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Hiring a car in GBAO

Hiring a car in GBAO actually means hiring a car and driver. The advantages are that the drivers tend to know the roads and the foibles of their particular vehicle and will be responsible for fixing it when it inevitably breaks down or blows a tyre; the downsides are that you'll be paying for the driver's food and accommodation not only while you travel but also any days you spend away from the vehicle (for example time spent sightseeing or trekking) and on the driver's return journey.

You need to hire a 4x4 vehicle. Though you might want a Land Rover or a Toyota Land Cruiser, the reality is that your choice is likely to be limited to a Lada Niva (small but with surprisingly good suspension and greater fuel efficiency) or a larger, clunkier Russian-made jeep. Check the vehicle over yourself before agreeing to any journey (see Self-drive checks, page 45) and make sure there is both a spare tyre and at least one jerrycan of additional fuel as it can be hard to come by once you leave Khorog.

You will need to agree a price before leaving, and be explicit about what that price includes. Hiring a car is slightly more expensive in Khorog than in Murghab, but making arrangements here does at least guarantee you an onward ride, as vehicles in Murghab can be in short supply. The price will be determined by the type of vehicle and the current fuel price. Make sure it also includes any repairs, extra time due to breakdowns, and the driver's expenses. You are looking at a minimum of US$0.65 per kilometre, so it's advisable to find travelling companions heading the same way (the Pamir Lodge is a good bet for this) so that you can split the bill between you.