Decades of war have created over two million orphans in Afghanistan. If you have an opportunity to visit the orphanages, stop by to visit, . And if you can bring any donations of clothes or school supplies, they are greatly appreciated. The children we visited were divided into a girls class and a boys class. They were all so very happy and eager to learn! Teachers were never short of volunteers willing to answer questions. There are also some very talented artists to be found in the young children. Due to capacity, some only offer half day classes in order to accomodate two sessions of students per day.
In Afghanistan, locals are very choosy when it comes to kebab. Before you try Afghan kebab, ask the locals where the best shop is and for sure they will point you to their favourites.
Kebab is to Afghans as fish and chips is to Brits. Afghans wrap their Kebabs using used newspapers. Not clean really but well, that's how they do it in Afghanistan. Better eat it as you buy it.
So what's in store for you :D They sell lamb, beef and chicken kebabs.
Afghans love to have picnics! They build tents, sit down on their carpets and pillows while others roast lambs or sheeps. And picnic is no real picnic if there's no lake nearby. That's Afghan picnic, you see. Foreigners should not go alone as they will be considered invading territory. Wait till you getinvited by an Afghan family and benefit from the unique Afghan hospitality!
Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand Province, is relatively clean and decent looking city considering the area that it is in. Probably one of the reasons for that is because American engineers in the 1950s built modern Lashkar Gah as there headquarters for an irrigation project in the area. The history of this place does go back 1,000 years though. It orginally was a town for soldiers accompanying nobility on their way to a winter capital. Lashkar Gah means "place of soldiers." Today you can still see old castle/mansion ruins along the Helmand river in this city. It is located fairly close to the border with Kandahar province. Around the border of Helmand and Kandahar provinces there is a road that forks off of Highway 1 which will bring you to Lashkar Gah.
This is a real Oriental market, very exotic for a westerner, in the famous Chicken Street. There they sell everything unimaginable. Drinking chai with the sellers of handicrafts they started to propose me their goods and they were so affective and nice that I finished up buying them a lovely hand made carpet that today I care for like a treasure at home.
Kandahar is Afghanistan's second city after Kabul with a population of around 315,000-320,000. It is also the capital city of Kandahar Province. It is a very old city where modern Kandahar dates back to around 4th century BC and founded by Alexander the Great. In recent history it is most famous for the Taliban. It is here were they first conquered and then used as a base to capture about 90% of Afghanistan. The city is not overly crowded somewhat clean (in comparison to other developing nations big cities). A large part of the city mud brick buildings while in the westren side of the city has nice fancy buildings where some countries have diplomatic representation. It is located in the south of the country at the very important meeting place of Highway 1 (the ring road around the country) and Highway 4 (the main route to Pakistan in the south).
Since the entire country of Afghanistan is practicaly one giant battlefield, there is bound to be some leftovers from past battles. The Soviet war provides most of the war wreckage that you can see and there pieces of their military in many places over the country. The Soviets first came on Christmas Day in 1979 and February 15, 1989 they had announced that all their troops have left Afghanistan. Before you come close to old war machines make sure you check locally if it is safe to do so. What ever killed that tank or other military vehicles still might be in the area from landmines, UXOs or whatever other explosive device. You don't want to lose a leg just for a good photo.
there's nothing to do except crossing the country and gaping at landscapes.
perhaps the best thing is the central route, through highlands (passes till 3200 m), from kabul to herat. i did it in 10 days in march (incl 4 days walking - 2 of which were compulsory due to snow ont he pass and no cars). otherwise, you wait for toyota hiace 4x4 in bigger villages that take you to the next locations.
herat has a wonderful blue persian mosque.
mazar i sharif has ali's shrine and bouzkashi tournaments in march.
The Kabul Zoo is not the best zoo out there, as it is a bit sad. There are over 100 animals, including lions, bears, pigs, vultures, etc... The zoo is popular with locals and can see up to 3,000 people per week.
"Marjan" the one-eyed lion was the most famous resident of the Kabul zoo. Unfortunately, he died in January 2002 at the age of 40. Marjan survivesd all of the fighting in Kabul and even killed/ate a Taliban fighter that climbed into his den. The man's brother threw a grenade into the cage for revenge and Marjan lost his sight.
Open 6:00am to 6:00pm. Admission is 5 AFA.
This palace built in the 1920s by King Amannullah. As with most of Kabul, much of the building is destroyed from fighting that has taken place since1992. The palace was used by King Amannullah and later used as the Justice ministry and Defence ministry. Behind this palace is the former Defence Ministry.
King Nadir Shah's Mausoleum is the resting place for Afghan's royal family. It is visible from most of Kabul and you can imagine how magnificant this monument must have been in it's original glory.
There were a few guards present and an unofficial tour guide who spoke good English. Little boys ran around our legs, offering soda and cookies. They were very persistant! Before long we were found by a young man who had a key and led us down the stairs into the catacombs. The view of Kabul from this spot is spectacular! Mujaheddin fought over Kabul's high ground and also caused desturction from it.
I have driven the 12 hours from Kabul to Mazar-I-Sharif and back at least a dozen times and I fall in love with the majestic Hindu Kush all over again every time. The Salang Tunnel was built by the Russians during their occupation of Afghanistan. It is an amazing and eerie piece of architecture.
Badakhshan is a region comprising parts of northeastern Afghanistan and of Tajikistan. Badakhshanis constitute a distinct ethno-linguistic and religious community. They are descendent of the Iranians who populated the region in 1000 B.C. In Afghan Badakhshan the prevelant language is Persian.
Badakhshan has incredible natural beauty, with meandering rivers, beautiful greenery in a lovely hilly/mountainous region.
Although this is a water color, Bolan Pass is truely an amazing place. Afghanistan has an amazing geography. It is mostly mountainous and hilly, towering majestic cliffs, flowing rivers and breathtaking marvelous greenery.
When traveling in Afghanistan you will feel as if you are in one of those 1001Arabian Nights stories. Well dont forget, many stories in the Arabian Nights took place in Persia. At that time Afghanistan was part of the great Persian Empire. The mosques of Afghanistan are very colorful and extremely beautiful.
Bolan pass is an important natural gateway through the Central Brahui Range in Balochistan province, Pakistan, on the border of Afghanistan connecting Sibi with Quetta by road and railway. For centuries it has been a route for traders, invaders such as the Arabs and Persians, and nomadic tribes between India and higher Asia. It comprises a series of long, narrow valleys or gorges and extends for 55 miles (89 km) from Rindli in the south to Darwaza.
Mazar-i-Sharif (in Persian مزار شریف), is a city in northern Afghanistan and the capital of Balkh province. The dominant language in the city is Persian. Mazar-i-Sharif ("Tomb of The Chosen One") is home to the great Blue Mosque, Tomb Of Hazrat Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the fourth caliph of Islam. The tomb was covered with earth to escape the ravage of Genghis Khan in 1220 and remained lost until it was uncovered during the rebuilding work in 1480s.
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