Pakistan for Women by Women – Fall Tour

20 Days

Upcoming:

Oct 24, 2021

From:

USD 2,500 per person
Rating:
0.0/5
Pakistan for Women by Women – Fall Tour

Overview

A warm smile as someone invites you in for chai. Kebabs sizzling while the call to prayer sings from mosque minarets. Sunrises blanketing snowy mountains in gold. Swapping stories from the comfort of pillows ‘round a warm stove in the evening.

These are the moments that made us fall in love with Pakistan. We want to share them with you.

This won’t be your typical tour de Pakistan. We’re not squeezing in as much as humanly possible, rushing you from spot to spot, nor showing you a polished version. You’ll be fully immersed in Pakistan: traditional homes, offbeat locations, local food and guides, treks with nary a soul in sight.

Rich and poor, urban and rural, liberal and conservative, you’ll see the diversity that makes Pakistan what it is. And then some.

“This trip truly and honestly changed my life.” Turfah, Canada

We’ve timed the tour to align with trees changing colors in the mountains. Peak travel season will be over, but many foreign groups come to see fall in the mountains. Fall is also the end of harvest season, so you’ll get to taste local apples, walnuts, etc. It’ll be getting cold, especially toward the end of the trip, and we may see some snow at higher altitudes.

Considering joining our Pakistan women’s tour? Book a Spot Now! [Insert Link] Spoiler alert: it’ll be a blast.

Route Map

Elevation

  • Maximum Elevation: 4,693 metres
  • Sleeping at Maximum Elevation: 2,900 metres

Weather

Lahore and Islamabad can be warm (up to 20-30°C), while mountains will be cold (sometimes 10-15°C during the day and below freezing at night). Pack warm layers.

Locations

  • Islamabad
  • Astore
  • Hunza
  • Ghizer
  • Lahore

Activities

  • Cultural activities
  • Community engagement
  • Sightseeing
  • Beginner level day treks (optional)

Our Trip Rating

Adventure:
3/5
Culture:
4/5
Comfort:
2/5
Fitness:
3/5

Upcoming Tours

  • 24 October – 12 November 2021

Schedule:

  • 23 October – 11 November 2022
  • 22 October – 10 November 2023

Fall does not work for you? No worries! Sign up for our Pakistan for Women by Women – Spring Tour [Insert Link] or check out our other Upcoming Tours [Insert Link].

Customize Your Trip

Do you have any special ideas?

Accommodation

We will be staying at hotels, guesthouses, and traditional homestays. You’ll have to share double rooms in hotels and guesthouses. In homestays we sometimes have to share one common sleeping space (how local people sleep).

Transport

We will be traveling in a private van and use private jeeps to reach some locations.

Meals

We will be eating local cuisines from all the areas that we visit. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is included in the package.

Itinerary

We’ll be heading to both famous sights and off the beaten track locales, including but not limited to:

Islamabad, Rawalpindi

Our tour begins in Pakistan’s peaceful capital, with a visit to its far older and slightly more chaotic neighboring city, Rawalpindi.

Astore – Tarishing, Rama

Out with the dry mountains, in with the green meadows! Pastoral postcard views, aquamarine lakes, and the ninth highest mountain in the world await us in this region east of the Karakoram Highway.

Hunza – Gulmit, Passu, Khunjerab, Karimabad, Altit

Pakistan’s most famous valley, embraced by the Karakoram Mountains and filled with crackling glaciers, forested foothills, and ancient fortresses. We’ll travel along the famous Karakoram Highway to visit multiple locations in Hunza, and stay in a traditional homestay.

Ghizer – Darkot, Taus

A quiet and little-visited region in western Gilgit Baltistan, where we’ll find intimate mountain valleys and some of the most hospitable people in the north. Idyllic Yasin Valley will be our focus, and we’ll stay at two different homestays while there.

Lahore

Pakistan’s cultural capital is our grand finale! Mughal-era monuments, religious shrines still very much alive, a passionate food scene and more await in this historic city, our favorite in Pakistan.

