Arrive at Islamabad airport in the morning. Transfer to Air Conditioned buses, proceed overland to Chilas/ Besham. As we start our drive from Islamabad we shortly drive on Grand Trunk Road leading to Afghanistan, en-route visit Taxila, the capital of Buddhist Gandhara civilization. It is reputed as one of the most important archaeological sites of the sub-continent. We visit the ruins of a former city (Sirkup), a former monastery (Julian) built on top of a hill, and the splendid site museum that contains the artifacts recovered from the excavation sites. Here one could also see the gold and silver coins of Alexander The Great (326 BC) and local kings. After Taxila turn north to head towards Karakoram Highway. The Highway, reputed as the eighth wonder of the world – was jointly constructed by Pakistani and Chinese engineers and took 850 lives & 20 years to complete. Arrive Chilas and transfer to hotel, for meals nad night stay. (09/10 hours, 450km)
We will drive back to Gilgit on the Karakoram Highway after crossing Gilgit we will arrive at Raikot; at Raikot board on 4×4 soft top jeeps after an hour’s drive, we will arrive at Jail, a small village inhabited by Shina-speaking Chilasis. Our trek commencement point. As loads are distributed among the porters, we leave the jeeps and start walking. We ascend gradually, walking through the dry lunar landscape of this meeting point of the Hindukush and the Himalayan ranges. Soon we enter the narrow, barren gorge of Tato River, the track clings high on its left bank. Crossing through the green juniper and pine trees arrive at Fairy Meadows for overnight camping /Huts. (8/9 hours)
Fairy Meadow, Raikot Bridge Minapin Rakaposhi BC
Fairy Meadow, Raikot Bridge Minapin Rakaposhi BC
Three hours downhill walk from Fairy Meadows along Tato At Tato board on your jeeps once again and arrive at Raikot Bridge on KKH over the Indus River. At Raikot our AC van will be waiting for us. Transfer into the van and drive to Gilgit arrive at Gilgit and drive to Gilgit city for the fresh up drive to Kargh Nala to visit the Buddest historical carving place. Lunch at Karagh after lunch drive to Hunza Valley we will start our journey to Minapin Valley. Stop at Old Silk Route, & Rakaposhi 7788m viewpoint. Arrive at Minapin check in free time. Visit old Bazza dinner & night stay. 3 hrs Trek 02/03hrs drive
Minapin to Hapakun
From Diran Guest House (2012m), follow the road two minutes east. Then turn south (right) onto a dirt lane and follow it five minutes to the canal along the village’s south end. Turn west (right) and follow the path along the canal 15 minutes towards the Minapin River. Walnut trees shade the path and provide a home for nesting orioles (maiun). The trail turns south into the canyon and crosses a footbridge (2103m) over the rushing torrent to the river’s true left bank after 10 minutes.
The trail rises 183m on switchbacks for 30 minutes, then eases off and enters an open, aromatic juniper forest. Continue along the broad, shaded trail, rising gradually in one to 1½ hours to the huts at Bang-i-das, along a clear stream that tumbles over a cascade at the head of this pleasant side valley. The trail follows the stream 30 minutes to the base of the waterfall, where it forks. The right fork, which crosses the stream over a footbridge, leads to Gutumerung (see Alternative Day 3,). Follow the smaller left fork and climb 90m in 15 minutes to the grassy, tiered meadow of Hapakun (2804m) bordered by stands of mature fir trees. The Burushaski name Hapakun is given to a place (Kun) within a day’s walk of the main village, which is defined as ‘close enough to carry a child’ (hapa).
Camping is free in the open meadow, with northern views of Hachindar and Main peaks above the Hunza River. Diran and Rakaposhi remain hidden from view. Ibex inhabit the steep cliffs to the east high above the Minapin Glacier. A small, sometimes silty stream flows near the herders’ huts at Hapakun, but a clear spring lies behind and five minutes below the huts. It costs camp on private land near the spring. 3- 4 hours, 5.8km, 792m ascent
Hapakun to Tagaphari
Crossing the canal between the two huts, the trail (the one perpendicular to the canal, not parallel to it) heads south, rising across rock- strewn open ground beyond Hapakun’s largest hut—for a minute or two- and then climbs immediately west up dusty switchbacks through fir forest for 15 minutes. The trail eases off and contours the rocky slope for 30 minutes to a verdant bowl where wildflowers and colorful songbirds thrive. Sweeping gently through the meadow, the trail enters scattered juniper stands and climbs switchbacks to the windy ridge top, where Diran, Rakaposhi, and their interconnecting ice wall finally come into full view.
The trail thins and traverses a rocky cliff above the spectacularly broken Minapin Glacier 15 minutes to Tagaphari (3261m). Once a muddy (taga) lake (phari), as its Burushaski name indicates, it’s now a level pasture, where cows and oxen graze. A herders’ hut is next to the rocky hillside, with plenty of good grassy campsites along the meandering stream. A small seasonal spring lies at the base of the rocky slope towards the head of this small valley. The lateral moraine above the valley is a fun place to watch avalanches crashing down from the ridge between Rakaposhi and Diran, and to catch the sunset on Diran. Rakaposhi itself is mostly hidden from view behind the obvious snow dome of Rakaposhi East (7010m).2- 3 hours, 3km, 457m ascent
Tagaphari to Minapin
Ascend the ridge (3650m) immediately west of Tagaphari for sweeping views, and descend steeply to Gutumerung, a pasture (rung) in this deep (gutum) valley where sheep and goats graze. Follow the trail steeply downstream (north) until it passes the waterfall at the head of the Bang-i-das Valley and joins the trail between Hapakun and Minapin.
4- 4½ hours, 8.4km, 389m ascent, 1638m descent
Lunch at Minapin drives to Hunza Karimabad to visit the 700 years old Baltit Fort. Guided tour of the fort & we drive to another 1000-year-old fort, Altit Fort. Guided tour of the fort & we take a lunch break at Khabasi café which is run by only females. Drive to Duiker for birds eye view of Hunza & Nagar Valley, Golden Peak, and Rusk Lake & Rakaposhi view. After Sunset we will drive back to the hotel for dinner & night’s stay. Dinner & night stay. 1/2 hrs. drive
Hunza, Gulmit, Huusani, Passu Gojal Valley,
Breakfast & drive to Gojal Valley Upper Hunza, Visit Pak China friendship tunnel & Attabad Lake, Enjoy boating in the heart of Karakoram range. Drive to Gulmit Gojal visit Gulmit Old house Bulbulak Music School. Lunch & drive to Hussaini suspension bridge. Visit the hanging bridge & drive to Borith Lake, Passu Village.
Overnight stay in hotel. 02/03 hrs. drive
Passu -Gilgit – Skardu Valley
Breakfast & drive to Hunza valley. Stop at Nanga Parbat 8126m view point. Drive to the world three mountains junction point, Karakoram, Himalaya & Hindukush range.
Lunch at Sasi on the way & drive Skardu valley. Arrive at Skardu chick in free time dinner & night stay. 06/07 hrs. drive
Skardu – Shigar & Khaplu Valleys.
The gentle, irrigated slopes with terraces of wheat, maize and barley, and the orchards of apricot, mulberry, peach, plum, pear, apples and nuts – all add to the charm of Shigar valley surrounded by snow-topped mountains. The town displays impressive carved wooden houses and mosques. After lunch at town, we drive to adjoining Khaplu valley. Khaplu, the largest kingdom in old Baltistan, stretches in a wide fan from the base of a semicircular wall of mountain, dropping some 300 meters to the river level. Paths and irrigation channels connect the scattered houses set amid terraced fields and the friendly villagers welcome visitors. We shall visit the historic wood-carved mosque, dominating the valley from the top end of alluvial fan. Camp overnight at 2,600 meters.
Khaplu (Excursion to Hushe valley)
Board soft-top 4×4 jeeps for exciting ride to the trek head for K2 base camp. En route short stay in Machlu village for view of Mashabrum Peak (7821 meters). Arrive Hushe, a small green village with many beautiful camping sites. It is the starting and ending point of many trekking and mountaineering parties coming or going to Concordia. continue drive for another 30km for heart shape lower Kachura Lake. Visit Shangri-La resorts around lower Kachura Lake one of the most beautiful resorts in northern Pakistan. Proceed further four kilometers to upper Kachura Lake. Overnight stay at hotel, 3/4hrs drive
Skardu Fly to Islamabad.
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Skardu airport for fly to Islamabad, arrive Islamabad drive to Taxila visit historical side, Taxila Museum, Jaulian Buddhist stupa, Mohra Moradu, Dharmara stupa, and monastery, Sirkap. Drive to Islamabad for overnight stay.
1 hr Fly 02/03hrs drive
Note: *Skardu – Islamabad flight is subject to weather, in case of cancellation of this flight, road transfer shall be arranged with an overnight stay at Besham on way to Islamabad.
Fly back Home.
Breakfast at hotel, Drop to the Islamabad airport for Departure as per flight schedule.
Fly back to home destination. Good bye.