road trip islamabad hunza

Highlights of Islamabad to Hunza Road Trip

Islamabad to Hunza is one of the best road trips in Pakistan. Of course, you can fly to Gilgit International Airport too.

A very close second is Karachi to Gwadar Road trip.

Time from Islamabad to Hunza trip

The 19-hour road trip from Islamabad to Hunza is quite enjoyable and scenic. Follow this link for more on things to do in Hunza. 

Islamabad to Hunza Map

Islamabad to hunza 

 
Two routes from Islamabad to Hunza

Islamabad to Hunza route

Drive on the Hazara motorway and exit at the very end at Balakot’s new city housing society.

Then drive on the CPEC to Babusar Top if it is open, otherwise, use Besham Road.

Islamabad to Hunza Babusar Route

The Babusar route is shorter and preferable. If you want to use this route, then keep driving to Balakot from Mansehra town center

Islamabad to Hunza Besham Route

To use the Besham route, turn left from Mansehra town center towards Shikiyari, instead of Balakot

What is the distance between Islamabad and Hunza?

Islamabad to Hunza is 600 km

Islamabad to Hunza by Bus

Faisal movers goes to Hunza from Islamabad at Rs 1800 per ticket and is highly recommended.

The bus gets to Hunza in 15 hours.

How much time does it take from Islamabad to Hunza on a car?

A fast moving car will get there in 12 hours when using the Babusar route.

On the Babusar Top route

It takes 12 hours from Islamabad to Hunza on a car, if you don’t stop in between and go over Babusar Top non-stop.

On the Besham Route

It takes 16 hours on this route

Islamabad to Hunza Rent a Car

Costs is Rs 5000 per person if you want the front seat of a Toyota Corolla Car. Sometimes you have to share ride with three other passengers (three in the back)

Try this guy, he is a fast driver Sarfraz 03452786855

What is the cost of Islamabad to Hunza Flight?

There is no flight directly from Islamabad to Hunza, but flights by the national carrier PIA and private airlines amount to 12 per week and cost around $172 per person.

Off season price of a one way plane ticket is Rs 12000

Flight time from Islamabad to Hunza is?

The flight time from Islamabad to Gilgit is 1 hour, drive to Hunza from Gilgit is 30 minutes.

How to get from Gilgit to Hunza?

There are tons of jeeps available on hire at Gilgit that can take you for a spin around Hunza.

Things to see in Hunza?

  • Altit fort,
  • Baltit fort
  • Hopper Glacier
  • Husseini Suspension bridge
  • Karakorum Highway
  • Atabad Lake
  • Khunjrab Pass
  • Naltar Valley
  • Ultar Sar Peak hike
  • Haldeikish Petroglyphs 
  • Eagle’s eye restaurant on the cliff
  • Nagar Valley
  • Chinese Cemetery 
  • Kargah Buddha
  • Colliding point of Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindukush Ranges
  • Skardu Trip
  • Shimshal Village Tour

Also see

Why does everyone like the Hunza of Gilgit?

The Administrative Region of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) is a heaven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Snow clad mountains, beautiful valleys as far as the eye can see, pristine land, fresh air, lovely people, and openness is a boon for city people.

Also, See,

road trip islamabad hunza

Road to Hunza from Gilgit is full of small valleys like these

road trip islamabad hunza

People string metal cables from the top of adjacent mountains for quick transportation

road trip islamabad hunza

This is Atabad Lake

Kaghan Naran

On the Babusar Top route lies the beautiful valley of Kaghan and Naran. It takes almost 5 to 6 hours to reach Naran, we stayed the night at Naran (it is a medium-sized town at an altitude of 8,202 feet), and it is one of the most scenic towns of Pakistan

Lake Saif ul Malook Naran

As we had ample time we decide to go to Lake Saif ul Malook (located at an elevation of 10,600 feet, well above the tree line), which is one of the highest lakes in Pakistan.

Lake Saiful malook is frozen over in the winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeep Ride to Saif ul Malook

It is a one-hour’s jeep drive to the lake from Naran. The road is pretty bad, but the local jeeps can handle anything. The tiny Bazar at Saif ul Malook is untidy.

Bazars near the lake have destroyed its natural beauty. Real beauty starts at the opposite end of the lake.

The weather at Saif ul Malook is nice.  lake is beautiful. Tourists can also have fresh trout fish from one of the roadside cafes.

Aansoo lake

Aansoo (teardrop) lake is a further four-hour hike from Saif ul Malook

Lulusar lake on Islamabad Hunza road

After you leave Naran for Babusar top, Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park begins soon after.

Lulusar Lake appears on the left side of the road.

Dudipatsar lake complex

To get to Dudipatsar lake, you must hike from Mullah Ke Basti village on the foot hills of Babusar Top.

It takes 7 hours to get to Dudipatsar Lake

Babusar Top

The Babusar top at 13691 ft. is a cold vantage point to see the valleys on either side.

Road trip from Islamabad to Hunza Babusar Top

The Babusar pass connects the Kaghan valley to Chilas on Karakorum Highway (KKH). Babusar top is a beautiful, magical place. The tea at Babusar tastes superb. Babusar Top is truly a magical place

The Karakorum Highway KKH

This Hasanabdal-Abottabad-Mansehra-Chilas road (N35) is also called the Karakorum highway (KKH). It is 806 km long inside Pakistan.

