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Explore Bamiyan

$669
eight left

Between 20 May - 20 June 2020, travel to Bamiyan for 10 days with Andrew Quilty, an award-winning photojournalist, who will be teaching us how to capture the essence of Afghanistan. Contact us for precise dates and see below for full payment terms and conditions. 

The price for the trip is $4450 (£3390). The second instalment of the balance needs to be cleared 60 days before departure. This will allow us time to ensure that all arrangements are confirmed in the country ahead of time. 

Any questions?
Please email us: explore@ishkar.com


What?


A once in a lifetime trip to Bamiyan, Afghanistan, accompanied by Andrew Quilty, one of the most accomplished photojournalists in the world.  We will be delving into the depths of a country, so rich in culture and beauty yet so often misunderstood. Unlike a typical group tour, our approach is flexible and dynamic. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to meet inspiring people, photograph incredible landscapes and make up your own mind about what this fascinating country is all about. 

Where?


Bamiyan lies between the ancient mineral streaked Hindu Kush mountains, and the soaring sharp peaks of the Koh-e Babur. Its verdant green valleys are full of ancient ‘Qala’ - mud brick fortresses and crumbling ruins dating back to when Genghis Khan laid ruin to the region. Bamiyan is a safe and peaceful region, populated by the Hazara people, viciously persecuted by the Taliban during their rule. We will be flying directly into Bamiyan avoiding the parts of Afghanistan which draw international headlines.

When?


We will be running two 10 day trips between 20 May - 20 June 2020. Contact us for precise dates.

Who?


The trip is open to all curious minds. You don’t have to be an expert photographer, nor expert traveler, we will all be learning along the way. We will be a small team of up to 8 people. Throughout the trip, we will be accompanied by a competent local guide who speaks fluent English, along with members of ISHKAR who have lived and worked in Afghanistan. 

TERMS & CONDITONS

A non-refundable deposit is required to secure your place on the trip. The total price for the trip starts at $4450 (£3390). 

The second instalment of the balance needs to be cleared 60 days before departure. This will allow us time to ensure that all arrangements are confirmed in the country ahead of time. 


This is a rare and exciting opportunity to explore Bamiyan, Afghanistan - one of the most beautiful, least-visited and historic corners of the planet. Andrew Quilty, an award-winning photojournalist based in Afghanistan, will be teaching us how to capture the essence of Afghanistan on camera.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Photography workshops

Learn the art of photography in Afghanistan with one of the world's most accomplished photojournalists, Andrew Quilty.

Photo by Glen Wilde [one of our travellers]

Ancient fortresses


Clamber up the ramparts of age old fortresses like Bamiyan's red fort, and amongst the dramatic ruins of the ‘City of Screams’, perched high on the cliffs over the Kalu river.
Sajjad Husseini guide

Bamiyan Buddhas

Created in AD 500, the Buddha's were infamously destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. We will explore the explore the vast niches and the hundreds of caves which pockmark the cliffs around (some of which are inhabited to this day). 

Andrew Quilty by Nick Curran [one of our travellers]

The sapphire-blue lakes of Band-e-Amir

Spend the night in Afghanistan's first national park and swim in the crystal clear sapphire lakes of Band-e Amir.
Photo by Glen Wilde

Insider Knowledge

Your guide throughout the week will be one of Afghanistan’s two national ski champions and a founding members of the Bamiyan Ski Club, Sajjad Husseini, who was born in Bamiyan and knows the region inside out. 

CAPTURE YOUR TRAVELS


We are extremely lucky to have Andrew Quilty, one of the most accomplished photojournalists in the world accompany us for four days on the trip. Andrew has been living in Afghanistan for 6 years, his iconic photographs have graced front-pages from the New York Times to Time Magazine. With Andrew's support we will learn how to anticipate our subjects and the environment, taking home not only a collection of wonderful images but practical knowledge, so we can do it all again wherever we go.

