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Tracing Back the Ancient Silk Route Jeep Safari

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11 Days
Availability : March - November
Min Age : 10+
Tour Details

Enriched with one of the world’s oldest civilizations, a fabled high valley of vast glaciers and snow-capped peaks, the legendary gardens of Shalimar and a famed mountain pass whose name is synonymous with adventure, the remains and ruins of Moenjedoro, Taxila and early Muslim or Mughal civilizations, the Silk Roads heritage is obvious everywhere in Pakistan.

According to professor Ahmed Hassn Dani, Silk Road originated from Changan (Xian), the North West of China, passed through Gobi desert westward to Dun-huang where it bifurcated into two, one route passing through Tarim Basin, Aksu on to Kashgar and the second followed the southern edge at the foot of Kunlun to Khotan, Yarkand and on to Kashgar

According to Stein, migrants from sub-continent who travelled to the Kroraina in the Second and Third Centuries followed the rivers, Indus and Hunza. In the 19th and 20th Century, travelers used to enter China through the Mintaka Pass. The first migrants came from the Gandhara region to the western regions and settled in Niya. These refugees brought Buddhism to China and also the Kharoshti script and writings. Marco Polo claimed to have travelled the entire length of Silk Route in late 13th Century. According to professor Ahmed Hassn Dani the Silk Road originated from Changan (Xian), the North West of China, passed through Gobi desert westward to Dun-huang where it bifurcated into two, one route passing through Tarim Basin, Aksu on to Kashgar and the second followed the southern edge at the foot of Kunlun to Khotan, Yarkand and on to Kashgar. The journey westward was either over the north of Pamir towards Samarkand or across small valleys south of it through Wakhan, Badakshan and onwards to Bacteria, north of Hinukush in the valley of Oxus. It is the center route on the southern route that the path goes across the Kunlun towards Karakoram region, opening a passage for trade to Indo-Gangetic plains. On the south it crossed Muztag River and after passing through Shimshal reached the main channel of Hunza River.

The inscriptions found on rocks in Hunza are one of the earliest sources of historical account available during the first millennium

A route from Yarkand River would follow its tributary of Tashkurgan River and reach the town of Tashkurgan, from where it branched in two. One route goes towards Wakhan and the other to Kunjerab. It was the Wakhan route that could be reached directly from Gilgit, Chilas or Chitral over high passes. Another old connection was across the Kilk Mintaka Passes over the opening of Misgar village and onward to Hunza. The Mintaka Pass has an opening towards the Chinese Empire on the East and Tsarist Russia on the North West. According to Dani the Chinese cities of Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan and the Pakistani cities of Gilgit, Taxila, Peshawar, Lahore, Multan, Thatta, Sukkur, Rohri and Bambhoron were the port towns of Mediterranean Sea and all fell on this great route of the past. Today Pakistan is linked with China through Karakoram Highway with Kashgar being the focal point to Gilgit. Rock inscription at Chilas were written by travelers and pilgrims in the First and Second Century. Hunza was no doubt a transitory point as it was used by caravans, travelers and invaders. The inscriptions found on rocks in Hunza are one of the earliest sources of historical account available during the First Millennium. According to the famous book Rajatarangini (river of the kings), a link between Kashmir and Xinjiang, and with the kingdoms of Khotan and Kashgar existed since that ancient time. The shortest route at that time was through Astore, Gilgit, Hunza and Tashkurgan. The Ganish village in Hunza is a thousand-year-old village that also won the UNESCO Asia Pacific heritage award. Reportedly this was one of the major stops on the Silk Road. Three famous Chinese pilgrims are known to have visited the Gilgit region. FaHien started his journey on 400 AD from Changan in Shen-Si to Tashkurgan then crossed Tsungling and entered the Sub-Continent through the country of Toli (Darel valley of Chilas) and to Udyan (Swat). The journey from Khotan to Udyan took 99 days. The second pilgrim was Sung-Yun who also arrived at Khotan than to Yarkand and to Tashkurgan and Misgar village (Hunza) and after crossing Mintaka Pass, went onto Udyan (Swat). The third pilgrim was Hsuan Tsang who went to Samarkand and Bokhara and to Oxus then onto Udyan. His return was across the Pamirs via Kashgar, Yark and onward along the southern route. Another Chinese traveler and monk Che-Mong crossed Pamirs, travelled through Gilgit and entered Kashmir through Burzil. In the later part of the 8th Century, envoy WuKang followed the route to Yasin to Gilgit and India. The Gilgit route was indeed an important link between Sub-Continent and Tarim basin in China. Mintaka, Kilk, Darkot and Baroghil passes were the entry points to ancient India. Some also call the route to Kashghar from Gilgit as Silk Route. This route starts from Gilgit along River Hunza and reaches Passu village and from there, crosses Hunza River towards the Kilk Pass, enters Taghdumbash of Xinjiang and then crossing River Tashkurgan, enters the town of Tashkurgan. From there it goes towards the town of Shindi and from there one route leads to Yarkand and the other to Kashgar.

