Here we go! My first three years of leading group expeditions in Pakistan have come and gone, and I’m beyond excited to announce that we are running this trip of a lifetime again in 2024. Pakistan is a country that captivated me from the get-go, and left me breathless in every sense of the word. From its untouched and rugged mountain landscapes to its diverse cultures, Pakistan is a leap out of our comfort zones. It can be challenging, but it is an immensely rewarding experience.
There is nothing I look forward to more each year than hosting this trip and sharing my love for Pakistan, its landscapes, and its people with a group of travelers from across the world. Pakistan is another world waiting to be explored, a stunning country rarely visited by travelers. Here’s a glimpse of what to expect on the expedition.
I’ll be bringing up to 16 fellow adventurers with me for two unforgettable weeks of otherworldly landscapes, intense cultural immersion, and one heck of a good time with myself and the best crew you could imagine.
Recognize a once-in-a-lifetime adventure when you see one? Type in your name, email, and introduce yourself on the sign-up form at the bottom of this page. If you’re a good fit, we will send you an information packet and the next steps to secure your spot on this epic adventure. If you’re a harder sell, keep reading.
Table of Contents:
- Expedition Dates and Itinerary
- Is Visiting Pakistan Safe?
- How Many Spots Are Available?
- What is the Cost of the Expedition?
- What’s Included in the Cost?
- What’s Not Included in the Cost?
- Who Will Be Leading This Expedition?
- What Type of Traveler Am I Looking For?
- How In Shape Do I Have To Be For This Trip?
- Sign Up Form
Expedition Dates: August 1st – 13th, August 16th – 28th, 2024
This is the tentative itinerary. I’m as go-with-the-flow of a traveler as it gets, so at times, we’ll make decisions based on what the group wants and adjust accordingly. Certain routes and areas may also be closed or become inaccessible at any time, but we will always supplement with alternative activities, treks, or routes where possible. We’ve dealt with road closures, flight cancellations, and many other of Pakistan’s surprises. We always have a Plan A to Plan Z, so just go with the flow and trust in our local guides and experts.
Day 1: Start Tour in Lahore (Arrive Before 12 PM)
Welcome to Pakistan! After the entire group has arrived, we begin our exploration of the bustling city of Lahore. We’ll have lunch at Anarkali Bazaar followed by free time to dive into the chaos of one of Old Lahore’s liveliest markets. Afterwards, it’s time to head over to the Pakistan-India border for the truly one-of-a-kind Wagah Border Ceremony. It’s one heck of an intro to Pakistan. We’ll head back to the hotel to freshen up before an optional evening adventure to a covert bar to have a few drinks in an otherwise dry country.
Day 2: Lahore Fort and Badshahi Mosque, Drive to Islamabad
After breakfast, it is time to head to the iconic Badshahi Mosque, historic Lahore Fort, and the breathtaking Sheesh Mahal. We’ll have a delicious lunch overlooking the Badshahi Mosque before beginning our journey north. We spend the night in Islamabad, and if time allows, we will visit the Faisal Mosque, the main attraction of Pakistan’s capital city.
Day 3: Drive From Islamabad to Jaglot
We will spend most of today driving from Islamabad to the northern province of Gilgit-Baltistan. There will be stops for breakfast, lunch, and a scenic break at the Babusar Pass. The drive through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is long but beautiful as we enter the domain of the Himalayas. We spend the night at a guesthouse close to where we begin tomorrow’s adventure into the mountains.
Day 4: Jeep Ride and Hike to Fairy Meadows
After breakfast and a short drive, we hop on Jeeps to the trailhead of Fairy Meadows. It’s a death-defying ride as we straddle a narrow, bumpy cliffside road for the next two hours. Hope your hiking legs are ready! It’s a three-hour hike to camp, and we will stop halfway for a small lunch before continuing to our cabins. Donkeys are an option for those who aren’t feeling up to hiking, and it is possible to hire a porter to carry your bag. We’ll arrive at our cabins with some free time to explore the village before having dinner and resting up for tomorrow’s hiking day. We’ll also have a bonfire and dance with the locals if weather permits.
Day 5: Hike to Nanga Parbat Viewpoints
We get an early start today as we will be hiking closer to the world’s ninth-tallest mountain. There will be multiple viewpoints along the way, from the village at Beyal Camp, the Eagle’s Nest viewpoint, the German viewpoint, and for those willing to undertake the long and daunting journey, Nanga Parbat Base Camp. Depending on how far you wish to go, it can be quite the long day. We’ll have lunch along the way at one of the viewpoints before hiking back to camp and having dinner. If there’s any energy left in those legs, we’ll have another bonfire dance party with the local Shina people.