Grinding wheat in the Fouladi Valley was the subject of one of the workshops. Photo by Glen Wilde.
Grinding wheat in the Fouladi Valley was the subject of one of the workshops. Photo by Glen Wilde.

OUR DESTINATION

Bamiyan on the map
Bamiyan on the map
Bamiyan lies between the ancient mineral streaked Hindu Kush mountains and the soaring sharp peaks of the Koh-e Babur. Its verdant green valleys are full of ancient ‘Qala’ - mud brick fortresses and crumbling ruins dating back to when Genghis Khan laid ruin to the region. Bamiyan is a safe and peaceful region, populated by the Hazara people, viciously persecuted by the Taliban during their rule. We will be flying directly into Bamiyan avoiding the parts of Afghanistan which draw international headlines.

Dragon Valley, Bamiyan by Alex Treadway
Dragon Valley, Bamiyan by Alex Treadway

TRIP DETAILS

The price for this once in a lifetime trip starts at $4450 (£3390) per person, the trip lasts seven days and the price includes all food, internal flights/cars, workshops with Andrew Quilty and accommodation whilst in the country. We will be assisted by guides who know the region inside out, providing access to areas rarely seen by tourists. 

This trip is expected to fill up fast. If you have any questions please get in touch:

Email to apply now: explore@ishkar.com
Call us on +447946268180 


Group travel at its best

2019 group by the niches, photo by Nick Curran 
2019 group by the niches, photo by Nick Curran
One of the best things about going on an ISHKAR trip is the group you travel with. Our trips attract informed and adventurous people from all around the world. Some of you will be drawn by the opportunity to learn photography from a master of their craft, others will be drawn by the chance to learn about a fascinating and poorly understood part of the world. What unites everyone is the same curious spirit and desire to get far away from the typical tourist tracks. We get to know everyone who applies to our trips over the phone. In this way we can curate groups which mean you are guaranteed to come away with great friends as well as great photographs!

testimonials

Annette Widitz by Nick Curran 
Annette Widitz by Nick Curran
Can't tell friends enough about our journey with ISHKAR in Afghanistan. I particularly enjoyed the small group vibe, the variety of activities and the warmth and hospitality of the leaders.  If you are thinking about it, don't. Just go.
Annette Widitz, Union Industrial Officer
Ellen Spiessens
Ellen Spiessens
Afghanistan is so much more than violence and war and you really feel that when you spend some time in Bamiyan.
Ellen Spiessens, Researcher
Glen Wilde
Glen Wilde
Our trip to Afghanistan with Ishkar and Andrew Quilty was an amazing adventure. Travelling was only topped by having a master photographer beside us, teaching us how to capture the experience even more vividly!
Glen Wilde, Entrepreneur
Chenu Lui by Nick Curran 
Chenu Lui by Nick Curran
The trip provided an opportunity to experience the other aspects of the country - pursuit of peace, fantastic landscape and kindness of people
Chenu Lui, Banker

FAQs



Is it safe in Bamiyan? 

Visiting Afghanistan is not like other travel destinations and we need to take extra precaution with security. We will be flying directly into Bamiyan, a stable and peaceful region, avoiding the parts of Afghanistan which draw international headlines. Whilst we want participants to have as much freedom as possible, ourselves and the local guides have the final say if we need to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. If there is an extra expense incurred due to the change of itinerary then you may be asked to bear part of that cost. We take advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), but also from NGO’s working in the country as well as local people.

Why travel with us?
  
We are proposing a different new travel experience. With years of experience and a network of fantastic contacts, we want to show people Afghanistan we know. This trip will be about meeting inspiring people, visiting extraordinary places and hearing about the resilience of the Afghan people.

Should you travel to Afghanistan?

