The main beauty of northern Pakistan lies in the Gilgit Baltistan region. Having more than 18 peaks and approximately 12 lakes, this region of Pakistan is one of the most popular tourist destinations.
The place is a paradise for all nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. It is a destination people go to and satisfy their wanderlust. Moreover, it is also a perfect place to go to during summer.
Since it is a big region, you will need to have some information before going.I have a complete tour guide to Gilgit Baltistan to help you out on your next trip.
How To Reach
One of the major questions that come into the mind of people is how to reach Gilgit Baltistan. There are two main ways that you can use to reach the place.
The most common and budget-friendly way of going to Gilgit Baltistan is by road. You can either rent a car, take your car, or choose a bus ride. It might be a long journey, however, it is worth every minute of your time.
The distance of Gilgit-Baltistan from Islamabad is approximately 486 km.
Another way to reach the destination is by air. This journey might be expensive, however, it is a fast option. There is a direct flight from Islamabad that you can choose. The flight is almost 1 hour long.
There are 11 direct flights every week.
Language, Religion, And Culture Of Gilgit Baltistan
Pakistan is a land of multiple cultures and traditions. Therefore, people of all religions reside here harmoniously. No matter which region of Pakistan you go to, you will find multicultural people.
Likewise, the people of Gilgit Baltistan also have different religions and languages.
The majority of the people here are Muslim. However, they follow the Shia sect. However, there is also a vast majority of people following the Ismaili religion.
NOTE: People are sensitive to their religious beliefs, therefore, do not offend anyone.
Being a multilingual country, there are several languages spoken throughout the country. However, in Gilgit Baltistan, the most common languages are
NOTE: Urdu is the national language of the country whereas English is the official language here.
What To Wear
The dressing is an important aspect of your journey to Gilgit Baltistan. There might not be any conservative dressing for you, however, it is better to respect the culture of the area and dress modestly.
A girl should wear dresses covering her body properly. A salwar Kameez is a good option. However, you can wear your regular jeans with a long shirt.
Boys should also cover their bodies properly. A trouser with a T-shirt is a good dress to wear. Whereas, they can also wear the traditional Shalwar Kameez.
Local Food To Eat
Food is another important aspect of the region. Therefore, I have mentioned the famous local food items for you to eat.
Accommodation In Gilgit Baltistan
When here, you will also be worried about where to stay. Luckily, there are plenty of places throughout the region that you can choose from. Moreover, these places are perfect for a night’s stay with friends and family.
I have mentioned some of the many options you have here.
Diran Guest House Nagar
Address: Minapin Nagar, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan
Contact Number: (058134) 47068
Address: College Road Aliabad Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: 0333 4459430
Eagle’s Nest Hunza
Address: Duikar, Altit, Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: +92-5813-457074
Darbar Hotel Hunza
Address: Zero Point, Karimabad, Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: 0341 9623963
Hard Rock Hotel Hunza
Address: Duiker View Point Road Altit, Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: 05813457179
Address: Gojal, Aina Abad, Attabad, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: 0343 5151913
Mountain Lodge Skardu
Address: Satpara Road, Division, Skardu
Contact Number: 0300 9091494
Serena Altit Fort Hunza
Address: Altit Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: (058134) 57692
Hispar Hotel Skardu
Address: Satpara Road near candela resorts, Skardu
Contact Number: 0344 4777754
Hotel One Skardu
Address: Airport Road, Gamba, Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: 0341 2201111
Shangrila Resorts Skardu
Address: Kachura, Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: (058155) 54942
Grand Continental Hotel
Address: Chinar Bagh, Riverview Road, Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: (058114) 59860
PTDC Gilgit Motel
Address: Babar Road Opposite Chinar Bagh Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: (042) 36612336
Gilgit Serena Hotel
Address: Sherullah Baig Road Jutial, Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan
Contact Number: (058114) 55894
Famous Places To Visit In Gilgit Baltistan
Now comes the main reason for you to plan a trip to Gilgit Baltistan. The scenery, nature, and worth-visiting places are the reasons that locals, as well as tourists, turn to this place throughout the year.
I have listed a few of the most famous places you MUST visit when you go on a trip to Gilgit-Baltistan.
Passu Cones are among the most famous places to see in Gilgit Baltistan. They can be seen closely from Upper Hunza Valley, especially while traveling on Karakoram Highway.
