Traveling to Skardu, Pakistan
A traveler’s heart is never satisfied. A wandering soul always feels the pull to discover new places to visit, and it will take you to destinations unknown. There are some places that just “click” with your soul; such is the land of Pak.
Pakistan is a growing land of diverse ethnicity, mystical land of beauty, and history infused together. No doubt, each country has its character; likewise, Pakistan has much to offer its people and for tourists as well.
Tourism in Pakistan has always felt secondary to the banter of politics and social instability, but don’t let the media fool you into forgetting the charm of this authentic country. For the past decade, a lot of destinations have become popular in the eyes of the public because they offer an authentic experience and Pakistan is becoming one of the go-to places for adventure tourists.
Skardu in Your Wildest Imagination
Well, I haven’t anything truer than these words. Pakistan has been blessed geographically, with incredible mountains, valleys, and rivers so beautiful, they will take your breath away. The further you travel north, the more the higher the mountainous area and will drive your urge to see more natural beauty. If you’re looking for a backpacking experience, then Skardu is a perfect fit for you. But before you decide to make your travel arrangements, take a quick sneak peek into the rustic charm of Skardu.
Access to the Himalaya Mountains
Situated in the town of Baltistan alongside the bank of River Indus is roguish Skardu, sitting quietly, waiting to be explored by many travelers? This northern area is home to some of the highest peaks in the world and is popularly known for trekking to Baltoro Glaciers. It’s quite easy for each Skardu, but you need a professional driver for safety precautions. A 5-hour ride from Gilgit or a daily flight from Islamabad is the basic accessible point (although flights are subject to the weather).
This is Trekking Heaven
Although Askole and Hushe valleys are the two main gateways, you can easily find the perfect spot for camping on the way and go your merry round for trekking experience as well. It fits the description wild explorers are usually looking for. Who doesn’t love being near the mountains? Adventure seekers love the jeep safaris organized to Deosai Plains in Skardu. You can easily get to experience Baltoro, Biafo, and Trango glaciers (whatever is left of them now because of global warming) and is also home to snow leopards (amazing, I know). Shangri-La resort comes highly recommended by local travelers, and don’t be surprised when you see expats with backpacks!
Traveling to Shigar Valley
One of the rather amazing villages one can visit in the northern Skardu area is the terraced fielded Shigar. This village is mostly famous for Shigar Fort among tourists, and is a perfect getaway in Pakistan. Shigar Fort used to be a residential fort for the ruler, but has since been renovated by the Aga Khan. It is believed that the Aga Khan is a direct lineal descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali. higar Fort now serves as a popular spot for honeymooners and travelers alike. The extensive restoration (6 years) of the Shigar Fort was a turnaround for local tourism, which helped boost the local economy. The picturesque scenery is breathtaking, and the people are very welcoming of tourists in the area. June and July are peak season for tourists, so you need budget a bit more during this time to visit Shigar Fort.
Visiting King of Forts
Skardu is home to historic forts. Besides Shigar Fort, Kharpocho Fort overlooking mighty Indus River, it is a mesmerizing sight to behold. The elevation point of the fort makes it possible to see views from afar. This fort symbolizes the Anchan era, believed to be built by Bogha, a military general. The natural defense of stones and huge boulders made it difficult for enemies to attack it; hence, the reason most of it was left unharmed in the past. Pakistan is famous for its historical treasures. Kharpocho Fort is another of the main ingredients added to the history of the majestic Skardu. In the past, it was a symbol of power and governance and now is a popular tourist area during the summer season.
Traditional Food Items
Pakistani’s love to eat. Their taste is highly developed in traditional aromatic dishes, as each province has its specialty to offer. These are just a few of the top flavored dishes you can taste while traveling across the Gilgit-Baltistan region. While traveling in Skardu, you will get to enjoy;
- Mamtu: a boiled or steamed meat with assorted vegetables
- Harissa: fusion of wheat, meat, and butter served occasionally.
- Chapshuro: chopped lamb and beef, seasoned dish onions, peppers, and other herbs.
- Gooli: Whole grain flour bread served with butter etc.
Accessible by jeep and surrounded by glacial mountains is the blue beauty of Satpara Lake. An ideal place for fishing, it’s one of the best panoramic views of Pakistan. The breath of fresh cool air just hustles your lungs, and the ideal climate is perfect for planning a visit in summer (in winter, it’s extremely cold).
The government has taken steps to utilize the natural water resource of melting the ice of Deosai Plains, for further accomplishing the task of producing HEP in a dam project.
The Beauty of Kachura Lake
There’s not only one but two Kachura Lakes in Skardu, primarily known as Upper Kachura Lake and Lower Kachura Lake. Not to anyone’s surprise, lower Kachura Lake has famous resorts, attracting a bundle of tourists every year. Not only this, but it is now surrounded by 70 Swiss cottages facing the lake. Let me assure you that the sunsets and dawn are exquisite time to be by the lake and view simply hypnotizing.
You will also find several restaurants in the Kachura Lake area such as:
- Pagoda Restaurant offering Chinese cuisine.
- Lake View Restaurant serving continental and Pakistani cuisine.
- DC-3 Coffee Shop (which was an aircraft structure) with the fun theme of cabin crew.
- Tandoori Village serving traditional spicy recipes along with beautiful outdoor views.
These are some of the best places to dine and enjoy the fine view like none other.
And well, you get the idea, how much you can do once you visit Skardu. Its beauty is epic and classic in its way. What better way to enjoy your meal in a refreshing state of mind than here?
Points to Ponder
Undoubtedly, Pakistan has some of the best natural beauty in the world, and some even say Skardu is literally Heaven on earth, and my heart agrees with this notion. Moreover, this place will make you fall in love with it at first sight. Who knew nature could bring a stark difference in one’s point of view?
Appreciate nature while It lasts! Discover heaven on earth, in the charming Skardu.