Ancient Silk Road

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The trip begins in Rawalpindi with a spectacular flight to Skardu, deep in the Karakoram range. Highlights include: Skardu and environs; a 6-day trek to the base of Nanga Parbat, one of the most majestic peaks in the Himalayas; a jeep safari through Gilgit and along the rugged Karakoram Highway,to fabled Hunza and the 16,000 ft Khunjerab Pass on the Chinese border. A 7-day optional extension overland to Kashgar, China can be included with this trip. Timed to coincide with the famous Sunday market, this is an adventure into Central Asia’s wonderful past!

*With 7-day Kashgar (China) extension: $3590us Price subject to minimum 4 Passengers

Detailed Itinerary

Arrive Rawalpindi. Transfer to a comfortable air-conditioned hotel.

1

Morning at leisure to relax and get over jet-lag. In the afternoon we will explore some of Rawalpindi’s interesting bazaars, historical sites, and mosques.

2

In the morning (weather permitting), we will take an incredibly spectacular flight over the Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges to Skardu in the beautiful Indus valley of ancient Baltistan (Little Tibet). The flight passes right over Nanga Parbat, and as we approach Skardu, it is possible to see K2, Broad Peak and other Karakoram giants. Afternoon walk around Skardu.

3

Today we take our jeeps up to the Deosai Plains, visiting the beautiful turquoise coloured Satpara Lake, nestled in a scenic setting above Skardu and the Indus Valley, along the way. We continue through the mountains and emerge on the vast and beautiful Deosai Plains, dotted with wild flowers, and ringed by mountains.

4

Begin a spectacular jeep safari from Skardu to Raikhot. This is one of the most incredible drives imaginable on a road literally carved out of the mountain side following the Indus River through stunning gorges and unbelievable scenery.

5

From Raikhot, we continue up a very steep jeep track further toward Nanga Parbat. It is here that the most dramatic elevation difference on earth is found. From the summit to the adjacent Indus gorge is over 4 vertical miles! The trek begins in the tribal town of Tato with a steep uphill walk to Fairy Meadows (10,500 ft), a beautiful alpine meadow blooming with wild roses. Many shepherd huts of the local tribe dot the landscape. Nanga Parbat, the eighth highest mountain in the world (26,660ft), looms majestically above. The trail beside the Raikhot Glacier to Base Camp(13,100ft) is absolutely spectacular. We continue on to Jalipur Base Camp (12,800ft), and for anyone who feels like an extra challenge, there is an optional day hike up to Jalipur Ridge (16,500ft). Looking across to Nanga Parbat from this vantage point is one of the most magnificent mountain panoramas imaginable!

6-11

Morning trek (3 hrs) from Behal Camp to Tato, with short afternoon jeep ride (3 hrs) following the Indus River up the Karakoram Highway to Gilgit. Gilgit was an important transit trading center of the old Silk Road and is still today the gateway to China. There is time in the afternoon to wander through the streets of the old town and fort. If we’re lucky, perhaps a rousing local polo tournament will be in full swing!

11

Continue along the Karakoram Highway up the Rakaposhi Range to the Hunza valley and Karimabad. This section of the old Silk Road to China is referred to as the “Suspended Crossing”. There is a strong Chinese influence in this region as it was once subjugated by Imperial China. The town of Karimabad rests on the Ultar Massif overlooking the panoramic Hunza Valley. The Karakoram Mountains in Hunza, were the setting for James Hilton’s Shangri-la in Lost Horizons. The people here still claim longevity from the Hunza waters.

12

Those taking the Kashgar extension leave early for the Khujerab pass, while therest have the morning free and return to Gilgit in the late afternoon.

13

After spending the previous night in Karimabad, we continue up the Karakoram Highway to Sust, where after customs and immigration formalities, we proceed to the scenic Khunjerab Pass (16,000ft) and continue across a plateau to Tashkurghan, China. The Karakoram Highway is truly amazing in that it winds its way over the “wreckage” of a huge geological collision zone involving four of the world’s great mountain ranges: the Himalaya, Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Pamir.

13

Drive to Kashgar through the Pamir mountains past the magnificent peaks of Muztagh Ata (24,750ft), and Kongur (25,325ft), and stunning deep blue waters of lake Kara Kul, where Kirghiz nomads live in yurts

14

We begin our day and a half drive along the spectacular Karakoram Highway to Islamabad, staying the night near Chilas. (O/N depends on flight departure times next day from Islamabad)

14

Day free to explore Kashgar.

15

Trip ends, on arrival in Islamabad, around noon. Arrival time in Islamabad depends on group departure schedule and road conditions.


EXTENSION TO KASHGAR, CHINA

Anyone who is interested and has the time can continue on from Karimabad to China and do a 7-day extension trip to Kashgar. The 22-day trip is called the Pakistan – China Silk Road Adventure.

15

This day is planned to coincide with the famous sunday market in Kashgar where everything from carpets, blankets, foods, horses, donkeys and even camels (about $200 if you want one) are for sale! A wonderful assortment of people come from all over the region, and the population of the town swells by 100,000! This is truly one of the most incredible bazaars in Asia, and a photographers paradise!

16

Return drive to Tashkurghan.

17

Drive over the Khunjerab Pass to the Pakistan border post of Sust. On the way you are likely to see caravans of Yaks, horses, and camels reminiscent of what it was like 2000 years ago.

18

Drive to Gilgit. Overnight at a very comfortable hotel, a nice treat after a long journey!

19

Fly to Rawalpindi. We take another spectacular flight over the Himalayas. On a clear day, there are snow-capped peaks out of both sides of the plane for literally as far as the eye can see. The afternoon is free to explore Pakistan’s interesting twin-city capital. (…or, if the flight is cancelled, we drive along the Karakoram Highway to Chilas. Overnight).

20

Free day in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, to explore markets, sightsee, or just relax. (…or arrive from Chilas in the early afternoon)

21

Trip ends

22

 

Synopsis

Trip Grading:

Length: 15-days total; 6 day trek

Max. Altitude: 13,100ft / 4000m

Begins/Ends in Rawalpindi

Land Cost: $3490 ($4590 with Kashgar ext.)

International Airfare: Apx. $1800

Jul 05 – Jul 19 ’15
Aug 02 – Aug 16 ’15

Jul 04 – Jul 18 ’16
Aug 01 – Aug 15 ’16

Single supplement: $575 if required.

You can also contact Canadian Himalayan Expeditions directly for more information.

Synopsis

Trip Grading:

Length: 15-days total; 6 day trek

Max. Altitude: 13,100ft / 4000m

Begins/Ends in Rawalpindi

Land Cost: $3490 ($4590 with Kashgar ext.)

International Airfare: Apx. $1800

Jul 05 – Jul 19 ’15
Aug 02 – Aug 16 ’15

Jul 04 – Jul 18 ’16
Aug 01 – Aug 15 ’16

Single supplement: $575 if required.

You can also contact Canadian Himalayan Expeditions directly for more information.


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