Detailed Itinerary

View the complete itinerary of this tour.

Included

  • Transportation with experienced driver: Private van and jeeps within Pakistan
  • Accommodation for the duration of the tour (Double Occupancy at hotels / shared accommodation in homestays)
    • Accommodation around tour dates can be arranged for an extra cost
  • Meals (Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Guided tours
  • Cultural activities
  • Entrance fees
  • Tolls and taxes
  • Basic first aid
  • Letter of Invitation (LOI) for visa
  • Airport transfers within Pakistan

Not Included

  • Flight tickets
  • Visa fees
  • Porters for carrying personal equipment
  • Personal trekking equipment
  • Tips for guides/workers (optional)
  • Snacks while trekking and traveling
  • Extra meals/laundry services availed at hotels or otherwise
  • Charges of sports activities
  • Souvenirs
  • Shopping or any other expenses of personal nature
  • Insurance liability, medical aid, and helicopter rescue coverage
  • Any other services not mentioned in the plan

Tour Add-Ons

Standard package includes accommodation on double occupancy. Additional charges for:

  • Single Occupancy: USD 700 per head

Note: Arrangement of room on single occupancy at homestays is subject to availability.

What to Bring

When packing, the most important thing to keep in mind is to pack light. Though we’ll have driver(s) and people to help carry luggage at times, Pakistan is not made for gigantic suitcases.

It is recommended to bring one large backpack or suitcase, and a small bag or daypack to keep your phone, camera, money, passport, and other essentials.

You need to carry your original CNIC or passport and valid Pakistani visa (for foreigners) with you at all times during the tour.

It is totally up to your discretion what you wish to bring along, however the following list is suggested for convenience.

  • Warm and quick drying layers for mountainous terrains
  • Warm jacket
  • Thermal
  • Raincoat
  • Joggers
  • Trekking shoes, socks and stick
  • Warm socks, gloves and cap
  • Sun protection – hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
  • Sandals
  • Torch
  • Re-usable water bottle
  • Head scarf to cover your head or shawl to cover your chest (for women)
  • Modest clothes like shirts/t-shirts, trousers, pants, combats, jeans (No shorts, bikinis or short sleeved clothes)
  • Travel chargers with multiple sockets (two round holes). The voltage in Pakistan is 220-240 Volts
  • Extra camera battery (if needed)
  • Power bank (electricity outages are common)
  • Ear plugs
  • Quick dry travel towel
  • Travel pillow
  • Keep any medicines you require regularly such as vitamins, pain killers, anti-allergies etc. (Suggestions: Bug repellant, stomach antibiotic, bandage, motion sickness, skin ointment, fever, headache or flu pills, etc.)
  • Sanitary products (can buy from big cities like Islamabad)
  • Wash-bag including soap, little shampoo bottles, nail cutters, a metal mirror, deodorant, tooth brush, toothpaste, laundry washing powder etc. (as per your requirement)
  • Books, journals to read or a smart phone with music player on the long KKH drive
  • Travel bag locks (to secure your luggage)
  • Neck wallet or money belt (for passports, cash, air tickets and other valuable items)

Essential Information

Travel Guidelines

Travel Waiver Policy

Booking / Cancellation

Insurance Policy

Traveling in Pakistan

Frequent Questions

Gallery

More Details

Why you should travel to Pakistan ASAP?

There’s no better time to travel to Pakistan. The security situation has improved immensely. Foreign tourists are returning. The government is relaxing travel restrictions.

In a few years, Pakistan is going to be on far more travelers’ maps. Now is the time to come and experience it for yourself… before everyone else figures out how amazing it is.

“I can’t think of anyone better to have shown us around Pakistan than you two.” Ingrid, USA

Female tourist in front of Passu cones in Hunza Gilgit Baltistan 1

Why this Tour?

This is a tour made for female travelers by female travelers.