Moreover, you can visit the Passu Village or can trek to Passu Glacier.
In 2010, land sliding resulted in blockage in the Hunza River. This blockage resulted in Attabad Lake. Since then, this lake has been a major attraction of Gilgit Baltistan.
In addition, this 21-kilometer-long lake is a place you should visit if calmness is what you are seeking.
Another amazing place for all the wanderlust is Hussaini Bridge. The bridge is not in a very safe condition, however, if you wish to face adventure, it is just the right place.
Baltit And Altit Fort
History is one of the strongest domains of Gilgit Baltistan. The Altit and Baltit fort is an example of that. These 1000 and 700 years old forts are the image of ancient architecture on mountains.
This city is the central point of Gilgit Baltistan and is one of the most crowded and advanced places in the area. Apart from being a site of beauty, this place is also amazing for buying gifts for your friends and family.
Hunza And Nagar Valley
Hunza and Nagar Valley are often visited together, considering they are located side by side. These valleys are among the most famous and visited ones in the area.
The Nagar Valley is recognized for giving visitors the view of amazing Rakaposhi, along with many amazing things. Therefore, a nature lover must not miss a chance to visit Hunza and Nagar Valley in Gilgit Baltistan.
An amazing valley that lets you visit more than 20 villages is not a place that you should skip from your tour of Gilgit Baltistan. Ishkoman Valley is a site of beauty for anyone who visits it.
Moreover, this valley is also a perfect stop if you want to have a trek since several trekking routes start from this valley.
The beauty of Skardu, Shangrila Lake is a site you must visit. It is considered one of the most romantic places in the region, therefore, you will see a lot of couples enjoying their holidays here.
You can stay in the Shangri-La resort here if you want to enjoy the night view.
Deosai National Park
This national park is one of the highest-altitude parks in the country. Deosai National Park is an amazing place to witness wildlife, especially the rare animals and flowers.
Cold Desert of Skardu
We all have heard about the heat of deserts, however, in Gilgit Baltistan, you get to see the cold deserts. These deserts are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.
Gilgit-Baltistan is also home to one of the highest borders in the World. Khunjerab Pass links China with Pakistan. However, it is also an amazing destination to explore.
The temperature is always cold here, so you might want to wear something warm.
Khaplu Valley is famous among trekkers as hiking to many peaks starts from here. Moreover, there are plenty of lakes in the valley that you can admire as well.
Trekking In Gilgit Baltistan
Gilgit Baltistan is an amazing tourist destination for all trekking lovers and mountain climbers. With more than 18 peaks, it is a perfect place to satisfy your desire to hike.
I have mentioned some of the most famous hiking/trekking places in the area.
K2 Base Camp
K2 Base Camp is one of the most famous trekking places. Being the 2nd highest peak, the trek is not suitable for everyone. However, many enthusiasts make the tourney to the base camp each year.
If K2 Base Camp is not your piece of cake, you should consider going to Fairy Meadows. It is a relatively easy hike. Furthermore, anyone in good health can do this hike in one day.
Rakaposhi Base Camp
Another trek you can do while on your trip to Gilgit Baltistan is Rakaposhi Base Camp. The trek might not be as tough as the K2 base camp, however, you must have some high-altitude hike experience beforehand.
NOTE: You might need a NOC for the hike.
One challenging hike for all adventure seekers is towards the Passu Glacier. You need to have beforehand experience to join this hike. Moreover, you will be accompanied by a tour guide.
Activities To Do
Apart from going from one place to another, there are several activities that you can do. These things can make your trip more interesting and therefore let you enjoy your holiday more.
Whether you are a kid or an adult, these below-mentioned activities are going to be equal fun.
- Watching Wildlife
Festivals To Attend
Since many people in Gilgit Baltistan follow different religions, several festivals here depict their traditions and religious beliefs. For an outsider, these festivals are of great interest and an opportunity to learn more about the life of locals.
I have mentioned these festivals below.
People of Gilgit Baltistan celebrate the Persian new year to their fullest. Having a historical link with the Persians, these people have an affiliation with the Nowruz festival. Additionally, the festival is celebrated in spring each year.
Yasin Spring Festival
To celebrate the start of the new year and to welcome spring, the people of Yasin Valley celebrate the Yasin Spring Festival. The festival is usually in the first or second week of March.
