Road Trip to Skardu

Road Trip to Skardu

I have been fascinated by lofty mountains and skyscrapers since childhood. The mountains call out to us. All the heavenly messages descended on the heights. As Mount Sinai for Moses (A.S), a high place for Abraham (A.S), the father of prophets Jesus (A.S), also stood on a hill when the angel message conveyed a message from God. 

Finally, the message of Iqra was revealed to our beloved prophet  Muhammad Mustafa (SAW) at the height of Jabal al-Nour in the Cave of Hira. So there is a spiritual message hidden in the heights.

Since there was a wish for years and eventually this wish could be fulfilled, I took a trip to Northern Pakistan. I went with friends who were also interested in going there, and we had an amazing time exploring all that Northern Pakistan had to offer.

Pakistan is a country of diverse landscapes, with some of the most beautiful and serene locations in the world. Northern areas of Pakistan are a must-visit for any traveler.

Northern areas of Pakistan are home to some of the most beautiful and picturesque places in Pakistan. There is a long history of the northern areas of Pakistan being an area of interest for travelers. This is because it has been home to some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world.

Travel Guide to The Northern Pakistan

First Day : Rawalpindi to Batakundi

I have been working in Rawalpindi for a long time. In Pakistan, when the plains are in the grip of summer, The high snow-capped peaks and sky-kissing mountains of the northern areas invite us. So, at the invitation of the giant mountains of the Himalayas and the Karakoram, We, the gang of ten frenzied heads, responded.

Mr. Wajid asked me jokingly, “Is the sick sack near to vomit?” I sighed, “For God’s sake, don’t remind me right now.” Well, we have left the office now. And we hoped it was ten o’clock in the morning. We intended to leave at eight o’clock in the morning, but as always, it was a bit late.

We are now on Murree Road. We have the great Mr. Sabir (Driver) with us. He has to stay with us for the next eight to ten days. And will explore the whole northern area. From Murree Road to Ninth Avenue, we have to turn to Islamabad. Then we entered Motorway M1 via Srinagar Highway.

Trip to North : Road Options

If you want to travel north, then you have two options.

1)- Karakoram Highway

The first option is Karakoram Highway (KKH), for which you must choose GT Road. 

For KKH, you have to turn north from Hassan Abdal or Haripur.

The Karakorum Highway is an 806 km (501 mi) stretch of highway that connects Pakistan and China.

The Karakorum Highway is a part of the ancient Silk Road, which connects Beijing to Europe. 

This highway goes through difficult terrains, including high altitudes, deep valleys, and steep slopes with sharp turns.

Karakoram Highway Map

2)- Hazara Express Way

The second option you will have is the Motorway. As the Hazara Motorway is completed, you will take a right turn on the M-1 Motorway from the Burhan Interchange.

From Hazara Motorway, you can reach Mansehra city directly, from where you can decide the destination. Therefore, we chose Motorway M-1 and Hazara Motorway to save time and eliminate the hustle and bustle.

hazara expressway Map

Let me guide you a bit more on the Hazara Motorway has made the journey to the North much more convenient.

You can reach Mansehra directly by choosing the Hazara Expressway, skipping the busy and crowded cities of Taxila, Wah Cantt, Haripur, and Abbottabad. On the Hazara Expressway, 40 km from Peshawar Interchange, you can say Goodbye to M-1.

The Hazara Expressway is a long road 180 km north of Burhan Interchange to Thakot. That means you can reach Kohistan district directly, but we have to turn to Mansehra before that. 

This road is part of C-Pack and was developed on the same modern lines. Hazara Metro has 47 bridges, six tunnels, and six service areas.

These tunnels are equipped with lighting facilities, oxygen, and exhaust machines. Going through these tunnels was a different and unique experience for us. We have crossed the Motorway and entered Mansehra city now.

Mansehra City

The city of Mansehra is the gateway to the northern areas.

From here, if you go straight to Hazara Motorway or Karakoram Highway, then Shaniyakari, Buttal, Batgram, Thakot, Besham, Pattan, Dasu, and Chilas can be reached.

But if you want to reach Chilas via Naran Kagan Batta Kundi and Babu Sar, you have to turn east and cross Balakot.

You have multiple options to choose from in Balakot. You can switch to Muzafarabad (via Gharhi Habibullah).

As we have planned to visit Northern Areas via Kaghan, Naran, Batakundi, Babusar Pass, Chilas, Astore, and Skardu, we will choose the second option. Balakot is a very beautiful hill town.

Balakot City

We reach Balakot in about four or five hours. As we travel north from Balakot, the landscape begins to change. Gradually the height of the Himalayan mountains increases. Finally, a blanket of snow at the top of the mountains greets guests.

On one side of the road, the mighty waves of the Kunhar River were crashing against the rocks, and on the other side, the lush mountains were engulfing us. From Balakot to Lolusar Lake, the river Kunhar flowed oppositely. 

The source of this river is Lolusar Lake, and after covering a distance of about one hundred and fifty kilometers, it merges with the river Jhelum. The two most prominent features of the Kunhar River are rafting and trout fishing.

From Balakot, we will reach Kiwai, from where the famous Shogran and Siri Paye road leads eastwards, but since our destination is North, we will drive towards Kagan.

Kaghan Valley

Our next destination is Kaghan. It is a very beautiful and attractive tourist spot in the Mansehra district. The area is covered with forests and meadows, and the beautiful scenery makes it a paradise on earth.

There are also peaks up to 17,000 feet high. Among them are Makra Choti and Malika Parbat. This valley of mountains, streams, lakes, waterfalls, springs, and glaciers awaits tourists in summer. The distance from Kagan to Naran is about twenty kilometers and an hour.

Glaciers, waterfalls streams can be seen everywhere along the road. Before Naran, we have taken a short break here. Take a few pictures, and make a short time-lapse. Now that we have left for Naran, there is a clear feeling of coolness in the air.

Naran Valley

Naran is famous for its Lake Saif Ul Malook. The upside road from the subway franchise in Naran Bazaar leads directly to the lake. You can hire a jeep to reach Saif Ul Malook, around 12-15 km away.

You can also shop at Naran Bazaar, where you will find dry fruits, handmade bags, gemstones, handmade garments, and traditional shawls.

Our destination in Naran is Moon Restaurant. Moon Restaurant has two branches, one in Naran and another at Basal. If you also want to have lunch or dinner, then definitely try Moon Restaurant. I am giving it a 10/10 in terms of customer service, food quality, price, and car parking.

Batakundi Valley

Between the lush and green mountains, this quiet and “cute” universe is called Batakundi.

However, constructions for high-rise buildings made of cement and concrete were in full swing, and the place will be as densely populated as Kaghan and noisy as Naran in a few years. 

There are no mobile phone facilities in Batakundi, so if you want to stay here, inform the family from Naran that I am going to a sacred place where only silence, tranquility, heartwarming scenery, and the roaring river Kunhar is waiting for me.

Second Day : Batakundi to Astore

Astore Valley - Worth Seeing Places

Rama Meadows

Rama Lake

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Third Day : Astore to Skardu

Skardu Valley - Worth Seeing Places

Fourth Day : Skardu to Shigar Valley

Cold Desert Shigar

Shigar Fort

Fifth Day : Deosai Plains

Sadpara Dam

Deosai National Park

Sheosar Lake

Sixth Day : Back to Home

Shangrila Resort

Kunhar River Rafting

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