Central Asia holiday, Kyrgyzstan, China & Pakistan
Description of Central Asia holiday, Kyrgyzstan, China & Pakistan
A unique and truly epic journey through remarkable, dramatic scenery, this 21 day Central Asia holiday travels through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China & Pakistan. Our route follows sections of two spectacular roads – the Pamir and Karakoram Highways – and we will meet the various ethnic peoples who make this remote and lofty part of the world their home. The mountain scenery is big and beautiful as we journey through some of the world’s most celebrated ranges: the Pamirs, the Karakorums and the Hindu Kush. We will also travel in the footsteps of the traders that moved along the legendary Silk Road, exploring vibrant Kashgar, with its busy Sunday market.
Beginning in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, we will make our way through Kyrgyzstan and western China, driving across mountain passes that skim the sky at 4,800m before descending to the beautiful Hunza Valley in Pakistan. Sometimes nicknamed Shangri La, it is towered over by peaks of 7,000m. Along the way on this unforgettable journey, we will eat lunch with nomads at their yurt camp, wallow in hot springs, hike through verdant valleys, dip into museums and be amongst the few people to discover the incredibly beauty of northern Pakistan. This is a once in a lifetime experience.
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PlanetWe have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the environments we pass through on this tour are not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip and as tour operators, it is something we are careful to promote. Your local guide and international tour leader will both have been trained to uphold this policy and all clients will be fully briefed on how to behave appropriately and responsibly in wilderness areas. This is also why we like to keep the group size to a maximum of 12 people so we can minimise the human impact on the fragile sites we visit – particularly important as this trip visits some beautifully remote places like the Tien Shan mountain range.
As part of our environmental responsibilities we aim to find sustainable forms of accommodation on our trip. Throughout Kyrgyzstan you will have plenty of opportunities to stay in yurts and fixed camps - for example camping by the shores of a glacial lake at Son Kul on day 18. Not only is this an eco-friendly option but it will give you a huge insight into the traditional lifestyles of these fascinating people and allow you to experience close up the remarkable scenery surrounding you.
We also consider it equally important to support the preservation of local architecture and historical sites as well as the natural environment. Our visit to Tash Rabat on days 17 and 18 – a traditional stop on the old Silk Road – is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of this ancient trading route and to support the work of the local community who take care of this 11th century caravanserai for future generations.
PeopleIn Kyrgyzstan, China and Pakistan we use local ground handlers - this means that all the operational costs go directly into the local economy and helps to improve employment opportunities in remote regions. By incorporating homestays, locally owned hotels and yurts, family run restaurants and the services of guides and drivers into our itineraries, we ensure that money you spend on your trip goes directly into the local economy and local communities benefit from tourism.
Not only does this trip of a life time pass through some epic scenery and wonderful landscapes but it also takes you to remote mountain villages and nomadic camps where you will be charmed by the hospitality and traditional lifestyles of these smaller communities. For example on day 3 of the tour en route to Lenin Peak Base Camp we will stop over at a small village to have lunch with the people of Pamir Alay and learn more about their unique set of traditions. From spending a night in a yurt by Tash Rabat in the company of the caravanserai's caretaker Jergal and his delightful family to watching the nomads go about their traditional life in the camps by the spectacular glacial lake of Son Kul - there really is plenty of opportunity to interact with locals and get a feel for the spirit and culture of the wonderful people who inhabit these mountainous regions.
In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, in January 2009 we set up a charitable foundation through which we can directly channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities.