Day 01: Islamabad Arrival
Upon arrival at Islamabad International Airport. Meet, assist and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Rawalpindi/Islamabad. (No meals).
Day 02: Islamabad-Taxila-Besham
After breakfast drive to Besham en-route visiting Taxila, museum and sights.
Taxila is 40 kms away from Islamabad the capital city of Pakistan, was once the seat of Oriental civilization. In 6th century B.C, It was first talked about as a satrapy of the Archemenian Empire. It was attacked by Alexander the Great (Sikandar-e-Azam) & passed along to other monarch until finally he reached the hands of Ashoka, who give the shape of the city into a learning and cultural centre. The original Gandhara era pursued in a while. After that Taxila remained the centre of learning, thinking and sculptures. It came to a devastating and pitiable closing stage when sacked by White Huns. Today, here is a well-maintained museum & eight sites sprinkled in the region of a very short radius. Amongst the best conserved are Sirkap, Jaulian (the University) and Mohra Moradu.
After lunch continue drive to Besham. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.
Arriving at Besham we are at the base perimeter of Indus valley with fascinating view of the Indus River and the legendary road known as the Karakuram Highway (KKH) 8th wonder of the world. The widen of our traveling from Besham to Thakot (Shangla) is just a slight glance of the wonders and inspirational values that this road has in store for its travelers who take their journey with it on upstream path. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.
Dinner & overnight in Besham. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 03: Besham-Gilgit
After breakfast drive to Gilgit along Karakuram Highway. On the way lunch in a suitable restaurant.
Gilgit is administratively capital city of Gilgit/Baltistan and business hub in the region. Its ancient name was Sargin, later it is locally known as Gilit. Gilgit was an important city on the Silk Road, along which Buddhism was spread from south Asia to rest of the Asian countries. Arrive and transfer to the hotel. Short tour of Gilgit Bazaar.
Dinner & overnight in Gilgit. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 04: Gilgit-Karimabad
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning Visit Kargah Valley.
Located on a rock near Kargah Nullah (Narrow valley), 10 km away from Gilgit city is a beautiful rock impression of Buddha from 7th century A.D.
After lunch drive to Karimabad Hunza. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.
Karimabad is the delightful old capital of the Hunza Kingdom. From Karimabad, with its souvenir shop, post office and tea shop, you can obtain a superb view of the valley laid out below you and of the peaks at the back. Karimabad area is scattered with natural flowers and blossoming fruit orchards. We will spend half our day in this town enjoying the greenery and enchantment in the sound of waterfall.
Dinner & overnight in Karimabad (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 05: Karimabad full day tour
Breakfast at the hotel. Proceed for excursion to Nagar valley, Baltit Fort and Karimabad Bazaar.
A short jeep traveling will take us to Nagar Valley. The beauties of the village are fruit orchards, longevity of local people and enjoy the many mountain flowers that point the landscape. We have excellent views of Ultar Peak, and the Hunza Valley as seen from Nagar.
Lunch at the hotel.
Baltit fort (Museum) was the old palace of the Mirs of Hunza and was settled until 1960. It is more then 700 years old. Baltit is a questioning long-winded old place and has four stories, strongly built of stones, sun-dried mud and wood. Baltit is built on a cliff edging at the back side; it is a gorge and then the Ultar glacier shining in the sunshine. The structural design here, as at Altit Fort, reflects a Tibetan influence. The local people says that a Princess of Baltistan get married a time in power Mir and brought with her Balti masons, carpenters and craftsmen to build Baltit and Altit as part of her gift/dowry. In the ‘museum room’ are coats of mail, weapons and the warning drums that sounded the alarm in an attack. The view from the top of the fort is well worth the climb.
Dinner & overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 06: Karimabad-Skardu
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning drive to Skardu.
En-route lunch in a local restaurant.
It will be a full day travel on the Karakuram Highway & Skardu road will take about 7-8 hours to reach Skardu.
Also visit Shangrila before entering to Skardu city.
The drive to Skardu leads one through a varied landscape, River Gorge, Desert and views of mountains such as Nanga Parbat and Haramosh. Perched at a height of 7,500 feet, is located amidst an impressive landscape, high mountains, deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, creeping glaciers and quiet lakes constitute this rugged beauty. Skardu is in the heart of a dangerous frontier land. To its north lies the Xinjiang province of China; to the south Kashmir, to the West Gilgit, and to the east the district of Ladakh in India. Skardu is the trekker and mountain climbers’ paradise. Arrive in Skardu transfer to the hotel.
Dinner & overnight in Skardu. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 07: Skardu-Khaplu Excursion-Shigar
After breakfast proceed for excursion to Khaplu Valley.
Khaplu Fort with its cultural roots of as deep as 600 years old is located in Ghanche District of Baltistan division in Gilgit-Baltistan. Khaplu is lying 103 km away in the east of Skardu town, it was the second-largest kingdom in old Baltistan. It guarded the trade route to Ladakh along the Shyok River. The town is a base for trekking into the Hushe valley which leads to Masherbrum and K2 mountains, the Khaplu Fort lies near an earlier mud fort constructed on a hill. The palace is one of the most magnificent 19th century buildings in Gilgit-Baltistan. A rectangular Baltistan palace plan type, it is constructed of stone masonry, reinforced with timber members and rendered in lime plaster.
Lunch at a local restaurant in Khaplu. After visiting the area return to Shigar Valley.
Shigar Fort is located on the legendry route to the world’s second highest mountain K-2. Original Shigar Fort Palace (known as Fong-Khar, which in the local Balti language means, Palace on the Rock), was built by Hasan Khan, the 20th ruler of the Amacha Dynasty, in the early 17th century. The Amacha family claims to have ruled Shigar for thirty-three generations, with origins in the “Hamacha” tribe of Ganish, Hunza. When the Hamacha tribe was put to death in Hunza, a few of its members managed to flee to Shigar across the Hispar glacial pass, where they gained power and were recognized as the Amacha Dynasty in the 13th century. Shigar Fort was restored by Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP-P) an institution of the Aga Khan Development Network.
The complex at Shigar comprises of the 400-year-old Fort / Palace and two more recent buildings, the “Old House” and the “Garden House”. The former Palace of the Raja of Shigar has been transformed into a 20 room heritage guest house, with the grand audience hall serving as a museum of Balti culture and featuring select examples of fine wood-carvings, as well as other heritage objects.
Arrive and transfer to the hotel. Dinner & overnight in Shigar. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 08: Shigar-Chilas
Breakfast at the hotel. Short visit of Shigar Fort and drive to Chilas.
On the way lunch in a local restaurant.
Chilas was on the very old caravan track over the Babusar Pass into India and on the Indus trail of Besham, and many rock engravings/impressions were left by travelers in this area. Chilas is standing under the shadow of world famous Killer Mountain Nanga Parbat. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.
Arrive and transfer to the hotel. Dinner & overnight in Chilas. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 09: Chilas-Swat
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Swat via Shangla Pass.
The drive during the day is an experience of huge diversities. Turning off from Besham to swat valley towards west, we start climbing the Shangla Pass (6,683 ft / 2,042 m). The top presents the most gorgeous views of the adjacent mountains whose slopes are laden with alpine trees, at far away distance, the Swat Valley with the river is also visible.
On the way lunch at Besham. Continue drive to Swat. Arrive and transfer to the hotel.
Mingora bazaar is the commercial hub of Swat region and well-worth visiting, there some one will find emeralds for which swat is well known. If time permits then continues drive to Murghazar to visit old white palace constructed from white marble and adorned with ornate carvings.
Dinner & overnight in Swat. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 10: Swat full day tour
Breakfast at the hotel. Proceed for full day sight seeing of Swat Valley.
Swat museum is located in Saidu Sharif, which has a large collection of Gandharan statues collected from some Buddhist sites in Swat. In the ethnographic section there is some local embroidery, carved wood and tribal jewelery. There are also few coins on display.
Lunch at the hotel.
Butkara ruins are one of the most significant Buddhist places of pilgrimage in the valley. Site is consists of a main stupa around which pushed around 215 votive stupas, in it seems that magnificent disarray. The main stupa was supposed to have some ashes of Lord Buddha built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. One can see still there are statues of lions bend down on their side. They may be fell off the ends of the tall columns which once located close to the stupa.
Dinner & overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Day 11: Swat-Takht-e-Bhai-Islamabad Departure
After breakfast drive to Islamabad by visiting Takht-e-Bhai.
Takht-e-Bhai is a Buddhist site which is situated in Northwest of Mardan on the road to Swat. It is the most inspiring and complete site in Pakistan. The main construction of the Takht-e-Bhai compound is the monastery and stupas founded in the 1st century AD & left un-used in the 6th century. Surrounding the monastery on the point on top of it are the remains of private houses, some of them are the three storeys high. The name of Takht-e-Bhai means the hill of springs. There is considerable proof to prove that during the Buddhist period there were lots of springs on the hill here which have now dried up around 200 AD. When Raja Varata was the King of Gandhara, Takht-e-Bhai was the capital of the Kingdom of the era. The stupas on the site were found to contain square court bounded by a series of cells which accommodates the images.
Arrive and proceed to short tour of Faisal Mosque, Shakar Parian & National monument.
In the evening after farewell dinner transfer to Islamabad International Airport for home bound flight. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).