adventure travel & photography
Destinations: Pakistan ◦◦ India ◦◦Turkey ◦◦ Egypt ◦◦ Bulgaria ◦◦ Mongolia ◦◦ Bangladesh ◦◦ Jordan ◦◦ Russia ◦◦ Turkmenistan ◦◦ Iran ◦◦ Kazakhstan ◦◦ Japan ◦◦ Hong Kong ◦◦ Greece ◦◦ Ukraine ◦◦ Syria ◦◦ Morocco ◦◦ Italy ◦◦ Mauritania ◦◦ Oman
Type: Photo stories ◦◦ Places ◦◦ Documentary ◦◦ Black and White ◦◦ Fine Art Prints ◦◦ Seascapes ◦◦ Urban
Tours/Expeditions: List with all our scheduled tours and expeditions
"Unfortunately, no," says the old retired teacher who invited us to his home in the village of Passu in the Hunza Valley in Pakistan for a cup of tea and apples. "This was a phenomenon from the past, mainly because people produced their food and everything they owned with their own hands," the old man continues.
Passu village is one of the most spectacular places in the Upper Hunza, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and views of the 7,478 m high Passu Sar mountain, Passu glacier and Passu cones.
We strolled through the narrow streets, lined with low stone fences. Tiny houses, meadows, and plots planted with various plants. The apple trees were in full bloom this time of year. The rugged mountain landscape, clean air and water, and abundance of healthy organic foods like dried apricots and almonds, have blessed the locals with excellent health and longevity.
All the children of Passu village attend school. The people have fair skin, some with blue eyes and European-like facial features. We learned that the key to a healthy and long life is outdoor work, clean food, and friendly relationships with other community members. It appears to be an ideal lifestyle.
The Cathedral Range, also known as the "Passu Cones," is a prominent landmark on the Karakoram Highway. Locals refer to this majestic mountain as Tupopdan or the Passu Cathedral, as it rises to an impressive 6,000 metres. Tupopdan is sometimes translated as "hot rocks," as snow and ice appear to slide or melt away from its cliff faces.
We were delighted to run into a local teacher during a stroll through the village. After some lighthearted small talk, he warmly invited us to join him at his home. We happily accepted and agreed to meet him later at the village shop. About an hour later, he greeted us there with a warm smile. His modest home centered around a cozy fireplace. He brewed us a pot of refreshing herbal tea as his wife brought out apples from their harvest last fall. We were touched to learn they were both teachers raising a family of five children, whom our host spoke of with deep affection and pride.
The people of Hunza Valley, including the lovely village of Passu, have a unique identity that sets them apart from the rest of Pakistan. The origins of the Hunza people are unclear and still being explored.
Our friendly host explained that the legendary longevity of the residents was more characteristic of earlier times. Back then, everything folks needed was made by hand right in the valley. Nothing was brought in from outside. While the glacial water and abundant apricots likely contributed, they weren't the primary reason. Today, that self-sufficient lifestyle isn't feasible, which is also the case for the people of Hunza Valley.
Digital downloads and prints
Books and publications on the subject
Genetic Characterization of Wakhi People from Hunza Valley of Pakistan by employing Mitochondrial DNA Control Region (Study)
More about Pakistan
Travel to Pakistan
I organise and lead small groups to Pakistan through my licensed travel agency "Thousand Voyages" Ltd. You can find out more about the guided tours here. A list of all scheduled tours can be found here.
Books about Pakistan
Free delivery worldwide (with no minimum spend) from Book Depository (Amazon), a leading international book retailer. Please click on the title of the book to read the full description and to buy it.
Asia Overland: A Pictorial Guide: Europe, Greece, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, South Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal
Most probably you would need a visa for Pakistan. Pakistan's Ministry of Interior introduced the Single-entry Tourist eVisa for citizens of 175 countries. This eVisa has a validity of 3 months and allows travellers to enter the country for tourist purposes and it enables them to stay in Pakistan for up to 30 days. You can check out the procedure here.
Do not travel without travel insurance! World Nomads, as it is the only company that covers an unlimited budget, provides coverage of a massive bunch of adventure activities and you can purchase it while on the road. Get a free quote using the form.