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Complete Northern Pakistan

Tailor Made Itinerary

23 Days From £4,150

Overview

Enigmatic, edgy and intriguing, Pakistan often makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons. However, it is a land filled with colour and contrast, offering the adventurous traveller a stunning wealth of culture, tradition and natural beauty. This remarkable journey encompasses everything from remote mountain communities and breathtaking scenery, to bustling bazaars and lively cities, as you travel from the streets of Islamabad, deep into the valleys of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalayas.
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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the Swat Valley, with its multiple stupas and Ghandharan Buddhist history
  • Stay with our friends the Kalash - a pagan tribe with animist beliefs and a fascinating culture
  • Cross the vast Shandur Pass - known as 'the roof of the world'
  • Admire the stunning azure Lake Attabad in Hunza - created by a landslide in 2010
  • Stay in family-run guesthouses and historic forts and palaces, experiencing Pakistan's warm hospitality
  • Hike in the valley of Nanga Parbat to the magical and remote Fairy Meadows

ITINERARY

This is a suggested itinerary. Our experts have all travelled widely in the region and will be happy to tailor any of our itineraries to suit your tastes, or build a trip from scratch.

EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: ARRIVE ISLAMABAD

DAY 1: ARRIVE ISLAMABAD

Arrive into Islamabad airport, where you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon, kick off your tour with a visit the Institute of Folk Heritage, known as Lok Versa – a small ethnological museum displaying numerous costumes and artefacts from all over Pakistan – and from here proceed to the Faisal Mosque. When this impressive house of worship was built in the 70s, it was the largest in the world and houses an Islamic university specialising in Philosophy and Law. Finally you can visit the Marghalla Hills to enjoy magnificent views over the city before taking dinner at one of the many restaurants in old Islamabad where Saidpur Village still survives amid the modern planning.

Islamabad Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 1: ISLAMABAD - SWAT VALLEY

DAY 1: ISLAMABAD - SWAT VALLEY

Today you will start your journey north by driving through the Northwest Frontier and into the beautiful Swat Valley. Follow the GT Road to Malakand Pass, Butkhela, Chakdara and Saidu Sharif. Until quite recently this region was out of bounds to foreign tourists, but now it has opened up again offering you a great chance to explore the regions ancient Buddhist past. Once you have checked into your hotel, you'll visit the local museum, packed with many fine Gandharan artefacts, and other Buddhist sites. Then visit the famous archaeological site of Butkara, which is one of oldest Buddhist stupas in Ghandhara.

Islamabad Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 3: SWAT VALLEY - AYUN

DAY 3: SWAT VALLEY - AYUN

After breakfast you will embark on a spectacular drive, passing Chakdara - where young Winston Churchill saw action back in the 1890s - before continuing over the Lowari Pass (or going through the new tunnel) and into the ancient kingdom of Chitral. Here you'll drive on to Ayun, where you'll check into the wonderful home of Prince Maqsood Ul Mulk - an old friend of Wild Frontiers. Encircling the fort is the farm and an orchard growing seasonal fruits. The Prince is a keen botanist so be sure to take a walk in the garden to admire the impressive variety of roses. Standing at the entrance to the Kalash Valleys, surrounded by wonderful views, this is a lovely laid-back place to end your day.

Ayun Fort
Breakfast

DAY 4: AYUN - KALASH VALLEY

DAY 4: AYUN - KALASH VALLEY

After breakfast, you will drive into the Valley of Rumbor and the village of Balanguru where you stay with our good friend Saifullah Jan, the chief spokesperson for the colourful Kalash people. You also have the option of walking the last few miles through this gorgeous valley. The Kalash, numbering approximately 3,000, are the smallest religious minority of Pakistan. Unlike the other minorities in the country, they live exclusively in a particular geographical area; the three valleys of Birir, Bumburet and Rumbur. Situated in the Hindu Kush between the Afghan Border and Chitral Valley, the Muslim label the community Kalash Kafirs' (non-believers) and their area Kafirstan.

Kalash Guesthouse Rumbur
Breakfast

DAY 5: KALASH VALLEY

DAY 5: KALASH VALLEY

After breakfast drive to the Bumburet Valley, the most picturesque of the three, scattered with villages and long, fertile stretches of cultivation. Upon arrival do spend as much time with the Kalash families as possible, learning about their culture, lifestyle and how they are slowly transitioning into the modern world.