Both Aneeqa and Alex have traveled all over Pakistan independently and otherwise; you won’t find many women working in Pakistan’s travelsphere with more experience than us. To quote one of our tour guests: we’re “badass motherfuckers”.

Aneeqa and Alex on motorbike in Astore - Gilgit Baltistan

Though rich, our experiences have proven Pakistan isn’t an easy place to travel as a woman. Nevertheless, we love the country, and want more women to travel Pakistan. This tour is meant to help more female travelers come and experience a positive side of Pakistan, and normalize the idea of women traveling without men in the country (it’s still unusual!).

We also designed this tour with responsible tourism in mind. On this tour, we will…

  • Stay in local homestays and guesthouses instead of international chains.
  • Eat local, seasonal food as often as possible.
  • Travel to more offbeat locations to distribute our tourist money.
  • Use locals instead of outsiders as guides, and hire female guides where possible.
  • Visit women-run initiatives and shop at women-run businesses.
  • Reduce our waste by filtering water instead of buying single-use bottles, carrying reusable shopping bags, and using reusable boxes and eating utensils for packed lunches.
  • Pay all drivers, guides, and hosts a fair wage for their time.

How many women will be on the tour?

To keep things intimate and encourage local interactions we’re capping the number at 12 women.

We’ll ask you a few questions before giving you a spot on a tour. Don’t take it personally; we want to make sure everyone is on the same page since the group is small.

Female tourists in Gilgit Baltistan3

Tour cost and what’s included

The tour cost is USD 2,500 per person. A deposit of USD 500 is required to secure your position on the tour. Remaining payment has to be cleared before departure. Read more details about our Booking / Cancellation Policy [Insert link].

Note: If this cost seems too high to you, know it’s priced for a reason. We’re not racing to the bottom like other tour operators in Pakistan—this is what a unique, responsible, small group tour costs.

Is this tour suitable for you?

You’re fascinated by culture and thirsty for adventure. If things don’t go according to plan, that’s okay: you’re flexible, and like the challenge of the unexpected. You don’t mind roughing it a bit, and aren’t intimidated by squat toilets or no electricity. Mountains thrill you and cultures intrigue you. Meeting locals and getting a feel for a place is more important than getting a perfect Instagram shot and ticking a million bucket list items.

If this sounds like you, this tour is made for you! Sign up now before spots run out.

If you need luxury and comforts of home while traveling, or want to travel as fast as possible, this tour isn’t the best choice for you.

Wifi, mobile data, and electricity aren’t always available. You’ll have to use (sometimes disturbing) squat toilets every once in a while. Local foods comprise the majority of our diets unless you have restrictions. Accommodations in remote areas can be basic at best. We’ll be exploring at a relaxed pace; we’re not trying to see every. single. sight. in Hunza in one day.

Sounds like a nightmare? You might want to pass on this tour.

Prepare yourself for this tour

Most adventures require some comfort sacrifices, but we’ll do our best to make sure you’re taken care of despite occasionally basic infrastructure.

Accommodation includes hotels, guesthouses, and traditional homestays. You’ll have to share double rooms in hotels and guesthouses. In homestays we sometimes have to share one common sleeping space (how local people sleep).

Female tourists at a traditional guest house in Gilgit Baltistan

Connectivity is limited at times. Though cities have decent signal and wifi, mobile signals in Gilgit Baltistan territory are wretched at best. Wifi is slow (if even available) and many areas have no signal. We’ll arrange local SIM cards for you if desired, but overall don’t count on Skyping home or uploading videos unless we’re in a city.

Hygiene standards can be poor in Pakistan. Our chosen hotels and guesthouses have clean facilities, but when we’re out on the road we’ll encounter restrooms in sometimes terrifying states. Food is often problematic, and upset stomachs are inevitable. We’ll do our best to find clean food and help anyone who falls ill; just know it’s a common side effect of traveling here.

