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Exploring Bamiyan

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Trip to Bamiyan with Andrew Quilty, an award-winning photojournalist, who will be teaching us how to capture the essence of Afghanistan. See below for full payment terms and conditions. 

The total for the trip is £2975. The second instalment of the balance (the remaining £2475) 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 exiting opportunity to meet inspiring people, photograph incredible landscapes and make up your own minds 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?


This is a 5 day trip that will take place in mid September. For the specific dates email explore@ishkar.com.  

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 of £500 will secure your place on the trip. The total for the trip is £2975. 

The second instalment of the balance (the remaining £2475) 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 how to take photographs with one of the world's most accomplished photojournalists, Andrew Quilty.

Ancient fortresses


Clamber up the ramparts of Bamiyan's red fort, and amongst the dramatic ruins of the ‘City of Screams’, perched high on the cliffs over the Kalu river.

Bamiyan Buddhas

Explore the hundreds of caves which pockmark the cliffs next to the famous Buddha niches (some of which are inhabited to this day).

The sapphire-blue lakes of Band-e-Amir

Camp in Band-e Amir, Afghanistan's first national park under the guidance of WCS, the leading wildlife conservation organisation in the region.

CAPTURE YOUR TRAVELS

We are extremely lucky to have Andrew Quilty, one of the most accomplished photojournalists in the world for two days during 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.

Powder Magazine 'Homemade: In The Highlands of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, Young Boys Take Skiing Into Their Own Hands.' Words and photographs by Andrew Quilty.
Powder Magazine 'Homemade: In The Highlands of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, Young Boys Take Skiing Into Their Own Hands.' Words and photographs by Andrew Quilty.
Cover of TIME, Ashraf Ghani. Photos by Andrew Quilty. 
Cover of TIME, Ashraf Ghani. Photos by Andrew Quilty.
The New York Times Magazine, 'The Hotel in Afghanistan That Refuses to Close Its Doors.' Text and Photos by Andrew Quilty
The New York Times Magazine, 'The Hotel in Afghanistan That Refuses to Close Its Doors.' Text and Photos by Andrew Quilty
The Guardian, 'The War America Can't Win: How The Taliban Are Regaining Control In Afghanistan.' Photos by Andrew Quilty. 
The Guardian, 'The War America Can't Win: How The Taliban Are Regaining Control In Afghanistan.' Photos by Andrew Quilty.
Bamiyan Valley by Alex Treadway 
Bamiyan Valley by Alex Treadway

OUR DESTINATION


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.

Bamiyan on the map
Bamiyan on the map
Dragon Valley, Bamiyan by Alex Treadway
Dragon Valley, Bamiyan by Alex Treadway

TRIP DETAILS

The price for this once in a lifetime trip is £2975 per person, the trip lasts five 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 


Bamiyan Buddha niches, by Alex Treadway 
Bamiyan Buddha niches, by Alex Treadway

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 such 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. 

Fuladi Valley, Bamiyan by Alex Treadway
Fuladi Valley, Bamiyan by Alex Treadway
Band-e Amir by Alex Treadway
Band-e Amir by Alex Treadway
Ancient mud-brick 'Qala', Bamiyan by Alex Treadway 
Ancient mud-brick 'Qala', Bamiyan by Alex Treadway
Bamiyan Buddha niches by Alex Treadway
Bamiyan Buddha niches by Alex Treadway