Chilam Joshi is one of the most popular festivals in Kalash/Gilgit-Baltistan. It is mainly celebrated in Kalash Valley (Bumburet, Rumbur, Birir). Moreover, the festivals usually take place in May.
Sports and Pakistan have a very deep connection. Therefore, each year there is a Polo festival held to acknowledge the beauty of this game. It is held in Shandur Pass, hence making it one of the highest polo festivals in the world.
The festival usually takes place in the second week of July.
To initiate the harvest season, the people of Kalash celebrate the Uchal Festival. It is their way of asking the gods for their blessings. Furthermore, the Uchal festival usually starts at the beginning of summer.
Winter is also welcomed in this region with a festival. The Chawmos festival, usually held at the beginning of the cold season, is held to welcome this season.
Moreover, the festival is approximately two weeks long and has many fun activities and celebrations.
Gilgit Baltistan Independence Day
People of Gilgit Baltistan celebrate Independence Day. It is celebrated on 1st November. In addition, the day is known as the end of the Dogra Regime.
On December 21, most parts of Gilgit-Baltistan are lit with bonfires to celebrate the Thumshalling Festival. This festival celebrates the death of Gilgit’s last Buddhist King.
The place is not very famous for having a great internet connection. However, the Zong network works somewhat better as compared to other networks.
Many guest houses also have WiFi, however, their speed is extremely slow and thus is not much helpful.
Safety And Health
Safety and health are everyone’s major concerns. When traveling somewhere, it is important to know whether you will be safe or not. However, you should be carefree as Gilgit Baltistan is among the safest places in Pakistan, especially for solo female travelers.
Furthermore, it is wise for a female traveler to be accompanied by her tour guide by some male. It is better to be secure.
Moreover, the place is a favorite spot for all hiking/trekking lovers. The hikes are mostly in remote areas with little or no medical facilities available. It is, therefore, suggested to keep your medications and first aid kits with you to take care of your health.
If you are traveling with a tour company, they will have all these things, however, if you have any special kind of disease, it is better to have your preparation.
Best Time To Visit
Gilgit Baltistan is a tourist destination you can visit to enjoy the calm and pleasant weather when the entire country is facing the heat of summer. This region of Pakistan is still cold. Therefore, the best time to plan a visit is during the summer.
May to August is the perfect month. Moreover, people go to Gilgot-Baltistan from September to November as well.
Gilgit Baltistan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pakistan due to many reasons. Be it their attractive culture or the scenery, the place is worth the visit.
I have compiled a guide with all the important things you need to know about the destination. Moreover, this guide will come in really handy once you are on your way to having a perfect holiday.
How is the weather in Gilgit Baltistan?
Because of its diverse landscape, Gilgit Baltistan has a diverse climate. The climate in the lower areas, such as Skardu and Gilgit, is dry and chilly. In addition to burning summers and cold winters. However, Upper elevations, including mountainous locations, have a cooler climate. There is significant snowfall in the winter and pleasant summers.
What is Gilgit Baltistan’s capital?
Gilgit is the capital of Gilgit Baltistan and the largest city in the area. Furthermore, it is situated along the Gilgit River and serves as a significant economic and tourism hub in the region.
What defines Gilgit Baltistan?
Gilgit Baltistan is noted for its distinct geographical location, which features breathtaking mountain sceneries such as the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Himalayan ranges. Moreover, this region is renowned for some of the world’s highest peaks, including K2, the second-highest peak.
Gilgit Baltistan is also noted for its unique culture, which includes a broad mix of ethnic groups, languages, and customs, resulting in numerous traditions and practices.
What defines Gilgit Baltistan’s architecture?
Gilgit Baltistan is well-known for its unique architectural style, which is influenced by the region’s cultural legacy and natural environment. In addition, traditional Gilgit Baltistan houses are usually wood and stone, with beautiful carvings and colorful paintings on the doors, windows, and ceilings. Local resources, including wood, pebbles, and mud, are commonly used to construct houses, mosques, and other structures in the region.
What are the different handmade goods of Gilgit Baltistan?
Gilgit Baltistan is famous for its fine handicrafts, which reflect the rich cultural legacy of the province. Furthermore, the renowned handicrafts include Carpets, woodwork, woolen shawl, rugs, bags, embroidered dresses, and traditional jewelry from Gilgit Baltistan.