I just got back from Kabul, Herat, Baghlan, Mazar and Ankoi. (see my pre-travel post dated December). Kabul and Afghanistan are very expensive. You can thank the NGOS for that. Their company pays the expenses, and no-one seems to care about high prices, or cant do anything about it. And there may be a security premium added to the price. The one I stayed at was good concidering circumstances, with good security. ($80.00 per day). I do not want to mention the name , but if one wants to correspond by email I may. Outside of Kabul you can expect $30.00 to $80.00 with less security. Conditions in Herat are better. Most NGOs and expats in Kabul are not allowed to walk the streets. Their companies forbid it. If you are traveling on your own, like I was you can do whatever you want. Businesses that cater to foreigners don't have any signs, so it's a bit difficult to get around at first. Taxis are cheap and convenient, but don't take any taxi that approaches you (for obvious reasons), you need to approach them. And they will have no idea where you want to go. My first five days in Kabul saw three IEDs, but it's a big city, and your risk of getting caught in one is small. Take a lot of money, or better, several ATM cards. Is a cash society. A few ATMS take plastic and dispense USD.
Helmand is a large province with an area of 23,058 square miles in the south of Afghanistan that borders Kandahar province, Oruzgan province, Ghowr province, Farah province, Nimruz province and Pakistan to the south. It's capital is Lashkar Gah. In the 1960s it was the centre of a US development project that built irrigation canals around the country. You can see lots of canals as you approach the south of the province. This was abandoned when the communists seized power. Today Helmand is quite wild westish. Lots of violence and it produces the most opium in Afghanistan. It produces 1/5 of the world's opium. There are a lot of ruins from old mud castles here. I was told that one castle that I saw was destroyed by Alexander the Great on his way through.
The Registan is a fair sized desert that stretches across the southern Afghan provinces. It is like most deserts, very hot and sandy. Some parts of the desert irrigation canals stretch into bringing some green veins into it and other parts are just barren. One of the things I really didn't like about is was the extremely sharp grass that would poke you through your clothes. One thing to look for are the Kuchi nomads and there temporary settlements although many are displaced now because of a long lasting drought in the region.
Kandahar Province is located in the south of Afghanistan. It is bordered by Zabol Province in the east, Oruzgan Province in the north, Helmand Province in the west and Pakistan to the south. It's capital city is Kandahar. Basically it is mountains in the north and desert in the south. Despite it being a violent and dangerous place, there is some amazing scenery here. I just love barren mountains with lush green valleys which there are a few here. You have a fairly modern city (relatively speaking in Afghanistan terms) with traditional mud villages. There are somethings you must watch out for. There are lots of marijuana fields and I believe it is number 2 in opium production in Afghanistan. Oh and at time of writing there is that on going insurgency.
that's the only thing there is, in afghanistan: unbeaten paths.
the only asphalt rd is the desert highway from kabul to herat via qandahar.
i strongly recommend to use motorbikes rather than the shared toyota hiace taxis.
you can buy a second hand Honda bike 125 cc in kabul for 500 dollars and sell it for 400 in herat.
fuel's on the way in bigger villages. that rocks much less than the cars, with all these ruts on the mud tracks.
In Kabul? I should upload probably a 100 pics.
But well, I think that these is a real hygienic "challenge". Go to get a cut hair at a local barber.
Real funny and scary. I went to these place, and there he was, an old Afghan, with an old scissors and I knife like one of those for hunting.
I just closed my eyes and said my prayers.
It wasn't bad, at least I'm still having hair on my head.
Due to 20 years of war, there is no "beaten path" in Afghanistan. Most people have never seen a westerner before and I doubt very much if Aghanistan is going to be overrun within a few decades to come.
Afghanistan is never going to be part of the major tourist route which is actually excellent, as tourism has a nasty habit of destroying the local people.
For years to come, Afghanistan will be one of the most intriguing and exciting destinations for the not-too-scary traveller.
The country must be one of the best places in the world for "people watching" and it certainly doesn't hurt that the Muslim hospitaly by far exceeds the urge to kill the "infidels". The Afghans regard you as a true friend.
If you wanna go to a remote corner of Afghanistan , head north east to the Vakhan area bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan. Its a remote area with wonderful nature. Another good thing is that it has been more or less completely untouched by the war in Afghanistan. This because of its isolation from the rest of the country. PHOTO: Yaks in the Pamir mountains of Vakhan, Afghanistan.
Women waering blue burkas in Kabul is something normal but there are some pictures in which the blues sky matches perfectly with the color of the dress.
After almost 4 years in Afghanistan, for a change, I thought of spending some nights in the most...more
Good for: Solo
I stayed in Park Palace Guest House in Oct 2010. There is no proper shop near the guest house. The...more