A Complete Travel Guide To Skardu, Pakistan

If you are looking for a paradise on earth, plan a trip to Skardu. This stunning place, surrounded by mountains, is a perfect holiday destination for all adventure seekers.

Being approximately 2,438 meters above sea level, the place has a lot of natural beauty and landscape to offer. Are you excited to see some of the best backdrops in the world?

Skardu has a back scenery of Karakorams and therefore has the best backdrops for your pictures. There are many rivers, lakes, jungles, and deserts to complement the beauty.

The unique culture and traditions of Skardu are similar to Tibet. It is therefore called Tibet-e-Khurd, which means Little Tibet.

A well-planned trip to Skardu is very important. You do not want to waste your time because you lacked basic information. Travel Guide Ideas has a complete travel guide to Skardu for you.

Where is Skardu?

Skardu lies peacefully in the East of Northern Pakistan. This beautiful tourist destination in Pakistan comes under the region of Gilgit Baltistan. In addition, the Shigar River and the Indus River flow along Skardu.

Considering the beauty and charm of the place, it is not surprising to know that Skardu is the capital of Baltistan. Furthermore, it shares a border with the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Ladakh.

Weather in Skardu?

The climate of Skardu is mild. Unlike other northern areas, the weather changes along with the seasons. Summers are warm and winters are cold.

The warmest months are from June to September. The temperature can go to 30 °C in these months.

In winter, there is snowfall. The coldest months are from December to February. The temperature can drop to minus degrees during these months.

How to reach Skardu?

Being a famous travel destination, there are many ways of reaching Skardu. You can either choose the air route or the road route. Both ways hold a lot of adventure for you.

By Air

Skardu is a very easy-to-access place by air. There are regular flights that you can take daily from Islamabad or Karachi. These flights are performed by PIA.

The flights are operated on a small aircraft. These flights are relatively more expensive than other flights. Though you do get to see some of the best sceneries from the top.

There is no computer navigation system on flights, therefore, flights only function on clear days.

By Road

Traveling by road is less expensive and therefore most people choose this route. Although it will cost you less, it is not as safe as traveling by air. The road that connects Gilgit and Skardu is considered among the most dangerous roads in the world.

In addition, there is land sliding on the route. If such a situation occurs, there is a chance you delay by a few hours. If adventure is your reason for traveling, going by road is a great choice.

It is advised to go on public transport instead of your car. Since it is dangerous, any inexperienced driver must not attempt to drive on the route.

You can either hire an expert driver or join any tour group. These tour groups take responsibility for your safety.

(NOTE: The roads are dangerous, therefore, do not try to drive here)

Best tourist attractions in Skardu

Skardu is blessed with plenty of tourist attractions. The natural beauty of the place attracts tourists from all around the world. In this complete travel guide to Skardu, there are places that you must visit.

  • Manthoka Waterfall
  • Upper Kachura Lake
  • Satpara lake
  • Manthal Buddha Rock
  • Shigar Valley
  • Sarfarangah Desert
  • Katpana cold desert
  • Deosai Plains
  • Basho valley
  • Shangri-La Resort
  • K2 Museum

Manthoka Waterfall

This waterfall is situated southeast of Skardu. It is almost an hour away from the main city. The way to Manthoka Waterfall is filled with lush green forests and beautiful landscapes.

The waterfall is approximately 180 feet high and therefore waterfall is majestic. It is hard to believe that that waterfall is man-made.

Upper Kachura Lake

Visiting Sakardu comes with a lot of beautiful destinations to explore. One of them includes Upper Kachura Lake. This lake is known as the most beautiful tourist destination in Skardu. 

Visiting this lake feels like you are on a short trip to heaven. The beauty and the scenery of the place are beyond explanation. However, there are many more things to do except admire the beauty.

One of the most famous activities to perform on the lake is boating. There is the option for conventional boating as well as motor boating. Although high-jet boating is yet to introduce.

As much as motor boating sounds fun, conventional boating is preferred. It gives you more time to cherish the beauty of this breathtaking lake.

Read more: Top 10 Hiking Places In Pakistan

Satpara lake

Satpara lake is one of the most famous natural lakes in Pakistan. Like Upper Kachura Lake, this lake also gets its fame for its natural beauty and scenery.

