Stretching north from the Arabian Sea, the plains of Pakistan culminate into the lush valleys of Dir, Swat and Kaghan. Beyond them, lie the great northern valleys of Chitral, Gilgit, Hunza and Baltistan. Separating the two river systems which drain from these valleys is the Hindu Raj range, a chain of mountains which forms one of the sharpest cultural boundaries in the world: the cultural line between Central and Northern Asia. Still further north, the Karakoram and Hindu Kush ranges shape the western extension of the Himalayas.
Tough and sparsely populated, Pakistan’s northern valleys exhibit the diversity one would expect of a boundary area. In the east, Baltistan shows an affinity with Tibet; in fact, its language is a dialect of archaic Tibetan and many remnants of Tibetan culture can still be observed, In the Gilgit region, Shina broushiki and Wakhi is the dominant language. Gilgit’s most prominent contribution to the area seems to be the Gilgiti cap worn throughout most of northern Pakistan. To the north, legendary Hunza confirms its reputation as one of the world’s great mountain communities. Its Language – Burushaki – seems unrelated to any other and its origins remain a mystery. Like Chitral to the west, Hunza manifests its age-old-contact with Central Asia, the consequence of lying abreast of the Caravan routes that spread south from the all-important passes. Within the borders of Chitral are the Kafir valleys of Birir, Rambur and Bomburet. In a nation that is almost entirely Muslim, the Kafir are unique; they are Pagans (Kafir means infidel) with their own very original beliefs, customs and art forms.
The land of these northern valleys is best described as mountainous. During winter, heavy snow separate the valleys from the rest of the world for six months. In the summer, temperatures over 100 degrees are common. In Skardu, one is immediately struck by the juxtaposition of sand dunes and show-capped peak.
Trekking in Pakistan
Pakistan is a paradise for trekkers. Most of the trekking routes lies in the northern mountains of the Hindukush, the Karakorams and the Himalayas. For most of the treks, trekking season is between May to October. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of Pakistan, has defined trekking as walking below 6000 m. It has designated three zones for trekking; open, restricted and closed. Foreigners may trek anywhere in open zone without a permit or services of a licensed mountain guide. For trekking in restricted zone, foreigners must pay a fee of US$ 20 per person per trek to obtain a trekking permit from the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of Pakistan Islamabad. It also requires to hire a licensed mountain guide; buy a personal accident insurance policy for the guide and the porters and to attend mandatory briefing and de-briefing at the Ministry of Tourism, on the beginning and end of the trekking trip. No trekking is allowed in closed zones which are the areas near Pakistan-Afghanistan border and near the Line of Control with Indian-held Kashmir.
Day Activities Night
01 Arrival at Islamabad. Hotel
02 Departure for Chilas through KKH. Hotel
03 Departure for Gilgit through KKH. Hotel
04 Drive to Karimabad-Hunza. Hotel
05 Free Day at Hunza for site seeing. Hotel
06 Drive to Passu. Camp
07 Treks to Shimshal Village. Camp
08 Free day in Shimshal for site seeing. Camp
09 Treks to Pastforzin. Camp
10 Treks to Harbab Puerian. Camp
11 Treks to Shuwerth via Shimshal Pass. Camp
12 Free day at Shuwerth for excursions. Camp
13 Trek back to Harbab Puerian. Camp
14 Treks to Mai Dur. Camp
15 Treks to Shapodin Pass. Camp
16 Treks to Shimshal Village. Camp
17 Drive to Gilgit. Hotel
18 Drive to Besham. Hotel
19 Drive to Islamabad or Explore the twin city. Hotel
20 Departure from Pakistan.