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Pakistan • Discover the Hunza Valley FAQ

Fitness Level

You do not need to be of superhuman fitness to come on this trip but a basic level of fitness is a must for anybody hoping to enjoy the trekking aspect of the trip. Really, it’s your attitude that counts, and the treks we do are achievable/approachable even for novice hikers.

The more you prepare mentally and physically for this trip, the more you will get out of it. 

Who should apply?

The perfect candidate:

  • You want to learn new things about a fascinating country and step out of your comfort zone.
  • You love being part of a team.
  • You’re a keen hiker or ready to gain some experience trekking at altitude.
  • You don’t need to be connected to the internet.
  • You’re a team player and understand that plans sometimes change.
  • You are keen to head on a real adventure.
  • You are interested in getting to know the side of Pakistan you don’t hear about in the news.
  • You have done a bit of traveling before.
  • You have a basic understanding of cultural awareness.
  • You have a positive attitude and want to gain new amazing life experiences.

Why do I need to book a Tour? Can I visit Pakistan on my own?

Visiting Pakistan on your own is possible, but we are not here to sugarcoat things either. It is not easy. 

We have spent YEARS developing this itinerary and if you come with us, you will get to experience things you simply would not be able to on your own including a multi-day trek across a massive glacier and staying with a local family in a remote mountain village. 

What is the food like in Pakistan?

Food in Pakistan is pretty repetitive – there’s a lot of daal, chicken, and rice. We will try to mix this up where possible by taking you to some great restaurants but if you want a luxury tour, this is not for you – please don’t apply.

Note: In general, the food in Pakistan is SPICY (especially in Punjab). Again, we always do our best to accommodate dietary needs, but keep in mind that options can be limited at times if you can’t do spicy food. There will ALWAYS be some decent vegetarian and non-spicy items, but you also need to have realistic expectations regarding Pakistani cuisine, which can be meat-heavy, and SPICY. Please let us know early on if you have any diet restrictions/preferences.

Will there be sweet, sweet WiFi on our trip?

Once we leave Karimabad/Lower Hunza, reliable WiFi is almost non-existent. Whilst there may be small amounts of phone coverage on the trip, you should view this adventure as a chance to unplug.

The internet situation has vastly improved in recent years in rural parts of Northern Pakistan and getting a local SIM card is possible. 

In today’s world, disconnecting is an ever-important necessity to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Coming on our Pakistan adventure is a chance for you to disconnect and breathe some fresh mountain air!

Your guides are equipped with a satellite communications device so we are never out of contact in the case of an emergency scenario. 

What kind of guides will we have?

The tours are led by one of two western leaders, all of whom are mountain leaders and have years of expere4ince working in Pakistan. Chris or João are assisted by our local Pakistani crew consisting of our driver, Mr. Kahn, and Sohail – one of the best local guides in Hunza. 

Check out our meet the team page here

What is the Accommodation like in Pakistan?

Prices are based on the sharing of rooms and single (same sex) members of the group will typically be put together. We will be using budget guesthouses/hotels that offer comfortable, but simple, facilities. Sometimes rooms might be without air-conditioning (although the rooms in Lahore and Islamabad, the two hottest places, will definitely have AC).

Whilst in Ghulkin, we will be spread amongst a very large communal/traditional guest room; these are clean, comfortable and a great way for us all to hang out. It is possible to arrange a (possibly shared) tent in Ghulkin (especially if you are prone to snoring!). In The Fairy Meadows; we will have two-three large wooden cabins which we will be sharing. Note: hot water is not always available in hotels, especially in the mountains.

Single supplement: If you wish to have a private room to yourself, we can arrange this – the single supplement cost is $400 USD; accommodation in Pakistan is expensive. Please note that even if you do opt for a single room, this will only be possible in Lahore / Islamabad / Aliabad / Fairy Meadows / Passu. In Ghulkin Village, accommodation is all shared (unless you bring your own tent). If you pay for a single supplement, you can also have your own tent as well when camping. 

Does EBT sort out my Pakistani Visa?

You will need to arrange your visa yourself before you arrive in the country. We provide you with all of the documents you need to apply for the visa.

Where do I need to apply for my visa?

Nowadays, all visa applications can be done online and the process is much faster, easier, and cheaper than it use to be. We have had clients get same-day approval and on average the turnaround time is a week or less (for the tourist visa). 

Once approved, you are issued an Evisa. No need to mail in your passport or go to an embassy anymore!