In the late 19th Century a regular fortnightly postal service existed between Gilgit and Kashgar via the Kilk Pass in summers and the Mintaka Pass in winters. According to Philipp VonZebern in his book Between Gandhara and the Silk Roads, a connection was found from Marakanda (Samarkand) the center of Sogdia leading directly towards the South East. Excavations at the River Oxus, at Swat and in the Indus Valley show Bronze Age migration of tribes that took place through these routes. About 3000 inscription and more than 20000 petroglyphs were discovered along the Karakoram Highway according to an estimate done in 1986.

According to Philipp, the Chinese army who advanced into the mountainous terrain in 747 AD, abducted the ruler of Bolor (Gilgit) and took him back to China. After that Bolar was considered as a Chinese military district. Another famous trade route went through the Karakoram Pass (18176 feet), starting from Srinagar, through Kargil and Leh to Yarkand, Khotan and ending at Kashgar. The Karakoram Pass was used extensively by caravans of trades from Yarkand to Leh through the Naubara Valley. Leh in Ladhakh was a British frontier post and was situated on trade route to China and Central Asia. The trade route was frequently raided by Kanjutis (people of Hunza) as mentioned by E-M Knight in his book Where Three Empire Meet and also by Captain Younghusband in his writings Report of Mission to the Northern Frontiers of Kashmir in 1889. According to them, the great hunting ground for Kanjutis was great trade route between Leh to Yarkand over Karakoram Pass and many other caravans from Sub-Continent to Central Asia were looted. The Chinese and Kashmiris were unable to stop these raid and Kanjutis were considered invincible. Once Captain Younghusband asked Mir of Hunza to stop these raids on trade route, he categorically told him that unless a large subsidy was allowed to him, they would continue raiding the caravans as it was their legitimate source of income. In 1891, the state of Hunza was attacked under the command of Durand in order to forestall a possible Russian invasion of subcontinent through the passes of Pamir, Hindukush and Karakoram. Afterwards, the British asked China to do away with its influence over Hunza. Under the Tang dynasty the Silk Road enjoyed its golden age and was finally abandoned under the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) the Silk. It is evident from the above historic facts that besides the link of Karakoram Pass there were routes which passed through Hunza to Central Asia and Sub-Continent. Therefore, there is no doubt that the Silk Route did pass through Gilgit Baltistan.

Departure & Return Location

Islamabad International Airport

Departure Time

Subject to your flight schedule 

Price Includes

  • Hotel accommodation double/twin room sharing basis
  • English speaking guide with extensive knowledge of local culture and history.
  • All Site Entrance Fees
  • All ground transportation from arrival till departure.
  • 4x4 jeep on transits for day excursion
  • Meals (Breakfasts & Dinners) as per given program.
  • Mineral water during meals and 1.5 litter bottle each person each day.
  • Visa assistance by providing all company's supporting documents.
  • All road toll taxes, all parking fees & all transfers.

Price Excludes

  • International flight ticket
  • Lunch, snacks, domestic flight ticket, personal clothing and insurance, immunizations, laundry, beverages, tips, personal telephone/fax service, all other items of personal nature uses are not included in our package prices.


