Gilgit-Baltistan is home to some of the world’s most jaw-dropping landscapes, with more than fifty mountains over 7,000 metres, and 5 over 8,000. For millennia ancient trade routes have snaked their way through the verdant valleys which lie between these high peaks, carrying goods, ideas and influences between south Asia, Afghanistan and nearby China.
Even with recent upgrades to the Karakoram highway, this region remains stunningly remote. This is reflected in Hunza being home to some of the world’s rarest languages, a few of which are only spoken by a few hundred people. By securing special permissions, we will be visiting parts of the region few tourists ever get to see.
Amin Noor will be your guide to Northern Pakistan's Hunza Valley. Amin, with over 20 years of guiding experience in the region has many connections. He will be introducing you to many of them throughout the trip.
Amin has introduced many famous climbers to the mountain ranges of Northern Pakistan, and has climbed several of the peaks around 6000 metres in the Karakoram Range. Amin has also worked in earthquake disaster response in Pakistani Kashmir (AJK) and the Balakot areas.
Beyond his experience in working with famous mountaineers in Northern Pakistan's iconic mountain ranges, Amin will introduce ISHKAR travellers to the music, food and beauty of Northern Pakistan - introducing those he guides to the soul of the region.
One of the best things about going on an ISHKAR trip is the group of people with whom you travel. Our trips attract informed, critically minded and adventurous people from all around the world.
Some of you
will be drawn by the prospect of spending time in the remote wilderness,
others will be drawn by the chance to learn about a fascinating and
often misunderstood part of the world.
We get to know everyone who applies to our trips over the phone. In this way we can curate groups guaranteed to enjoy sharing this extraordinary experience together. What unites everyone is the same
curious spirit and desire to get far away from the typical tourist
The price for this once in a lifetime trip in 2022 is $3,990. It will include all food, transport and single room accommodation whilst in country. You will be assisted by guides who know the region inside out, providing access to areas rarely seen by tourists.
For those wishing to stay longer, an optional four day extension to Fairy Meadows with a hike to Nanga Parbat basecamp is possible for an additional payment of USD$590. A minimum of two travellers are required for this extension to run.
Email to apply now: email@example.com
* Single supplement applied where requested.
** Where international payments are due, we request that you ensure the
full amount is received, after all bank charges have been levied as per
the price and currency stated on the invoice stated.
We are uncompromising when it comes to the safety and security of our travellers and will not hesitate to alter plans or cancel trips due to changing security dynamics. In recent years, the security situation in Pakistan has imporved considerably. We will be travelling to Hunza which is a safe region, out of the reach of any turbulence in other regions of Pakistan.
Please see our Travel Security page for more information.
ISHKAR Team Members
Your ISHKAR point of contact for the trip is Clare. If you have any queries about the trip:
Clare Doolan ~ Head of Travel
Clare grew up on a big island in the middle of the Pacific (Australia) acutely aware that a bigger world awaited. For the past fifteen years, she has dedicated her personal and professional life to travel, looking for the backstory of places that get overlooked by guidebooks and google maps. Before joining ISHKAR, she spent a decade developing travel experiences for Botswana and Zimbabwe’s high-end safari industry. Though Clare has travelled widely across every continent other than Antarctica, she’s most fond of forays into Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
01 / A LOCAL PERSPECTIVE
Learn first-hand about the region and its cultural complexities, led by Amin as he introduces you to the changing landscapes of Northern Pakistan, both cultural and literal.
02 / CLIMB IN THE KARAKORAM MOUNTAINS
Take a deep breath and feel the expanse of the Karakoram mountains that we will walk around and sleep below during the trip.
03 / SWAP STORIES
Pass time swapping stories with people from some of the world’s most remote and high altitude communities.
04 / MUSIC OF THE VALLEYS
Share a meal with local musicians in the Chapursan valley while listening to their music and poetry.
This was one of my most memorable trips. Thank you Ishkar for really taking us beyond the headlines. I feel in love with Pakistan – the people we met were so receptive to us and each place you selected was perfect. Thank you for being super considerate about how we engaged with the people and the environment. And I made some great friends
Neha, ISHKAR traveller to Hunza 2021
Seeing ISHKAR’s philosophy and values up close and in person made me love this company
Molly, ISHKAR traveller to Hunza 2021
The balance of the rugged mountains against the warmth of the people and their hospitality make this a unique trip and the efforts that Ishkar put into get this whole trip organised were apparent as it ran so smoothly and was a incredible experience from start to finish. I would love to go again and reconnect with the people we met this time round
Shahin, ISHKAR traveller to Hunza 2021
Is it safe in Pakistan?
