On a bright sunny day of Lahore, we started our journey towards northern areas of Pakistan.
My wife and I had been planning this trip for weeks but were still apprehensive about what was to come since we had never ventured this far up north. We hadn’t seen most of the places that we planned on covering but we’re excited nonetheless since we were about to make our journey across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to Gilgit Baltistan (GB) all the way up to Hunza.
We left Lahore for Nathiagali, a lush mountainous area that can be easily called a trekkers heaven. We decided to spend a couple of days there and enjoyed the pleasant weather before embarking on an adventure we had never experienced before.
During our time at Nathiagali, we covered the Pipeline track and the Mukshpuri track, passing through dense pine forest and felt the silence of nature.
After spending a couple of days in Nathiagali, we set for Gilgit, As it was a long journey we stopped we decided to stop at Naran. Next day, We left Naran early to reach Chilas on time, we made sure that we drove during the daytime only; a policy which all prospective travellers to mountainous areas should try to adopt as a security measure for obvious safety reasons.
On our way, we stopped at Lulusar Lake, it’s a beautiful lake just around 40 to 50 kilometres away from Naran. It’s hard to capture the true beauty of this lake in your camera.you have to see it with your own eyes to understand the atmospheric beauty it creates.
After 20 more kilometres drive, we reached Babusar top – a high mountain pass which connects Naran to Chilas and reduces travel time to Gilgit by four to five hours. the temperature drops immensely at the top of the pass. There are many tea stalls and pakora walas selling their products to the tired and mesmerised travellers. It is at an elevation of 13,700 feet and therefore, given the altitude, is only accessible from June to mid-October. Upon reaching Chilas, we checked into the Shangrila Chilas Hotel which, by various accounts, is considered to be the best place to stay there. one reason being the conservative area that chilas is, where you would not see many women on the streets. Therefore, we restricted ourselves to the hotel for our overnight stay. chilas is a relatively warm and dusty place which is a total opposite of babusar. this kind of drastic change confused us as well. however, Shangrila Hotel is built on the bank of River Indus and its lawns offer a good view of the flowing river. The view, however, is rather limited to barren mountains. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our time with pleasant walks on the hotel lawns and enjoying the excellent food they had to offer.
The next day, we set out early for Gilgit, which is a drive of around three hours from Chilas. The road starts with rough patches. however, it gradually improves and is excellent once you cross Raikot. On the way, one can catch glimpses of the imposing Nanga Parbat and also witness the conjunction point of three of the highest mountain ranges in the world – Hindu Kush, Karakoram and the Himalayas.
when we reached Gilgit we stayed at Serena. The weather here is warm too, the view is a sight for sore eyes. Serena itself was a pleasant experience, with beautiful sprawling lawns and an environment of comfort after long hours spent travelling in the car.
The comfortable rooms and quality service made our stay pleasant.
We made our way to Hunza the next day. The road from Gilgit to Hunza is truly eight wonder of the world. The road is so good in fact that you can cover the distance of around 110 kilometres in just under two hours, KKH is most probably the only road I have travelled. Where you can sleep without the road bumps and jerky motion destroying your sleep.
On the way, you will see the beautiful Rakaposhi peak up close.there’s a tourist spot of Rakaposhi viewpoint. where you can sit at the bottom of the mountain and enjoy its beauty.
Hunza is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains on all sides with some of the amazing peaks visible including Rakaposhi (7,780 metres), Diran (7,266 metres), Lady Finger (6,000 metres) and Ultar Sar (7,388 metres).
the valley is filled with trees of apple, apricot and other fruits it’s a lush green valley in between huge snowy mountains. we stayed at karimabad bazar in embassy hotel. karimabad is a beautiful marketplace where you can easily buy local food, clothes and jewellery. right at the top of the market there Baltit fort. it looks like a crown at top of the valley.
We went out in search of local food and found this gem of a place called hidden paradise which offers various dishes. there is a small shop attached to this restaurant which provides Hunza’s famous pure honey and dry fruit. we bought some for friends back at home.
After eating our meal we went to eat the famous apricot cake of cafe de Hunza. we loved every bite and for next three days. it was our ritual to eat this cake after dinner.
Next day, we went explored Hunza and visited altit and baltit forts. there is a lot of history attached to it. these two places are very important to visit as they help you understand Hunza in depth. we spent a night in eagle nest hotel and watched the shooting stars on top of us and a beautiful valley at the bottom. We couldn’t ask for more, this trip was and still is one of the best experience of our lives.