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Northern Areas Highlights Encounter

Northern Areas Highlights Encounter Overview

Discover stunning landscapes and diverse culture on a solo adventure into the heart of Pakistan’s untouched scenic beauties on this Northern Areas Highlights Encounter. Head out on naturalist-led hikes to search for ibex, Markhor, Bear, Marmots, snow leopard and Dall sheep; and look for wildflowers and animals on a scavenger hunt. Meet Northern Areas’s residents up close at a local villages, and scan the horizon for trout fish and other aquatic life on boating activities.

Northern Areas Classic Family Adventure Highlights

  • Explore the beauty and vastness of National parks and wild animals, flowers and birds.
  •  Pan for gold in glacier-fed rivers or Arindo.
  •  Look for calving glaciers.
  •  Visit the Gilgit Baltistan Wildlife Conservation Center, home of orphaned or injured snow leopard, brown bear and other animals.
  • Explore nature in purest form and haggle at local markets for precious and semi precious stones
  • An outstanding mountain region, home to fascinating people.
  • Locally sourced food
  • Explore nature in purest form and haggle at local markets for precious and semi precious stones

Itinerary

  Days            Activities

  • Arrival in Islamabad

    Welcome to Islamabad! You will be greeted by an English-speaking assistant at the airport after immigration and custom. The assistant will escort you to bus for your hotel. We will have ample time for sightseeing and shopping in colorful old bazaars of Rawalpindi and new markets of Islamabad. We may also drive to the modern Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. 

  • fly to Skardu /drive to Chilas

    We rise early to be at the airport in time for our flight to Skardu. If the weather is good, we’ll be treated to one of the finest views available in the world of aviation, as we thread our way up the largest congregation of mountains of Karakoram, Hindukush, Himalaya and Indus River gorges, third longest in Asia and one of the deepest in the world. To our east is K2 (2nd highest in the world and Nanga Parbat (killer mountain) and countless peaks and glaciers. It is sometime possible to catch a glimpse of K2 in the distant before our dramatic landing at Skardu. On arrival we are met by our local staff with jeeps and make the short transfer to the hotel.

    SKARDU is the administrative capital of Baltistan and gateway to the high peaks of Northern Pakistan. We have some time to explore the town and enjoy the hustle and bustle in peak season of tourists here. Sightseeing in Skardu and surrounding areas during the day. For those seeking a good overview of Skardu, or a place from which to photograph the sunset, Kharfocho Fort is an ideal spot.

    If the flight is unable to operate because of bad weather, we will resort to travel by road on Karakoram Highway (KKH) to Chilas. The drive is compensated by the beautiful scenery along the Karakoram highway and Indus gorges. The journey on the Karakoram Highway is most exciting and thrilling. It is a monument to the engineering feast and one of the most spectacular roads and the world’s highest metalled border crossing. It connects Pakistan and China stretching over a distance of 1300km between Islamabad and Kashgar, winding through three mountain ranges and following the ancient Silk route along the Indus Valley to the Chinese border at Khunjerab Pass.

    We pass through the historical town of Taxila, beautiful hill station of Abbottabad, quake affected lush green towns of Mansehra, Shinkiari and finally meet the great Indus on Thakot Bridge. From there onward the road snails along the bank of the Indus with contrasting landscape after every two kilometers. We pass through Besham, Dassu, Komila and Shatial to arrive at Chilas with many rock carvings and inscriptions along the way left by Chinese pilgrims and ancient travelers of 5th century A.D. Chilas was on the ancient caravan trail over the Babusar Pass into India. The view after crossing the Rai kot Bridge of Nanga Parbat is without any parallel.

    Standing at around 1,000 m. you see a mountain which rises to above 8,000 m! This is the largest land escarpment in the world. This is also where the three greatest mountain ranges meet; Himalaya, Hindukush and Karakoram.

    Flight    45 Minutes

    Drive    10-12 hrs

    Activities           Cultural exploration , Sightseeing, Hiking,Jeep Safari

  • skardu free day /drive to skardu

    This day may be needed to complete the KKH road journey from Chilas to Skardu. Alternatively, we will drive to Satpara Lake, which is a natural lake near Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan,  which supplies water to Skardu Valley. It is fed by the Satpara Stream.Satpara Lake is situated at an elevation of 2,636 meters (8,650 ft) above sea level and is spread over an area of 2.5 km².The completion of Satpara Dam downstream of the lake has enlarged the size of Satpara Lake.This lake also abounds in fish and is considered ideal for fishing.

    After Satpara lake, we will visit K2 Museum located near K2 Motel, displays pictures

    Evening we will visit Kharpocho Fort: Skardu has an ancient Fort known as Kharpocho Fort (King of Forts) situated on a hill overlooking the town. It was constructed by Ali Sher Khan Anchan, who ruled over Baltistan till the end of the 16th century. The mighty Indus snaking along just a few yards beneath your feet among the silvery white sands is an awesome sight.

    Drive    10-12 hrs.

    Activities           Cultural exploration , Sightseeing,

  • Shigar Valley

    Today we rise early and view the beautiful sunrise against the backdrop of the Karakorm. After breakfast drive to Shigar, a history-soaked medieval town. Enroute we will visit Shigar sand dunes. These are on other side of the Indus, impressive sand dunes are visible. It is on the way to Shigar valley, but around 2 km away from the road.

    After sand dunes visit, we will continue our drive toward Shigar passing through historic Buddhist Stupa ruins, which is no more in preservation. At Shigar view point, we will stop to take photos of Shigar valley and Blind lakes and sand duens on other side of Shigar River.

    Shigar Valley is the gateway to the great mountain peaks of the Karakorams, Gasherbrum & K-2, Broad Peak, Biafo and Baltoro Glaciers, Snow lake, Mashabrum, Trango Tower and other hunderds of 7000m peaks.  Shigar valley, formerly known as “Rome of Baltistan” has gentle, irrigated slopes are filled with terraces of wheat, maize and barley. Its orchards of apricots, mulberries, peaches, plums, pears, apples and nuts are unique to Baltistan. The wooden mosque in the middle of the town was built by Kashmiri carpenters several hundred years ago.

    There is also a heritage Palace cum Fort (Fong khar ). Completely renovated by the AKCSP a few years back, the Palace and its suburbs reflects a medieval look. Here we will pay a brief visit to the Garden House, Royal room, museum handicraft shop and The Khanqah Moalla, famous for its uniquely carved wooden windows and meditation cells. Shigar retains a mystical, medieval aura that may leave you feeling like you have stepped through the looking glass.

    Evening drive back to Skardu.

  • Khaplu

    Today after breakfast we will drive to Khaplu valley. This beautiful valley of the Shyok River is 103 km east of Skardu. Khaplu is the starting point for most trekking and climbing expeditions. Many famous mountains such as Masherbrum, Saltoro, Sia Kangri, K-6, K-7 are located here.  There is a Palace of Raja of Khaplu and remains of Thors.

    Khaplu is the administrative capital of the Ghanche District of Gilgit-Baltistan. visit Khaplu Palace and Khaplu view point. We will make a trip to Chaqchan Mosque.

    The Masjid Chqchan means the Miraculous mosque in Khaplu, Baltistan built by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani or by Shah Syed Muhammad Nurbakhsh Qahistani Sufi in 1370(A.D) is one of the oldest mosque in Baltistan and Pakistan. It is one of Baltistan’s most famous landmarks and a major tourist attraction. The Government of Pakistan also listed the inclusion of the Chqchan Mosque as a Pakistan Heritage Site. After this we will visit Saling Fish Point. Here we can enjoy angling.

  • Kachura Lakes

    Today we will visit Lower kachure(shangrila) and upper kachura lakes. Lower Kachura lakes is known as Shangrila Lake, teeming with brown trout. During spring many exotic and colourful flowers adorn its banks, while peach, apricot and apple trees are laden with blossoms in April. Later in the summer one can taste the apples, which are a particularly delicious variety. Enjoy Boating and angling here. Enroute visit Skardu Cold desert to watch the highest altitude dune deserts in the world.