  • Umbrella
  • 1.5 litter Mineral water bottle each day per person.
  • Private pick & drop if someone need subject to their flight information.

Day 1Arrive in Islamabad, Pakistan

Arrival at Islamabad international airport, transfer to centrally located hotel/guest house. In the afternoon site seeing of twin cities (Islamabad & Rawalpindi), visit modern mosque Shah Faisal, Doman-e-koh, Shakarparian hills, Lok Versa, Modern markets (Jinnah supper & super markets), Raja Bazaar, Cant area etc. O/N stay in hotel.

Day 2Swat Valley - Takht-e-bhai - Mingora Swat

Following breakfast, we will start drive to Swat. En route we will visit Buddhist Monastery at Takht Bhai. After visit we will continue our drive to Mingora Swat. Check-in will be around late noon. Dinner & night stay at hotel.

Day 3Tour of Swat Valley - Malam Jaba - Swat

Following breakfast, for half day we will visit Malam Jaba where is one of the best high ski resort in Pakistan. Around noon we will come back to Swat and visit Museum, Butkaras, white palace and mingora bazaar. Evening we will get back to hotel for dinner and accommodation.

Day 4Swat - Besham - Chilas

Following breakfast, we will have a pleasant drive to Bsham over the beautiful Shangla Pass. After lunch in Besham, we will drive on famous Karakorum Higwhay to Chilas along the the river indus. We will reach in the evening to hotel in chilas. Dinner & overnight stay will be at hotel.

Day 5Chilas - Gilgit - Karimabad, Hunza Valley

We will leave hotel of chilas in the morning and will drive to Gilgit. Before reaching gilgit we will have some interesting stops include Chilas rock carving, nanga parbat viewpoint and junction point of three highest mountain ranges. We will reach Gilgit around noon and after lunch break we will visit of Gilgit town include Karga buddha, gilgit shops, suspension bridge. Later we will drive to Karimabad along the hunza river, we will stop at Karakorum Highway monument, collision point, silk route and rakaposhi viewpoints. Dinner & night stay will be at hotel.

Day 6Karimabad, Hunza Valley & Nagir Valley Tour

This morning we will drive by 4×4 jeeps to Hopar village (Nagar Valley) on opposite site of River Hunza for a walk on the Hopar Glacier. After lunch at at Hopar, we will drive back to Duikar (The top village of Central Hunza) for sun set and sunrise photography. We will also visit some of the important historical sites including the recently renovated, simple yet overpowering, Baltit Fort and the Altit Fort.

Day 7Karimabad – Khunjerab Pass – Sost - Passu

Full day excursion to Khunjerab Pass. We will make less stops along the road because our priority will be reaching on top before 12 noon. Because from noon to onward weather change. We will spend half an hour on top and on the way back we will make several photo stops of high mountains and you will also get chance to see Ibex (mountain sheeps) along the road. We will back to Sost around late noon and we will have village & bazaar walk. Dinner will be served at hotel.

Day 8Passu - Atabad Lake - Rakaposhi - Gilgit

Following breakfast, we will drive back to Gilgit. Today we will have several interesting photo stops include Batura Glacier, Pass Cathedrals, Passu peak, walk on Hussani suspension bridge , 30 minutes boating at Atabad Lake and visit Rock Carving. After all these, we will continue 3 hours drive back to Gilgt. Remaining time we will visit Karga Buddha, Gilgit Bazaar Walk. Check-in at hotel and dinner will be served.

Day 9Gilgit - Chilas - Besham

Following the breakfast, we will drive back to Besham (midway). Along the road we will make stops for tea, toilet and photography. we will reach Besham around evening, check-in at hotel and dinner will be served.

Day 10Besham - Abottabad - Islamabad

Drive back to Islamabad. En route we will see truck art painting and rest of the day reserved for shopping. Dinner & overnight stay will be at hotel.

Day 11Islamabad - Fly Back

You will be transfer to Islamabad International Airport to embark home flight. From peace and serenity of Hunza to the hustle and bustles of “modern” trends, you say Khuda Hafiz, the typical farewell, as you depart after a tour into Shangri-La. End of the tour.


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