4x4 Cruising the Mighty Three
4x4 Cruising the Mighty Three
- AREA: HINDUKUSH & KARAKORAM RANGE, PAKISTAN
- DURATION: 14 Days, 13 Nights
- DIFFICULTY: Moderate
- Max Altitude: 15,400 ft
- Total Drive: 2500+kms
- Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
- Terrain: Gravel, sand, rock beds, hills, fractured tarmac, asphault
- Dates: April through October
- Group size: Minimum 2, Maximum 20
Embark on an exhilarating 13-day SUV adventure, exploring the mesmerizing wonders of Pakistan's mountainous landscapes. Our journey begins in Islamabad, where we'll navigate through scenic KPK roads, conquering the challenging Lowari Pass on our way to Drosh's Nagar Fort. Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of the Kalash Valley in Ayun, experiencing the primitive culture and traditions of the Kalasha people. Brace for off-road excitement as we venture towards Mastuj, unveiling captivating views in every direction.
The thrill intensifies as we ascend to the world's highest polo field at Shandur, relishing delicious meals and spending the night in Gah Kuch. Follow the majestic Gilgit river towards the iconic Karakoram Highway, exploring historic forts in Hunza and witnessing stunning sunset views from Eagles Nest. Be awestruck as we reach the Pakistan-China border at Khunjerab Pass, surrounded by towering mountains.
Venture into remote Shimshal, connect with locals, and perhaps meet the legendary mountaineer, Samina Baig. Skardu welcomes us with breathtaking scenery and thrilling activities, while the fabulous Serena Hotel Shigar Fort provides a perfect backdrop for relaxation. Explore Skardu further, enjoying panoramic views from Kharpocho Fort and engaging in exciting jeep dunning and paramotor gliding.
The longest drive of the tour takes us through Deosai Plains and Babusar Pass, concluding the day at the charming Grey Walls Hotel in Naran. Finally, we'll return to Islamabad through Nathia Gali, wrapping up this unforgettable journey filled with natural wonders and cultural delights. Join us for the adventure of a lifetime, where every twist and turn promises an extraordinary experience in the heart of Pakistan's mountains.
- Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (model 2012 and up)
- Single room on twin sharing basis for 14 nights
- All meals included (Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner)
- All national park fee, historical sites fee, government fee, tolls and taxes
- Entertainment (bonfire, musical night etc.)
- First aid kit and basic tool box
- Professional seasoned english/urdu speaking ADA guide
- Support vehicle and 2 extra drivers for emergencies
- All Flights
- Visas and vaccinations
- Driver/guide gratitudes
- Vehicle Insurance - third party
- Drinks and snacks
- Any other items of personal nature
- Personal travel and medical insurance
Itinerary and Map
Day 1 – Islamabad to Drosh
Our journey commences at 6 am from the Grace guest house in Islamabad. The initial couple of hours will be spent on the motorway. As we pass through Mardan, we will encounter the winding roads of KPK. Timmergara awaits us as our designated lunch stop. Depending on the road conditions for crossing Lowari pass, we will deliberate whether to proceed via the off-road pass (10,500 ft) or opt for the tunnel, providing us with a time-saving advantage of approximately 2.5 hours. Once we successfully cross the Lowari pass, it will take us 40 minutes to reach the hotel in Drosh. Upon arrival, check-in and dinner will be at Nagar Fort Drosh.
Day 2 – Drosh to Ayun
We will depart from Nagar Fort Drosh promptly at 8 am. After a delightful 2.5-hour drive, we will find ourselves amidst the breathtaking beauty of the enchanting Bumbubret valley in Kalash. Situated at an elevation of approximately 6,500 feet above sea level, Kalash Valley boasts steep slopes, narrow gorges, and rocky terrain, forming a stunning backdrop for our adventures.
We will pause in Kalash for lunch. Following our meal, we will embark on a series of captivating site visits, delving deep into the primitive culture and traditions of the fascinating Kalasa people.
As the day progresses, we will make our way to the charming destination of Ayun. Upon arrival, we will check in to Ayun Fort, a delightful haven that will provide us with food, comfort and relaxation.
Day 3 – Ayun to Mastuj
We will have breakfast at 8 am at Ayun Fort before commencing our day's adventure. Our departure from Ayun is scheduled for 9 am, embarking on a thrilling journey that will lead us to the captivating destination of Booni. Please note that the road to Booni is currently under construction, and as a result, there may be intermittent broken patches along the way, occurring after every few kilometers.
