Afghanistan with Minaret of Jam

Sep 5-14
10 Days

We are back in Afghanistan, this time with a brand-new itinerary that will take us through the Central Highlands of Afghanistan, traveling very deeply into Ghor province, home to the Minaret of Jam, a 1000-year-old minaret and a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the middle of nowhere in Afghanistan.

The expedition will start in Kabul, from where will be purely overlanding into Herat through the mountains of Afghanistan, visiting some of the remotest places in the country, a region which had remained isolated for decades, until the Taliban took over back in 2021.

This is the most adventurous itinerary will ever offer on Afghanistan.


September 5th to 14th, 2024


10 days

Lead by Oriol López

travelers who joined us say


Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political situation.

Day 1 – Kabul arrival

Day 2 – Kabul city tour

Day 3 – Bamyan

Day 4 – Band-e-Ameer National Park

Day 5 – Drive to Chagcharan

Day 6 – Minaret of Jam

Day 7 – Journey to Herat

Day 8 – Herat city tour

Day 9 – Domestic flight to Kabul

Day 10 – Departure

Day 1 – Arrival in Kabul

Day 1 is the arrival day, a day which we will spend picking you up from the airport and checking in the hotel, as well as giving you a warm welcome through an introductory briefing on Afghanistan.

In the evening, we will all go out together for a traditional Afghan meal.

Overnight in Kabul.

Day 2 – Full day in Kabul

In the morning, we will head to Old Kabul, where we will spend the morning walking slowly through all the different bazaars, including the worldwide famous bird market, a photogenic bazaar where they sell different types of birds as pets, one of the top tourist attractions in Kabul.

Bird Market Kabul
Bird Market Kabul

After a hearty meal, we will travel west of Kabul to visit Sakhi Shrine, a mini version of the Blue Mosque in Mazar and also one of the most stunning mosques in Afghanistan.

Sakhi Shrine
Sakhi Shrine

Our day will be finished in Bibi Mahro Hills, the highest point in all of Kabul, from where you get a 360º view of the city, and whose center features the tallest flag pole in the country, today this flag being a massive Taliban flag.

This place is always busy with locals for sunset, so it will be a great chance to interact with them too.

Overnight in Kabul.

Bibi Mahro Hills
Bibi Mahro Hills

Day 3 – Bamyan

At 8 am, we’ll hit the road towards Bamyan, the heartland of Hazara people, and the only sort of tourist-friendly place in all Afghanistan.

It’s located at the heart of the Hindu Kush, in a stunningly beautiful area surrounded by mountains and lush, green fields, but also a region rich in ancient history.

The journey by road takes around 3.5 hours but for the most part, it’s a truly scenic enjoyable drive. After checking in the hotel, we will have lunch and then we will pay a visit to the giant Buddhas that were carved from the rocks back in the 6th century, but unfortunately destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

The big Buddha-shaped holes they left behind are impressive though, and the views from the top even more.

We will finish the day on top of Gholghola City, an ancient fortress from where you get jaw-dropping views of all Bamyan and surrounding mountains.

Overnight in Bamyan.

Day 4 – Band-e-Ameer National Park

Band-e-Ameer is a UNESCO World Heritage and also the only National Park in all Afghanistan, a set of deep-blue lakes that are absolutely jaw-dropping.

The best way to get an impression of its size is by walking around the lakes on foot, so we will do a 1-hour hike, while choosing the best spot for a picnic lunch.

After lunch, we will go back to Bamyan, not without stopping first in Dara Ajdahar or Dragon Valley, another great spot for natural views.

Overnight in Bamyan.

Bander Emir National Park
Bander Emir National Park

Day 5 – Drive to Chagcharan

On day 5 of the tour, our actual overlanding adventure will begin, driving across the Hindu Kush mountains for 319km.

This will be a long driving day but they journey will take us through absolutely unspoiled territory and villages, really worth the trip.

Villages Bamyan
Villages along the way to Chagcharan

Chagcharan is the capital of Ghor province. Given the isolation of that region, I personally found Chagcharan to be surprisingly big and busy but very low-key at the same time, with very little services.

Overnight in Chagcharan.

