Every autumn, Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region is carpeted in a myriad of colours, as trees are changing hues from light and deep green into golden yellow and flaming red. This mountainous region has towering ranges with some peaks measuring over 7000m, numerous valleys offering picturesque view of terraced farmland, quaint villages, bluish rivers and lakes, as well as massive glaciers.
This trip shall journey through the Karakorum Highway, known as the 8th wonder of the world. Asides from stunning autumn scenery, other highlights include visiting highland cold desert, and the world’s highest land border crossing.
Afternoon flight to Islamabad, arrival in late afternoon. Transfer to hotel.
Early morning domestic flight to Skardu, upon arrival transfer to Katpana cold desert and Katpana Lake for sightseeing. Later, check-in to a hotel for some rest. Late afternoon, hike up (1h) to Skardu Fort for sunset viewing.
After breakfast, excursion to Sarfaranga cold desert, located on the bank of Indus River, view of sand dunes surrounded by towering mountains. Later, visit Shiger Fort and the 400-year-old Shiger Mosque.
A day of long drive to Karimabad located in Hunza Valley, photo stops along the way. Upon arrival, free and easy to check out the town’s shopping street lined with cafes, local snacks, and souvenir shops.
Visit Altit Fort (11th century) and Baltit Fort (14th century) perched on hilltops, once home to Hunza rulers. After lunch explore the elaborate network of water channels based on gravity system to draw melted glacier snow for farming. During sunset, visit “Eagle Nest” to admire sunset from a high point.
After check out from hotel, visit Attabad Lake, which was formed after an earthquake in 2010 and now a popular scenic tourist spot; enjoy boating on the lake. Upon arrival in Gulmit, explore the serene village, discover local life.
Today take a scenic drive up north along Karakoram Highway till Khunjerab Pass that borders Pakistan and China (Xinjiang). Set at an altitude of 4733m, Khunjerab pass has always been an important route linking Central Asia, China, and India since the Silk Road days. Admire impressive Karakoram mountains view, if lucky, one might spot wild animals like Marcopolo sheep, snow leopard, or Himalayan Ibexes. Evening return to Gulmit for stay.
Day trip to Passu, first drive up to Upper Borith to the view point of Passu white glacier. Next stopover is Hussaini Village and the Hussaini suspension bridge that straddles two villages on the banks of Hunza River, take a suspenseful walk on the bridge swaying between high mountains. Later arrive in Passu village for lunch, afterwards explore the village, observe local life up-close and mingle with villagers. Evening back in Gulmit.
A day of long drive. Enroute, passing viewpoint of Nanga Parbat, known as the world’s ninth-highest mountain, its summit at 8,126 m above sea level. Later, another stop at the junction point of the world’s three highest mountain ranges – Karakorom, Himalaya, Hindukush – where they meet at one point. Overnight in Chilas, a stopover point with limited amenities.
A very long drive back to the capital city with lots of checkpoints along the way. Upon arrival in Islamabad at night, check in to a hotel for rest.
Morning visit Taxila Museum to gain insights on the history of Buddhism heritage in Pakistan. The museum holds comprehensive collection of stone and stucco sculptures from the Buddhist Art of the Gandhara Civilization. Later, visit Saidpur village before going back to city center for some last minute souvenir shopping. Late night hotel check-out and transfer to airport.
Board a wee hour flight bound for Kuala Lumpur, arrival same day before noon. End of tour.
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Reluctant to be bonded by the routine of nine to five workplace, Chew quit his proffesional career to lead a different life, turning to tour planning and guiding, and in between making his own personal trips, so as to improve his understanding of the world and meaning of life. He has left his footprints in dozens of countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. On the road, he likes listening to stories and trying out new experiences. He’s also keen on outdoor activities, especially trekking and football. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he took the opportunity for self-improvement by taking up a master degree course on Recreational Sports Management.
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