Panoramic Views Driving From Gilgit To Chitral.

ISLAMABAD to ISLAMABAD (21 days) Karakorum Highlights & Chitral Valley

Small Group Adventure

Karakorum Highlights & Chitral Valley

Countries Visited: Pakistan

Begin your Pakistani adventure in the modern capital, Islamabad, exploring its architectural marvels and cultural treasures. Then, journey northwards into the scenic mountain landscapes. Along the way, uncover ancient history at the Jaulian Monastery and Sirkup Old City, delving into Buddhist ruins and a vibrant Kushan-era city. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Naran Bazaar, a bustling mountain town brimming with local crafts and cuisine.

Traverse the breathtaking Babusar Pass and venture onwards to the legendary Fairy Meadows, a realm of unparalleled beauty with panoramic views of Nanga Parbat. Hike to the idyllic Beyal Camp or challenge yourself with a trek to Nanga Parbat Base Camp. Discover the remote village of Tarashing and trek to Herrligkoffer Base Camp, named after the first successful Nanga Parbat mountaineer. Continue through the Deosai National Park, a haven for wildlife and a tapestry of wildflower meadows.

Journey to Skardu, the heart of the Baltistan region, and explore the fertile Shigar Valley, renowned for its fruit orchards. Continue to Gilgit, an ancient town steeped in history. Ascend into the fabled Hunza Valley, surrounded by towering peaks, and experience the thrill of crossing the Hussaini Suspension Bridge. Witness local craftsmanship at the KORGAH weaving center, and visit the Baltit Fort, an emblem of Hunza heritage. Immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of the Kalash people, who inhabit the remote valleys of Rumbur, Bumburet, and Birir. Explore their distinctive traditions, vibrant attire, and unique way of life.

Venture into the Hindu Kush mountain range, traversing the Shandur Pass, home to the world's highest polo field. Explore the charming town of Chitral and visit Garam Chashma, renowned for its therapeutic hot springs. Witness a glimpse of history in Taxila, an ancient center of learning and art, before returning to Islamabad. Conclude your journey in the Pakistani capital, filled with memories of vibrant cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and the warmth of the people you've met along the way.

Throughout the expedition, we incorporate several invigorating day hikes, tailored to accommodate varying fitness levels. Among the highlights are treks leading to the Base Camps of the legendary Nanga Parbat, offering unparalleled views of this iconic peak. Additionally, we embark on scenic hikes to crystalline mountain lakes, such as the Passu Glacier, and explore ancient forts and sacred sites, immersing ourselves in the rich tapestry of Pakistani heritage.

Accommodations range from comfortable tourist-class hotels in Islamabad to charming guesthouses nestled amidst the rugged terrain, ensuring a restful retreat after each day's adventures. Delight your palate with the diverse array of cuisines included in nearly all meals, providing a tantalizing glimpse into the culinary traditions of the region. Be sure to savor the renowned local apricots of the enchanting Hunza Valley, adding a burst of flavor to your gastronomic journey.

 

Route Map

ISLAMABAD to ISLAMABAD (21 days) Karakorum Highlights & Chitral Valley - Kalash Festival
Click map to enlarge

Highlights

  • Travel the highest paved international road in the world the Karakorum Highway
  • Trek to the base camp of the 8125 metre peak of Nanga Parbat
  • Hike over the glacier, and through small settlements to Herrlikoffer Base Camp
  • Drive through the magnificent plains of Deosai National Park to Skardu
  • Walking through the picturesque Shigar valley and visit the historic fort
  • Crossing the Hussaini hanging bridge - made from rope and planks of wood
  • Enjoy the breathtaking alpine meadows and turquoise rivers of the Shandur Pass
  • Wander the amazing bazaar in Chitral with merchants from Punjab and Afghanistan
  • Day trip to Garam Chashma hot springs
  • Meet the fascinating Kalash people in the Kalash Rumbur Valley

Includes

  • Accommodation - twin share - twin share - comfortable hotels, guesthouses and cabins
  • Islamabad city tour
  • Taxila museum
  • Shan Faisal Mosque
  • Hike to Nanga Parbat Viewpoint
  • Hike to Herrlikoffer base camp
  • Deosai Plains National Park
  • Shigar Fort
  • Amborik Mosque
  • Kargah Buddha
  • Baltit and Altit Forts - Karimabad
  • Hike on Passu Glacier
  • Duikar View Point for sunset
  • Kalash Museum
  • Chitral Summer Palace
  • Chitral Old Mosque
  • Letter of Invitation and general visa advice
  • Pakistani clothes (Shalwaar Chemise)
  • Airport transfers
  • Meals - 3 meals per day
  • Tea & Coffee morning & afternoon
  • All transport
  • English speaking guide

Excludes

  • Visas
  • Optional Excursions as listed in the Pre-Departure Information
  • International Flights
  • Flight from Chitral to Islamabad (weather allowing) - paid locally
  • Airport Taxes & Transfers
  • Travel Insurance
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Trip Itinerary

This morning we will welcome you to Pakistan at Islamabad airport and transfer you to your hotel. At 2pm your guide will meet you at the hotel and take you on an afternoon tour of Pakistan's modern capital. Our visits will include the huge Faisal Mosque, which is the 6th largest in the world and the biggest in South Asia. We'll also vist the Pakistan Monument which was constructed to symbolise the unity of the Pakistan people, and the impressive Heritage Museum which presents the history and living traditions of the people of Pakistan both from the main stream and the remotest regions of the country.

Extra nights are available in the hotel before the tour starts if morning arrival flights are not available or convenient. 

We leave modern Islamabad this morning and start our drive up into the hills to the north. Our journey takes us along the photogenic, 160km-long Khagan valley, which is embraced by the forested peaks of the lesser Himalayan range. Along the way we visit the Jaulian Monastery and Sirkup Old City. Explore the ruins of Jaulian, a Buddhist monastery, and imagine the serene lives of monks who once resided there. Finally, walk among the relics of Sirkup, a bustling city from the Kushan era, picturing its grand streets and marketplaces.

