HUNZA TRAVEL GUIDE
The mountainous valley of Hunza is situated in Pakistan’s northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan. Hunza's touches the northern tip of the country where Pakistan's borders touched with Chinese borders.
Hunza can be divided into three parts: lower, central and upper Hunza. Hunza with its breathtaking landscapes and remote and untouched locations attracts a large number of adventure seekers throughout the year.
Gilgit-Baltistan itself is the tourism hub of the country and everyone who comes to GB makes sure to visit Hunza on their trip. Its mountainous beauty is absolutely matchless. Hunza valley is situated to the north-west of the Hunza river and is surrounded by high peaks such as Hunza peak, Rakaposhi, Ultar Sar and Ladyfinger peak.
ROAD ACCESS AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO HUNZA
The scenic Karakoram highway will take you from Islamabad to GB’s capital Gilgit directly. The distance between the two cities is about 512 km and the road trip takes about an entire day. Hunza is easily accessible by road from Gilgit at a distance of 100 km. The journey takes about 2-3 hours. The main bus stand of Hunza is in Aliabad. Your travel company can arrange the trip for you or you can consult booking agents in town for long-distance jeeps and buses.
THINGS TO DO IN HUNZA?
Hunza promises a peaceful yet adventurous experience for its visitors. In addition to being home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful natural views and sites, Hunza also offers adventurous sports like hiking, mountain biking, hunting, camping, swimming and gliding etc.
Altit Fort of Hunza is a must-visit historical site. Its royal garden of cherries and apricots and lush green grass is a pleasure to walk in. It provides a striking view of the Hunza valley. The 900 years old fort was built by the Mughals and is located on the top of Karimabad.
Baltit Fort holds a unique significance in Hunza’s tourism as it is home to a lot of antiques and equipment of the olden days. It depicts the traditional Balti and Tibetan architectural heritage. The 750+ years old fort is now open for visitors as a museum.
Attabad lake of Hunza valley is a 30 km long lake that formed due to a landslide in 2010. Boating in its deep blue waters gives you a striking view of the surrounding mountains. Many tourists set camps along this lake as well.
Duikar is Hunza’s highest village. If you appreciate a good natural view, this would be your dream place. It offers immense valley views and a view of the snaking Karakoram highway down below, as well as a captivating view of Rakaposhi and Golden Peak. Also known as The Eagle’s Nest, Duikar provides a breathtaking panoramic view of Hunza and the best sunset and sunrise views in Pakistan.
Sost is used as a base camp for tourists visiting the Khunjerab China Border. Many visitors who come to Hunza also like to visit this border. Sost is situated 90 km from Hunza and is about 87 km away from Khunjerab.
The town of Passu is about 15km from Hunza’s village Gulmit. Cone-shaped mountains known as the Passu Cones are a major tourist attraction here. These attractive peaks are in fact one of the most photographed mountains of Pakistan.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE OF HUNZA
Most of the people of Hunza are Ismaili Muslims, followers of the Agha Khan. They are warm-hearted, welcoming people known for their hospitality.
The people of Lower Hunza are mostly Shinaki and speak the Shina language while the region Central Hunza mostly belongs to Burushaski speakers. Lastly, the people of Upper Hunza mostly speak Wakhi language. Almost every person in Hunza understands Urdu while the educated class is home to the English language as well.
People of Hunza are quite lively. Traditional dance is popular among locals of all age groups. They celebrate a number of cultural and religious festivals. The traditional Ginani festival and Spring Blossom festival are the most popular. Hunza’s cuisine is quite delicious. Grape extract, known as Hunza Water, is immensely popular among foreigners.
WHERE TO STAY IN HUNZA
Mulberry Hotel in Karimabad is a popular place to stay and to enjoy the delicious local cuisine at reasonable rates. Other popular places to stay at in Karimabad are the Baltit Inn, Hotel Hilltop and Waldorf Hotel. The Whisper View Hotel on the Karakoram highway near Passu is also popular due to its low charges. Hunza Vintage Huts in Aliabad are also popular but costly. These individual huts are located ideally in the centre of Hunza valley, providing panoramic views of snow-capped peaks and of the wide-open skies. These hotels offer tour guides and other travel-related services to their customers.
BENEFITS OF BOOKING THROUGH TOUR OPERATORS
Solo travellers visit Hunza for mountaineering adventures and other exciting experiences. On the other hand, families tour Hunza to relax and enjoy its natural beauty. Moving around in Hunza and exploring it requires a thorough knowledge of the region as there is just so much to do there. By hiring a tour company, you can skip the hassle of coming up with a tour plan. Your travel company will make sure you experience all the activities and worth-visiting places during your trip. Travel companies thus ensure that you have a complete experience of Hunza within your budget.
WHEN TO TRAVEL TO HUNZA
The region is undeniably cold from January till March. Well-prepared tourists visit Hunza during these months to enjoy winter sports and also to experience the mesmerising Northern lights.
April is the most preferred time to visit Hunza as the temperature drops and weather turns pleasant. It is the perfect time for skiing.
May is also attractive for tourism as the weather is warmer and spring flowers start blooming. There are fewer crowds so accommodation costs lesser in May.
June is the peak time for tourism as days are longer, hiking trails are open, wildlife is active and the lakes and rivers are free from the winter ice.
Long summer days of July-August provide tourists with ample time for hiking, boating, fishing and camping. The summer festival – Cultural Day of Hunza – is also celebrated during this time.
Months of September-October are a bit cold but still pleasant. It is a great time to experience the beauty of Hunza in Autumn and the perfect time to visit Altit Fort in particular.
November-December marks the beginning of the winter season. Despite the days being short and cold, the region is still lively with tourists celebrating holiday season festivals.
There is no best or worst time to visit Hunza as each season has its own experiences to offer. Unless you’re looking for unpredictably exciting adventures, the easiest way to experience Hunza to the fullest is to travel with a well-reputed tour company. With its unmatched scenic views and adventurous activities, Hunza is the ultimate tourist site for travellers from and outside Pakistan.
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