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Pakistan: Summer Mountain Explorer

Group Tour

21 Days From €4,054

Overview

Pakistan is a country close to our hearts… and for good reason. Home to some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world, thriving cities, colourful markets and warm hospitality, a trip to this part of the world is bound to excite even the worldliest travellers.

Having run trips here for fifteen years, we understand the politicalcomplexities of travelling to this fascinating country and our paramount consideration has always been the safety of our clients. Despite the ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

21 x Breakfasts
21 x Lunches
21 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use classic re-conditioned 1970’s Willys jeeps between Chitral and Hunza opening the roof when the weather allows. We are embracing the nature of adventure travel with this mode of transport as it maximises our opportunity to enjoy the spectacular scenery. We will use minibus coasters everywhere else.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this trip, there is some varied accommodation including some excellent hotels, but on the whole it will be in small hotels and guesthouses with Western style bathrooms, and in Fairy Meadows lovely – if basic – log cabins.

Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

For security reasons we do not provide details of the hotels used on this trip but if you would like more information please contact the office.

 

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Pakistan: Summer Mountain Explorer
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN ISLAMABAD

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN ISLAMABAD

Today the tour starts in Islamabad, 'City of Islam', Pakistan's capital city. It replaced Karachi back in the 1967 and is now the political and commercial heart of the country. Situated against the lush backdrop of the Margalla Hills it is a city where old and new collide. Leafy green boulevards are home to modern buildings, and shopping malls, but also dotted with traditional homes and mosques. The group flight doesn't arrive until late evening so anyone arriving early might want to take a stroll and familiarise yourself with the city.

Hotel

DAY 2:  ISLAMABAD - NARAN

DAY 2:  ISLAMABAD - NARAN

It is an early start this morning to make our long drive north, through the Kaghan Valley, stopping for lunch en route and then for the evening at the hotel in Naran. The journey will take about six to seven hours.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: NARAN - FAIRY MEADOWS

DAY 3: NARAN - FAIRY MEADOWS

Departing early this morning we will continue through the forested Kaghan Valley and over the spectacular Babusa Pass, before driving down to the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and on to Raikot Bridge. Here we’ll transfer to jeeps for the short, but wildly dramatic, drive to the road head before walking up to the cabins at Fairy Meadows. The walk is of a moderate nature on a good mountain path and should take around 3 hours. We will enjoy the views of Nanga Parbat – or Naked Mountain (the 8,100m peak and massif that marks the western end of the Himalayas). Here we will stay in the rustic log cabins, all of which have commanding views of the great mountain. This is truly one of the most magical places on earth.

Log Cabins
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: IN FAIRY MEADOWS

DAY 4: IN FAIRY MEADOWS

Today we walk through the forested foothills of the massif to the Beyal Camp and back. This will not be too strenuous, as we will run along the contours rather than straight up, but it will be spectacular. Anyone wanting a more relaxed time can stay at the meadows, which is a lovely place to unwind. We will take lunch at a local camp and return to have dinner back at the cabins.

Log Cabins
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: FAIRY MEADOWS - RAMA LAKE

DAY 5: FAIRY MEADOWS - RAMA LAKE

This morning after an early breakfast we’ll walk back to the road head, pick up the jeeps and re-join the KKH. We’ll drive for another couple of hours, before heading right over the Indus and on to Astor. From here we’ll drive the short distance to Rama Lake where we’ll stay for the night.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: RAMA LAKE – DEOSAI PLATEAU - SKARDU

DAY 6: RAMA LAKE – DEOSAI PLATEAU - SKARDU

After and early breakfast we’ll take a short drive to Rama Lake before continuing our journey to the amazing Deosai Plateau National Park. This plateau is a stunning 4,000m high wildlife wilderness complete with an array of wild flowers at this time of year. We’ll enjoy a hearty picnic lunch with views of the Himalayas before continuing on to Skardu.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: SKARDU - KHAPLU

DAY 7: SKARDU - KHAPLU

This morning we’ll visit the old bazaar, and then head out to see the Manthal Buddha rock carving just outside Skardu. After this we’ll drive to Khaplu for a real treat as we stay in one of the most wonderful heritage hotels in the whole subcontinent. This has been recently converted by the Aga Khan Cultural Development Trust and run as a community project.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: KHAPLU - HUSHE VALLEY - KHAPLU

DAY 8: KHAPLU - HUSHE VALLEY - KHAPLU

Today the adventure continues as we follow the Shyok and Hushe Rivers into the heart of the Karakoram. Draining an enormous area of the eastern Karakoram, much of which is now in India, the Shyok and Hushe rivers cut a spectacular trail into this eastern most part of Baltistan. We'll drive up the Hushe Valley, where we have the opportunity to visit the Wild Frontiers Foundation-sponsored school in the remote village of Baleygon. From here we’ll continue right up the valley to the end of the road where the magnificent 7,000m Mashabrum Mountain stands sentinel. In the late afternoon, as the sun is setting, we’ll return to Khaplu.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: KHAPLU - SKARDU - GILGIT

DAY 9: KHAPLU - SKARDU - GILGIT

Today we will take a day long drive to Gilgit. Following the Indus most of the way, this is a hugely impressive journey. We will take lunch along the way before arriving into Gilgit in the early evening.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: GILGIT - HUNZA

DAY 10: GILGIT - HUNZA

This morning we have a chance to take a look around this classic frontier town, once considered the furthest outpost of the empire. We will see the Christian graveyard and the bazaar, before heading north on the KKH to Karimabad in the famed Hunza valley. We know we use a lot of superlatives in this dossier but this trip really is epic, particularly as you round the corner and see the titanic form of Mount Rakaposhi basking in the sun, right beside the road. We will take lunch on the way – at the Rakaposhi View Restaurant – before continuing on to Hunza. On arrival we will have the chance to explore the laid back little town of Karimabad and admire the mountains that surround it before continuing on to our hotel for our first night situated, as the name suggests, 2,850m above sea level, 800m above the valley floor with panoramic views of seven 7,000m peaks!

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: HUNZA- ATTABAD LAKE - HUNZA

DAY 11: HUNZA- ATTABAD LAKE - HUNZA

After breakfast we will first drive to the other side of the valley to take a walk on Hoper Glacier. After this we’ll have lunch in a pretty garden café before driving an hour further up the KKH to visit the newly formed lake at Attabad. In January 2010 a massive landslide blocked the Hunza River, submerging 28kms of the KKH by forming a beautiful azure lake with some stunning cathedral peaks as a backdrop. We then return to Karimabad and drive to our hotel.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: IN HUNZA

DAY 12: IN HUNZA

Another full day in Hunza gives us the chance to take a wonderful water channel walk down to Karimabad where we’ll trip to the famous Baltit fort, recently restored by the Aga Khan Trust to a fantastic standard, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. We’ll also have plenty of time for shopping in the town’s pretty bazaar and to relax. After all this is a holiday!

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: HUNZA - PHANDER

DAY 13: HUNZA - PHANDER

Wake at around 05.30 to have your last chance to watch the rising sunover the surrounding peaks..… if you want! After breakfast we will then drive back to Gilgit, and from here to Phander. Once again, it is a stunning trip through some of northern Pakistan’s most dramatic scenery. If time allows we will walk down to the lake before dinner.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: PHANDER - SHANDUR PASS

DAY 14: PHANDER - SHANDUR PASS

After breakfast we will drive to the Shandur Pass. At the last village of Barsat we’ll alight and walk across the stunning langer – or flat plain – where local shepherds graze their yaks, cattle, donkeys and sheep. We will then arrive at the top of the stunning scenic pass and make our way to the camping area where we will stay for the next two nights to enjoy the festival. Today we will enjoy some high paced polo matches which demonstrate the passion and colour that this sport brings to Pakistan in an unrivalled location with stunning views. Please note that a camp crew will be on hand to put the tents up and assemble the mess tent and toilet tent.

Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: SHANDUR POLO FESTIVAL

DAY 15: SHANDUR POLO FESTIVAL

Today we will continue to enjoy the colourful spectacle of the fiercely contested polo matches being played at a frenetic pace in the festival atmosphere. We will also partake in some of the additional entertainment available such as traditional music, folk dances, bonfires, and some local hikes in the area. All of these activities are set against the crystal clear lakes, snow covered mountains, meadows of alpine flowers amongst swathes of green grass – a magical location.

Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 16: SHANDUR PASS - CHITRAL

DAY 16: SHANDUR PASS - CHITRAL

This is going to be a long day’s drive but one of the most beautiful and dramatic drives you are ever likely to take. We will wind our way down the Mastuj Valley, passing the northern face of Boni Zong and the eastern flank of Tirich Mir, leaving through the Yarkund Valley at the top of which lies Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. On arrival we will have a good look around this sleepy hill town, taking in the famous fort and the bazaar.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 17: CHITRAL - KALASH

DAY 17: CHITRAL - KALASH

After breakfast we will drive in to the Kalash Valley of Rumbor and the village of Balanguru where we stay with our good friend Saifullah Jan, the chief spokesperson for the colourful Kalash people. The journey takes about two hours, though if people prefer we can walk the last few miles through the gorgeous valley. After lunch we will meet the Kalash and go for walks around the village, or further afield to visit some of our friends in Grum or Kalashagrum.

Local Guest House
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 18: IN THE KALASH

DAY 18: IN THE KALASH

Today we maximise our time by walking in and around the valley to enjoy the local scenery and experience the local hospitality. This morning we should be able to take a walk up in the direction of the Afghan frontier to visit some small villages. We return to Balanguru for lunch and then for those who wish to we head out on another walk around the valley to understand more of the lifestyle of the Kalash people. These walks are optional, and you may wish to spend your time relaxing in the village.