Naran is one of Pakistan's most popular summer holiday spots and is famous for its colourful panorama. Naran itself is situated on the banks of the Kunhar river, and we have some time to look around before spending the night here. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Naran Bazaar. Browse vibrant stalls overflowing with handcrafted souvenirs, local textiles, and delicious street food. You can also engage with friendly vendors and discover unique treasures that capture the essence of this mountain town.

Prepare for some serious hairpin bends today as the road climbs up to the Babussar Pass (4175m) and then descends again towards Chilas, situated on the banks of the mighty Indus River. En-route we'll stop for a break at Lalusar Lake. We continue up the Karakorum Highway to Raikot Bridge (2300m) and then follow a narrow jeep track to Tato village. The track clings to the side of the mountain with steep drops below and we'll be thankful for our experienced driver! We leave the vehicles at Jhel Village there and take a 2-3 hour/5km trek to Fairy Meadows (3300m). This is a strenuous uphill walk, which includes a gradual climb for most of the route, with one steep final section of around 30 minutes (total elevation gain around 650m). Horses can be hired locally for around 3000Rs per person (approx. GBP 13 / USD 18) if you don't want to walk up. 
This a legendary place, well named by German climbers, and has an unsurpassed view of Nanga Parbat (8125m).

Fairy Meadows (3300m) is one of the most picturesque places in the world, and the start of some fantastic mountain trekking routes. There are two options today. The easier choice is a 2-3 hour trek through dense prime forest, and then through birch trees and along shallow streams up to Beyal Camp (3500m). This is a summer settlement for the local shepherds and has stunning views of Nanga Parbat. An easy walk takes you back down to Fairy Meadows to enjoy a camp fire after dinner. 
The other, tougher option is continue on from Beyal Camp for another 3 to 4 hours to reach Nanga Parbat Base Camp (3967m, 500m ascent). Suitable for fit, and experienced trekkers, this is an 8 to 9 hour round trip, but well worth it if you're up for it, 

For those preferring a more relaxed pace, Fairy Meadows is a good location for a relaxed stroll, or wildlife spotting; keep your eyes peeled for marmots, Himalayan ibex, and colorful birds. The remote location of Fairy Meadows makes it a perfect spot for star gazing at night. 

We'll leave Fairy Meadows reluctantly this morning and after breakfast hike back down to Tato (approx. 1 1/2 to 2 hours), pick up our vehicles again, and then drive on to Tarashing, through the magnificent, pine forested Astore Valley which feels reminiscent of Austrian scenes (around 3 to 4 hours drive). The roads become smaller and narrower and eventually we reach the remote village of Tarashing, the last village at the head of the jeep road towards the Rupal face of Nanga Parbat. The village is watered by Tarashing Glacier which follows the route to the base camp. The fields around the village offer picturesque scenery and the flower blossom in summer is superb.

We have another stunning mountain trek today. We'll start by driving from Tarashing (2911m) into the the Rupal Valley, following the Tarashing (or Chhungphar) glacier's lateral moraine before crossing it and continuing to Rupal Village. From there we hike through small settlements and past herds of yaks and cattle to the Herrligkoffer Base Camp (3550m) at the foot of Nanga Parbat. The camp site is named after a German mountaineer, Karl Herrligkoffer, who led the first successful expedition to reach the peak of Nanga Parbat in 1953. The overal trek is around 8km, taking around 4 hours. 
Back at Tarashing, there will be free time in the village to chat to friendly locals and see how life is lived in these remote areas where the glacial water supply is vital and ever decreasing. 

Our route today takes us through the Deosai National Park. These plains are a contrast to the steep valleys we've traversed so far, and lie between the Indus River and the souther extension of the Himalayas. The altitude averages 3800m, and the undulating green, flower-filled meadows are surrounded by snow capped peaks. Fresh water lakes abound, helping to make this seldom disturbed area a haven for wildlife, including Brown Bear and Markhor. After driving across the plains, we continue to Skardu, the capital of the Baltistan region. Known as 'Little Tibet', this area has one of the highest clusters of mountains in the world, and has ancient ties with nearby TIbet. 
We'll break the journey to Skardu at the beautiful Satpura Lake, another large lake at the foot of the plains, and visit the Manthal Buddha, a large granite rock into which a picture of Buddha has been engraved, probably sometime in the 8th century. This is one of the most important relics of Buddhism in the Skardu region. 

We take a day trip from Skardu to the fertile Shigar Valley today. We'll cross the Indus River, and head up the Shigar River which is surrounded by wide flat sand banks, deposited when the water levels are high. The lush green valley is a great contrast, and is well known for its fruit orchards. Shigar is inhabited mostly by Balti people of Tibetan descent, and has many historical buildings of architectural significance associated with the Noorbakhshi Sufi community. We'll visit the Amborik Mosque, and have lunch at Shigar Fort. 
After returning to Skardu we can take a late afternoon hike to Khorpocho Fort, built in the 8th century on a hill overlooking Skardu. The main fort was destroyed in 1840, though the impressive boundary walls remain. 

After breakfast we'll drive back to the main Karakorum Highway and the town of Gilgit. The road hugs the banks of the Indus river all the way, and we can see various stretches of white water rapids. We'll make a stop on the way at the Katchura Lakes, and look out for the local wild apricot trees. 
Gilgit is an important town, and was part of the Kushan Empire in teh 1st to 3rd centuries. Buddhism persisted after the Kushan demise, though few traces remain - one being the Kargah Buddha, a rock wall carved in the 7th century. Gilgit is surrounded by high peaks, the most impressive being Rakaposhi (7,788m). We'll arrive in time to visit the old British cemetery and the lively and eclectic bazaar. If we're lucky we may be able to see a Polo match; Polo is extemely popular through the region and matches between neighbouring towns happen throughout the summer. 

