Join our October 2023 Discover the Hunza Valley Tour – only a few spots left.

Hunza Valley Express Tour

Experience the Best of Northern Pakistan


MAX ALTITUDE: 4100 meters (Nanga Parbat Base Camp)



LODGING: hotels, homestay, cabins

GROUP SIZE: 12 people maximum

hunza valley tour map
Map of Discover Hunza Valley


Pakistan is the ultimate destination for adventurers and there is a reason it all began here for Epic Backpacker Tours.

Shorter and cheaper than our classic Discover the Hunza Valley Tour, this Express Hunza Valley tour takes you deep into the northern reaches of Pakistan for a taste of the country that you won’t find anywhere else. 

This special region, hidden away from Western eyes for most of its history, is full of wonderful experiences, soaring peaks, friendly locals, and some of our favorite spots places in all of Pakistan.  

Come with us on a real adventure to the Hunza Valley – drive down the legendary Karakoram Highway, cross the famous Hunza suspension bridges, stay in a remote mountain village, feast on tasty local cuisine, and become a member of a fun-loving team of intrepid travelers.

This trip is an immersive plunge into Hunza Culture, mountain scenery, and what life is like in local villages in the Northern Areas. 

We’ve been traveling in Pakistan for the last six years and we have many great friendships in Pakistan. Our unique connections allow us to show you a side of the country few travelers get to see. We can show sides of the Hunza Valley and beyond that you can’t find on the web or other itineraries. This tour is the culmination of years of research and exploration.

So join us as we return to one of our favorite corners of the world. We know you’ll fall in love with it.

Why Choose this Pakistan Tour?

  • RAW ADVENTURE: Pakistan is one of the final frontiers of adventure travel. This is not a cookie-cutter Hunza Valley tour but rather for those looking for authentic adventure experiences
  • HIKING: Enjoy several day hikes in the Hunza Valley region. 
  • CULTURE: Pakistan is an extremely diverse country brimming with different cultural and ethnic identities. See a huge range of different cultures as the tour progresses from Punjab to the Hunza Valley. 
  • BIG MOUNTAINS: Pakistan is home to some of the biggest and most remote mountains on earth. On more than one occasion, you’ll be surrounding by epic peaks.
  • LOCAL FOOD: If you love to eat, you are going to love trying the local fare and Pakistan’s diverse culinary traditions.
  • TRAVELERS ON A BUDGET/SHORT ON TIME: We created this “Express” version of our Discover the Hunza Valley Tour for travelers on a budget. 

Upcoming Dates





April 29th - May 8 (2024)Available$500$2099
August 19th - 28th (2024)Available$500$2099

REFUNDS RELATED TO COVID-19 :  Clients are entitled to have FULL TRIP BALANCE moved to a future trip (credit) OR request a FULL REFUND if we cancel the tour due to complications related to Covid-19


  • Cancellation Less than 90 days until the start of the tour: NO REFUND – Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 
  • Cancellation with more than 90 days before the start of the tour: 50% of the trip balance payment (less the deposit amount). Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 
  • Cancellation with more than 160 days before the start of the tour: Full refund minus the trip deposit. Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 

 Read our full refund policy here 

Have a question or ready to book?

Whether you’re just curious about this trip or are ready to make a deposit, we’re here for you.
To submit an inquiry or make a trip deposit, please fill out and submit the form below.

Hunza Itinerary: Day by Day Breakdown

We recommend arriving into Islamabad one day early so that you can settle in and be ready to go on the morning of day one. Whilst this will require you to pay for an extra nights accommodation on your own – arriving early gives you a comfortable window to join the trip in case of delays, problems with baggage, etc. 

After our group has assembled on the morning of day 1, we will have our first group meeting/introductions over tea/coffee and then we will head to the airport. The goal is to catch a flight from Islamabad to the mountain city of Gilgit. 

We then have a few hours drive to our special accommodation in Aliabad where we will spend the next few nights.  

Sometimes in Pakistan though, flights are cancelled due to weather and we must go by road. 

Itinerary if driving (flight not possible): 

Note on spring tours: we must take a different route due to heavy snow fall/road closures. Instead of driving to Naran, we will be stopping in Besham on the evening of day 1.

Traveling by comfortable minibus, the Kahn Express, with our fearless driver Mr. Khan – our good friend and driver for the whole adventure, we leave Islamabad behind and embark on our journey! The plan is to drive roughly 10 hours to the mountain bazar town of Naran located in the lush Kaghan Valley. The drive to Besham from Islamabad takes only 4-5 hours, depending on traffic. 

