Map of Pakistan: Women's Expedition including Pakistan

Venture through Pakistan’s majestic mountains while connecting with the daring women trail blazing new paths in tourism.

Discover what life entails for women living in Pakistan’s vibrant capital city and ancient mountain villages. Join a local female leader as she takes you on a unique journey to the Hunza and Yasim valleys. See the communities and landscapes associated with the hallowed Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains and meet pioneering women working on female empowerment projects throughout the region. Trek to alpine lakes, ancient glaciers and the remnants of ruined empires, then witness the evolvement of modern Pakistan in the country’s capital of Islamabad. From cooking classes to village homestays, this women’s only expedition will have you sharing more than photographs (though there’ll be plenty of those too).

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Islamabad, Pakistan
Finish
Islamabad, Pakistan
Destination
Pakistan
Style
Original
Theme
Women's Expedition
Code
HQSW
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • This is a rare opportunity to travel through Pakistan with a local female leader. Her knowledge and insights will make this an eye-opening and unforgettable expedition.

  • Get spoiled at a unique female-only salon, owned by a local woman and run out her home in Gulmit, a town that has existed for hundreds of years and is surrounded by mountains and glaciers.

  • Breathe in that cool, crisp air as you tick off two of the world’s great mountain ranges: the Karakorams and the Hindu Kush.

  • Spend time with the inspiring women working to empower their communities through local projects including carpet-weaving, cooking schools and cafes.

  • Immerse yourself in remote mountain villages while staying overnight and sharing food and stories with a local family.

  • Drive the world-famous Karakoram Highway to Khunjerab National Park in search of yaks, Himalayan ibex and the elusive snow leopard.

  • We will get deep into the remote areas of Pakistan’s beautiful mountainous regions and stay in traditional, both architecturally and culturally, homestays. While your hosts will be unbelievably warm and welcoming, it would be culturally inappropriate for male guests to overnight in some of the homestay we visit on this trip.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is an expedition trip and is new to our range this year. Despite rigorous planning and research, new itineraries can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a welcome surprise, but every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.

  • Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. Pakistan is a conservative country and travellers are advised to cover up, particularly when visiting religious sites.

  • This trip visits places as high as 5200 metres above sea level, which can cause altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more details on travelling at altitude and ensure you are familiar with signs of AMS.

  • The diversity of the seasons here makes for incredible scenery, but the weather in this region can be unpredictable. It’s best to wear layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so bring your warm clothes. Even in the warmer months the temperature can be low in the mountains.

  • This trip includes time spent travelling in a private vehicle with your group. Extra space can be tight, and conditions may feel a little cramped. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

  • The weather can be unpredictable in the Himalayas and a significant number of flights to/from Islamabad and Gilgit are delayed or cancelled due to weather conditions. If your flight is cancelled we will endeavour to get your group on the next available flight. Failing that, we will follow a contingency plan by private vehicle.

  • This trip involves some long travel days, which can be tiresome but offer a quintessential experience of the beautiful landscape and hospitable people of Pakistan.

  • While we would love to open up these unique experiences to all our travellers regardless of gender, it’s simply not yet possible to do so while operating in a socially responsible and culturally sensitive manner. If you're interested in travelling to Pakistan on a similar itinerary, check out our Pakistan Expedition (code HQSP) or consider booking a private group tour.

Itinerary

Welcome to Pakistan’s capital city: Islamabad. The ‘City of Islam’ was built in the 1960s to replace Karachi as the nation’s capital and is divided into eight zones including the commercial district, educational sector, diplomatic enclave, residential areas and green area. It is an extensively (and successfully) planned city on a site chosen for its accessibility to the rest of the country and its location close to the army headquarters and disputed Kashmir area. Your expedition begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm but if you arrive early it is worth checking out Lake View Park and the Lok Virsa Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation, documentation promotion of Pakistan’s cultural heritage.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Today presents an opportunity to explore Islamabad with your local female leader, who will speak with you about the history of both the city and Pakistan as a whole. There’ll be a chance to shop for local clothes, so keep an eye out for the ‘shalwar kameez’ – the traditional dress incorporating loose-fitting trousers and a long shirt, worn in various forms by men, women and children.

