Pakistan: ancient cities, desert, archeology and nomadic tribes

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Trip Duration Days - 12 Days

Pakistan: ancient cities, desert, archeology and nomadic tribes

Price Starts from € 3900

Joan Riera, graduated in anthropology and sociology from the University of Richmond (UK). He visited Pakistan in 2017 and saw great potential for cultural and ethnographic tourism. Pakistan is an unspoiled country with hardly any tourism with several fascinating ethnic groups and a very powerful architectural heritage.
Individual supplement: € 360
Group of 3 to 6 travelers.
 
THE PRICE INCLUDES
• International flights with air taxes
• Domestic flight
• All transfers
• Transportation by private vehicle, minibus a / c.
• Spanish-speaking anthropologist specialist guide, expert in Pakistan
• Meal regime according to itinerary. AD = Accommodation with Breakfast, MP = Half Board, PC = Full Board
• Accommodation according to itinerary
• Tickets to the places detailed in 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
• Meals not specified in the itinerary
• Drinks at meals
• Visa and management
• Tips
• Cancellation insurance
• Any service not indicated in the itinerary
DAY 1 (Sunday, September 13): SPAIN - PAKISTAN
International flight from Spain to Islamabad. Night on board.

DAY 2 (Monday, September 14): ISLAMABAD
Arrival in Islamabad, the current capital of Pakistan and political center that replaced Karachi in 1959. Built with funds donated by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, it is a modern, geometric and impersonal city, planned by famous architects as an exhibition of the country's modernity. Accommodation: Shelton Hotel or similar. Pc

DAY 3 (Tuesday, September 15): ISLAMABAD - FAISALABAD
Breakfast. We start the route to the south through the mythical Indos River Valley. We will go to Faisalabad, a Mughal city rebuilt by the British with an interesting atmosphere around the clock tower, donated by Queen Victoria. En route we will stop in towns and road markets. Arrival, city tour and accommodation at the hotel. Accommodation: Grand Regent Hotel or similar. Pc

DAY 4 (Wednesday 16 September): ISLAMABAD - MULTAN (1h40 min flight)
Multan, on the banks of the Chenab River, traces its history back to more than 5,000 years since 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: Ramada By Wyndham Hotel. Pc

DAY 5 (Thursday, September 17): MULTAN - BAHAWALPUR (2h)
The origin of Bahawalpur, in the province of Punjab, dates back to 1748 when it became the capital of the homonymous principality under the rule of the Nawabs of the Abassi dynasty who remained in power until 1955 when, being part of India, it they annexed Pakistan. The current Nawab, Salahuddin Ahmed Abassi, without his former privileges, is a Member of Parliament of Pakistan and is carrying out a strong restoration campaign to restore the ancient splendor of the remarkable buildings of Bahawalpur. It is a fairly orderly city, structured around the Versailles Noor Mahal palace, with some similarity to the princely cities of neighboring Rajasthan. Its economy is based on agriculture, it is a date market and it has a silk and cotton fabric industry, the carpets in its magnificent bazaar being famous. It is the gateway to the Lal Suhanra National Park and the Cholistan Desert. Accommodation: 5th Avenue Hotel or similar. Pc

DAY 6 (Friday, September 18): BAHAWALPUR - CHOLISTAN DESERT
We will head south to enter the Cholistan Desert, locally called Rohi, adjacent to the Indian Thar Desert and with an area of ??16,000 km2. Formerly crossed by the now dry Hakra River, it was a fertile area that contains more than 300 Harapian archaeological sites. Its name derives from Cholna, which in Urdu means Moving, as its population is nomadic and maintains lifestyles similar to 200 years ago.
Our first visit will be to Derawar Fort. Built on the trade route between East and West by the King of Jaisalmer and conquered in 1733 by the Nawab of Bahawalpur, it is a majestic fortress with 40 bastions and a perimeter wall 30 meters high and 1.5 km long that can be seen from miles away.
We enter the desert in search of nomadic villages of the Meghwal Tribe, herders of camels and goats whose traditional occupation, apart from herding, is weaving with wool and embroidery. This tribe is spread by neighboring Thar and the northern part of Gujarat. They wear very colorful clothes and a great profusion of original beads on the ears, nose, arms and ankles. Of Hindu religion, its main god is Rishi Megh, under whose invocation it has the power to attract rain. Considered a Community of Untouchables, they are currently preserved as a Caste classified as protected. Accommodation: 5th Avenue Hotel or similar. Pc

DAY 7 (Saturday, September 19): BAHAWALPUR- UCH SHARIF - SUKKUR (5h)
On the way we will stop at Sadiq Garh Palace, a mammoth nineteenth-century palace with 120 rooms, a vestige of the opulence of the Nawabs and in one of whose wings the current one lives.
Another interesting stop in the small town of Uch Sharif, founded by Alexander the Great in 500 BC, 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. Accommodation: Hotel One or similar. Pc

DAY 8 (Sunday, September 20): SUKKUR - KHAIRPUR - MOHENJO DARO - DADU (2h30min)
We leave for Khairpur, another ancient princely state with a beautiful palace called Faiz Mahal. Continuation to Mohenjo Daro, World Heritage Site and the jewel of the Indus Valley. One of the first and most advanced planned urban settlements in the world. While our European ancestors still lived in the caves, between 3000 and 1500 BC, there existed a culture that inhabited 2-story houses, with refrigeration systems, toilets 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 Indus Valley". Accommodation: Hotel Bhittai or similar. Pc

DAY 9 (Monday, September 21): DADU - SEHWAN - HYDERABAD (3h)
We will visit en route 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 environment is already permeated with mysticism with hundreds of faithful, sick seeking healing, beggars, street vendors. We continue to Hyderabad founded in 1757 during the British Raj, it was the capital of Sindh and a great commercial center. Preserves some dilapidated Victorian buildings. Accommodation: Hotel Indus or similar. Pc

DAY 10 (Tuesday 22 September): HYDERABAD - TAHTTA - TOMBS CHAUKHANDI - KARACHI (3h)
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 fourteenth to eighteenth centuries exquisitely carved 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. Accommodation: Movenpick Hotel or similar. Pc

DAY 11 (Wednesday, September 23): KARACHI
If Peshawar is the city of intrigue, Lahore the cultural heart, Multan the Sufi religious center and Islamabad the political center, Karachi is the engine of Pakistan's economy. It enjoys a strategic location at the mouth of the Indus, with access to the Arabian Sea and a large port. It is also a financial and commercial center. It was the primeval capital of Pakistan until the construction of Islamabad in 1959. Originally founded as a fishing settlement for the Baloch tribes, it still preserves a community of descendants on Abdullah Goth Island. We will visit the National Museum, the Mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi, the Empress Market, Victorian style, where we will make the last purchases. Accommodation: Movenpick Hotel or similar. Pc

DAY 12 (Thursday, September 24): PAKISTAN - SPAIN
Transfer to the airport at the indicated time. I fly home. Arrival home at night.


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.