• Kel Valley Azad Kashmir

  • Hunza Valley in Autumn

  • K-2, the siren of the Himalayas

  • Malam Jabba Swat

  • Shangrilla Skardu

  • Koh-e-Safed FATA

  • Passu Cones Hunza GB

Sep 4, 2017

Top 5 things to do in Skardu

Skardu is one of the most visited tourist cities of Pakistan and in summer the Skardu city is stormed with the tourist from all around the world. As Skardu is the base camp for the worlds mighty rocky mountains like K-2 Gashabrum, Mashabrum and worlds highest plateau Deosai, the tourist from around the globe first land here and then disperse in different directions. 
So when you land in Skardu without any prior knowledge of hot tourist spots it could be difficult for you to choose and move towards a specific direction. The reason is, there are dozens of amazing and picturesque places in and around the Skardu and without any plan, you can face difficulty in choosing the best spots.  So, here are our suggestions. 

Deosai Skardu in summer

Top 5 places you must visit in Skardu

Of course, there are many places to visit, but if you don't have enough time then you should choose the best 5 places, as you can say these are the identity of Skardu and you can proudly say you have visited the Skardu. If you miss any of these 5 places, you actually haven't been there in Skardu. 

Deosai Plains 

The best place we would say in Skardu where you can feel the wilderness and enjoy the serene beauty of nature is, of course, the Deosai Planes. The Deosai welcomes you with the fragrance of blooming wild flowers stretched over thousands of square kilometers this is actually the place where you would find peace, wilderness a sense of satisfaction. 
You can do fishing at the Bara Pani and have a chance to see the brown bear (the only species which is found in Deosai) if you are lucky enough and take amazing photographs at the Sheosar Lake.

Shangrila Resort 

Shangrila, a part of heaven, surrounded by rocky mountains of Himalaya and Karakoram this marvelously designed resort is only at a distance of half an hour from the downtown. Surrounded by the trees of eucalyptus, apricot, apple, conifer, and Juniper this resort is the best place to stay. You can walk around and see the huts built at intervals lost in the forest and the cafe which is built in a fuselage of PIA aircraft which had crashed nearby in 1954. 
Nearby is the Upper Kachura lake which you can access on foot. 

Satpara Lake 

Satpara Lake is located only at a short distance of 20-30 minutes drive from the main bazaar. Here you can enjoy fishing and boating. The lake is one the biggest fresh water lakes and you can enjoy boating in the lake stretched over a vast area with crystal clear water. This lake is on the way to Deosai and you can cover both in one trip.

Shigar Fort

This fabulous fort is about half hour drive away from the main bazaar. Here you can enjoy the Tibetan style architecture of the fort and enjoy the fruits of the garden attached to the fort. This fort is also known as Fong Khar [ Fort built on Rock ] because its foundation has a huge rock. The road to this fort is actually the road which takes one to the K-2 peak. 

Khaplu Fort 

This is another meticulously built Tibetan style fort. This fort is about one and half hour drive away from the Skardu city. If you visit this fort then there are other tourist spots as well around this fort which you can visit on the same trip.  You can visit the Chaqchan Mosque located nearby and visit the Shyouk River bank to enjoy the cold breeze of glacier water. 

Other places to visit within the city of Skardu 

There are many other tourist spots which you can visit in the city either on foot or on any conveyance. We haven't listed these in above list because these are within the city and you don't need to spare extra time for these. 
For instance, Kharpocho Fort can be visited on foot because it is inaccessible by any vehicle due to its sheer terrain. Similarly, you can visit the Shaheen Polo Ground, Yadgar-e-Shohdaa, Sarfa Ranga and many other tourist spots in the city. 

Aug 23, 2017

Sarfa Ranga Cold Desert Jeep Rally Skardu

Where is Sarfa Ranga? 

Sarfa Ranga cold desert is located in Shigar District at a short distance of only 20 kilometers from the downtown of Skardu city in Gilgit-Baltistan. This dessert is one of the highest cold deserts in the world which receives snow in the winter.

What is so unique about this desert? 

The first thing comes to mind when you hear about a desert is the scorching heat. Normally the landscape of a desert is surrounded by sand dunes and a sign of water in and around the desert is somehow a nightmare. The deserts are found in low lying areas and finding tall mountains around the desert would be a rare possibility. But this desert is not one of those deserts. 
After having look at this desert you would be having an awe by its alluring landscape, because it is a desert which has mighty rocky mountains in the backdrop, a fresh water lake at a walking distance and a big river (in fact the biggest river of Pakistan, The Indus River) flowing beside the desert. The mighty rocky mountains surrounding the deserts presenting gleaming icy summits are some 6000 meters high in average. And the river which flows nearby is the biggest river of Pakistan which provides the water for thousands of acres of land from KPK and Punjab to the shore of Arabian Sea.

The Jeep rally

The first ever Jeep rally was organized by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan on 20th August, previously this rally had been organizing at the Katpana Cold Desert in Skardu city. 
A 30 kilometers track was marked and 72 jeep drivers and 20 motorcyclists participated on the final day after pre-qualification from 200 drivers and about 300 motorcyclists. 

Other Activities to enjoy

Along with the Jeep Rally, the participants enjoyed many other colorful activities which included the following.
  1. Zakh (Raft) competition at the nearby Jharba Tso (Blind Lake)
  2. Folk song and dance competition 
  3. Food and gemstone exhibition
  4. Freestyle polo match and
  5. May Fang [ Fire Playing game]


Apr 14, 2017

Jarogo Waterfall Swat , the highest waterfall in Pakistan

Where is Jarogo Waterfall located? 

Jarogo waterfall, known as the highest and tallest waterfall in Pakistan, is located in the spectacular and most beautiful valley of Swat KPK, only at a distance of 60 kilometers from the Mingora city, the administrative center of Swat valley. 
It is some 300 kilometers north of Islamabad and you can reach the waterfall in the maximum of 4 to 5 hours. 

The sublime beauty of waterfall is just alluring 

If you haven't witnessed the beauty of the landscape around this waterfall then you haven't enjoyed the beauty of the Swat Valley yet. The waterfall will hold you spellbound by its picturesque surrounding which we can call a part of heaven. The crystal clear water falling from the rocky outcrop with gushing and gurgling sounds presents an amazing view. The surrounding of the waterfall is covered by thick pine trees and the track which leads to the waterfall is so beautiful that we can't express in words. The road which leads to the waterfall from the Mingora city passes from marvelous and breathtaking green carpeted valleys and it gives a sense of freshness to the soul. 

How to reach the Jarogo Waterfall?  

Jarogo waterfall isn't that far from the main cities like Islamabad and Abbottabad and you can reach the waterfall in few hours. When we talk about how to reach there, it all depends on where are you coming from. There are two options to reach there from Islamabad. 

First option

The first option is when you are in Islamabad then you can follow the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway and it will lead you up to Mardan city. From the outskirts of Mardan city, you will turn northwards and follow the Nowshera-Mardan road which will lead you towards the Malakand. From Malakand when you further drive up towards the north you will reach the Mingora city. From the Mingora city, the road will pass through the beautiful valleys and ravines and lead you to the destination, The Jarogo Waterfall. 

Second option

If you are coming from the Abbottabad or Muzaffarabad or you want to visit the waterfall passing from the Abbottabad city then you can follow the Karakoram Highway. When you follow the Karakoram Highway you will pass through the cities like Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra and Besham. This route is actually the route to the Gilgit-Baltistan and from the Bisham city you will turn westward and reach the Mingora city. From Mingora city, the waterfall is just an hour away. 

Is there by air option as well?

Yes, there is. If you want to visit the Swat valley and stay there for few days till you visit all spectacular tourist spots then there is another option. You can skip the protracted road journey and enjoy the by air travel. There is an airport in the Mingora city known as Saidu Sharif Airport which connects the city with Islamabad. The PIA flights operate between the Saidu Sharif and Islamabad. 

Track to Jarogo Waterfall

Track to Jarogo Waterfall

a distant view of Jarogo 

Feb 1, 2017

By Road, Islamabad to Gilgit, Skardu and Hunza

What are the possible routes?

By road journey from Islamabad or Rawalpindi to Gilgit and Skardu is one of the adventurous and enjoyable journeys of the world, because departing from Islamabad to Skardu or Gilgit the vehicles pass from scenic wonderlands and panoramic valleys i.e almost all the beautiful places of the KPK. There are two routes to reach Gilgit-Baltistan from Islamabad or Rawalpindi. One is directly through KKH (Karakorum Highway) which is named as N35. If you follow this route you will see the beautiful places of KPK like Mansehra, Abbottabad, Batgram, Chatarplane, Patan and Bisham etc.

