Karakoram Highway

Notes: The Khunjerab pass is closed between 1st November to end of April. The border open for tourist from 1st of May. The border at Sost and Taxurgan are also officially closed for Chinese National day for 10 days between from 28th September to 8th October.

Day 1: Arrival Islamabad

You will be met at the airport and transferred to a comfortable centrally located hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to relax and recover from the long flight to Pakistan. In the afternoon, for those who desire, there will be a tour of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, and the bustling bazaars of Rawalpindi. In the evening, we have a welcome dinner where you will have the opportunity to meet your guides and the other members of the group. Overnight stay at Pearl Continental or Shalimar hotel.

Day 2: Besham

Our first stop outside of Islamabad is the ancient Greek city of Taxila and its accompanying museum, which houses excellent relics from the Gandhara and the Greco-Buddhist periods that date back to the 5th century BC. Next we turn north on the famous Karakoram Highway (KKH), moving into the mountains, crossing the swinging bridge at Thakot, and stopping in Besham on the shore of the mighty Indus. Overnight stay at Shangrilla or Panorama Hotel.

Day 3: Gilgit

This is a long day but the scenery en route more than makes up for it. Following the Silk Route alongside the Indus River, we reach the famous town of Gilgit at the spectacular entry point to the Karakoram mountains. For centuries, Gilgit has been the stopping point on the Silk Route as caravans journeyed south from Kashgar. Chinese monks returning from pilgrimages in India in the 5th century found Buddhism widely practiced in Gilgit. Hinduism came to the area around the 10th century, followed by Islam two hundred years ago. Overnight stay in good, tourist-class hotel.

Day 4: Karimabad

For half a day, we drive along the beautiful Hunza river valley, one of the most special parts of Pakistan, on our way to the Hunza region. As we approach Karimabad, the peak Rakaposhi (7788m) dominates the skyline to the east. Above Hunza stands the prominent rock spire Bubulimating (6000m) and the impressive Ultar peaks. The former Mir of Hunza now lives in a modern palace in Karimabad. We will have time to explore the shops and city of Karimabad. Overnight stay at Hunza View or Hill Top Hotel.

Day 5: Hunza/Karimabad/rest

This is a full day of exploring the mystery and charm of the Hunza valley. The people here belong to the Ismaili sect of Islam and commercial barter transactions are still the norm with them. One of the highlights of this day will be our meeting with the local Hunzakuts who are known for their longevity. We will also visit the famed forts of Baltit and Altit. Overnight stay at Hunza View or Hill Top Hotel.

Day 6: Hoper/Karimabad

Today we will drive south-east across the Hunza River to enter the mountain kingdom of Nagar. The drive takes about 2 hours each way and we will have ample time to discover this unique village next to the Bualter Glacier and to see the glacier up close. Overnight stay in Karimabad at Hunza View or Hill Top Hotel.

Day 7: Sust

A few short hours of driving on the KKH along the river with high peaks all around will bring us to Sost or Sust, the former site of the Pakistan border check post. The check post is now located a few km north of Sust and has the name Afiyatabad. Sust is the jumping off point for people going to Kashgar and we will visit the bazaars of this border town. Overnight stay in good, tourist-class hotel.

Day 8: Tashgurghan

Today is a full day’s drive over the Khunjerab Pass and into China on the Karakoram Highway. This is a fantastic trip through a long, shallow high pass, which at 16,000 ft. is one of the highest international border crossings in the world. On the other side of the pass we will reach the Chinese town of Tashgurghan, where we complete our immigration formalities and spend the night. The town itself has a Tajik and Chinese population and a 14th century Chinese fortress that sits on a rise above the flat-bottomed Tashgurghan River valley. Overnight at Pamir Hotel.

Day 9: Kashgar

This morning we drive to Kashgar, stopping to visit Kara-Kul Lake located between China’s two Pamir mountain giants, Muztagh Ata (24,524 ft.) and Kongur (25,086 ft.). We visit several small villages along the way and reach the interesting city of Kashgar in the afternoon and get settled in our hotel where we stay for two nights. This interesting city has many other things to see in addition to tomorrow’s bazaar, such as a cottage industry market, a handicraft factory, a central mosque called the Id Kah and a beautiful mausoleum. Overnight stay at Seman Hotel.

Day 10: Kashgar Sunday Bazaar

A full day at the fabulous Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar. This bazaar is the destination for a variety of colorful Central Asian nationalities who gather to barter everything from radios to horses. Kashgar is truly a triumph of commerce over both nature and ideology. Historically, it was the nexus of at least four branches of the Silk Route despite being surrounded by awesome physical barriers of mountains and desert. For much of this century it has been controlled by one of the world’s two communist giants and Kashgar was aptly called the nest of spies of Central Asia. Yet, within two years of the break-up of the Soviet Union, triangular trade between China, Pakistan and the Central Asian Republics again started to flourish in Kashgar. Overnight stay at Seman Hotel.

Day 11: Fly to Islamabad

Today we take a flight over pamir and Himalayan mountain and return to Islamabad, Overnight Hotel.

Day 12: Transfer to airport

Transfer to airport for flight to onward destinations.

End of Our Services

Price for 12 days:

  • 1 Pax € 2299 Per Person
  • 2/3 Pax € 2167 Per Person
  • 4/6 Pax € 1826 Per Person
  • 7/9 Pax € 1539 Per Person
  • 10+ Pax € 1088 Per Person ~ 1230 USD
  • Single Supplementary € 198

The cost includes:

  • Letter of invitation (LOI)
  • English Speaking guide.
  • Hotels in itinerary with B/B twin sharing basis.
  • Transport Air conditioned car/4×4 Willy’s Jeep for whole journey transfer from Sost to Kashgar.
  • Flight sector Kashgar/ISB is included in the above price
  • Airport transfer

Not included

  • Main meals lunch and dinner
  • International air ticket
  • Extras like drinks, laundry, phone call and room service
  • Entrance fees, national park fees etc
  • Tips
  • Insurance liability and other under force majeure conditions, medical aid etc.

Weather:

The weather in northern Pakistan is hot during the summer. Maximum daytime temperatures will clearly depend on the altitude, but will mainly lie in the range 20oC to 35oC. Most days should be sunny, although the occasional severe storm cannot be ruled out. The nights will be cold and likely to drop well below freezing when higher then 3,500 m. Rawalpindi and the lower Indus valley will be very hot and humid, while Gilgit and Chitral, although hot, will be less oppressive.

Flights in Pakistan:

Internal flights are also with PIA, the Gilgit flight being operated with Fokker. This flight needs good weather to operate and in the case of bad weather, a not infrequent occurrence, the flight will be cancelled. Should this happen the journey has to be done by road up/down the Karakorum Highway.

Passports and Visas:

All nationalities need a full passport. Most nationalities, including Americans, Europeans, British, Australians and Kiwis, require a visa for Pakistan: The foreign office in Islamabad is going to amend the new visa rules and regulations for the tourist, so we will inform you with the latest changes.

Accommodation:

All the hotels we use of good tourist class standard and the rooms all have private facilities. In Chilas, Besham, Chitral, Gilgit, and Hunza all the hotels are more basic but rooms have private facilities. On trek we shall be camping using two person tents. There will also be a mess tent and toilet tent. All this equipment is provided by Karakorum Explorers.

Transport:

All transfers will be made using air-conditioned car or coaches or minibuses, although 4 wheel drive jeeps may be necessary in Gilgit and Baltistan.

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