Things to explore in Hunza Valley Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan

Eric Shipton called Hunza valley “the ultimate manifestation of mountain grandeur“. Hunza is one of the most beautiful valleys with mesmerizing panoramic views being the central part of Northern Areas of Pakistan. It is known for its wonderful enchanting sceneries that are formed by gigantic Karakorum mountain range. The history of Hunza is much stronger than any other northern area of Pakistan which attracts more tourists throughout the year. It is on one the strong, ethical and historical legions of Gilgit Baltistan, where local craft, cooking, music festivals, celebrations and language are part of their ancestors and has a long history to explore.

The drive to Hunza is 13 hours from the capital city of Pakistan. The best time to visit Hunza is between April- October when it has mild climate and also known as Cherry Blossom season as the valley offers trillions of colours during this season. Here is the list of things to do and explore to make your stay exciting as well as peaceful.

Rakaposhi Peak

It is situated in the Nagar Valley approximately 100 km north of the city of Gilgit in the Gilgit District of the Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan. Rakaposhi means “Snow Covered” in the local language. Rakaposhi is also known as Dumani (“Mother of Mist”). It is ranked 27th highest in the world and 12 highest in Pakistan, but it is more popular for its beauty than its rank might suggest.”. The mountain is part of the Karakoram Mountains, at an altitude of 7,888 meters. You can view it from anywhere in Hunza. The peaks are surrounded by famous glaciers such as Barpu, Biro, Bagrot, and Pisan. Rakaposhi’s dawn and dusk are just astonishing views.

Attabad Lake

This dazzlingly turquoise mountain lake was created in the wake of a natural disaster. It is one of the most fascinating and amazing places in the Hunza Valley. Shimmering crystal turquoise water makes anyone spellbound by the vast Karakoram Mountains. The colors and charm of the spring are impressive and attract many tourists every year. Furthermore, the lake is 13 miles long and 358 feet deep. Due to its beautiful scenery, known as the best lake in Pakistan.

Attabad Lake is about half an hour east of Karimabad, the capital of the Hunza District in the Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan (Karimabad, incidentally, was named one of the five “Best Tourist Sites” in Pakistan by The Guardian). If you arrive independently, you can arrange trips on the lake with local guides or in Karimabad. Most boat trips tend to last at least an hour. Alternatively, you can organize five-day tours from Islamabad, which often include the Hunza Valley, Attabad Lake, and the Pakistan-China border region.

Hussaini Suspension Bridge

The Hussaini Hanging Bridge is known as the most dangerous bridge in the world and is only one of many dangerous rope bridges in Northern Pakistan. Crossing Borit Lake in the Upper Hunza, it is located about 30 minutes’ drive from Attabad Lake. This rope bridge is both long and poorly maintained. Many planks are missing, and strong winds shake the bridge as you cross it.

As of now, there is only one suspension bridge connecting the Hussaini Village with Zarabad (located across the Hunza River), It is a 400 steps long bridge which is scary for some, thrilling to others, but without a doubt the place is genuinely a spot to take stunning photos for your Instagram.

Also Read: Top Sights to Explore in Balochistan

Regardless of its dangerous looks, however, the Hussaini is a relatively safe bridge and has become one of the most sought-after tourist attractions, with hikers testing their nerves as they cautiously work their way across.

Karimabad

Karimabad is the real Shangri-La that was mentioned in James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. A paradise on earth, this capital city of Hunza Valley stood at 2,435 above sea-level. This place has a very laid-back vibe, a lot of interesting places to explore surrounded by beautiful landscapes, awesome cafes and a small local market.

The city is known for its history, including the royal coach. Karimabad is the main tourist destination in Hunza Valley The oldest site of the town is houses and streets made of stone. Also, some of Karimabad’s famous landmarks include the Baltit Fort, the Queen Victoria Monument, and the Channel Walk. Besides, the glacier is located in Ultar, Karimabad.

Karimabad Bazaar

You can’t miss wandering the ancient cobbled streets of Karimabad. It’s always nice to explore the culture of places you’re visiting. Karimabad local market has a lot of things to explore. You can spend hours visiting shops, you will see a lot of amazing handcrafts, gem stones, antiques, local jewelry, and dresses. You can get gifts for your loved ones back home. The marketplace additionally has little cafés that each traveler love visiting. You can simply sit back, unwind, relax and get lost in your coffee while seeing the mesmerizing views on Hunza Mountains.

