Jizeu Trek: Tajikistan’s Best Overnight Hike in the Pamirs
Updated April 2020 The Jizeu Trekking Guide was originally written in July 2018
Jizeu Valley (pronounced gee-sao, seen spelled Geisev, Jisev…) is one of Tajikistan’s best short hikes that will take you to a lovely mountain village set along a chain of seasonally overflowing lakes. To get here you’ll have the adventure of crossing the raging Bartang River by a suspension bridge from the Bartang Valley. What makes the village an appealing hike is that there is no road access, so the only way to get here is on foot. The Jizeu trek makes a great overnight trek, but the village can easily be visited as a day trip.
JIZEU TREK TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Bartang Highway ➤ Jizeu ➤ Bartang Highway
2 days, 1 night
Jizeu is located in the Jizeu Valley- a side valley off the Bartang Valley in Tajikistan’s Western Pamir. To reach Jizeu you will need to head to the village of Rushan on the Pamir Highway (at KM 553) between Kala-i-Khumb and Khorog. At Rushan you’ll head east along the Bartang Highway for 23 kilometers until you reach the suspension bridge crossing the Bartang River (the bridge has ‘To Jizeu’ painted on one of the concrete bases). Once across the bridge, it’s a steep 5 kilometer trek uphill to reach the lower village. Another 1.5 kilometers will take you to the Upper Village of Jizeu. The total elevation gain from the bridge to the first village is roughly 500 meters (1640 feet) with the bridge sitting at about 2000 meters (6500 feet). In all the Jizeu trek should take you about 2 hours each way.
Due to proximity I’ve also included the continuation of the Jizeu Trek beyond the first village to Tsaxinkul, as well as the Ravmed Valley and the Basid Valley Treks.
The continuation of the Jizeu trek climbs up to the upper (second) village of Jizeu and continues along the river to two more lakes and eventually onto a lake by the name of Tsaxinkul. This trek is marked in blue on the above map.
In red is the Ravmed Valley trek that starts from the village of Khijez on the Bartang Highway. Following a river valley to the south from Khijez the trail will meander 18 kilometers and eventually bend east to the village of Ravmed. 18 kilometers further the trail continues following the valley to finally reach the meadows under the massive 6083 meter Patkhor Peak.
In purple is the Basid Trek that follows the Basiddara River to the south along the valley.
Please note that you can connect the Jizeu and Ravmed Treks by making a two day strenuous hike up over the Ravmed Pass. I have personally never done this particular trek connecting the two, so I am unsure of where the 4200 meter Ravmed Pass is officially located (I have a general idea). If wanting to take on this trek you will need to ask locals in Jizeu to point it out to you or hire a guide there to lead you over. The same can be said from the opposite direction for those that plan to trek Ravmed Valley to Jizeu Valley
Looking for other adventures in the Bartang Valley? Check out the Bartang Valley Guide
Getting To Jizeu & Transportation
Transport for reaching the trailhead for Jizeu is most easily available from Khorog, however, it’s possible to arrange it from Rushan and even as far away as Dushanbe. It is possible to reach the trailhead by shared taxi and private car hire. Shared taxis depart Khorog’s main taxi stand next to the bazaar on most days to Rushan. From Rushan you catch another shared taxi or hire a car to take you to the bridge. It is recommended to charter a private vehicle at least for departing Jizeu. Shared taxis bound for Rushan and Khorog pass the trailhead in the early morning with no guarantee on the exact time, and it’s a brutal 26 kilometer walk along the road to Rushan with no shade if you miss it.
From Dushanbe you’ll need to head to the Badakhshanskaya Avtostansiya on Nazarshoev Street not far from the Sheraton Dushanbe Hotel. Most of these shared taxis will depart Dushanbe between 5 am and 9 am.
- Khorog-Jizeu 20 TJS
- Rushan-Jizeu 30 TJS
- Khorog-Rushan 15 TJS
- Dushanbe-Rushan 250-300 TJS
Private Car Hire
- Khorog-Jizeu 250 TJS
- Rushan-Jizeu 200 TJS
- Dushanbe-Rushan 2000 TJS
Accommodation & Camping
7 of the 14 homes scattered around Jizeu act as homestays. I personally recommend staying at Homestay Lola from my own experience. Popular options for those that want to stay with an English speaker is Gulsha Guesthouse (the first homestay you’ll reach on arrival at the lower village), and the homestay located about 10 minutes walk beyond the upper village. Expect to pay 160-170 TJS per night per person, including dinner and breakfast. It is easy enough to camp along any of these treks, though make sure to set up camp a little ways away from homes and crops if camping near a village.
Here are the telephone numbers of a few homestays in Jizeu, Ravmed, Khijez, and Basid:
- Nazarshoeva Nazarbegim (Homestay Lola) +992 906886676
- Bulbulov Tavakal +992 900560883
- Palaeva Sohibdavlat +992 900502532
- Nazarshoev Imomnazar +992 905901987
- Anjir Zaurbekova +992 939319832
- Dilshod Mirzoeva +992 933338539 or +992 937019169
- Mavl’uda Juraeva +992 934614871 or +992 931176686
- Niyozbekov Niyozbek +992 550156034 or +992 935140491
Looking for more trekking ideas? Check out the 10 best hikes in Tajikistan
Tours & Guides
It is possible to arrange guides to visit Jizeu and beyond. Contact PECTA for arranging guides to take you to Jizeu and beyond. It is possible to reach Jizeu and arrange a guide and porter to take you to Ravmed Valley.