After approximately 2 hours, we will reach the scenic town of Booni, where we will have the opportunity to explore the mesmerizing Qaqlasht meadows. Prepare for a memorable experience as we drive up and down the beautiful plains, surrounded by breathtaking vistas. A lunch pit stop will be made in Booni post exploration.
Our journey will then continue towards the picturesque Mastuj. Brace yourself for the next 2 hours, as we traverse off-road paths that offer enchanting views in every direction. Upon arrival in Mastuj, we will proceed with the check-in process and indulge in a well-deserved dinner at the charming Hindukush Heights, Mastuj.
Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature in the Hindu Kush range.
Day 4 - Mastuj to Gah Kuch
After enjoying a hearty breakfast in the garden of the Fort, we'll make our way up to Shandur - the highest polo field in the world sitting at a jaw-dropping elevation of 12,500ft. The views will be nothing short of insane! Once we make it to the top, we'll take a breather and maybe munch on some snacks before continuing our journey to the charming town of Phandar. We'll take a tea break by the tranquil river and admire the beautiful orchids around us. From there, we'll head to our cozy abode for the night - the Green Hotel in Gah Kuch. Check-in followed by a delicious dinner.
Day 5 - Gah Kuch to Hunza
The road ahead is a smoothly paved, winding path with the majestic Gilgit river flowing gracefully on our left. Prepare to be mesmerized by the spectacular views that will accompany us throughout the day.
We have the option of a quick lunch at the renowned Serena Hotel in Gilgit. Once refueled, we'll embark on an iconic part of our tour—the famous Karakorum Highway (KKH). Brace yourself for an unforgettable experience as we traverse this newly constructed and fully paved road from Gilgit to Hunza. It's a treat to drive along the KKH, with its scenic vistas unfolding before us.
As we make our way towards Hunza, we'll pause for a rejuvenating tea break, seeking shelter beneath the towering shadow of the magnificent 25,551ft Rakaposhi mountain. In approximately another hour or so, we'll arrive at our comfortable haven in Aliabad, Hunza.
Once we reach our destination, we'll proceed with a check-in and dinner at the delightful 2 Magpies Hotel in Aliabad, Hunza.
Day 6 - Hunza rest day (Explore Hunza)
Take it easy and enjoy a leisurely breakfast, either at the comfort of your hotel or treat yourself to the famous Cafe de Hunza. Fuel up for the relaxing day ahead because we have a bunch of exciting things in store.
Our first stop will be the remarkable 800-year-old Baltit Fort, a true marvel of history. Immerse yourself in the captivating stories and explore the enchanting surroundings. Next, we'll venture into the ancient village of Altit, dating back to the 11th century. It's a perfect opportunity to soak up the rich cultural heritage.
For lunch, we'll have the pleasure of indulging in the uniquely amazing local Hunza cuisine at the fort's kitchen.
For a special experience, you have the option to visit the all-women furniture factory Ciqam, an incredible initiative supported by ADA for over a decade. Witness the craftsmanship firsthand and be inspired by their remarkable work. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll through the bustling Karimabad bazaar, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture and perhaps find some unique treasures to take home.
As the day progresses, we'll make our way to the mesmerizing Eagles Nest, a perfect spot to witness the breathtaking sunset.
To satisfy your hunger, we'll head to the village of Ganesh, home to the oldest village in Hunza. Dinner awaits you at the renowned Rewayat restaurant, where you can savor the flavors of Punjab in Hunza. Finally, we'll retreat to the cozy 2 Magpies Hotel for a restful night.
Day 7 - Hunza to Khunjerab Pass (China border)
Today's adventure may leave you feeling a bit tired, but trust us, it's totally worth it. We're about to reach the highest elevation on this tour, a whopping 15,400 feet at the Pakistan-China border. It's an exhilarating experience that will leave you in awe of the majestic mountains surrounding you.
After spending around an hour absorbing the breathtaking views and snapping some incredible photos, we'll begin our descent. Our next destination is the charming village of Gulmit, where we'll be spending the night. But first, we'll recharge with a scrumptious lunch at the incredible roadside shack called Khao Pulao, which is run by the masterchef Baba. Prepare your taste buds for a flavor explosion!
If we still have the energy after this eventful day, we may explore Gulmit on foot. Stroll through the village, interact with the friendly locals, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture that surrounds you. It's the perfect opportunity to create some unforgettable memories.
