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Getting There

By Road

There are two possible routes to Bamyan from Kabul by road. Both take in spectacular scenery. Before driving, you should check the latest weather and security conditions.

Kabul-Charikar-Shibar-Bamyan (Northern route), 246 km/152 miles. This is the preferred route for most people travelling from Kabul to Bamyan by road. The main road heads north from Kabul on a good tarmac road to Charikar, a journey of 1-2 hours. At Charikar the Bamyan road turns westward up the Ghorband valley. At the of the valley, the Shibar Pass (2900m) marks the watershed between rivers flowing southeast to the Indian Ocean and those flowing northwest towards the Aral Sea. You enter Bamyan province at the top of this pass. In good weather, with an experienced driver, this journey takes 8-10 hours. Stops for food can be made in Charikar and in the larger bazaars in Ghorband. There have been occasional security concerns in parts of the Ghorband valley so, as always in Afghanistan, it is best to check the situation before travelling.

Kabul–Maidan Shahr-Hajigak Pass-Bamyan (Southern route), about 180 km/110 miles. This is the more scenic of the two road routes to Bamyan but foreigners are currently advised not to use it because of security concerns along the road in remote areas of Wardak province. After passing through Maidan Shahr, south of Kabul, the road runs west over the Unai Pass (3200m), then the Hajigak Pass (3450m), passes the Tangi-e-Paimoori hot springs and eventually joins the Bamyan valley near the ruined citadel of Shahr-e-Zohak. It takes 6-8 hours to reach Bamyan by this road.

Other routes. It is possible to travel to Bamyan from either Mazar-e-Sharif or Herat (passing the Minaret of Jam and Chaghcharan) but these are relatively arduous trips requiring a number of days. They are not recommended without careful planning and due consideration of the terrain, weather, and security. All road routes require the use of well-maintained four-wheel drive vehicles, with experienced drivers who are familiar with the road.

By Air

The flight time between Kabul and Bamyan is usually about half an hour. At present (2009), the only airlines flying to Bamyan from Kabul are the United Nations airline, UNHAS, and PACTEC (, a private airline for aid and development workers. UNHAS is normally only for UN employees and aid workers employed in Afghanistan. PACTEC will take other private paying passengers when they have empty seats. It is hoped that the national airline, Ariana, or other private airlines will eventually begin normal commercial flights to Bamyan. In the meantime it is possible to charter small aircraft to take groups to the area.

There are flights from Kabul to Bamyan and back on three days a week. Flights are often cancelled because of bad weather, particularly in the autumn and winter.





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