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Pakistan: Hindu Kush Adventure

Group Tour

15 Days From $4,053

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 more than fifteen years, we understand the political complexities of travelling to this fascinating country and our paramount consideration has always been the safety of our clients.

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

14 x Breakfasts
14 x Lunches
14 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 it varies hugely from nice 3/4* hotels to small local guesthouses. It is important to stress that in certain places such as the Kalash Valley accommodation is basic, although you will almost certainly get en-suite facilities. In Mastij dpending on availability we will either stay in wooden cabins or fixed tents. There is a separate ablution block with toilets and showers.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / 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: Hindu Kush Adventure
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 - SWAT VALLEY

DAY 2: ISLAMABAD - SWAT VALLEY

Today we will start our journey north by driving through the Northwest Frontier and into the beautiful Swat Valley. Until quite recently this region was out of bounds to foreign tourists, but now it has opened up again offering us a great chance to explore the regions ancient Buddhist past. Once we have checked into our hotel we’ll visit the local museum, packed with many fine Gandharan artefacts, and other Buddhist sites.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: SWAT VALLEY - AYUN

DAY 3: SWAT VALLEY - AYUN

After breakfast we will have a spectacular drive, past Chakdarra – where a 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 we’ll drive on to Ayun where we’ll arrive in the afternoon and check into the wonderful home of Maqsood Ul Mulk, one of the princes of Chitral.

Local Guest House
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: AYUN - KALASH VALLEY

DAY 4: AYUN - KALASH VALLEY

Today we have all morning to relax and enjoy the Prince’s beautiful garden and take one of the many wonderful village walks nearby. After lunch we will continue our journey into the 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. Most people prefer to walk the last few miles through this gorgeous valley. Please note that at times security restrictions don’t allow foreign visitors to stay in the Kalash valley but we will maximize our time spent in the region and then head back to Chitral for the night if these restrictions are imposed.

Local Guest House
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: KALASH VALLEY

DAY 5: KALASH VALLEY

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 6: KALASH - CHITRAL

DAY 6: KALASH - CHITRAL

This morning we have more time to explore the valley before driving back to the sleepy mountain town of Chitral. We’ll hope to catch a game of mountain polo and in the late afternoon if a match is being played and then we’ll travel on towards Chitral National Park to see the markhor, a kind of mountain antelope and favoured prey of the snow leopards, before checking into our lovely local hotel and have dinner.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: CHITRAL - MASTUJ

DAY 7: CHITRAL - MASTUJ

After breakfast we will drive to Mastuj. 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 Boni Zong, before finally entering the Yarkund Valley at the top of which lies Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. Here we will stay at a hotel next to the fort. On arrival we will take a stroll around the village.

Wooden Cabins or Fixed Tents
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: MASTUJ - YASIN VALLEY

DAY 8: MASTUJ - YASIN VALLEY

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 some time before getting back in your jeep again and drive on to Yasin Valley. Well known during the 'Great Game' era the Yasin Valley provided a possible route through the Pamirs and Hindu Kush for the Russians to reach Chitral and Gilgit. Today it has a pleasant green and leafy outlook following the path of the Ghizer River.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: YASIN VALLEY - GILGIT - HUNZA

DAY 9: YASIN VALLEY - GILGIT - HUNZA

After breakfast we will travel on to Gilgit where 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 here as well as the local bazaar, before heading to Hunza. The drive to Hunza is truly spectacular, as you round the corner and see the titanic form of Mount Rakaposhi basking in the sun, right beside the road – the sight will leave you speechless. In Karimabad (Hunza) we will stay for the first night at a spectacularly located hotel, situated 2850m above sea level and 500m above the valley floor, with panoramic views of seven 7,000m peaks!

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: HUNZA

DAY 10: HUNZA

This morning we visit the famous Baltit Fort, recently restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture to a fantastic standard. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. We will then take lunch in town. In the afternoon those that wish can have a water channel walk down around Karimabad before having a wander around the local shops where there will be plenty to buy.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: HUNZA - ATTABAD LAKE - HUNZA

DAY 11: HUNZA - ATTABAD LAKE - HUNZA

Wake at around 5:30 to watch the rising sun turn the peak of Rakaposhi flamingo pink…not compulsory! 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, which submerged 28kms of the KKH by forming a beautiful azure lake. In the afternoon we return to Karimabad.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: HUNZA - GILGIT

DAY 12: HUNZA - GILGIT

This morning we return to the Karakoram Highway for our drive to Gilgit stopping en route for lunch at the Rakaposhi View to take in the stunning backdrop. This afternoon we will drive back to Gilgit where we will check into our hotel.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: GILGIT - NARAN

DAY 13: GILGIT - NARAN

Today we have a spectacular drive back towards Islamabad as we drive along the Karakoram Highway enjoying the mountain scenery and stunning countryside. Flights at this time of year are unreliable and can be cancelled on a regular basis due to adverse weather conditions so we plan to drive this very memorable route, and break our journey in Naran. The majority of the people here are Pashtun and we may have the opportunity to have a stroll around the bazaar this evening or sit and watch the world go by in one of the rooftop cafes. Please note that if the Babusar Pass is closed due to early snowfall we will return to Islamabad via Besham.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: NARAN - TAXILA - ISLAMABAD

DAY 14: NARAN - TAXILA - ISLAMABAD

Today we continue our journey stopping en route in Taxila, a fascinating Buddhist university town, dating back to the Gandaharan era of Alexander the Great. We then continue the short distance to Islamabad.

Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: SIGHTSEEING AROUND ISLAMABAD AND TOUR ENDS

DAY 15: SIGHTSEEING AROUND ISLAMABAD AND 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.

Kalash Valley Visit

On this tour you will have the privilege of staying with the people of the Kalash, a minority pagan tribe who live high in the mountains of the North West Frontier. The Kalash is a community that have been at the heart of Wild Frontiers from the very beginning, welcoming us and our travellers into their community and homes and inviting us to join in their festival celebrations. Staying in a locally owned guesthouse, usually in Balanguru Village, for a number of days we are supporting the local economy, while enjoying invaluable cultural interaction.

Through the Wild Frontiers Foundation we have supported the people of the Kalash on a number of community projects, including the purchase of land, in a safer area, to rebuild the Balanguru Village primary school after devastating floods washed the small school building down the valley in 2013. With further floodwaters destroying an already fragile infrastructure including homes, communal buildings, water channels and crops, in 2017 our foundation raised the funds to build a 100ft flood defence wall to help protect the village and community from future loss.

 

 

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 Heathrow (LHR) 10:30 Islamabad Airport (ISB) 22:20
BA 2260 Islamabad Airport (ISB) 00:20 London Heathrow (LHR) 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 spend a few extra days visiting Lahore to see this famous old Moghul city and the ‘Closing of the Gate’ ceremony at the Wagah Border. Allow 3-5 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 the Hindu Kush, where you will be travelling at heights in access of 3,000 metres even in the middle of summer it can turn bitter with the occasional snow flurries falling. Temperatures in the Islamabad and the plains can be considerably higher than the mountains although in the autumn the weather is pleasant with warm days and nights getting cooler the higher you sleep. However, in the autumn months snow can come early so be prepared for some chilly temperatures especially at night!

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!

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.  Some of the journeys can be long and due to road conditions and as a result of the security accompaniment during the drives.

 

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 except the local guest houses in Ayun and the Kalash Valley, and in Mastuj.

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