Karakorum Highway passing through the Gilgit-Baltistan 

Another way is same from Islamabad to Mansehra city of KPK but from here it follows the national highway named as N15. If you follow this route that also meets to KKH at Chilas District of Gilgit-Baltistan, you will see the most beautiful and panoramic places of Pakistan i.e. Naran and Kaghan valley and Babusar Top of Gilgit-Baltistan. You can see the map below to understand the route better.

Major cities and towns along the route»

Route 1 
Islamabad » Taxila» Haripur » Abbottabad » Mansehra »  Batgram» Thakot » Bisham » Dasu » Chilas »  Gilgit » Skardu  
Route 2  
Islamabad » Taxila» Haripur » Abbottabad » Mansehra » Balakot » Mahandri »Kagahn » Naran  » Chilas » Gilgit » Skardu 

You will never forget the journey and will be proud of it which you have made through worlds highest road network, KKH (Karakoram Highway) passing through worlds three mightiest ranges of mountains (The Himalayas emerging from India and Nepal, the Karakorum from north Pakistan and Hindukush from Afghanistan).

Departing from Islamabad or Rawalpindi the more you cover the distance the more you will be going higher and higher towards the land of Peaks.   
It takes about 4 or four and half hours to reach Mansehra and vehicle, whatever you have chosen, will make a stop for tea or meal depending upon the time of departure. After that, passing through green carpeted lands of KPK you will reach the Besham City. Here the vehicles will make a stop for meal or tea.  From here the KKH will be following every twist and turn of the Indus River. Now passing through Kohistan, the last district of KPK, you will be hugged by the Peaks of Gilgit-Baltistan. Entering the Diamer District you will reach at district headquarter, Chilas. Mostly the vehicles depart late noon, in that case, you will be in Chilas for breakfast but if you have left Islamabad before noon you will be at Jougloat for breakfast. After departing from here you will reach a junction separating ways of Gilgit and Skardu. 

If you are going to Gilgit it will take about a half an hour to reach Gilgit city from this junction. But if you are determined to go to Skardu you will have to cover 200 km more. It will take about four to five hours to reach Skardu. On the way towards Skardu, the vehicle will make a stop for lunch at  PTDC motel Stak Valley which will be the last tea or meal.  Now, after 2 and half hours, you will reach Skardu city and will be enjoying the beautiful weather and places of Skardu.

Junction of Indus and Gilgit River from where ways of Skardu and Gilgit split

A close view of Skardu Road across the Gilgit River

Going to Hunza

If you are interested in going to Hunza, there are two ways to reach there. First is, if you buy a direct ticket, the vehicle will carry you directly to Hunza passing through Gilgit city. Second is, if you buy a ticket for Gilgit city the vehicle will make last stop at the Gilgit city and from here you can go there by yourself which is about one and a half to two hours drive from the Gilgit city.
The way to Hunza is same as to Gilgit i.e vehicle passing through Gilgit reaches Hunza. 

How long does it take to reach Gilgit and Skardu from Islamabad? 

Mostly people ask this question, so here is the answer. For Gilgit, it takes 18-20 hours and for Skardu, it takes 24-26 hours in normal traffic and if there hasn't been any temporary blockade. 
Nowadays the Karakoram Highway is under maintenance and the work from the China border to the periphery of Chilas city has been completed. Therefore travel time from Chilas city to the Gilgit city has been reduced as compare to the earlier times. But the condition of KKH from Chilas city to the Bisham city of KPK is not satisfactory. Also, the Gilgit-Skardu road is in a dilapidated condition and there are talks of reconstruction of the road.
Once you are in Gilgit and Skardu you can visit other cities as well from these two, these two cities are accessible via by air travel as well. From Gilgit, you can visit all cities of Gilgit-Baltistan in different directions. It will take 5 hours for Skardu, about 2 hours for Hunza and Nagar, 2 hours for Ghizer and about 3-4 hours for Astore and Chilas. 

List of Transport Agencies
There is no shortage of transport agencies. You will have your own choice of vehicle. Also, you may take rental vehicles for private use to reach Gilgit or Skardu.
For more information, you can visit Stations and Terminals.
The list of transport agencies are:
NATCO (Northern Areas Transport Corporation) 
Mshabrum Tours
Himalaya Tours
K2 Tours