Here we will rest up for the night at a comfortable hotel before hitting the road again in the morning.

Besham marks the start of the Karakoram Highway.

Drive time from Islamabad: 10-14 hours with breaks. 

Day 2 Itinerary: (if we are driving)

The real attractions of Pakistan are in the north and to get there we need to travel along one of the world’s highest paved roads, The Karakoram Highway. Traveling along The Karakoram Highway is an unforgettable experience; you will see peaks and valleys, rivers and glaciers. Twenty-one of the world’s one hundred highest peaks are visible from the KKH and the journey is a great introduction to the mountains as civilization slips away behind us…

The goal is to reach Aliabad and our guesthouse by late afternoon/early evening.

This place is awesome and unique to Northern Pakistan and one of our best stopovers of the whole trip!

Dinner and rest are on the evening agenda. 

We have the whole next day to relax and explore the stunning mountain village of Karimabad. 

Drive from Naran or Besham to Aliabad/Karimabad – approx. 9 -12 hours – including breaks along the way.

Karimabad is the gateway to the mountains and a great place to wander about for a day. Today there is a mix of free time and planned activities.

After breakfast, we get to grips with the dark history of Baltit Fort and/or Altit Fort (time permitting).

In the afternoon, take time to explore the cobblestone streets, bargain for rubies and handicrafts, feast on Hunza cuisine, sip espresso in Café Hunza on your own time in the afternoon.

After a day of exploring Karimabad, we’ll return for our 2nd night at our hotel in Aliabad called Mountain Story.

Very early morning start today (in the dark) and drive to catch the sunrise above Eagles Nest. Well worth it! Our group will then return to Mountain Story for breakfast before starting our drive to Ghulkin Village in Upper Hunza.

The small village of Ghulkin is a truly special place where time stands still and mountains march away into the distance on all sides. En route we will take in the scenes at Attabad Lake.

Upper Hunza is one of the best places in Pakistan to trek, explore glaciers, snack on apricots, camp out under the stars and chat with the locals.

We will be staying with our good friend Sitara at her home. It is time to expereince life with a family in a remote mountain village in Hunza. 

Accommodation in Ghulkin will be in one large traditional guest room and we will all be sharing a space. Conditions in the village are very clean (yes, there’s a western toilet!) but are also basic; electricity is sporadic and wifi is slow when it does work. 

Aliabad to Ghulkin drive time: 2 hours max. 

In the morning, we go for an easy/moderate hike to visit the legendary Passu Suspension bridge. The bridge itself is far less visited than the more famous Hussaini bridge found directly off of the Karakoram Highway.

We return to Ghulkin for chill time in the afternoon dinner.

After a few hectic days of driving and sight seeing, today is overall meant to be a relaxing day and also our first group hike. Part of the experience of staying in a small mountain community is to take the time to fully appreciate the slower pace of life here without constantly rushing to the next thing.

The hike is a good warm-up for tomorrow’s adventure.

Total trekking time 2-3 hours

Today we explore a different part of Upper Hunza. We will be staying at a special hotel near Borith Lake and the beautiful Passu Glacier. 

In the afternoon, we will hike to an epic viewpoint to take in the impressive glacier and surrounding mountains. If the weather is good, a swim in the lake is also possible!

Leaving Ghulkin early (5 am start), we will travel to Raikot Bridge where we will transfer into 4×4 jeeps and traverse the legendary Fairy Meadows jeep track – think sheer drops and impossible hair-pin bends… In the distance, if the weather is clear, you will catch your first glimpse of Nanga Parbat; the most beautiful mountain in Pakistan, and the ninth highest mountain in the world. This is the stuff adventure is made of. You may have to hike part of the jeep track as the road is sometimes washed away.

Arriving at the end of the jeep track we will then hike for two to three hours (porters available for an additional fee). Arriving into The Fairy Meadows, we will spend the next couple of nights in comfortable but basic cabins with wood burners to keep us warm.

Drive from Passu to Raikot Bridge – 5 – 6 hours – then 1.5 hour jeep journey and 2 – 3 hour trek

The Fairy Meadows is the perfect place to chill out and unwind; watch the clouds dance past Nanga Parbat, the glacier snaking through the valley below, and explore the cool woods surrounding our log cabins. There are several optional treks available here but the real highlight is the hike to Nanga Parbat Basecamp (6-8 hours return).