Infrastructure is basic. Running hot water is not always available in the mountains. Some accommodation will only have bucket showers (bucket of water and something to pour it on you). Squat toilets are common, toilet paper is not common. These are part of the challenges of traveling in a developing country! Keep an open mind (and always have hand sanitizer ready) and you’ll be okay.

Tourists enjoying traditional lunch in Gilgit Baltistan

Electricity is not available 24/7 in the mountains. Many places only have electricity for a few hours each day. Some establishments have generators to provide electricity, but they don’t run all day. Heating in remote areas is sometimes limited to wood stoves rather than electric heating. A power bank for small devices is useful (charge it before we leave the city!). We’ll make sure you have access to outlets when electricity is available.

Roads are long and bumpy, particularly on the 20+ hour drive up to Gilgit Baltistan and in remote valleys. We’ll use jeeps to reach some locations. Landslides often cause unexpected delays in the mountains. Prepare yourself for hours of bumpy rides, and know that plans may sometimes be altered due to road delays.

Female tourists on jeep in Astore Gilgit Baltistan

Day trekking is part of our tour. You need to be fit enough to walk for hours at a time. We won’t be doing anything extreme—we’re not fit enough to trek to K2 Basecamp, either!—but you should be fit enough to walk on uneven paths in the mountains for several hours. With breaks, of course.

Female tourists trekking in Gilgit Baltistan2

Laundry services are offered by some hotels, but aren’t something you can always count on. You’ll be able to wash clothes in sinks or buckets and hang them out to dry when we’re in the mountains.

Men are intense in Pakistan. Streets are predominantly a man’s world; many local women stay inside unless they have to go out for errands, school, or work. You’ll be stared at because you’re foreign, because we’re a group of women walking around, because people generally love staring, etc. It’s an inescapable part of traveling Pakistan; ignore them. The further north we go, the less intense the staring and scrutiny will be.

Challenges though there may be, Pakistan promises to be the trip of a lifetime. Come and see for yourself!

Sounds brilliant? Sign up now before spots run out, or ask a question about the tour.

Reviews

Ingrid Lozada

Traveling to Pakistan? Aneeqa and The Mad Hatters are your best resource! I traveled with Aneeqa and Alex of Lost With Purpose on their first Women’s Only Tour in September. From beginning to end, Aneeqa and Alex were very communicative and addressed any concerns I had, quickly and efficiently.

We got to experience the real Pakistan. I love how we ventured to places that few tourists went to, plus we had many opportunities to interact with locals.

Not only did Aneeqa and Alex take care of us, but they were fun people to travel with. It was like traveling with good friends. Most importantly, they loved and appreciated food as much as I did.

When I return to Pakistan I’m definitely contacting The Mad Hatters!

Female tourist boating at Attabad lake in Hunza Gilgit Baltistan 1

Rebecca Barker

I got the opportunity to travel Pakistan this year with Aneeqa from The Mad Hatters. What an unforgettable experience it was. The tour was designed for female only travellers, taking all of our needs into consideration and allowing us to feel as comfortable as possible while travelling. I imagine it is quite difficult to organise such a detailed tour, so if you are thinking of seeking the beauty of Pakistan, I highly recommend using this local, friendly and professional tour company. Not only do you get to experience the beautiful scenes of Pakistan, you are invited to see the beauty of the culture. The hospitality is something I haven’t found anywhere else. There’s nothing like Pakistan, so thanks to Aneeqa and The Mad Hatters for creating such a wonderful tour.

 

Foreign female tourists in a traditional home in Gilgit Baltistan

Lisa Mitchell

I LOVED our tour! I really liked the variety of experiences that we had. I would recommend it in a heartbeat. It was an honor and privilege to travel with you both Aneeqa and Alex. I usually solo travel but could never have had the experience I did without them. ❤

Female tourist with goat in Gilgit Baltistan

Turfah Tabish

Incredibly knowledgeable and well connected team. Were able to provide an excellent experience travelling across northern Pakistan.

Female tourist with local kids in Ghizer Gilgit Baltistan

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