Satpara Lake is approximately 7 km away from the main Skardu City. It takes approximately 30 minutes long drive to reach here and therefore is among the most easily approached places in Skardu.

This lake is also famous for having hiking options around it. Once you are done admiring the beauty of the lake, you can go on a hike in the nearby areas.

You can witness the ancient Budha carvings in the mountains on your way to hiking.

Manthal Buddha Rock

Buddha Rock is one of the most ancient places in Skardu. The rock dates back to the 8th Century AD. Moreover, the locals admit that the rock is approximately 1200 years old.

The rock is known as Buddha rock because there is a picture of Buddha engraved on it. The rock was unknown to the world until 1906. A Scottish traveler discovered the Manthal Buddha Rock while hiking on the tracks here.

After the discovery of this ancient rock, it was included as an international heritage asset. It is one of the most important assets of Skardu.

Shigar Valley

Shigar Valley is a beautiful place peacefully laying in the northeast of Skardu. It is approximately an hour’s drive away from the main Skardu city. Whether it is the beautiful scenery of the place or the calm Shigar river, tourists love spending their time here.

Regardless of the stunning view of the valley, the local architecture stands out. Gems like Shigar Fort takes you back in history. The Khilangrong Mosque is also worth visiting in the valley.

If you want to have a peek at the conventional Balti village life, Shigar Valley is the best place to do so.

Sarfarangah Desert

Have you heard of a cold desert? Skardu is famous for its wintry deserts. One of these deserts is the Sarfarangah Desert in Shigar Valley. This desert is cold even during summer.

During winter, you can witness snowfall here as well. Being close to the Shigar river, the weather here is pleasant throughout the year.

Unlike the conventional deserts, the Sarfarangah Desert has a view of a river. Staying a night here is one of the best experiences to have at least once in your life. Many tourists camp in this desert.

Katpana cold desert

Another famous cold desert in Skardu is Katpana cold Desert. This place is approximately 7,800 feet above sea level, therefore, it is counted among the highest deserts in the world.

The beauty and the view of the Katpana cold desert are beyond explanation. The best time to visit the place is during winter. The sand is covered in a layer of soft snow, making it look like a place from a fairy tale.

Deosai Plains

A trip to Skardu is incomplete without visiting the Deosai Plains. Being at an altitude of 14,000 feet, they are the second highest plateau on earth. In addition, the height and the beauty of the place make it worth the visit.

The Deosai Plains is also famous as Deosai National Park. The park was initially made to preserve the brown bears. However, it is now commonplace to have a safari experience in Skardu.

In addition, Deosai Plains is the only place in Pakistan where brown bears live. The best time to pay a visit here is between June and August. These are the most preferred months to see bears.

(NOTE: Stay close to your cars. Bears are wild animals and can attack if they sense danger)

Shangri-La Resort

When talking about the most famous places in Skardu, Shangri-La Resort is hard to keep out. The place is one of the most luxurious places in Skardu, and probably the most expensive.

The resort is so big that it has Lower Kachura Lake in it. The resort is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Pakistan. Sitting in the greenest garden in Skardu is the best experience you will have.

You will see a lot of newlywed couples at the destination, enjoying the beauty of the heart-shaped lake. You can also enjoy the freshly made juice while feeling the love of the heart-shaped lake in the resort.

(TIP: Make a reservation a week before if you want to stay the night)

K2 Museum

How fun it is to know all about K2 top without actually going there. K2 Museum is exactly the place to go to if you want to learn about K2 peak. It is a unique tent-style museum.

A museum is an honorary place for an Italian expedition. They successfully summited K2 in 1954. However, the museum was set up in 2004. With massive historical data, the place is a must-visit destination in Skardu.

Being here, you get to see all the gear used for trekking K2 (the second-highest peak in the world). Moreover, the historical collection regarding the peak is unbelievable. Understand the challenges hikers faced while summitting the peak.

Where are these places located?

  • West of Skardu; Khaplu, Manthoka waterfall, Khamosh waterfall, and Hushe valley.
  • East of Skardu; Shangrilla, Upper Kachura, Katpana cold desert, and Basho valley.
  • North of Skardu; Shigar Valley, Shigar fort, blind lake, and Shigar desert.
  • South of Skardu; Budha rock, Satpara Lake, and Deosai plains.

