Pakistan Best Places


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The Crown Jewel of Gilgit-Baltistan

Nestled amidst the towering peaks of the Karakoram Range in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, Skardu stands as a testament to nature’s grandeur and the indomitable spirit of adventure. This remote and picturesque town, often referred to as the “Gateway to the World’s Highest Peaks,” is a true gem in the crown of Pakistan’s northern regions. In this extensive exploration of Skardu, we will delve into its geography, history, attractions, adventure opportunities, and the unique experiences that make it a dream destination for travelers.

  The Geography of Skardu

Skardu is situated at an elevation of approximately 2,228 meters (7,310 feet) above sea level, making it the largest town in the Skardu District. It lies along the confluence of the Indus River and the Shigar River, which flow through breathtaking valleys surrounded by the majestic Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges. The stark, rugged landscape, dotted with lush patches of green, is a testament to the region’s dramatic natural beauty.

The Karakoram Range, part of the greater Himalayan mountain system, surrounds Skardu. This range is home to some of the world’s highest peaks, including K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth, which looms over the region. The stunning landscapes encompass glacial lakes, lush forests, deep canyons, and vast plateaus, providing a diverse and awe-inspiring natural tapestry.

  History and Heritage

The history of Skardu is rich and intriguing, reflecting a diverse tapestry of cultures and civilizations that have left their mark on this remote region.

Skardu has a historical connection to the ancient Silk Road, a vast network of trade routes that connected Asia to Europe. Caravans traveling along these routes passed through the region, leaving behind traces of various influences and exchanges.

In the more recent past, Skardu became a part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir under British colonial rule. After the partition of India in 1947, Skardu and the entire Baltistan region became part of Pakistan, following a contentious territorial dispute with India.

 Must-Visit Attractions

1. Shangrila Resort:

Also known as “Heaven on Earth,” Shangrila Resort is a picturesque place known for its peaceful surroundings and stunning landscapes. It offers a pleasant escape, complete with Shangrila Lake and beautifully manicured gardens.

2. Skardu Fort (Baltit Fort):

The ancient Skardu Fort, perched on a hilltop, offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding valleys. It is a well-preserved historical site and a testament to the region’s rich history.

3. Satpara Lake:

Located just a few kilometers from Skardu, Satpara Lake is a serene and emerald-green lake surrounded by mountains. Boating and picnicking by the lakeside are popular activities.

4. Deosai National Park:

Often referred to as the “Land of Giants,” Deosai National Park is known for its expansive plains and unique wildlife, including brown bears and ibex. It offers incredible trekking opportunities and is home to Sheosar Lake, a high-altitude glacial lake.

5. Shey Phoksundo National Park:

Located in the Dolpa region, this national park is home to the deepest lake in Nepal, Phoksundo Lake. It offers stunning trekking opportunities and showcases some of the most remote and pristine landscapes in the region.

6. Skardu Valley:

The entire Skardu Valley is a breathtaking attraction in itself. Its pristine landscapes, flowing rivers, and dramatic mountains create a perfect backdrop for adventure, exploration, and tranquility.

 Adventure Opportunities

Skardu is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. The rugged terrain, pristine lakes, and towering peaks offer a wide range of activities for those seeking an adrenaline rush or a communion with nature.

1. Trekking and Hiking:

Skardu is a renowned trekking destination. The region offers a variety of trekking routes, from relatively easy hikes to challenging adventures. Some popular treks include the Baltoro Glacier, K2 Base Camp, and the trek to Concordia.

2. Rock Climbing:

The Karakoram Range is a rock climber’s dream, with a multitude of challenging routes and climbing opportunities. Various peaks in the region have attracted climbers from around the world.

3. Fishing:

The rivers and lakes in the Skardu region offer excellent opportunities for fishing, particularly trout fishing. Anglers can enjoy the sport amidst stunning natural surroundings.

4. White-Water Rafting:

The Shigar River and the Indus River offer thrilling white-water rafting opportunities, providing an adrenaline rush for adventure seekers.

5. Paragliding:

Soaring above the valleys and gazing at the rugged terrain is an unforgettable experience. Paragliding is becoming increasingly popular in the Skardu region.

6. Biking:

Cycling through the valleys and along the rivers is an exhilarating way to explore the region. Mountain biking enthusiasts will find a variety of trails to choose from.

 The Unique Skardu Experience

Skardu offers a unique travel experience, one that combines adventure, culture, and the serenity of nature in a way that few other destinations can match.

1. Cultural Immersion:

Skardu is a melting pot of cultures, with influences from Tibet, India, and Central Asia. The local people are warm and welcoming, offering travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the region’s rich cultural heritage.

2.  Traditional Cuisine:

Sample traditional Balti cuisine, which includes dishes like momo (dumplings), thukpa (noodle soup), and various meat and vegetable stews. The flavors are a unique blend of the region’s diverse cultural influences.

3.  Starry Nights:

The clear, unpolluted skies of Skardu offer the chance to stargaze and witness a breathtaking display of stars and constellations. The region’s remoteness and high altitude make it a perfect place for astrophotography and astronomy.

4. Historical Insights:

Explore the region’s historical sites, such as the ancient Skardu Fort, which provides a glimpse into the town’s rich history and its role in the past.

5. Hospitality:

The warmth and hospitality of the local people are a highlight of any visit to Skardu. Visitors often find themselves forming connections with the residents and gaining insights into their way of life.

  Challenges and Conservation

With the increase in tourism, there is a pressing need to balance the region’s conservation with its access. The delicate environment and the unique cultural heritage must be protected and preserved. Initiatives are underway to ensure sustainable tourism practices that protect the natural beauty and maintain the authenticity of the region.


Skardu, the crown jewel of Gilgit-Baltistan, is a destination that defies expectations and transcends the boundaries of nature’s grandeur. Its rugged landscapes, towering peaks, serene lakes, and vibrant culture offer an experience that is both exhilarating and spiritually enriching.

The region’s dramatic geography, rich history, and adventure opportunities draw travelers from around the world. Skardu is a land of discovery, where every twist of the trail reveals new vistas and every encounter with the local people deepens an appreciation of their culture.

As you trek through the Baltoro Glacier, gaze at the legendary K2, or savor the local

cuisine, you will find yourself immersed in a world of wonder, adventure, and the enduring spirit of Skardu. This remote paradise, with its towering peaks and tranquil valleys, will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.

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