Pakistan with Skardu & Lahore

Sep 17-30
14 Days
2790

If I had to name my favorite country in the world, that would be Pakistan.

Home to staggering and unspoiled landscapes, Pakistan is the only country where you find the three highest mountain ranges in the world, the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush.

In this tour, we will explore the most gorgeous valleys, including the epic region of Hunza, as well as the barely-visited region of Skardu.

Nevertheless, Pakistan is also known for its beautiful, welcoming, and charming people, some of the most hospitable people I have ever met during my travels, so this tour will also have a strong focus on learning about the local community.

The tour will take place the best month for visiting Pakistan, in September, after the high season is over, and when the weather is lovely.

Important: this expedition starts in Islamabad and finishes in Lahore.

BOOK NOW

September 17th to 30th

2790€

14 days

Lead by Joan Torres

travelers who joined us say

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Islamabad

Day 2 – Driving the Karakoram Highway to Chilas

Day 3 – Driving the Karakoram Highway to Passu

Day 4 – Exploring & trekking around Gulmit

Day 5 – Passu bridge trek

Day 6 – Karimabad

Day 7 – Drive to Skardu Valley

Day 8 – Explore Shigar

Day 9 – Deosai plains

Day 10 – Kachura Lakes

Day 11 – Skardu market and Katpana desert

Day 12 – Flight from Skardu to Islamabad

Day 13 – Full day in Lahore

Day 14 – Departure

Day 1 – Arrival in Islamabad

Day 1 is the arrival day in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

We will spend the day picking you up from the airport and checking in at the hotel.

We will visit Faisal Mosque and then, in the evening, we will invite you for a welcome dinner at Monal Restaurant, one of the most popular restaurants in town, serving high-quality Pakistani food.

Day 2 – Driving to Chilas through the Karakoram Highway

The drive between Islamabad and Gilgit Baltistan is a 600-kilometer ride over an entangled road, not feasible to do it in one day, so we will stop and spend the night in Chilas, a small town along the Karakoram, where we will get our first glimpse of the local life in this part of Pakistan.

The drive is very scenic, and adventurous, with plenty of worldwide famous Pakistani trucks.

The whole journey from Islamabad to Chilas takes around 12 hours, with breaks, unexpected events and checkpoints included.

Why not fly into Gilgit instead?

Because flights get canceled too often and we can’t risk that. We understand that it’s a long drive but if we took a domestic flight instead to cut one day short, and the flight got canceled, we’d run into a big problem.

Day 3 – Driving the Karakoram Highway to Passu

We will continue our journey through the Karakoram Highway towards Passu.

Located in the heart of Hunza, Passu is a picturesque village located in a jaw-dropping area of Gilgit-Baltistan, surrounded by absolutely outstanding mountains and perhaps, the most welcoming village in the country.

Overnight in Passu.

Day 4 – Exploring & trekking around Gulmit

We will spend the day exploring Gulmit and its surroundings, focusing on the local culture, including visiting a women-run carpet workshop and having lunch in a local house.

Then, we will hike to Borith Lake and after lunch, we will trek to Ondra Polygah for the best views of the valley.

Overnight in Gulmit.

Day 5 – Passu bridge trek

Day 5 is among traveler’s favorites.

Early in the morning, we will head for Hussaini Bridge, a vertiginous, suspension bridge, from where we will trek to the village of Passu, over an even more jaw-dropping bridge.

Overnight in Karimabad.

Day 6 – Explore Karimabad

Karimabad is the largest settlement in Hunza, a proper town with comfortable accommodations and facilities.

After several days in the mountains, Karimabad feels like a big city but it’s more like a small town home to some pretty cool forts and amazing scenery, besides a pretty lively local market.

We will visit all of that.

Overnight in Karimabad.

Day 7 – Drive to Skardu

A 7-hour drive into the region of Skardu through one of the most scenic roads in Pakistan.

We will take our time, stopping in the best viewpoints and places.

Overnight in Shigar.

Day 8 – Explore Shigar

Shigar is a village and the main gateway to the highest mountains in the Karakoram range, including the famous K2.

Shigar is also located in a majestic valley filled with mesmerizing fortresses, surrounded by breathtaking mountains.

In the afternoon, we’ll also visit Sarfaranga desert, a cold desert with actual sand dunes located at 2300 meters above sea level.

Overnight in Shigar.

Day 9 – Deosai Plains

Located at 4000 meters above sea level, Deosai Plains is a plateau located within Deosai National Park, a set of gorgeous meadows where we will spend half a day walking around.

