Once you make it to Bamyan, you can check-in at one of two hotes there, then organize your sight seeing trips.There are a few nice places to visit.Obviously, the Buddha site is the most interesting. It is close to the city, ans one can easily walk there.The Red City is 20 minutes by taxi, from the city. Then it takes 15 minutes to walk to the top,...more
Afghan people are kind-hearted although they are not wealthy. If you see crowds, don't be scared. Unlike in other countries where they would gather if guys are fighting or is being mobbed, in Afghanistan, they gather together if somebody's playing a musical instrument, if there's a film shooting, if guys are having fun dancing their steps "Atan"....more
The Afghans are not allowed to fish in the Band-e Amir lakes and this applies to you as well. But good news - you can swim with the fish which come a plenty! The water is bluer than the sky and you can dip with as much pleasure as you like - in summer where temperatures are bearable. During the remaining seasons, the water will be too cold for you....more
when it comes to eating, eating in afghanistan could be very boring and unhealthy. there are not too much choices of food, just palao, kabab (grilled meat), and nan.it's better to avoid the kabab, as the meat is very very dirty. we got stomachache after eating it. the palao is really tasteless. and nan, no, they throw it on the floor. and if...more
Ok, so let's not get too excited but yes, there is alchol available in Bamiyan -- in the bazaar in the black market (you must use the code names of famous people to identify which liquor you want) and in the recently re-opened Buddah Bar.
The first Buddah Bar was operated by ICRC and closed in 2003, after the last expat left. Now, Global Securiy, the gang of ex-soldiers and ruffians who give security to UNAMA's electoral registration teams, have re-opened a new Buddah Bar - complete with a brick mini rendition of the large buddah, masonry into the bar, itself.
There are carpets to lay on, a nice decorations. Drinks cost $3 a piece. No local Afghans are allowed inside, due to cultural and religious sensitivities.
The bar is open only on Thursday nights and really only gets going around 10pm. There is no curfew in Bamiyan, but most of the regulars come from the bar's own neighboorhood.
You heard it here, first.
Dress Code: No special dress, along as its conservative to Afghan standards. Be ready to chat it up with the usual cast of characters from the UN -- security guys, program officers, electoral workers, and folks from the various other non-governmental organizations and the occassional BBC journalist or vagabond from Kabul.
Pictured beside is our view from the back of the minibus from Bamiyan back to Kabul. The minibuses always leave very early in the morning, in Afghanistan. I think this one left around 4:30-5:00am or similar. Day buses dont really run. All minibuses get this cramped, and often 18 people can be squeezed inside. Tough going when the trip is 12 or more hours,and the heat is tremendous. Very dusty also on dirt tracks.
The shops are now about three hundred meters away from the lakes. Loitering is strictly prohibited to preserve the nature.The bazaar is mainly for locals. You will find here household stuff like pails, ropes, nuts, some tidbits to eat and a few (just a few) pieces of clothings. What you will notice are gold-plated necklaces with Arabic...more
The bazaar has really grown and expanded in the last year-- you can buy a food and general househould items, clothes, mobile phone, kebab, DVDs, or get a room at cheap hotel. Look in the 'antique' shops for some decent Hazarajat klims. $40-80 depending on size and bargaining skillsmore
Afghan is synonymous with rug, so definitely roll up your sleves and get ready to bargain. Taking home a klim or rug is a must for any visitor. Since I live in the Hazara region, I have klims made in the area, but more elaborate, tighter knotted rugs can be found in Herat, Kabul and Mazar. I think its good to support this local craft trade and to...more
In addition to shaking hands and then placing your right hand over your heart, smiling is the best way to greet.Universally speaking, if you smile at someone they almost invariably will smile back and that's always a great ice breaker if you don't speak the language.more
Luggage and bags:
Bamiyan is the heart of the Central Highlands and is surrounded by the Hindu Kush mountains so it can get cold.
For day treks bring a sturdy day backpack and a water container.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Always have a sweater or a fleece jacket when you come, summer, spring - anytime.
In the winter you had better have a parka and protection from snow, like a good outter water proof jacket. Hat is essential and good sturdy shoes or boots
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Always have sun screen cream and sun glasses. Ladies bring your own tampons and such since you won't find anything here.
The air is dry so bring body lotion and a lot of conditioner for your hair.
Photo Equipment: A digital camera is great. No film is on sale in the bazaar, that I know of.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Sleeping bag and liner is a good idea and maybe a walking pole or two if you are going to hike around the Buddahs or Koh-e-Baba mountains.
Miscellaneous: Thuraya phone, GPS, altimeter would be handy. Plus, Guess what? Bamiyan now has mobile phone accessibility so bring your phone and buy your Roshan chip here.
In any village, especially during winter time, you can pass by and ask to see a klim or rug being woven.You can even place orders with women to make a custom rug for you. Its a wonderful experience to sit and talk with the women about their cultural traditions in weaving.They are very proud of their designs, which vary from village to village and...more
Ever since the deposition of the Taliban, music is everywhere. Radio Bamiyan plays all the favorites from Pakistan, India and Iran, in additon to Afgan music.It is easy and cheap to rent a band, too. For about $25/night five musicians and a singer will come to your guest house and play for 2-3 hours.more
Well, Buzkhashi is the national sport of Afghanistan and is a sight to behold.
Two teams run around, on horseback, fighting one another for the possession of the carcass of a dead goat, because they want to carry it to the goal line.
It can be very exciting to watch and the fans are also a eyefull. Mazar-e-Sharif is considered the best place to see matches but we have a few teams in Bamiyan who play at least once or twice a month.
Admission is free
Prizes like vehicles, rifles, money and such are given to the high scorers.
Equipment: No equipment needed unless you plan to join in the melee.
Then, if you speak Dari, you should have a strong, fast horse, thick clothes (since you will get beaten by the opposition with riding crops) and gloves so you can securely hold the carcass as you gallop to the goal circle.