PakistanPakistan

Baltit Fort

PakistanPakistan

The largest castle in the valley of Hunza

Above the Old Town in Karimabad rises beautiful ancient castle - Baltit - the most formidable fortress in the valley of Hunza. Its visit is not only associated with exploring the old days, but also serves as a splendid lookout of the surroundings – of the local monumental mountains such as Rakaposhi or Diran and the valley of Hunza. The most beautiful view of the fort is from the way to Ultars meadows and then from the bottom of the town.

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Fort Altit
Distance: 1 km
On a small rocky cliff high above the river Hunza stands an ancient watchtower that guarded the trade route. It is also a very nice view of the surrounding mountains and also of the roofs of the old town in Altit, where piles of apricots dry in the season. It is an ideal destination of walks from Karimabad.
The way to Ultars meadows
Distance: 3 km
Ascent to Ultars meadows is the most popular day hike leading straight up above the narrow and steep canyon at the upper part filled up by the glacier and take you to the magical place overlooking the surrounding steep peaks and a small waterfall. Most photogenic mountain here is the famous "Lady finger ". This hike can be managed either without backpack or by staying in a small mountain hut or possibly get even higher to Honn pass.
Over Attabad lake
Distance: 17 km
Only eleven kilometers north of Karimabad is a beautiful turquoise lake, which came into existence in January 2010 by a gigantic landslide. The whole mountain slid here, which perfectly dammed Hunza river. Within a very short time this new world wonder was created - 21 km long and 109 m deep lake Attabad. Dozens of houses, thousands of trees and also the only link to the north - the Karakoram highway ended buried under the ground. The lake surface ends today in steep slopes of the mountains, so it is not possible to pass through the valley otherwise than by a ship.
Passu - Lake Borit
Distance: 22 km
If you want to undertake a little more adventurous half-day hike in Passu, it is best to walk from the glacier Passu to lake Borit lying above the village of Hussaini. You can admire the views of two glaciers and two different lakes during this hike. But the path is in some places not very clear and you will need your own intuition. But on the other hand, you cannot lose your way completely. To the north from you is a wall of Karakorum and to the south Karakorum Highway, where you can run down if you get lost on the upland plain between glaciers. Earlier this trek led even further to the bridge of "Indiana Jones", but everything has disappeared under the waters of Lake Attabad.
Passu
Distance: 25 km
Along the Karakorum Highway a few kilometers behind Gulmit is located only a few scattered houses, mostly tiny guest houses and this all is Passu ( 2460 m asl). Even so, it’s worth to stop here and enjoy the incredible mountain scenery. Wide Hunza valley is encircling here by the sharp peaks and directly at the road end Passu and Batura glaciers. Just the fact that the River Hunza managed to break through Karakoram from the north to the south and surrounding mountains also exceed it by more than 5 km – all this speaks for itself.
Front view of Baltit Fort

Front view of Baltit Fort

Front view of the seven hundred year old fort certainly cannot deny the strong Tibetan influence. The most important castles in the valley of Hunza - Baltit and Altit lie just a short distance from each other, although more important was Altit in Karimabad.

Masiveness above all

Masiveness above all

Baltit Fort looks really heavily from the side.

Top of the palace

Top of the palace

The top floor is the most impressive. Everyone admires here the beautiful craftwork with wood.

Castle as a lookout

Castle as a lookout

From the roof of the castle, flat according to Tibetan style, there is an incredible view of the entire valley.

View of the castle Altit

View of the castle Altit

A view in northern direction is of smaller castle Altit, which is not so much besieged by tourists and in addition, there is a nice walk leading to it from Karimabad.

End of the path through Hispar la

End of the path through Hispar la

The huge gap in the mountains will impress you when looking in the east direction. The river flowing from glacier Hispar broke its way through here and it is one of the most famous treks in Pakistan at all.