We drive north again today on the newly reconstructed Karakorum Highway. Passing under the shadow of Rakaposhi, our two hour journey leads us to the former kingdom of Hunza, called “the epitome of mountain grandeur” by Eric Shipton. It is a fairy tale land surrounded by beautiful rugged & snow capped mountains; including Ultar (7,388m), Lady Finger (6000m), Diran (7,266m) and Rakaposhi (7,788m).
In the Upper Hunza Valley, we'll take a walk for around two hours from Borith Lake (2600m), up to a stunning viewpoint alongside the huge Passu Glacier. The saline waters are supposed to be good for the skin, and many people take a dip here in the summer months. The site is also an important sanctuary for migrating wildfowl. From the glacier, a path leads back down to the Karakorum Highway. We'll return to our hotel and there feast on some of the best food of the trip with both Indian and Chinese influences creating mouth watering dishes.

A short drive and walk after breakfast this morning brings us to the world famous Hussaini Suspension Bridge. Considered the second longest man made hanging bridge in the world, this stretches for several hundred metres across the Hunza River, with widely spaced wooden boards and a few wire ropes being all that is between you and the rushing river below. Take care if you want to cross it!
We'll then follow the river downstream and visit Gulmit village, Pamiri Musical School, a local museum and discover the KORGAH weaving center, where traditional craftsmanship meets modern social impact. This center supports women artisans in rural Pakistan, empowering them through the creation of beautiful, hand-woven textiles. Witness skilled weavers at work, learn about their ancient techniques, and perhaps even take home a unique piece that carries with it a story of sustainability and female empowerment.

In Karimabad, the main town of the Hunza Valley, we'll visit the Baltit Fort which was the old palace of the Mirs of Hunza. About 700 years old, the Baltit Fort sits on the edge of a cliff with a ravine below and the Ultar glacier in the distance.

We head south and then west in to the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. The road from Gahkuch to Gupis has breathtaking views along the Gupis valley where people go about their everyday lives farming the fertile land. Our hotel offers an amazing view down the valley to Phander Lake, which is famous for trout fishing

Our journey continues through alpine meadows, weaving our way through turquoise rivers and streams to take us over the mighty Shandur Pass (3720m), which is also home to the highest Polo ground in the world. Here every July, Chitralis and Gilgities fight it out on the Polo field for the coveted trophy. Driving on, we catch a glimpse of snow capped Tirich Mir mountain and reach the quiet village of Mastuj where we spend the night.

This traditional route has been used for centuries by the traders between Chitral and Gilgit. After lunch we explore the streets and alleyways of Chitral town. The bazaar, overshadowed by the icy ramparts of Tirich Mir (7708m) up valley, has a really interesting atmosphere, with merchants from as far as the Punjab and Afghanistan peddling an eclectic selection of merchandise - semi-precious stones, locally woven cloth, the famous chitrali caps, old medals,etc. Visit the Bazaar and dinner at Kabuli Restaurant.

After breakfast we drive to Garam Chashma, famous for its hot sulphur springs and well known for their healing abilities and attract many people who wish to be cured from varied ailments ranging from migraines to sterility. Drive back to Chitral in the afternoon where you'll have some free time. 

Today, we will visit the fascinating Kalash people who inhabit the nearby valleys of Rumbur, Bumburet and Birir. The exact origin of these people is lost in antiquity - some believe they are the descendants of Alexander the Great’s soldiers left behind when he retreated from Asia - but they have inhabited these valleys for at least 1500 years. The Kalash women wear black gowns of coarse cloth in summer and hand-spun wool dyed in black in winter, with picturesque headgear made of woven wool, adorned with cowry shells and buttons. We visit Rumbur village and overnight stay at Saifullah Guest House. 

Today, we'll walk to Nuristani village and back to Rumbur, before we drive on to the Bumburet Valley. We visit Bumburet village and Kalash Museum.

Today we'll return to Chitral, where we visit the Summer Palace on the hilltop (2743 meters) above the town at Birmoghlasht. The Mehtar, former rulers of Chitral used to stay there during the summer season. We'll have a short hill walk, where we'll have lunch with views. Then we drive back to Chitral and visit Old Mosque.

We intend to fly back to Islamabad today, however due to the mountainous region, weather may not allow us this luxury. If this is not possible, we shall make the journey by road. Payment for the flight would be made locally if this upgrade is necessary. 

After a short drive we visit Taxila Museum and the remains of Jaulian monastery. Taxila, was once the seat of Oriental culture. It was first mentionned as a satrapy of the Achemenian empire in 6th century BC. It was invaded by Alexander the Great, and passed along to other rulers until finally reaching the hands of Ashoka the Great, who moulded the city into a center of learning. The creative Gandhara period followed shortly thereafter and Taxila remained a center of learning, philosophy and art until the 5th century C.E. In the afternoon we proceed to half day city sightseeing of Islamabad. We will begin at the old city of Rawalpindi, at the Raja(king) Bazaar. A stop in the silver and gold bazaars will allow us to catch traditional craftsmen at work. We will then continue on the main street linking the Twin cities - Murree Road- before arriving at the new gleaming capital. We continue our visit at Daman-e-koh, situated at an altitude of 1100 meters which provides bird’s eye view of Islamabad. Then we will visit Shah Faisal Mosque before returning to our Islamabad hotel where we spend the final night. 


Trip Joining Point: Islamabad

Start Time Day 1: 08:00

The trip starts in the morning of Day 1 of your trip. You will be advised on specific details on booking.

This trip will be staying accommodations which range from comfortable tourist-class hotels in Islamabad to charming guesthouses nestled amidst the rugged terrain, ensuring a restful retreat after each day's adventures. Standards are very different to the Western World, and you cannot always expect simple things such as regular hot water, especially as we gain altitude. 

