This 17-day Pakistan expedition is a brand-new trip through an ancient land.
Beginning in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad, the expedition takes travellers north to the stunning and rarely touristed Hunza Valley region. Here you’ll find nature unleashed: imagine imposing jagged peaks, alpine lakes and glaciers creeping into the valleys. Explore the ancient fortifications scattered among rural villages and learn about the modern innovations that help the local people prosper. Finish in Lahore, a city that’s not only stood strong through the rise and fall of empires, but also preserved the culture that makes Pakistan such a mesmerising, all-consuming country.
Why you'll love this adventure
- Learn about Pakistan – its turbulent past, fascinating present, and hopeful future – from a local leader who knows and loves the country best.
- Take a 4WD to Khunjerab National Park in search of snow leopards, bears, wolves, and rare Marco Polo sheep.
- Homestays are unforgettable opportunities to share stories with the lovely locals and learn how they manage to thrive in such a beautiful yet hostile environment.
- Travel on the famous Karakoram Highway past glaciers, alpine lakes and mountains as far as the eye can see.
- Visit the point where the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush – three of the world’s largest mountain ranges – all meet each other.
17 August 2021
2 September 2021
2 September 2021
18 September 2021
This trip can be tailor made for your perfect travel dates. Please make a booking enquiry for more information.
This trip includes an action packed itinerary! Please make an enquiry and we'll send you the full itinerary for each day including meals, activities, travel and accommodation.
- 15 breakfasts, 15 dinners and 6 lunches
- Guesthouse (9 nights), Homestay (4 nights), Hotel (3 nights)
- Private Vehicle , Plane , Jeep
- Islamabad – Faisal Mosque
- Islamabad – Taxila museum and ruins
- Gulmit – Rakaposhi viewpoint
- Karimabad – Local market
- Gulmit – Local musical performance
- Gulmit – Ondra Fort ruins
- Gulmit – Women-run carpet weaving center
- Ghulkin – Passu’s famous apricot cake
- Ghulkin – Trek to Passu Glacier
- Ghulkin – Passu village walk
- Ghulkin – Trek to Borith Lake
- Ghulkin – Khunjerab Pass drive
- Shimshal – Village tour
- Shimshal – Shimshal day hike
- Karimabad – Hopar Glacier
- Karimabad – Ganish village walking tour
- Karimabad – Attabad Lake
- Karimabad – Sunset walk to Eagle’s Nest
- Karimabad – Walk to Baltit & Altit Fort
- Karimabad – Women’s Project Visit
- Rohtas Fort – Guided tour
- Lahore – Bagh-e-Jinnah (Lawrence Garden)
- Lahore – Lahore Museum
- Lahore – Tomb of Jahangir
- Lahore – Wagah Border ceremony
- Lahore – Shalimar Gardens
- Lahore – Rangeela rickshaw ride
- Lahore – Badshahi Mosque
- Lahore – Markets of Lahore
- Lahore – Wazir Khan Mosque
- Lahore – Walled City
- Lahore – Delhi Gate
- Lahore – Shahi Hammam
Guesthouse (9 nights), Homestay (4 nights), Hotel (3 nights)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.
Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we’re arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn’t always possible which means we won’t be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.
Some of the accommodation along the way is basic or simple, staying in local guesthouses and homestays. Some may have shared bathroom facilities with cold water only. We use a mixture of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms. Some areas of Pakistan experience daily load shedding. This is where the power may be turned off at certain times of the day and usually occurs for a few hours in early afternoon. Most hotel properties have a restaurant or cafe serving local meals.
Showers at some hotels only have hot water at peak times (usually morning and evening). Outside of these times you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water.
If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel and your tour leader right away rather than your travel agent so that the problem can be addressed without delay.
As a responsible travel company, we believe in facilitating positive and meaningful exchanges between our travellers and locals at the places we visit. Homestays are a great vehicle for us to facilitate this!
What will you do during a homestay? Well…it’s hard to tell. As you know a day in a family’s life varies from day to day. We don’t want this experience to feel forced (on you or on them) so we ask families to simply carry on with their lives and that, if there is anything that you may be interested in being part of, they ask you to join in. As such you may be invited to help cook dinner, or to go to the local market for groceries, or to join a soccer game! While your leader will give you some tools to interact with your family (such as some simple local words/phrases) big smiles and lots of sign language can go a long way!
That said, it’s also important that you understand that you are not obliged to participate in these activities. We believe that the more you put in the more you get out of an experience, but we also understand that you may just want to chill out, grab a book or your camera and go for a wander – and that is fine too.
Ultimately, we believe that by simply being there, observing family and friends dynamics is a step forward towards understanding the local way of life.
In homestays we will sometimes share one common sleeping space, just how local people sleep. Plenty of blankets are provided. Ask for more if you are cold. Layering up with thin thermals and a fleece material will help during very cold nights too.
Lastly, be aware that some homestays in Pakistan have shared drop toilets and no showers. So mind your step and bring your biodegradable wet-wipes!