Road to Chagcharan
Road to Chagcharan

Day 6 – Minaret of Jam (camping next to Minaret of Jam)

Minaret of Jam
Minaret of Jam

Day 6 of the expedition is the most awaited one, since the road will finally take us into the Minaret of Jam, the imposing 62-meter minaret located in the middle of nowhere, and today guarded by a bunch of particularly hospitable Taliban.

We will take our time here, there’s absolutely no rush.

We will walk around and hike the surrounding hills to get the best views of the minaret.

Overnight right next to Minaret of Jam, camping.

Inscriptions Minaret of Jam
Drone view Minaret of Jam

Day 7 – Journey to Herat

The road conditions on this particularly section of the road are awful, so this is going to be a driving day that will take us to even more isolated towns and villages, with a very different landscape from what you’ve seen before.

We’ll be reaching Herat in the evening.

Day 8 – Full day in Herat

Herat is so different from anything you’ve seen in Afghanistan, an Afghan city with many Persian and Iranian influences, visible not only in their architecture but also in their food.

Highlights in Herat include the Friday Mosque and its tile workshop, Herat’s Citadel and the city’s bazaar, where we will visit shops where burqas are made.

Friday Mosque Herat
Friday Mosque Herat

In the evening, something fun we tend to organize is eating ice cream at a shop typically frequented by the Taliban.

Overnight in Herat.

Burqa shop in Herat
Burqa shop in Herat

Day 9 – Fly to Kabul

We will catch the morning flight from Herat to Kabul.

We will check in the hotel and after lunch, we’ll visit all the places we missed on day 2 of the tour, which can include the Maranjan Hills, the National Museum or Babur Gardens.

Overnight in Kabul.

Chicken Street Kabul
Chicken Street Kabul

Day 10 – Departure

In the morning, we’ll head to Chicken Street, the only place in Kabul where you can find actual souvenirs, ranging from fridge magnets to coffee mugs and the carpet bazaar.

Airport transfers will be arranged accordingly.


All mentioned domestic flights (2 in total)

9 nights of accommodation in secured hotels mentioned in FAQ

Permits and security clearance for driving around Taliban-Afghanistan

Private transportation around Afghanistan in modern mini-van

All meals

Letter of Invitation needed for the visa

Visa advice and support.

English-speaking Afghan guide

International tour leader

Entrance fees to all places listed in the itinerary

Not Included

International flights to Kabul

Visa fees

Around $40-$65

Single supplement: 150€


September 5th to 14th, 2024


10 days

Lead by Oriol López


Which hotels do we stay in?

These are the secured hotels where we stay. Note that they might be subject to availability.

How does the room distribution work?

The price of the tour includes accommodation in a twin room.

If you want to have your own single room, you will have to pay an additional €150.

How to fly to Kabul?

There are flights from Dubai, Islamabad, Doha and Istanbul.

How to get a visa?

There are different places where you can get a visa, but easiest is to get it in either Islamabad or Dubai.

In both cities, you can get it within a day.

To secure your visa, you should fly to any of those two cities 2-3 days before the departure date, and further details will be shared upon booking your spot

Is Afghanistan safe nowadays?

Before the Taliban took over the country in the summer of 2021, the country was going through a civil war. Now that the Americans left and the Afghan Army isn’t fighting the Taliban anymore, the country is now safe, from a tourist perspective.

What about Americans?

Yes, despite the American intervention, the country is as safe for Americans as it is for other nationalities.

Can women join an Afghanistan expedition?

Yes, women can join this expedition, no problem.

While the local Afghan women do suffer from huge repression and lack rights, foreign women will always be safe, especially if you go accompanied by our team.

Regarding clothing, you don’t need to wear a burqa but just a regular hijab and an abaya, like you’d do in Iran.

Which nationalities can join this tour?

All nationalities are welcome, including Americans.

How does payment work?

In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a deposit.

All details will be shared upon booking your spot.

Do you recommend a specific travel insurance?

Either you are joining one of our trips, or you are traveling by yourself, you might want to look for proper travel insurance. Against the Compass has been a partner with IATI for several years already, recommending it to all readers, as well as covering all Joan Torres’ personal trips.

We like it because It covers all the countries where the FCDO advises against all travel, it offers budget plans and covers all sorts of adventure activities.

Against the Compass readers can benefit from a 5% discount.

Get a quote here to claim your discount

What about the cancellation policy?

Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.