Published On: Fri, Feb 9th, 2018

Gilgit Travel Guide

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Gilgit Travel guide

At an altitude of 4800 feet, the city dating back to 1st century AD, in the northeast of Pakistan is none other than Gilgit. In the lap of giant mountainous ranges, a small beautiful valley that can be home to approximately 0.5 million people is situated. It is also an administrative and commercial capital of Northern Pakistan. Gilgit has great strategic significance as well as there are many highest peaks several of them, highest in the world. Gilgit remains dry as the magnificent Nanga Parbat, among highest peaks in the world block the path of monsoon clouds.

Location/distance from Islamabad

Route 1 – Islamabad to Gilgit:  Approximately, 14 hours (505.4 km)

It takes the route from Islamabad to Abbottabad to Balakot to Naran to Babusar Pass to Chilas to Gilgit. Relatively, short route but is open only in summers.

Route 2 – Islamabad to Gilgit:  Approximately, 20 hours (600 km)

It takes the route from Islamabad to Abbottabad to Besham to Kohistan to Chilas to Gilgit. Relatively, long route but remains open all across the year.

Temperature/ Best time to visit

Gilgit can be visited all around the year, but March to May is ideal for trips because you will enjoy the weather, alongside travelling to other adjacent areas which offer great landscape.

Gilgit Travel Guide

Food items for Foodies

Gilgit is very famous for local fruits and you would love to taste them as well as pack some of it in your bag to take back a speciality from the town. You will find, apples, cherries, apricots; in dry fruits you will find almonds, chestnuts, walnuts etc. you will find salted tea with bread and also western cuisine in restaurants, along with baked bread, handmade noodle soup, salted meats, dairy products. People of Gilgit love organic food so you will spend some good time with Desi dishes and foods.

Road conditions

If you are travelling by Air and the flight takes off on scheduled day and time, count yourself very lucky.  In case you have planned to travel by road then you should consider the following options.

In summers it is recommended to follow route from the Babusar top, you will reach Chilas and from there you will carry on your journey toward Gilgit. It saves time, as well as the road conditions, are not very bad.

In winters as the Babusar top and Naran Valley remains snowcapped and roads get blocked, then you may follow an alternative route i.e. Islamabad to Abbottabad to Besham to Kohistan to Chilas to Gilgit. This route is often discouraged as it is prone to natural hazards, particularly landslides, road conditions are not good. But still good enough, that you can take your car to Gilgit if it is a well-maintained car. As the tracks are rough, the roads will give you nice share of bumps and grumps.

Hotels and Places to Stay

Gilgit Serena Hotel:       (058114) 55894

Park Hotel:                      (058114) 52379

Shaheen Hotel:              0348 4038616

Riveria Hotel:                 (058114) 54184

Jamal Hotel:                   (058114) 53788

Grand Continental Hotel: (058114) 59860

Activities

The long tiresome journey to Gilgit is worth it, as you will be landing in the middle of beautiful town, valleys, villages, mountains, base camps, plateaus, rich with all kind of adventurous activities all around you. You can enjoy the following activities.

  • Mountaineering, Trekking, and Hiking: The area is ideal for mountaineering, trekking, and hiking. Permission for mountaineering and trekking in the restricted zone is issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Pakistan, in Islamabad.
  • Flora and Fauna: Roses, lilies, pansies, willow, pine, and fir trees are found in abundance. Apples, apricots, peaches, plums, mulberries, walnuts, and grapes are available from June to October and almonds from October to March.
  • Wildlife: Baltistan boasts of wildlife such as markhors, ibexes, snow leopards, and birds, namely chakors, partridges, and ducks. Most of the animals and birds are protected, but limited shooting is allowed. Hunting permits are issued by the local administration.
  • Boating: Is a possibility in river Gilgit and river Indus. You can try your luck with rafting as well!
  • Camping:  Almost all hotels and Inns allow camping and provide basic facilities as well as security apart from very friendly and hospitable staff – ready to extend your help whenever needed.

Means of transport best suited for Trip 

You can take the direct 45-minute flight to Gilgit from Islamabad, as the weather conditions are very diverse the delays and cancellation of flights are normal.

Travelling freaks and adventurers opt road trips, you can take your car, which should be checked for all maintenance requirements prior to your trip as there will be remote areas, where you won’t find any help. Due to precarious road conditions and slow drive it often at times takes 24 hours to reach Gilgit, in case of landslides most often.

Places to See

  1. Rakaposhi base camp

At 7,788 metres, Rakaposhi is the 27th highest mountain in the world. Two of the best views are at the turn of Khizerabad and Skindarabad.

  1. Gilgit Bridge

The bridge over the fast flowing Gilgit River, at the end of its traditional bazaar, is the largest suspension bridge in Asia (182 metres long and 2 metres wide) permitting enough room for one jeep at a time to cross.

  1. Kargah Buddha

Located on a rock near Kargah Nullah (ravine), 10 km. from Gilgit town is a beautiful rock engraving of Buddha from 7th century A.D.

  1. Monument of Taj Mughal

A victory monument of Taj Mughal, built 700 years ago, is 30 km. jeep drive from Gilgit town.

  1. Sher Qilla

It is 38 km from Gilgit – Trekking route links with Naltar valley. Trout fishing can be enjoyed in Sher Qilla Nullah and a small lake.

  1. Singal

About 61 km from Gilgit – Trekking route links with Chilas and Kohistan valley.

  1. Gahkuch

73 km from Gilgit, Headquarter of Ghizer District. Ideal place for trekking, good fishing, sports and duck shooting in season. It is the gateway to Iskoman Valley.Archaeological sites in the village and a nearby village Hatoon.

  1. Naltar Valley

Two hours jeep drive from Gilgit link rod. Trekking routes link with Iskoman, Chalt and Punial valley.You can see the statue of Budha in Kargah. Visit Chilyli Kargah.

  1. Tri-mountain intersection

Where three mountain ranges intersect, it can be viewed from a roadside in Jaglot before you reach Gilgit

  1. You can also visit Ghizar district, Chilass city, Astor district, Hunza Valley, Skardu city and Ghanchy from Gilgit. K-2, at 28,250 meters the world’s 2nd Highest peak, Mashaburam, Gashaburam, Rakaposhi and Nanga Parbat (killer mountain) world’s 6th highest peak, can be viewed on your journey to Gilgit.

Culture/Art and Languages spoken

The local dialect is Shina, however, Urdu and English are also spoken and understood.

In many parts, a small fresh flower is stuck in front and side of the cap. The flower is a symbol of freshness, fragrance and livelihood. Embroidery clothes, caps, purse and much more crafted by industrious folk of Gilgit can be found in its handmade items bazaar’s (marketplace). Gemstones, Precious and semi-precious stones are also found in Gilgit.

About the Author

- Business Graduate, Blogger Enthusiast, Article writing and Research.