Hunza valley - a paradise on the earth

Hunza valley - a paradise on the earth

Hunza valley in all its glory - one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Season

Information about ideal season for visit

Practical information from the area: Hunza valley
  • From spring to autumn.
  • As everywhere in Pakistan there are not a lot of tourists here, but definitely more than in other places. Karimabad is a popular place mainly for Pakistanis from lowland provinces.
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Practical information from the country Pakistan:
  • The main tourist season coincides with the climbers and hikers, ie from late June to early September. Count, that everywhere except the mountains is in this period very hot, even in the mountains to 3500 meters above sea level.
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Admissions, Permits and Restrictions

Fees, charges and other possible duties

Practical information from the area: Hunza valley
  • No permission is needed.
  • Admission fees are paid only to Altit and Baltit forts.
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Practical information from the country Pakistan:

Mountain areas are divided by the government into three areas:

  • Open: The vast majority are fortunately in the zone "open" (Nanga Parbat, Hispar...), so there is no need for any permits and no fees are charged.
  • Restricted: To areas located in the "restricted zone" trekking permit in value of 50USD + accredited guide are needed. These areas are mainly along the border with India (e.g. the area of Gondogoro trek away from the Baltoro glacier).
  • No trekking: area, where foreigners are forbidden to enter, is the zone at a distance of 30 miles from the border with Afghanistan and 10 miles from other international borders including Kashmiri line of control.
  • Mountaineering: Mountain peaks with the height of 6500 meters above sea level and higher are charged extra, so this makes no problem for trekkers.
  • The unpleasant thing is the inability to arrange Indian visa at Pakistani territory.
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Transportation

Travelling on interesting roads, railways, scenic flights and boat trips

Practical information from the country Pakistan:
  • There are only two major international airports in Pakistan - in Karachi and Islamabad, which is much more practical for trips to the mountains. Inland airport from the smaller local airports is relatively common, but quite often affected by the weather.
  • Most people travel by cheap, frequent, but still crowded minibuses to all corners of the country. To the remote mountain villages or treks starting bases run jeeps. But their drivers can collect several times higher fare from tourists than they want from the locals, especially in directions from where you start mountain treks or climbing expeditions. It is certainly necessary to haggle about the price.
  • The most important international routes are: the Karakoram Highway leading across the whole northern Pakistan to China. Highway N40 use tourists traveling to Pakistan on land from Iran, or rather  from Europe, leading through the deserts of Balochistan. The road from Lahore to Amritsar in India. Now little used road Highway N5 from Islamabad to Kabul in Afghanistan.
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Accommodation

Tips for accommodation

Practical information from the area: Hunza valley
  • There are plenty of small cheap guesthouses In Kariamabad.
  • At the Ultar meadow there is a small shelter, or it is possible to build a tent.
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Practical information from the country Pakistan:
  • Hotels: In all major cities encounter many cheap and simple hotels. Usually it is not necessary to book in advance. Air con is at an additional cost. Small hotels are often located in the trek bases too.
  • Camping in the wilderness is basically possible anywhere. But you must take into account that even in the high mountains there are villages with shepherds, so it is always better to ask the local people, whether it is wise to put up a tent on the first nice meadow. In some areas there are places prepared for camping / e.g. camp on Gondogoro trek/ and a small fee is paid to their operators. There are no lodges in Nepalese style here.

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Eating

Local delicacies, standard and

Practical information from the country Pakistan:
  • Daal Bhat and chapati:  After a few weeks spent in Pakistan foreign tourists are sick of traditional and ubiquitous lentil Daal Bhat with pancakes Chapati and will remember them at home for a long time. Its taste varies from city to city and from pub to pub starting from fairly good food up to puree without any taste. Daal Bhat is available virtually everywhere and is very cheap.
  • Kebab: In the evening, delicious kebabs are roasted on the streets in every major city.
  • Mango: At the beginning of the summer the piles of mango harvested in Punjab appear everywhere together with gentlemen who make amazing juice from it.
  • Apricots: Mountain oases in the north are famous for its apricots.
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Possible Dangers

Various notices and warnings

Practical information from the area: Hunza valley

This part of Pakistan is regarded for the one of the safest in the whole country.

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Practical information from the country Pakistan:

Pakistan is generally very restless country with frequent terrorist attacks, especially by the mosques, at marketplaces or on buses full of shiia wanderers. Always determine in advance the current situation, where you are going.

  • Generally dangerous is the whole area near the border with Afghanistan, particularly Waziristan (Taliban troops)
  • Another dangerous area is relatively large and deserted Baluchistan (criminal acts, kidnappings)
  • Trekking in the Nanga Parbat is ideal with a guide, although it is not mandatory. There are sometimes "strange people" in this area.
  • The worst incident happened here on June 23, 2013, when there was massacred a group of foreign climbers
  • But the trekking north (Karakoram mountains) has a reputation of a safe and quiet area.

From the natural perspective are dangerous summer monsoon floods, often catastrophic and landslides after heavy rains

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