    Activities          Boating, Angling

  • Deosai - Rupal valley

    Today early morning departure for Deosai, Located in the Great Himalayan Range, conveniently placed between the western massif of the Himalayas and the central Karakoram. It’s stunning scenic views of the snow-clad mountains and streams, natural beauty and impressive grandeur have made it world famous. Spread over an area of 3,000 square kilometres, at an altitude of 13,500 feet above sea level, the plains are home to unique species of plant and animal life, of which the Himalayan Brown Bears are the most famous. In the words of Aleister Crowley, “In front of us lay the Deosai, an absolutely treeless wilderness of comparatively level country framed by minor peaks. It gives a unique impression of desolation. I have never seen its equal in this respect elsewhere.” To the south of and visible from both the Burji and Satpara approaching areas is a 700-foot hill, on top of which is a 500 foot-high-rock cairn. This unnamed hilltop in the northern deosai region produces a clear panorama of the Himalayan Kangri Range and sections of the Karakoram. As you ascend its gentle, grass covered slopes, Nanga Parbat will come into view far to the west of you. In ‘Gypsy Davy’s’ words, “It was such an expanse of immensity as I have hardly imagined…It seems you cannot talk in a matter-of-fact way in a place like that…I thought the Sierras were large, but here, where we could see three or four score miles north, south, east and west, and see only mountains, and most of them above twenty thousand feet, the Sierras seem like sand dunes”. Shaucer lake (3-4 hours from Skardu), Shatong nala (2 hours) , Bara Pani (two and half hours) and Kala Pani (3 to 3-30 hours) are the most visited spots in Deosai. Deosai is one of the best trout fishing spot in the North.

    In the afternoon we will drive via Chilim to Rupal valley and stay overnight at Traishing, south face of Nanga Parbat. The Rupal Valley is located in the Astore District. It lies just south of 8,126 meter Nanga Parbat and is popular for treks to the mountain’s Rupal Face, one of highest mountain faces in the world. The Rupal is home to Shina speaking herdsmen, who have grazed and harvested wood in the valley for hundreds of years. Overgrazing has caused some loss of vegetation, leading to wind-blown dust. Towering peaks on either side of the valley make it a breathtaking, albeit remote destination for adventurers.

     Activities         Sightseeing, Wild life watching, Angling

  • Rupal Glacier - Rama Astore

    After breakfast, we  traverse to Rupal glacier and then drive to Astore valley and Rama lake .

    Astore valley, adjoining the eastern side of mountain Nanga Parbat, is about 120 km (75 mi) long, having area of 5,092 km2 (1,966 sq mi).

    Rama lake and pastures are the most famous tourist attraction in the region. Due to its diverse landscape and climatic conditions the valley provides excellent habitat for a variety of commercially important medicinal plants. Rama Lake is a lake near Astore in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. It is on the top of the beautiful Astore Valley, with a light cover of oak trees and other greenery. The region has low average rainfall and low vegetation cover hence the loss of forest cover is of a very serious concern.

    Activities         Sightseeing, Wild life watching, Angling

  • Gilgit - Ghizer valley

    After breakfast we will leave for Gilgit. After a brief stop in Gilgit we will leave towards Ghizer valley. As we leave Gilgit and move forward, the Karakoram mountain range is left behind and in the lap of  Hindu Kush mountain range. As soon as we get on to Ghizer Road, the Ghizer River joins along to give us  company. Its cold waters filled with trout fish. Across the river are small settlements housing the locals.

    We move forward from Sher Qila and the towns of Gahkoch and Puniyal welcome all travellers on the main road. Gahkoch is the centre of this district. After Punial, there’s a small settlement on the right of the river, named Gich.

    The entire village is covered with grapevines filtering sunlight and filling the air up with the fragrance of grapes; this village is said to produce the most grapes in this region. You can’t help but fall in love with the grape clusters hanging off vines that crawl all over the village.

    Ghizer joins with Wakhan strip on its north-west, and China on its northern borders. On its west, there is Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and on its east is situated Gilgit.

    This district is also connected to Tajikistan through Yasin valley and Karumber Pass. The population mostly comprises of Gujjars. The word Ghizer is derived from local language’s “Gharz”, which translates to “immigrant”.