PRE-TRIP ACCOMMODATION:

You can pre-book accommodation and airport transfers through us. We will require your flight number, arrival time, and arrival date so please ensure this information is forwarded to us as soon as you have booked your flight. Please book this service as soon as you have booked your flight and no later than 6 weeks prior to departure, after which a late booking fee may apply. If you have booked through a travel agent, please contact them to request pre-trip accommodation and airport transfers.

Additional nights in Islamabad before or after your trip can be arranged, at a cost of £65 per night for a room. A guide is required if you are in Islamabad a full day or more before your trip starts, which costs £75 per day.

These can be booked and paid for in advance through My Oasis Account (see Add Ons). If you would like to book more than one night, please contact us and we will add this to your account for you.

If your flight arrives in the early hours of day one of the trip and you do not wish to book a room, there is a reception area in the hotel with sofas where you can rest before we meet in the morning for the first day's drive.

AIRPORT TRANSFERS:

Airport Transfers are included in the cost of your adventure (provided you request these via the UK office or your account six weeks before your departure).

On arrival into Islamabad airport you will be met by a local representative who will take you to the group joining Hotel. The driver will have your name on a sign with Oasis Overland.

Your tour leader will meet you on the morning of departure; usually around 8am, at the joining hotel where you will be briefed on the day to day running of the trip. There will be a notice in reception advising you of the time of the meeting, and any further information. Your Tour Leader will collect a photocopy of your passport information pageinsurance policy details with policy number and confirmation that the duration will cover you for the entire trip and a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. It is essential that you attend this meeting - please let the UK office or your tour leader know if you are unable to do so.

Post-trip accommodation will need to be booked and paid for in advance, you can contact the Oasis Office before your trip commences to arrange this, please email info@oasisoverland.co.uk. Airport transfers can be arranged with your tour leader on Day 1 and are included in the trip price.

We recommend arriving on Day 1 in your departure city, most flights arrive very early in the morning. Day 1 of your trip will either take you on a city tour if you are booked on the Domes & Deserts of the Indus trip OR you will head off late morning if you are on the Karakorum Highlights trip.

There are many online flight search engines such as www.skyscanner.net or www.ebookers.co.ukflights can also be booked direct with airline websites or through travel agencies. Please inform us of your flight details through your online account, as airport transfers can be arranged for various trips.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your trip finishes. This is a general requirement for all of the countries we travel to on our trips.

If you have dual nationality you can only use one passport for the entire trip. It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the relevant visas you require.

Please bring 2 photocopies of your passport details to give to your tour leader.

The information below is to be used only as a guide and may change without prior notice. It is advisable to contact the relevant embassy in plenty of time before the trip departs to check the current visa requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the relevant visas you require.

For more information on other nationalities & visas checkout www.projectvisa.com

Pakistan

All nationalities must obtain a Pakistan visa in advance, before joining the Oasis trip. This needs to be obtained through a Pakistan embassy or consulate.

To apply for your visa for Pakistan you will be required to obtain a Letter of Invitation (LOI). Once you have received the LOI you will be able to apply for the visa at the relevant consulate. 

Oasis Overland will provide you with the LOI included in your trip price. Details for the LOI process and visa application will be emailed to you a few months before your trip departs. Cost will depend on the embassy in which you apply for your visa, approximately British £140, Australia $70 AUD, New Zealand $170 NZD, South Africa 490 ZAR, American $190 USD and Canada $100 CAD.

It is possible that you may require some vaccinations for your trip, depending on the areas that you are visiting. As we are not medically trained, we are unable to give detailed advice on vaccination requirements, so please use the information below as a guide only. We have worked closely with Nomad Travel Clinics for many years and they offer Oasis travellers a 10% discount on vaccinations, anti- malarial drugs, first aid items, clothing and equipment, just enter discount code OASIS1000 at www.nomadtravel.co.uk. Alternatively you can check out the fit for travel website for more travel health information or consult a reputable travel clinic or your GP for information and advice. We suggest that you allow at least 8 weeks to get all your vaccinations.

Yellow Fever - Being vaccinated against Yellow Fever and having a valid certificate and a photocopy is deemed compulsory in many countries we visit, especially at certain borders and are needed if you are entering from an infected country. You can view a list of countries requiring a certificate through the World Health organisation http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf

Rabies - Vaccinations are regularly recommended for some of the countries that we travel through - especially if time and money are not a deterrent.

Malaria - In some of the areas we visit there is a risk of contracting Malaria. You must be aware that whatever malaria prophylactics you are taking, they only offer partial protection. They must be coupled with your own physical efforts against being bitten - which is the best prevention. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes come out at sunset so from this time you should wear long sleeves and trousers. Exposed skin, especially ankles, should have insect repellent containing 'Deet' applied to them. Your crew will advise on where the worst affected areas are on the trip. There are a number of prophylactic malaria treatments on the market & requirements change. It is also wise to take a sample of whichever prophylactic you choose, a few weeks before you leave. This way you may determine early on if you have any adverse reactions so you can change the regimen if necessary. Please consult a reputable travel clinic or GP for advice. For more information visit www.nomadtravel.co.uk or www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk

Altitude sickness - This is caused by thin air (due to lack of oxygen) and can affect anyone arriving at high altitude (above 3000mtrs). The symptoms are headaches, dizziness, shortage of breath and possibly nausea. To avoid this or alleviate the symptoms make a point to acclimatize by arriving into a high altitude destination a few days early and make sure you do not over exert yourself, rest for a few hours, avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, large meals and drink plenty of water.

As we are travelling mostly by land (as opposed to flying into a high altitude location) we should acclimatise gradually, and so avoid 'soroche', mountain sickness.

Dengue - Unlike the malaria mosquito, which bites at night, the dengue carrying mosquito bites during the day. Some areas we travel to do have occasional outbreaks & it is therefore advised that you take care not to be bitten during the day as well as at night. There is no vaccine available.

