Take a trip to the past with us! Our Khyber - Art of Gandhara Package is nothing less than a time machine as it takes you back to the Gandhara Civilization and ancient Buddhist trajectories through majestic visuals, museums, monasteries, and more. We’ve added stopovers at historic Buddhist sites such as Chakdara Bridge, Barikot, and Odigram as well as lush valleys such as Saidu Sharif in Mingora for our guests to get an all-encompassing experience of the region. Become one with the community, engage with the locals, and learn their customs and traditions to understand the essence of this region. The trip comes with carefully selected luxury hotels that provide top of the class services and comfortable experiences so that you can focus on soaking in the crafts, culture, and celebration of the district without having to worry about the basics. All you have to do is book this tour and we will take care of everything from hotel stays to transportation to guided tours – it’s that simple! Here’s a 7-day itinerary of this spiritualistic and historically rich tour.
You will be picked up from Islamabad Airport and transferred to Serena Hotels in an exclusive SUV. A quick check-in will be followed by a guided excursion to Mankiala Stupa a stupa built as a tribute to Jataka tales about Budhha located approximately 45 minutes away (by car) from Serena. Next you will take a tour of Shah Allah Ditta Caves located approximately 1 hour 20 minutes away from the stupa. Situated next to the shrine of Shah Allah Ditta, these caves with elevated surroundings were used for meditation centuries ago by Buddhist monks. After experiencing the transcendental energy of these caves, you will head back to the hotel to rest at leisure and unwind. If you re still in the mood to explore, ask the tour guide to give you a quick tour of Pakistan Monument a national monument and heritage museum and Faisal Mosque the largest mosque in Pakistan. You can also get a panoramic view of the forests embracing the capital from the famous hilltop garden called Daman-e-Koh. Margalla Hiking on Trail 5 is another activity to look forward to in Islamabad. Trail 5 can lead to Daman-e-Koh with a 90 minutes trekking. Dinner will be served at Dawat an onsite restaurant in Serena Hotel that brings Pakistani fine dining cuisines from all 5 provinces together in one live kitchen.
After breakfast, the guests will depart for the Taxila Museum located approximately 56 minutes away (by car) from the hotel. The museum boasts a wide selection of artifacts collected from the ruins of ancient Taxila. Taxila was the provincial capital of the Mauryan empire dating back to 300 BCE and has been mentioned in Sanskrit, Pali, Greek, Roman, and Chinese literature. The next stop is the Julian Monastery - a crumbling Buddhist monastery located in Haripur District located approximately 17 minutes away from the museum. After exploring the Buddhist influence of the region in the monastery, the guests will head to the second city of Taxila called Sirkap. The city is an archaeological site built by a Greco-Bactrian king and is home to many historical accounts. Return to the hotel to enjoy snacks from a meticulously crafted menu and premium on-site facilities such as spas and salons, pools, and a fully-equipped gym. From succulent meatballs and live BBQ to piping hot roti (flatbread), have no doubts that this eventful day will end with a bang at Baradari Restaurant in Serena Hotel. You will be treated with some of the most delicious dishes cooked in local spices at Serena Hotel.
After breakfast, the guests will depart for the Hund Museum. Located near the bank of the Indus River, this museum is home to jewelry, coins, and household items from the Indo-Greek times. The museum is built on the site where Alexander crossed over the River Indus towards his conquest of India. We drive for approximately 1 hour to reach our next stopover - the Ranigat Buddhist Ruins which is an archeological site that was the breeding ground of Buddhist arts and culture for centuries. The site is also a popular subject in poems, songs, folktales, and stories from the region. Our tour guides have mastered the rich history of these sites and their stories will keep you engaged and asking for more. After exploring the historical chapters of Buddhism, you will continue your journey for approximately 2 hours and 14 minutes to Peshawar. The custodians of these historical sites from middle-ages to modern-day are the Pashtun tribes settled in this region. Check-in at Pearl Continental Hotel and then head to the local bazaar. Become one with the community, engage with the locals, practice their customs and traditions, and understand what the Pashtuns are all about. You will also get an exclusive glimpse into their traditional music and dances over a divine local Pashtun feast. Pashtuns are unapologetic meat lovers so guests will in for a meaty treat. Look forward to succulent delicacies in lamb, mutton, and beef marinated to perfection in a blend of spices.
After breakfast, you will visit the Peshawar Museum before departing for Swat. On the way to Swat, the guests will love the stopover at Takht Bahi - Indo-Parthian archaeological site replete with remnants from an ancient Buddhist monastery. Dive into the early chapter of one of the most dominant religions in the world and trace back to its origins through visual treats. We drive for approximately 1 hour 40 minutes to reach our next stopover at Chakdara Bridge. Located near a cluster of Hindu Shahi and Buddhist sites, this bridge gives our guests the ultimate Gandharan experience. Check-in at Serena Hotel Swat and rest at leisure or journal about the historically-rich day. To top up the experience, a lavish seafood dinner will be served at the Suvatsu Restaurant. Relish the warm flavor of fresh local seafood cooked in subcontinental spices to give you a finger-licking experience.
After breakfast, the guests will visit the Swat Museum along with a visit to Butkara Stupa. The stupa is said to have been built by the Mauryan King Ashoka and was given monument status because of its Hellenistic architectural accents typical of Greco-Buddhist architecture. After Butkara, we drive for approximately 27 minutes to visit Saidu Sharif. Witness the grandeur of White Palace Tourist Resort here - a palatial wonder built with white marble in 1940 for the former king of Swat. Next we head to Miandam Hill for some quiet wilderness retreat, swimming, and canyoning fun. On this journey, you will also do stopovers at Buddhist sites in Barikot, Udigram, and Saidu Sharif to delve deeper into the region s Buddhist influences. After zooming into the history of a region drenched in religion, spiritualism, and heritage, the guests will head back to the hotel to relax. Dinner will be served next at the Suvastu Restaurant where in the summer months you may enjoy an outdoor live BBQ in the gardens of Serena with magnificent views of the mountains and live Rabab music.
You will depart for Islamabad after breakfast for royalty. We wanted to slip on a slow day for the guests to press pause on everything and enjoy the serenity of the capital covered with forests. Check-in at Serena Hotel and rest at leisure or explore on-site amenities. Guests can taste the luxe life at Serena Hotel with a wide range of indulgent facilities available for them. We have arranged free passes of Maisha Spa for our guests so that they can unwind on their last day of the trip. Head to the spa to get an indulgent Himalayan Salt Massage (with rock salt procured from Khewra Salt Mines) or the sauna to steam away that post-vacation exhaustion. You can also grab a book and have a quiet picnic in the hotel s lush gardens. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
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