The highlight of this route is Kohistan district, which stretches from the border with Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan to the east and Swat toward the North; Mansehra and Batgram District to the south.

Islamabad to Hunza Pattan stop in Kohistan district

If you must use the Besham road toward Hunza, then the only worthwhile stop midway is Pattan.

It takes 7 to 8 hours to reach Pattan during a road trip from Islamabad to Hunza.

Kohistan is a barren mountainous region with a single road and the Indus river running through. The huge Rocky Mountains stare at you on either side. It has its peculiar beauty.

Early in the morning, when the sun rises behind the towering mountains and when you see the green patches of land at the end of mountain streams.

The Kohistani people of Pattan

People here are genetically related to their Afghan neighbors and appear different from the Gilgit people.

These Kohistanis are known to be very crude and difficult. We never faced any problems, although we traveled once in the dead of the night

Thakot Bridge

Thakot town along the way has a strategic bridge over the Indus river with magnificent views.

Diamer Bhasha Dam Site

A hydroelectric project is being set up by the Chinese there. Dasu town, further along, is the capital of upper Kohistan District and is the site of the to-be-built Diamer-Bhasha dam.

road trip islamabad hunza

Chilas

Chilas comes after Pattan and gives you a feeling that you have come to another planet. It is dry and hot.

You can see sand up in the mountains, large boulders here and there, and mud mountains.it is on the left side of the river Indus.

The highlight of Chilas is the ancient carved rocks (petroglyphs)

road trip islamabad hunza

Tatta Pani (Hot springs) on Karakorum Highway

Important places that come on the road are Tata Pani (hot water spring), we had tea there.

 Tata Pani (hot water spring), is a place to rest and enjoy a boiled egg on natural hot springs.

Great mountain range junction point KKH

After Chilas the scenery gets exciting.

 Near Gilgit is a place where three great mountains ranges meet the Hindukush, the Himalayas, and the Karakorum.

View of Nanga Parbat

From the highway, we saw the Giant Nanga Parbat (ninth highest peak in the world, rising into the clouds, towering every peak around it.

road trip islamabad hunza

Fairy Meadows turn from Raikot bridge

Called “Ferry meadows” in local lingo, this plateau high in the mountains east of  Raikot Bridge is a sight worth seeing.

I didn’t see any fairy though.

After Raikot bridge, the topography changes a lot, with more sandy mountains down below with pointy Karakorum ranges on top. 

road trip islamabad hunza  

the Hunza Valley floor gets a lot more prettier in Autumn when the leaves change color to different hues of yellow.

road trip islamabad hunza

The river becomes louder and deeper and the greenery increases. Gilgit city is well established. Many foreigners can be seen roaming the streets.

Road toward Skardu

A few hours short of Gilgit, the road breaks off toward Skardu, before Jaglot town.

Route to Gilgit from Chitra -Shandur

Another highway toward Gilgit Islamabad is the N-45. It is along the Nowshehra-Mardan-Batkhela-Timergra-Mirkhani-Chitral-Mastuj-Shandur-Phandar-Gahkuch-Gilgit route.  

It is a very long route but is an absolute must for adventurers who have a 4×4 at their disposal. we have done that trip and the details are here.

road trip islamabad hunza

Why I love Hunza in Gilgit Baltistan

Hunza is a town on the ancient Silk Road on Karakorum Highway KKH that borders Xinjiang province of China and the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan.

The Hunza valley people are famous for their mild manners, modern education, positive mindset, dried apricots, Hunza bread, walnut oil, cherry blossom, organic diet, and cool weather/temperature.

Ladies of Hunza

I find the ladies in Hunza gorgeous, mostly because of their attitude.

Burushisky language

The Burusho tribe of the Hunza people live there and speak Burushisky. Although the Hunza river flows right under the nose of Hunzans, the water is too fast to jump into wearing Hunza swimwear.

Hunza water

Apparently there is Hunza Wine that they ferment from apricots and grapes that is quite the hit in the west.

Hussaini Bridge of life

The Hussaini bridge is another must-do. Only those with pure hearts can go across this bridge made of rickety wooden planks nailed a few feet apart.

Trip to Shimshal Village from Hunza

Shimshal is an idyllic village that has snow capped mountains all around and a track that is not for the faint hearted. The golden corn crop and river flowing through the town is so pleasing for the soul.

If you are looking for more adrenaline, then stay the night at Shimshal village and hike 8 days to the Shimshal Pass, high up where the Yaks graze.

The best time to visit Hunza using Islamabad Hunza road

The best time to visit Hunza by road is from March to September.

Cherry blossom season is in End March.

Frequently asked questions on Hunza

Does Hunza have WiFi?

Yes, Hunza has wifi, but it is a bit slow

Does Hunza have an airport?

No, Hunza doesn’t need an airport because Gilgit city which is about 100 km away does have one.

Conclusion

I love driving from Islamabad to Hunza because once a year I get to run away from the madding crowd that is our cities.

Hunza g Coach

If anyone wants me to arrange your visit to Hunza g, do inbox me, and do bring your swimwear in summers. You never know who you might meet there like the celebrity Hamza Yusuf.