Kalash Guesthouse Rumbur
Breakfast

DAY 6: KALASH VALLEY - CHITRAL

DAY 6: KALASH VALLEY - CHITRAL

Today you will leave the beautiful Kalash Valleys. Heading back down the winding rocky tracks through the soaring Hindu Kush mountains, you will continue your journey towards the sleepy and conservative mountain town of Chitral. Hopefully you can catch a game of mountain polo, if a match is being played, before checking into your hotel for the night.

Hindu Kush Heights Chitral
Breakfast

DAY 7: CHITRAL - MASTUJ

DAY 7: CHITRAL - MASTUJ

After breakfast you will drive to Mastuj, 110 km north-east of Chitral town, in a 4x4 jeep. This is one of the most beautiful and dramatic drives you are ever likely to take as we wind our way up the Mastuj Valley, passing Tirich Mir and BoniZong, before finally entering the Yarkund Valley at the top of which lies Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor. On arrival you can take a stroll around the village before retiring to your hotel.

Hindu Kush Heights Mastuj
Breakfast

DAY 8: MASTUJ - KALTI

DAY 8: MASTUJ - KALTI

Today after breakfast you will drive to the Shandur Pass, stopping for tea en route at the top of the pass at 3,800 metres. From here, if you'd like, you can walk to the Langer – a beautiful plain used for grazing the yaks and dzos – where you can enjoy a nice picnic lunch before getting back in your jeep again and drive on to Kalti.

PTDC Gupis
Breakfast

DAY 9: KALTI - GILGIT

DAY 9: KALTI - GILGIT

After breakfast you will travel on to Gilgit through some of Northern Pakistan's most dramatic scenery.

Serena Hotel Gilgit
Breakfast

DAY 10: GILGIT - HUNZA

DAY 10: GILGIT - HUNZA

After breakfast stop off in town to visit the Christian cemetery before yet another amazing drive, leading you up the Karakoram Highway beside the titanic form of Mount Rakaposhi and on into the beautiful Hunza valley. The sight of this great mountain, all 7,788 metres of it, basking in the sun beside the road, will surely leave you speechless. You can have lunch on the way at the Rakaposhi View Restaurant where you will witness the longest continuous vertical view anywhere on earth, before continuing on to the region’s main town of Karimabad.

Hunza Darbar Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 11: HUNZA

DAY 11: HUNZA

Today head up above Karimabad town for a water channel walk with spectacular views out across the valley. Head back down into town where you can have lunch on one of the rooftop restaurants. After this you will have time to relax, shop and wander, before taking a sightseeing trip to the famous 15th century Baltit fort, once the seat of power in the Hunza state and recently restored by UNESCO to a fantastic standard. In the late afternoon you'll return to your accommodation.

Hunza Darbar Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 12: HUNZA

DAY 12: HUNZA

Enjoy a day at leisure in one of the most beautiful places on earth. You may instead like the option to explore further, and drive out to Nagar Valley to take a short walk on the Hoper Glacier, or enjoy a visit to the lake at Attabad. In January 2010 a massive landslide blocked the Hunza River, which submerged 22km of the KKH by forming a beautiful azure lake. Here you can take boat ride towards the northern shore giving a great opportunity to photograph the famous cathedral peaks.

Hunza Darbar Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 13: HUNZA - GILGIT

DAY 13: HUNZA - GILGIT

Today, you will begin your journey south down the famous Karakoram Highway to Gilgit. Your route will take you via the Rakaposhi view point providing a fabulous opportunity to view this gigantic mountain basking in the sunlight. The journey will take around 4 hours as you enjoy stops along the way.

Serena Hotel Gilgit
Breakfast

DAY 14: GILGIT - SHIGAR

DAY 14: GILGIT - SHIGAR

Early this morning enjoy a short tour of Gilgit with your guide, stopping off at the popular polo grounds and the very typical mountain bazaar. Next leave Gilgit and drive through the narrow gorge that is known as the "Grand Canyon" of Northern Pakistan, following the course of the untamed Indus River to Shigar.

Serena Shigar Fort
Breakfast

DAY 15: SHIGAR - KHAPLU

DAY 15: SHIGAR - KHAPLU

After having breakfast take a walking tour of the 14th century Amburiq Mosque that received a UNESCO award for restoration and the restored Khanqah. Following this, continue your drive on to Khaplu to check into your hotel. In the afternoon explore Khaplu Palace, the village and the Khanqah (a place of spiritual retreat which also housed journeymen).

Khaplu Palace
Breakfast

DAY 16: KHAPLU

DAY 16: KHAPLU

Today you are free to relax and enjoy the hotel or partake in the many activities available from the hotel. Why not witness a polo game, visit the rock carvings at Saling, explore the 18th century majestic Khaplu Khanqah mosque, ride on horseback through the beauty of Baltistan, take a stroll through Khaplu or see the hotels many projects, such as the Bara wool spinning centre and the Khaplu Women’s Vocational Training Centre.

