North Pakistan, a land of majestic mountains, lush valleys, and vibrant cultures, has always been a popular destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts.
While places like Nathia Gali, Hunza, and Skardu have long been on the travel radar, there are many hidden gems in this region waiting to be discovered.
In this article, we will take you on a journey through some of the lesser-known treasures of North Pakistan, where you can experience breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and the warm hospitality of the locals.
Nathia Gali: The Queen of Hills
Nathia Gali, often referred to as the “Queen of Hills,” is a charming hill station in the Abbottabad District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Nestled in the Galyat Range, Nathia Gali is renowned for its lush green forests, winding trails, and pleasant climate throughout the year.
It’s an ideal destination for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Nathia Gali Church, built during the British era, is a testament to the region’s colonial history.
Khunjerab Pass: The Roof of the World
Located at an altitude of 4,693 meters (15,397 feet), Khunjerab Pass is one of the highest border crossings in the world. This remote mountain pass connects Pakistan with China and offers spectacular views of the Karakoram Range.
It’s part of the ancient Silk Road and is known for its stark beauty and serene landscapes. Visitors can explore the nearby Khunjerab National Park, home to diverse wildlife including the endangered snow leopard.
Fairy Meadows: A Slice of Paradise
Nestled at the base of Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth-highest mountain, Fairy Meadows is a place of enchanting beauty in North Pakistan. Surrounded by lush green meadows and framed by towering peaks, it’s a perfect spot for trekkers and nature lovers.
The name “Fairy Meadows” aptly describes the magical aura of this place. A challenging trek is required to reach here, but the effort is well-rewarded by the breathtaking views.
Since the journey is long, many people prefer to stay in Islamabad. And when you are here, Monal Islamabad becomes your must-visit destination.
Attabad Lake: Nature’s Masterpiece
Attabad Lake is a stunning turquoise gem nestled in the Hunza Valley. This lake was formed in 2010 as a result of a massive landslide that dammed the Hunza River. It’s a testament to nature’s power and beauty. Visitors can take boat rides on the lake and marvel at the submerged village beneath its clear waters.
Hunza Valley: Beyond Karimabad
While Karimabad is the main town in Hunza Valley and is well-known, there are hidden gems within the valley that often go unnoticed. Places like Ghulkin Village, Passu Cones, and Borith Lake offer serene landscapes and a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Wakhi people. