Pakistan: Expedition to Baluchistan

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Trip Duration Days - 17 Days

Pakistan: Expedition to Baluchistan

Price Starts from € 4500

Route designed to explore the most interesting corners of Baluchistan. We will start by the coast of Makran, we will cross by boat to the unknown island of Astola and from the coast of the Sea of Rage we will penetrate into the heart of tribal and nomadic Baluchistan. Contrast of landscapes, always dry and hard but of great beauty. After several days of living with the nomadic tribes, we will arrive to Quetta to catch the train that will take us to the fertile valley of the Indos River to start the way back. Baluchistan remains a last frontier. After 4 years working in Pakistan, the Last Places team has obtained the necessary contacts and permits to visit this rebel province with security guarantees. The tour will be done in 4x4 vehicles, minibus in the cities, and we will travel by domestic plane and train for the longer journeys.
Date: 1 November 2021 - 17 November 2021

Duration: 17 days - 15 nights

Guide: Joan Riera, graduated in anthropology and sociology from the University of Richmond (UK). She has been working in Pakistan since 2017 where she has studied various nomadic groups including the Baloch cattle herders of the Kharan desert.

Individual supplement: 420€

The price includes:
-
International flights
- All transfers
- Transportation by minibus and 4x4 vehicles
- Spanish guide specialist in Pakistan
- Local guides
- FB = Full Board
- 2 bottles of mineral water of 1.5 liters per day, per person
- Accommodation according to itinerary
- Camping equipment (except the sleeping bag)
- Cook during the camping days
- Tickets to the places detailed in the itinerary (museums, natural parks, towns, etc.)
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- Payments for taking pictures in the tribes

Price does not include:
- Drinks at meals
- Visa and management
- Tips
- Basic travel insurance (does not include cancellation). The insurance company offers extensions to the basic insurance included that cover cancellation. Check price and conditions.
- Any service not indicated in the itinerary
DAY 1: SPAIN - PAKISTAN
International flight to Karachi via a connection point. Night on board.

DAY 2: KARACHI
Arrival in Karachi where we will be received by the local guide. Transfer to the hotel to shower and rest a little before starting the visits to the economic capital of the country. We will start from the port area, we will continue by the clock tower, right in the center and after lunch we will visit the temple of the crocodiles venerated by Afro-descendants and other Sufi followers. Dinner and accommodation at the Ramada Hotel or similar. FB

DAY 3: KARACHI - MAKRAN COAST (7h)
We will depart early in the morning for a scenic drive west along the legendary Makran Coastal Highway, a 653 km long paved road that runs along the wild shores of the Indian Ocean. Our first stops will be the small town of Gadani, home to the third largest ship breaking yard in the world, and Kund Malir, a world-class beach and entry point to Hingol National Park. We will continue to Hingol to visit an ancient Hindu temple in Hinglaj Mata and Ormara, a small beluchi fishing port. After a picnic lunch en-route, we will continue to Pasni, one of Balochistan's main coastal cities and the starting point of our pioneering trip to Astola Island. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Juddi or similar. FB

DAY 4 ASTOLA ISLAND

Early departure by rented boat to Astola, an uninhabited island of breathtaking beauty off the coast of Baluchistan. We will spend the whole day on the island exploring its natural landscapes and spectacular panoramic views. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on the island. Accommodation on Astola Island (tents will be provided). FB

DAY 5: ASTOLA ISLAND - GWADAR

At dawn we can admire the sunrise on the island of Astola, it is definitely among the best experiences out of the ordinary in South Asia. After breakfast, we will return by boat to Pasni and head further west towards Gwadar, a relatively large Beluchi port city, which previously belonged to the Sultanate of Oman. In the evening we will drive to the top of the so-called Hammerhead Mountain near Gwadar to enjoy the sunset view over the city. Dinner and accommodation at the Hotel Sadaf Resort or similar. FB

DAY 6: GWADAR - JIWANI - GWANDAR

Morning hike to Crocodile Mountain, from where we will admire the breathtaking views of Gwadar Bay. We will spend the rest of the day relaxing and swimming at the beautiful beaches of Gaz and Jiwani. In Jiwani we will also meet Baluchi fishermen, visit traditional houses, and tour the local fish market. Dinner and accommodation at the Hotel Sadaf Resort or similar. FB

DAY 7: GWANDAR - PANJGUR (6h)

Breakfast and a long route to the heart of the most untamed Baluchistan. We will get to Panjgur after stopping to admire the landscape and visit the small towns that we will find on the way. Night in tents. FB

DAYS 8, 9, and 10: PANJGUR - KHARAN DESERT & MONTES RAS KOH

For 3 whole days we will explore the beautiful and wild territory between the living dunes of Kharan and the ancient and austere mountains of Ras Koh. The objective will be to enjoy this still virgin landscape and the nomads who have crossed these places for centuries. Night in tents. FB

DAY 11: KHARAN - NUSHKI (3h)

Breakfast and route to the oasis-town of Nushki where much of the vernacular Beluchi architecture survives. Camping in the courtyard of one of the town houses. Chat with the inhabitants and a traditional dinner to say goodbye to the Beluchi desert. FB

DAY 12: NUSHKI - QUETTA (3h)

Breakfast and farewell to Nushki. Route to Quetta, the bustling capital of Balochistan. We will spend a few hours exploring Quetta, an ancient city full of charming ruined buildings, colorful bazaars, and friendly people. After lunch we will visit Ziarat, a traditional tourist town surrounded by lush vegetation, colonial buildings, and spectacular waterfalls. Dinner and night in Quetta.

DAY 13: QUETTA - PASO DE BOLÁN - SIBI (4h)

Breakfast. Route by road to the mythical Bolán Pass, a strategic place between Afghanistan and the Indos River Valley. In 1837 the British stopped the Russian invasion of South Asia through the Bolan Pass and the Khyber Pass (near Peshawar), sending troops to Kabul. In February 1839, the British Army under Sir John Keane led 12,000 soldiers through the Bolan Pass and entered Kandahar into Russian hands. From there they attacked Ghazni and won the war and established themselves as the main colonial force in South Asia. When the British departed in 1947, the Brahui tribe of the tribe took over control of this strategic pass. After crossing Bolán we will arrive at Sibi, an old caravan city where we will spend the night. Hotel Saqi or similar. FB

Day 14: SIBI - BALUCHIS TRIBES - DERA BUGTI (6h)

Breakfast. Route to Dera Bugti, stronghold of the Brahui rebels who demand greater control over the natural resources of this desert region (gas and minerals). We will surely have to go with armed escort until we reach Dera Bugti. As we see we will try to visit Brahui villages en route. Arrival in Dera Bugti and accommodation at Hotel Ali Khan or similar. FB

Day 15: DERA BUGTI - SUKKUR (5h)

Breakfast and route to Sukkur. Transfer to the hotel to shower and rest. Lunch in a palace built by a family of Hindu merchants who left in 1947 after the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Afternoon visit of the historical tombs near the Indos River and walk through one of the Mohana settlements (original ethnic group of this river region). Accommodation at Hotel One or similar. FB

DAY 16: SUKKUR - KARACHI - FLIGHT HOME

Breakfast and transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Karachi. Connection with the international flight home. FB

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.