Health - To join our trips you should be in good general health. Your medical insurance company must be told if you have any pre-existing medical condition / allergy or if you are on any regular medication, otherwise you may not be covered under your policies for these. Our crew will need to know of any medication or conditions you may have. For general health advice log onto www.nathnac.org/travel/

It is a compulsory requirement that you have adequate travel insurance before you join any Oasis Trip & at the very least are insured for all necessary medical & repatriation costs incurred.

You will be asked to provide the following details in My Oasis Account if you have not already done so: travel insurance name, insurance policy number & insurance emergency telephone number. You will also be required to give a copy of your policy with this information to your Tour Leader on arrival with confirmation that the policy duration is sufficient to cover you for the entire duration of your trip.  It is also wise to leave a copy of your insurance policy with a friend or relative for safe keeping.

We believe that your safety and holiday enjoyment are very important. It is a mistake to think that "it will never happen to me". It is also very important that you are covered for all the activities that you may wish to undertake while on our trip. It is extremely important that you check the full extent of your cover related to 24 hour Medical Emergency Assistance. In the event of you needing medical treatment you want to know that you have the best cover available to you. Your policy should include adequate Medical Emergency and Repatriation cover as well as Cancellation, Baggage and Personal Liability cover. You need to be aware of EXACTLY what activities your policy covers you for. Please note that skiing is not usually covered in most insurance policies. 

We offer tailor made Overland Adventure Travel Insurance that covers most of the adventure and sporting activities on our trips.

For further information on the insurance we offer, the activities covered and costs, check out the Travel Insurance section of our website. You can purchase our insurance by logging into My Oasis Account and click 'Buy Insurance' or through the following link.

Spending Money

From past trips and traveller feedback we’d recommend changing US$100 (or GBP) in Islamabad to local currency. This will pay for the odd coffee and soft drink, as well as a few souvenirs. Personal spending habits & budgets differ greatly from person to person, but generally there isn’t a lot to spend your money on as most things are included! If you plan on buying a large item, such as a carpet, then budget for this separately and US dollars would be the better currency. Budget on optional activities separately (see optional excursions page).

How to bring your currency?

It is best to bring your money in combination of debit/credit cards and US dollars cash. Many places will NOT accept Visa, Mastercard or credit cards in general, but it is still wise to travel with one as a backup. ATMs are few and far between and can be out of service or cards will not always be accepted and there are usually daily withdrawal limits, so having some cash US dollars will provide a useful back-up. You can easily change GB pounds in Islamabad.

Changing money

Change your money only at banks, hotels or forex bureaus/cambios.  It is illegal to change money on the street, as these people will normally be opportunistic thieves or undercover police. Your guide will advise you where & when you can change money & with what means.  It is also a good idea to have a small CASH emergency fund, to allow for the unexpected.

Credit and Debit Cards

If using credit or debit cards please note that usually you will be given local currency and NOT US dollars or GB pounds. We recommend that you inform your bank that you will be using your card abroad to avoid it being blocked. 

Pre-Paid Travel Currency Cards

These cards are similar to normal credit and debit cards but they can be pre loaded with cash before you travel with a set amount allowing you to withdraw this cash using the card at normal ATMs. It is a more secure way to access cash on your trip, but again do not rely on these as your sole means of funds on a trip. Several banks and companies now offer these cards, but be sure to look into the rates for withdrawing cash when making your decision. 

Tipping 

Is often expected and relied upon. It is often more than a reward for services well done, but, as wages are extremely low, it is an accepted means of supplementing an income. If you would like to leave a tip for any activity/individual, you could organise this as a group and give a tip at the end. Your guide will be able to advise and normally will tip for your restaurant meals, as part of your trip price. 

Because it can be difficult to know what to tip, and because it has such importance in some areas both economically and culturally, there may be times and activities for which your crew will make it clear what level of tipping is 'customary/expected'. This is motivated by the knowledge of how important tipping can be, and the offence or confusion that can be caused when local people are tipped poorly. In the end, tipping remains at the discretion of the individual, but our crew will continue to advise on normal or average rates, and we would ask you to carefully consider the economic or personal impact of being seen as 'under tipping'. We know that many who travel with us are on a tight budget, but ask you to consider that many local people face financial hardship, and also work very hard to try to give you unrivalled service/experiences.

In the past we have been asked by travellers about tipping your guide. If you choose to do this, it would be budgeted separately from the above. Our guys work very hard at making your trip a great travel experience. Working overseas can often be challenging and they are pretty much on call for you 24 hours a day, so it's appreciated as a thank you for hard work and good service, but of course not mandatory or expected. Our suggestion is to budget around US$1 or $2 a day.

Pakistan has an extreme of weather conditions. The areas we visit in the north are generally only passable during the summer months from June to October. Temperatures can be as high as 40 degrees during the day with a powerful sun at altitude. At night, especially from September, temperatures can drop to sub zero. Flooding is possible and thunderstorms can be heavy during July and August, but this is still most definitely the best time of year to visit!

For the South, we prefer October to April, as it is the drier time and the temperature is a little cooler in the evenings, but do still expect high temperatures and hot, humid days and nights.

Key:  N = Average Night time Temperature   D = Average Daytime Temperature  R = Average Monthly Rainfall (mm) (All temperatures are in Degrees° Centigrade)

 

    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

London

N

D

R

2

6

54

2

8

34

3

11

42

6

13

37

8

17

47

11

20

45

14

22

57

13

21

59

11

19

49

8

14

62

5

10

64

4

9

54

Islamabad

N

D

R

3

18

56

5

19

73

10

24

89

15

30

62

20

35

39

24

39

62

24

35

267

23

33

310

21

33

98

14

31

29

7

25

18

3

20

37

Karachi

N

D

R

12

26

10

15

29

10

19

32

10

23

35

10

27

34

10

28

34

10

28

31

30

27

32

40

26

31

10

23

34

10

16

31

10

14

28

10

The less you take the less you have to pack, wash & lug home & you can always pick up extras along the way. Most people make the mistake of bringing too much gear. Clothes, washing or laundry facilities will be available at least once a week. You will be travelling in the heat & temperatures can drop in the evening, so bring clothes for all climates.