DAY ROOMS & EARLY CHECK IN:
Please note in some destinations we will provide use of day rooms. These rooms are provided for shared group use before or after overnight train journeys. We have some days where we arrive at our destination before check in time and a day room is not included. If you have booked a Single Supplement for your trip, it will not apply to these day rooms. Your leader may be able to assist you in booking a room for your sole use (depending on availability) until our regular trip rooms become available for an additional charge. Please talk to your leader at the Welcome Meeting if this is a service you would like to request.
15 breakfasts, 15 dinners and 6 lunches
Food and dietary requirements
While travelling with us you’ll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company.
Though the food in Pakistan is no doubt delicious, it’s not necessarily the ‘clean-eating’ diet of your dreams. There’s a lot of oil, meat and bread, and a fresh Waldorf salad can be rather difficult to come by. Like India, Pakistan’s hygiene standards can sometimes be lacking and it’s not uncommon for travellers to experience stomach troubles at some point in their journey. This is just a part of travelling in the developing world. Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly.
If you are a strict vegetarian you may find travelling in Pakistan difficult at times. Meat is a daily staple, and things may be awkward if your host cooks up a feast and is unaware of your diet. Travelling as a vegan is particularly difficult as many dishes will include butter, ghee butter or yoghurt. Furthermore, vegetarian dishes are sometimes cooked with meat stock or in the same pot as meat. It’s possible, yes, but it’s important to be clear while understanding that veganism just isn’t a concept in Pakistan.
Who is this trip for?
Is this trip right for you
This is an expedition trip and is new to our range this year. Despite rigorous planning and research, new itineraries can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a welcome surprise, but every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.
Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. Pakistan is a conservative country and travellers of all genders are advised to cover up when in public.
This trip visits places as high as 5200 metres above sea level and includes one or more overnight stays over 3200 metres (11500 ft) where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. While the vast majority will only feel discomfort, it is not uncommon for a small number of people to need extra care which will be provided by our leaders and local staff. All our trips that spend time at high altitude follow our standard altitude safety measures. A number of medical conditions and medications can also reduce your body’s ability to acclimatise, and thus will affect your performance at altitude and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing condition (e.g. heart problems), or unsure of your physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. You may also wish to discuss medication such as Diamox that may help aid acclimatisation. Read more about AMS here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness
The diversity of the seasons here makes for incredible scenery, but the weather in this region can be unpredictable. It’s best to wear layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so bring your warm clothes. Even in the warmer months the temperature can be low in the mountains.
This trip includes time spent travelling in a private vehicle with your group. Extra space can be tight, and conditions may feel a little cramped. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.
The weather can be unpredictable in the Himalayas and a significant number of flights to/from Islamabad and Gilgit are delayed or cancelled due to weather conditions. If your flight is cancelled we will endeavour to get your group on the next available flight. Failing that, we will follow a contingency plan by private vehicle.
This trip involves some long travel days, which can be tiresome but offer a quintessential experience of the beautiful landscape and hospitable people of Pakistan.
TRANSPORT IN PAKISTAN:
Main roads in Pakistan are usually very busy with an assortment of vehicles from the biggest trucks (who always have right of way) down to bikes (and animals!). Overtaking on blind corners at speed is common as is the total use of the horn as a form of communication. Our leaders have complete authority to remove groups from local transport if the driver is not driving safely. Drivers of our private vehicles are experienced and well trained. if you are uncomfortable with your driver, please always let your tour leader know immediately. Please ensure you wear your seat belt at all times.
Distances in Pakistan do not reflect the driving time and to cover 100km may take much longer than you would expect at home, even if much of the route is on a highway.
On this trip we travel on local style of transport called an auto rickshaw. These small, motorised three wheeled vehicles are a common form of transport in Pakistan and do not have seatbelts.
International airports in Pakistan are becoming more modern (especially in the major and tourist cities). To enter the airport, you must have a copy of your flight ticket and passport. Schedule changes and delays do occur, especially when weather conditions make visibility poor.
Flights between Islamabad and Gilgit are often delayed or canceled due to poor weather. Your local leader will give you the most up to date information regarding delays to flights. If your flight is cancelled we will endeavour to get your group on the next available flight. Failing that, we will follow our contingency plan by road using a private vehicle.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group – patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone’s travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don’t keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well – this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people.
As a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis.
If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips).
If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly.
Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.
This operator has a policy in place for COVID-19 and their adventures. Please request full details so we can share the most up to date information with you. Thanks!
We love this operator for the freedom and flexibility they give travellers to get off the tourist trails and really experience local cultures. Their style of small group travel is perfect for solo travellers, couples or small groups of friends and their grassroots style of travel seeks to have a positive impact on the communities they visit.
They use local leaders, local accommodation & transport and support local community projects, ensuring sustainability is at the centre of everything they do.
In addition, they expect their staff and travellers to demonstrate the principles of responsible travel – respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.
A most helpful, friendly and knowledgeable travel company!Very helpful and provided lots of research material and excellent personal perspectives on the tall ship sailing trip I was interested in taking.
Excellent thoughtful service.They were prompt and friendly, and so thorough and helpful in connecting me with my adventure.
One of a Kind Service!From the very beginning of reaching out to AWA, they were super helpful, enthusiastic and informative.
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