North Pakistan Explorer
This two-week tour to Pakistan’s northern regions takes travellers to a near mythical land, where traditions have changed little in centuries and the scenery is among the best on the planet.
Starting in the modern capital Islamabad, we make our way north through the Swat Valley towards Chitral, pushed up against the frontiers of Afghanistan and one of the most remote areas of the Indian subcontinent and playground of The Great Game. The surrounding area is home to the Kalash people, often described as ‘pagans’ with their own very unique set of traditions and cultural beliefs – this tour is timed to coincide with local festivals, a time of colourful celebrations and a great opportunity to see the ancient customs still adhered to here.
We cross over the Shandur Pass and continue to Hunza, a truly beautiful region with welcoming people and sometimes touted as one of the places that inspired the legend of Shangri La. We explore old forts, see mighty glaciers and learn about the history of wild and untamed land that is at odds with the common perceptions of Pakistan. Heading over the Karakorum Highway, we reach Baltistan in the northeast, India and China and more like Tibet than anything else.
From Skardu we then head south and cross the foreboding Deosai Plateau, home to bears, wolves and other wildlife, and stop to meet local people along the way, before making our way back to Islamabad.
Northern Pakistan is one of Asia’s highlights, with fascinating ethnic groups and landscapes to leave you speechless, and to travel here is one of the great adventures of the continent.