The drive there is long, around 3 hours, but it’s certainly worth the drive.

Overnight in Skardu.

Day 10 & 11 – Explore Skardu

We will spend day 10 & 11 exploring the valleys and highlights around Skardu, including Kachura lakes, Katpana desert, and even hiking to Hussaini rock, a 6-hour hike.

Overnight in Skardu.

Day 12 – Flight from Skardu to Islamabad

Flights from the Northern Areas get canceled pretty often so that’s why we’ll fly two days before departure, to have day 13 as a backup, in the hypothetical case it does get canceled.

If the flight doesn’t get canceled, upon arrival in Islamabad, we’ll drive straight to Lahore, a 4-hour drive.

Overnight in Lahore.

Day 13 – Lahore city tour

Lahore is the cultural capital of Pakistan, and where you find the best local food, the most stunning mosques, and the liveliest bazaar in all the country, and unmissable city.

In the evening, we will also head for the Pakistan/Indian border to attend at the daily border ceremony.

Overnight in Lahore.

Day 14 – Departure

After breakfast, we will take care of your transfer to Lahore airport.

Gallery of photos

Included

Domestic flight (Skardu to Islamabad)

Airport transfers

13 nights of accommodation (twin shared) in hotels mentioned in FAQ

Letter of Invitation (needed for the visa)

Private coaster and Jeeps (when needed) with driver across Pakistan

All meals, including dinner in a fancy restaurant on arrival day + breakfast on departure day

Clearance for all checkpoints

Pakistani local guide

European tour leader

Entrance fees, cultural activities and guided tours to all places listed in the itinerary

Not Included

International flights

Visa fees (from $35 to $60, depending on nationality).

Alcoholic drinks or any extra drink

Lunch on day 1, and also day 14

Single supplement. Having your own private room costs 350€

BOOK NOW

September 17th to 30th

2790€

14 days

Lead by Joan Torres

FAQ

Which hotels do we stay?

These are the hotels we always stay in – subject to availability.

All are relatively comfortable hotels and lodges with private rooms and attached toilets, usually the best available option in the region we visit.

How does the room distribution work?

Price of the tour includes accommodation in a twin room.

If you are a solo traveler, you will be sharing the room with another like-minded traveler from the group. We always try to group people of the same gender and age together but note that this won’t always be the case.

If you want to have your own single room, price of the single supplement is an additional €350.

How to get a visa?

Today, you can easily apply for a Pakistan tourist visa online, it’s very simple.

As an average, it takes no more than 1 week to get the visa approval.

Tips and instructions will be shared upon booking a spot.

Which nationalities can join this tour?

Pretty much all nationalities.

Do I need to be fit for this tour?

We will do some hikes but nothing particularly challenging, and all will be day hikes, no camping, and stuff like that.

This means that all hikes are optional and that you can always hang out in the respective villages, where you will be surrounded by mountains anyway.

How good is the infrastructure in Pakistan?

As mentioned, in the mountain areas, we always stay in the best available accommodation.

However, note those areas of Pakistan are so remote that even the best possible accommodation can be an issue for some, since electricity and running water might not always be reliable.

Moreover, we always try to eat in the cleanest places but note that hygiene standards in Pakistan are poor and that some travelers might get sick due to the food they eat outside of the hotels.

Nevertheless, if you are keen to have the most epic adventure and are flexible when it comes to tourist facilities, you are welcome to join this tour!

What’s the best way to reach Islamabad?

Islamabad has an international airport, with some common connections being Dubai, Doha, Istanbul or Jeddah.

Is it safe?

Nowadays, Pakistan is safe, especially in the Northern Areas.

How many people will attend this tour?

We limit our tours to a maximum of 12-14 people.

Are there ATMs in Pakistan?

You can find ATMs in Islamabad, but better to bring cash for the Northern Areas.

Exchanging money: which currencies do they accept?

Both € and $ can be easily exchanged for Pakistani rupees.

How does payment work?

In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a security deposit, and the remaining amount can be sent no later than 45 days before the departure date.

Further details will be shared upon booking your spot.

Do you recommend a specific travel insurance?

Either you are joining one of our trips, or you are traveling by yourself, you might want to look for proper travel insurance. Against the Compass has been a partner with IATI for several years already, recommending it to all readers, as well as covering all Joan Torres’ personal trips.

We like it because It covers all the countries where the FCDO advises against all travel, it offers budget plans and covers all sorts of adventure activities.

Against the Compass readers can benefit from a 5% discount.

Get a quote here to claim your discount

What about the cancellation policy?

Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.