Pakistan: Ethno-Historical Route through the Center-North

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Trip Duration Days - 14 Days

Pakistan: Ethno-Historical Route through the Center-North

Price Starts from € 2950

Route designed to explore Lahore, its Mughal monuments and continue towards the Hunza Valley, in the heart of the Himalayas, along the mythical Karakorum mountain road. There we will meet small kingdoms anchored in time and spectacular landscapes. We will cross mountain tracks to the isolated Nuristan, ‘land of light’, on the Afghan border. It is the last enclave where an animist religion is preserved in this region of Asia. We will live with the kalashas and we will know aspects of their daily life and their ancient customs. We will visit places secluded from the tourist circuits without neglecting iconic places such as the Mughal fort of Lahore or the ruins of the Ghandara Kingdom near Islamabad. We will move with a comfortable vehicle (minibus with a / c) through the low areas and by 4x4 through the mountain slopes.
Date: 2 -15 August 2021

Duration: 14 days - 13 nights

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

Group: 6-9 pax

The price includes:
International flights with air taxes
- All transfers
- Transportation by minibus a / c.
- Spanish guide
- Local guides
- Meal regime according to itinerary. BB = Accommodation with Breakfast, HB = Half Board, FB = Full Board
- Mineral water
- Accommodation according to itinerary
- Cook during the camping days
- 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:
- Drinks at meals
- Visa and management
- Tips
- Cancellation insurance
- Any service not indicated in the itinerary
DAY 1 (Monday, August 2): SPAIN - LAHORE
Arrival at Lahore airport where the guide will be waiting. Transfer to the hotel. Explanation about the travel plan (route, distances, activities) and introductory talk about Lahore, its cultural heritage 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. Introduction to the most beautiful city in Pakistan, cultural, intellectual and artistic center. Walking tour of the walled city center. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB


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 downtown bazaars. Accommodation at: Hotel One. FB

Day 3: LAHORE - ISLAMABAD - TAXILA (300km / 5h)

Breakfast. Transfer by road to Taxila. Stop en route to visit the Fort of Rohtas (World Heritage Site). An extraordinary example of military architecture, built by the Pashtun king Sher Shah Suri to protect the communication route between Calcutta and Peshawar from Mughal attacks. Continuation to Islamabad, 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. Continuation to our hotel in Taxila, base to explore Gandhara. Accommodation: Royalson Hotel. FB


Breakfast. Begin the mythical ascent up the Karakorum Highway that opened up a series of isolated valleys and lost kingdoms in 1984. Arrival in Naraan, a traditional mountain town with a central market along the main street. In Naraan there are several inns and restaurants. Accommodation: Naraan Motel. FB

Day 5: NARAAN - GILGIT (8h)

Breakfast. Route through impressive Himalayan landscapes along the Karakorum Highway (many works that slow down the route). Late afternoon arrival in Gilgit, the capital of Baltistan. The largest city in the mountainous north crossed by the Indos. Gilgit is a meeting point for people from mountain villages who come to do their shopping. Accommodation: Hotel Riviera Hotel or similar. FB


Breakfast. We will penetrate the heart of the Hunza Valley (the Silk Road and one of the most beautiful places on the planet… I say this with knowledge of the facts). Arrival in the capital of the Valley, Karimabad. It is a small town in the mountains, with stone streets, neat, clean, with cafes and restaurants, craft stalls and antiques sales. A quiet place, ideal for a long stop and tour the famous Hunza Valley. Walk through the mountains and valleys full of apple trees, enjoy the blue river and meet the empowered women and men of the town with their self-managed projects. Here the people are educated, both men and women and they are all Ismailis with the Aga Khan as the leader of the religion. It is a unique place in Pakistan. After visiting the ancient villages in the area, we will reach Gulmit. We will greet the Mir, descendant of the Feudal Lord of the area and we will explore the traditional houses of the town. Accommodation: Hotel Tourist Inn. FB

Day 7: GULMIT - PHANDER (6h)

Breakfast. 4x4 route through the Himalayas to Phander. It is a mountain lake. On the way, stop in villages and rural markets. Accommodation: Government mountain hotel. FB


Breakfast. Long route through landscapes of great beauty. Centuries-old coniferous forests, adobe villages perched on the mountains and in the small valleys through which barely explored rivers flow. After crossing the Shandur Pass, where the highest Polo tournament in the world is held (the tribes of this area invented this sport that the British adopted as their own ...), we will arrive at the mountain Kingdom of Chitral. Accommodation: Hotel Terichmir. FB


Breakfast. 4x4 route to the Kingdom of Ayún, linked to Chitral. From there we will reach Rumbur, a small isolated valley where an ancient culture of unknown origin has been preserved, we speak of the Kalash people. Animist women continue to wear traditional clothing and wear intricate beaded and seashell headdresses. It is certainly a surprising image. Islam is advancing in this valley but 50% of its inhabitants continue to practice the ancient pagan rituals related to the seasons and the mountain spirits. We will walk through the various villages that make up this beautiful mountain valley. Accommodation: Kalash Hostel. FB


Breakfast. Talk about the Kalash culture, the last people of the Himalaic religion in the Hindukush. Route along a winding track to neighboring Nuristanis, the ancient red kalasghas converted today to Islam by order of the king of Afghanistan in the 1920s. The physical appearance of men and women is surprising (fair skin, green and blue eyes, many blondes and blondes…). 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 his way to India. Physical appearance aside, the men (women hardly leave their homes when there are foreign visitors) Nuristanis are very hospitable. After the visit, we will return to Rumbur to spend the last night with the kalashas. Accommodation: Kalash Hostel. FB


Breakfast. Farewell to our hosts the Kalash and goodbye to this untamed land. Long route enjoying the scenery through gorges next to the Panjkora river, up to the fertile valleys of the Hindus. Objective: Peshawar. Mythical ancient border city, located on the Karakorum highway, a strategic point on the Silk Road, east of the Khyber Pass through which the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, the Mughals, Marco Polo and even Churchil passed !. Cultural crossroads and hotbed of intrigue and collusion, where history is everywhere. Arrival and accommodation at the hotel. Accommodation: Hotel Empire. FB


Breakfast. Talk about Peshawar (urban map to understand historical periods and socio-economic reality). Exploring the old quarter on foot; mosques, palaces, Sikh and Christian-Hindu neighborhoods, the popular atmosphere of the markets, the shopping streets… The city has welcomed thousands of Afghan refugees, it is noted by the large number of women covered with burqas; impacts. Accommodation: Hotel Empire. FB


Breakfast. Excursion to the mythical Khyber Pass (permission must be requested to visit it). Tribal atmosphere in this area near the Afghan border. After touring the area and some of the local markets, we will continue to the Peshawar Museum. After lunch we will visit the Mahabat Khan Mosque and with the local guide we will be able to penetrate the bowels of the most authentic Peshawar and understand the essence of the most magical city in Pakistan. Accommodation: Hotel Empire. FB


Breakfast. Airport transfer. Flight departure to Spain.


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.