I have already explained the necessity = MUST to get registered with the Tajik officials on my Takikistan page. It is a waste of time to do it in Dushanbe (will take long and is quite buerocratic). If you are heading to Pamirs anyhow, the best place to get your stamp is in Khorog. The police here is friendly and it takes only some minutes (less, if you speak Russian).
The police is located at Lenin street, west of the car bridge. On my photo, I have marked police station and bank. Just approach one of the policemen who will be outside, smile and show your passport. They will guide you to the one who gives you your stamp inside.
OVIR registration costs 20 USD (at the time of my travel = August 2006).
Fondest memory: The bank is just next door, they accept USD bills and travellers cheques as well. Here I had my experience with the small denoation bills (= what my bank at home has recommended – take small denomination). When I gave her 100 USD in 1 USD bills, she gave me a look saying something like “oh no, another one who believes we are in desperate need of 1 USD bills…”. I felt stupid…
What I am saying is that the bank in Khorog is well able to handle and accept 50 or even 100 USD bills.
From what I could read in our forums, “my” German Trekkingforum and other websites, most travellers use Khorog only as the western base for travelling along the Pamir Highway. This is a shame, as it is definitely worthwile to stay here a bit longer.
I was in the … well, depending on the point of view, “lucky” position to have to stay here a bit longer than planned, as my “Bukharian Montezuma” simply didn’t want to vanish, and I was very much uncomfortable with the idea to travel on rough roads and have to scream for stops every couple of minutes.
So I had the chance to stay here for the length of 5 days (Sat. July 29 until Thu. August 3, 2006) and could really see a lot in this lovely village.
My recommendation for all travellers: take your time for this gem in the Pamirs – stay at least for 2 nights. I am sure, you will not regret it !
Hauser map and LP have village maps of Khorog, so I could not place them here (maybe I would have gotten permission from Markus Hauser, but I didn’t ask), so I made one in powerpoint. It is easy, as Khorog has 2 main roads, north and south of Gunt river. The northern one is Lenin street and the southern one is Gagarin street. These streets are linked with one main bridge for cars (the grey one on my map) and with 4 bridges for pedestrians only (the greenish ones in my map).
The airport is northwest of town, some 4 km.
Northeast Lenin street continues into Pamir Highway, the road to Murghab.
For orientation, I have added the major places you might need (red dots):
Police station, to get your OVIR = registration;
MSDSP, to find a place to sleep,
Bazaar, to go food shopping, and museum and hospital as well.
The two restaurants I had meals at, I have marked with violet dots.
Oh, and I forgot to place a sign for north – but as you might know, I am northern hemisphere born and bred, so north is “up/top” for me, as in the map.
In case you need any medical help, I can highly highly recommend to go to Khorog’s hospital ! As already mentioned, I had caught a quite nasty case of “Montezuma” in Bukhara and was too stupid to bring activated coal with me, but tried to treat it with antibiotics. It didn’t work properly, and I still had cramps attacks. At a point in time I was worried so much (as I planned to do some hiking later on and didn’t want to end up dead somewhere just because Montezuma would win the battle). So I went to the hospital and yes, I was shocked at the first sight, everything looked a bit desolated. But well, on the other hand, this is the only hospital that serves whole Pamir region.
Of course, the doctors in charge didn’t speak any English, but have sent for a translator from Aga Khan foundation. With his help and 2 doctors and 2 nurses around me, the internist questioned me about all that happened since and before I had my first symptoms, and quickly came to the conclusion that it was indeed a quite nasty form of Montezuma. He even said that Bukhara has some fame for that, and that I would not be the only one with it (big relief, honestly, I had thought about other stuff). From the questions he asked me, I knew I was in best hands, however I still felt scary as only the Aga Khan guy would speak a language I understood.
Fondest memory: The internist came up with some medicine I should buy and other suggestions how to “fill my system” and then…. the most moving happened (and I still don’t get over it, maybe for the rest of my life). I wanted to pay, but all of them smiled and said, no, medical service is free of charge. I tried to tell them that at least they could give me as a foreigner the possibility to pay, as my insurance at home would give me the money back. Still their answer was no, and that they would be happy if I get better soon.
I still get tears in my eyes when thinking of this all and their smiles.
The hospital is on the southern bank of Gunt river, see my hand made map of Khorog in the “general” section.