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Karakoram Adventure - Kashgar to Kashmir

Group Tour

21 Days From $6,825

Overview

This totally unique itinerary takes us on a wonderful journey along the southern branch of the Old Silk Road. Starting in Kashgar where we will witness the famous Yakshambe Bazaar – otherwise known as the Sunday Market – we will continue through the stunning mountains of northern Pakistan to the tranquil foothills of the Indian Himalayas.

On a journey that traders, warriors, poets and pilgrims have been taking for millennia we will drive the famous Karakoram Highway – the eighth wonder ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

20 x Breakfasts
20 x Lunches
20 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour, transport in Pakistan, India & China will generally be in a large minibus coaster, but we will also use jeeps to the start of the Fairy Meadows walk and have one short boat trip, along with a couple of domestic flights in India.

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 we will mostly be in small hotels and guesthouses while in Fairy Meadows we are in rustic log cabins and in Kashmir we are in the unique houseboats. 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 in Pakistan 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 / High

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/HIGH: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-4hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-5 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 5-7 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

Karakoram Adventure - Kashgar to Kashmir
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN KASHGAR (CHINA)

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN KASHGAR (CHINA)

The tour will start in Kashgar. Depending on your arrival time there may be an opportunity for an orientation walk around the city before dinner at a local restaurant.

Qinibagh Hotel or similar
Dinner

DAY 2: IN KASHGAR

DAY 2: IN KASHGAR

We will spend the day exploring this wonderful town and the famous Yakshambe Bazaar, or the Sunday Market as it’s otherwise known. In the morning we will first visit the town’s famous mosque before going to the animal market. Here we will spend the morning watching the locals trade everything from woodwork and iron wear to sheep, donkeys, cattle, horses and camels, before having lunch at a traditional Uyghur restaurant. In the afternoon we move to the more modern covered bazaar, believed to be the biggest in Central Asia.

Qinibagh Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: IN KASHGAR

DAY 3: IN KASHGAR

After a late breakfast we will visit some of Kashgar’s interesting sites, starting at the green-tiled Abak Hoja tomb and the small Silk Road museum. After lunch we head into the old town, a world that is changing fast but still holds hidden corners of the old Silk Road. We will end the day’s tour by having tea on the second floor balcony of one of the old chaikhanas (tea-houses) and watching the street market below us.

Qinibagh Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: KASHGAR – TASHKURGAN

DAY 4: KASHGAR – TASHKURGAN

Like countless traders before us, today we will commence our journey on the southern branch of the Old Silk Road, passing Karakul Lake and the formidable 7000m-high peak Muztagh Ata – the Ice Father - en route to Tashkurgan. This interesting frontier town is famed for its old fortress which we will take time to look around.

Crown Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: TASHKURGAN – GULMIT (PAKISTAN)

DAY 5: TASHKURGAN – GULMIT (PAKISTAN)

Crossing the land border into Pakistan we first check through passport control in Tashkurgan before driving 210kms over the spectacular Khunjerab Pass to Sust in Pakistan to complete the formalities. After clearing immigration we head for Gulmit. En route we take a photo stop at the Batura Glacier to view the Shisper Peak standing at 7600m.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: GULMIT – HUNZA

DAY 6: GULMIT – HUNZA

This morning we have a look around the town of Gulmit, the old summer capital of Hunza situated at approx. 2500m. The fertile plateau here boasts an abundance of crops such as maize, wheat and potatoes, along with apricots, peaches, apples and walnuts. We will take a wander around and visit some of the local houses before continuing our journey down the Karakoram Highway (KKH) to Hunza. At the northern end of Lake Attabad we take a short boat ride on the lake before heading through the newly built tunnel and then continuing to Hunza and the principal town of Karimabad. Here we spend our 1st night overlooking the wonderful views of the Hunza Valley.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: IN HUNZA

DAY 7: IN HUNZA

Today we will be able to take a spectacular walk down into town – or go by bus – where we will be able to visit Altit Fort and go for walk along the water channels around town to absorb the local atmosphere and have a glimpse of the lifestyles of the local people. In the afternoon we can take a look around the bazaar.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: IN HUNZA