Day 6: Depart Fairy Meadows, Jeep Ride to Naltar Lakes
We hike back down from Fairy Meadows and take the Jeeps back, reuniting with our bus and clean clothes. We head back to the guesthouse in Jaglot to have lunch, showers, and repack our bags for our adventure to Naltar Lakes. After lunch, we drive to our guesthouse in Naltar Valley, swapping into Jeeps halfway through. We’ll arrive in the evening and have dinner at the guesthouse, before moving over to the bonfire.
Day 7: Hiking in Naltar Valley and Driving to Karimabad
We jump back into the Jeeps and drive to the Naltar Lakes. After an hour, we’ll arrive at the famed lake of seven colors. We’ll have half an hour or so to wander around this beautiful lake before getting back into the Jeeps for five minutes and setting up our day camp at Blue Lake. Here, there are a few different options. There is a steep, hour-long hike to a glacial lake. Another option is a relatively flat hike with a viewpoint of the Blue Lake and the beautiful valley. And of course, there’s the option to just hang out by the Blue Lake and take in the beauty of Naltar Valley.
We’ll head out after the lakes and go straight to the town of Karimabad in Hunza Valley. We’ll check into the hotel, have dinner together, followed by free time to explore Karimabad’s Bazaar and shop til you drop.
Day 8: Shopping and Chill Day in Karimabad, Hike to Eagle’s Nest
Aside from breakfast and lunch, the first half of the day is yours to explore Karimabad. Visit the historic Baltit Fort, have a coffee at one of the many cafes with a view, or continue your shopping spree. We’ll check out of the hotel at noon, have lunch, and then hike up to Eagle’s Nest for a stunning view of Hunza Valley. We spend the night at Eagle’s Nest, having a bonfire and yak barbecue, and for those interested, the local moonshine.
Day 9: Bascochi Meadows Hike, Boat Ride on Attabad Lake, Drive to Ghulkin Village Homestay
The moonshine might have been flowing last night, so we’ll have a late start to the day. Have breakfast whenever you please, and then we’ll set off for Attabad Lake. We’ll hop on a boat to explore the stunning natural beauty of the lake and then have some snacks before setting off on the short but steep hike to Bascochi Meadows, a viewpoint overlooking the lake. Afterwards, we drive to the homestay where we will spend our last three nights in the north.
Day 10: Trek Around Ghulkin Village and Ondra Fort, Cross the Hanging Bridges
Today, we start with a hike through Ghulkin Village, taking us up to Ondra Fort. We’ll soak up the views from here before heading to Passu Hanging Bridge, a 900-foot long suspension bridge straight out of Indiana Jones. Cross it if you dare.
Day 11: Trek Across the Black Glacier, Swim and Boat at Borith Lake, Hike to Passu White Glacier
Today is our last full day in the mountains, and we are making the most of it. We start early in the morning, hiking across the Ghulkin Black Glacier. It is a tricky crossing, but we’ll have some extra guides from the village to help out. We soon end up at Borith Lake, where we can go for a swim, kayak, or paddle-boat with an amazing view. For those interested, they can continue to the Passu White Glacier, an extra 2-3 hours roundtrip of hiking. We’ll have lunch before heading to the iconic Passu Cones for some final photos and our group picture on top of the bus.
Day 12: Depart Early Morning to Drive to the Airport, Fly To Islamabad or Lahore
We will leave Ghulkin early in the morning to head to either Gilgit or Skardu Airport. Depending on flight availability, we will fly straight to Lahore or fly to Islamabad and drive the rest of the way to Lahore. We will arrive in Lahore in the evening, having one final dinner with the group and a farewell party to close out our time in Pakistan.
Day 13: Depart from Lahore
This is the last day of the trip. The guides and I will be taking people to and from the airport. However, since you’re already in the area, feel free to continue exploring Pakistan, or maybe even move on to the other incredible countries in the area. As the group fills up and the dates get closer, we can coordinate post-Pakistan travel together and keep the adventure going!
Pakistan Expedition FAQ
Is Visiting Pakistan Safe?
A lot of people have misconceptions about Pakistan, their culture, and the country’s safety. We’re here to absolutely dismantle those misconceptions. The people are kind, welcoming, trusting, and outrageously hospitable. While the lush, green valleys and the towering snow-capped peaks might be what convince you to go on the trip, the people of Pakistan are what will win you over.
