Pakistan: Ancient cities and tribal minorities

Other Destinations

Trip Duration Days - 14 Days

Pakistan: Ancient cities and tribal minorities

Price Starts from € 2750

Route designed to discover little-known corners of Pakistan. The journey begins at the Afghan border and ends at the Arabian Sea. We will visit places away from the tourist circuits without neglecting iconic places such as the Mughal fort of Lahore or the southern Sufi shrines. We will travel with a minibus from the center-north to the deep south, parallel to the great Indos river. Going hand in hand with a passionate anthropologist will allow you to discover and live with nomadic societies and other cultural minorities.
Date: 1 May 2021 - 14 May 2021

Duration: 14 days - 13 nights

Guide: Aníbal Bueno, an expert photographer in remote destinations and ethnic minorities.

Individual supplement: 180€

The price includes:
-
International flights air charges
- All transfers
- Transportation by minibus
- Spanish photographer guide
- Local guides
- FB = Full Board
- 2 bottles of 1.5 liter mineral guam per person
- Itinerary accommodation
- Cook on camping days
- Entrances to the detailed places on the itinerary (museums, natural parks, towns, etc.)
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- Basic travel insurance (does not include cancellation). The insurance company offers extensions to the basic insurance included that cover cancellation. Check price and conditions.

Price does not include:
- Drinks at meals
- Visa and management
- Tips
- Cancellation insurance
- Any service not indicated in the itinerary
DAY 1: FLIGHT TO PESHAWAR VIA DOHA
Departure from Spain to Doha, Qatar. Connection with the flight to Peshawar. Arrival in the capital of Kibber-Pashtunawa and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at: Hotel Empire. FB

DAY 2: PESHAWAR
Breakfast. Day to explore the ancient city of Peshawar. The hotel is in the center so it will be easy to get around on foot through the main streets of the old city. We will start with the cattle market on the outskirts of the city, we will continue through the central bazaar, clock tower, Christian-Hindu quarter, and great Mughal mosque. Lunch and afternoon visit to the hana-badosh camp, ancestors of the European gypsies. Talk about the “Gypsy Ethnicity” in Pakistan, their way of life, their economic reality and social position. According to anthropologists, this people is originally from the Indus Valley, from where they expanded eastward to India and westward, reaching the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century, where they created a culture with a unique look that continues to connect them with their relatives from the East. Accommodation at: Hotel Empire. FB

DAY 3: PESHAWAR
Breakfast and excursion to the tribal area of Khyber Pass, border with Afghanistan to see the environment (you need a permit). This area is controlled by ‘Jirgas, councils of elders who decide the future of tribal mountain villages. Tour of the market and the mythical door through which Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Marco Polo crossed. We will return to Peshawar for lunch and in the afternoon we will explore the Sikh neighborhood and have dinner at a local Pashtun house. Accommodation at: Hotel Empire. FB

DAY 4: PESHAWAR - TAXILA - RAWALPINDI (3h)
Breakfast. Continuation to Taxila, base to explore the Gandhara culture. Talk about the "Gandhara Culture". Visit to Taxila, a World Heritage Site. Political and cultural center of the Gandhara kingdom, it was built at the confluence of the three main trade routes: the Bactrian towards central Asia, the Kashmir towards India and the Khunjerab pass towards China. The Gandhara culture, whose main exponent was the disappeared Buddhas of Bamiyan, spread through northern Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, between 300 BC. and 500 A.D. Melting pot of Greco-Buddhist cultures, where the Persian Empire, the Macedonia of Alexander the Great and the Mauryan Empire left their mark on bas-reliefs, stupas and monasteries such as Jaulian that we will visit. After the visit we will continue to Rawalpindi, the former capital of Pakistan after Karachi and before finally becoming Islamabad. Walking tour of the lively central market and the district of jewelery and wedding dresses. Accommodation at: Midway Inn Hotel or similar. FB