    The rulers of Chitral were known as Mehtar. The people they didn’t ‘approve of’ were exiled to Gupis in Ghizer. These people soon occupied most of the Gupis.   Gupis has been serving as a junction between yasin and phander valley. The beautiful landscape of Gupis valley is breathtaking. The turquoise water of river flowing along the road and surrounding fields and forests present a very charming scene to the visitors.

    It is the central place from all valleys like phandar, yasin. poniyal etc. We will visit Khalti Lake and Phander lake.

    Phander valley which is commonly called “Little Kashmir”. Phander Lake is one of the most famous tourist spots in the entire region. Phander valley was the bread basket for the whole Northern Areas. The name of Ghizer comes from the name of a village ‘Ghizer’ that is situated in the vicinity of Phander The deep blue lake in Phander offers a magnificent view and is basically the home of trout fish.

    Located at a 20-30 minutes drive from Gupis, the Khalti lake is one of the very beautiful lakes found in Ghizer district of Gilgit Baltistan.

    Khalti lake is famous for being habitat of trout fish. The lake is formed due to stretch of river near the village of Khalti. The dark blue water of lake on a clear day looks very charming. The lake usually freezes during winter and villagers of Khalti use to walk on this.

    Activities: Sightseeing, Cultural Exploration,

  • Yasin valley - ishkoman valley

    After breakfast, we  travel along the Yasin valley to Darkot, to view Darkot village and Yasin valley. stopping at photo vintage points. It’s attractive villages, carefully cultivated fields and orchards offer a blend of life time experience in remote valleys of Hindukush.The summer in Yasin valley has great attraction not only because of scenic beauty but it also offers avenues from adventure lovers.

    We will visit Darkut, a historical place as it has been a passage way for important persons. It was this pass that George Hayward crossed in 1870 when he was murdered. The Chinese army lead by a Korean General crossed Darkut in 747AD and conquered Gilgit. Sandi is the largest village in Yasin valley and it is famous for a Fort from the time of Gohar Aman.

    After Yasin we will visit Ishkoman valley. The valley has immense natural beauty in the shape of alpine meadows, massive glacier, perennials streams. It is the home of several passes treks and alpine lakes.

    Evening drive back to Khalti lake.

    Activities: Sightseeing, Cultural Exploration,

  • NALTAR - HUNZA

    After breakfast, we will go to scenic Naltar valley, home to flowery meadows, lakes and spectacular greenery. The peaks surrounding Naltar Valley have dozens of 5000m summits. Naltar was a British hill station and has some Pakistan military facilities, including a Pakistan Air Force winter survival school with ski lift

    Naltar receives more rainfall than other mountains/valleys  in the range , and its alpine forests are refreshing compared to the mainly arid Karakoram.

    We will visit Naltar view point and upper Naltar Lakes.

    In the afternoon we will drive to Hunza with en route stop at Rakaposhi View point, which offers a superb view of Rakaposhi Peak. For dinner and our overnight stay we drive to Hunza. The valleys of Hunza and Nagar are some of the most beautiful valleys in the northern parts of Pakistan. The people of this area are known for their legendary good health, longevity and hospitality. Rakaposhi accessible only by 4 to 5 hrs. Walk from the road, dominates the whole valley. This area is full of apricots, apples, grapes and peaches.

    Main attraction of this road journey is Rakaposhi Base Camp and Altit and Baltit Forts. Baltit Fort is an ancient fort in the Hunza valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Founded in the 1st CE, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative list since 2004.

    In the past, the survival of the feudal regime of Hunza was ensured by the impressive fort, which overlooks Karimabad. The foundations of the fort date back to 700 years ago, with rebuilds and alterations over the centuries. In the 16th century the local prince married a princess from Baltistan who brought master Balti craftsmen to renovate the building as part of her dowry. Visit around the area, you would feel as if you’d stepped back in time in past period.