In recent years, the security situation in Pakistan has improved considerably. In 2018, there were an estimated 484,000 visits by British nationals to Pakistan. We will be travelling to Hunza which is a safe region, out of reach of any turbulence in other regions of Pakistan. We liaise directly with organisations within the regions of our travel in order to remain up to date with any ongoing changes. We will be informing local authorities of our travel plans, using reputable agencies, staying on established routes, and will remain as a group throughout.
Why travel with us?
We are proposing a different new travel experience. With years of experience and a network of fantastic contacts, we want to show people the Pakistan we know. This trip will be about meeting inspiring people, visiting extraordinary places and experiencing a true adventure in one of the world’s most beautiful and yet least visited regions.
How will COVID-19 affect the trip?
In order to protect both our travellers and those that our travellers come into contact with, we comply with local covid regulations in all destinations we visit. Our COVID-19 procedures are based on up to date advice from the World Health Organisation in addition to following local requirements. Along with our security information, we ensure to send out our COVID-19 procedures document to every traveller.
All vaccinated travellers should carry proof of their vaccination with a WHO-approved vaccine. Any travellers that do not meet this requirement may be required to show proof of a negative PCR test to travel (to be confirmed according to current restrictions at the time of travel).
Costs of any required COVID tests will be covered by the traveller.
Should ISHKAR decide to cancel a trip as a result of COVID-19 or should a traveller be unable to take part in the trip as a result of COVID-19, you will be offered options including a full refund as per our COVID-19 Travel Policy. Any further questions, please take a look at our COVID-19 Travel FAQs, and our generic COVID-19 Protocols, or contact a member of the team: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is included in the cost?
The cost includes domestic flights, all accommodation, guiding, transport/transfers in Pakistan, breakfast, lunch and dinner, entrance fees. It does not include international flights into and out of Islamabad, visa fees, insurance, excess luggage charges, cameras, alcohol, additional food and drinks, medical expenses, tipping.
When do I need to book?
As early as possible, this trip is likely to book up fast. Due to high demand and to ensure the best group fit, we interview all those that apply to join the trip. Once selected, participants must pay the $800 non-refundable deposit to secure their place.
The final balance needs to be paid 60 days prior to departure - you can pay this online, or via bank transfer directly to us.
To express your interest, please email us at email@example.com
How easy is it to get a visa?
Very simple - we will provide you with additional documentation to help with your application, along with advice for your country of residence.
Will we have a guide?
Throughout the trip, you will be accompanied by our guide Amin who speaks fluent English (and Japanese and Urdu!) and knows the mountains well.
Do I need special travel insurance?
You will be expected to have full travel insurance that covers the region. If you are unsure if the policy covers you we can suggest the specialist insurance providers.
Will I be able to travel on my own?
We will stay as a group for the duration of the trip. You may choose to travel on your own before the start or after the finish of the trip, but whilst travelling with ISHKAR you are requested to remain with the group. If you would like to stay on and explore longer, please talk to us so we can assist you with arrangements (at additional cost)
Do I need any vaccinations?
Please speak with your doctor to ensure you have the correct vaccinations for remote travel in Pakistan.
What do I need to bring?
We will send you a more detailed handbook before leaving, including recommended reading and clothing.
Where will we be staying?
We will be staying in a mixture of guesthouses in addition to camping whilst hiking in the more remote corners of the Hunza valley. You will have your own room throughout.
Can I come on my own?
Yes of course. Individuals and small groups are equally welcome. Personally, we also think this could be the perfect trip to experience with a friend, parent, child, or partner!
What is the food like?
All meals are included. Pakistani dishes are known for having aromatic and sometimes spicey flavours. There are vegetarian options in most places but please consult us if you have very specific dietary requirements.
When do I need to book my flights?
If you are thinking of applying, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the flights you will need to book, in order to ensure that all travellers arrivals in to Islamabad are coordinated.
Can I book even if I don’t live in the UK?
Yes of course. You will just need to arrive at Islamabad airport in time to catch the domestic flight.
Do I need to have a good camera for the trip?
No, feel free to bring any camera you wish, including just using the camera on your phone.