As the day winds down, we'll head to our hotel. Check-in and dinner at the Silk Route Lodge in Gulmit, upper Hunza.
Day 8 - Gulmit to Shimshal
Get ready for a mind-blowing adventure today! We have a 3.5-hour stretch ahead that will leave everyone in awe. Brace yourselves as we embark on the road to Shimshal—a thin, windy, and thrilling route. While it may seem a little challenging with its narrow twists and turns, the absence of traffic makes it very exciting. Just remember to control your speed, take it slow, and you'll conquer this road like a pro.
Now, prepare to have your mind blown by the Game of Thrones-esque views that surround us. Picture towering mountain peaks, majestic and awe-inspiring, as if we've stepped into a realm of pure adventure. It's an experience that will leave you feeling alive and exhilarated.
Shimshal, our destination, is a remote village that boasts an incredible amount of hospitality. Share your stories, express your gratitude, and connect with the wonderful people who call Shimshal home. It's these genuine interactions that create lasting memories.
And hey, to make the day even more unforgettable, there might be a chance for a friendly game of cricket between the locals and our adventurous group. Get ready to show off your skills or simply enjoy the lively atmosphere. Check in and dinner at the Shimshal Guest house.
Day 9 - Shimshal Rest day
Time to take a deep breath and let the tranquil Shimshal sun work its magic on you. Take a moment to simply relax and soak up the peaceful vibes that surround us. As you settle into the rhythm of Shimshal life, don't forget to mingle with the locals, who are always happy to share their stories and make you feel at home.
If we’re lucky we might get a chance to meet the incredible Samina Baig, a true trailblazer and the first Pakistani woman to conquer some of the world's mightiest mountains. Imagine the stories she must have to share!
After a day of exploring or simply enjoying some downtime, take this chance to unwind and recharge. Tomorrow promises to be an exciting and action-packed day, so it's important to give yourself the space to relax. Embrace the serenity of Shimshal, let time slow down, and prepare yourself for the adventures that lie ahead.
Day 10 - Shimshal to Skardu
We kick-start the day at 8 am, ready to conquer the roads ahead. This journey begins with a couple of off-road hours from Shimshal to KKH (Karakoram Highway). But once we hit the pavement, it's smooth sailing all the way to Skardu. Get ready for some jaw-dropping scenery, top-notch tarmac roads, and a surprisingly empty highway that feels like our very own fun-filled race track!
Now, before we hit the pedal to the metal, let's remember to keep our speeds under control and navigate these mountain roads with utmost care. Safety first, my friends! These majestic peaks deserve our respect. As we bid farewell to the Karakoram Mountain range, we're about to enter the realm of the mighty Himalayas. Brace yourselves for a new chapter of breathtaking beauty and thrilling adventures.
Our destination for the day is none other than the fabulous Serena Hotel Shigar Fort in Skardu. Picture yourself checking in to a place that combines history, luxury, and the perfect backdrop of the rugged mountains. Check in and dinner at the Shigar Fort Skardu.
Day 11 - Explore Skardu
Exploring Skardu, we've got Kharpocho Fort, a cool spot that's just a breezy 30-minute hike away. Once you reach the top, prepare to be blown away by a mind-blowing 360-degree view of Skardu city. It's like having your very own bird's-eye view!
We can't miss out on the K2 museum, a treasure trove of mountaineering history and jaw-dropping stories that will leave you in awe.
How about some jeep dunning, motorcycling, or even paramotor gliding? Yep, you heard it right—these thrilling activities are on the menu! Picture yourself soaring through the skies during the magical sunset at the Sarfaranga Cold Desert. These activities are totally optional, so you can choose your own adventure.
Day 12 - Shigar to Naran
This will be the longest drive of the tour. We will depart from Shigar, Skardu early in the morning at 7 am and prepare to cross the second-highest plateau in the world, Deosai Plains (land of the giants). After a quick tea break at Bara Pani, we will make our way to Sheosar Lake. With a quick photo break here, we will exit the Deosai National Park and follow the road to Astore for lunch. After a quick lunch, we will drive up Babusar Pass, which is 13,700 feet high. The views at Babusar are spectacular, and then we will end the day in Naran. We will check in and have dinner at Grey Walls Hotel.
Day 13 – Arrival in Islamabad
We will take the motorway or drive through Nathia Gali all the way down to Islamabad. Check in and dinner at Grace guest house.