ISLAMABAD – SKARDU – GILGIT – SHIGAR VALLEY – KATPANA DESERT – KACHURA LAKE (SHANGRILA) – GILGIT – MINAPIN – HOPER VALLEY – HOPER GLACIER – ATTABAD LAKE – HUSSAINI/PASSU ROPE SUSPENSION BRIDGE – PASSU – KHUNJERAB PASS – BORITH LAKE/HASSU GLACIER – KARIMABAD – NALTAR VALLEY – GILGIT – ISLAMABAD – PESHAWAR –RAWALPINDI – ISLAMABAD
Assembly of the group at the airport. Meeting with the guide. A flight to Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD – SKARDU
Arrival in Islamabad at night or very early in the morning. At the airport in Islamabad, meeting with the local pilot, the guardian of the group in Pakistan. Continuation of the journey. Departure to Skardu, a city located in the province of Gilgit-Baltistan near the border with India (Pakistani Kashmir). The flight will take about an hour, and this time will be filled with breathtaking views – the Karakoram Mountains on the left and the Himalayas on the right. Upon arrival, free time to rest after the journey. Then we head to Kharphocho Fort. The name of the building erected at the end of the 16th century by the ruler Ali Sher Khan means “King of Forts”. The fort is situated on the bank of the Indus River, and its walls offer an amazing view of the city of Skardu and its surroundings. To this day, you can see the incredible craftsmanship and mastery of the fortress builders.
At night the fort is illuminated and its view makes you feel as if time has gone back to ages long past. Then we will see Sadpara Lake, located near Skardu, picturesquely situated in a beautiful mountainous area. Sadpara Lake supplies water to the Skardu Valley.
SHIGAR VALLEY - KATPANA DESERT - KACHURA LAKE (SHANGRILA)
We will start the next day early in the morning. First, breakfast and then drive to the Shigar Valley, which is the beginning of the Karakoram range and is the western gateway to the higher parts of the Himalayas. Starting in the town of Skardu, the valley stretches along the Shigar River, a right tributary of the Indus and is known for its stunningly beautiful landscapes and unique fauna and flora, as well as from a bluish precious stone – aquamarine. We will also go to the Katpana Desert, also called the “Cold Desert”. It is considered the coldest desert in the world. The sandy dunes located in its area are sometimes covered with snow in winter. During this part of Pakistan, we will also get to know Lake Kachura, located at an altitude of 2500 meters above sea level. Lake Kachura, also called Lake Shangrila, consists of two bodies of water, called Upper Lake Kachura and Lower Lake Kachura. The first one is more difficult to access, and the second one is located near the village of Kachura. This place is a liked and popular destination for visitors to this region of Pakistan. In 1983, a famous resort was built on the Lower Kachura Lake. The name Shangrila has its source in the Himalayan paradise – Shangri-La, described in 1933 by James Hilton in the book “The Lost Horizon”, which was filmed five years later by Frank Capra. During the journey, we will be guided by the Indus River and the Karakoram Highway – one of the world’s highest paved roads and a must-see in Pakistan. Return to Skardu. Time to rest. Accommodation in Skardu.
SKARDU – GILGIT – BALTISTAN
After breakfast, we depart for the city of Gilgit. The jeep journey will take approximately 7 hours. A drive through a beautiful mountain canyon among the Himalayas, one of the most spectacular routes. During the journey, we will stop many times for photos and admire the amazing views at the most beautiful points along the route. Upon arrival in Gilgit, a visit to the local bazaar or exploration of the surrounding area (depending on time available). The city of Gilgit is the capital of the mountainous province of Gilgit-Baltistan. Gilgit is located on the Karakoram Highway and is located in a picturesque valley. The city was once an important point on the legendary Silk Road, and many waves of invaders passed through here. The legacy of centuries of history is still visible here. There are also traces of Buddhism in the area. Overnight stay in Gilgit.
GILGIT – MINAPIN
After breakfast, we will start the next day of travel. On the route, we will still be guided by the Indus River and one of the highest paved roads in the world and a must-see on the list of those to see in Pakistan. On the way we will stop many times to take photos and admire the amazing views. A passing to the village of Minapin, which lies in the Nagar Valley near the Hunza River. This is the area of the former Principality of Nagar, founded in the 14th century. Minapin is the starting point for expeditions to Rakaposhi Base Camp. We will spend the night in Minapin.
MINAPIN - HOPER GLACIER - ATTABAD LAKE - PASSU
After breakfast, we will go to the Hoper Valley, from where you can admire, among others. a stunning view of three peaks: Golden Peak – 7027 m above sea level, Diran Peak, which reaches 7266 m above sea level and soaring into the sky at a height of 6,824 m above sea level – Measure Peak. In the valley is located the unusual Hoper Glacier, which is the fastest moving glacier in Pakistan. Our next destination is Lake Attabad, which was created in 2010 as a result of a large landslide. The lake is famous for its exceptionally picturesque location and the amazing turquoise color of its waters. Today we also have a special attraction for those who like to feel the adrenaline circulating in the blood. We will see one of the most dangerous rope suspension bridges in the world. The Hussaini Bridge, because it is the name in question, is over 200 meters long. For brave volunteers, a walk on the bridge. Continuation of the journey to the village of Passu, located at an altitude of about 2700 m above sea level. And although Passu is a small village, it attracts tourists like a magnet, because it offers wonderful landscapes and views of the nearby peaks. Overnight stay in Passu.