DAY 8: IN HUNZA

Realising the last few days have been quite full-on, we have decided to indulge you, and give one more full day at this heavenly spot. Besides relaxing, there are numerous local walks to enjoy in and around the town and potentially a visit to Baltit Fort for those interested.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: HUNZA - GILGIT

DAY 9: HUNZA - GILGIT

After breakfast we will continue south down the Hunza Valley to Gilgit. Here we will have the chance to visit the famous Gandharan Buddha and the Christian cemetery before having a look around the bazaar. If a game of Polo is on, this is a great place to watch. From here we will transfer to our wonderful hotel, situated a little way out of town.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: GILIGIT - FAIRY MEADOWS

DAY 10: GILIGIT - FAIRY MEADOWS

After an early breakfast we will head down the KKH to Raikot Bridge, where we transfer to jeeps and turn off up into the hills for a very dramatic jeep ride which boasts some spectacular scenery. In the lee of the staggering Nanga Parbat – or Naked Mountain (the 8,100 peak and massif that marks the end of the Himalayas) we will stay at the Fairy Meadows. There are lovely (but basic) log cabins here, all of which have commanding views of the great mountain, but there is no road…so to get there we must walk about 2-3 hours. (horses are availble if needed - payable locally). This is truly a stunning natural location with mountains and glaciers in view. On arrival we will check into the huts, relax and enjoy this wonderful location.

Log Cabins
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: IN FAIRY MEADOWS

DAY 11: IN FAIRY MEADOWS

Spending the day in Fairy Meadows there is plenty of time for a trek through the forested foothills of the massif to Bayel 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 simply stay at the meadows. We may take a packed lunch with us or have lunch at one of the local camps, and then have dinner back at Fairy Meadows.

Log Cabins
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: FAIRY MEADOWS - NARAN

DAY 12: FAIRY MEADOWS - NARAN

After breakfast we will walk back down to the road-head and from here re-join the KKH, swap the jeeps for our regular transport and crack on through to Chilas. Here we plan to take a new and more interesting route, over the Babusa Pass and into the Kaghan Valley and on to the town of Naran. Once here we will have a chance to go for a walk among the hills, hopefully meeting some of the Kutchi nomads that come this way, grazing their flocks, at this time of year.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: NARAN - ISLAMABAD

DAY 13: NARAN - ISLAMABAD

This morning we’ll leave Naran and embark on our long day’s drive to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. We will pass through the infamous Abbottabad, home to Osama Bin Laden in his final years.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: ISLAMABAD - LAHORE

DAY 14: ISLAMABAD - LAHORE

Today we continue our journey south. We will include a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Rohtas Fort. The main fortifications consist of the massive walls, which extend for more than 4 km; they are lined with bastions and pierced by monumental gateways. Qila Rohtas, is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture. If time allows we will visit the famous Ajeeb Ghar, or ‘wonder house’, as the locals refer to the Lahore Museum located in the centre of the city. This evening we will sample the delights of the local cuisine.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: IN LAHORE

DAY 15: IN LAHORE

Today we take in the cultural and artistic sites of Lahore providing an evocative mixture of Moghul monuments and faded legacies to the Raj era along with a rambling old city. We head out west to the Tomb of Jahangir, a 17th-century mausoleum built for the Mughal Emperor dating from 1637, and located along the banks of the Ravi River. We then head back to the heart of the city to visit the magnificent fort and Badshahi Mosque before taking a wander through the old town. This evening we will spend our last night dining out in Food street, with its great food and stunning views of the fort and mosque around sunset.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 16: LAHORE - AMRITSAR (INDIA)

DAY 16: LAHORE - AMRITSAR (INDIA)

Bidding a fond farewell to Pakistan, we will drive east to the Shalimar Gardens, a Mughal garden complex dating from the period when the Mughal Empire was at its artistic and aesthetic zenith. We then continue to cross the border at Wagah and enter India. Here we will witness the closing of the gate ceremony, a colourful and unique affair, followed by a short drive on to Amritsar where we stay for the next two nights.

