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Full-Day Private Jaisalmer City Tour with Havelis and Camel Ride
"Early in the morning you will visit the historic well-preserved Jaisalmer fort and explore the maze of narrow streets in this open air museum of a city with its ornately decorated havelis of yellow sandstone. The havelis were built by rich merchants at a time when the city was a key stop on the caravan routes from the Middle East. head to Gadisar Lake and then take a break for lunch at a great local restaurant.In the evening just before sunset you will travel to Sam Sand Dunes - 45km (28mi) to see the total sandy bushless desert. On this glorious stretch of sweeping sand dunes you will enjoy a camel ride and be able to take your favorite picture with a lone camel on a desert track with the setting sun in the backdrop. After a memorable day you will head back to your hotel in Jaisalmer."
From $60.00
Private Full-Day City Tour of Jaisalmer
"At 9am your guide will pick you up from your accommodation or the train station in Jaisalmer. You will head to explore the honey-colored Jaisalmer Fort that emerges from the flat dry desert sands and enjoy a walk through the maze of narrow streets in the city with ornately decorated havelis in yellow sandstone. The Salim Singh-Ki-Haveli and Patwon-Ki-Haveli are some of the most beautiful mansions with stone carving and la’ and to enter its narrow cobbled lanes is a step back into another era. You also visit the impressive havelis which were once built by wealthy Jain merchants. Decorated with rich-carvings stone inlays ornamental lattice tracery works and some of them are still in excellent condition. You will then break for lunch that will be provided at a local restaurant. After lunch
From $74.00
Full-Day Private Jaisalmer City Tour with Havelis and Camel Ride
"Early in the morning you will visit the historic well-preserved Jaisalmer fort and explore the maze of narrow streets in this open air museum of a city with its ornately decorated havelis of yellow sandstone. The havelis were built by rich merchants at a time when the city was a key stop on the caravan routes from the Middle East. head to Gadisar Lake and then take a break for lunch at a great local restaurant.In the evening just before sunset you will travel to Sam Sand Dunes - 45km (28mi) to see the total sandy bushless desert. On this glorious stretch of sweeping sand dunes you will enjoy a camel ride and be able to take your favorite picture with a lone camel on a desert track with the setting sun in the backdrop. After a memorable day you will head back to your hotel in Jaisalmer."
From $60.00

Northern Areas Tips (12)

Deosai Plains - Beauty in the Wilderness

Deosai Plains are among the highest plateaus in the world, with an average height of 4,114 meters (13,500 ft), and belong to the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe. With its unique qualities, the 3,000 sq. km difficult-to-approach and uninhabited Plateau remains on the top of the local adventurers wish-list.

The unending plains at a literally breathtaking height unveils their beauty only in the springs when the snow melts down and life comes back to the “Land of Giants” in the shape of lush green plains carpeted with a variety of soothing flora and smiling butterflies. Though its harsh weather in Winters (November to April) keep human beings away from the terrain but tougher creatures take this as an opportunity to dodge extinction. Deosai serves as a natural abode to a variety of rare and diminishing species, both animals and birds, including Himalayan Brown Bear, country’s largest omnivore, Himalayan Ibex, Golden Marmot, Snow Leopard, Golden Eagle, Snowcock, and a few types of Falcons.

A full-fledged trip to Deosai is a complete adventure in all aspects. The plains are dead natural, i.e. no human beings and hence no pollution, which we call facilities for the sake of convenience. A 4x4 with a trusted, and preferably local, driver; camps with all the required accessories; food stuff with a cook-cum-guide; warm clothing, altitude specific medicines, insect repellents, sun blocks and moisturizing creams, etc; salt as per your requirement (read camera, fishing equipment, and other stuff as per your choices); and most importantly high spirited companions are a must for this expedition. Typically the journey starts form Skardu, where one can easily find and bargain a jeep from with all the required equipments. Hiring a jeep from Skardu bazaar is highly recommended, but after negotiations and bargain hunting, while making sure that price should be all inclusive; the jeep, the fuel; the driver, the guide; the food; and the camp. A five nights trip will cost at-least PKR 50,000 – 60,000 (USD 750) for a troupe of 1 to 4 all inclusive.

