For centuries, life in Hunza Valley tucked in the Himalayas was isolated, calm, and simple; its beauty and serenity was unknown to the outside world until the opening of Karakorom Highway. Hunza Valley is ringed by towering ranges, where snow peaks puncturing the skyline, highland lakes dotted the landscape, tranquil hill villages overlooking terrace fields, glacier-fed rivers flowing by, and its residents go about in an unhurried pace. In spring, the valley is carpeted by blossoming cherry and apricot flowers, an amazing visual feast. The remote valley seems other-worldly, a trip there would rid your stereotypical impression of Pakistan.
Board an afternoon flight from Kuala Lumpur to Pakistan capital Islamabad via Bangkok. Arrival in late night, transfer to hotel, retire early to bed in preparation for the exciting journey ahead.
Early morning transfer to airport, take a domestic flight to Gilgit. After landing, transfer to Karimabad, en-route visit Naltar lake, admire the beautiful lake view while enjoying a picnic lunch. Later stop at viewpoint of Rakaposhi Mountain (7788 m), after photo shoot, continue the journey to Karimabad located in Hunza Valley. Check in to hotel, rest and relax.
In spring, Karimabad is surrounded by blooming cherry and apricot trees, scenic views abound. After breakfast, visit Altit Fort (11th century) and Baltit Fort (14th century), once home to Hunza rulers. Both fortresses sit on nearby hilltops, a strategic position for defense and control over the trans-Karakoram trade route between South and Central Asia. From the fort, vista view of the sea of flowers beneath. After lunch, explore the local bazaar and walk along the elaborate network of water channels based on gravity system to draw melted glacier snow for farming. Later, visit “Eagle Nest” to admire sunset.
After breakfast, transfer to Hopper Valley and trek for an hour to Hopper Glacier, which is claimed to be the world’s fastest moving glacier, and that it moves a few cm per day. After lunch, visit Attabad Lake, which was formed after an earthquake in 2010 and now a popular scenic tourist spot; enjoy boating on the lake. Evening arrive in Gulmit (2500m), located at Upper Hunza.
Gulmit is a small town in Upper Hunza surrounded by towering peaks, including Shisper Peak (7611m), Gulmit Tower (5810m), and Passu Catheral (6106m) that looks like a crown. Visit 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, walk on the impressive Passu Glacier before descending back to Passu village for lunch. After lunch, walkabouts in the village, observe local life up-close and mingle with villagers. Evening return to Gulmit.
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 view of Pamir ranges along the way, if lucky, one might spot wild animals like Marcopolo sheep, snow leopard, or Himalayan Ibexes. Evening return to Gulmit for stay.
After breakfast, journey to Gupis Valley located by the west bank of Gilgit River. The scenic valley offers view of farmland sandwiched between high mountains, traditional villages scattered here and there, with crystal clear river oozing by. Lots of photo opportunities along the way. Upon arrival at the accommodation nestled in the valley, take a short trek to Khalti Lake, famed for its trout fish, with a glacier nearby. The turquoise blue lake is a popular fishing and leisure spot for locals.
Today explore the picturesque Phander Valley, crops of various hues covered the flat land by riverbanks, surrounded by tall ranges and snow-capped peaks, and turquoise blue river snaking through the valley. Embrace the nature and fresh air, enjoy hospitality of the locals, and feel as if being in the other-worldly Shangri-la.
After breakfast, transfer to Gilgit, along the way visit Karga Nulla Buddha statue with a history dated back to the 7th century, evidence of Buddhism foot print in this region in the past. Upon arrival in Gilgit, visit the busy and colourful local bazaar. The hill town has been a trading hub for ceramics, silk, cashmere, precious stones, etc, since Silk Road era; today it remains an important hub for goods in transit from China to South Asia via the Karakorum Highway.
A day of long drive to Besham, the largest town and commercial centre of the Shangla District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Along the way break for refreshment and photo stops. Upon arrival, check into hotel, rest and relax.
Visit Taxila Museum that showcases a collection of Gandharan (Buddhism) art dating from 1st to 7th centuries excavated from ruins of ancient Taxila (dating back to 2500 years), once visited and documented by Chinese monk Xuan Zhuang. Upon arrival in Islamabad, visit Shah Faisal Mosque, the biggest in Pakistan. The mosque blends contemporary design with traditional Middle East and Turkish styles. After dinner, transfer to airport, take a late-night flight bound for Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok.
Early morning landing in Bangkok for transit, take a connecting flight back to Kuala Lumpur. Arrive at destination in the afternoon. End of tour.
A *security deposit of RM2,400 is payable to secure booking. Balance fee RM 4,000 to be collected upon booking deadline or when the tour is fully booked.
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He is a semiconductor engineer by profession, but travel is his passion and a way of life. He likes backpacking, get upclose and engage with the locals during travel, as he appreciates true cultural exchange experiences. The destinations he has covered including western Europe, South East Asian countries, and the ancient Silk Road countries. He has previously stayed in France and Central Asia, and learnt basic French and Russian. In recent years, he is attracted to the high altitude, and has been exploring various hiking routes in Nepal.
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