Kalash and Hunza Valleys

Kalash and Hunza Valleys


A once-in-a-lifetime journey to experience the Kalash Valley’s pre-islamic pagan traditions which developed in isolation on a nearly forgotten stretch of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Join us in the villages of the legendary Karakoram mountains while discovering a kaleidoscope of local cultures. Your Kalash Valley tour will explore ancient mountain kingdoms long separated from one another by the impassable peaks and tribal conflicts of the Hindu Kush Range.

Start and Finish  Islamabad, Islamabad

Trip Length  14 days

Max Elevation  3700 Meters

Group Size  Min 1, Max 12

Physical Rating  Moderate

Available Trip Options

Fixed Departure: September 8 – 21, 2024

Kalash Valley Tour Highlights

  • Deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush Range, we will tour the remote Kalash Valleys of Bumburet and Rumbur to experience a land known for colorful clothing and intriguing pagan traditions.
  • Take in the stunning natural beauty of the Karakoram Mountains, from the crawling Passu Glacier to the sky-blue waters of Attabad and Borith Lake. 
  • Step into the palace of royalty in Hunza Valley while exploring the eighth-century Balti Altit Forts set to the backdrop of the towering snow-capped Rakaposhi.
  • Take a legendary mountain flight to reach the Chitral Valley, complete with an unobstructed view of the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Your Trip Leaders


Jonathan’s mission is connecting you with local trip leaders who will make your once-in-a-lifetime adventure a reality. Jonathan has spent the last ...

  • Michigan, USA

Photographer, trekking guide, and writer, Salim is most at home when showing guests around the Hunza Valley which he calls home. If you manage to ...

  • Hunza Valley, Pakistan

Is the Kalash Valley Tour for me?

  • This Kalash Valley tour only requires a moderate level of physical fitness. On some days we will trek for 1-3 hours to viewpoints overlooking valleys of landscaping sceneries.
  • The best time of the year to travel through Northern Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan is from April through October. The winters in Northern Pakistan have high levels of snowfall and freezing temperatures. During the winter our route over Shandur Pass becomes inaccessible to due to heavy snowfall. If traveling to Pakistan in December through March we suggest exploring the Indus Valley on our Punjab and Sindh itinerary.


Kalash Valley Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Islamabad

  • After landing at the airport and checking into your guest house, we will venture on a short tour of Islamabad. We will take the extra time in the day to experience the local tradition expressed through the Islamic architecture of the sixth largest mosque in the world, the Faisal Mosque. Residing at the base of Margalla Hills, the futuristic mosque is a superlative piece of Pakistani architecture designed from a succession of eight interlocking sides of concrete shells inspired by the Bedouin tent. For a new vantage point, up in the center of Margalla Hills stands Daman-e-Koh in the hilltop garden providing a panoramic view of the capital city Islamabad and the Faisal Mosque. End the night in a hotel.

Day 2 Chitral

  • The flight from Islamabad to Chitral is the most picturesque journey in Northern Pakistan, flying over the heart of the Hindu Kush mountain and an epic descent over Danin village to the Chitral airport landing. After landing around mid-day, we will visit the Shahi Mosque, Chitral Museum, and local bazaars. Situated amongst the mighty mountains of the Hindukush range stand three symmetrical domes with twin minarets on the Shahi Mosque to pose an especially picturesque image on a clear day. The night will be spent at a hotel in Chitral.

Please note: Weather in the Chitral Valley can delay or even cancel flights due to poor flying visibility on Chitral airport landings. In the event of poor flying conditions in the Chitral Valley, the team’s flight will be changed to a 12-hour ride by private transport.

Day 3 Chitral Valley

  • The day will be spent relaxing, walking, and jeep riding among the radiant and beautiful green plains of Chitral Valley covered by juniper forests, evocative mountains, and friendly people. Amidst the world’s most lofty peaks in the Hindu Kush mountain range, through which we will journey on idyllic hiking routes led by the local tour guide. Spend the night at a hotel in Chitral, with the highlight of the trip, your Kalash Valley tour, beginning waiting for you tomorrow.

Day 4 Kalash Valleys

  • Start the next leg of our journey by taking a private vehicle down to Kalash Valley visiting Bumburet and Rumbur Valleys. The Kalasha reside among three remote valleys surrounded by the Hindu Kush mountains known as Bumburet, Rumber, and Birir. The Kalasha have intriguing animistic religious beliefs dating back to pre-Zoroastrian and Indo-Aryan roots. The Kalash women brilliantly dress in long robes richly embroidered with cowrie shells and handi-craft caps known as kupas. A pinnacle cultural expression of Kalasha heritage is through the Kalasha Dur Museum where displayed artifacts and objects depict the history of the beautiful valley. We will stay at a homestay for the night.

Day 5 Kalash Valleys

  • We will be enjoying a combination of hiking and safari rides in a fully-immersive environment in the Kalasha Valley tour accommodated by local families for a first-hand experience. In Rumbur and Bumburet we will eat Chitrali-cuisine, savor domestically made wine and alcohol, and stay in locally owned guesthouses. Then explore the compelling religious sites and graveyards in Kalasha that insinuate a different perspective on life. Ornamented wooden coffins are traditionally left above ground and engraved with characteristics of the passed person’s identity. To complete the evening, we will venture to the indigenous market where hand-woven Kalashi apparel and special walnut bread are made. The night will be spent in a homestay.

