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Solo Backpacking Afghanistan in 2023: A Thrifty 30-Day Adventure

Embarking on a month-long, solo journey through Afghanistan might sound like an endeavor for the brave. But Sergio Torán González did just that and documented his experiences, where he spent just 400 USD including an adventurous detour to the Wakhan Corridor. His travels relied on local transportation options, hitchhiking, and an open-minded approach to accommodation.

The Route

My journey took me from Torkham Border through Kabul, Bamyan, Band-Amir, Mazari Shariff, Herat, Kandahar, Fayzabad, Eskashim, Khundud, Kala-e Panja, Sarhad e Broghil, and back.

Permits and Planning

Obtaining permits was surprisingly easy. By explaining that I couldn’t afford a guide, officers were willing to grant me access. However, the process can be a bit complex when visiting specific regions such as the Wakhan Corridor, involving multiple permissions from different departments. But with patience, it can be navigated successfully.

The Afghan Accommodations

My sleeping arrangements ranged from basic rooms in local restaurants called “Chaikhanas” (200 to 500 AFG), to budget hotels (around 800 AFG). In Chaikhanas, it’s common to be checked on during the night.

Eating on a Budget

A true taste of Afghanistan can be enjoyed even on a tight budget. From potato/egg sandwiches (30-50AFG) to rice pulao or Biriyani (100-150AFG), these local delicacies are both affordable and hearty.

Interactions with the Taliban

Despite their reputation, interactions with the Taliban were largely positive. Dressing like a local and having valid permits seemed to create a comfortable rapport, even though there was occasional suspicion due to the rarity of tourists.

Transportation

Local buses were reliable and cost about 800 AFG for a 12-hour night journey. Hitchhiking is another option, though this sometimes required contributing some money towards the ride.

Travelling in Badakshan

In Badakshan, a shared taxi ride from Fayzabad to Sarhad and back will set you back around 60 USD. However, finding other passengers can be a challenge. Hitchhiking is possible but can require days of patience before a ride is found.

Last Thoughts

Traveling independently through Afghanistan was a surprisingly straightforward experience. People were helpful and some English speakers could be found. The most challenging part was navigating the permit system, but that’s where a bit of patience comes into play.

Follow me on Instagram @toranaround for more insights into my adventures!

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