If you are travelling on a September departure, ensure you have pack extra warm clothing as temperatures can be very cold at altitude.

You will be issued with 2 x Shalwaar Chemise, which are worn by the local people. You don’t have to wear these, but we find they are very comfortable and you will be appreciated and accepted more freely by the locals. There is room to wear trousers or shorts / T shirts / shirts / blouses underneath when the weather gets cold. Moderate dress is the order of the day wherever we go.

Women – will be required to wear head scarves, long sleeves and either loose fitting ankle length skirt or pants. 

Men – Must be conservatively dressed, and will need long trousers and long sleeved shirts.

Both men and women will need to wear covered shoes in certain areas. Shorts are generally not considered acceptable for males or females throughout Pakistan and we have only included them on the list for use underneath your Shalwaar Chemise.

Make sure that you bring your gear in a traditional soft sided 70 - 90L rucksack or holdall - suitcases are not suitable. Remember baggage is limited to 20kg per person plus one day bag.


Equipment

Toiletries - Most available to buy on trip

  • Small day-pack or small bag to carry daily items
  • Soft rucksack or holdall (NOT rigid suitcase)
  • Water bottle - for personal use - we recommend Water-to-Go (see below Responsible Travel)
  • Soap, shampoo, toothbrush/paste, antibacterial hand wash, lip balm & moisturiser
  • Sun block 35 + after sun, hat & sunglasses
  • Tampons (difficult to find in country)
  • Contraception

Clothes

Personal Effects

  • One pair of trainers or boots
  • Sandals/flip flops/jandals/thongs
  • Underwear/socks
  • T shirts/shirts
  • Shorts/swimwear
  • Jeans/trousers/jog pants/leggings
  • Ankle length skirt or dress
  • Sweat shirt/jumper
  • Jacket/fleece & waterproof jacket

  • Camera with protective case, spare batteries, film/memory card
  • Torch & spare batteries (head torch is best)
  • Travel adaptor plug/charger (for cameras & mobile phone batteries)
  • Money belt
  • Personal stereo - there is a cassette player in the jeep!
  • Towel &/or sarong

Recommended Medical Kit List

  • Antiseptic ointment/Antihistamine cream &  tablets
  • Nurofen or equivalent pain-killer
  • Eye-drops/bath
  • Anti-diarrhoea treatment
  • A couple of bandages (elasticated & triangular)
  • Medication for personal allergies/asthma etc.
  • Insect repellent containing Deet
  • Re-hydration sachets/vitamin tablets
  • Assorted plasters
  • 1 Course of malaria treatment
  • Some suitable antibiotics as recommended by your doctor for infected cuts or to treat severe dysentery
  • Malaria Tablets - see Vaccinations & Health section
It will be your responsibility to carry your kit on excursions and optional activities as some local operators may not have medical kits to hand.

Cameras (incl. Digital & Video Cameras) - An easy to use 'point and press' will get you some good photos. For memorable shots, it may be worthwhile investing in an SLR camera, but be sure to get some practice in before the trip! Most towns and cities have internet cafes where you can download onto CD/internet sites - but don't rely on it.

Photography - Be aware of your surroundings when taking photographs and filming. Some locations will be sensitive or have local laws banning photography. For example it is usually forbidden to use cameras at borders or around government buildings, military installations, bridges and airports or to take photos of local officials. If you do take photos or film where it is not permitted you may find yourself being questioned by irate officials who may decide to confiscate your camera or instruct you to delete all the images/footage on your device. If in doubt ask for permission, or if there is no-one to ask use some common sense.

Drones - As the use of drones becomes more common, countries throughout the world are gradually updating their laws and restrictions on usage. The specific regulations will vary from one country to another, so do check the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for the latest information. As with cameras, use your common sense if you do use a drone and avoid operation in sensitive areas. If you plan to bring a drone on your trip with us please contact us first to ensure there will be a suitable place to store it while on your trip.

Electrical charging & power supply - It may be difficult to find a power source for charging at times, so a spare battery is a must. Log onto www.whatplug.net for information regarding the different electrical plugs and voltage used in each country.

The internet and WiFi are quite hard to find in many areas that we visit, and the efficiency or speed of connection is never a guarantee!  You will usually be able to email once a week or so on average. During periods of the trip where we are wild camping, internet will be less common.

Some travellers choose to take an unlocked mobile phone with them and buy a local SIM card, allowing them to use mobile data.  If you particularly want or need regular internet access this may be a good option. Telephone calls can be expensive usually £1 to £5 for a three minute call.

Before you go

  • Remove unnecessary packaging before you go - waste disposal facilities are often stretched or non existent in the places we visit. To avoid unnecessary pollution of local water supplies take environmentally friendly toiletries with you.
  • Why not invest in a wind-up or solar-powered torch or media player before you travel or at least rechargeable batteries.
  • Learn some of the local language and read up on the local history/culture before you go. You'll get so much more out of your trip.
  • Why not pack some pens/pencils exercise books in your rucksack and they can be donated to a local school or project while you're away. You can also purchase these items cheaply, locally which will help local businesses.
  • Take a sturdy water bottle with you from home that you can re-use throughout your trip. We carry large quantities of purified water with us on our Expedition vehicles and it is much better for the environment if you drink this, rather than purchase bottled water along the way. (It also saves you money).
  • Water-to-Go: Oasis Overland have partnered with Water-to-Go to help reduce the number of plastic water bottles consumed during a trip. Water-to-Go is a filtration system that eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from any non-salt water source. Click here and enter the code OASIS15 to purchase your Water-to-Go products at 15% discount. Water-to-Go will then donate a further 15% to Oasis Overland Charity projects.
 