Starting the trip early in the morning will allow you to do enroute Buddha carvings – dating back to 7th and 8th century – and Sadpara Lake – a beautiful natural lake with an island in the middle – before heading to Deosai top; hence it is prudent to lock your jeep a night earlier. Both will take 3-4 hours or more depending upon your interest.

The road-cum-jeep track to Deosai is bumpy and steep, so be prepared for a temporary nausea until you reach Deosai Top for the moment you will cherish for whole of your life. The setting will change all of a sudden, from a rough mountainous terrain you would have left behind to an endless green treeless wilderness and that too at the height of surrounding peaks. The facility of Wooden-boxed toilet at the top should be availed as a luxury since walls and roofs are a rarity onwards. This would take around two to three hours to the top from Sadpara and one more hour to reach to Barapani (also known as Kalapani), where the famous hanging bridge on an inversely flowing river is located. The place is a favorite among adventurers for camping and also serves as a sojourn for meals and refreshments for travelers who choose to just pass by the place.

Next stop is Sheosar Lake (also know as Shausar Lake) at a height of 4142 m (13589 ft). The blue lake is a famous camping spot and an easy ride from Barapani. Be prepared for a difficult journey the next day through Chackor Pass all the way to Astore, to resume to the civilization, via Chilam Chowki. In Astore, you can find hotels for night stay only to head for Rama Lake the next day to end your adventure on a high note beside a beautiful lake surrounded with oak trees. You can add Tarashing Valley and Rupal valley, Nanaga Parbat base camp, at the tail end of the itinerary should you have appetite for trekking and hiking.

Foreigners are advised to keep their passports with valid visas and permits with them while visiting Deosai Mountains. I understand that foreigners require permits from Ministry of Tourism, Islamabad for this journey which you can obtain through prior arrangements with your guide or any travel agent.

Finally a request: while planning, please do take into account proper trash disposal in order to save this place from spoiling.

Mozumbus's Profile Photo
May 20, 2010

Trek to Fairy Meadows, Nanga Parbat

Bonjour from Peshawar,

It is feasible from Chitral, across Shandur pass 3800 m, some 14 to 16 hrs drive from Chitral to Gilgit, stay overnight
At Medina Guest house
Lost Horizon guest house

2 hrs drive from Gilgit to Raikit bridge on KKH, towards Islamabad, the local jeeps are operated to Jehl, some 3500 to 4000 Pkrs, an hour drive.

Jhel, the moderate trek, hike begins, 2, 3 hrs to Fairy Meadows 3300 m, pretty feasible in May.
Stay at
Raikot Sarai
with Rehmat Nabi.

Enjoy the marvels of Pakistan.

Imran Schah

Photos of my adventures in Pakistan

imranthetrekker's Profile Photo
Apr 23, 2010

The Flight to Skardu through Heavens

Skardu is one of the famous tourist hubs of the Northern Areas of Pakistan, and the gateway to K2 - the world's second highest peak after Mount Everest. Karakoram Highway, KKH, joins other parts of Pakistan to Northern Areas including Skardu. In summers, Pakistan International Airlines, PIA, also operates subsidized flights from Islamabad to Skardu. One Boeing 737 flies daily, subject to weather conditions, from Islamabad and this flight is truly considered as one of the most dangerous commercial flights in the world.

As soon as the plane takes off, one can feel the chill of the thrill to come, it takes no time during this one hour journey that the plane enters into the Himalaya Range of mountains with the plane cruising between snow covered peaks. Subject to clear weather, one can see the Naked Mountain "Nanga Parbat", the ninth highest mountain on Earth which is commonly known as Killer Mountain for obvious reasons, from inside of the plane enjoying a hot cup of coffee on a comfortable economy plus seat. The plane frequently goes in and out of heavy clouds creating a hustle and bustle throughout the plane. In order to have better views, sitting on right hand side seats is highly recommended, and fortunate ones like me get the window seat!

