Minaret of Jam

The Minaret of Jam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Ghor province of Afghanistan. It dates back to the 12th century. It is covered with elaborate brickwork and blue tile inscription at the top. Its remote location adds to its charm, especially for the intrepid traveler.

There are two ways of reaching the Minaret of Jam with public transport at the moment. With your own vehicle, this is a lot easier but also more expensive.

Please also see the section below for where to stay along the way. If you need help or have questions, feel free to use one of the resources listed.

From Kabul or Bamyan

There are daily shared taxis going from Kabul to Chagcharan. These can be boarded from Kabul. If you are in Bamyan, you can reserve a seat in a shared taxi coming from Kabul and be picked up from Bamyan. To reserve such a seat, it's best to work with a contact in Kabul who can arrange this for you.

You must visit the Ministry of Culture and Information (34.5188166, 65.2534464) in Chagcharan to obtain the permit for Ghor province and to purchase a ticket for the Minaret of Jam. The ticket costs 1,100 AFN.

There are shared taxis then going from Chagcharan to Herat. To visit the Minaret, ask to be dropped off on the way, then walk a few hundred meters to the Minaret. After your visit, you will need to take another shared taxi on to Herat or back to Chagcharan. The Taliban guarding the Minaret can help you with this. With your own vehicle this part is much easier.

Approximate driving times are:

Kabul to Bamyan: 4 to 5 hours - excellent road, fully paved.

Bamyan to Chagcharan: 5 to 6 hours - road condition is average, but mostly paved.

Chagcharan to the Minaret of Jam: 4 to 5 hours - poor road condition, mostly unpaved.

The Minaret of Jam to Herat: 12 to 14 hours – this is a short distance, but it's an unpaved road so it's hard to go over 30 km/h on it.

Avoid the Road from Bamyan to Lal

There are some travelers who have taken the road from Bamyan to Lal on the way to Chagcharan. This is a much longer route and the road isn't in as good condition and should therefore be avoided.

At the Minaret

There are Taliban guarding the Minaret who will check your papers. There is also a manager named Babacauddin who speaks good English. They can also help you find basic food and accommodation and help you find onward transportation.

When arriving from Kabul or Bamyan, you need to show a permit for Chagcharan. Wen arriving from Herat, you must show the permit for Herat.

From Herat

It's also possible to visit the Minaret of Jam coming from Herat. It is not necessary to go to Chagcharan and backtrack. You need to show the permit for Herat when arriving in this direction.

Shared taxis headed to Chagcharan depart from Herat from Sheidaee, a town 12 km east of the Herat City Center. There are two departures daily at 6am and 11am. The cost is 1,700 AFN for a seat. You can ask to be dropped off near the Minaret.

You will need to meet the Taliban guarding the Minaret and purchase your ticket for the Minaret there. After completing your visit, you can take a shared taxi back to Herat or on to Bamyan or Kabul.

Where to Stay

Given the long journey to reach the Minaret of Jam, there are some options for where to stay:

Chagcharan - there is only one hotel in Chagcharan, the Wasim Hotel. It's very basic, with shared bathrooms and simple rooms and it's also very expensive for what you get. There are also chaikhanas (tea houses) which you can rent.

The Minaret of Jam - it's possible to camp at the Minaret of Jam. There are also chaikhanas (tea houses) nearby where you can sleep.


It's possible to hitchhike on any of the above routes, but it's not recommended for safety reasons.