Baltit Fort

Baltit Fort is the Tibetan-influenced mountain fortress in Northern Pakistan which is a stunning figure. In the Hunza Valley of northern Pakistan, resting high upon a hilltop overlooking the villages of the valley, Baltit Fort is the perfect example of this melding of defense and definition. Still standing tall and imposing after more than 700 years, this 14th-century fortress is a busy tourist spot. Surrounded by snowy mountains, making it a pretty photogenic spot for the tourists. If you’re visiting Baltit fort on a clear day, you can see the mighty peaks of Rakaposhi and Diran.

Altit Fort

Altit Fort is an old castle on the Karimabad in the Hunza Valley. It is the hometown of the hereditary ruler of Hunza that won the title of Mirs. Altit Fort is the former prince residence of about 1100 years ago. It is now working as a museum there. These two fortresses are masterpieces of architecture and art. The Aga Khan Culture Foundation has updated the grand design, a legacy preserved for future generations. Altit Fort is not only a place but a heritage that has grown over time.

Also Read: Most Unique and Magnificent Forts in Pakistan

Rush Lake

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Another magnificent view of the Hunza Nagar Valley is Rush Lake, a mountain lake about 4,669 meters high, which is the highest in pakistan. The massive mountains surround the lake and it is considered to be the highest lake in Pakistan. Nagar Valley is considered being one of the most attractive valleys. Wadi Nagar is most beautiful with its simplicity without any colours.

Gulmit

At the top pf Hunza between the Gojjal valleys, the nine Gulmit valleys are significant tourist destination for Hunza. It is a small village at a breathtaking scenic point in Hunza valley. Gulmit is 2500 meters or approximately 8200 feet above sea level. Here you can track down incredible shades of nature. The encompassing view of the entire valley and the Passu cone is very attractive. Moreover, Gulmit offers visitors complete tours with mountain, monuments, and pleasant climate. Most importantly, Shimshal Valley, Chipursan Valley, Misgar Valley, Boibar Valley, Khunjerab Pass are the most visited places in Gulmit.

Gulmit is a fertile plateau and a place to relax in an environment free from all the worries of life. In Gulmit one can spend time by walking in the fields and into mountain passes along the irrigation canals.

Borith Lake

A lake formed by dissolved water in the Gulkin Glacier, is beautiful and surrounded by vast plains. The Borith Lake, can be reached via a 2km unpaved jeep route from the Hussaini village. If you’re up for some adventure, you can reach the lake via a 2-3 hour long trekking route directly from Ghuylkin. This place is one of the best camping sites in Hunza, a go-to-spot for bird watching community, and if you’re visiting it between months of March to June, you will bear witness to the glorious and mind-boggling migration of thousands of ducks from South to North. The lake is located at an altitude of 25,000 meters and is a rescuer to the top of Paso.

Passu 

Passu cones are situated in Passu village in Upper Hunza alongside the Karakorum Highway. Passu village has always been the best place to visit and a famous tourist destination mainly because of the magnificent Passu cones and the gigantic Passu sar mountain standing 7, 478 meters tall. It also features a glacier known as the Passu Glacier. The cones themselves are the most popular attraction of the Passu Village. They remain one of the most photographed regions of Hunza.

Khunjerab Pass

Khunjerab pass, also known as Pak-China Border, is a worth visiting place for tourists visiting Hunza. Located at a 3 hours’ drive from Karimabad Hunza, Khunjerab pass is the highest point on the architectural marvel. The Karakoram Highway. Tourists spend a lot of their time taking pictures in front of the majestic gateway between the jagged peaks of the hypnotizing Karakoram Range.

A little tip for you all, make sure to take eatables with you, since there’re no restaurants or shops there.

Eagle Nest Duiker

Duiker ‘’Eagle nest’’ is a place where you can have one if those encounters that you will probably remember for the rest of your life specially if you experience the spectacular sunrise and sunset. Duiker is a small town called Eagle Nest, a famous hotel which is located in the town and offers breathtaking views of all the Hunza. Located on a 25 minutes’ drive from Karimabad Bazaar, it is the highest place in Hunza, and world’s only viewpoint offering scenic views of famous Rakaposhi, Golden Peak, Lady Finger, Ultar and 8th wonder of the world, the Karakoram high way. You will see seemingly endless rows of razor sharp peaks and fall in love with the beauty of it.

Sust Border (Sost)

Sust (Sost) is the last village of Hunza on Karakoram Highway next to the Chinese border. The is an important location on all passenger and cargo roads, as all traffic across Pakistan and China passes through the city. In addition to the Khunjerab Pass, there are mountain passes in the Karakorum Mountains. Also, Khunjerab’s footsteps possess a national park inhabited by rare snow leopard species. It is a great symbol of Pak China friendship.