Tour De North

North American Booking line +1-647-222-7344

North American Booking line +1-647-222-7344

Tour De North

SHANDUR POLO FESTIVAL

  • 15 Destinations
  • 22 Days
  • Night in hotel

Pakistan is a country close to our heart and for good reason. Home to some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world, thriving cities, colourful markets and warm hospitality, a trip to this part of the world is bound to excite even the Tour de North. Having run trips here for fifteen years, we understand the political complexities of travelling to this fascinating country and our paramount consideration has always been the safety of our clients. Despite the negative images painted by the press, we believe that areas in Pakistan – particularly around the mountains of the north - pose little or no danger within the current climate.

Tour Highlights

SHANDUR FESTIVAL

TWitness one of the most impressive sporting events in the world

FAIRY MEADOWS

Experience the stunning wildlife, wildflowers and wilderness of Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat Base Camp Trek

KALASH STAY

Spend two nights with the Kalash people and immerse yourself in their fascinating culture and traditions

NORTH

Soak up some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world as you journey into northern Pakistan

TOUR PLAN

DAY 1

Islamabad

Arrive at Islamabad and transfer to your hotel. Time permitting, you will head into Islamabad to see some of the Pakistani capital and take a visit to the Heritage Museum and the Faisal Mosque.

Accomodation

Hill View ISLAMABAD

DAY 2

Islamabad-Naran

After breakfast leave for the beautiful valley of Kaghan, the drive will take approximately 7 hours. The valley has beautiful green mountains on both sides with the beautiful river flowing in between. Check into the hotel in Naran in the late afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure. (B)

Accomodation

PTDC NARAN

DAY 3

NARAN-FAIRY MEADOWS

Departing early this morning we will continue through the forested Kaghan Valley and over the spectacular Babusa Pass, before driving down to the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and on to Raikot Bridge. Here we’ll transfer to jeeps for the short, but wildly dramatic, drive to the road head before walking up to the cabins at Fairy Meadows. The walk is of a moderate nature on a good mountain path and should take around 3 hours. We will enjoy the views of Nanga Parbat – or Naked Mountain (the 8,100m peak and massif that marks the western end of the Himalayas). Here we will stay in the rustic log cabins, all of which have commanding views of the great mountain. This is truly one of the most magical places on earth

DAY 4

In Fairy Meadows

Today we walk through the forested foothills of the massif to the Beyal Camp and back. This will not be too strenuous, as we will run along the contours rather than straight up, but it will be spectacular. Anyone wanting a more relaxed time can stay at the meadows, which is a lovely place to unwind. We will take lunch at a local camp and return to have dinner back at the cabins.

DAY 5

Fairy Meadows -Rama Lake

This morning after an early breakfast we’ll walk back to the road head, pick up the jeeps and re-join the KKH. We’ll drive for another couple of hours, before heading right over the Indus and on to Astor. From here we’ll drive the short distance to Rama Lake where we’ll stay for the night

DAY 6

RamaLake – Deosai Plateau -Skardu

After and early breakfast we’ll take a short drive to Rama Lake before continuing our journey to the amazing Deosai Plateau National Park. This plateau is a stunning 4,000m high wildlife wilderness complete with an array of wild flowers at this time of year. We’ll enjoy a hearty picnic lunch with views of the Himalayas before continuing on to Skardu

DAY 7

Skardu - Khaplu

This morning we’ll visit the old bazaar, and then head out to see the Manthal Buddha rock carving just outside Skardu. After this we’ll drive to Khaplu for a real treat as we stay in one of the most wonderful heritage hotels in the whole subcontinent. This has been recently converted by the Aga Khan Cultural Development Trust and run as a community project.

DAY 8

Khaplu -Hushe Valley - Khaplu

Today the adventure continues as we follow the Shyok and Hushe Rivers into the heart of the Karakoram. Draining an enormous area of the eastern Karakoram, much of which is now in India, the Shyok and Hushe rivers cut a spectacular trail into this eastern most part of Baltistan. We’ll drive up the Hushe Valley to visit a local school in upper Hunza. From here we’ll continue right up the valley to the end of the road where the magnificent 7,000m Mashabrum Mountain stands sentinel. In the late afternoon, as the sun is setting, we’ll return to Khaplu.

DAY 9

Khaplu- Skardu-Gilgit

Today we will take a day long drive to Gilgit. Following the Indus most of the way, this is a hugely impressive journey. We will take lunch along the way before arriving into Gilgit in the early evening.

