Pakistan women’s tours in 2022
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 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: our Pakistan women’s tour will show you the diversity that makes Pakistan what it is. And then some.
“This trip truly and honestly changed my life.”
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.”
Why THIS tour?
This is a tour made for female travelers by female travelers.
Both Aneeqa and I 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”.
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 Pakistan women’s tour is meant to help more female travelers come and experience a positive side of the country, and normalize the idea of women traveling without men there (it’s still unusual!).
We also designed our Pakistan women’s 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.
Where are we going on our Pakistan women’s tour?
We’ll be heading to both famous sights and off the beaten track locales, including but not limited to:
Our tour begins in Pakistan’s peaceful capital, with a visit to its far older and slightly more chaotic neighboring city, Rawalpindi.
Hunza – Gulmit, Passu, 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 – 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.
Astore – Tarashing, 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.
Pakistan’s cultural capital is our grand finale! Mughal-era monuments, religious shrines still very much alive, a passionate food scene, and more await you in this historic city, my favorite in Pakistan.
“I would recommend it in a heartbeat.”
How many women will be on our Pakistan women’s tour?
To keep things intimate and encourage local interactions we’re capping the number at 10 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.
Tour cost and what’s included
The tour is US$2500 per person.
Payments can be made by bank transfer, Transferwise (all major cards and most currencies), or credit card (Pakistani rupees). A deposit of $500 is required to secure your position on the tour.
The tour cost includes:
- Letter of Invitation (LOI) for your visa
- Airport transfers within Pakistan
- Accommodation for the duration of the tour
- Accommodation around tour dates can be arranged for an extra cost
- Transportation within Pakistan
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Entrance fees
The following aren’t included:
- Visa fees
- Flight tickets
- Tips for guides/workers (optional)
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.
Tour cancellation policy
If you need to cancel your tour for some reason, our cancellation policy is:
- Cancel more than 2 months in advance: Full refund minus deposit
- 1-2 months in advance: 50% refund minus deposit
- Less than one month in advance: 25% refund minus deposit
- Less than two weeks in advance: Too last minute! No refunds.
Coronavirus cancellation policy
No one can really predict what will happen with coronavirus affecting everyone’s travel plans. We already had to cancel several tours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We understand that travel plans can change in the blink of an eye in times like these, so we offer the following cancellation policy for coronavirus-related issues:
- If we cancel the trip at any time: Full refund minus $100 to cover our time, transfer fees, and any vendor payments we might have made already.
- If you cancel your trip due to coronavirus concerns at any time but we still run the trip: Full refund minus deposit
- If you test positive before your flight and can’t come: You can move your payment minus the deposit to a future tour.
The perfect woman for this tour
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 Pakistan women’s tour is made for you! Sign up now before spots run out.
This tour isn’t suitable for…
If you need the 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, hot water, and electricity aren’t always available. You’ll have to use (sometimes disturbing) squat toilets every once in a while, including where we stay. 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 women’s tour of Pakistan.
Prepare yourself: what to expect from our Pakistan women’s tour
Most adventures require some comfort sacrifices, but on our Pakistan tour 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).
Connectivity is limited at times—see the full itinerary for details on where there is and isn’t signal. 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.
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.
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.
Weather is varied. 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.
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.
Sounds brilliant? Sign up now before spots run out, or ask a question about our Pakistan women’s tour.
Highly recommended 🙂
This was my first guided group tour in any country and it was a really great experience. The tour was really well constructed, expertly planned and everything felt so seamless from my perspective, from airport pickup to choosing somewhere to eat on the road. We had comfortable transportation and lodging and plenty of delicious food every day. There was always a backup or alternative plan when any issues came up and I am honestly in awe at how well organized everything was while still feeling pretty relaxed and flexible. Not only are Alex and Aneeqa super knowledgeable and capable guides, they were really fun to hang out with for three weeks as well. I highly recommend this tour!
The tour gave me such a wonderful introduction into Pakistan: a place I was very curious to explore but knew so little about. It was an inspiring glimpse into the food, people, culture, and raw beauty of the country! I think that this tour is the perfect way for a solo female traveler to get to experience Pakistan with other like-minded female travelers and with guidance from both the local’s and traveler’s perspective.
I loved it
I loved the trip.
I love the country
I love the food
I love the people
I love the views
I loved the hospitality
I loved the easy going of the tour – if I don’t want to hike, I don’t hike. 🤣
It was challenging. especially without the “usual basics” like power, hot water, WiFi, proper toilet and proper bed
BUT we knew this in advance and this is what we signed up for. I loved traveling very basic in Pakistan but due to the cold it is challenging… so please bring enough warm clothes.
Other than that I love the driver and the organisation and the places the tour went.
I would go back on a tour with them in a heartbeat for other places (skardu/ astore /) with Aneeqa and Alex … let me know if you do another tour 🙂
An excellent introduction to Pakistan.
A good mixture of history, culture, and the beautiful mountainous northern provinces. Services outside the cities and towns are limited both paved roads and electricity supplies. However, we were forewarned and these disadvantages were outweighed by homestays and access to the many less travelled valleys of both the Hindu Kush & Karakoram. We were able to meet and interact with locals and communities that were both curious and overwhelmingly welcoming. For the truly adventurous, with real experience of very basic accommodation, this is a truly unmissable introduction to Pakistan; and a route into independent travel in the country.
Even better than my expectations!
Liked everything – Disliked nothing ;). More than one month after my return home, I still find it difficult to explain what made this tour so special. Being used to travel solo/independently I’d never thought i would have so much fun spending 3 weeks of my time (and not that little money) on a group tour, but you guys proved me wrong. This trip was definitely one of my best travel experiences so far. Pakistan is such a beautiful country and if i had been exploring on my own, i wouldn’t have been able to see so many different places or meet so much inspiring people in only 3 weeks time. By joining this tour i feel like i got a taste of the ‘real’ Pakistan without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe (’cause truth to be said it’s kinda weird being the only white girl in a place). I am already recommending this tour to everyone 🙂