The Fairy Meadows is one of the best places in the world to relax and watch the mountains. At night at the Fairy Meadows we will have an epic bonfire beneath the stars!

Note: the optional hike to Nanga Parbat basecamp requires a moderate level of fitness and takes around 6 – 8 hours round trip (with time to chill out at base camp, eat lunch, etc). For the spring tours it likely will not be possible to hike beyond the upper view point due to snow pack/rock fall hazard.

Leaving The Fairy Meadows behind, we will travel back to Raikot Bridge where we will join our minibus and Mr. Khan. 

We start the long journey back to Besham or Abbottabad (spring/fall) via the KKH.

Note: 3 / 4 hours to reach Raikot Bridge (combination of hiking and the jeep ride down), 12-14 hours to reach Abbottabad/Islamabad with meal / bathroom stops on the way.

We sleep in Abbottabad/Besham or push all the way to Islamabad if driving conditions are good. Abbottabad is just a sleep / shower stop at a hotel before moving on back to Islambad in the morning.

During the spring tours, it is not possible for the group to make it to Islamabad from Raikot Bridge due to the alternate route we must take, thus we will likely sleep in Besham. 

Arriving into Islamabad in the early afternoon, we head to the hotel to freshen up / chill for a few hours.

Depending on our arrival time, in the late afternoon will go to check out the Faisal Mosque for sunset.  

We will then spend our final evening taking in the vibe of the city before our final team dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants.   

We arrange for transfers to the airport for those who are flying out this morning. Check out of the hotel is around 11 am on Day 10.

You can choose to stay on at the same hotel if you are not flying home right away, though any additional nights at the hotel are not covered by Epic. 

Your Trip Leaders

sohail pakistani guide hunza valley tour

Sohail Sakhi

Sohail is one of the most experienced members of 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 the Hunza Valley, 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 logged more trekking miles in a year then 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.

Hunza Valley Express Tour Highlights

  • Get up close and personal with 7,000 – 8,000 meter peaks
  • Stay with a local family in Ghulkin Village
  • Enjoy several unique day hikes
  • Ride down the epic Karakoram Highway
  • Experience the famous Raja Bazaar in Rawalpindi
  • Trek to Nanga Parbat Basecamp
  • Explore ancient mountain fortresses along the old Silk Road
  • Experience legendary Hunza Valley hospitality


Despite what you hear on the mainstream news, Pakistan is one of the safest countries we have ever traveled to. Part of the ethos of Epic Backpacker Tours is to smash negative stereotypes associated with these countries by showing you a side of Pakistan that the media never does.

We have an excellent safety record traveling in Pakistan and this tour will take you to the most peaceful and safest parts of the country: the Northern Areas and the Hunza Valley. 

Late spring is typically the warmer season, though there can still be residual snowfall in the high mountains. Fall trips tend to be cooler, and the cities are not as hot.

Expect a wide variety of weather. There will be times when you are layered up with your down jacket and other times when it is 35 degrees in cities like Lahore and Islamabad. 

Part of what makes our trips so awesome is the kind of people attracted to our adventures. On average, our trips are made up of 5-8 different nationalities. Over the years, we have had a nearly equal amount of men and women travel with us. The average age of a trip participant is 35. The oldest person to join us was 70 and the youngest was 21.

Prices are based on twin sharing rooms. Single supplement hotel rooms and tents are available at additional cost ( +$400 USD)

We stay in a mix of nice guesthouses/hotels/cabins/cottages and a village home stay with a local family in Ghulkin Village. 

Hotel rooms in the mountains are without air-conditioning (although the rooms in Islamabad and Rawalpindi – the two hottest places – will definitely have air-conditioning).

There is no extreme long days or ultra difficult day hikes on the trip. Anyone with basic fitness and a positive attitude will enjoy the different hikes we do. 

That said, this trip is an active holiday. We do plenty of hiking when we are in the mountains, but there is also plenty of down time too. 

Over the course of 10 days, you will hike approximately 20 kilometers in total. 

The best way to prepare for this trip is to do as much hiking as you can before coming to Pakistan!

This trip is where it all began for Epic Backpacker Tours. 

Back in 2017 we ran this trip for the first time. 

Since then, Epic Backpacker Tours founder Chris Lininger along with our local Pakistani ground team, have hand-crafted what we believe to be the perfect Hunza Valley itinerary and we are very proud to be one of the first western companies to run this style of trip with a mix of active adventure, local culture, and unique accommodation.

Nobody does Pakistan like Epic Backpacker Tours – and Hunza Valley is our speciality. 

One of the most unique parts of this trip is the time we spend staying with a local family in a small mountain village. 

Over the years, we have developed a special bond with the people of Ghulkin Village and it truly feels like we are going home each time we return. 

Hunza is far less conservative than other parts of Pakistan and it is here that we will have the most interaction with the locals, including women. 

For our trek to Patundas Meadow, we also hire local porters from Ghulkin Village, who accompany with us on the trek for a few days. 

So yes! We have plenty of time to immerse in local culture and learn directly from the people of Hunza about their lifestyle and local traditions. 

What People Have to Say

Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Try reading our extensive Hunza FAQ page first where we break down the tour in more detail. 

The Hunza Valley - Abridged

The Hunza Valley is one of the most enchanting and desirable places in all of Pakistan. Once an isolated and wild frontier, ruled by kings and warlike chieftains, it is now quite accessible thanks mostly in part to the construction of the Karakoram Highway. Many Pakistanis visit here on summer holidays to escape the heat of the southern megalopolises and to breath some clean mountain air.

For much of its existence, Hunza was relatively unknown to the Western world, a blank space on the map and more the stuff of legends. Central Asian merchants and pilgrims knew it well and used the valley to transport both goods – as a detour from the Silk Road – and religion. Buddhism was once the dominate faith here and several archeological sites survive to this day in Hunza despite Islamization in the 15th century. 

It wasn’t until the British arrived in the 19th century – during which time it was aggressively expanding its empire to counter the expansion of the Russian Empire, a period known as the “Great Game” – that the Hunza Valley was truly known to Westerners. After some campaigning, the British inevitably added the Hunza Valley to its vassal territories. 

50 years later, following the partition of India, the Hunza Valley and the regional capital, Gilgit, would play a vital role in the formation and solidification of the Northern Areas of Pakistan (now called Gilgit-Baltistan). 

Since its incorporation into Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan remains autonomous) and the completion of the Karakoram Highway, Hunza has slowly modernized. But despite new infrastructure and development, Hunza still maintains a certain tranquility and bucolic vibe. The quality of life is excellent, locals frequently live beyond 100 years, and the education is some of the best in Pakistan. The people of the Hunza Valley are very proud of their home and will be eager to show you everything there is to see.  

Additional Resources

epic backpacker tours team

Adventure Guide

Our man in Nepal, Sandip is what we like to call a “Swiss Army Knife”. There is not much Sandip can’t do when it comes to helping Epic to run our expeditions smoothly in Nepal.

His tireless work ethic, passion for all things trekking in the Himalayas, and smart decision-making mean that Sandip is a truly invaluable member of our team.

Sandip is passionate about showing visitors to his country an amazing time, and he goes above and beyond to make sure that happens. 

His company Himalayan Masters is Epic’s trusted partner in Nepal and one of the country’s top new tour agencies.

We really enjoyed the entire journey, and I would like to say that Sandip is truly professional. He guided us and he is a hardworking person, providing us with the best service and taking care of each one of us. Plus, he is super funny! The kind of professionnal you always want to find on your path for your explorations! 

– Alexandra Ruth

Fairy Meadows

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Our Favorite Experiences

#1 Sunrise from Reflection Lake

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#2 Hiking to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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#3 Playing cricket with the locals

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Trips Where We Visit Fairy Meadows

Our flagship Pakistani adventure tour.  Road trip with some  hiking and cultural immersion.

A trekking-style tour that features some very remote locations, inlcuding a K2 viewpoint.

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, and sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions. 

After trekking to K2 Base Camp and exploring all over Northern Pakistan, he fell in love with the country and the local people. His experiences resulted in his desire to share these feelings with the world.

João is one of the most experienced guides at Epic and his skillset and positive mindset in the mountains is second to none

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 gondogoro la trek

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. 

Read this interview our staff did with Chris to learn more about him!

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

Pakistan is a magical country! Had 3 of the best weeks of my life thanks to Epic Backpacking Tours with owner, and one of our awesome guides, Chris. From detailed itinerary, preparation with an equipment list, and visa assistance. To amazing food, great porters, helpful guides, and great accommodations. Epic really hit home run after home run. […]

Their desire for adventure and amazing trip is just as high as yours. Bring a good pound of coffee for the trip. French press coffee every morning and no average tin coffee, plus you’ll be in your guides good books.

– Clark Tyler

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