KARAKORAM AND HIMALAYAS
Starting point: Islamabad Airport
End: Islamabad Airport
Duration Trip: 10 nights /11 days
Ideal time: May to end of October
Visiting Pakistan in is a lifetime experience in particular the northern part known as (Gilgit-Baltistan), surrounded with majestic snow-capped mountains, and deep coloured rivers, lakes and massive glaciers making it one of best destinations for nature and adventure seekers.
In the north, you will be able to explore scenic views in Gilgit, Nagar and Hunza valley. The tour also includes a three days trekking trip or horse riding to Fairy Meadow, located at the foot of the mighty Nanga Parbat (8,126m), the 2nd highest mountain of Pakistan and 9th in world ranking.
Moreover, you’ll travel through the Karakoram mountains to reach the Khunjerab Pass (Pakistan-China border) located at 4,700 metres, known as the highest international border crossing and end of Karakoram Highway (887 km) within Pakistan.
- Tour of Islamabad
- Drive on the legendary Karakoram Highway
- Visit Gilgit – Silk Route town
- Explore the wonderful Hunza valley
- Cross Husseini rope bridge and visit white Passu glacier
- Excursion to Khunjerab – Pakistan-China border
- Tour of Naltar valley and Green lake
- Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat adventure trip
Day 1 – Arrival in Islamabad
Meeting you at the airport, pickup and transfer to hotel for rest. If arrival is in the daytime, we take you out for a tour around Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
Overnight in Islamabad
Day 02 – Islamabad – Gilgit
Leave hotel early morning to catch a scenic flight to Gilgit while enjoying dramatic views of Hindukush & west Himalaya mountains en route. It takes only an hour to reach Gilgit airport. Transfer to hotel for check in & breakfast.
Gilgit town is located at 1500 m above Sea level; is a we need a day around to get acclimatized before heading to more higher.
We go to sightseeing around Gilgit town- visit an ancient rock carving Buddha in Basin valley dates back to 7th century.
Visit of Chinese cemetery, the final resting place of Chinese workers and engineers who died during the construction of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Pakistan in the 1960s and 1970.
Afternoon we spare time to stroll in the local bazaar and visit mini China market.
Note: We spare this day in Gilgit, in case domestic flight delays from Islamabad which is subject to weather status, we drive this day on the road to reach Chilas town.
Overnight in Gilgit
Day 3 – Gilgit – Karimabad (Hunza Valley)
Today we travel up north to Karimabad, the capital of fabled Hunza valley, nestled in many snow-capped mountains of the mighty Karakoram.
En route, we stop to see old traces of the ancient Silk Route and the viewpoint of mount Rakaposhi (7,788 m.), the majestic peak rising above Nanga valley that offers sweeping views from bottom to summit.
After arrival in Karimabad, we will check into the hotel and go out to visit the 700 years old Baltit Fort, which dominates the whole valley, and was once the residence of the King of the Hunza State. It’s now serving tourists as a historical monument and museum.
Karimabad bazaar is a good place to roam and see the local products, from local carpets to other handicraft items to dry-fruits. There are some good cafés where you would like to sit with a cup of coffee to enjoy the views of sunset.
Overnight in Karimabad
Day 4 – Attabad Lake – Passu Valley
Today we head to explore the upper part of Hunza valley via the Attabad lake en route. The long lake was formed back in 2010 due to a massive landslide on Hunza river. We will stop at the lake viewpoint for photography and is a good place to enjoy the cruising the lake.
After this, with a short drive we will reach the Hussaini hanging bridge, a well-known and must-visit footstep bridge over the Hunza river.
Next is the Borit lake. After this an easy and short walk will take us close to Passu glacier. After this we stop for lunch at Glacier Breez Restaurant, located above Passu valley. It’s a good viewpoint to see the Passu cones (a set of great mountain peaks more than 6,000 metres).
In the afternoon, we go for a walk around Passu valley and overnight in Passu.
Day 05– Excursion to Khunjerab Pass at 4,700 m (Pak-China border)
Today you are going to drive through the Karakoram National Park and climb the Khunjerab Pass, located at an elevation of 4,700 m. It’s the highest international crossing between two countries: Pakistan and China.
While travelling through the Khunjerab National Park, you might be able to see some wildlife found in the Karakoram, like ibex, Himalayan marmot and snow leopard.
