Day by day itinerary
Day 1: Arrival Islamabad
On arrival at Islamabad International airport, you will be greeted by our guide and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, city tour of Islamabad followed by the Damn-E-Koh (viewpoint), which gives us a panoramic view of Islamabad before driving past various modern streets and buildings graceful with a touch of Islamic Architecture & Folk Heritage Museum. Our tour culminates at one of the world’s largest mosque – Shah Faisal Mosque. Later visit hustling bustling market of Raja Bazar. Evening welcome dinner at local restaurant.
Overnight at hotel or Guest house in Islamabad. (D)
Day 2: Islamabad-Taxila- Besham or Naran
In the morning we drive to Naran en-route we will stop at Taxila, Taxila has a well-planned museum and many historic sites of the Gandharan Buddhist civilization. The area flourished from the Sixth Century B.C until the Fifth Century A.D. Later continue driving to Besham.
Overnight at hotel in Besham or Naran. (BD)
** During the summer month this trip can be done via Naran Kaghan valley
Day 3: Naran – Fairy Meadows
After breakfast short drive to Raikot Bridge where we change into local 4×4 wheel drives and carry on driving to Tato. From there we will start short trek to the lush green area of Fairy Meadows. Overnight in Huts at Fairy Meadow (BD)
Day 4: Fairy Meadow
Today we have an opportunity to hike through the pine forest toward Bayal base camp or you can just relax at Fair Meadow and enjoy the beautiful view of Nanga Parbat Mountain rage.
Overnight in Huts at Fairy Meadow (BD
Day 5: Fairy Meadows – Gilgit
In the morning trek down to Tato where we catch our Jeep to Raikot Bridge, transfer to our own Jeep and continue driving to Gilgit. We stop at the The Junction Point of 3 Greatest Mountain Ranges of the World, Pakistan.
This place of interest is the unique venue where three great mountain ranges of world make a knot. Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush, with their famous highest peaks in Pakistan, and top 2, 3, & 4th in the entire world], Nanga Parbat, K-2 and Tirich Mir, meet here and at almost on same place River Indus, flowing down from lofty mountains of Skardu, joins with river Gilgit, one its main tributaries. Our next stop will be Gilgit City.
Gilgit the administrative capital of Gilgit Baltistan and, perhaps, the most spectacular region of Pakistan in terms of its geography and scenic beauty. Here world’s three mightiest mountain ranges: the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas – meet. The whole of Gilgit Baltistan is like a paradise for mountaineers, trekkers and adventure lovers. The region has a rich cultural heritage and variety of rare fauna and flora. Historically, the area have remained a flash point of political and military rivalries amongst the Russian, British and Chinese empires. Immediately after the end of British rule in the sub-continent in 1947, the people of this region decided to join Pakistan through a popular local revolt against the government of Maharaja of Kashmir. Overnight at hotel in Gilgit. (BD)
Day 06: Gilgit – Karimabad (Hunza valley)
Breakfast at hotel, later visit Kargah Buddha carved on the rock dated from 7th century AD. We visit Gilgit Bazar and after lunch continue driving along the Karakorum highway to Karimabad Hunza valley. Next stop will be at Chalt Nagar which is the main Karakorum Thrust; the collision point of Indo Pak and Eurasian plate. We will also make a tea stop at Rakaposhi peak (7788 m) viewpoint for photography. Continue driving to Karimabad. Afternoon walk around Karimabad, including a water channel walk. Overnight at hotel in Karimabad. (BD)
Day 07: Duiker village Sunrise – Karimabad visit
Early morning wakeup and drive to Duiker for sunrise enjoy the stunning view of surrounding Mountains, enjoy the stunning sunrise over the snow-capped mountains of Ultar (7388m), Rakaposhi (7788m) and Diran (7266m). Optional hike up toward Ultar glacier base camp. After breakfast return down to Altit village to visit Altit fort, Altit Fort is a spectacularly sited defensive work overlooking the Hunza river valley in Gilgit-Baltistan. Altit Fort was the first of these strongholds to be built with Altit Khun and the Fort being renowned as the original capital and birthplace of Hunza. However later as a result of a conflict between the two sons of the Mir of Hunza, Shah Abbas and Ali Khan, they shifted the capital to Baltit Fort. Ayasho II, Tham / Mir of Hunza in the early 15th Century married Princess Shah Khatoon from Baltistan. As part of her dowry she brought with her architects and tradesman from Kashmir and Tibet. At the time Baltistan (previously known as ‘Little Tibet’) had very strong cultural and ethnical relations with Ladakh in Northern India. The structure of Altit Fort was therefore influenced by the Ladakhi/Tibetan architecture, resembling elements of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
