For those only taking the North tour, you will need to arrive in Islamabad before 10:00. For those taking our South Punjab tour, you will arrive here the previous evening. Today we will visit Saidpur Old Village, Shah Faisal Mosque, Shakarparian hills and Pakistan monument. Overnight in Islamabad.
This morning, we will start our journey towards the mountain kingdom of North Pakistan on the famous Karakorum Highway. En route we will visit the Taxila Museum. For over 1000 years, Taxila remained famous as a centre of learning in respect of Gandhara Art of Sculpture, education and Buddhism. There are over 50 archaeological sites scattered in a radius of 30 km around Taxila. After our visit we will continue our drive of around 7 hours to Besham.
Today we have a long drive of up to 12 hours, but the scenery en route more than makes up for it. Before reaching Gilgit, we stop to see pre-historic rock carving inscriptions at Shatial, rocks with ancient graffiti at Chilas and the view point of Nanga Parbat (9th highest peak of the world). This location offers a breathtaking panorama, the unique point where three mountain ranges, Karakorum, Himalayas and Hindukush meet. Overnight in nearby Gilgit.
For half a day, we will explore the Gilgit town, visiting the mountain bazaar, suspension bridges, Kargha Buddha and a walk along the Gilgit River. Late afternoon, we will drive along the beautiful Hunza River. We will make stops along the way at the Monument of Karakorum Highway; the collision point of Indian & Eurasian Plates, viewpoint of the historical Silk route and view point of Rakaposhi peak (7788m). As we approach Karimabad the peak Rakaposhi (7788m) dominates the sky line to the east. Above Hunza stands the prominent rock spire 'Ladyfinger peak' (6000m) and the impressive Ultar peaks. Overnight in Karimibad.
Very few places in the world compare with this small mountainous region, which was a semi-autonomous state until very recently but is now fully unified with Pakistan. Hunza lies on the ancient trade route to Kashgar in the Chinese province of Sinkiang. Today the Karakorum Highway runs along this route with Karimabad being the main town of Hunza. Hunza is probably most famous for the longevity of its people, due to their simplicity and natural diet, along with the unpolluted mountain air. Tibetan traders referred to the beauty of this humble paradise as 'Shangri-La'. We take a full day tour of the region today including Hopar glacier and Baltit fort. In he evening we drive to Passau village where we will stay overnight.
We have a full day excursion of Khunjerab Pass (4744m), the border between Pakistan & China and one of the highest borders in the world. This route has amazing views of the high mountains of the Karakoram and the distant Pamir Mountain Ranges. At Khunjerab we can see Marco Polo sheep, Ibex and marmots all along the roads. We will spend an hour at Khunjerab border before driving back to Gilgit. En route there we will stop at the viewpoint of Batura glacier (the longest glacier out of polar region), Passu Cathederal Peaks, Passu glacier and a walk down to Passu suspension bridge (200m long). Overnight in Gilgit.
Today we start our journey back, taking the 12 hour scenic route to Besham.
Drive along the Karakorum highway for around 5 hours as we head back to Islamabad. En route we will witness Pakistan's famous truck painting art. Finally time for shopping in the local markets in Islamabad before a farewel dinner.
Transfer to Islamabad airport for your flight back home.