For more than a decade Matthieu Paley has documented the lives of those living in the high altitude landscapes of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan for National Geographic and other prestigious publications.
With Matthieu at our side we will be exploring the villages, wild valleys and remote mountain passes, which surround the Hunza Valley, gaining real time insights into story-telling from one of the world’s leading photographers.
The price for these pioneering trips is $5990. The trip includes all food, travel and accommodation whilst in the country.
These trips are expected to fill up fast.
Email to apply now: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Matthieu Paley is one of the world’s leading documentary photographers. Over the last 15 years, Matthieu has been on assignment across the world with National Geographic, from the base camp of the highest unclimbed mountain in the world, to the smallest republic in the the Pacific ocean.
Matthieu knows Hunza intimately, having lived in Gilgit-Baltistan for four years. During this time Matthieu learned to speak the local languages Urdu and Wakhi, spending significant amounts of time with Pakistan’s remote pastoral communities.
Matthieu has published numerous photographic books, including ‘Pamir, Forgotten on the Roof of the World’, and has won a collection of awards for his work including International Photographer of the Year Award.
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 poorly understood part of the world. What unites everyone is the same curious spirit and desire to get far away from the typical tourist trails.
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.
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.
Do I have to be a keen photographer to take part in this trip?
No absolutely not. There will be plenty of opportunities to explore the region without your camera, and Matthieu will be happy to provide tips only if you wish to have them.
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 £500 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 a guide from the region who speaks fluent English and knows well the mountains. In addition, there will be Matthieu Paley and an ISHKAR representative.
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.
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 have the option to share a room, or to pay the single supplement (details on the application form) if you wish to have your own room.
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.