    After Baltit Fort  you go to Ganish village. Ganish is the oldest and first settlement on the ancient Silk Road in Hunza, and is the site of various ancient watch towers, traditional mosques, religious centers, and a reservoir.The Ali Gohar House in Ganish, is located next to one of the iconic shikaris (watchtowers) of the town. The 400-year-old house was awarded the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2009

    Then we proceed to Altit Fort. Altit Fort is an ancient fort at Altit town in the Hunza valley,It was originally home to the hereditary rulers of the Hunza state who carried the title Mir.Altit Fort and in particular the Shikari tower is around 1100 years old, which makes it the oldest monument in the Gilgit–Baltistan.

    Then Let’s go up to the highest observation place at Duikar to enjoy 360-degree panoramic view and sunset reflections on peaks of lady finger, Haramosh peak, Rakaposhi and many others. This is one of the best elevated way to fully enjoy a sunset. Spiritually and physically, we would like you to feel the air as well. It will be unforgettable experience.

    Activities: Sightseeing, Cultural Exploration, History

  • HUNZA - Nagar Excursion

    Today well have a full day sightseeing tour of Hunza and its surroundings. Our morning session will include a jeep excursion to the Nagar Valley to see the glacial formations at Hoper. Hoper also offers a fantastic view of the mountain peaks of the Hunza valley. After we return to Hunza we will visit the Baltit Fort Museum followed by the Ganesh Watch Tower and a walk through the Karimabad Bazaar, the down town of Hunza. Sunset and sunrise are the views one can remember forever.

    The valleys of Hunza and Nagar are some of the most beautiful valleys in the northern parts of Pakistan. The people of this area are known for their legendary good health, longevity and hospitality.

    Activities: Sightseeing, Cultural Exploration,

  • Khunjerab Park and back to Gilgit

    Today’s drive will take us to Khunjerab Pass, Khunjerab Pass, the gateway to China via the Karakoram Highway, is at 4,934m.which half of the park is above 4,000m.  Khunjerab National Park is Pakistan’s third largest national park. It is adjacent to Taxkorgan Natural Reserve (1,400,000ha) in China.   You will enjoy a short trip up to Khunjerab Pass on Karakoram Highway; it gives some of spectacular sceneries for photographers of wild life. where you may have a sighting of endangered Marco Polo sheep, which is only found in this area in Pakistan. The park is also famous for its snow leopards. Some reports say that it might contain the highest density of these beautiful cats in the total Himalayan ecosystem, which is the natural habitat of these cats. Over 2,000 Siberian ibex, widely distributed and abundant in the park but absent from neighbouring China, are also present here.

    Other animals of this park are in the park include:

    Snow leopard (T),     Himalayan ibex (C),    Brown bear (T),    Tibetan red fox (C),    Tibetan wolf (T),    Blue sheep,    Marco Polo sheep,    Tibetan wild ass or kiang ,    Ermine (C),    Alpine weasel,    Stone martin (C),    Golden marmot (C),    Lynx (unconfirmed reports),    Large-eared pika (C),    Dhole (unconfirmed reports),    Cape hare (C),    Common field mouse (C),    Royle’s mountain vole (C),    Lesser shrew (C),    ,Migratory hamster (C)

    Birds

    Common birds in the park are:

    Lammegier vulture,    Golden eagle,    Himalayan griffon vulture,    Eurasian black vulture,    Marsh harrier,    Eurasian sparrow hawk,    Eurasian kestrel,    Lesser kestrel,    Saker falcon,    Peregrine falcon,    Himalayan snow cock,    Snow partridge,    Chukar,    Grey heron,    Common sandpiper,    Hill pigeon,    Snow pigeon,    Northern eagle owl,    Eurasian cuckoo,    Common swallow,    Magpie,    Alpine chough,    Raven

    Drive: 6-7 hrs

  • babusar pass (4145m) - Naran

    Today after breakfast leave for Naran on the Karakoram Highway and Naran Chilas Road  through captivating and enthralling landscape of zigzag road winding through terraced filed, fruit laden orchard and above Babusar pass at a height of 4145 m. The Valley extends for 155 km rising from an elevation of 2,134 meters to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 4,145 meters. Before Karakoram Highway was opened in 1978, the only road access to Gilgit was through Kaghan Valley.Kaghan valley is a very beautiful & attractive valley. That’s why it is called virtual paradise, unbelievably in pristine state and still unspoiled by the human. You’ll find the Himalayan peaks hidden with clouds or snow, somewhere you’ll find the beautiful fairy tale lakes, which will attract you toward them, and you might decide not to leave this at any cost.Take a rest at the pass enjoying the scenic beauty around before descending down to Lulusar lake.

