Description of Pakistan holidays
There is much to love in Pakistan, far removed from the negative headlines linked to a few troubled spots. Savour some of the world's most spectacular mountain scenery, thriving cities, timeless villages and warm hospitality in the hands of an operator with over a decade of expert experience.
So you'll be in safe hands exploring the mountains around the charming northwest town of Chitral on a trip blending ancient cultures with gargantuan vistas, travelling from the Valleys of the Kalash - a Pagan mountain community – to the peak vistas of the Shandur Pass, Hunza and Skardu. The vibrant city of Islamabad bookends your trip, with visits to the Faisal Mosque and National Heritage Museum plus a memorable dinner in the Margalla Hills.
A drive through the North West Frontier Province brings you to the laidback mountain town of Chitral with its famous fort, colourful bazaar and a chance perhaps to catch a local game of polo! Heading into the Kalash Valley, visit the gardens at Ayun en route to a local homestay in the village of Balanguru.
You're set up now for days serving up some of the world's most dramatic drives, taking in places like the Wakhan Corridor, the Shandur Pass (where you'll enjoy a picnic lunch at 3800m), plus a trip to Mt Rakaposhi.
Hunza provides another memorable base, surrounded by 7000m peaks. Visit the recently restored Baltit Fort and stroll along the town's water channels, as well as meeting the friendly locals in nearby Karimabad.
There are more four-wheeled adventures along the Karakoram Highway (KKH) – the road to China – where amid stunning mountain vistas you'll walk on the Hope Glacier and see the Attabad Lake, as well as enjoying lunch accompanied by jaw-dropping vistas at Rakaposhi View.
Price includes all activities/equipment, tour leaders, local guides and drivers, meals, mineral water, all transport (excluding international flights) , all accommodation and all entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary.
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PlanetBy keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites and ecosystems we visit.
We attempt to reduce plastic bottle use wherever possible by promoting use of reusable and filtered water bottles. Our partnership with Water-To-Go provides a discount on filtered water bottles to our clients. We do not provide water from plastic bottles to our clients in country but always ensure there is regular access to drinking water on our tours.
We are promoting the natural and ancient heritage of Pakistan through visiting the site of Baltit Fort. UNESCO Sites are chosen by the UNESCO committee and must "bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to civilisation", "an important interchange of human values" or be outstanding examples of major stages of Earth's history or ecological and biological processes in evolution. Visiting such sites helps sustain the ancient traditions and history of Pakistan.
Using no carbon transport such as cycling or walking not only gives you a slower paced experience, but also cuts environmental damage and tourist carbon footprint. We are committed to low-level tourism impact and we keep group sizes to a maximum of 12 to avoid huge tour bus loads of tourists, which increases environmental damage but also is less likely to be welcomed by locals. Slower travel also allows for more chances to interact with people from another culture.
PeopleOn this tour you will stay with the Kalash people in the village of Balanguru. You will stay in basic accommodation and get to know the community during your stay. The Kalash see little visitors and they are happy to accommodate guests. We have a special relationship with the Kalash and have contributed to disaster relief and funding for a new school. You can visit the school on the trip to see the value the school has to the community.
Travelling with us to Pakistan, you will be contributing our foundation, which has supported the Kalash during environmental crisis. In 2013 and 2015 the Kalash Valleys in northern Pakistan saw huge floods that washed away homes, village buildings and the local primary school. In the village of Balanguru – one of three villages in the Kalash Valleys – five luckless houses, close to the river’s edge were destroyed along with the bridge that connected the village to the road. Thousands of tons on mud spewed into other buildings – including the temple of the family, Justak Khan.
Concerned that the situation was getting worse with the annual floodwater eating away at the riverbank, Saifullah Jan, the chief spokesperson for the Kalash and friend of our tour company owner for over 20 years, approached us to see if we could help. He felt if something wasn’t done soon the village of Balanguru could be swept away. We started a Kalash Wall Fund and dedicated our annual ‘Evening of Adventure’ at the Royal Geographical Society in March 2017 to the cause. With guest speakers, including the legendary writer, actor and traveller Michael Palin, who visited the Kalash during his Himalayan series, we raised over £7000 on the night. With further generous donations after the event we met out £9000 target and the construction work on a new flood defence wall could begin.
With the funds raised and the wall built all in a matter of seven months, it was a fantastic result! The Kalash are a vulnerable people that live in a vulnerable world. Over the years they have done so much for us, welcoming our tour company and our travellers into their community and homes. It seems only right we could continue to do something positive for them and help protect a community and its environment brick by brick.
On each Group tour we use local ground handlers. This means that all operational costs go directly into the local economy and help improve employment opportunities in remote regions. Such support can also be seen in our incorporation of homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of local guides and drivers into our itineraries, which ensures that the money you spend with us goes directly into the local economy and local community.
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