Ishkashim Border and Bazaar

Ishkashim Border and Bazaar

ishkashim border and bazaar

A traveler favorite, the Ishkashim cross-border bazaar has long been a place to interact with Afghanistan without the need for that country’s visa and permit. Due to recent security and a high-profile assassination in the area in late summer of 2012, though, the future of foreign access to this market may now be in question. All information was current up until August of 2012.

Bazaar Access

The market lies just a few kilometers outside of Ishkashim on the road to Khorog. On saturdays, residents from all around the Wakhan gather on the islands in between the Afghan and Tajik border posts for the weekly market.

To get here from the Tajik village of Ishkashim, either walk or find a ride for the ~3km stretch of road outside of town.

If coming from Khorog, the market is at a very obvious gathering of cars on the side of the road just before you arrive to Ishkashim.

Passport Control

Though an Afghan visa is not necessary, you are technically stepping out of Tajikistan for the time you spend at the market. The border guards on the Tajik side will ask to see your passport, and if they permit access will keep all foreign passports until you return from the market. At times, access is disallowed due to safety concerns on one or both sides. Make sure you ask about this in Khorog and Ishkashim, to make sure you don’t waste a trip over here.

vendor at the ishkashim bazaar

At the Ishkashim Bazaar

If you were planning to buy souvenirs anywhere on your Central Asia journey, this is the place to do it. Not only can you pick up sweets and clothes and sundry items from Afghanistan, but you can also trade for a bit of Afghan currency to hang on to. For stuff from the Tajik Wakhan, too, this is the biggest central market you’ll find in the area so it can make sense to buy here. Even if you don’t want ‘stuff’, vendors set up small food stands and even a teahouse under one of the big metal pavilions so at least consider having lunch here before you head back.


Continuing to Afghanistan

If you intend to continue to Afghanistan, you’ll need an Afghan visa and a Wakhan Permit. Check out the ‘Visas and Permits‘ page for more info.

3 Responses to Ishkashim Border and Bazaar

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