Explore additional places

When on a tour to Skardu, spare some time to go to below mentioned places. They are not far away and can be covered in a single trip. Although you can completely explore all these places some other time, adding them to your Skardu travel will increase the fun.

Read more: Kalash Festivals Chitral, Pakistan 2024

Hunza Valley

You will never find a soul who is not in love with the beauty of Hunza Valley. The place looks like someone’s most beautiful imagination. Moreover, the beauty and charm of this place make it something you must visit.

Hunza Valley is situated north of Skardu. If you continue on the Karakoram highway, you will find the valley. It is approximately 283.5 km away from Skardu.

Skardu a gateway to K2

When in Skardu, you must not miss admiring the second-highest peak in the world. People call Skardu a gateway to K2. Although going to the top of the peak is risky and only attempted by professionals, you can trek to the base camp.

Fairy Meadows

Fairy Meadow is considered amongthe best hiking places in Pakistan. The name of the place is the true depiction of the beauty of this place. Like a fairy tale, the green meadows here will leave you stunned.

This beautiful paradise on Earth is surrounded by Nanga Parbat. It is a place one must never skip if on a tour of Skardu. Furthermore, it is just 216.6 km away from Skardu. You can easily approach.

Fun activities to do in Skardu

There is a lot to do in Skardu apart from exploring the tourist destinations. A few of the most common ones are added in this travel guide to Skardu, Pakistan.

  • Trekking and Hiking

Trekking and hiking are the most famous things to do in Skardu. There are a lot of places you can hike to. In addition, being a hill station, the place is full of adventurous sites you can go to.

Mountain climbing is another famous thing to do here. You should be properly trained for any such thing to do.

  • Wildlife

Apart from the mountains, wildlife is also quite famous in Skardu. You can do a safari adventure in Skardu. Deosai National park is the best place to do so.

Go in summer to see the brown bears in the park. Moreover, see other wild animals too. If you are lucky, you might also see migrating birds.

  • Walking tours

One of the most peaceful things you can do while on a trip to Skardu is walk tours. The lush green forests and the mountains will refresh your soul and give you peace.

Go on a walk in the morning or see the sunrise from your hotel’s roof. The fresh wind and the cool breeze will being peace to the mind you have been looking for.

  • Biking

Another adventure you can do in Skardu is biking. Rent a bike from the locals and ride it on the bumpy roads of Skardu. If you are going there with a group of friends, biking can be a fun activity to do.

  • Fishing

Summer holidays in Skardu are not complete without fishing. Go with your family to a lake and enjoy the evening fishing there. Moreover, there are plenty of lakes around Skardu that you can go to for fishing.

Hotels in Skardu? 

There are plenty of places for you to spend your nights in Skardu. The options vary according to your budget. You can either stay in a budget-friendly place. However, if luxury is your utmost demand, there are fancy places too.


  • K2 Motel
  • Shangrila resort
  • Serena Shigar Fort Residence


  • Indus Hotel
  • Hotel & Restaurant Dewan-E-Khas
  • Skardu Inn
  • Karakoram Hotel


  • Yak N Yurt Sarai
  • Concordia – II
  • Baltistan Tourist Cottage
  • Baltoro Rest House

Eating places in Skardu

  • Pagoda Restaurant
  • Cafe DC-3
  • The Lake View Restaurant
  • Karakoram Café

Famous food in Skardu

  • Papua
  • Balti Lentil Soup
  • Mamtu
  • Namkin Chai

Shopping places in Skardu

  • Old Bazar
  • Hussain Chowk
  • Naya Bazar
  • Botto Bazar
  • Kazmi Bazar
  • Benazir Chowk
  • Gamba Bazar
  • Yadgar Chowk

Winter Sports Festival in Skardu

The Winter sports festival is the most famous thing in Skardu. These festivals are held to spread climate change awareness. Moreover, these festivals press the issue of melting glaciers due to climate change.

The ecological balance and the protection of wildlife are also a few issues addressed by people with these festivals.

