Travel Gilgit Baltistan: See The Best of Baltistan in Seven Days
Baltistan is a region in Northern Pakistan’s autonomous province of Gilgit Baltistan. This valley is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the world. With amazing waterfalls, some of the highest mountains on Earth, confluence of river systems, cities and towns with unique cultures and traditions, hot water springs, lakes, deserts, highlands, meadows, and etcetera; this place is considered as the jewel of Pakistan. On top of everything, local Balti people are one of the most hospitable and welcoming. There is every reason for you to travel Gilgit Baltistan and make this place your next travel destination.
Baltistan is full of tourism opportunities. Due to its remoteness, it will truly require a lifetime for complete exploration. This wonderful piece of land offers a great chance of escaping your normal life hassles, and to refresh your soul in its amazing landscape between towering mountains and unique flora and fauna. However, sometimes you have limited amount of time to entirely or even partially explore a single place; and in the case of Baltistan where some trekking trails can take you away for even weeks, you really need to manage time a lot. But fortunately enough, I am going to offer a guide which will help you all to see the best of this place in just seven days. So read on, and be excited to visit the most dynamic and beautiful part of the world.
Travel Gilgit Baltistan in Seven Days
Baltistan’s major attractions include the mighty sentinels of Karakoram Range, the K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrums, and other peaks. However, you will need weeks to visit their base camps or just to trek to their viewpoints. For this reason, I highly recommend my readers to create time on their watches before visiting this place. However, there are other significant landmarks, lakes, meadows, highlands, forts, towns and cities that can be easily covered in around your seven days of stay.
There is another dilemma worth discussing is this article. It is about the ever-growing cost of your trip and one important tip to manage it. Book discounted flights to Islamabad from the platform of the Dream World Travel agency. You can also seek hospitality from your local hosts and Balti people for some rebates on transportation, food, hoteling, and sightseeing. In this way, you can easily secure some discount on one of the most exciting trips of your life.
Following is a 7-day itinerary to see the best of Baltistan. Read it and I hope you plan your trip accordingly and cover all the landmarks or more, discussed in this article.
Day 1 – Arriving in Skardu and visiting Kharpocho Fort and Organic Valley
The capital of Baltistan, Skardu, is connected with Islamabad by air with the help of Pakistan International Airline’s daily flight. At least one flight flies to this gateway of mountains early morning each day only from the country’s capital.
You can start your trip on the very same day as there is plenty of time in the day. The first logical thing to do is to check into your hotel. Afterwards, you can refresh yourself, enjoy lunch and tea, and set out to explore this amazing valley. My recommendation is to begin your trip by exploring the Skardu city first. Embark on a small trek to Kharpocho Fort and see the whole valley from a new perspective. With River Indus flowing just beyond the hill the fort is situated on, and cloud formation above the valley creating an unbalance sunlight is just so beautiful to see. Take a few snaps and head towards the Organic Valley trek which is just beneath the fort.
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There are small bridges on the edge of the mountain and a narrow but easy trek. This village provides all the stuff made from organic items. The view is also out of the world and experience best suited to get on your first day in Skardu.
Head back to your hotel in the evening and experience the culture of this beautiful part of Pakistan by visiting gift shops, small museums and streets. But do try to sleep early for acclimatisation and rest as you have a very long and busy week ahead of you.
Day 2 – Katpana, Hussainabad and Polo
Enjoy a good breakfast on the second day and prepare yourself to further explore Skardu city. Set off to the Katpana Desert and Lake which is also not far from the city centre and main bazaar. You can enjoy a walk in the desert and grab some sand between your toes, as well as take a swim in the crystal clear water of the Katpana Lake. Later, you can visit the shores of River Indus and dip your feet in the glacial waters flowing south-west of the valley. Visit the nearby village and town of Hussainabad and take yourself to the Hussainabad Waterfall via a short 30 minutes trek. This waterfall is very picturesque and a perfect location to enjoy an amazing time.
Return to the Skardu city in the evening just in time for some Polo or local football action. The best thing about them is that they are completely free to attend. Later, go for some shopping in the main bazaar and Sadpara Market, visit a local restaurant and eat the traditional foods of Baltistan.
Day 3 – Kachura and Basho
Your 3rd day will see you depart early morning to the picturesque village of Kachura some 30 kilometres along River Indus. First, go towards Upper Kachura Lake and enjoy a healthy breakfast on the shores of the lake. Take yourself on epic boating of this one of the most beautiful lakes in Pakistan and go for a swim if you can manage. After taking some snaps, head towards Sok Nala which is a mere 40 minutes trek from the village of Kachura. This place is beautiful beyond your imaginations, so stay there for some time and take as many pictures as you can. Afterwards, leave for Lower Kachura Lake, which is also known as Shangrila Lake. Spend some time there and head on Gilgit Skardu Road towards Basho Valley.