I can say nothing but incredible things about the people of Pakistan. Every traveler I’ve met has told me the same thing. The Pakistani people will welcome us with genuine intrigue and curiosity, mostly wondering what brought you to their beautiful country of all places. We will be staying with some local families along the way, but many others will offer you to stay with them as well. The food in Pakistan is amazing, and the local people will gladly feed you until you can’t eat any more.
How Many Spots are Available?
The maximum group size for this expedition is 16 people.
The sign-up form is at the bottom of the page. Upon signing up, I will read through your application, and those who seem like a good fit will receive more information and an invitation via email. Occasionally, I will ask additional questionsand spots will be filled up on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you’re even slightly interested in the trip, just fill in your name and email, and I’ll send over an information packet and the next steps to lock in your spot on the trip.
How Much Does the Expedition Cost?
The expedition cost is $2750 USD.
$750 non-refundable deposit to secure your spot on the trip
$1000 second installment six months before the expedition
$1000 remaining balance paid at least three months before the expedition
What’s Included in the Cost?
Pretty much everything! All accommodation, transportation within the country, meals, and activities are included. It is a jam-packed trip, squeezing in a ton of activities, including lots of local experiences unique to our trip. We work exclusively with local guides, local families, and locally-owned businesses, so the brunt of the cost goes towards supporting Pakistan’s incredible people and growing tourism industry.
All local guides, including trekking guides, drivers, and local accommodation
We’ve got a team on the ground with years of experience to make sure everything goes smoothly, and to adjust for when things don’t. At all times, you will have three experienced guides plus our private driver with you for the entirety of the trip to make sure everything goes smoothly.
All accommodation, ranging from hotels to local home stays
If you are coming on the trip alone, you will be paired with other solo travelers for shared accommodation. We often mix up the room assignments so that everyone gets to know each other and become friends 🙂
Three Meals A Day
Despite all the hiking, you might find yourself gaining weight on this trip. Pakistani food is phenomenal, and there will be no shortage of it during our meals. Although Pakistan has a meat-heavy diet, we can accommodate for vegetarians and travelers with other dietary restrictions.
All transportation, ranging from internal flights to offroad Jeeps and our air-conditioned private bus
From the moment you land to the moment you fly out, you won’t have to worry about getting around. Babar, the best driver in Pakistan, will be leading the way in his comfortable and spacious air-conditioned bus so we will be traveling in style. We will also be traveling to some difficult to reach places that you otherwise won’t be able to reach on your own, so get hyped.
Lifelong Friends and Travel Buddies
For me, the best part of these trips is watching a group of strangers become family. All the awkwardness seems to go away after a day, and by the end of the trip, you’ll be leaving with lifelong friends that you know will always be down for an adventure. Seriously, there has yet to be a last night on any of my trips where the tears weren’t flowing. This trip may have an end date, but the friendships and relationships formed will endure through the years.
What’s Not Included?
International Flights: You will be flying in and out of Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport. Each traveler is responsible for booking their own flights, but let me know your preferred flight path, and I’ll keep an eye out for cheap flights and routes.
Visas: You can obtain Pakistan tourist visas online, and it can be done relatively easily. Unless you are a citizen of Pakistan, you will need a visa to enter Pakistan. It costs $60.
Travel Insurance: We require you to obtain travel insurance, and we will need a copy of your insurance policy.
Spending money: You’ll surely want to walk away with some souvenirs from this amazing country. We recommend about 200 USD in spending money, or maybe more if you’re fond of jewelry, rugs, shawls, and more.
Tips: During the trip, we’ll be covering tips for meals, drivers, and auxiliary guides. At the end of the trip, we will pass around an envelope to tip Imran, Aziz, and Babar. This is encouraged but not required.
Who Will Be Leading This Expedition?
Hey, that’s me! I’m a passionate traveler who lives for new experiences far outside of my comfort zone and feel most alive in the mountains. I’ve done five group expeditions to Pakistan now and can safely say it is always the highlight of my year every year. I have traveled to over 60 countries, sharing my unfiltered experiences for the last seven years as a full-time nomad and travel blogger. My goal is to inspire as many of you guys to travel and step outside of your comfort zones, and I’m beyond excited to be doing this trip together with you all.
Imran is our man on the ground in Pakistan, and an experienced tour operator with years and years of guided tours under his belt. Imran hails from Islamabad, and has an adventurous passion for travel. Having managed a hostel in Cambodia and guided many expeditions through Pakistan, Imran is the perfect fit for the adventurous tours through the Northern Territories. Imran has travelled more than your average Pakistani and understands the global backpacking culture through and through, and serves as an excellent bridge between your culture and his.