DAY 10

GILGIT-HUNZA

This morning we have a chance to take a look around this classic frontier town, once considered the furthest outpost of empire. We will see the Christian graveyard and the bazaar, before heading north on the KKH to Karimabad in the famed Hunza valley. We know we use a lot of superlatives in this dossier but this trip really is epic, particularly as you round the corner and see the titanic form of Mount Rakaposhi basking in the sun, right beside the road. We will take lunch on the way – at the Rakaposhi View Restaurant – before continuing on to Hunza. On arrival we will have the chance to explore the laid back little town of Karimabad and admire the mountains that surround it before continuing on to our hotel for our first night situated, as the name suggests, 2,850m above sea level, 800m above the valley floor with panoramic views of seven 7,000m peaks!

DAY 11

Hunza-Attabad-Hunza

After breakfast we will first drive to the other side of the valley to take a walk on Hoper Glacier After this we’ll have lunch in a pretty garden café before driving an hour further up the KKH to visit the newly formed lake at Attabad. In January 2010 a massive landslide blocked the Hunza River, submerging 28kms of the KKH by forming a beautiful azure lake with some stunning cathedral peaks as a backdrop. We then return to Karimabad and drive to our hotel.

DAY 12

HUNZA

Another full day in Hunza gives us the chance to take a wonderful water channel walk down to Karimabad where we’ll trip to the famous Baltit fort, recently restored by the Aga Khan Trust to a fantastic standard, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. We’ll also have plenty of time for shopping in the town’s pretty bazaar and to relax. After all this is a holiday!

DAY 13

HUNZA-PHANDER

Wake at around 05.30 to have your last chance to watch the rising sunover the surrounding peaks if you want! After breakfast we will then drive back to Gilgit, and from here to Phander. Once again, it is a stunning trip through some of northern Pakistan’s most dramatic scenery. If time allows we will walk down to the lake before dinner.

DAY 14

Phander -Shandur Pass

After breakfast we will drive to the Shandur Pass. At the last village of Barsat we’ll alight and walk across the stunning langer – or flat plain – where local shepherds graze their yaks, cattle, donkeys and sheep. We will then arrive at the top of the stunning scenic pass and make our way to the camping area where we will stay for the next two nights to enjoy the festival. Today we will enjoy some high paced polo matches which demonstrate the passion and colour that this sport brings to Pakistan in an unrivalled location with stunning views. Please note that a camp crew will be on hand to put the tents up and assemble the mess tent and toilet tent

DAY 15

Shandur Polo Festival

Today we will continue to enjoy the colourful spectacle of the fiercely contested polo matches being played at a frenetic pace in the festival atmosphere. We will also partake in some of the additional entertainment available such as traditional music, folk dances, bonfires, and some local hikes in the area. All of these activities are set against the crystal clear lakes, snow covered mountains, meadows of alpine flowers amongst swathes of green grass – a magical location.

DAY 16

Shandur Pass-Chitral

This is going to be a long day’s drive but one of the most beautiful and dramatic drives you are ever likely to take. We will wind our way down the Mastuj Valley, passing the northern face of Boni Zong and the eastern flank of Tirich Mir, leaving through the Yarkund Valley at the top of which lies Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. On arrival we will have a good look around this sleepy hill town, taking in the famous fort and the bazaar

DAY 17

Chitral - Kalash

After breakfast we will drive in to the Kalash Valley of Rumbor and the village of Balanguru where we stay with our good friend Saifullah Jan, the chief spokesperson for the colourful Kalash people. The journey takes about two hours, though if people prefer we can walk the last few miles through the gorgeous valley. After lunch we will meet the Kalash and go for walks around the village, or further afield to visit some of our friends in Grum or Kalashagrum

DAY 18

kalash

Today we maximise our time by walking in and around the valley to enjoy the local scenery and experience the local hospitality. This morning we should be able to take a walk up in the direction of the Afghan frontier to visit some small villages. We return to Balanguru for lunch and then for those who wish to we head out on another walk around the valley to understand more of the lifestyle of the Kalash people. These walks are optional, and you may wish to spend your time relaxing in the village.

DAY 19

KALASH-AYUN

Today we will drive to Ayun and check into the wonderful home of Maqsood Ul Mulk, one of the princes of Chitral. We can spend time having a look around his amazing garden and also take some wonderful village walks in the local area.

DAY 20

AYUN-ISLAMABAD

This morning we’ll leave very early to drive the last spectacular journey, through the Lowari Tunnel and down through the frontier, towards Islamabad. This is a full day’s drive and we will not reach our hotel in Islamabad until the evening for a well-earned rest.

DAY 21

Isamabad - Taxila - Islamabad

Today we will take a short drive to Taxila to explore this fascinating Buddhist university town, dating back to the Gandaharan era of Alexander the Great. We’ll then return to Islamabad where there may be time for some last-minute shopping close to the hotel before a grand farewell dinner.

DAY 22

ISLAMABAD

The tour ends this morning in Islamabad.

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