Expedition from Peshawar to Gilgit: Chilam Joshi Festival with the Kalash People and a Visit to the Hunza Long-Livers


May 11 – 22, 2024
We will participate in the vibrant Chilam Joshi festival of the mysterious Kalash people, witness the serene grandeur of snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, and crystal-clear mountain rivers.
In Hunza, we will attempt to understand the connection between the apricot diet and longevity, and in Taxila, we will learn what happened when Western Hellenistic civilization met Eastern Buddhist culture

Dates: May 11 – May 22, 2024

Duration: 12 days / 11 nights

Number of Participants:
6 – 12

Cost of participation per person:
– 2 690 USD with 10 – 12 participants, or
– 2 990 USD with 8 – 9 participants, or
– 3 290 USD with 6 – 7 participants.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before December 11, 2023)

Everything is icluded (including domestic flight from Gilgit to Islamabad, participation in the Chilam Joshi festival, three meals a day throughout the route), except for:

– International flights to and from Islamabad,
– Pakistan visa (e-visa, $35 USD for 90 days),
– Medical insurance.

Estimate cost of Moscow — Islamabad — Moscow flights: 700 – 900 USD (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).

Single supplement:
450 USD (single accommodation is provided for all nights)

TRAVEL PROGRAM: tour to Pakistan

Day 1: May 11, 2024. ISLAMABAD

Arrival at Islamabad International Airport. Meet your guide, transfer to the hotel (early check-in will be arranged in case of an early flight). Dinner and relaxation.

*Recommended flights:
– Etihad Airways, Flight EY-233, departure from Abu Dhabi on May 11 at 14-10, arrival in Islamabad at 18-25,

– Emirates, Flight EK-231, departure from Dubai at 03-20 AM, arrival in Islamabad at 07-30 AM,
– Qatar Airways, Flight QR-615, departure from Doha at 02-10 AM, arrival in Islamabad at 07-30 AM,
– Turkish Airlines, Flight TK-710, departure from Istanbul on May 11 at 20-20, arrival in Islamabad on May 12 at 03-50 AM,
– Any other flight arriving in Islamabad at any time on May 11 or no later than 8-00 AM on May 12.

Meals included: Dinner
Accommodation included: Grand Islamabad Hotel

Day 2: May 12, 2024. ISLAMABAD — PESHAWAR (190 km, 2 hours 30 minutes drive)

After breakfast, we head to Peshawar. The main attraction of Peshawar is the Old City, where you'll find the famous Kissa Khwani Bazaar, the largest bazaar in South Asia. Here, the eastern atmosphere is fully preserved, with traders selling everything from precious gems to pistols.

The market offers a variety of goods, including vases, rugs, blades, saddles, and horse harnesses, as well as various handcrafted items. Afterward, we'll visit the Peshawar Museum and explore the beautiful Mohabbat Khan Mosque.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Shelton's Rezidor Hotel

Day 3: May 13, 2024. PESHAWAR — CHITRAL (350 km, 7 hours drive)

Today, we have a long but beautiful road trip to Chitral.

We will make stops at some of the most scenic spots along the way, and at the end of the road, we'll enjoy a night in a fantastic hotel with a beautiful garden and breathtaking views of the valley surrounded by mountains!

On our way, we will make a stop at Takht-i-Bahi, the Buddhist monastery complex dating back to the 1st century BCE. According to archaeologists, it beautifully showcases the architecture of Buddhist monastic centers from that era.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Ayun Fort Inn Hotel


After breakfast, we head to Rumbur Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in Pakistan.

After lunch, we'll proceed to Bumburet (the main village in Kalash) to witness the Chilam Joshi, the spring festival of the Kalash people.

The culture of the Kalash people is unique and significantly different from many contemporary Muslim ethnic groups surrounding them in northwestern Pakistan. Nature plays an incredibly important and spiritual role in their daily lives. Sacrifices are made and festivals are held as a sign of gratitude to the gods within their religious traditions.

It's remarkable that this small community has managed to preserve its traditional religion within a Muslim environment.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Kalasha Guest House


Today, we continue to observe the Chilam Joshi festival and explore the Bumburet Valley.

The Chilam Joshi festival serves both spiritual and social functions. The Kalash people pray for the well-being of their livestock, evoking their deity Goshidai. Due to the festival, the process of finding life partners becomes easier for young people.

The main activities at the festival include songs and dances performed by the entire community, welcoming the oncoming of spring. Women dress in new traditional attire.

The Kalash people celebrate the festival in all three valleys they inhabit, but the celebrations in the Bumburet Valley are more extensive.

Today, we'll have the opportunity to visit the ancient homes of the Kalash people and interact with the local residents.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Kalasha Guest House

Day 6: May 16, 2024. BUMBURET VALLEY — CHITRAL-GOL NATIONAL PARK — BOONI (110 km, 4 hours 30 minutes)

Today, we start early. We'll visit what we haven't had a chance to see in the Kalash Valley in the past two days. Afterward, we embark on a long but picturesque journey to Chitral-Gol National Park, located amidst the snow-capped peaks of the Hindu Kush, one of the Himalayan range. The park is abound with roaring rivers, wide valleys and towering mountains.

In ancient times, the Chitral Valley was one of the branches of the Great Silk Road, connecting Central Asia, China, and India to the Mediterranean. From mid-spring to mid-autumn, caravans carrying silk, tea, wool, cotton, paper, precious stones, clay products, copper, and bronze items would traverse this route. During the rest of the year, the area and roads became impassable, and the trade route ceased to operate. Even today, from early December to late March, this region is completely cut off from the rest of the world.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Booni Guest House

Day 7: May 17, 2024. BOONI — GIZER VALLEY — FANDER VALLEY — GAHKUCH (220 km, 8 hours drive)

Today, we will pass through some of the most stunning landscapes in Pakistan. We'll visit the Gizer Valley, where rivers of an unbelievably azure hue flow and fall into lakes bordered by picturesque poplar trees.

Along the way, we'll explore the equally picturesque Fander Valley, also known as the Valley of Lakes. We will drive through the Shandur Pass, famous as the highest polo ground in the world. For the night, we will stay in the beautiful historic village of Gahkuch.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Green Palace Hotel

Day 8: May 18, 2024. GAHKUCH — HUNZA VALLEY (173 km, 3 hours 30 minutes drive)

After breakfast, we will head to the Hunza Valley.

It's another fantastically beautiful road surrounded by majestic mountains. Along the way, we'll make stops at some of the most beautiful spots, including the Rakaposhi viewpoint.

Arrival in Hunza, we will check in to our hotel.

In the Hunza Valley, you'll find a unique people called the Hunzakuts, who are significantly different from the surrounding populations. Some researchers assume that they are descendants of Alexander the Great's warriors.

Moreover, there are many long-livers among the Hunzakuts. It's not surprising to find people over 100 years old here. Legends surround the endurance of the Hunzakuts. It is said that men can walk a hundred kilometers in one direction, return, and then work in the fields. Women also spend a lot of time in the fields, after which they perform all the household chores without getting tired. Another remarkable aspect is that no one in Hunza suffers from excess weight. Even in 15-degree frost, they bathe in icy water. Hunza women in their 50s look like girls, and at 65, they can still give birth. Strong nervous experiences are not very common for them. They never get angry or complain, do not get nervous, show no impatience, do not quarrel among themselves, and endure physical pain, noise, and other unpleasantness with complete emotional calmness.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Eagle's Nest Hotel

Day 9: May 19, 2024. HUNZA — GILGIT (100 km, 2 hours drive)

Today we will explore the Hunza Valley.

We will visit the ancient Altit Fort (900 years old) and Baltit Fort (700 years old).

We'll have lunch at the famous Hunza De café, known for its walnut cake.

We will also visit Attabad Lake and admire the view of this beautiful blue lake.

Attabad Lake was formed in 2010 due to a massive landslide that blocked the flow of the Hunza River, creating a natural dam 2 km wide in the valley. About 20 people died, and the Hunza River was blocked for five months. The resulting flood, which led to the formation of the lake, forced around 6,000 people from villages in the Hunza River valley to leave their houses. More than 25,000 people were cut off from transportation, as over 19 kilometers of the Karakoram Highway were submerged.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Avari Xpress Gilgit Hotel

Day 10: May 20, 2024. GILGIT — ISLAMABAD

In the morning, we will depart for Gilgit Airport and return to Islamabad. After checking in and taking some rest at the hotel, we will visit the Lok Virsa Museum and then proceed to the Pakistan Monument.

Dinner will be at Kabul restaurant.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Grand Islamabad Hotel

Day 11: May 21, 2024. RAWALPINDI AND TAXILA

Today, we will visit the ruins and museum of the ancient city of Taxila.

Taxila was the capital of the ancient Indian people, the Gandharans. Here was located the residence of King Taksha of Gandhara, from whom the city possibly got its name.