Khaplu Palace
Breakfast

DAY 17: KHAPLU - SKARDU

DAY 17: KHAPLU - SKARDU

You will be driven from the ancient kingdom of Khaplu, 105 kilometres west to Skardu, on a journey of around 2 hours. You can enjoy a walk through the town's main bazaar to the 'organic village' via an old trail at the foot of Kharpocho Fort. See if you can catch a game of Polo at the town's main field and visit the K2 museum at the K2 Motel. This is an ideal way to experience the capital of Baltistan and understand the life of the locals and the mountaineers that visit.

Concordia Motel
Breakfast

DAY 18: SKARDU - DEOSAI - RAMA LAKE

DAY 18: SKARDU - DEOSAI - RAMA LAKE

After an early breakfast, continue your journey to the Deosai Plateau National Park. This plateau is a stunning 4,000m high wildlife wilderness complete with an array of wild flowers at certain times of year. Enjoy a hearty picnic lunch with views of the Himalayas before continuing on to Rama. If time permits, in the afternoon take a short drive to Rama Lake to enjoy the stunning view of the Lake.

PTDC Motel Rama
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 19: RAMA LAKE - CHILAS - FAIRY MEADOWS

DAY 19: RAMA LAKE - CHILAS - FAIRY MEADOWS

Continue the road journey towards Chilas today. Once you leave the alpine meadows of Rama and Astore, you will enter thes Astore Gorge, one of the most dramatic and impressive landscapes in the world. Eventually reach Raikot Bridge, where you will switch to local 4x4 jeeps and continue up a narrow and steep mountain road to Fairy Meadows. The drive is quite the adventure, but well worth it!

Raikot Sarai
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 20: FAIRY MEADOWS

DAY 20: FAIRY MEADOWS

Fairy Meadows, locally known as Jut, is a grassy pasture near one of the base camp sites of the mighty Nanga Parbat Mountain (8126m). Today you will hike towards Nanga Parbat base camp, passing through lush green meadows and pine forests and surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery.

Raikot Sarai
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 21: FAIRY MEADOWS - NARAN

DAY 21: FAIRY MEADOWS - NARAN

Today say goodbye to this peaceful haven as you start your journey back down and on to Naran. Make a short stop at the top of the 4100-metre-high Babusar Pass to enjoy the stunning view of the Himalayas, Karakorum and Hindu Kush mountain ranges before proceeding to Naran.

Mountain Top Resort
Breakfast

DAY 22: NARAN - TAXILA - ISLAMABAD

DAY 22: NARAN - TAXILA - ISLAMABAD

Today you will continue your journey stopping en route in Taxila, a fascinating Buddhist university town, dating back to the Ghandaharan era of Alexander the Great. Departing Taxila, you will continue the short distance to Islamabad for your final night.

Islamabad Hotel
Breakfast

DAY 23: DEPART ISLAMABAD

DAY 23: DEPART ISLAMABAD

This morning you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your onward flight.

Breakfast

SUGGESTED ACCOMMODATION

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation listed here is intended as a guide only, to give you a taste of what we can do. Our experts can tailor any aspect of this itinerary and accommodation to suit your budget and tastes.

GUIDELINE PRICE & WHAT’S INCLUDED

COMPLETE NORTHERN PAKISTAN (23 DAYS) £4,150

MEALS

As specified in the itinerary, sampling some of the country's finest cuisine.

TRANSPORT

Private air-conditioned vehicles with experienced, dedicated drivers.

ENTRANCE FEES

Tours and admission fees, including tickets specified in the itinerary.

EXPERT TEAM

Licensed English-speaking guides and a support team available 24/7.

ACCOMMODATION

As specified in the itinerary, using some of our favourite local properties.

ACCOMMODATION

Ultra - The best of the best, the ultimate indulgence
Luxury - Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium - Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior - Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple - No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

If you book international flights through Wild Frontiers.

This itinerary is aimed to give you an idea of what we can offer. The price shown above is based on two people travelling outside of peak periods. As this itinerary is only a suggestion and can be tailor-made to suit your interests and budget, your final price may differ.

START PLANNING YOUR TRIP

Our team of experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime.

WHEN TO GO

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

Meet the expert, Clem

Clem is our Pakistan expert, who has travelled extensively in the region.

Speak to Clementine by calling
+44 (0)20 3944 6258

Roll back the roof of your jeep for panoramic views of the mountain landscapes on a drive through the stunning Hindu Kush or the mighty Karakoram.

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