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EXPLORE – Karakuram Highway – Hunza Panorama – Baltistan (Little Tibet)

  • Tour reference:                      EKK/CT – 05
  • Duration:                                 (15 days)
  • Places to visit:                         Karakuram Highway – Hunza – Baltistan(little tibet)
  • Season:                                 March to October
  • Spring/Blossom season: 20 March to 20 April
  • Autumn Season:                September to November


The combination tour of Little Tibet (Baltistan Skardu) and Hunza will meet the expectations of visitors who want to know about the landscape of the area, and forget about the stressful life in bigger and busier cities. You will find yourselves very close to the nature here in these mountainous regions. 

The northern areas which is now Gilgit Baltistan – wedged between Afghanistan, China and India – is an area rich with history, natural beauty and cultural diversity, and yet has its own identity, defined by religion, commerce, and a rugged environment. Alexander the Great passed through this region, and so did Buddhism on its way to China and Tibet. There is no where else in the world where one can literally drive right up beside the world’s highest peaks and longest glaciers.

Hunza was a princely state in the northernmost part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan until 1974. The state was also known as Kanjut. The state bordered the Gilgit Agency to the south, the former princely state of Nagar to the east, China, to the north and Afghanistan to the northwest. The state capital was Baltit (also known as Karimabad). The area of Hunza now forms the Aliabad tehsil of Hunza-Nagar District.

Baltistan is a multicultural and multi lingual region. People there have a mix of lifestyles and attitudes, these ranges from the typical people preserving the traditions and culture to the modern people who are influenced by other cultures, media and education. Therefore, Baltistan is a pluralistic society having people with various backgrounds and living together with peace and tranquility.

Detailed Itinerary:

Day     01        Arrive Islamabad

 On arrival at Benazir International airport in Islamabad, a representative of Karakorum Explorers will meet you with the transport and transfer to Hotel. Welcome reception on arrival at federal capital of Pakistan and transfer to hotel. Afternoon tour of twin cities of Islamabad & Pindi. Enter Faisal Mosque – the landmark of Islamabad. Visit Daman-e-Koh on top of hill for panoramic view of Islamabad, drive on Constitution Avenue for looking at President House, Parliament, Supreme Court & other state buildings. Also visit Pindi’s colorful Raja Bazaar for bargain shopping. Overnight at hotel. Overnight Hotel. 540 metres

Day     02        Islamabad – Besham

Drive towards the Karakorum Highway passing through the lush green valleys of Mansehra District, enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the valley to Besham. Enroute visit Taxila, situated 40 km from Islamabad, was once the seat of Oriental culture. It was first mentioned as a satrapy of the Archemenian empire in 6th century B.C. It was invaded by Alexander the Great and passed along to other rulers until finally reaching the hands of Ashoka the Great, who moulded the city into a center of learning. The creative Gandhara period followed shortly thereafter and Taxila remained the center of learning, philosophy and art. It came to a disastrous and pathetic end when sacked by the White Huns. Today, Taxila is an archaeologist’s paradise: there is a well- maintained museum here and eight sites scattered around a very short radius. Amongst the best preserved are Sirkap, Jaulian (the University) and Dharmarajika Stupa.

Karakorum High way is the joint effort of Pakistan and China. Its completion took 20 years. 300 Chinese and 600 Pakistanis sacrificed their lives for the completion of this road enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the valley. Karakorum High way is the joint effort of Pakistan and China. Its completion took 20 years. 300 Chinese and 600 Pakistanis sacrificed their lives for the completion of this road. At Thakot, we cross Chinese made bridge to enter the gorge of Indus river.

Besham is a transit village now beginning to assume the features of a modern town and has the trappings of modern civilization – petrol stations, cafes, restaurants, hotels , barber shops and bazaars. It is the junction for Swat Valley via the scenic Shangla Pass into Khawzakhela; Kaghan Valley via Manshera and Gilgit Overnight at Besham Hotel. (10 hours, 270 km) 980 metres

Day     03        Besham – Gilgit

Drive to Gilgit along the KKH and by the Indus river. For centuries this branch of Silk Route was used by the traders and Buddhist missionaries. There are many rock carving sites of that time: Shatial rock carving is one of them. Lunch in Chilas, We stop at Thalichi for the best view point of Nanga Parbat (8,125m) the 9th highest peak of the world and the second highest after K 2 in Pakistan, also known as the killer mountain. Rakaposhi (7,788m) and the Haramosh range can also be viewed from here. As we drive north we arrive at the meeting point of the mountain rages. The three highest mountain ranges of the world Karakorum , Himalayas and Hindukush meet where Indus river is joined by Gilgit river. We continue along Gilgit river. Overnight at Gilgit  Hotel. (10 hours, 330 km) 1500 metres

Day     04        Gilgit – Karimabad

After breakfast stroll down the colorful Bazaars of Gilgit and drive to Karimabad.