Altit Fort was originally built as a palace, yet some time after its construction, in 1548 A.D a defensive watch tower was added transforming it into a fort. It is believed that the Fort was built in 6 different phases making the most of the various different levels of natural rock from the very high cliff top it is positioned on. Altit Fort was surrounded by the settlement of Altit Khun, once a bustling town for traders and caravans travelling along the Silk Route. The historic village forms an integral part of the core cultural enclave of Hunza. In the aftermath of far reaching socio-political changes in and since 1972 the Fort lost its glory of being the centre of traditional cultural festivals and village life. After this time the ruling family no longer had the power to collect taxes to support the up keep of the fort and it was abandoned and left to deteriorate. In the late 1990’s a prince of the former ruling family of Hunza donated Altit Fort to the Aga Khan Foundation who through the Aga Khan Cultural Services, Pakistan spent the arduous task of restoring and rehabilitating both the fort and the surrounding settlement of Altit Khun. In 2007 the Fort opened as a tourist museum and culture centre for the community. Later visit Baltit Fort which is 700 years, but there have been rebuilds and alterations over the centuries. In the 16th century the Mir (King) married a princess from Baltistan who brought master Balti craftsmen to renovate the building as part of her dowry. The architectural style is a clear indication of Tibetan influence in Baltistan at the time. Overnight at hotel in Karimabad. (BD)
Day 08: Karimabad-Ganesh village, Hopper Valley, Upper Hunza Gojal
In the morning we drive to Borith Lake. Our first stop is Ganish village, we visit the world heritage site Ali Gohar’s old house, next we will do a side trip to Hopper valley which can be seen from Duiker is on the opposite, eastern side of the Hunza River. This is another fertile valley and is predominantly Shia Muslim. This is one of the world’s fastest moving glaciers at Hoper. Later drive to upper Hunza Gojal, we will stop by Atta Abad Lake for photography, afternoon drive to hike toward the Passu glacier viewpoint. Overnight at hotel in Borith Lake. (BD)
Day 09: Hike Ghulkin Glacier – Ghulkin village – Gulmit – Hussaini Bridge
In the morning we hike through Ghulkin glacier to Ghulkin village, after a picnic lunch with a local family, we continue our hike via Kamaris village to Gulmit. Gulmit is a peaceful and serene village that formerly served as a summer capital of the Hunza Kingdom. Here one will walk through the village, visit a 400 year-old house, and see local women weaving carpets and making several other traditional handicrafts. Visit local museum. (Those who do not wish to hike can drive to Ghulkin village instead) Later visit Hussaini village, where we try to cross the hanging bridge, here you have chance to test our fear of heights and wobbly wooden plank walks while be mesmerized by the fast-flowing waters below. Later return to Borith Lake for overnight. Overnight at hotel in Borith Lake. (BD)
Day 10: Sost-Khunjerab pass-Tashkurgan (China)
Today drive to Sost, After border formalities, we drive to the highest paved international border crossing in the world and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway Khunjerab pass (4750 M). Along the way you will be able to see some wildlife at Khunjerab national park. Upon arrival at Tashkurgan China, after border formalties meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. Overnight at hotel in Tashkurgan. (BD)
Day 11: Kashgar
In the morning, we visit Tashkurgan Fort, dating back from the 14th century. You can enjoy an impressive view of the surrounding fields, mountains, and military complexes from the old walls. Afterwards, we continue driving to Kashgar. The scenery along the way is breathtaking. We will be stopping at the Karakul Lake where you can enjoy the view of Muztagh-ata Mountains. Optional camel ride or walk around the Lake. Later continue to Kashgar. Overnight at hotel in Kashgar. (BD)
Day 12: Kashgar Sunday Market
This day is planned to coincide with the famous Sunday market in Kashgar where everything from carpets, blankets, foods, horses, donkeys, sheep’s and even camels are for sale! Wonderful assortments of people come from all over the region, and the population of the town swells by 100,000! This is truly one of the most incredible bazaars in Asia, and a photographer’s paradise!. Overnight at hotel in Kashgar (BLD)
Day 13: Kashgar Tash Rabat – Narayn (Kyrgyzstan)
In the morning transfer to the border crossing of Torugart pass. After border formalities, you will be met by our Kyrgyz team. Later, visit the Caravan Sarai dated from 11th century which served as a fortress for travellers along the Great Silk Road. Continue driving to Naryn. Overnight at Guesthouse in Naryn with basic facilities. (BLD)
Day 14: Issyk Kul Lake
Today our destination is Lake Issyk-Kul, which is the second-largest alpine lake after Lake Titicaca in South America. A combination of depth, thermal activity and mild salinity means the lake never freezes, thus its name `Issyk-Kul’ means `warm lake’. Archaeological discoveries from the lake’s bottom include ancient relics and graves dating back to the first millennium BC. An ancient trade center from the second century BC is thought to have been destroyed by the rise and fall of the lake’s level. Before checking in at our hotel we will visit Cholpan-Ata, known for petroglyphs which are thought to have been created by the tribes of the Neolithic period. The images are mainly primitive long-horned ibex, horses, camels and snow leopards. Overnight at hotel in Issyk Kul Lake. (BLD).
Day 15: Bishkek
In the morning drive to Bishkek. En-route we visit Burana tower which was built in the 11 centuries. Overnight at hotel in Bishkek (BLD)
Day 16: Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
In the morning visit Ala-Archa National Park for a picnic lunch followed by a city tour of Bishkek in the afternoon.