Many Pamir Highway tours include and overnight in Jizeu.
There are several operators that can organize trips to Jizeu and beyond, here are a few to choose from:
- Paramount Journey Offering 5% off tours if you mention the promo code PJ2017AN and this post.
- Discover the Pamirs Arranging scheduled departures to Jizeu and throughout the Pamirs, as well as custom and private bookings.
- Kalpak Travel Offering a 5% discount to anyone who mentions the promo code Nicki-Kalpak2017 when booking.
- Sarez Travel Can arrange tours all over Tajikistan but specializes in Lake Sarez and the Bartang Valley. The only agency I’m aware of that can arrange Lake Sarez permits.
- Pamir Highway Adventure I’ve met Saidali (one of the guides and owners) and he is a great, knowledgable guide in the Pamir.
- Pamir Horse Adventure I’ve actually gotten to meet Asli, one of the owners of this company and he’s a great guy.
- Tour De Pamir
- Pamir Guides
- Badakshan Travel
- Women Rockin Pamirs
- Pamir Silk Tours
Most tour operators can organize travel in other parts of Tajikistan as well. Paramount Journey and Kalpak Travel both offer trips to other ‘stans in addition to Tajikistan.
I’m not including a clothing, electronics, toiletry and food list for this trek as most who take on the Jizeu trek will stay in homestays, however, those that want a definitive list, click here to see a full list I recommended for trekking in the Fann Mountains in northwest Tajikistan.
- Inreach Explorer+
- Backpack (I personally recommend the Ariel 65 for women)
- Hiking boots (My favorite is the La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX)
- Waterproof sandals
- Katadyn water purifier
- Sleeping mat
- 3-season tent if you plan to camp
- Hydration Pack
- Sleeping bag cold rated to -6ºC/20ºF
- Campstove and Cooking set
- Silicone squeeze tubes (for cooking with sauces, olive oil, etc.)
- Propane/butane canister (available for purchase at Greenhouse Hostel in Dushanbe and Pamir Lodge in Khorog)
- Trekking poles
Maps & Books
- ‘Trekking in Tajikistan‘ by Jan Bakker and Christine Orhiol. The perfect guide with trip notes and maps for many treks in the country.
- ‘The Pamirs Map‘ by Markus Hauser. Can be found online on Amazon, or can always be picked up at the PECTA office in Khorog.
- ‘Tajikistan and the High Pamirs‘ by Robert Middleton & Hue Thomas. This is a huge book, but it has so much good info on Tajikistan from the history, great-game stories, travel, and more!
- ‘Bradt Guides Tajikistan‘ by Sophie Ibbotson and Max Lovell-Hoare. The most in-depth and up to date guidebook to Tajikistan in print.
- ‘Central Asia‘ by Lonely Planet. Handy to have with you, although don’t treat it like a bible. Good for travelers on multi-‘stan itineraries. Many times information is out of date as things change rapidly here. The ‘Central Asia Phrasebook‘ by Lonely Planet I found this to be a handy item for Tajik, Russian and Kyrgyz phrases, not so much for the Wakhi phrase section.
- Jizeu is located in the GBAO region, so a GBAO permit is required. It is easiest to apply for your GBAO permit at the same time you apply for your visa. Find out more and apply for your visa and GBAO permit here.
- The best time to do the Jizeu trek is mid-June through September, this is when the weather is best. I personally recommend September and even into October if chilly nights aren’t off-putting to you as the fall colors are stunning.
- It’s totally possible to do the standard Jizeu Trek in one day, but an overnight trip is suggested to give a better feel of what Jizeu life is like.
- If you are unsure of your skill level or ability, I recommend hiring a local guide.
- Pack animals and guides are available for hire in Jizeu for those continuing to Ravmed Valley.
- If you need a propane/butane tank for cooking it’s best to purchase one in Dushanbe or Khorog, or in Osh before you depart Kyrgyzstan.
- This is a remote part of the world, so do take necessary precautions.
- The people of Jizeu are Pamiri and speak Bartangi, a Pamiri language. The people of Jizeu, as well as the entire Bartang Valley, are known for their legendary hospitality. Most in Jizeu can speak and understand Tajik as well as Russian. Dasha and Gulsha, who run homestays in Jizeu can understand and speak some English.
In general Jizeu is a safe place to visit.
There is wildlife that lives in the mountains of the Western Pamir. There are wolves, bears, sheep and more but it’s fairly unlikely you’ll run into any of them, however, take precautions.
The biggest concern out here would be that of a natural disaster. Tajikistan is prone to earthquakes so landslides are not unheard of. The biggest fear in this area is the breach of the Usoi Dam that has created the massive Lake Sarez. If the dam were to breach it would send a wall of water hurtling down the Bartang Valley. Jizeu residents’ only defense, in this case, is to head for higher ground.
Have Questions About The Jizeu Trek?
Ask your Jizeu Trek, Ravmed Valley and Basid Trek questions in the comments below!