After some time on the border for photography, we then return to Karimabad and continue uphill to Duikar village – located high above Hunza valley. It’s an ideal place to catch the sunset and the sweeping view of Hunza valley in twilight.
Overnight in Karimabad
Day 6 – Hunza – Naltar valley – Gilgit
Today we travel down to Nomal village near Gilgit and transfer to 4WD Jeeps for an off-road drive on a narrow, winding road between rocky mountains for a few hours.
Naltar valley is at an altitude of 3,000 m. It’s nestled in snow-capped mountains between the vast shadows of Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains, making it one of the most spectacular places to visit. That’s where one of the skiing resorts of Pakistan is located.
From Naltar valley, a bumpy road through a jungle track reaching to Naltar lake, also known Green lake or Rainbow lake covered in pine forest.
In the afternoon, drive down to Gilgit for overnight.
Day 7 – Gilgit – Fairy Meadows (West Himalayas)
Today we leave for Fairy Meadows and stop at the junction point of three mountain ranges (Karakoram, Himalaya, Hindu Kush) then drive down to Raikot bridge in less than 2 hours. At Raikot bridge we switch into the local private community Jeep for an off road drive to Tato village, this is the most adventurous drive that you may experience on this trip. However, it is safe to ride & takes more than an hour to reach the end of the Jeep track.
We stop for quick lunch at a small and simple restaurant at the Jeep stop and then set out for trek to Fairy Meadows. This takes 3 hours for an average hiker while gaining gradual elevation to reach the destination.
Note: Horse riding is available here. One can ride a horse all the way to Fairy Meadows. That takes around two hours.
You don’t need to carry all your baggage, all you need is warm clothing for two days; extra and unnecessary baggage can be left in the car at Raikot bridge. If you prefer to bring up all your baggage, there is a porter facility at the trekking point.
The hotel in Fairy Meadows provides basic services, such as lodging at pine huts, three time meals and bonfire at night.
Overnight in alpine huts
Day 8 – Around Fairy Meadows
Fairy Meadows is one popular attraction for all domestic and international tourists and is located at the foot of Naga Parbat – the western end of the Himalaya mountain range.
It offers plenty of flexibility, those who like to have an easy day will go around Fairy Meadows and enjoy the mesmerizing views from the Himalaya to the Karakoram.
Trekking enthusiasts can hike up to the viewpoint of Raikot glacier or all the way to base camp of Nanga Parbat and return to Fairy Meadows in the evening.
Note: The Horse riding facility can be used until viewpoint and return to Fairy Meadows.
Overnight in alpine huts.
Day 9 – Fairy Meadows – Besham/ Naran
Descend down to the Jeep stop and ride the Jeep back to the Karakoram Highway, switch to the car and drive downward to Islamabad while making stop a at Besham to break the long journey into two parts.
If the trip happens between mid-June to the first week of October, we can take the shorter route from Chilas that takes you over the Babusar Pass (4,173 m) and to Naran valley for overnight.
In case the Babusar Pass is closed, we have to follow the traditional road the remains open throughout the year.
Overnight in Besham or Naran
Day 10 – Islamabad
Complete the journey down to Islamabad either from Besham or Naran.
On arrival, transfer to hotel for shower and short rest. We then go out for dinner at the famous food street of Islamabad/ Rawalpindi, which are twin cities. Islamabad is a modern city whereas Rawalpindi is the old and one of the typical cities with hustling and bustling.
Overnight in Islamabad/ Rawalpindi
Day 11 – Islamabad tour – Airport transfer
On the last day we take you for a tour around Islamabad, however this depends on your homebound flight’s departure.
If time permits, we will be able to visit Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in Pakistan and is considered an iconic symbol of Islamabad.
Lok Virsa, a cultural heritage museum that presents old and living culture of Pakistan both from the mainstream and the rural areas of Pakistan.
Transfer to Airport three hours prior to flight’s departure
Tour Cost: Ask (depends on numbers of people)
- One internal flight ticket (Islamabad- Gilgit)
- All lodgings
- All breakfasts
- Private transportation
- 4wD Jeep on Fairy Meadow road
- Services of English speaking Guide
- Road taxes / tolls
- Letter of invitation to support the visa
Trip does not include
- Flights to Pakistan and airport taxes
- Entrance fees
- Lunch & dinner