Late evening transfer to the airport for Uzbekistan airways flight HY 780 EDT 6:40pm ETA to Tashkent at 7:00pm. On arrival at Tashkent airport you will be met by our Uzbek guide and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight at hotel in Tashkent (BLD)
Day 17: Tashkent-Urgench Khiva
Morning flight to Urgench and transfer to Khiva. Depending on the flight schedule, possibly half day sightseeing of Khiva city. Overnight at hotel in Khiva (BLD)
Day 18: Khiva City Tour
Legend has it that Khiva was founded when Shem, son of Noah, discovered a well here. The town certainly existed by the 8th Century, as a minor fort and trading post on a Silk Road branch to the Caspian Sea and the Volga. In the early 16th century, Khiva was made capital of the Timurid Empire, becoming a busy slave market and pivot of the khanate for the next three centuries. Until Russia finally wrested the region from Timurid’s grasp in the 19th century, even the boldest hearts feared encounters with these fierce tribesmen and their desert territory. Khiva is an ancient walled city and looks much like it did in centuries past. It is one of the few sites in Central Asia where one can easily imagine life during the time of the emirates. We will spend the morning wandering it’s maze of ruins and great mosques. Later, a tour of this living museum including the Ichon-Qala gates, Muhammad Amin and Rakhim Khan’s Medressas, Tosh-Khovli Palace, Islom-Huja Medressa and Minaret. Overnight at hotel in Khiva (BLD)
Day 19: Khiva-Bukhara
Our drive to Bukhara is through the arid setting of the Kyzyl Kum Desert. Along the way we stop for some refreshments and see how humans have survived over the centuries in this unforgiving landscape. With buildings spanning 1,000 years of history and city centre that has not changed much in past two centuries, Bukhara is one of the best places in Central Asia to catch a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. Most of the city centre is an architectural preserve and includes a massive royal fortress, plenty of former Madrassas, a number of ancient public baths and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. There are over 140 protected buildings in the city. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara (BLD)
Day 20: Bukhara: City Tour
Today we explore the old quarter on foot. Bukhara is an ancient city with bustling “trade domes”, active mosques, and the Kalyan Minaret (“tower of death”), one of Central Asia’s tallest. We’ll stroll around the streets and visit the old town centre where old men with long white beards gossip for hours over cups of tea. Bukhara has been designated a World Heritage Site; resulting in the complete restoration of some of the 11th to 15th century mosques. There are even some structures still standing that date back to Zorastrian times 2,500 years ago. We also visit the massive fortress The Ark, with the Emir’s open-air throne room and the Mausoleum of Ismail Samani, an intricate and beautiful 10th century brick structure that is nicely preserved. We’ll also venture to the outskirts of Bukhara and visit the summer palace of the last emir, built by a Russian Czar with grand halls and a harem. We will also see Char Minar, a gate of a ancient madrassa long time gone. It was built in 1809 and has more in common with Indian art styles than local. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara (BLD)
Day 21: Bukhara
Full free day at leisure. Overnight at hotel in Bukhara (B)
Day 22: Bukhara – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand
We depart early for Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane, where we tour Ak-Saray Palace, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, House of Meditation and the Crypt of Timur, a man who changed the course of Central Asian history. There’s little left of Timur’sAk-Saray Palace except bits of the gigantic, 40 m (98 foot) high entrance covered with gorgeous filigree like blue, white and gold mosaics, but it’s staggering to try and imagine what the rest of this glorious summer palace must have looked like. We continue later to Samarkand. For most people, Samarkand is as mythical as Atlantis or as remote and legendary as Tombouctou. The sublime larger-than-life monuments of Timur, the technicolour bazaar and the city’s long, rich history work a special kind of magic. On arrival we’ll visit the old bazaars for which this exotic city is famous. Overnight at hotel in Samarkand (BLD)
Day 23: Samarkand: City Tour
Samarkand, sometimes called the ‘Rome of the Orient’ was already flourishing when Rome and Babylon were founded. During the course of our full-day tour we visit the famous Registan Square, Bibi Khanum Mosque, Mausoleum of Tamerlane, Observatory of Ulughbek, the site where Uleg Bek, grandson of Tamerlane, made some of the greatest achievements of the pre-telescope era of astronomy in the 15th century. We also visit the regal mausoleums of Shah-I Zinda, site of Central Asia’s most sacred Islamic shrine, the massive mosque of BibiKhanym, and the adjacent colourful market. You can purchase Samarkand’s famous bread which Alexander the Great unsuccessfully tried to have duplicated back home in Greece, or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to the world’s tastiest melons of multiple varieties. Our afternoon tour covers the Afrosiab Museum, located on the site of ancient. Overnight at hotel in Samarkand (BLD)
Day 24: Samarkand-Tashkent
In the morning we drive along the scenic road as it winds along the eastern spurs of the Pamir Ranges to Tashkent. We continue on a city tour of Tashkent visiting mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools) housing craft workshops and dating from the 14th century. We visit the Kukeldash Medressa, a grand 16th century academy undergoing restoration and the History Museum of Uzbekistan and the Museum of Fine Arts. Overnight at hotel in Tashkent (BLD)
Day 25: Onward flight
The trip will end with airport transfer (B)