Our 6 days in Chitral were jam packed planned courtesy the Hindukush Heights team ensuring we saw the best of Chitral and the surrounding valleys. Following is a run through of all we did and a personal take on each day.
Arrival by PK660 at 8am. You will be picked up at the airport by the Hotel Car.
Familiarization tour of Chitral town in the afternoon.
Experience: While one reaches Chitral with great enthusiasm and a ‘Familiarization Tour of the Chitral Town’ should not be missed, it is not necessarily the ground breaking awe inspiring way to start your trip. Personally, I’d recommend just unpacking, taking it easy enjoying the hotel, catching up on some reading and going for a long trek around the hotel in the evening.
A trip to the Kalash valley of Bomboret. This is a two and a half hrs drive in a picturesque valley.
– Meet with Kalash families informally in their homes.
– Have hot lunch in the PTDC motel in the Kalash valley.
If you feel upto it you should consider a mountain walk for 4 hrs to village Ayun where your jeep can meet you. Otherwise just spend the day looking at the Museum that Greek volunteers have set up for the Kalash and visit their unique burial ground.
Experience: The Kalash Valley Trip would perhaps be the highlight of your trip so cherish this and enjoy and do spend as much time with the Kalash Families as possible, learning about their culture, lifestyle and how they are slowly transitioning to the modern world. I personally didn’t go for the walk because 1. it was a hell hot day and 2. my health didn’t allow me to get so adventurous. So I can’t recommend this but for those not particularly looking for a trek, there is ample walk during this day anyway. Enjoy the great weather, the apple and peach blossoms (if you’re there in May that is) and the glistening cold water of the river that flows through the valley.
A trip into the Garam Chashma valley. This valley is quite different to the Kalash valley. It is a valley surrounded by cliffs of marble and granite. Suggest you visit a village in the valley called Mogh where you will see men and women weaving the famous Chitrali woolen cloth on ancient hand looms. We will arrange for you to have lunch at the old fort at Shoghore with Waqar and Naseema who own the fort.
On the return drive to Chitral you should stop at Tushi to see the famous Markhor deers ( markhor has been declared the National Animal of Pakistan) come down the mountain slopes to drink from the river.
Experience: The Garam Chashma was perhaps the most disappointing of all our excursions and it was a pity that the valley was so badly maintained. Personally, had I known, I would have skipped this leg altogether so that’s what I recommend you do. Our streak of ‘unlucky’ didn’t quite end at Garam Chashma, after sitting for two hours at the spot where a 100 Markhors had descended just yesterday we spotted only two faaaaar up on the hill. Right at the end of a highly disappointing day, a Grand Old Markhor with beautiful curving horns made our day by granting us a generous sight of its magnificent self. The guard told us that game hunters paid as much as $100, 000 to acquire a license to hunt this beauty in the season and often returned disappointed.
Drive to Mastuj along the Mastuj river (4 hr drive in awesome scenery).
Evening walk in Mastuj village
Stay in the wooden chalets of Hindukush Heights in the Apricot and Apple orchard of Mastuj Fort.
Experience: The drive no doubt was beautiful as one mountain unfolded after another… Red, Black, Green… each mountain had its distinct colour, quality and features… we were in awe for most of the drive and peeped out of the windows with our eyes WIDE open!! The Mastuj Chalets were comfortable and relaxing, the electricity voltage barely allowed for one to read even so we relied entirely on tiring ourselves dead walking around the orchids till we practically fell asleep. There isn’t much to do around Mastuj town, so after a nice, long and beautiful walk, we packed in the jeep headed back to the Chitral.
Witness the unique annual festival of traditional sports taking place at Qaqlasht.
Drive to Chitral
Shopping in Chitral bazaar
Experience: Qaqlasht festival was truly an experience and while most people might not be lucky enough to have their trips tied in with similar activities we spent a good half a day roaming about the plains enjoying the mountains sports, food, warm chai and breath taking sights. Nearing out hotel, we popped in the Chitral Bazaar to buy gifts for folks back home… (Chitral Patti Fabric Waist Coats and Hats being the most popular) and got back to the hotel for a relaxing night at the hotel.
Return flight to Islamabad at 1035 hrs.
Experience: With the forecast of a 3 day cloud cover on the weather forecast, we made arrangements for a 12 hours road trip back to Islamabad.