DAY 5: RAWALPINDI - LAHORE (5h)
Breakfast. Route to Lahore. He almost did not stay in India, in 1947 70% of the population was Hindu and today only 1%. This forever marked the society and economy of the city and the country in general. Transfer to the hotel and introduction to the most beautiful city in Pakistan, a cultural, intellectual and artistic center. Afternoon visit to the Badshahi Mosque (1647) and urban tour of the walled city center. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 6: LAHORE
Breakfast. Day to explore the great monuments of the Mughal Empire (1526/1857) and to continue soaking up the atmosphere of this ancient city. We will visit the Fort Complex and the mosque in the morning. We will end up getting lost in the bazaars of the walled city. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 7: LAHORE - MULTAN (4h)
Breakfast and route to the south of Punjab. Our goal is Multan, on the banks of the Chenab River. This historical city sinks its history in more than 5,000 years from the Harapiana era. Zoroastrian pilgrimage center to the Temple of the Sun, conquered by Alexander the Great and under the Abassi Empire. In the 11th and 12th centuries it attracted numerous Sufi mystics, being called the City of Saints, its magnificent Mausoleums adorn the city. The most famous of them, Rukn-ud-Din was restored in 1980 restoring all its splendor. Since medieval times it has remained a large commercial center thanks to its bazaar. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 8: MULTAN - UCH SHARIF - SUKKUR (5h)
Breakfast. On the way we will stop at Uch Sharif, founded by Alexander the Great in 500 BC, it became an important religious and cultural center in the 13th century, housing the main schools of Sufi mysticism. Its most precious monument is the Bibi Jawindi Mausoleum from 1493, proposed as a World Heritage Site. Octagonal in plan, with three staggered floors and ending in a dome, it is decorated with cobalt and turquoise tiles in the Samarkand style. Talk about "Sufism". Ascetic, heterodox, pantheistic and mystical religious doctrine of Islamism. We continue to spend the night in Sukkur already in the Sindh Region. Dinner in an ancient Hindu palace facing the Indos River. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

DAY 9: SUKKUR - KHAIRPUR EMIRATE - KOT DIJI (2h)
Breakfast. Visit in the morning of the ‘7 sisters’ a funeral complex in front of the historical bridges over the Indos. After the visit, we will leave for Khairpur, another former princely state with a beautiful palace called Faiz Mahal from the late 18th century. We will try to have tea with a member of the royal family to tell us about the process of annexation to Pakistan in 1965 under the government of Ali Bhutto (Benazir Bhutto's father). We will continue to the historical capital of the emirate where an impressive fort stands out and the traditional atmosphere of the population. After lunch we will enter with a local guide in the Thar desert to enjoy nature and tribal Hindu groups that live by herding goats. Accommodation in: local hostel. FB

DAY 10: THAR - KOT DIJI - MOHENJO DARO - MASHORI SHARIF - LARKANA (2h)
Breakfast. Continuation to Mohenjo Daro World Heritage Site and the jewel of the Indos Valley. One of the first and most advanced planned urban settlements in the world. While our European ancestors still lived in caves, between 3000 and 1500 BC. There there existed a culture that inhabited 2-story houses, with a cooling system, baths and running water, cotton, grain and grape crops and a fleet for river and land trade with Mesopotamia, Persia and Arabia. We will go through the ruins surrounded by desert, imagining what life was like for those people. Talk about the "Culture of the Indos Valley". Lunch at Mashori Sharif with the local sheikh. Visit of the sanctuary of the Mashori clan and night in the city of Larkana. Overnight at: Hotel Sambara Inn. FB

DAY 11: LARKANA - LAKE MANCHAR - SEHWAN (2h)
Breakfast. Introduction to the world of the Mohana, a Dravidian group (the first inhabitants of the Indos River Valley). We will reach Lake Manchar where some families of traditionalist mohanas still survive, who live by hunting birds and traditional fishing. We will spend the whole day with this ethnic group whose ancestors go back to the mythical Harappan (5,000 years). After the visit we will continue to the Mausoleum of the Sufi Saint Lal Shah Baz Qalandar in Sehwan. Built in the SXV it is beautifully decorated with tiles in all shades of blue. The atmosphere is already permeated with mysticism with hundreds of faithful, sick seeking healing, beggars, street vendors. Accommodation at: Hotel Sehwan or similar. FB

DAY 12: SEHWAN - HYDERABAD - THATTA - KARACHI (5h)
Breakfast. We will leave for Thatta, a city of great importance from the XIV century and during 4 Muslim dynasties, where we will visit the Necropolis of Makli Hill, a World Heritage Site. A multitude of funerary monuments from the 14th to the 18th centuries exquisitely sculpted in sandstone with floral and geometric motifs and covered with tiles, among which the Mausoleum of Mirza Jani Beg, the last sovereign of the Tarkhan dynasty, stands out. We will also visit the beautiful Shah Jahan Mosque (1645) with its 93 domes. Continuation to Karachi. Afternoon city tour of the historic center around the Empress Market. Accommodation at: Hotel Gulf or similar. FB