Climax of this adventure starts as the captain announces the arrival of Skardu and requests passengers to fasten their seat belts for landing. And then the plane starts descending without giving a slightest clue to those who start looking down, in panic, from the window in search of the landing strip, or the runway, as it is called in other parts of the world! Even smaller rocks can be seen with details as the plane tilts to either side in order to descend so much so that people who were not looking downward initially start making strange sounds, may be out of excitement. A river bed appears as the plane approaches the landing strip only to make the outside view more heavenly. And finally the wheels touch the ground with an eruption of clapping out of mixed emotions of being lucky to survive and the appreciation of undoubted proficiency of PIA pilots from the passengers who were holding their breaths tight for last several minutes.

Getting a seat on this flight is not less an adventure than the experience itself because of its virtually inelastic demand curve. Purchasing process is the same as of any other flight booking process but the voyage starts when one comes to know that the ticket needs to be reconfirmed otherwise it may end up as a useless piece of paper. It is not to mention that this painstaking job is more than worth it, provided the plane lands successfully. At times, the captain, upon arriving to the Skardu Valley, refuses to land because of host of reasons, such as lack of visibility, strong winds, thick cloud cover, etc and takes the plane back to Islamabad Airport. However, passengers are always given a choice to get 100% refund, if they do not wish to give it a second try, only the succeeding day. This 100% refund is applicable whenever one wishes to withdraw from their booking, but obviously before reconfirmation.
Now coming back to the Reconfirmation Ordeal; all the passengers are expected to reconfirm their ticket from Northern Areas Counter of PIA Rawalpindi Office, located at Mall, a 20 minutes drive from Isalmabad Airport. This reconfirmation needs to be done 24 hours in advance and this is not as simple as it sounds. The "ticket" needs to go there physically to get stamped, and without this stamp the staff at airport may refuse to even recognize this harmless piece of paper, unless one has special reasons and resources. To make things less simple, if not complicated, reconfirmation can only be done if the preceding flight would have landed successful at Skardu Airport. Otherwise, the passengers of the failed flight will get priority over next day's flight. Usually, the flight lands no earlier than 12 noon at Skardu, so going to Rawalpindi Office early may be futile and requires one more visit or one has to wait until the flight lands and the staff is done with their lunch and prayers. It is also recommended to confirm, via phone, if the preceding flight has been landed at Skardu Airport to avoid futile visits. There is no standard procedures at Northern Areas Counter and has to be continuously on the look for the right person and proactive.

There is only one plane allocated for this route, so the plane that had landed the day before at Skardu must have come back in order to take you to Skardu. Keeping in view the vagaries of weather, this kind of permutation can only tilt in favour of lucky ones, and I was one of them! On the day of flight, at airport, passengers are not given with the boarding cards, until the plane has come back from Skardu, and the pilot is convinced of flight-able and land-able weather conditions. Keep your calm once you get the boarding card until they announce that the flight is ready for boarding. And once you board-in and the flight takes-off you are not required to keep your calm at all!!!

This flight is a trip in its own capacity and in my humble opinion, it should be recognized by VT as a tourist destination!

Mozumbus's Profile Photo
Apr 08, 2010

Kachura Lakes (Skardu)

As the names suggest, both of these lakes - i.e. Lower Kachura Lake and Upper Kachura Lake - are situated in Kachura, a small town near Skardu, half an hour drive (16 km) from Skardu Airport and one hour drive (33 km) from Skardu city. This couplet is a true gift of nature, which is away from easy approach, and therefore still provides their visitors with a lovely natural touch. If you are in a need to heal your soul after a period of endless pursuit of commercial happiness than this is a perfect place to have a break and explore some of the -out-of-the-world natural treasures.

