Gilgit Pakistan is the capital city of Gilgit Baltistan Province and is itself an excellent tourist spot
How to get to Gilgit Pakistan?
You can either drive or fly there to Gilgit airport
Gilgit Baltistan flight
The flight to Gilgit City is a minimum of $550 and is cheapest in September and highest in July – August every year.
Islamabad to Gilgit Pakistan Route Map
Gilgit Baltistan Culture
Because Gilgit Pakistan of the Gilgit Baltistan Province has been protected by tall mountain ranges and the Babusar Pass, the culture of the people there is still respectful and trusting.
There are still hints in their culture of Buddhist influence, especially in the way they carve their support poles inside their houses.
Gilgit Baltistan Independence Day
The unique and funny thing about Gilgit Baltistan province’s independence day of 1 November 1947 is that it does not coincide with that of the rest of Pakistan which is 14 August 1947.
This is because Gilgit Scouts liberated Gilgit Baltistan and handed it over to Quaid e Azam from the tyrannical Hind Dogras imposed by the British Colonials.
There are number of things to do and places to visit there.
Gilgit Pakistan Road trip
We have traveled by road and the road is perfectly metaled and clear throughout. It takes 20 hours to get there over Babusar top.
A detailed account of this road trip is here. Otherwise, the airfare from Islamabad to Gilgit is Rs 19000 for a one-hour flight.
Hunza is a further two hours drive from Gilgit Airport, costing Rs 4000.
Things to do in Gilgit Pakistan
Buddha Image is carved in stone on a huge boulder in Kargah Town of Gilgit City
Chinese Cemetery ( Danyor) of Gilgit Pakistan
Danyor neighborhood of Gilgit City has an unusual cemetery with curved tombstones of Chinese engineers who perished while building the Karakorum Highway.
Captured Indian Army Chetak helicopter
Nothing feels sweeter than gloating over the mistakes of Indian Pilots, so we have a monument to the chopper that an errant Indian pilot gifted to Pakistan.
Nanga Parbat Viewpoint (Bayal camp)
Nanga Parbat the killermost mountain after K-2, stands right in front of the Gilgit to Islamabad Karakorum Highway and rises above the clouds.
Karakoram, Himalaya, and Hindukush ranges Meeting point
The confluence of the three most active geological plates happens here.
We have a monument to this once-in-several-hundred-million-years phenomenon happening here in Pakistan.
Gilgit Pakistan to Hunza drive
At 0530 hrs. the road from Gilgit City to Hunza is heavenly
Towering snow-clad mountain tops on the right side, water channels running across beneath, Old heritage Karakorum Highway (KKH) along the left flank, trees lined along the road with several hues of yellow.
The only sound we heard was the breeze and the engine running. Rakaposhi café is where you can have tea and admire the giant mountain upfront. This drive is even better than Highway One in the US.
Colliding point of Karakorum, Himalaya & Hindu Kush mountain ranges
The view spot is on this road. The difference in topography of each range supports the logic that the ranges did collide several million years back. The Karakorum is the pointiest of all three.
Beautiful Sunset and sunrise at Eagle’s Nest, Hunza
Drive to Eagle’s Nest hotel is steep but safe. From Hunza, it’s a 20-minute drive up-slope to this hotel that overlooks Hunza, Nagar, and the valley leading in. Good, clean place to stay. A little expensive though.
Para Gliders jump off a cliff close by and land in the center of Hunza town. Quality time sipping tea to watch sunset and sunrise is unforgettable, I have heard. We unfortunately had to get back early.
Hiking around Ultar & Lady Finger peaks
One day hike is beautiful. You can see Markhor along the way.
Gilgit City to Nagar Town
Nagar is a sister town of Hunza, but a little quieter and colder as it is on the reverse face of a mountain blocking the sun.
We liked the farms and trees there.
For a few thousand more, jeeps take you right up to the mighty Hopper Glacier. Freshwater streams flow through. We had a wonderful breakfast near the glacier.
Detour to Naltar along the way
One night at Naltar is not a bad idea. Skiing and sliding on the ever-present snow are fun. A 4×4 vehicle is necessary for this road.
We went there in winter so we couldn’t see the lakes. But the lakes are worth seeing and we are planning on going there in summer.
Altit and Baltit Fort Hunza
Right on the old KKH route connecting to China, these renovated & rehabilitated forts give a good insight as to how the ruler of this hermit kingdom kept a watch on the trade route below and also on their subjects.
This area was hotly contested between Russia & the British crown. Needless to say, the British won by kicking out the ruler of that time, who tried to play them both
The sacred rock is located in Karimabd on the left side of the road at the bank of River Hunza.
Buying stuff like Organic oils etc
Khubani oil (apricot), and walnut oils freshly pressed are in high demand here. Local cuisines made in these oils like Dowdo soup and burus barikutz ( we ate a few local dishes from Serena in Gilgit) are a must here.
Don’t forget salajeet for the men who have only one thing on their mind.
You can also get precious stones, hiking gear at a good price.
You can pitch a tent too in the center of Hunza. PTDC hotel is also a beautiful site and is available off-season, which is the recommended time to visit Hunza, anyway.
Queen Victoria Monument
We haven’t seen it but it is accessed only by trekking for about an hour at the rear end of Karimabad.
Other things to do there
Eat fruits off the trees at Nagar, especially the red tinge khubani.
Lovely people of Gilgit City
The people of Hunza-Nagar are very well-behaved, courteous, and educated. They offered us a free night’s stay when our vehicle broke down there.
Ladies of the area beautiful and demure too.
Where to go from Hunza?
From Hunza, you can go and visit
- Attabad lake,
- drive to Passu Cones and see
- Batura glacier,
- Passu Glacier,
- Passu Cathedral, and
- Khunjarab pass
Visit Xinjiang from Gilgit for Shopping
Hunza can be the launching pad for your drive into China in the Xinjiang province. Visa has to be stamped from Islamabad for a visit to Kashgar.
I love Gilgit Pakistan because I have lived there for a few months and frequently go back there to say hi to the gorgeous and proud mountains and clear water
Inbox me if you want your visit planned too.