The stories we see in the news about Afghanistan tend to have a single-minded focus on the conflict. While this violence is still a daily reality for most Afghans, there are also stories we rarely hear: tales of ancient history, rare wildlife and truly unique scenery. Tourism is not the answer to all of Afghanistan’s problems, but it can help a little. We want to put money directly into local pockets and encourage a sense of pride by treating Afghanistan as a desirable place to visit. 

Where can I see the exact itinerary? 

We are not publishing our itinerary online for security reasons. We will keep it with those of you travelling and a select few. Please note that the exact itinerary is subject to change. 

What is included in the cost? 

The cost includes domestic flights (from Kabul - Bamiyan and back), all accommodation, transport/transfers in Afghanistan, breakfast, lunch and dinner, entrance fees. It does not include international flights into and out of Afghanistan, visa fees, insurance, excess luggage charges, cameras, alcohol, additional food and drinks, medical expenses, tipping.

When do I need to book?  

As early as possible. The trip is for a maximum of 8 people and we expect it will fill up quickly. A deposit of £500 will secure your place and the final balance needs to be paid 60 days before departure. This is to allow us time to ensure that all arrangements are confirmed in the country.

How easy is it to get a visa? 

Very easy. You will need to apply for a one-month tourist visa. We will advise you on how to do this.  

Will we have a guide? 

Throughout the trip, we will be accompanied by an extremely competent local guide who speaks fluent English, along with members of ISHKAR who have lived and worked in Afghanistan. We will also have part of the trip led by Andrew Quilty, whose expertise will guide us to particularly photogenic places and people, and some by the local WCS team, who have been creating wildlife conservation and environmental projects in the area for years.

Do I need special travel insurance? 

You will be expected to have full travel insurance that covers the region. If you are unsure if the policy covers you we suggest the specialist insurance policies. We use Battleface and highly recommend it. Others options include: as Clements, World Nomads, Petersen or The Universal Insurance Co Ltd.

Will I be able to travel on my own? 

We want the trip to be as flexible and dynamic as possible, but we also need to take your security seriously and do not advise being alone ever during the trip. 

Can I explore Kabul? 

We do not recommend travelling independently on Kabul. However, if this is something you are interested in do let us know so we can advise you on what to do/see. 

Do I need any vaccinations? 

We suggest confirming all boosters of Hepatitis A; Poliomyelitis; Tetanus; Typhoid and MMR. But do not take responsibility for vaccinations. Please check with your doctor what you would need. 

Do I need to be fit?  

Relatively fit, but this is not an expedition. The terrain which we cover can at times be a little rough and we will be doing a couple of long (2-4 hour) walks.

What do I need to bring? 

We will send you a more detailed handbook before leaving, including recommended reading and clothing. 

Where will we be staying? 

For most of this trip we will be staying at our favourite local hotel which is comfortable and centrally located in Bamiyan. There will be an option of a shared and single room. For one night we will be camping in Afghanistan’s first national park Band-e Amir with the support of a local guide. 

Can I come on my own? 

Yes of course. Individuals and small groups are equally welcome. Personally, we also think this could be the perfect trip to experience with a parent, child, or partner!

What is the food like? 

All meals are included and we will be eating in some of our favourite restaurants in the area. We are not going to Bamiyan for the food. It can be outstanding, and there is a very original cheese, but can also be very average. There are vegetarian options in most places but please consult us if you have very specific dietary requirements.

When do I need to book my flights? 

If you are thinking of applying please email us at explore@ishkar.com and we will send you the flights you need to book. We advise booking them as soon as you have confirmed your place on the trip. 

Can I book even if I don’t live in the UK? 

Yes of course. You will just need to arrive at Kabul airport in time for our domestic flight to meet us all at the airport. If traveling to and from the UK you will be accompanied by someone from ISHKAR. 

Do I need to have a camera? 

No. Anyone is welcome to join and there is plenty to appreciate without a camera. However, we will not be providing cameras so if you would like to take part in Andrew's workshops you must have your own camera. Even a phone can take pretty amazing pictures in this photogenic region.