This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
© Lonely Planet Publications

20

Itineraries

CLASSIC ROUTES

KABUL EXPLORER

One Week

It’s easy to get swept up in the hectic atmosphere of Kabul ( p79 ), a city struggling through the birth pangs of recovery. There’s an enormous amount to check out – the battered but recently reopened Kabul Mu- seum, the wonderfully restored Babur’s Gardens and the OMAR Land- mine Museum. Take time to experience some of the more traditional corners too, such as the birdsellers of Ka Faroshi and the hustle of Man- dayi Market along Kabul River. If you’re lucky, you might be in time for a kite-flying festival or a winter game of buzkashi – Afghan polo, played with a dead goat. A walk along the old city walls can bring some welcome relief from Kabul’s infamous bad air. For real refreshment, get out of the city. A short drive north across

the Shomali Plain will bring you to the traditional mountain village of Istalif ( p107 ). The village is famous for its rustic pottery – a great sou- venir. Don’t forget to stop to buy sweet grapes from roadside sellers on the Shomali Plain. Carrying along the same road, switch northeast as the mountains rise to enter the Panjshir Valley ( p110 ). Panjshir was home to the legendary mujaheddin commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who never allowed it to be captured by the Soviets or the Taliban; his grave lies halfway up the valley. Closer to home, Qargha Lake ( p108 ) is a popular picnic getaway for

Kabulis. You can even tee off here for a round at the Kabul Golf Club. The damaged model village of Paghman ( p108 ) is nearby – battered but green, and with tremendous views that are worth a detour.

If you’re short of time or just based in the capital, this itinerary offers a

series of day trips to get you out of the city and give you a quick taste of Afghanistan at large.

Istalif Paghman

KABUL

Herat

Qargha Lake

Balkh

e Sharif Mazar-

Salang Pass (3363m)

Band-e Amir Lakes

Bamiyan

KABUL

Khyber Pass

If you have a few weeks to spare, this version of the over- land itinerary is the perfect introduc- tion to Afghanistan, taking in the best of its cities, scenery and culture.

lonelyplanet.com

HIPPY TRAIL

ITINERARIES •• Classic Routes 21

Two to Three Weeks

remains a tricky security prospect. At Mazar-e Sharif ( p148 ) the blue domes of the Shrine of Hazrat Ali mark Afghanistan’s holiest site. The ruins of once-mighty Balkh ( p155 ) are a stone’s throw away, with crumbling city walls and ancient mosques. As you leave Mazar-e Sharif, the plains gradually rise into the Hindu Kush mountains. Cross the Salang Pass ( p112 ), the main route between north and south Afghanistan. Although the road is good, the traffic is crazy, so you’ll be pleased to arrive in the capital, Kabul ( p79 ). This is a city with lots to experience, from Mughal gardens to mine museums, as well as Chicken Street – one of the hubs of the Hippy Trail in the 1970s. Kabul’s lively restaurant scene will also make a change from the usual diet of kebabs and rice. From Kabul, allow several days to make a side trip to Bamiyan ( p114 ).

Enter Afghanistan by crossing the Iranian border near Mashhad and head to the old Silk Road city of Herat ( p132 ). There’s an enormous amount to see and do here, from taking in the views from the imposing Citadel to admiring the fabulous mosaic tiling of the Friday Mosque. After a few days, strike northwest – by air rather than land, as the latter

Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass ( p185 ), an iconic travel experience that has been the gateway to the Indian subcontinent throughout the centuries.

The Taliban-destroyed Buddha statues have left a yawning hole, but the valley is still one of the most beautiful in Afghanistan. It’s a short drive from here to the gorgeous blue lakes of Band-e Amir ( p122 ). Returning to Kabul, you can head for the Pakistan border. Leave

Kabul Explorer

Hippy Trail

j

s

h e

i y

r

n a

l

l

P

a V Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com