Lower Kachura Lake: Lower Kachura Lake is just one example of the splendor my country has to offer. The lake is surrounded with fruit laden trees, forests, and 'high-rise' snow-covered mountains. In summers, it provides with an excellent opportunity to have a break and refresh one's body and soul with some magnificient natural scenery all around and the refreshing innate air to inhale. It is a perfect place to make a base for a trip of week or so with day trips to places like Upper Kachura Lake and Khush Nala, Deaosai Mountains, Satpara Lake and Buddha, etc. Walks, trails, and treks around the lake are quite refreshing, during which one can also enjoy fresh and seasonal fruit picking such as Apricots and Cherries.

Management of a local hotel cum resort - Shangrial Resort - has bought most of the land surrounding the lake with few exceptions and has made this beautiful natural lake virtually a private property. Room charges in this resort are exorbitant, specially in summers, ranging from PKR 8,000 to PKR 12,000 (approximately USD 150) per night. If one is not staying at Shangrila and just want to visit and see the lake from Shangrila premises then they have to pay an entrance fee of PKR 200. Having said that, I must admit that Shangrila management is doing hard to maintain the landscape of this natural beauty, they have made cottages around the lake which are well spread out so that the essence of the place somewhat remains intact.

Apart from Shangrila, there is another small time hotel - Tibet Motel - located opposite to Shangrila Resort with some stunning views. This hotel is relatively less expensive (PKR 2,000: USD 25) and also provides for camping facilities (PKR 400: USD 5). One can enjoy their lake side lawn without any fee and order something to drink or eat. The management of Tibet Motel is building a multistory hotel - Karakoram Towers - to attract tourists. Structure of this hotel has been built, however, completion is pending as the sponsor is out of funds and tourism outlook is not that bright in the short run. Importantly, this structure has disturbed the natural landscape of the place.

Apart from these two commercial accommodations, there are located rest houses of various government departments, which can only be availed through advanced booking, which is not possible without direct links in these departments, namely Police, Army, and Public Works Department (PWD).

Upper Kachura Lake: Upper Kachura Lake is an approx 2 hours, mostly upward, trek from Lower Kachura Lake. This is also a beautiful natural lake without the menace of commercialization. A road also links Lower Kachura Lake from the Upper one.

There are not much accomodation options available at Upper Kachura Lake except for a very ordinary Ghazi Hotel (PKR 400: USD 5) with room and camping options. This lake is more natural than the lower one and a delight to spend one full day, the water is comparitively warm and one can see locals swimming overthere. We ordered the famous Trout Fish (PKR 800: USD 10 for two persons) at Ghazi Hotel on way to the lake and enjoyed the sumptous meal on our way back. The guy also offered us with fresh Apricots but on our demand.

For travelling options from Rawalpindi/ Islamabad to Skardu/ Gilgit, visist my Pakistan Page or copy following links on your browser:

Mozumbus's Profile Photo
Oct 06, 2009
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Northern Areas Treks and Travel

Chainless -- I had this blog saved in my "favorites" and it is not really a travel blog, but interesting info. I haven't read it in awhile so I just looked through it again & found a bit about taking the tunnel. Check it out!

Jun 13, 2008

You want Afghanistan?

Many travellers dream of the past when Afghanistan was a hippie hot spot and when Goa was 'untouched'. If you really want to experience a place that is intense in every sense of the word then Peshawar is the place for you. You will see burqas everywhere and you will get the feeling like you are in Kabul but minus the violence. Peshawar is a place for the intrepid and if you do decide to go, please take respect the culture ( ie cover up). I was born, raised and educated in Canada so I knew it would be a different experience but after arriving from Oman (which is off the charts) it blew me away with its conservatism and traditional way of life. Travel with an open mind and you will have a fantastic experience ! You may even be invited to a locals home where women will sit and talk to you like they have known you for 10 years :) (even though in public the women dont exist) incredible.