If I Visit Pakistan, Will I have Problems Visiting Other Countries?

We receive many questions about this topic, so let us clear the air. Travelers to India, Israel, the USA, Europe, etc have never faced any particular restriction or been denied entry just because they have visited Pakistan. We have been to Pakistan more times than we can count at this point, and we have never faced issues returning to the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, Europe or going to India . There are no official rules saying that if you visit Pakistan, then you can’t enter India, Israel, etc. You can simultaneously hold Indian and Pakistani visas in your passport also without issue.

What sort of equipment do I need to come on this trip?

We will provide a full packing list a little closer to the time. Solid hiking boots, proper technical clothing, a good sleeping bag, and a down jacket are a must.

Is Insurance included in the tour?

No it is not. To travel on this tour, you must have travel insurance. We will provide recommendations closer to the time. If you don’t buy travel insurance, you will not be allowed to come on the tour.

Will the trip run exactly as the itinerary is planned?

Keep in mind that the above itinerary and activities are subject to change. Travel almost always involves unexpected situations so things might need to be re-arranged at times. 

Epic Backpacker Tours trips go to genuinely remote places. Transport infrastructure can be aging, inadequate, or non-existent. Flooded roads, collapsed bridges, and vehicle break-downs are par for the course. Our teams thrive on overcoming such challenges. Be prepared for occasional delays and to push occasionally! Natural phenomena like landslides across the Karakoram Highway, winter coming early, traffic delays, gale-force winds, and driving snow can all make for a more interesting expedition.

Where will I need to fly into to start the tour?

You need to arrive into Islamabad and be at the hotel EARLY by the morning of day 1. Ideally you will arrive a day early to rest and gear up for the start of our adventure. You will be picked up from the airport by a member of our team providing you arrive within 24 hours of the start of the tour.

If you arrive outside of the 24 hour period leading up to the start of the tour, you’ll need to sort your own transfer – we can advise on the best way to get to your preferred accommodation. 

Note that this trip departs from Lahore. 

Is pre-tour/post tour accommodation provided?

No it is not. You are not covered for accommodation for the days leading up to the start of the tour or the days after the tour has ended. Day 1 is the first day accommodation is included. If you need an affordable place to stay before or after the tour starts/ends, we can provide recommendations.

Do I need to sign a release waiver?

All tour participants will be required to sign an industry-standard waiver releasing Epic Backpacker Tours from any liability related to any aspect of the Discover the Hunza Valley trip.

We want adventurers…

This is an adventure… things may not always go as planned and if they don’t, we will be there to solve problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are experts and sorting out complex logistics – that’s why you are choosing to travel with us!

You will get out of this trip what you put into it; a positive attitude, willingness to get to know the locals, and enthusiasm are all important.

While the tour itself is not very strenuous, please note that it can involve the following: somewhat long days, a good amount of hiking, being in the sun in potentially hot temperatures, a few very long journeys by bus, early morning wake-ups, cold nights at altitude (we never sleep above 3,600 meters), and other similarly challenging scenarios. Hiking with your personal gear (should be no more than 5 kilos) is to be expected – porters available on the treks.

Epic Backpacker Tours staff are there to lead you into the mountains and provide you with an amazing experience through our unique contacts – we are there to facilitate a life-changing adventure and to welcome you to our adventure family. 

Question is, are you down for it? 

Have a question about this tour?

Feel free to send us a message using our contact page!

Adventure Guide

João has born in the mountains of Madeira Islands in Portugal. Nature lover, writer, musician, guide, for him, a day without contact with outdoor vibes is a nightmare.

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K.

João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Guiding, crazy trekking missions, sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions.

After his trek to K2 Base Camp and other adventures in the north of Pakistan, the love of the country and the local people resulted in his desire to share these feelings with world.

When not in Pakistan, João is  guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails –  discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

João I can not thank you enough for the off the beaten paths and views you keep giving. Definitely one of the most challenging and amazing hikes we did 1200m meters all the way up to Fanal forest and circling back to the hidden village. Wow!

– Jeffery 

travel hunza valley

Adventure Guide

Sohail is the newest addition to the Epic Backpacker Tours team and we are beyond stoked to have him on board. As a veteran of the Karakoram and a native of Karimabad in Hunza, there is not much Sohail can’t do in the mountains. 

Besides having the ability to speak more languages than we can count, Sohail has explored every corner of Gilgit Baltistan and logs more trekking miles 

in a year than most people will do in a lifetime. As of the summer of 2022, Sohail has summited Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and K2 – three of Pakistan’s five 8000-meter peaks. Sohail guides several trips including our annual bespoke expeditions but specializes in Hunza Valley tours.

