Karakoram Highway holiday
Description of Karakoram Highway holiday
Enjoy a beautifully woven trip drawing together China, Pakistan and India via two famed routes through some of the world's most awesome landscapes: the Old Silk Road and the Karakoram Highway (KKH) – the world's highest paved highway.
Your journey begins at China's western edge in Kashgar, visiting the wonderful Yakshmbe Bazaar – one of Central Asia's biggest markets – plus the Silk Road Museum, before heading out on the legendary ancient route itself to Tashkurgan and its atmospheric old fortress.
Setting out on the KKH, you sweep into Pakistan through stunning mountain scenery to Gulmit, before transferring to jeeps to reach the spectacular Eagles Nest Hotel at 3000m – but surrounded by 7000m peaks. After exploring the dramatic landscape around Hunza, continue along the KKH to the the town of Gilgit, and then on foot to an enchanting Himalayan location beneath Nanga Parbat known appropriately as the Fairy Meadows.
Back on the tarmac, you'll leave the KKH to take an even more epic route over the Babusa Pass to Niran for a trek in search of the local Kutchi nomads. Your next stop, Taxila, provides memorable contrast - a Buddhist University town dating back over 2000 years to the Gandharan empire.
Amid the modern bustle of the Pakistan capital Islamabad, there are also ancient memories to be explored in places like the Faisal Mosque and Lok Virsa Museum, before moving on to the country's "cultural capital" of Lahore in Punjab for a visit to the famous Ajeeb Ghar ('Wonder House'), the beautiful Shalamar Gardens as well as the atmospheric old town.
Heading into India, Amritsar offers Sikhism's holiest shrine - the wonderful and evocative Golden Temple – before flying to Srinagar to transfer to a houseboat on the idyllic Dal Lake. Enjoy floating vegetable markets, the ravishing Moghul Gardens and the Hari Parbat Fort, all set against the stunning backdrop of Kashmir.
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 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.
On Day 10 we will stay in a guesthouse log cabin accommodation in Fairy Meadows for a unique glimpse into the traditions and customs of local life. The homestay/guesthouse market helps them to provide good, clean and interesting accommodation which in turn allows them to educate their children, improve their standard of living and look after their ill. The wonderful thing about this kind of interactive tourism is that everyone gains – the families financially and us with the wonderful welcome and experience they give us. Wherever possible we stay in locally owned accommodation, eat in locally owned establishments and purchase supplies from the local nomads.
In Pakistan we pride ourselves on working directly with as many local hotels, drivers, guides and cooks as possible, thereby putting money directly into the local community; to put this into perspective, a jeep driver, like Muktar Alam, that earns 30,000 rupees for one trip can with these wages educate two sons for a year and feed his family for 4 months. We also employ jeep drivers on a revolving basis and different ones in each area to ensure that the money we bring in is distributed evenly. With the small local guesthouses and home stays we use – like Saifullah’s in the Kalash Valleys – the money goes and stays in these pagan valleys rather than being siphoned out to rich, down-country hoteliers.