The city was situated at the crossroads of three major trade routes. In the "Ramayana," Taxila is attributed to Bharata, the younger brother of Rama, and it is believed that the city was named after his son, Taksha. It is said that the first performance of the "Mahabharata" took place in Taxila during a great snake sacrifice festival. Ptolemy and other classical writers refer to it as Taxila, and the king is known as Taxil. Arrian describes Taxila as a large and wealthy city, the most populous among all cities between the Indus and the Hydaspes. In Buddhist literature (Faxian, Xuanzang), Taxila is mentioned as a major educational center where outstanding Buddhist thinkers studied and taught. Some of the earliest depictions of Buddha were discovered here.

Today, we will also get acquainted with Rawalpindi and take a stroll through the city's oldest market, Raja Bazaar.

We will end our day with an unforgettable dinner at Monal restaurant, which offers panoramic views of Islamabad at night.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation included: Grand Islamabad Hotel

Day 12: May 22, 2024. ISLAMABAD — RETURN FLIGHT

Transfer to the airport for your international return flight.

*Recommended flights:
— Etihad Airlines, flight EY‑234, departure from Islamabad on May 22 at 19-35, arrival in Abu Dhabi at 22-00,
— Emirates Airline, flight EK‑613, departure from Islamabad on May 22 at 09-20 AM, arrival in Dubai at 11-35 AM,
— Qatar Airways, flight QR‑615, departure from Islamabad at 09-30 AM, arrival in Doha at 11-10 AM,
— Turkish Airlines, flight TK‑711, departure from Islamabad at 05-20 AM, arrival in Istanbul at 09-45 AM,
— any other flight departing from Islamabad at any time on May 22.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation included: No

Cost includes:

  • Domestic flight from Gilgit to Islamabad.
  • Accommodation in hotels based on double occupancy (TWIN / DBL).
  • Three meals a day.
  • Drinking water throughout the whole trip.
  • All airport transfers.
  • Private transportation according to the program: a comfortable minivan in Islamabad and Rawalpindi (12-seater for groups up to 8 people, or 22-seater for groups of 9-12 people), and Toyota Land Cruiser Prado or similar vehicles for the rest of the route (maximum 3 passengers per car), all equipped with working air conditioning and experienced drivers.
  • All permits.
  • Participation in all events and activities specified in the program.
  • Payment of fees to local communities.
  • English speaking local guide throughout all trip
  • Russian- and English-speaking team leader throughout all itinerary.

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

  • International flights to and from Islamabad.
  • International medical insurance.
  • Pakistan visa.
  • Single-room accommodation.
  • Refreshments, alcoholic beverages, and personal expenses.
  • Tips/gifts to the local team.

To take with:

  • Wear set for hot and cold weather
  • Long-sleeved clothing.
  • Comfortable trekking shoes, lightweight footwear (sneakers or slippers).
  • Lightweight jacket.
  • Raincoat.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Headlamp.
  • Backpack or suitcase for luggage.
  • Small backpack for personal items.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Personal medical kit (pain relievers, antiseptics, antibiotics, antivirals, multivitamins, rehydration solution, any medications you personally require).
  • COVID-19 vaccination certificate or PCR test (requirements may change).
  • Photo and video equipment.


    • 1
      Мы находим самые удивительные места на планете и спешим успеть. Наше кредо – двигаться впереди асфальтового катка, прикоснуться к уникальному и неизведанному, прежде чем оно станет историей.
    • 2
      Куда бы мы не поехали, мы ищем нестандартные активности и авантюры, наполняющие путешествие совсем иными эмоциями. Поэтому к нам возвращаются снова и снова :)
    • 3
      Мы уделяем особое внимание безопасности в поездках. Все наши путешествия основаны на личном опыте, экипированы лучшим оборудованием, с привлечением проверенных поставщиков и опытных местных гидов, идеально знающих особенности местности.
    • 4
      Мы обладаем уникальным багажом самых необычных экспедиций и восхождений, глубокими знаниями о странах и народах, и будем делиться ими с вами. Все экспедиции и восхождения ведет сам Мзунгу, гарантируя увлекательное путешествие и ваш комфорт.
    • 5
      Все наши путешествия максимально насыщенные, с качественным проживанием, транспортом и включенным питанием, мы не экономим на этом. Благодаря надежным контактам с поставщиками, мы предлагаем отличные цены, уверенно соответствующее качеству поездок.


    © ООО "МЗУНГУ ЭКСПЕДИШЕНС", 2009-2020. Все права защищены.
    © MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS LLC, 2009-2020. All Rights Reserved
    Наша Политика в отношении обработки персональных данных
    Made on