Local Guest House
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 19: KALASH - AYUN

DAY 19: KALASH - AYUN

Today we will drive to Ayun and check into the wonderful home of Maqsood Ul Mulk, one of the princes of Chitral. We can spend time having a look around his amazing garden and also take some wonderful village walks in the local area.

Local Guest House
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 20: AYUN - ISLAMABAD

DAY 20: AYUN - ISLAMABAD

This morning we’ll leave very early to drive the last spectacular journey, through the Lowari Tunnel and down through the frontier, towards Islamabad. This is a full day’s drive and we will not reach our hotel in Islamabad until the evening for a well-earned rest.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 21: ISLAMABAD - TAXILA - ISLAMABAD

DAY 21: ISLAMABAD - TAXILA - ISLAMABAD

Today we will have a relaxed start and take a short drive to Taxila to explore this fascinating Buddhist university town, dating back to the Gandaharan era of Alexander the Great. We’ll then return to Islamabad.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 22: SIGHTSEEING AROUND ISLAMABAD. TOUR ENDS.

DAY 22: SIGHTSEEING AROUND ISLAMABAD. TOUR ENDS.

Today we have the chance to visit some of the famous sights of Islamabad including the Faisal Mosque, the largest in South East Asia, and 5th largest mosque in the world. We will also take time to visit the Lok Virsa Museum and Pakistan Monument. If time allows there will also be a chance for some last minute shopping before our farewell dinner, after which the tour ends. Wash and change facilities will be made available to those on the group flight, which departs in the early hours of the following day.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Baleygon School – Hushe Valley, Northern Pakistan

On this tour you have the opportunity to visit the Wild Frontiers Foundation sponsored school in the remote Hushe Valley village of Baleygon. The building and ongoing support of the Baleygon Village School has been our biggest and most challenging project to date, spanning over 10 years. With government funding often not forthcoming at the time, hamlets, villages and entire regions had little in the way of educational facilities, denying children of even a basic level of tuition. This was the case in Baleygon village, where stood a dilapidated two-roomed building with 10 broken desks and around 100 students (most of whom had to sit on a hard concrete floor even in mid-winter to learn), one teacher in charge of all students from 4 to 14-year-olds, and very little else in the way of equipment. Recognising the needs of the village and the students, the Wild Frontiers Foundation’s first major project was initiated in 2010. It was a long process, but the initial funds raised through a charity trek to K2,  led to huge developments at the school including land purchase, three new classrooms and a new teacher. In 2012 there was an official opening of the new school extension amid much celebration.

We now work with educational charity partner, the Felix Foundation Baltistan, which manages the school on our behalf to help ensure a good quality of education and student attendance. As guardians of the school, the Wild Frontiers Foundation’s continued support funds teachers’ wages, teaching aids, equipment and contributes to the general maintenance and upkeep of the building and grounds, while helping to secure the future education of the children in Baleygon and surrounding villages.  

 

 

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 2261 London Gatwick (LGW) 10:30 Islamabad Airport (ISB) 22:20
BA 2260 Islamabad Airport (ISB) 00:20 London Gatwick (LGW) 05:05

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for Pakistan.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Lahore & the Wagah Border

Why not head south to to spend a few days in Lahore, the famous old Moghul city. Combine this with a visit to the Wagah Border and witness the ‘Closing of the Gate’ ceremony.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Warning

The FCDO sometimes advises against certain parts of this itinerary.

Wild Frontiers has many years’ experience of running trips which contravene FCDO advice but these decisions that are never taken lightly and are always taken in conjunction with our local partners after extensive consultation. As part of the booking process, you will need to sign a disclaimer to confirm you have read the advice, that you are still happy to travel and that you will obtain travel insurance which is not invalidated by the FCDO advice.

For more information, please see the Insurance section or contact us. Non-UK clients should be sure to check the travel advice of their own governments as well as the small print of their insurance policies. Should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Key Information

CLIMATE

The weather conditions can be extremely varied. In the mountains of Pakistan, where you will often be travelling at heights of up to 3,000 metres, even in the middle of summer it can turn bitter; at the same time the temperature in Islamabad could be nudging 40 degrees. On the lower regions around Kaghan and Lowari there might be some monsoon cloud, but as these mountains break the subcontinents rainy season the rest of the region should run then the weather should be very pleasant pretty much everywhere.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. Please note that some of the walks in the Kalash valley are quite steep in places, and the 2-3 hour walk up to Fairy Meadows is a little tough and at altitude, though should be manageable for most. Horses/donkeys are available if needed(payable locally)

 

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour with the exception of the Kalash valley and Ayun Guesthouses.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 7514 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

TRAVEL GUIDE TO PAKISTAN

To say Pakistan is close to our hearts would be a master understatement. It was here in the late 90s that the whole idea for Wild Frontiers came about, and it was through these amazing mountains that…

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP