Dates: June 15-27, 2020.
Duration: 13 days / 11 nights.
Guide: Iván Faure, expert photographer in Pakistan.
Trip highlights: Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Qila Rohtas, Takht-i-Baji, Gandhara, Swat Valley, Chitral Kingdom, Hindukush Mountains, Kalash Valleys, Pashtun Tribe and Kalash.
Mandatory visa The regions we will visit are safe, although in some places the accompaniment of armed police is required. The application of Sharia (Islamic Law) throughout the country applies the prohibition of public sale of alcohol. In the case of women it is advisable to cover head (handkerchief), legs and arms. For men, long pants are recommended. The temperature, at the beginning of September, will be pleasant, although in the mountains, some warm clothing is recommended, since the heights range from 2,000 to 2,500 meters.
-International flight with air fares
-Spanish photographer guide
-English-speaking local guides (translators in tribal areas)
-Accommodation in hotels and lodges (in remote areas)
-Camp in Balochistan
-Full pension (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
-Visits and excursions
-Travel insurance medical insurance
- Heated minibus and 4x4 vehicles for Kalash Valleys
Services not included:
Individual supplement: € 320
-The order of visits and excursions can be modified according to local conditions (road conditions, market days ...).
-If some visits / or excursions cannot be made due to external causes, they will be replaced whenever possible.
-There are long distances between cities and towns, and often the roads or roads are in poor condition.
-It is recommended to carry a single ‘soft’ non-rigid large suitcase for the trip, and a backpack.
-Food: All food is included where indicated, but the traveler has the option of bringing nuts, some packaged sausage, some can, and energy bars.
-Expenditure on the trip: the traveler must change to local currency in Lahore about 250-300 € approx. for drinks, meals not included, tips for purchases (crafts)
-Electricity or how to charge cameras: in hotels there are sockets and in some isolated places there is a generator and batteries can be charged.
-Service codes: breakfast + accommodation (AD), half board (MP), full board (PC).
Day 1. ARRIVAL IN LAHORE
Arrival at Lahore airport where the guide will be waiting. Transfer to the hotel. Explanation about the travel plan (route, distances, activities) and talk introduction about Lahore, its cultural legacy and monumentality. The most beautiful city in Pakistan, cultural and artistic center and former capital of Punjab before the partition between India and Pakistan in 1947, when India reached Peshawar. We will visit Lahore Fort (World Heritage Site), Badshahi Mosque (1674) and we will get lost in the walled city.
Accommodation: Faletti’s Hotel (Full Board).
Day 2: LAHORE
Visit to the Lahore Museum and the Shalimar Bagh Mughal Gardens (World Heritage Site). Transfer to Wagah Border, border with India, to participate in the colorful ceremony “Lowering of the Flags”, daily closing of borders between the two countries at 4:00 p.m. (35km / 1h). Return to Lahore, visit the illuminated Badshahi Mosque and the Anarkali Bazaar.
Accommodation: Faletti’s Hotel (Full Board).
Day 3: LAHORE - ISLAMABAD - TAXILA
Breakfast. Transfer by road to Taxila. Stop en route to visit the Rohtas Fort (World Heritage Site). Extraordinary example of military architecture, built by Pashtun King Sher Shah Suri to protect the communication route between Calcutta and Peshawar from Mughal attacks. Continuation to Islamabad, the current capital of Pakistan, built in 1960 with funds from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, to replace Karachi. Modern, planned and impersonal city, political center of the country. Continue to our hotel in Taxila, base to explore Gandhara.
Accommodation: Hotel Royalson (Full Board).
Day 4: ISLAMABAD - SWAT VALLEY
Breakfast. Talk about Gandhara and the Swat Valley (nature, ethnography and history). After the talk, route to Saidu Sharif, capital of the valley and base to explore it. The region is inhabited by the Pashtun ethnic group, a deep-rooted tribal ethnic community that neither the British colonial administration nor the Islamabad Central Government have been able to modify. Now the valley is Islamized and its inhabitants live from agriculture and subsistence farming, with trade at the foot of the road. En route visit to the Greco Buddhist ruins of Gandhara and Tahkt-i-Bahi S I-VI (World Heritage Site). Stops in towns and markets. After crossing the Malakand Pass late arrival to Saidu Sharif and accommodation at the hotel.
Accommodation: Motel Swat (Full Board).
