Travelling through the defiant Kulob-Qal'ai Khumb Road
Located in southern Tajikistan, the Kulob-Qal'ai Khumb road is a very challenging experience following the Afghan border closely along the Panj river. This road has humbled many egos. It’s not for the sissies and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers.
The road is 174km long and links Kulob, also known as Kulyab (in Kulob District, Khatlon Province) and Qal'ai Khumb or Qal'a-i-Khum (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region). It’s certainly breathtaking and has a fearsome reputation. It still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. In many places the road is bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails.
Located in the Panj valley, the road (called R-44 or P-44) is being improved the last months, adding some paved sections. Avoid driving in this area if unpaved mountain roads aren't your strong point. Stay away if you're scared of heights. Expect more than 5 hours to drive between both towns. There are some narrow sections -scarcely wide enough for two cars- where if two vehicles have to pass each other, one might have to reverse for some kilometers of winding narrow road to get to a place wide enough to pass.
Road suggested by: Hugh Wilson