Day 6 Phander Valley

  • Set out for Gilgit, crossing over the Shandur Polo Grounds and stopping at Phander Valley for the night. The Shandur Polo Grounds are the highest polo grounds in the world accompanied by surreal overlooking views of the surrounding mountain ranges. During the picturesque drive through the mountains, be sure to watch for local beekeepers lining the road selling honey between Shandur and Gilgit. Upon arrival, we will drink chai with locals and refresh our energy to explore the area. The Phander Valley is flat and easy to trek making short hikes and village walks relaxing and enjoyable. The name speaks for itself, the prefix “Phan” means palm in the local Khowar language describing the land to be as flat as a palm tree. There are four Phander lakes established throughout Phander Valley with Lake Phander being the largest. As an optional activity locals gladly provide fishing equipment to spend an evening fishing. The night will be spent in a hotel.

Day 7 Gilgit

  • Start the morning drive from Phander Valley to Gilgit traveling through the valleys of skyscraping mountain peaks. After enjoying authentic Hunza cuisine and settling in the hotel, the rest of the day will be spent exploring Pakistan’s ancient heritage at the Kargah Buddha site. A thousand years ago, Gilgit was the flourishing home of indigenous Buddhists who commemorated Buddha by engraving a massive image of him 50 feet off the ground on the underhang of the Kargah Nala mountain. The night will be spent at a hotel in Gilgit.

Day 8 Hunza Valley

  • We will head to Karimabad, the city of royalty with kings and queens first settling there over 800 years ago. The first attraction we will visit is the fairy-tale-like castle of Baltit named the Baltit Fort which overlooks Hunza Valley with the breathtaking Golden Peak, Rakaposhi, and Ultar Sar mountain ranges. The journey to the Baltit Fort passes through the famous Karimabad bazaar where locals sell freshly picked fruit, hand-woven clothing, and Asian-influenced cuisine. The night will be spent in a mountain lodge in Karimabad.

Day 9 Hunza Nagar

  • Today we venture to the highest outlook in Karimabad at Eagle’s Nest, an overlook with a 360-degree view of the entire Hunza Valley. The Eagle’s Nest sits on top of the valley at 2,850 meters above sea level with a fabulous view of the six 7,000-meter peaks! Next, we will experience the deepest roots of Pakistani culture touring one of the earliest settlements on the ancient silk road, the Ganish Village. The historic Ganish Village is home to the Ganish Mosques comprising four mosques over 300 years old embedded with rich wood carving work manifesting the clear beauty of the mosques. Throughout Hunza Valley sits historic irrigation canals lined with walking paths, built to divert melting glacier water to local crops. The flat paths curving around the mountains not only provide a surreal view of Hunza’s celestial natural beauty but offer insight into how locals created the utopia it is today. Along the irrigation channels are opportunities to pick apricots from trees, soak in the natural scenery, or read a book. The night will be spent in a mountain lodge in Karimabad.

Day 10 Hunza Nagar

  • Start our day by visiting the eleventh-century Altit Fort, the traditional housing of the monarchs of Hunza who carry the title “Mir” meaning ruler. Afterward, we will take a small trip up the Karakoram Highway to the deep blue waters of Attabad Lake on the way to Ghulmit. The newly formed lake which spans over 20 kilometers in length used to be the Indus River until a massive landslide blocked the road, swelling up hundreds of feet deep water to form Attabad Lake. The flooding blocked the critical trade route of the Karakoram Highway for all vehicles for five months. In response, five tunnels spanning seven kilometers long were built around the stunning Attabad Lake. We will then make our way to Ghulmit and spend the night in a guest house.

Day 11 Upper Hunza Valley in Ghulmit - Homestay

  • Take a road trip up the Karakoram Highway to Passu visiting the epic Hussaini suspension bridge. The journey continues to visit the scenic shores of Borith Lake in the mountain village of Upper Hunza. After soaking in the serene lake views, we will head to Zero Point, the trailhead of the Passu Glacier, trekking on a leisurely 30-minute route to overlook the 21-kilometer-long glacier. The short hike also comes with an unobstructed view of the golden Passu Cones and the towering Passu Peak. The night will be spent in the guest house in Ghulmit.

Day 12 Naran Kaghan

  • Continue the journey from Ghulmit to the forested mountains of Naran Kaghan, leaving in the morning and arriving late afternoon via private car. Along the way at an elevation of 13,000 feet awaits Babusar Pass hosting a cornucopia of bazaar markets representing Pakistan’s most superlative indigenous products. A plethora of classic Pakistani street food fills the mountain range from locally harvested honey to every imaginable comfort food. The smoothie bars, chai cafés, and honey vendors bring together the most epic convention of Pakistani’s best produce. If the scenic route through Babusar Pass and the Northern mountains were not enough, the day can be ended by visiting one of the highest lakes in Pakistan, the utopia of Saif-Ul-Muluk Lake. The night will be spent in a hotel in Naran Kaghan.

Day 13 Islamabad

  • Today will continue on to reach Islamabad, leaving the rest of the day to explore the diverse markets of the capital city. The city is accompanied by a view of beautiful quaint mountain ranges encompassing the flourishing vegetation throughout the area. The last night in Islamabad before catching your flight back the next morning will be in a hotel.

Day 14 Islamabad

  • The last day of your Kalash Valley tour will be a free day to spend before the scheduled flight departure and additional nights can be arranged at an additional cost. The flight will depart out of Islamabad signaling the end of this epic adventure.


Included in the Kalash Valley tour price:

  • All accommodation, including guest houses and hotels
  • All ground transportation via private vehicle
  • All meals during the trip
  • English-speaking local trip leader
  • Domestic flight from Islamabad to Chitral

Not included:

  • International flights to and from Islamabad
  • Travel insurance, which is a requirement for the trip
  • Visa

Book a Private Trip

Do none of the above group tour dates work for your schedule?  Are you wanting to book a private trip for yourself or a group of friends?  Reach out to us today to book this itinerary as a private trip.  Our staff will work with you to craft your custom once in a lifetime adventure!

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