Guided tours to Afghanistan
Young Pioneer Tours have resumed offering fully guided and security-conscious Afghanistan tours for 2023 and 2024 at regular intervals.
Since 2016 YPT have been running tours to Afghanistan and as the situation has stabilised since the Taliban took control our travel partners in Kabul have deemed it relatively safe for Afghanistan tours to resume in the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, formerly known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan until 2021 (and the Taliban takeover).
Afghanistan tours – Group tours to Afghanistan
For safety and security reasons, our Afghanistan tours are led by a local expert guide and we accept no more than 7 group members per tour. This is a rule strictly enforced for your safety.
We are in constant communication with our local partners in Kabul and deem whether the Afghanistan group tour or private group tour is safe to go ahead or not depending on the local security situation on the ground.
Trips to Afghanistan do create dangers all of their own and whilst we want you to have as much freedom as possible, we must state that both the YPT and local guides have the final word with regards to changes to the itinerary for safety reasons.
Whilst the route YPT have chosen passes through areas that we consider to be stable; the situation can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice. If there is an extra expense incurred due to the change of itinerary then you may be asked to bear part of that cost. For example, if we have to fly between cities rather than drive. Joining this tour means you agree to these terms. Further information on terms and conditions for our Afghanistan tours are available on request.
For Pakistan e-visa purposes you can only arrive on the Afghanistan tour commencing date. Your Afghanistan Tour visa is not valid before this date, nor is it valid for independent travel in Afghanistan.
Independent Afghanistan Tours
For all intents our independent Afghanistan tours work much in the same way as our group tours to Afghanistan. Generally speaking while the itinerary would remain mostly the same for your Afghanistan tour, there is also scope for us to arrange bespoke travel within Afghanistan.
Independent tours to Afghanistan are still led by an expert local guide and driver, but can be done for as little as one solo traveller. For more information on independent Afghanistan tours please get on touch to talk to one of our experts.
YPT provides full visa support for both your e-visa for Pakistan and your visa to Afghanistan, which is collected in Peshawar (located within Pakistan). The Pakistan visa fee depends on your nationality and the Afghanistan visa fee is $80 for all nationalities – Note – This is the current price for an Afghanistan visa, but it is subject change. Please get in touch if you have questions about your eligibility for an Afghanistan visa.
Are Afghanistan Tours safe under the Taliban?
While we have covered the safety of Afghanistan tours in other articles, things have obviously changed a little with the current situation. Whilst we always suggest checking the guidance of your own government advisory sites, such as the UKFCO. In our own opinion though traveling to Afghanistan is now safer due to the stability the new Taliban regime has brought to the country.
Things though can and do change and at as such we will keep you constantly updated should the security situation in country change at all.
To read if it is ethical to travel to Afghanistan under the Taliban click here.
Sample Afghanistan Itinerary
Day 1 (Must start on Monday or Wednesday) – Islamabad, Pakistan
- Arrive at your convenience into Islamabad – the capital city of Pakistan which is well connected from many countries within Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
- Transfer and check into the Grand Islamabad Hotel
- If you arrive early and have plenty of energy saved up, you are free to explore Islamabad, we recommend checking out Faisal Mosque and the Pakistan Monument Museum.
- Pre-tour meeting will be held at the lobby of our hotel at 6:00pm to discuss tour itinerary and to meet your fellow travelers and YPT guide.
- Head out for dinner and explore the nightlife of Islamabad
- Overnight in Grand Islamabad Hotel.
Day 2 – Islamabad – Peshawar
- Breakfast at hotel and meet our Pakistani guide
- Depart at 7:00am on our 180km drive northwest to Peshawar – Pakistan’s sixth largest city and located near the border of Afghanistan.
- We’ll arrive directly at the Afghanistan consulate in Peshawar to submit the group’s visa applications
- We’ll stop by an authentic Pakistani restaurant to grab a local lunch and soak in the atmosphere. You’ll notice the heavy Afghani influence on this unique Pakistani city.
- We’ll head to the Old City centre to explore the busy Qissa Khwani Bazaar where local clothing can be purchased for us to better blend in to both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- Visit Clock Tower Square – this tower belongs to a pair of clock towers that were presented by the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth. The other tower being in England.
- Explore Mohabbat Khan Mosque – a 17th-century Mughal-era mosque built in 1630. An elegant mosque and fantastic for photos.
- Return to the Afghanistan consulate to collect passports and visas for your Afghanistan Tour!
- Check into our Peshawar hotel to freshen up
- Head out to Habibi restaurant famous for local dishes
- Overnight in Peshawar
Day 3 – Peshawar – Islamabad – Kabul, Afghanistan
- Breakfast at hotel and morning departure back to Islamabad and head straight to the airport.
- Board our 1-hour direct flight to Kabul departing 4:30pm on Kam Air 928 – the capital of Afghanistan.
- On arrival we’ll meet our Afghanistan guide at the airport and be transferred to our guest house.
- At our guest house we’ll have a briefing with our guide.
- Head out for dinner and overnight in Kabul.
Day 4 – Kabul
- Breakfast at guest house and depart directly to the tourism ministry in Kabul to meet directly with the Taliban to receive our permit to allow us to travel outside of the capital. Please note: once the permits are ready, we will depart Kabul immediately. In the meantime we’ll see the following below:
- Depending on how quick/long the process is we’ll begin exploring Kabul and what it has to offer.