When you have reached Basho Valley, you will simply not believe in what fairyland you are in. This valley is beautiful beyond the description of words with beautiful sky-piercing mountains on your flanks, fast-flowing streams, far lying glaciers, tall trees, lush green grass, and unique flora and fauna. Lose yourself in the state of bliss and repair all damages caused by stress on your soul in this valley. Make memories to relish later and take infinite pictures because you will want to relive all the beauty you witnessed at Basho later.
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Day 4 – Sadpara and Deosai
You need to prepare for a one-night camping trip to Deosai when you return back from Basho Meadows. Wake up early, checkout from your hotel and depart for Deosai as soon as you are done with breakfast. Make a short photography stop at Sadpara Lake/Dam which is just before Sadpara Village. Carry onwards towards Deosai and when you have reached the top, you need to take a look around and pinch yourself to make sure that you are not dreaming.
Deosai Plains is located at an elevation of 4114 metres above sea level. Due to this high altitude, this place is always very cold in the morning and at night, so prepare accordingly. Deosai is literally enchanted, and you will only believe it for a fact when you are present there. The never-ending sea of lush green grass and flowers will make you take snaps at every foot. Deosai is now a national park and a protected home to endangered Himalayan Brown Bears along with some other wild animals. Enjoy every moment as if it is your last and make memories that will forever live in your heart.
I recommend you to settle down, and at noon, go for bear sighting with park rangers. You can also visit explore the campsite and Shigar River flowing through Deosai, as well as go for an evening trip to Sheosar Lake on the edge of the park. If lucky, you will see the mighty Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest peak in the world and 2nd highest in Pakistan. Return to the campsite by night and enjoy the bonfire.
Day 5 – Shigar and Kharmang Valleys
Descend into Skardu Valley early next morning and have breakfast at any roadside Dhaba (small eatery). Drive to Shigar Valley and after crossing the bridge over River Indus, you will find yourself in Sarfaranga Cold Desert. This desert is literally the coldest desert on Earth, and one of the highest. Walk on sand dunes and take pictures of the surrounding areas. You can also visit the Blind Lake on your way to the Shigar Valley.
Once you have reached this beautiful valley, visit Shigar Fort Museum and its garden. This place holds historical and cultural values, so hire a guide who can tell you all about this place. The gardens are also massive and beautiful. After spending an hour or two, head towards Kharmang Valley in order to visit Manthoka Waterfall. You will pass Gol, Sermik and some other villages on your way. Take small stops to capture a few snaps and socialize with the friendly locals. Once you have reached the waterfall, enjoy every moment and take a lot of pictures of the beautiful landscape.
Try to stay at any local motel or a guest house for one night, as you will leave for Khamosh Waterfall the very next morning.
Day 6 – Khamosh Waterfall and visiting Ghanche District
Leave at early morning for Khamosh Waterfall. This is one of the tallest waterfalls of Pakistan, and also extremely beautiful. Spend some time there and try to head towards Ghanche District in Baltistan along the River Shyok. Once you reach Khaplu which is the regional capital, check-in your hotel and head to Machulu village. Go to the Government Boys School and from there you can enjoy the majestic view of Masherbrum, the 22nd highest peak in this world. This peak is also known as K1. Later, head to Saling Village and enjoy your delicious trout fish lunch.
Return to Khaplu city and visit its famous Khaplu Fort and 14th-century Chaqchan Mosque. Admire the architecture and learn about the history of both these places from professional guides.
Day 7 – Day of departure
You can either choose to leave on your seventh day by heading back to Skardu early in the morning and taking the noon flight back to Islamabad. Or you can spend one more day in Ghanche and explore further East by visiting the newly opened Siachen Glacier, which happens to be the highest battlefield in the world. Pay your respect to the fallen soldiers of the Pakistan Army, who were killed in a massive Avalanche in 2012 at Gayari Sector. Explore the area and head back to Skardu the same evening to catch the Islamabad flight very next day.
That will be the end of your seven day trip to Baltistan. Trust me, saying goodbye to this beautiful valley and go back to your normal life will be difficult than you can imagine. However, you can always return for a longer period of time to explore more next year, or even in upcoming months. I recommend you to take more days off from your work and get some trekking experience on a 2 or 3 days long trail to see the raw beauty of this region.