Very few places in the world compare with this small mountainous region, which was a semi-autonomous state until very recently but is now fully unified with Pakistan, the ruling dynasty of Hunza having lasted for over 600 years. The scenic beauty of this area, with its greenery and snow-capped mountains, makes it a true paradise. During the summer there is an abundance of apricots, peaches, pears and grapes. Hunza lies on the ancient trade route to Kashgar in the Chinese province of Sinkiang. Today the Karakoram Highway runs along this route with Karimabad being the main town of Hunza. Hunza is probably most famous for the longevity of its people, due to their simplicity, and natural diet, along with the unpolluted mountain air. Tibetan traders referred to the beauty of this humble paradise as “Shangri-La”.
In the north of Pakistan the Northern Areas, a mountainous region containing some of the world’s most incredible scenery, a fascinating mixture of different ethnic populations and some superb trekking and walking routes. The building of a road through the region – the Karakorum Highway– linking Pakistan to China has opened up a spectacular overland route between the two countries, passing through some of Pakistan’s most beautiful mountains areas and providing onward access to Central Asia’s historic cities. The opening of this route for foreigners in 1986 has provided adventurous travelers with the opportunity of a unique and exhilarating travel experience. This is the region of Pakistan that is most popular with foreign visitors.
Day 01: Islamabad: Arrival at Islamabad international airport, transfer to centrally located hotel/guest house. In the afternoon site seeing of twin cities (Islamabad & Rawalpindi), visit modern mosque Shah Faisal, Doman-e-koh, Shakarparian hills, Lok Virsa Museum, Modern markets (Jinnah supper & supper markets), Raja Bazaar, Cantt area etc. O/N stay in hotel.
Day 02: Islamabad – Taxila – Besham: This morning, we will start our journey (5-6 hrs drive) toward the mountain kingdom of North Pakistan on the famous Karakorum Highway/ancient silk route. En-route visitTaxila Museum (1 hour drive). The modern town of Taxila is 35 km from Islamabad. Most of the Archaeological Sites at Taxila (600 B.C-500 A.D) are located around Taxila Museum. For over 1000years, Taxila remained famous of as a centre of learning in respect of Gandhara Art of Sculpture, education and Buddhism in the days of Buddhist glory. There are over 50 archaeological sites scattered in a radius of 30 km around Taxila. Some of the most important sites include Dharmarajika, Stupa and Monastery (300 B.C – 200 A.D), Bhir Mound (600-200 B.C) Sirkap City (200 B.C – 600 A.D,Jundial Temple (250 B.C), and Julian Monastery (200-600 A.D). After our visit we continue our drive, en-route we will stop for a cup of Pakistani tea and toilet break. O/N stay at hotel.
Day 03: Besham – Chilas – Gilgit: It is long day 12 hrs drive but the scenery en-route more then makes up for it. Before reached to Gilgit en-route we will face some interesting photogenic stops at the pre-historic rock carving inscription at Shatial, rocks with ancient graffiti’s at Chilas, view point of Nanga Parbat (9th highest peak of the world) offers breathtaking panorama on behind, the unique point where three mountain rages, Karakorum, Himalayas and Hindukush meet and our next stop will be at confluence of River Indus & Gilgit.
Day 04: Gilgit: Full day sightseeing of Gilgit town. Tour include, visit of famous Gilgit mountain bazaar, suspension bridges, Kargha Buddha and walk along the Gilgit River. After lunch we will take some rest and in the evening, we will watch the “The Wild Polo” at Shahi Polo Ground Gilgit. O/N stay in hotel.
Day 05: Gilgit – Karimabad, Hunza: For half a day, we will drive along the beautiful Hunza river, one of the most special parts of Pakistan, en-route visit Chinise graveyard, monuments, Rakaposhi view points. As we approach Karimabad the peak Rakaposhi (7788m) dominates the sky line to the East. Above Hunza stands the prominent rock spire Bublimating 6000m and the Impressive Ultar peaks. The former Mir of Hunza now lives in Modern Palace in Karimabad. We will have time to Explore the shops and city of Karimabad. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 06: Karimabad, Hunza: The tour will include meeting with local folks, understanding the secrets of their longevity and also visit some of the important historical sites including the recently renovated, simple yet over powering, Baltit Fort and the Altit Fort.
Day 07: Karimabad – Hopar – Karimabad, Hunza: This morning we will drive by 4×4 jeeps to Hopar village (Nagar Valley) on opposite site of River Hunza for a walk on the Hopar Glacier. After lunch at at Hopar, we will drive back to Duikar (The top village of Central Hunza) for sun set and sunrise photography.
Day 08: Karimabad – Passu: Short an hour of driving on KKH along the river with the high peaks all around will bring us to Passu. But before reach to Passu we will stop en-route at Ganesh, (old village): The general belief however, is that the original inhabitants are descendant of soldiers of Alexander the Great, further drive to Gulkin village and walk on Glacier from Gulkin to Borit Lake and trek down to KKH , cross Passu suspension bridges. Overnight stay in hotel.
Day 09: Passu – Khunjerab Pass – Sost: Full day excursion to Khunjerab Pass (The border between Pakistan & China). In the olden days there were few highs passes leading from China those were suitable for travel. Today the Khunjerab Pass, which at an altitude of 4733 m is the highest point in the world on the Karakoram Highway, provides an easy all-weather entry from Pakistan to the famous Sinkiang Province of the Peoples Republic of China. This route is a beautiful drive, with views of the high mountains of the Karakorams and the distant Pamir Mountain Ranges. At Khunjerab, now declared a national park, one can see Marco Polo Sheep (ovis ammon poli).
Day 10: Sost – Gilgit: We will drive back to Gilgit. Reminder the evening is frees you to witness once again the polo match and visit of Bazaar. O/N stay at hotel.
Day 11: Gilgit – Besham: Following the breakfast, we will drive back to Besham (midway).O/N Besham.
Day 12: Besham – Islamabad: Drive back toIslamabad. Rest of the day reserved for shopping.
Day 13: ISLAMABAD: From peace and serenity of Hunza to the hustle and bustles of “modern” trends, you say Khuda Hafiz, the typical farewell, as you depart after a tour into Shangri-La.
End of the tour.