Published On: Tue, Feb 13th, 2018

Hunza Valley Travel Guide

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Hunza Valley

Pakistan has been bestowed with many beautiful natural landscapes and if we get a chance to watch those pieces of heavenly beauty undauntedly, we will erupt saying ‘I have found Heaven on Earth’. Located in Gilgit-Baltistan, in the north/west of River Hunza is heartwarming and eye soothing, exorbitantly amazing Hunza Valley. Once in Gilgit, you can’t stop yourself without travelling to Hunza Valley as it is must visit Place. The Valley is surrounded by hovering mountains in its surrounding including, Hunza Peak, Rakaposhi, Bojahagur Duanasir II, Ladyfinger Peak, Ghenta Sar and Darmiyani Peak.

Location/distance from Islamabad

Route 1 – Islamabad to Hunza:  Approximately, 16 hours (600 km)

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

Route 2 – Islamabad to Hunza:  Approximately, 22 hours (715 km)

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

Gilgit to Hunza: 2 h 3 min (100.3 km) via Karakoram Highway

Temperature/ Best time to visit

Hunza is a beautiful valley and tourists who plan to visit always seek to enjoy the valley during the days of its full bloom and beauty. It is therefore advised to visit Hunza Valley after March as the weather gets warm and cold spells are leaving the valley. In April and May, the Apricot Blossom is at its peak, June and July provide you with a great opportunity to visit nearby lakes, rivers, base camps, enjoy boating, fishing, trekking, camping etc. By the end of September and in October you will witness the mesmerizing Autumn Colors, regarded as true beauty of Hunza. From November to March the Valley takes on the Cold Blanket and chill air with snow and heavy downpours make the weather very cold, owing to its high altitude.

Hunza Valley

Food items for Foodies

As you will be enjoying the great beauty it is equally recommended to get delighted by Hunza’s delicious Food items, particularly their traditional cuisines.

It Includes: Apricot Soup or Buttering Daudo, is made in winters and considered as the remedy for Cold from centuries in Hunza. The Apricot is sun-dried for use in the soup and also, it is taken as snacks. The apricot juice is also very famous for Hunza people and very effective in relieving stomach problems.

Apricot Kernel Sauce or Hani’e Chamik is the traditional sauce of Hunza made from Apricot kernel flour. It is served with bread and is demanded in winters.

Hoi Lo Garma a dish made of mustard greens that are cooked and served with flatbreads. The salad is complimentary as it adds value to its taste.

Other foods items you can enjoy are HUNZA FENUGREEK SOUP, CHAP SHORO/SHURO, and HUNZA FLOUR TORTILLA known as ‘KHAMALI’

Road conditions

Islamabad to Gilgit:

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 and to Hunza. It saves time, as well as the road conditions, are good for any type of vehicle.

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 to Hunza. This route is often discouraged as it is prone to natural hazards, particularly landslides and road conditions are not good. But still good enough, that you can take your car till Hunza and later Khunjarab pass if it is a well-maintained car. As the tracks are rough, the roads will give you nice share of bumps and grumps.

Gilgit to Hunza:

After 30 min drive from Chilas, there is a bridge of Raikot, from RaiKot to Hunza up to Khunjarab pass the road is an expressway and you will be travelling on Karakoram Highway which is finely laid in this patch. It is totally carpeted and on your way, you will be enjoying the green pastures, naturally engraved huge peaks, valleys etc. It will take you around 2 hours to reach from Gilgit to Hunza.

Hotels and Places to Stay

  • Hilltop Hotel: Ph. 0345 5445594
  • Hunza Embassy Hotel: Ph. 0311 5994279
  • World Roof Hotel Hunza: Ph. 0311 5994279
  • Hunza View Hotel, HVH: Ph. (058134) 57141
  • Fairy Land Hotel: Ph. 0321 8217645

Activities

There are numerous activates in the valley which the tourists can opt according to their preference i.e.

  • Fishing at Hunza Valley River
  • Boating at Borith Lake
  • Legal hunting (Duck/Ibex) at Khunjarab National Park
  • Horse Riding and Polo in Hunza Valley
  • Trekking to nearby base camps
  • Camping amid plateaus and green meadows, also it proves to be a much-liked destination for climbers to surrounding high peaks.

Means of transport best suited for Trip

By Air: Flight from Islamabad to Gilgit will take One hour and fifteen minutes, and in two hours you can be in Hunza Valley travelling by road.

By Road: You can take any vehicle along with you on this trip, the only thing that needs surety i.e. Is the Car well equipped and maintained properly for Road Trip? If, Yes! All the best for your journey.

 Places to See

  1. Rakaposhi and its View Point
At an hour’s drive from Gilgit, there is a pint on Karakoram highway called Rakaposhi Viewpoint and it’s a first tourist attraction of Hunza Valley.
2. Karimabad
A sweetheart to Sights as it is known, famous for its cultural diversity and hospitality is fame of Hunza valley.
3. Altit fort
Adorned with the garden of cherries, as you enter this architectural marvel it is an ancient remain of rulers of Hunza.
4. Baltit Fort
Another great ancient sight of Tibetan and Balti heritage is more than 700 years old fort in Hunza Valley.
5. Eagle Nest Hunza
Highest peak to view whole of Hunza, on its right you will find Ladyfinger peak and on left the magnificent Rakaposhi.
6. Attabad Lake
A disaster made two mountains meet together and they stopped the flow of Hunza River, turning it into a beautiful lake. Starts from Ganish Village and is about 29.3 kilometres in length.
7. Passu
One of the most romantic places in Hunza Valley.
8. Rush Lake
One of the highest alpine lakes in the world and difficult to trek as well
9. Gojal Village
People of Gojal are the loving, live-hearted and cultural blessed people who are tuned into mesmerizing voices and skilled instrumental players.
10. Sost Border
Sost a beautiful village on edge of Pakistan-China Border where thousands of tourists come to explore its mightiness. Sost is the last point of Hunza Valley.
11. Nagar
Although the valley is spread in a vast region, however, the main village of Nagar is just opposite to Karimabad, across the Hunza River. Bar, Jaffarabad, Husanabad, Sikandarabad, Nilt and Ghulmit are the major village in Nagar to include in travel plan.
12. Hopper glacier
Among the jewels of nature gifted to Pakistan, is the diamond that is Hopper Glacier. Set in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, Hopper valley and the glacier atop it are famous. It is 51 min (22.6 km) via Nagar.
13. Gulmit
It offers beautiful and spectacular short walks to beautiful places of upper Hunza valley like Kamris, Andhra and Gulkin as well as long walks over the Gulkin glacier to Borith Lake.

 Culture/Art and Languages spoken

People of Hunza are very warm-hearted and are regarded best for their hospitality and calm nature. Burushaski is the language widely spoken in the region but they also understand Urdu, as well as English other languages spoken are Wakhi and Shina. The Literacy rate in Hunza Valley is more than 90%, thanks to their community-based schools.

The handicrafts of Hunza are famous world over due to their exquisite finishing; these handicrafts are also used as souvenirs at Birthdays, celebration ceremonies, wedding and memorial ceremonies.

About the Author

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