• 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

Mar 31, 2014

Lahore to Gilgit Skardu and Hunza by road

Lahore to Islamabad 

The best way to reach Gilgit-Baltistan from Lahore is via by air, for which one has to reach Islamabad because there is no flight which operates directly among Lahore, Gilgit, and Skardu. 
To reach there by road is the same i.e first one has to reach in Islamabad or Rawalpindi from here there are dozens of transport agencies of best qualities including NATCO Daewoo buses.

Normally it takes 4  and half hour to reach Islamabad from Lahore. After reaching there, one can reserve the seat for Gilgit, Skardu, and Hunza which are the main hub of tourists. The main reservation office of the NATCO is at the Pirwadhai bus stand but it has a reservation office at the I-11/4 Faqir Aipee road in Islamabad too. One can reserve the seats from both of these offices and buses operate from both terminals to Gilgit-Baltistan. 
Other transport agencies have their reservation offices at the general bus stand Pirwidhai, the list of them is given at the end of this page.
If you have your own conveyance and you want to travel from Lahore to Gilgit, Skardu, and Hunza then again it is the same, you need to reach Islamabad first because there are no roads which link the Gilgit-Baltistan with Lahore directly. Gilgit-Baltistan is in the north and has to pass through the KPK to reach there. 

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

Mar 23, 2014

Four deserts of Pakistan | | List of deserts in Pakistan | | Cholistan Jeep Rally

Pakistan is a country where you can find varying landscape, from towering mountains to the sun-kissed beaches and from green carpeted hills to the vast deserts expanded over thousands of square miles. But the deserts have their own captivating beauty.
Thar is the largest desert in Pakistan and it is spanned over thousands of square miles of Sindh province, it is actually part of the greater Thar desert in the Rajasthan state of India. Thar is spanned over many cities and towns of Sindh and there is very less population, due to water scarcity it doesn't support farming or any kind of agriculture at a larger level. 
The Cholistan is the second largest desert in Pakistan and it is mostly spanned over areas of Southern Punjab. This desert is also spanned over thousands of miles but unlike the Thar desert in Sindh province, it supports life and agriculture to some extent. You would find settlements at interval and farming or other kinds of agriculture. 

Cholistan Desert Jeep rally

In the Cholistan you can't only enjoy the architecture of the magnificent and marvelous Derawar Fort but you can enjoy a Jeep rally as well. A Jeep rally (Jeep rally doesn't mean only Jeeps are used for the rally, in Pakistan mostly people call many kinds of vehicles Jeep regardless of their origin) is held in the Cholistan desert annually.

When is the rally held? 

The rally at the Cholistan desert holds in February of each year and the event continues for 3 days. In the rally, more than 100 drivers have been participating [data up to 2016] from all over the Pakistan including the women contenders. The track of the rally spans over 450 kilometers covering three districts (Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar)  of southern Punjab. 
It would be the ultimate delight for you to participate in this rally to witness the cultural richness of the southern Punjab. Along with the rally other activities, singing, dancing, and display of cultural artifacts are observed at the venue. 

In Pakistan, there are four deserts which are located in the Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan provinces. Following is the map:

Cold desert Skardu Gilgit-Baltistan

Have you ever heard of a desert which receives snow in winter? If you haven't then there is one which you can visit in Skardu city of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. This desert is in the Skardu city at a distance of half an hour from the downtown and in the vicinity of Skardu airport. People from all over the Pakistan and abroad visit the desert in summer and a Jeep rally is held each year in July. 
If you want to witness the snow you can visit the desert during December-February and if you want to enjoy the Jeep rally you must visit in July. 

Mar 7, 2014

Top 10 places to visit in Chitral | | Top tourist spots in Chitral

Chitral is one of the most beautiful, spectacular and famous places of Pakistan in the KPK province bordering Afghanistan and Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan at a distance of 365 kilometers from the Peshawar and 405 kilometers from the Gilgit city.
The spectacular Chitral valley is known to the world for its mesmerizing and sublime beauty. The beautiful towering mountains of Hindukush range and the rich culture of the regions, especially the Kalash people, has been the interest of the tourist from all over the world.

How to reach there?

The best way to reach Chitral is by air. PIA operates between Chitral and Islamabad on daily basis. Other ways to reach the Chitral is through Kunar valley which connects the valley with Afghanistan. Through Lowari pass one can reach here from Peshawar covering a distance of 365 kilometers. It can also be visited from the Gilgit city of Gilgit-Baltistan covering a distance of 405 km passing from the Shandur top known as the roof of the world.

Popular Tourist Places of Chitral:

1. Tirich Mir:

This lofty mountain peak is the highest of Hindukush range. Tirich Mir can be viewed from a higher place of Chitral Town (Like rooftop of the hotel where you stay) in a clear weather. It can also be viewed from the palace of Chitral’s King. This mountain is also highest in the world apart from Himalaya and Karakoram ranges.

2. Chitral Museum

Chitral Museum with antiques, weapons and other stuff from the old times of monarchies provides great knowledge about history and culture of Chitral and Kalash people.

3. Shahi Masjid (Shahi Mosque)

Shahi Masjid of Chitral was built in 1924 A.D. It was built by Shujaul Mulk, the Mehtar of Chitral (1895 – 1936). The mosque is famous for its strong and cultural architectural style.

4. Shahi Qila (Shahi Fort)

Shahi Qila of Chitral is situated beside the Shahi Masjid of Chitral. This fort is definitely a place suitable for a kingly residence. Unfortunately, it is a private property and you’ll need to get special permission to visit it from inside.

5. Shandur Polo Ground

Polo is a famous and perhaps most favorite game of Chitral. There are many polo grounds in Chitral; the famous one is the Shandur Polo Ground.The annual game of polo is played between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan from 7-9 July each year in Shandur which is not only witnessed by the local but the foreigners as well. 

6. Governer Cottage

This is another beautiful building of Chitral. One can easily view Tirich Mir from here in a clear weather.

7. Kalash Museum 

This museum is on the Bamboret Valley road which leads one to the famous Kalash Valley. 

8. Kalash Valley

This Valley is well known not only in Pakistan but in the wider world as well due to the rich culture and beautiful people of the valley. This valley is in the west of the Ayun Valley.

9. Ayun Valley

The lush green marvelously beautiful and the most favorite among tourists for its natural beauty; the Ayun Valley is situated between Chitral Town and Kalash. It is sited at the bank of River Chitral. People of Ayun Valley are welcoming and cooperating like the people in rest of Chitral.

10. Shandur Lake

Shandur lake is one of the most exquisite and picturesque tourist spots in Chitral. This lake is at the same place where there is Shandur Polo Ground or Shandur Top. This lake can be accessed from Chitral and Gilgit as well. 

Mar 5, 2014

Beautiful Wlidlife parks of Pakistan

Pakistan is a country which is spanned over an area having varied kind of landscape. From the sun-kissed beaches at the shore of Arabian Sea to the world's mightiest mountain ranges of Himalaya and Karakoram up in the north, the country is home to hundreds of kinds of animals and birds. 
The Ibex (locally known as Markhor) is the national animal of Pakistan and it is found in different regions of Pakistan but the region of Gilgit-Baltistan is famous for the Ibex population. Wildlife parks in Pakistan are such parks designed specifically to preserve and promote the indigenous species of animals and birds because in most of the cases these animals and birds have been hunting down by the locals. 

Perowal Wildlife park, Khanewal Punjab

Gatwala Wildlife park Faislabad

Lahore Wildlife park

Komalia Wilflife park Toba Tek Singh

Changa Manga Lahore

Bahawalnagar Wildlife park Punjab

Attock Wildlife park Punjab

Jallo Wildlife park Lahore

WWF Wildlife park Karachi

Wildlife park Dera Ghazi Khan

Mar 3, 2014

Beautiful animal theme parks of Pakistan

Following are the animal theme parks of Pakistan.
Jungle World Rawalpindi Punjab

Kund Park Nowshehra KPK

Lake View Park Islamabad

Beautiful safari parks of Pakistan | | List of safari parks in Pakistan

Visiting a park gives your soul a refreshment but the ultimate recreation is possible only when you have the full access to nature. The safari parks in Pakistan provide you the chance to explore and observe different kinds of animals and birds in close proximity which otherwise wouldn't be possible. In zoos, you can observe the animals and birds but you couldn't go that close because they would be locked in cages or there would be fences around animals and birds to avoid the human interruption to their environment.
But in the Safari Parks, you can drive your vehicle in and around the places where you can observe the birds and animals very closely. Imagine how wonderful that would be if the distance between the lion and you are the only glass of front or rear door, vent or quarter glass or the glass of the back window.  In Pakistan here are a number of beautiful, spectacular and picturesque safari parks having a number of species of animals and birds. These parks are also equipped with playlands, cafes, restaurants, lakes, chair lifts and track of trains. 

Following is the list of safari parks in Pakistan.
Karachi Safari Park, Karachi Sindh

Safari Park Lahore Punjab

Jallo Wildlife park Lahore Punjab

Lohi Bher wildlife park Rawalpindi Punjab

Murree wildlife park Punjab

Mar 2, 2014

Changa Manga Forest largest man-made forest of Pakistan

Changa Manga located in the Kasur District of Punjab, Pakistan is known as the largest man-made forest in the world. Stretched over an area of 48.6 sq. km this forest was developed in the 19th century during the British Raj in Indian Subcontinent, to fulfill the timber requirement of the railway network. The portion of the wildlife park covers an area of 40 acres and is home to the different kind of species: hog deer, Indian peafowl, jackal, mouflon, nilgai, and wild boar.

What can you enjoy? 

When you are in Lahore on a short visit or you are a resident of Lahore then you shouldn't miss the chance to visit the forest because its peaceful environment would give your soul a relief from the monotonous urban life. The forest is just 80 kilometers away from the Lahore city and easily accessible throughout all the season.
You can enjoy the picturesque view of the forest riding on the train which runs along a 5 km long railroad. Also, there are children play areas and you can enjoy the boating too. Other attractions include water tribune, waterfall, beautiful lake and the rest house.