- First stop visit the National Museum of Afghanistan – it holds manuscripts, miniatures, weapons and art objects belonging to the former royal families.
- Next door is the Darul Aman Palace – built during the reign of Amanullah Khan in the 1920s it has over 150 rooms.
- Walk around the Garden of Babur – developed in 1528 it’s a historic park which holds the tomb of the first Mughal emperor Babur.
- We’ll grab an Afghani lunch in town
- Explore Ka Faroshi Bird Market – located in the heart of Kabul’s old city; this narrow laned market is packed with small, mud-walled shops festooned with bird cages and birds.
- Continue exploring old town markets – good spot to buy any afghani goods,
- Visit Abdur Rahman Khan Mausoleum – Abdur Rahman Khan was Emir of Afghanistan between 1880 and 1901. He was a strong ruler and gained the name of the ‘Iron Amir’. His tomb sits in the Mausoleum in Zarnegar Park which translates as the park adorned with gold.
- We’ll head up to the TV Towers Mountain where you’ll have a great view of Kabul city below.
- Swing by the curiosity shops of Chicken Street for dinner and overnight in guest house.
Day 5 – Kabul – Bamyan
- Breakfast at guesthouse and depart early on our 180km journey to Bamyan heading north across the Shomali Plains passing over the Shibar pass (3285m).
- We’ll stop for lunch along the way
- We’ll pass by the watershed of the Indus and Oxus river systems before finally reaching Bamyan.
- Visit the remains of the Buddhas of Bamyan – on orders from Taliban, the statues were destroyed in March 2001 as they declared that they were idols.
- Drive a short distance to the base of the Shahr-E-Golgola also known as the ‘City of Screams’ – this was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1221. Genghis had destroyed Balkh and sent his teenage grandson with an army to capture Bamyan. The people resisted and Genghis’s grandson was killed. Genghis besieged and destroyed Golgola in revenge.
- We then drive out to the Valley of the Dragon ‘Darya Ajdhahar’ – this massive rock formation is alleged to be the remains of a dragon that persecuted the villagers until Hazrat Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed killed it. The story is reminiscent of St George and the Dragon.
- Check into our hotel, head out to the bazaar for dinner and overnight in Bamian.
Day 6 – Bamyan – Band-e-Amir National Park – Bamyan
- We’ll wake up early and head to Hindu Kush and to the remains of the Buddhas of Bamyan for stunning sunrise photos.
- We’ll head back to the hotel for breakfast and a great chance to catch locals doing their morning routines.
- Begin driving 80km west to Band-e-Amir National Park – a stunning group of turquoise lakes located high in the Hindu Kush at an altitude of 2900m. It was also the first registered national park in Afghanistan. We’ll hike around the area for picturesque photos and amazing views
- Picnic lunch outdoors and return to Bamyan
- Dinner in town and overnight
Day 7 – Bamyan – Mazar-I-Sharif
- Breakfast at guest house and start driving 480km north to Mazar-I-Sharif – founded in the 12th century it is the fourth largest city of Afghanistan and home to multi-ethnic groups such as Uzbeks, Turkmen, Tajiks and Hazaras.
- We’ll cross the Hindu Kush via the 3363m high Salang Tunnel – built by the Soviets from 1958 and opened in 1964. In 1979 the Soviets used it to transport their tanks over the Hindu Kush before the advance on Kabul. The tunnel has now been repaired and allows an easy crossing back into Northern Afghanistan.
- We’ll stop for photos, rest breaks and lunch on the way.
- Arrival in Mazar-I-Sharif with dinner and overnight at hotel
Day 8 – Mazar-I-Sharif
- Breakfast at hotel
- Visit the Blue Mosque or ‘Shrine of Hazrat Ali’ – the most famous building in Afghanistan. The mosque is located in the heart of Mazar-I-Sharif and is one of the reputed burial places of Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in law of Prophet Muhammad.
- Explore Mazar bazaar – this bazar is not only the rug production of Afghanistan but considered the rug hub of Central Asia.
- Lunch at the bazaar and explore around old town and bazaar
- Drive 25km out to Balkh – this town is believed to be the centre of the Bactrian Empire, even before the arrival of Alexander the Great. It was destroyed many times over by the likes of Ghengis Khan and Timur-i-lang. Compared to the rest of the country, almost all citizens of Balkh can speak English.
- Visit the Shrine of Khoja Abu Nasar Parsa and Dargah of Rabia Balkhi
- We’ll head back to the Blue Mosque for evening shots as it’s even more spectacular at night
- Dinner and overnight in Mazar-I-Sharif
Day 9 – Mazar-I-Sharif – Kabul
- Breakfast at hotel and begin our epic drive all the way back to Kabul stopping at Tashkurgan on the way. We’ll cross the Somali plain to Charikar and back to Kabul.
- Stop for lunch on the way and for photos and breaks.
- Late arrival into Kabul where we’ll have farewell dinner with our local guide and overnight in Kabul
Day 10 – Mazar-I-Sharif – Kabul
- Breakfast at hotel
- Tour concludes – YPT is able to arrange airport transfers and advice for flights out.
- Optional $475 to board Kam Air flight 901 departing Kabul 5:25pm and arriving into Dubai 8:00pm. We can further explore Kabul before the flight or see any sights we couldn’t do on our first day.
Note – This is a sample itinerary for our Afghanistan Tours and is therefore subject to change. For bespoke Afghanistan itineraries please contact is vis the link below.