JohnniOmani's Profile Photo
Feb 15, 2007

Travel into Baltistan

Most people who pass through Baltistan do it enroute to the trekking areas, but if I was to return to Pakistan I would love to spend some time hiring jeeps (and drivers) and travelling through the villages around Skardu - places such as Khapalu, Kande, Machulu, Hushe, Shigar looked stunning but went by all too quickly as we passed them by. Baltistan is an amazing area with a mix of ancient Tibetan heritage fused with the Pakistani way. Using a village such as Hushe as a base you could then do a series of stunning day-walks to places like Masherbrum base camp using local guides! There is even a PTDC Motel now built at Khapalu which looked really pretty and would also serve as a great base for exploring this region. PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Develepment Corporation) is the government tourism promotion agency and they have an established network of motels around Pakistan - Northern Pakistan's coverage was a bit spartan but Khapalu is a step in the right direction.

Jul 07, 2003

Nanga Parbat, whose name means...

Nanga Parbat, whose name means Naked Mountain, is the ninth highest mountain in the world, and the westernmost mountain of the Himalayas. Its vast snowy face is a powerful spectacle when seen from the arid Indus Valley, approaching the mountain from the west. Here the mountain towers in isolation over 22,000 feet from the valley floor.
The mountain is easy to reach (China's Karakoram Highway approaches the base of the mountain from the north), but is not so easy to climb. Unstable glaciers and frequent storms and avalanches have proved hazardous, most notably to the German party who first attempted the peak. Herman Buhl successfully reached the summit, but this was only after having lost eleven climbers and fifteen porters during the ascent. Many other climbers have subsequently been killed on this mountain.

nishat's Profile Photo
Aug 26, 2002

Top 5 Pakistan Writers

imranthetrekker's Profile Photo


"Land of Mountain gods Pakistan"
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"Pakistan....from mountains through deserts"
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Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo


"Faiza-Ifrah's women's Pakistan off the beaten path"
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"A Westerners Point of View"
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Although tourists usually...

Although tourists usually visit Northern Areas of Pakistan but they only go to well known areas like Hunza,Gilgit,Skardu etc.There are some places which are more beautiful than these areas and this is the picture of one them.
This is the image of the Latok Mountains.A must see...

Aug 25, 2002

The Kargah BuddhaFew...

The Kargah BuddhaFew kilometres west of Gilgit, the standing Buddha carved on a cliff face. You can hike to the village of Kargah Nala, or hire a “Suzuki” for a few hours trip. Then local kids will guide you to see the Buddha and the ruins of a monastery and a stupa. The stupa is not very “interesting” (just lots of stones … if it was “the stupa”…) , but, again, good valley views, villages and people.

titti's Profile Photo
Aug 24, 2002

Flight to Skardu

Awesome flight from Islamabad to Skardu. Just take the flight if you have little time to do a lot of trekking on the mountains up north.

Fudge's Profile Photo
Aug 07, 2007

I was waiting for next taxi or...

I was waiting for next taxi or truck come for a while. These men were passing by throwing me smiles.

Kartann's Profile Photo
Sep 08, 2002

Things to Do Near Pakistan

Things to Do

Shahi Qila - Lahore Fort

Shahi Qila is situated in front of Badshahi Mosque. It is a huge forte bounding a lot of beauty. A great ancient work of architecture. Without Visiting Lahrore Forte your visit to Lahore is...
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Things to Do


Its a spot in the hills around Islamabad. The whole city can be viewed from here. Even Rawal Dam Lake can be viewed from here. It is a good, health air picnic spot. Government has developed the...
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Things to Do

Clifton and Sea View

First point I want to note is that some other posts are out dated saying that one of the tallest water fountains (~500ft) operates during the sunset hours. This is outdated, the fountain was removed...
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Things to Do

Lake Saif-ul-Maluk

Situated at the height of 10,578 feet (3,224 meters) above sea level, Saiful Muluk is the most beautiful lake in Kaghan Valley. Offering excellent view of the Peak of Malika Parbat Mountain this lake...
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Things to Do


There is a spot on Murree-Nathiagali Road, near Ayubia Chair Lifts, called "Baander Point". In this area great number of monkeys live in the jungle. They are so friendly that they come on the road and...
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Things to Do

Khyber Pass

The most famous pass of the world, the Khyber Pass, is 16 km from Peshawar. It has been, throughout history, the most important gateway to the plains of the South Asian sub-continent both for...
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Getting to Pakistan


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