Hunza Valley is the real Shangri-La that was mentioned in the book of James Hilton’s The Lost Horizon. A paradise on earth Hunza Valley at 2500m above sea level and it is one of the best places to visit after all the hikes you did in Fairy Meadows or Rakaposhi. With its laid-back vibe awesome cafes and beautiful places to explore all surrounded by beautiful landscape, you are sure to have a great time in the majestic Hunza Valley.
Here are some of the awesome things you can do in Hunza Valley:
When is the best time to visit Hunza Valley:
The best time to visit Hunza Valley is from April to October but avoid June to August if you do not like crowds. The Hunza Valley can get quite crowded during the mid-summer months as both the local and the International tourists flock to the place when the temperature is nice and warm.
The Hunza Valley during spring and October and the temperature hover around 15°C while the nights go a bit below. The temperature is very manageable.
What to pack for the Hunza Valley Trip:
Here are a few tips on what to pack for your trip to Hunza Valley.
- Walking/Hiking Shoes: We will highly recommend you take good comfortable shoes with you on this trip. You can check with shoes are the North Face and the Timberland Jackson’s Landing Shoes.
- Breathable Shirts:
It can be quite hot outside when the sun is out and the sky is clear so be sure to carry with you multiple breathable shirts that you can wear when you are out and about.
- Outer Shell Jacket:
An outer shell jacket is great for when it is rainy or a little windy outside. We highly recommend the Columbia Watertight Jacket. It’s breathable, light to carry and best of all it comes in this awesome orange color.
- Microfiber Towel:
A Microfiber towel is the perfect travel towel as it is light, easy to dry, and can be compressed to save space in your backpack.
- Fleece Jacket:
When it’s cold outside, we always recommend layers and the insulating layer you should always have with you is a fleece jacket. We recommend the Columbia Steen’s, Mountain Fleece.
One of the most important items in your backpack will be a good camera to capture the beautiful moments you will be experiencing.
We recommend the Sony A 6600 camera with the Sony 16-55mm F2.8 lens. The best high-performance and light-weight combination you can get.
- Power Bank:
Keep your electronic charged on-the-go with a 20,000+ mAh Power Bank.
- Water Bottle:
LifeStraw Filter Bottle is a great water bottle to have with you in cities or on hiking trails in case you aren’t sure how clean the water source is.
- Universal Adapter:
You just need one universal adapter to plug in your electronics in any country you are visiting.
- Packing Cubes:
Packing Cubes will help you save space in your backpack as well as keep all your belongings organized.
Herschel Supply Little America Backpack is my go-to daypack. It’s large enough to carry all my travel gear, it comes in many amazing colors, and it is stylish as well!
- Large Backpack:
You will need a large backpack to carry all of this stuff with you. We recommend you get the Osprey Atoms AG 65L backpack. With the excellent weight distribution and the lifetime guarantee, you can never go wrong with Osprey.
How to get to Karimabad?
There is no direct transport to Hunza Valley from Islamabad. You will either have to fly to Gilgit from Islamabad, Lahore, or Karachi or you will have to drive along the Karakoram Highway which may take 20+ hours from Islamabad city. From Gilgit, you can take a direct drive to Hunza Valley it will take around 3 – 4 hours.
Some Awesome Things to do in Hunza Valley:
01: Baltit Fort
This fairy-tale-like fort built in the 8th Century BC on top of a hill overlooking Karimabad, is the most prominent landmarks in Hunza Valley. The moment you gazed your eyes upon the fort, you will knew this is Shangri-La. Its majestic location, being surrounded by the snowy mountains, make this fort one of the most photogenic spots in Pakistan.
In order to get to the fort, you will have to climb a steep road for 15 minutes through a local village before you will arrive at the fort where you will be able to get an unobstructed view of Karimabad and the valleys beyond. On a clear day, you can see Rakaposhi, Diran peaks, Ultar Peak, Ladyfinger, Hunza Peak and Golden Peak all the way from the fort.
The local village around the fort is also worth exploring as well so be sure to spend some time and walk around the village.
- Visit the Altit Fort:
There is another fort, although, without much maintenance, that lies below at the bottom of the valley which is worth visiting as well. You can simply follow the Sultan Abad road across the river and down the Ahmedabad road before you arrive at the fort. There is much to see inside the exterior is quite interesting in itself.
- Hike to Ultar Peak base camp:
If you can’t get enough hiking in Pakistan, there is a day hike you can do here in Hunza Valley. The trail starts near the Baltit fort and it will take you all the way up to Ultar peak base camp where you can see the glacier and the Ultar peaks up close. The hike will take you along the irrigation channel as the trail climb steeply up a narrow gorge. It should take you around 4 – 5 hours to reach the ridge where you will be rewarded with a view of the massive Ultar glacier and the beautiful jagged peaks of Ultar. There is a hut at the base camp where they serve tea and food during the summer months. You can also camp here if you have camping gear or return in one day to Karimabad.
- Visit Ganish Village
Ganish village is the first settlement of Hunza Valley dated back a thousand years. The people came from different area and as the settlement grew, they expand outward and into different areas around Hunza Valley. There are several old mosques, one of which is 1000 years old and the Shikari watchtower you can go explore. If you are a history buff then visiting the Ganish Village is a no-brainer.
- Take a break at Cafe De Hunza:
Last but not least, take a break at Cafe de Hunza and have a nice cup of Joe with their famous walnut cakes. They serve western-style coffees and cakes so if you are true of a proper coffee fix, especially if you have been traveling in Pakistan for a while come by Cafe de Hunza and indulge yourself in their selections of coffee and cakes.