DAY 13: KARACHI
Breakfast. Ethnographic morning with a visit to the ‘African’ neighborhood of Karachi. The Siddi community is originally from Africa and came as slaves from Zanzibar over the centuries. Currently they are Sunni Muslims but they have preserved their traditional music (percussion), dances and are followers of the pre-Islamic cult of the crocodile. After the visit we will continue to the port area to see the activities of the fishermen and after lunch in a restaurant we will continue exploring the old town of the economic capital of Pakistan. We will have a couple of rooms to shower and pack before moving to the airport. Night flight. FB

DAY 14: KARACHI - DOHA - SPAIN
Early morning departure of the Qatar Airways flight to Spain. Arrival home.

END OF OUR SERVICES

 

Pakistan Visa
A valid passport and a visa are required for travel to Pakistan. Applications for visas have to be made in advance in the travelers’ home country. Last Places assists all travelers that need any type of help applying for the visa at the embassy. We recommend that passports be valid for six months from date of arrival.



Bring 50 passport & visa photocopies. It is good to bring loads of photocopies because, at some check posts, if you have a passport copy, you do not have to get out of the car. Otherwise, you are going to waste your time.




Vaccines and Travel Health in Pakistan
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to enter or travel through Pakistan. Said this, Polio is still a threat in some parts of Pakistan. Make sure that you have been vaccinated. Denguemalaria and chikungunya are also present. Repellents and netting provide protection. You may require antimalarial tablets based on your itinerary.


Security in Pakistan
Pakistan is a vastly misrepresented country in the Western media. The grand majority of Pakistan is very safe for travellers. In the past, political instability has led to outbreaks of violence and some of this is still ongoing. The best parts of Pakistan, the ones that attract the most foreign attention, are safe for tourists. Whilst you might have to travel with an armed police escort in some places (for example Kalasha Valleys in Chitral), you should not let that put you off the great unique experience that is visiting these remote tribal communities and stunning mountains ecosystems.


When to go to Pakistan
Travelers can visit Pakistan all year around. Last Places offers trips to Pakistan all year around (May - October Pakistan’s summer, November - April Pakistan’s winter. Said this Pakistan’s High Season would be from May till October and Low Season from November till April (cold). The best time to visit Pakistan depends on where you wish to travel. May - October is generally the best season to visit, as the weather is rather dry and warm throughout the country. If you want to visit the north-west regions of Pakistan, like Pakhtoonkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, or Balochistan, October - February would be a good time to travel, as the weather will be cool enough for you to enjoy your trip.


Currency in Pakistan       
The official currency of Pakistan is the Pakistani Rupee (PKR).





Time in Pakistan
Pakistan Standard Time (PKT) is 5 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).



Electricity in Pakistan
The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

In Pakistan the power plugs and sockets are of type C and D. Check out the following pictures.

Type C: also known as the standard "Euro" plug. This socket also works with plug Eand plug F.

Type D: mainly used in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and some African countries. This socket only works with plug D.


Communications in Pakistan
The international dialing code for Pakistan is +92. There are many more mobile telephones than fixed lines and the mobile coverage is much more reliable than fixed lines. Internet access is available at most hotels. Except in Gilgit-Baltistan, the internet works reasonably well throughout the country.


Language in Pakistan
The official languages of Pakistan are English and Urdu. In remote rural areas most people do not speak neither of them and the figure of a translator guide will be needed.



Prohibitions in Pakistan
Do not take photographs of government buildings, or use binoculars near them, as this could lead to arrest. We recommend asking permission to people before taking their picture to avoid uncomfortable situations.

Since 1977 alcohol consumption is forbidden in Pakistan except for non-Muslim minorities such as HindusChristians and Zoroastrians who are allowed to apply for alcohol permits. The ban officially is enforced by the country's Islamic Ideology Council, but it is not strictly policed. A foreign non-Muslim person can drink alcoholic beverages in Pakistan. However, consumption of alcoholic drinks in public places is strictly prohibited. In many hotels, the foreign people can purchase alcoholic drinks upon presenting proof of foreign national ID and age.