An expert hiker and part-mountain goat from Karimabad, Aziz is our fun-sized sweetheart of a guide who will keep you smiling and laughing the whole way. Growing up in the mountains of Hunza Valley in Northern Pakistan, Aziz is the best local expert one could ask for. Along the way, he’ll keep us entertained with his various musical talents, including the rubab and the flute.
Babar is our one-of-a-kind driver and a gentle giant through and through. His presence alone adds a sense of safety and comfort everywhere we go. He views everyone on our trips as family and along with being our driver, he’ll become a close friend. Be warned, if you get too close to him, his inner prankster will come out. I would go as far as to say he’ll end up being your favorite part of this trip.
What Kind Of Traveler Am I Looking For?
Let me be blunt. This trip is not for everyone. This won’t be your cushy, five-star resort vacation. This will be an adventure of a lifetime, and oftentimes, adventures can be challenging and uncomfortable. You don’t need to be an experienced traveler or trekker, but you do need to have an open mind, an open heart, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone.
- Open-minded, and eager for new experiences, cultures, and people
- Comfortable with getting uncomfortable (squat toilets, bumpy roads, cold showers, or none at all)
- A big love for the outdoors, trekking, and mountains (with preferably some trekking experience)
- Fun, easy-going, willing to go with the flow.
This trip isn’t for everyone. If you have any concerns or questions, I would love to schedule an interview to make sure that you are an ideal candidate for the trip. Since this is a group trip, I want to be sure that there is a good chemistry shared between all team members. We are going to to be together for two weeks straight, often doing things outside of our comfort zones. It isn’t going to be easy at times. I want everyone to be confident that everyone on the trip will be a team player, and most of all, a lifelong friend long after the trip is done.
How In Shape Do You Have To Be For The Trip?
There will be a decent amount of trekking on this trip, although nothing that requires any technical experience. You don’t need to be an athlete by any means, and obviously, we won’t leave anyone behind. Myself or one of the other guides will always stay at the back of the group. However, the more comfortable you are with trekking, the more you’ll enjoy the overall experience.
This is an adventure, things aren’t always straight-forward, and when that happens, we’re there to make sure your adventure goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. You will get out of this trip what you put in: a positive attitude, willingness to get to know the locals, and enthusiasm are all important.
So, What Do You Say?
Up for the adventure of a lifetime?
If you’re interested, just fill out the form below to express your interest in being a part of the Pakistan expedition.
Enter your name and email below to express your interest in being a part of the Pakistan expedition. Just briefly introduce yourself in the message, and I will get back to you with the next steps for joining us on our Pakistan trip. Don’t worry, this won’t lock you in just yet, but we expect this trip to fill up pretty quickly so if this is something you’d even remotely consider going on, sign up!
If you don’t receive an email within a few hours, check your spam folders. Also, leave your Instagram handle or other form of social media in the message so that we can contact you in case we can’t reach you by email.
“Pakistan pushed me beyond my comfort zone in ways I didn’t even know I could be pushed. It has opened my eyes to bigger adventures and new perspectives. I am beyond grateful to Eli and the team for creating an environment where we could explore this country locally and in a beautiful way.” – Emily, 24, Arizona
“It really was a trip of a lifetime for me because I left feeling so connected to my heritage and feeling proud of my Pakistani identity. I never would have thought as a kid growing up in the UK that a day will come where I’ll be touring Pakistan with a bunch of non-Pakistanis who will embrace the culture I am from. It honestly filled me with pride and I have you to thank for that. Please keep doing what you’re doing and continue to show the world what Pakistan really has to offer.” – Zainab, 27, Birmingham
“Finding out about you and this trip online was the biggest blessing for me this year. Thanks for doing what you do, you really bring the best people together.” – Lucy, South Korea
“Thank you for all the hard work that went behind planning this expedition. It was full of joy, challenges, and a whole lotta laughs” – Leanna, 22, Washington
“The most incredible trip of my life with the most incredible people.” – Julia, 26, London
“Visiting Pakistan was the trip of a lifetime and I’m so happy I went with a fun and positive group of people. The hikes were breathtaking and I loved exploring the cities and mountains of Pakistan. I felt safe the entire time and everything was well taken care of. I enjoyed my trip so much and can’t wait to go back!” – Brooklyn, 20, Atlanta