Be sure to cover up for a visit to Faisal Mosque, which was the largest mosque in the world upon its completion in 1986 and is said to hold 10,000 worshippers. It’s a vast building and at odds with the Taxila ruins, a World Heritage-listed complex that’s not only the largest Buddhist site in the country, but also an important witness to years of cultural evolution thanks to the Persians and Greeks. In the evening, head to the hills and Monal Restaurant for a group dinner overlooking the city lights below.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Islamabad - Faisal Mosque
  • Islamabad - Taxila museum and ruins
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Depart Islamabad this morning on a flight to Gilgit then transfer to a private vehicle and travel north on the Karakoram Highway. Also known as the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway, the road was built, believe it or not, in conjunction with China and connects the two countries at Khunjerab Pass. It passes through the Karakoram mountain range and is sometimes referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World thanks to the level of engineering that went into its construction, not to mention the phenomenal views on either side of the road. Stops en route include a viewpoint, where you can see the 7788-metre Rakaposhi mountain, as well as the Karimabad market for some local shopping. Karimabad is the hub of the Hunza Valley region. You’ll also visit Attabad Lake, which is famous for both its unbelievably blue surface and the sad story behind its recent formation as a result of a deadly landslide.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gulmit - Rakaposhi viewpoint
  • Karimabad - Local market
  • Karimabad - Attabad Lake
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Spend the day exploring the village of Gulmit with the other women in your group. Located in a deep valley by the Hunza River, Gulmit has existed for hundreds of years and is surrounded by mountains and glaciers. Take a walk through town and visit a carpet-weaving centre run by the local women in one of the oldest houses in town, then take advantage of an opportunity to be pampered at a one-of-a-kind salon. You’ll also trek out to the ruins of Ondra Fort, a walk of approximately three kilometres. The fort sits atop a rocky outcrop above Gulmit and would’ve once commanded views of several strategically important passes in the area, though there’s no doubt the sentries of old were just as distracted by the jaw-dropping scenery as you will be.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gulmit - Women-run carpet weaving center
  • Gulmit - Ondra Fort ruins
  • Gulmit - Treatment at Local Beauty Salon
  • Gulmit - Orientation Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Enjoy some time in Pakistan’s fresh mountain air today as you trek out to Borith Lake and Passu Glacier. The lake sits at an altitude of 2600 metres and is a quiet, peaceful spot to relax, not to mention a good opportunity to recharge after a few adventurous days. Read a book, soak up some sun or go for a swim (it’s saltwater) before trekking to Passu Glacier, a round-trip of approximately six kilometres. It wasn’t so long ago that walking was the primary means of transport in these parts, with some villages in the region only gaining road access as late as 2003.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ghulkin - Trek to Passu Glacier
  • Gulmit - Local musical performance
  • Ghulkin - Trek to Borith Lake
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel this morning to the village of Passu on the banks of the Hunza River. Explore the cute town filled with stone houses and fruit trees and take tea at a local house before trying the region’s famous (and delicious) apricot cake. Visit the Hussaini Hanging Bridge, described by some as the most dangerous bridge in the world, which was made by the locals using wooden planks – it’s not for the faint-hearted. But though the bridge’s condition is questionable its location is enviable, suspended above Borith Lake and surrounded by jagged mountains. You’ll spend the afternoon learning how to cook Huzai food in a local’s home, then it’s time to say goodbye and travel to your evening homestay in the nearby town of Ghulkin.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ghulkin - Passu village walk
  • Ghulkin - Passu's famous apricot cake
  • Ghulkin - Pakistani Home Cooking Class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Take a scenic, leisurely drive out to Khunjerab National Park, which was established in 1975 to protect the region’s wildlife. Animals documented as being in the park include snow leopards, blue sheep, the Tibetan wolf, Marco Polo sheep, and the Eurasian lynx, to name but a few, and if you’re lucky you may spot the Himalayan ibex or a trusty yak on your way through. The park sits at an altitude of approximately 5200 metres and is close to the Khunjerab Pass – the border crossing from Pakistan to China. This Is the highest paved border crossing in the world (approximately 4700 metres) and marks the end of the Karakoram Highway and the start of China’s 314 National Road. Fun fact: this is a rare international border where traffic changes from driving on the left (Pakistan) to the right (China) side of the road. See it for yourself before returning to Ghulkin for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ghulkin - Khunjerab Pass drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel today to Karimabad, the capital of the Hunza District, known for its locally made handicrafts and take-your-breath-away views. Lace up your hiking boots and trek out to Baltit and Altit forts, which were restored by the Aga Khan Foundation and have stood in the region for over 700 years. These forts are a testament to the valley’s past strategic importance and were used to control the ancient Asia trade routes, with Baltit Fort holding a particularly commanding position above the local village. The Aga Khan Foundation also runs several projects focusing on empowering local women. There’ll be an opportunity to visit one of the groups and chat to them about their work, followed by lunch at cafe run by the local women. In the evening, drive up to Eagle’s Nest for sunset views of the surrounding peaks including Ultar, Rakaposhi and Ladyfinger Peak, then continue to Minapin for tonight’s homestay.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Karimabad - Sunset walk to Eagle's Nest
  • Karimabad - Women's Project Visit
  • Karimabad - Walk to Baltit & Altit Fort
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Located deep in a valley by the Hunza River, the village of Minapin is stunning settlement surrounded by peaks, glacial run-off and green hills. Spend some time exploring the village with your leader and getting to know a few of the locals, then take off on a few short treks to some of the nearby view points to gain a better understanding of the area's topography. On a clear day you'll enjoy unforgettable views of Rakaposhi. Spend another evening in your local home stay tonight, sharing food and stories with the other travellers and locals.

Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Say farewell to your local host in Minapin and drive to Raikot Bridge in a private vehicle. This bridge is the gateway to the base camp at Nanga Parbat, the 9th-highest mountain in the world (8126m). The next section of the journey takes you high above the Indus River, so the group will transfer to jeeps to drive the winding road up to the remote Tattu Village. From here you'll swap the 4WD for your own two legs and trek to the appropriately named Fairy Meadows, a magical grassy meadow with views all the way to Nanga Parbat.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fairy Meadows - Overnight trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Wake up in the beautiful Fairy Meadows, a slice of flat land among steep hills, forests and brilliant white mountains. You can approach today however you'd like. There's the option to trek to Nanga Parbat Base Camp, with your leader gauging the route and timings based off your group's interest, or you can take things a little easier and relax in the meadows. Drink tea, read, draw or write, or maybe trek around and meet a few of the locals, visiting some view points along the way to take in the majesty of Nanga Parbat.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fairy Meadows - Hike to Nanga Parbat Base Camp
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Depart Fairy Meadows and trek back to Tattu Village before jumping back into the jeeps to drive down to Raikot Bridge. From here you'll drive by private bus to the town of Gilgit, visiting the Kargah Buddha along the way. The town was a Buddhist centre in the region for many hundreds of years and its most famous sight is the Kargah Budda – a 15-metre-tall image of the Buddha carved into a cliff-face. The carving is thought to date back to the 7th century, though local legend has it that the figure is actually a man-eating witch who was pinned to the cliff by a holy man to protect the valley. This, perhaps, is an indication of both how women have been traditionally viewed in these areas and the struggles they still face. Spend some time walking around the Gilgit markets before enjoying your final night in the region.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse / Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gilgit - Local market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a final morning in the beautiful Hunza Valley before boarding a flight to Islamabad. Settle in at the hotel upon arrival then head out to see some more of Islamabad’s sights. You’ll visit the historic, 400-year-old Saidpur village, which is home to an old Hindu temple and a good reminder of the different religions and cultures that have called this region home, including Buddhism. The Shah Allah Dita caves are where the Buddhist monks used to meditate when the religion was widespread, dating back some 2500 years. Evidence of the British colonial period can be seen at Golra Railway Station, which was built in 1882 in a Victorian style and operates as a working station and popular museum. The museum was established in 2003 and contains artefacts from the British Raj, celebrating the past 150-odd years of rail travel in Pakistan.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Islamabad - Saidpur village
  • Islamabad - Golra Railway Station
  • Islamabad - Shah Allah Ditta Caves
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The flight to Islamabad takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
Spend your final full day in Pakistan exploring the nearby city of Rawalpindi. Visit the truck-art market, home to Pakistan’s intricately decorated trucks that could well be considered moving art installations, then head to Markazi Jamia Masjid – one of the oldest mosques in Rawalpindi. With beautiful frescos, mosaics and paintings, the mosque is a cultural icon and its colourful interior can’t be missed. Speaking of colour, there’ll be plenty at the Rawalpindi markets so shop up a storm before heading to a local’s house for a cooking class. Don’t let the mouth-watering smells distract you – you’ll need to pay close attention so you can cook up some Pakistani grub when you return home.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Islamabad - Home cooking class
  • Islamabad - Truck art market
  • Islamabad - Rawalpindi's colorful markets
  • Islamabad - Jamia Mosque Rawalpindi
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your Pakistan expedition comes to an end today. You are free to leave the accommodation at any time after breakfast, but please ensure you check out by 12 pm.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

13 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 13 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Plane, Jeep

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nights), Guesthouse (3 nights), Homestay (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Islamabad - Faisal Mosque
  • Islamabad - Taxila museum and ruins
  • Gulmit - Rakaposhi viewpoint
  • Karimabad - Local market
  • Karimabad - Attabad Lake
  • Gulmit - Women-run carpet weaving center
  • Gulmit - Ondra Fort ruins
  • Gulmit - Treatment at Local Beauty Salon
  • Gulmit - Orientation Walk
  • Ghulkin - Trek to Passu Glacier
  • Gulmit - Local musical performance
  • Ghulkin - Trek to Borith Lake
  • Ghulkin - Passu village walk
  • Ghulkin - Passu's famous apricot cake
  • Ghulkin - Pakistani Home Cooking Class
  • Ghulkin - Khunjerab Pass drive
  • Karimabad - Sunset walk to Eagle's Nest
  • Karimabad - Women's Project Visit
  • Karimabad - Walk to Baltit & Altit Fort
  • Fairy Meadows - Overnight trek
  • Fairy Meadows - Hike to Nanga Parbat Base Camp
  • Gilgit - Local market
  • Islamabad - Saidpur village
  • Islamabad - Golra Railway Station
  • Islamabad - Shah Allah Ditta Caves
  • Islamabad - Home cooking class
  • Islamabad - Truck art market
  • Islamabad - Rawalpindi's colorful markets
  • Islamabad - Jamia Mosque Rawalpindi

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

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Important notes

1. This is an expedition trip and is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.
2. An optional single supplement is available on this trip, however, this excludes the nights spent in homestays on Days 3 - 9 & 12, where we will share one common sleeping space, just how the local people sleep.
4. Passport scans are required at time of booking for visa invitation letters.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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