    Lulu Sar Lake which is wreathed in blue and gold wild flowers, and is the main source of river Kunhar. Near Gittidas is the 11,000 feet high Lulusar Lake out of which river Kunhar issues anew with redoubled strength to flow down the valley first as placid blue stream and then a roaring torrent until it joins the Jhelum. Lulusar has very enchanting beauty and its view remains in the mind of tourist for a long time. The is surrounded by snowcapped hills whose purple and white forms are reflected in the green-blue waters of the silent lake, making it one of the most beautiful spots in the valley. Take a rest at Lulusar lakes and drive down to Naran stopping at Gittidas, Batakundi for scenic photo ops. These are numerous scenic places, sheer, snow capped mountains ascending from deep valleys, lush alpine meadows are carpeted by colorful wildflowers and dazzling fruits. Terraced villages dot this monumental terrain, supported by traditional farming methods and lifestyles that have changed little over the centuries.

    Drive: 10-12 hrs

  • sailful maluk lake- Shogran

    Naran to Lake Saiful Muluk dusty jeep track is approximately 9 km in length with hiking tracks difficulty level ranging from easy to medium. It can be traveled by jeep in one Hour. Net elevation gain is around 700m (2300 feet).

    It is almost impossible to describe the beauty of this lake, which is like mirror at the altitude of 3200 meters. The Queen of the Mountains is standing in the east and looking her image in the mirror of Lake Saiful Maluk. You can spend few days here to monitor the guards of lake, which are towering peaks and spread all around the lake.

    In the evening drive down to naran and drive to Shogran

    Drive: 4-5 hrs

  • Sari Paya - Galyat - Islamabad

    Drive in the morning to the top of shogran valley, amidst clouds and natural beauty and drive down to Balakot. Aftter a brief stop at Balakot, drive onward to mansehra stopping at scenic points for photo ops and also in Manserha to visit Ashoka Rock Eddicts.

    Mansehra Rock Edicts are fourteen edicts of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, inscribed on rocks in Mansehra. The edicts are cut into three boulders and date back to 3rd century BC and they are written in the ancient Indic script of Gandhara culture, Kharosthi. The edicts mention aspects of Ashoka’s dharma. This site is World Heritage Sites tentative list.

    After Manserha rock edicts visit, we will pass through the alpine scenery of Galyat and Murree towards Islamabad.

    Evening back to Islamabad, proceed to airport for onward flight.

Departures Dates

Months Pack Dates Code Price Status
May  20th
September

Pricing Packs

Basic

bed & Breakfast
$ 000
  • 2-3 Stars Hotels
  • 24/7 Customer Support

Standard

Double bed, Meals, Transfer
$ 000
  • 3-4 Stars Hotels, where available
  • Directed Flight
  • 24/7 Customer Support

Premium

All Inclusive
$ 000
  • 5 Stars Hotels, where is available
  • 24/7 Customer Support

Guides

M Ebran
Travel Guide

From early childhood a place somewhere beyond the horizon was where I wanted to be and in the passing years since, I have made it my goal to satisfy that yearning! growing up in Baltistan gave me a great love for that part of the world, from K2 to Nanga Parbat to makin the first venture on Gondogoro la and much in between.

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Extend your holiday

There are many ways you can extend your holiday with us: book extra hotel nights, take a warm-up/accalamatization trek,relax at a beautiful resort,  arrange a personal sightseeing tour or enjoy specialist activities such as paragliding or a history and culture tour.

We’re happy to suggest ideas, provide quotes and make all the arrangements. We can also assist with flight and hotel upgrades. Just call us on +92 (0) 342 9767 963 or email info@visitpakistanonline.com and we will be glad to help.

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