lifts I got a truck driver bought me lunch as I helped a bit to load some stuff and I went with a fat-ass sheep on the back of a lorry.
When I finally arrived to Sary Tash at 3 pm locals told me no vehicles would go to Tajikistan that late and a friendly one invited me to his train car where I slept and was offered lots of kumus (the delicious fermented mare milk I so much like) along with the usual tea/bread/butter/something else which makes for the nomads diet. The surroundings where very pretty.
Next day I went to the police control post to wait for someone to take me. A soldier gave some food and told me to take a nap at their bus and he’d let me know if something shows up. After 3 hours the first vehicle going on my direction came. Two guys in a Kamaz carrying food to sell at a Tajik bazaar. We agreed a fair price and departed. Other travelers told me I was quite lucky, it’s common to wait much longer there.
We spent 3 hours at the Kyrgyz border side as they had to bribe a lot of agents to go through. They were pissed. On the Tajik side they just gave some food to the officers and all sorted in 10 min.
I love remote border crossings but this one was probably the best in my life. The shitty road, the altitude, the cold and all those police-soldiers around… It was more soviet than this
After the border we kept going. The truck was breaking every few kilometers so the guys had to get down to fix it. I started to feel real sympathy for the two poor fuckers. With all the adversities they still managed to arrive on time to Murgab for the bazaar making a record time of 18 hours for 200 km.
Murghab is like an ugly dog, you like it because you pity it. It’s a shithole in the middle of nowhere, no trees God knows how many kms around. One interesting thing to do there is to ask for the internet. Everyone would send me from one place to another. At the end the route ends always in a place where an old man with a Kyrgyz hat (it’s him!!! I found it googling for kyrgyz hat, he was even wearing the same jumper, amazing!) will say ‘nyet’ crossing his arms. You won’t get online, you have to drive 6 hours for that, but you will know well the village and its friendly folks.
My favorite part of Murghab was the bazaar, a bunch of containers that work as shops, all with the same stuff, a good place for stock on biscuits for going trekking. My friends were there with their truck, so was another friendly man giving me lots of apples any time I was passing by.