Karimabad is the delightful old capital of the Hunza Kingdom. From Karimabad, with its souvenir shop, post office and tea shop, you can obtain a magnificent view of the valley laid out below you and of the peaks behind. The Aliabad / Karimabad area is sprinkled with wild flowers and blossoming fruit orchards. We will spend half our day in these two towns enjoying the greenery and delighting in the sound of babbling brooks. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel.  Overnight at Hotel. (5/6 hours) 2250 metres

Day     05        Visit Baltit Fort and day trip to Duiker (Eagle’s Nest)

After breakfast proceed for visit to historical 800 years Baltit Fort. The people of Hunza are famous for their long lives. After fort we walk back to our hotel through one street Karimabad bazaar where we have a chance to see the handicrafts and local embroidery and to buy souvenirs. After lunch we proceed to Duikar (eagle’s Nest), a summer village was established to supplement the food supply of Altit village, and is habited only from April to October. From the crest of the hill which dominates the village, we have panoramic views of lower Hunza Valley, Nagar Valley, Rakaposhi, Hoper Glacier, Ultar II and Bubliting, amongst others. We return to Karimabad and on the way we also stop at Altit Fort 900 years old Fort before getting back to our hotel. Overnight at Hotel 2250 metres

Day     06        Karimabad – Passu (Upper Hunza Valley)

Morning we drive to Atabad. From Atabad we travel in a boat over newly formed Hunza river to the village of Gulmit, effective capital of Gojal or Upper Hunza. The people here, famed for their hospitality, are Persian speaking Wakhi who claim descent from Tajiki nomads in Afghanistan. Like their neighbours in Lower Hunza they are followers of the Aga Khan, leader of the Ismaili branch of Islam. Situated on the edge of the old Polo ground, Gulmit is home to a small but interesting museum. There are also opportunities for short walks in the area – in particular on a hill behind the town the ruins of Andra Fort afford good views both up and down the valley, visit local museum and old Hunza House. Continue to Passu.  Over night at Passu.2408 metres

Day     07        Day walk to Ghulking glacier & Borit Lake

There are opportunities for short walks in the area – in particular on a hill behind the town the ruins of Andra Fort afford good views both up and down the valley. Walk through the village fields to visit the Polo ground and old houses Take a trek to Gulkin glaciers and Borit Lake. After lunch at Borit lake we walk down to Karakrum highway for 20 minutes and visit to the 800 feet long suspension bridges of Hussani, still used by the local people. 6/7 hours.

Day     08        Day walk along Passu glacier

Morning day walk along while glacier of passu  to Passu ghar (3210m) for superb views of Passu peaks and Karon Koh. We,ll have our picnic lunch for today. After lunch at Passu Ghar we walk down to Passu. In the afternoon explore Passu and visit Batura glacier. Overnight Hotel.

Day     09        Karimabad – Gilgit

Morning free in Karimabad, afternoon drive to Gilgit along the Hunza River. We will have lunch at Rakaposhi view point with a view of Rakaposhi and Ghulmet glaciers. After lunch drive to Gilgit.

On arrival to Gilgit we visit Kargah rock-carved Buddha from 7th century AD. In the ancient times the Kargah valley used to be the traveling route of the Buddhist monks, to go to Taxila. Stroll down the colorful Bazaars of Gilgit. Overnight at Hotel.

Day     10        Drive to Skardu

Today will be a long day after breakfast and continue to Skardu first along Karakuram Highway and then take a road to Skardu by the Indus river, which will take 7/8 hours. Overnight at  2200m

Day     11        Drive to Khaplu

Today we drive to Khaplu another valley of Baltistan and visit another old fort of Khaplu which was now converted into residence. Afternoon visit an old mosque Chaqchan mosque, and longest suspension bridge in Asia. Overnight Hotel. 2600m

Day     12        Drive Skardu

Today we drive back to Skardu, Enroute visit 400 years old Shigar Fort which also turn into residence/hotel another princely state of Shigar. We also visit Satpara lake in the evening before transfer to our hotel in Skardu. Overnight at Hotel Skardu. 2200m

Day     13        Drive Skardu – Chilas

Today we drive back to Chilas. Overnight at Besham Hotel. (12/14 hours, 480 Km)

Day     14        Besham – Taxila – Islamabad

After breakfast long drive back to Islamabad along the Karakuram Highway. Overnight Hotel.

Day     15        Depart Islamabad

After breakfast transfer to the airport for onward flight.