Day 5: SWAT VALLEY - CHITRAL KINGDOM
Breakfast. Long route through landscapes of great beauty. Centennial coniferous forests, populated with adobe perched in the mountains and in the small valleys where the Hindus river flows. Stop at the bustling markets of Upper and Lower Dir and after crossing the recently opened Lowari tunnel, we will arrive at the mountain kingdom of Chitral.
Accommodation: Hotel Terichmir (Full Board).
Day 6: CHITRAL - AYUN
Breakfast. Talk about the Kingdom of Chitral (nature, ethnography, history ...). Bureaucratic morning at the police station in Chitral. The local authorities will issue us a permit to explore the Kingdom and the remote Kalash Valleys (borders with Afghanistan). In most cases they usually propose the accompaniment of one or two police officers. After paperwork, visit the royal mosque, the palace and the central market of Chitral. Route to Ayun for lunch with the royal family of Chitral in their summer palace. Pakistani monarchies lost their former power (maintained during the British colonial regime) from 1965 under the government of Butho, father of Benazir Butho, who also ruled the country in the 1990s. Despite the decline of feudal power, the The current monarch of Chitral continues to influence society and has created a lobby of pressure with local leaders, environmentalists and tour operators to open the old Kingdom of Chitral and the Kalash Valleys to the World. The idea is to value the ecosystem, the cultural heritage, and the great ethnic diversity of this remote region of Pakistan, forgotten by Islamabad. Afternoon visit of the royal gardens and the town of Ayun.
Accommodation: Royal Fort Ayun Hotel (Full Board).
Day 7: AYUN - KALASH VALLEYS
Breakfast. Talk about the Kalash culture, the last village of Himalaic religion in the Hindukush. Winding track route to the Kalash Valleys, a magical place that has preserved its identity despite the pressures of the outside world (Islamization, forced schooling, Afghan conflict, immigration of people from the Chitral Valley, and the tourism that comes with more strength to these, until recently, forgotten mountain valleys). For two days we will explore the three valleys Rumbur, Bumburet and Birir, to learn about the reality of this unique and fascinating town. Surprising the physical appearance of men and women (light skin, green eyes, blue, many blond and blond ...). There is a theory that they are descendants of soldiers of Central-European origin who were part of the troops of Alexander the Great who passed through this region on their way to India. Physical aspect aside, the kalash are very hospitable and like to explain things about their culture. They have different taboos, very particular traditions and above all, a unique dress (women only) that is worth discovering.
Accommodation: Kalash Guest House (Full Board).
Day 8: VALLES KALASH - RABAAT
Breakfast. Farewell to our hosts kalash and goodbye to this wild land. Long route enjoying the landscape through gorges next to the Panjkora River, to the fertile valleys of the Hindus. Talk summary of the trip and the highlights so far.
Accommodation: Shangrila Resort (Full Board).
Day 9: RABAAT - PESHAWAR
Objective: Peshawar. Mythical millenary border city, located on the Karakorum road, a strategic point on the Silk Road, east of the Khyber Pass where the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, the Mughals, Marco Polo and even Churchil! Cultural and hotbed crossroads of intrigues and collusions, where history is breathed everywhere. Arrival and accommodation at the hotel. Talk about Peshawar (urban map to understand historical periods and socio-economic reality). Exploration on foot of the old quarter; mosques, monuments of different periods, the popular atmosphere of the markets, of the shopping streets ... The city has hosted thousands of Afghan refugees, it is noted for the large number of women covered with burqa; impact
Accommodation: Hotel Emaraat or Shelton Rezidor (Full Board).
Day 10: PESHAWAR
Breakfast. Visit the Peshawar Museum, the Khyber and Khawani Bazaars with its old storytelling street, the Mahabat Khan Mosque, the Shinwar shopping plaza, the University, the Islamia College, the Peshawar Club, Khyber House, the Bala Hisar Fortress, Sethi St. and the Caravanserai Gor Khatri. With the local guide we can penetrate the bowels of the most authentic Peshawar and understand the essence of the most magical city in Pakistan. Accommodation: Hotel Emaraat or Shelton Rezidor (Full Board).
Day 11: PESHAWAR - EUROPE
Breakfast. Airport transfer. Flight departure to Spain.
END OF OUR SERVICES
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. Dengue, malaria 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 Hindus, Christians 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.