PASSU - KHUNJERAB PASS - BORITH LAKE - PASSU -HUNZA GLACIER
After an early breakfast, we will set off towards the almost 600 km long Pakistani-Chinese border. We will head to the Khunjerab Pass. The highest point on the Karakoram Highway – Khunjerab Pass lies at an altitude of 4693 m above sea level. The road from the Pass to the pass will take several hours, but the landscapes and views will fully compensate for this rather long journey. There is a border crossing between Pakistan and China on the pass. After visiting the border crossing point, we will set off for the Hunza Valley. We will head to the city of Karimabad, which is the capital of the Hunza region. It is a place very much liked by tourists, but also by Pakistanis themselves. A significant spiritual guide part of the local population is the Aga Khan, and during our travels we will often see memorial plaques honoring him, which are placed on hospital buildings, schools and facilities related to culture. Named after the Aga Khan, the foundation is very much involved in supporting the culture and education around the world. The city of Karimabad is picturesquely situated on a hill. A walk through its streets provides many impressions and allows you to discover many interesting corners. We will also go to the Duiker viewpoint. In the best possible circumstances, because in the rays of the setting sun, we will see all the beauty of one of the most picturesque valleys in Pakistan from here. Overnight stay in Karimabad. Our route in this area will also include Lake Borith, located at an altitude of 2600 m above sea level. We will also see the Pass Glacier sparkling beautifully in the sun. We have planned one more attraction – we will admire the stunning peaks of Passu Cones, also called Passu Cathedral, and sometimes also called Hot Mountains. The latter name comes from the fact that the snow on the tops of Passu Cones does not last very long.
HUNZA-KARIMABAD - NALTAR VALLEY – GILGIT
We start the day with breakfast and immediately set off to explore the forts rising above the city – Altit and Baltit. The oldest tower of the former was built over a thousand years ago, making Fort Altit the oldest monument in the area. The age of the foundations of Fort Baltit is estimated at about 700 years. Both forts are on the World Heritage List UNESCO. Originally, the role of the fortress was played by Fort Altit and so it was for over three centuries, until the Baltit stronghold was established. The strategic location of Fort Baltit was invaluable and allowed to control trade between the southern and central parts of Asia. In Hunza you can meet people with European facial features and fair skin. Local legends say that the local population comes from soldiers who came to this area with Alexander the Great. However, genetic studies have ruled out such a scenario, but the legend still lives its own life. The next stage of the trip is the “Eagle’s Nest” viewpoint, from where you can admire the panorama of the Hunza area. If only the weather is good, we will see majestic peaks rising towards the sky, e.g. high at 7788 m above sea level Rakaposhi. Then depart for Gilgit. During the journey, drive through numerous valleys, including the beautiful Naltar Valley. It will be a day full of amazing and spectacular mountain landscapes. Overnight stay in Gilgit.
GILGIT - ISLAMABAD – PESHAWAR
Morning transfer to the airport and departure to Islamabad. Upon arrival in Islamabad, transfer to Peshawar. After arriving, we will start exploring the city. Peshawar is more like Afghanistan and AfghanKandahar than other Pakistani cities, and its location close to the Afghan border means that you can meet many Afghan refugees here. Peshawar boasts beautiful colonial buildings, unfortunately currently mostly neglected. However, if it was properly restored, Peshawar could become one of the most beautiful cities in Asia. Walk around the city and visit the bustling local bazaar and Namak Mandi Bazar, where we will try the most delicious local Pakistani cuisine. Namak Mandi Bazar is located in the old part of Peshawar called Sheher. Overnight stay in Peshawar.
PESHAWAR - RAWALPINDI - ISLAMABAD
After breakfast, drive back to Islamabad. On the way we will stop in Rawalpindi. We will see the monuments of the Old Town, also called Pindi. Then a visit to the workshop where the famous Pakistani trucks, which are a phenomenon on a global scale, are produced. Extremely colorful, full of decorations, lamps, trinkets, pictures of imams and verses from the Koran.
In the afternoon return to Islamabad. We will visit the national mosque of Pakistan – Faisal. Shah Faisal Masjid is the largest mosque not only in Pakistan, but throughout Southeast Asia and one of the largest in the world. Construction of the mosque began in 1976 and was completed in 1986. The mosque is shaped like a desert Bedouin tent, surrounded by four 88-meter minarets. Then it’s time to rest before the night transfer to the airport.
DEPARTURE FROM PAKISTAN
Night transfer to the airport according to flight times and departure.
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