Games Played In The Festival

  • Ice Hockey
  • Indus Offroad Rally
  • Yake Race
  •  Ice Polo Competition
  • Rafting

Additional Activities

  • Food Streets
  • Folk Performances
  • Traditional Dances
  • Lightning

Is traveling to Skardu safe? 

Skardu is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan. Due to the natural backdrop of Karakoram, people turn to this part of North Pakistan. When traveling here, people have a few concerns.

The biggest concern of people is safety. When you are traveling with kids, you need to be sure that the place is safe.

When traveling to Skardu, you should be free of all concerns. The place is safe for travelers of all kinds. Whether you are a foreigner or a local tourist, Skardu will provide you with complete safety.

Minor crimes might happen, therefore, you should avoid going to remote areas alone at night. It is better to stay in places that are crowded. Moreover, you will find a lot of people claiming to be tour guides, make sure you go with the trusted ones.

Road conditions in Skardu

The road connecting Gilgit to Skardu is among the most dangerous roads in the world. Therefore, it is better to take a professional driver with you. You must avoid taking your cars here.

Since the road is not in good condition, you must not travel in the dark.

Is Skardu safe for females? 

Sakardu, like many places in Pakistan, is safe for females. Although they must not go alone at night. Indeed evil is in every place. Keeping yourself secure must be your priority.

If you are a solo traveler, it is better to stay with your tour guide. Although the area is safe for females, it is better to take precautions.

Best time to visit Skardu

Skardu is a place that is interesting in every season. However, most tourists prefer going between April and October. The temperature during these months is bearable and pleasant.

The maximum temperature is 27 degrees, however, it might drop to 8 degrees during the nights of October.

Winter is a good season for those who want to witness the winter sports festival.


Pakistan is a land blessed with exceptional natural beauty. Skardu is among those places in Pakistan where the natural beauty is at its peak. The place is also known for its thrilling adventures.

There are a lot of tourist destinations mentioned in this complete travel guide to Skardu. Moreover, the guide consists of all the necessary information you need to know before planning a trip.


Is Sakardu safe for tourists?

Although Skardu is unquestionably the safest tourist destination in Pakistan, there are still certain risks. Roadblocks, airplane cancellations due to severe weather, and blood-freezing cold throughout the winter are the most likely risks of going to Skardu.

Which month is best to visit Skardu?

The best months to visit Skardu are April to October. These months have the best weather conditions and the most greenery. You can also come in winter if you want to enjoy winter sports.

Which route is better to go to Skardu?

The road to Skardu is known as the most dangerous road in the world. The most preferred route to reach Skardu is from Islamabad to Mansehra. From there you can travel to Basham

The road will further lead you to Dasoo and Chilas. Go to Jaglot from there and finally reach Skardu. You can also go to Deosai from Chilas and further to Skardu.

How many days are good for the Skardu trip?

A week-long trip to Skardu is good. However, if you plan to explore nearby places, you might want to extend your trip to a few more days.

Are Hunza and Skardu same? 

When comparing Hunza to Skardu’s weather, road system, and hospitality, Skardu comes out on top. Relatively speaking, Hunza has fewer tourist attractions than Skardu. There are more enormous views in Skardu with additional treats for hikers and trekkers. However, the beauty there can never be compared.

What should I buy from Skardu?

You can shop at this market for locally produced crafts like ornaments, presents, hats, garments, and other mountaineering gear like crampons, down coats, sleeping bags, climbing axes, etc.

How is the weather in Skardu? 

The winters are snowy and partly foggy in Skrdu. However, the summers are warm, dry, and clear. The average annual temperature ranges from 17°F to 86°F, with occasional exceptions when it falls below 6°F or rises over 92°F.

Can I go to Skardu by air?

Going to Skardu via air is easy. However, it costs a lot and only functions on clear days. PIA operates the flights from Karachi and Islamabad on a small craft.

Can I take my car to Skardu?

Jeeps are the most preferred medium of transportation on road to Skardu. The road is dangerous therefore only a professional driver should drive here. Taking your car can risk your life.

Do I get internet service in Skardu?

All the mobile services provide internet facilities in Skardu. You will get signals from any network there. However, only SCOM will provide you with 4G signals.

What is the local language of Skardu?

The majority of Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as India’s Kargil and Nubra Ladakh, speak Balti.

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