Our enthralling itinerary bypasses the big cities and plunges straight into centuries-old forts, glacier-carved valleys, sweeping mountain ranges and cozy alpine towns of Pakistan – home to some of the most diverse cultures on the planet, not just within South Asia.
Cruising along the highest land border crossing in the world, you’ll clamber up to alpine lakes to see water in colours you didn’t think were possible. Your expert Tour Manager will take you to the most compelling viewpoints to ensure you don’t miss a single mountain peak. You’ll experience winter and summer on the same day. You’ll hear languages spoken you didn’t even know existed.
The tour includes optional extras such as boating on the world’s bluest lake and the bucket-list dream of trekking across a frozen glacier.
Perfect for history buffs and outdoor adventurers alike who want to surround themselves with nature whilst delving into Pakistan’s rich culture and escaping well-trodden roads.
Day 1: Islamabad
Make your own arrangements to arrive in Islamabad and explore Pakistan’s capital at leisure. Don’t miss the Faisal Mosque! You’ll meet your Tour Manager and travel buddies tonight at the hotel for orientation and a group dinner.
Day 2: KKH and Rakaposhi View
We’ll fly out early from Islamabad. From Gilgit we’ll follow the mountain roads north to the Hunza Valley. Take in your first panoramas of the peaks from the Rakaposhi viewpoint including Rakapo-shi itself at 7,788m. A steep (but short) walk brings us to Baltit Fort, which has been standing for a thousand years! Catch you breath and take your time to soak in the breath-taking scenery including glimpses of the ancient Silk Road. We’ll explore the cobbled streets of Karimabad and browse local handicrafts and dried fruits at the town’s bazaar before making our way to the hotel.
Day 3: Pak - China Border
Your ‘fort’ for the day is the Altit Fort which has perched atop its craggy peak since the 11th century – a testament to ancient architects. If time’s on our side, we will take some time to explore the royal gardens and the village. Our day of history continues when we explore the Ganish (gold) Village settlement which was founded over 1000 years ago along the ancient Silk Road. Views of the Hunza Valley and Hunza River really are something out of this world, so we’ll take you to Duikar Village where we can appreciate them from the vertigo-inducing Eagle’s Nest viewpoint, at 2850m. We’ll hang out up here to catch the sunset over the peaks of Rakaposhi and Dehran. Reflect on the history and landscapes with some free time to shop in Karimabad before we head back to our hotel for the evening.
Day 4: Khunjerab - Passu - Borith
You’re going on what will be the most scenic road trip of your life today – so feed up on gyal! We’ll follow the Karakoram Highway through the Khunjerab Pass along the highest land border in the world: Pakistan and China. This hits 4700 meters above sea level, so we recommend altitude sick-ness pills, just in case. We’ll cross the Ganish Bridge in the shadow of the Shispare Sar, one of the tallest peaks of the Karakoram Ranges. There are over 50,000 ancient rock carvings from the Silk Road trading era along the way, we’ll show you our favourites! We’ll make stops at the fourth largest glacier in the world, Batura as well as the Hussani glacier. Round the corner a sweeping cluster of craggy, snow dusted peaks known as Passu Cathedral dominates the landscape. Feel your heart stop beating as you step onto the Hussaini Suspension Bridge. Only daredevils pluck up the courage to cross one of the most dangerous bridges in the world! Snaking through the Khunjerab National Park, the landscape changes with every bend in the road. At the Pakistan-China border we might be lucky enough to see snowflakes falling even during summer! Quick rest spot in Sost, and then to our very special lakeside hotel.
Day 5: Lake
This morning you can join a two-hour trek to the Passu Glacier to get up close with the white ice. Alternatively, relax by the lake and we’ll reconvene at lunch before exploring the sights and wildlife of the lake as a group. We’ll head to Attabad Lake, the bluest lake in the world. This was actually the result of the 2010 landslide which wiped out Attabad Village and forced the river to change course. Opt to cruise across the crystal clear water in a boldly painted wooden boat or appreciate its glory from the lakeside, cradled between the steely Karakoram Ranges. Back to our hotel for the night.
Day 6: Gilgit
Today we head to Gilgit, where we will spend the final two nights of the tour. In homage to Gilgit’s historic roots as a Buddhist station, we’ll drive to see the 7th century Kargah Buddha rock carving, etched into the cliff-face of KarghahNala. We’ll spend the afternoon rummaging in the Gilgit Bazaar (the perfect opportunity for souvenir shopping) before settling into our hotel.
Day 7: Naltar
Seatbelts on; a bumpy, two-hour dirt road adventure takes us to the Naltar Valley which is famed for its forestry and lakes as well as being a seasonal ski resort. Among glacial streams and fertile plains there are three high-altitude lakes to explore, known as the Bashkiri Lakes. We’ll admire the many colours of Satrangi Lake and the alpine splendour of glacially formed Pari Lake, before trekk-ing 45 minutes up to Firoza Lake. Surrounded by snowy peaks, with otherworldly blue water – trust us, this one will blow your mind. We’ll have our farewell dinner tonight in Gilgit.
Day 8: Gilgit > Islamabad
Use the flight from Gilgit to Islamabad to swap contact details with your travel buddies, and make your own arrangements to travel home or onwards from Islamabad.
Experience first-hand some of the most remote cultures, lifestyles and traditions that come with these unique mountain communities
Be spellbound by the drama of Mother Nature. You’ll encounter the bluest lakes, majestic glac-iers, tallest mountains, sparsest plains and most ancient forts all in the same day!
Trek on one of the only glaciers accessible outside the polar regions, the Passu Glacier
Wave at China from the Pakistan border
Abandon your fear and cross the Hussaini Suspension Bridge. Look down, we dare you!
Unearth ancient relics of the Silk Road trade route