Ranjit Svaasa Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 17: IN AMRITSAR

DAY 17: IN AMRITSAR

We have a full day to enjoy the city of Amritsar founded in 1577 by the 4th Sikh Guru, Ram Das, and home to Sikhism’s holiest shrine – the Golden Temple. It is bound by 12 medieval gates and provides a warren of narrow streets hosting a myriad of bazaars to explore in the old city. We will also visit the Jallianwalla Barg - scene of the British massacre in 1919. After dinner we can take another look around the temple, which is at its most evocative when lit up at night.

Ranjit Svaasa Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 18: AMRITSAR - SRINAGAR

DAY 18: AMRITSAR - SRINAGAR

This morning, depending on flight schedules, we will fly from Amritsar or drive to Jammu to catch our flight on to Srinagar. On arrival we check into our houseboat and relax and enjoy our wonderful surroundings.

Royal Houseboat or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 19: IN SRINAGAR

DAY 19: IN SRINAGAR

Of course, staying for three nights there will be plenty of time to enjoy this unique place. There is the floating vegetable market, the beautiful Moghul Gardens, created by Empire Akbar, and the old city with its narrow streets and ancient mosques to explore. We may also take a stroll up to the imposing 18th-century Hari Parbat Fort which is visible from virtually anywhere in Srinagar and built by Akbar in the 1590's. Until recently this was closed off to the public but provides stunning views of the surrounding area. There is also the opportunity for some shopping, though in truth that doesn’t require much effort as the hawkers of flowers, jewellery, pashminas etc come to the houseboats. Or for the really energetic there is even a round of golf to consider on one of India’s best courses. Each day we will eat on the houseboat, sampling the delicious cuisine.

Royal Houseboat or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 20: IN SRINAGAR

DAY 20: IN SRINAGAR

Sitting at the heart of the Vale of Kashmir lies this extraordinary town, famed for centuries for its clean, clear air, its idyllic setting and, of course, its lakes. Framed by high-forested hills that rise up in the distance to the snow-capped Himalayas, it is simply one of the most picturesque places you’re ever likely to visit. To drift across Dal or Nagin Lake on the elegant shikaras is relaxation at its most exotic and peaceful. Today we will simply relax.

Royal Houseboat or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 21: SRINAGAR - DELHI

DAY 21: SRINAGAR - DELHI

Today we will have a leisurely morning and then take an afternoon flight to Delhi where the tour ends.

Breakfast, Lunch

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.

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
EK 008 London Heathrow (LHR) 09:05 Dubai Airport (DXB) 19:10
CZ 6070 Dubai Airport (DXB) 23:00 Urumqi Airport (URC) 08:20
CZ 6805 Urumqi Airport (URC) 11:35 Kashgar Airport (KHG) 13:35
EK 515 Delhi Airport (DEL) 21:50 Dubai Airport (DXB) 23:59
EK 007 Dubai Airport (DXB) 02:30 London Heathrow (LHR) 07:05

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 visas for China, Pakistan and India.

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.

Leh and Ladakh

Extend  your stay in India to explore the Buddhist monasteries and stunning mountain scenery in and around Leh. Allow 4-7 days.

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 be travelling at heights of up to 3,000 metres – 4,800 over the Khunjerab Pass – even in the middle of summer it can turn bitter; at the same time the temperature in Kashgar can be nudging 40 degrees. But all things being equal the weather should be warm pretty much everywhere during the day, but temperatures can drop significantly at night especially at altitude in the spring and autumn. The only thing to be aware of is that we might get some rain from time to time.

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. However, please note that 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). Given the distances on this trip there are some long driving days but the scenery should more than compensate for this.

Please note that in Pakistan administrative and security requirements can change overnight. At times the authorities may require additional checks and registration which can affect the itinerary. Visitors to Pakistan must adopt a flexible approach and awareness that the itinerary is fluid and overnight stops can change. 

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.

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. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Elite policy. 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 £500 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking. In addition, due to the particular nature of this trip, an interim deposit of £600 (or equivalent) per person will be required within 30 days of booking a guaranteed departure, or subsequently within 30 days of receiving confirmation from us that the trip has been guaranteed. 

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

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

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 7232 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.

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