While you're travelling

From experience gained in running trips, we have developed our own practical and manageable environmental policy which all of our crew practice on the trips we operate, and they will share this information with you at the start of your trip. We welcome your input on this, plus any new ideas you may have, to improve our existing procedures. As a guide here's a few tips to bear in mind.

  • Don't waste water. It is a scarce resource in many of the places our trips visit. On all our Ultimate and Overland Expeditions we carry large quantities of purified water with us. We encourage you to refill your own water bottles from this supply, rather than purchase bottled water along the way-much more environmentally friendly and saves you money.
  • Never buy endangered species or endangered habitat products. Apart from the fact of it being illegal it also encourages the trade to continue.
  • Look after and preserve the areas we visit. Be careful about stepping on coral reefs or trekking on undesignated tracks.
  • Buy locally made crafts and products helping to support the local economy.
  • Don't feel when bargaining that you have to get the cheapest price possible just for the sake of it. Pay what the item is worth to you & don't worry about what someone else has paid.
  • Try the local food and drinks - this will help to support local farmers and food sellers. Sitting in a local cafe is also a great way to meet local people.
  • Dispose of litter appropriately on your trip. This includes cigarette butts. Not only does litter look unsightly it can be lethal to wildlife.
  • Where any toilet facilities exist, however unsavoury they might seem to you, they should be used. Where they do not, always bury your waste and make sure it is never near (at least 30m) a water source.
  • When game viewing do not encourage your guides to get too close to the wildlife so that their natural behaviour is impeded.
  • Respect local customs, traditions and beliefs of the people in the different regions that you travel through.
  • Do not take photos of people, ritual events or special places unless you have asked first. Dress appropriately according to local codes and show respect around religious festivals.
  • Recycling is almost non-existent in many of the areas and countries we visit - we do the best we can with limited resources & space on our vehicles.
  • For books dedicated to travelling more responsibly & ethically see: www.tourismconcern.org.uk
 
Community Projects - Oasis are active in raising awareness and providing support to a number of projects and local schools where we believe we can make a positive difference. More information on the projects we support.

Generally Pakistani people are some of the friendliest on earth, but all major cities have their share of petty crime (just like our cities!) and sensible precautions need to be taken. Wearing expensive looking jewellery, watches and carrying cameras, will draw unnecessary attention to you. Leave valuables such as passports, excess money etc in your hotel safe (we recommend carrying a copy of your passport details page at all times). You may find a simple money belt is more discrete than a bag. Always be aware of your surroundings and when approached by people you do not know, use your common sense. At night in cities it's best to use a taxi, rather than walking around the streets. Single travellers in particular should take extra care and we would suggest that it is safer to remain with your group or with your guide who will be available during the evenings as well as during the touring day. 

FCO Advice - The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offer country-specific advice, regarding not only security but also entry regulations, local laws and customs and health. We strongly recommend all travellers visit the FCO website, or the equivalent in their home country, to familiarise themselves with local conditions and potential issues in the countries they plan to visit before committing to a trip with us. You can view their website here.

As an adventure tour operator, some of our trips will travel to areas that are rarely-visited and occasionally attract negative publicity. We are not in the business of taking our travellers or indeed staff to regions that we consider dangerous and the safety of all who travel with us is always our main priority, but as a discerning customer we understand you will want to be aware of any risks before travelling. We liaise with the FCO on specific regions or areas as necessary, as well as monitoring open media outlets and political risk resources, and speaking to our contacts on the ground.

In some rare cases, our trips may have to travel through areas against which the FCO either ‘advise against all but essential travel’ or ‘advise against all travel’. When our trips travel through these areas we will carry out all due diligence and notify you in advance. This advice can change without notice. In these instances you will need to ensure you have full and comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for these areas – some policies will exclude them.  We are able to provide additional cover, if required, at additional cost. It may also be required that you read and sign a short information sheet confirming you have been advised of the risks and agree to travel contrary to the FCO advice.

If you have any questions at all about the safety or security of your trip, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to discuss your trip in more detail.


We travel with a maximum of 3 travellers per vehicle, but we may cross paths with other vehicles and our group size could be up to 16 travellers with several jeeps in convoy. Travellers need to come with an open mind – this is a developing country and things may not go to plan. This trip will be staying accommodations which range from comfortable tourist-class hotels in Islamabad to charming guesthouses nestled amidst the rugged terrain, ensuring a restful retreat after each day's adventures. The itinerary is subject to change due to landslides or political situations, but we will always do our best to swap things around and complete everything we can (if safe to do so) or provide alternatives where possible.

Accommodation & Transport

In Northern Pakistan our transport is mainly by 4x4 jeep with some transfers in either a car or Land Cruiser. In Southern Pakistan we prefer to use a car or 4x4 (Land Cruiser or similar) with air conditioning. In both areas we use basic hotels, almost all with en-suite facilities. We do offer an upgrade to a single room – please enquire before your departure.

Altitude

On our Northern Pakistan trip we will be spending a lot of time at an altitude of over 3,000 mtrs and this is therefore defined as a high altitude area. There are different guidelines as exposure to these heights can cause the onset of altitude sickness. This form of sickness, which is the biggest health risk for trekkers, can cause people to experience differing degrees of symptoms, which include, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath. However our trips are designed to ensure there is plenty of time for adequate acclimatisation and cases of mountain sickness are rare. If you do suffer though, symptoms will usually decrease in severity during acclimatisation. Throughout the trip it is therefore important to drink plenty of fluids and eat lots of carbohydrate food as well to keep the body properly hydrated and finally and most critically please report any symptoms of altitude sickness immediately to your guide.