Chris and Sohail, and the team at Epic are FANTASTIC! Highly recommend anyone to do a tour with ‘Epic’. They have the perfect balance of fun, excitement and wild adventures, tied in with being super professional and ensuring your safety/health in a foreign environment. Don’t waste a moment and book a tour with these guys as the value for money is UNREAL!

– Borgan

iran travel tour

Adventure Guide

Pedro’s been traveling all around the globe since 2009. His keen interests in documentary photography, rural life, and local people from different ethnic groups have been the focus of many of his professional projects.

Since 2012, he has developed his passion for travel and awesome shared experiences into a full-time adventure photography tour leader position.

Pedro has found himself continuously going back to the Middle East, with his likely favorite destination being Iran. Pedro will be leading his 11th tour in Iran with EBT this coming spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Backpacker Tours, you’ll find him based in the western south of Portugal planning he’s next adventure missions, logistics and working out his photos in local exhibitions.

 I loved the combination of hiking, camping around breathtaking scenery mixed with the cultural aspects. The guide (Pedro) is knowledgeable and work very hard to make the trip as memorable as possible. All in all an epic adventure with some extremely epic individuals! Go for it, you won’t regret it!

– Saisun

Touring Iran with EBT in May 2022 was way above our expectation: itineraries well planned and carefully executed, perfect mix of sights and trekking, delicious food, nice accommodation, great guides and wonderful fellow travellers. Trekking can be handled by anyone physically fit. Highly recommended for those who want to experience the real Iran.

– Sumera

Diane Bouvet

Adventure Admin / Marketing

After fleeing from the corporate fashion world in Paris towards the start of 2020, Diane has been working as a web developer and graphic designer remotely from various bases across the globe

She brings all of her incredible design and organizational power to Epic Backpacker Tours and is responsible for many of the beautiful behind-the-scenes design elements. 

Diane has been to Iran and to Pakistan twice including all over Gilgit Baltistan and KPK.

k2 base camp trek guide

Head of Operations | Guide

A veteran of Pakistan travel, Ralph is an experienced guide, photographer and writer who specializes in documenting remote locations. 

Not one to simply go where everyone else does, he insists on exploring new and lesser-known areas.

Together with Epic Backpacker Tours, he shows people parts of Pakistan that most other operators don’t even know about. He is particularly fond of the village of Barah, which he believes will become just as famous as Hunza one day.

Just got back from EBT’s Trekking Amongst Giants 15 day tour. The experience was first class. Ralph, our head guide, ensured that the entire trip ran smoothly and relatively on time (a bonus for anyone travelling in Pakistan). We had so many unforgettable days on the tour and the trekking was well-planned, safe but also a rewarding challenge. 

– Calvin


Traveling to a non-tourist destination can be a little intimidating but EBT takes all of the worry and trepidation away. From the pre-trip call to meeting the wonderful staff in person you can tell that you are dealing with a company that has a passion for what they do each and every day. Ralph, Zahid, and Khan were supportive, kind, and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone on the trip was getting what they wanted out of the experience.

– Katrina 

adventure tours pakistan

Founder | Adventure Guide | Director

For the last eleven years, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe and had visited more than 65 countries along the way. 

Since 2011, Chris has logged more than 6300 trail miles across five continents and climbed multiple 6000 + 7000 meter peaks in Pakistan and Nepal.

In 2017, a distant dream and a deep passion for the mountains and people of Pakistan led Chris to found Epic Backpacker Tours at a time when foreign adventure tourism in Pakistan was almost nonexistent. Since then, Chris has guided more than 15 expeditions to various parts of Northern Pakistan.

Chris believes in using photography and powerful adventure experiences to dismantle negative stereotypes regarding what mainstream media considers “dangerous” countries while facilitating unique and meaningful memories in the mountains for countless people from around the globe. 

Long-distance hiking, learning languages, meaningful conversations, all things Turkish food, mountaineering, and making tasty coffee above 6,000 meters rank among his favorite things in life. 

For him, an ideal start to the day begins with a steaming cup of good coffee, the beam of a headlamp, alpine boots, and a camera in hand.

When he is not leading or planning tours, Chris works as a writer and photographer on his blog Off the Atlas – an adventure travel blog all about Pakistan. 

 

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Will De Villers

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Alicia Anne Bjerkseth