Vegetarians / Vegans / Coeliacs / Gluten & Lactose intolerance 

Our Tour Leaders will always do their best to cater for any dietary requirement or intolerance whenever possible. However we do not cater for fussy eaters. It must be remembered that the variety of dishes available may not be the same as available to meat eaters. If there is anything in particular you require in your diet or because of an allergy or would miss from home, it would be best to bring these with you. Remember that when eating out in local restaurants & hotels sometimes being vegetarian or food allergies / intolerances are still not widely known about or understood by many local people. i.e. Vegetarians or Vegans will often be offered fish or chicken in error. Most large towns and cities, or areas used to tourists, will often have more choice but please be aware that it will probably not be as varied as you are used to when eating out at home.

Ramadan 

Ramadan is the holy Islamic month during which Muslims fast during the day and is based on Lunar months. No food or liquid is allowed to pass a person's lips during daylight hours. Tourists are not expected to fast during this time, but are expected to show respect, by not eating on the streets or in public view etc. Be aware some shops and historical sites may adjust opening times, but this should not significantly affect our itinerary.  

People in some regions are generally conservative, especially about matters concerning sex and women. Muslim countries simply are not the place to make a feminist statement.  Attitudes range from fairly liberal to fairly conservative in some of the small towns we may pass through. If you are not prepared to fit in with the social code of the area you may be harassed.


Optional Excursions are paid for on the day and organised during your trip, so you can decide whilst travelling which activity you may want to do. Prices listed are only a guide and may be dependant on fluctuating exchange rates and minimum numbers. Please see below for more details.

 

Pakistan

Title From Price
Cycle Hire US$10
Nanga Parbat Base Camp trek from Fairy Meadows US$30
Horse Hire for carrying of luggage - Fairy Meadows US$20

We feel that having optional excursions gives a greater degree of flexibility and independence to our group members; independence to decide how much your spending budget can afford; flexibility to decide when and what time of day or with whom to visit a particular site, rather than for example, with the whole group at a pre-ordained time. If you decide not to join a popular excursion, you will have free time to relax or wander off to a market, village or beach, depending on where we are.

You pay for the optional excursions to the local operator, ensuring the money stays with that operator in the local community and this ensures as well, that you are paying the true price for any optional excursions you want to do. This also applies to accommodation costs before and after the trip. Please note that the prices of optional excursions quoted are approximate as local prices can and do change. Please see the relevant trip page for the Optional excursions you can do on that trip and a list of prices.


2024

Start Finish Special Events Trip Price  
Sun 07 Jul Sat 27 Jul Dates: Sun 07 Jul - Sat 27 Jul
Special Events: Adult Price: £2995 Book
Sun 04 Aug Sat 24 Aug Dates: Sun 04 Aug - Sat 24 Aug
Special Events: Adult Price: £2995 Book
Sun 01 Sep Sat 21 Sep Dates: Sun 01 Sep - Sat 21 Sep
Special Events: Adult Price: £2995 Book
Sun 22 Sep Sat 12 Oct Dates: Sun 22 Sep - Sat 12 Oct
Special Events: Autumn Colours, 5% Discount Adult Price: £2845 Book

2025

Start Finish Special Events Trip Price  
Sun 08 Jun Sat 28 Jun Dates: Sun 08 Jun - Sat 28 Jun
Special Events: Adult Price: £2995 Book
Sun 06 Jul Sat 26 Jul Dates: Sun 06 Jul - Sat 26 Jul
Special Events: Adult Price: £2995 Book
Sun 03 Aug Sat 23 Aug Dates: Sun 03 Aug - Sat 23 Aug
Special Events: Adult Price: £2995 Book
Sun 31 Aug Sat 20 Sep Dates: Sun 31 Aug - Sat 20 Sep
Special Events: Adult Price: £2995 Book
Sun 21 Sep Sat 11 Oct Dates: Sun 21 Sep - Sat 11 Oct
Special Events: Adult Price: £2995 Book
  • The itinerary runs in reverse for the trips that coincide with the Kalesh Festival in Chitral City.
  • To see both North and South Pakistan along with the Autumn colours, combine this trip departing on the 26-09-2020 with the Domes & Deserts of the Indus departing on the 17-10-2020.

Read reviews from previous Oasis Overland travellers.

ISLAMABAD to ISLAMABAD (21 days) Karakorum Highlights & Chitral Valley

Overall Rating
Review Date
Oct 2019
Reviewed by

This trip has definitely exceeded my expectation.

The scenery is absolutely stunning, people curious, very friendly and hospitable, food amazing. Driving on the hair rising roads just added to the whole adventure .

If you are prepared roughing it a bit, prepared for having showers in cold water occasionally, then this trip is for you. Oh and spare toilet paper roll always comes in handy:)

ISLAMABAD to ISLAMABAD (21 days) Karakorum Highlights & Chitral Valley

Overall Rating
Review Date
Oct 2019
Reviewed by

Amazing scenery, kind and friendly people, excitement every day, and terrifying roads.

ISLAMABAD to ISLAMABAD (21 days) Karakorum Highlights & Chitral Valley

Overall Rating
Review Date
Oct 2017
Reviewed by

The trip to Pakistan lived up to all my expectations. I knew the scenery would be fantastic by researching images on internet. I was really struck by the friendliness of the people and normality of life in Pakistan. North Pakistan is heaped in history from Alexander the Great to the Great Game and beyond.We were looked after by expert drivers and guides. The food was tasty and nourishing and for the first time in over forty years of travel I put on a little weight. All in all a fantastic holiday.

20 days from £2,845
Add to wishlist Added to wishlist
  • Travel Style
    Small Group Adventure
  • Start Location
    Islamabad
  • End Location
    Islamabad
  • Region
    Central Asia

A deposit of just £200 secures your place; full amount payable if booking within 10 weeks of departure.

Add Ons and Volunteer Projects

Prices are from prices and may vary depending on the number of participants or date of travel.

Pre-Trip Guide and Private Transport in Islamabad

From £75

Pre or Post-Trip Accommodation in Islamabad - Pakistan

From £65

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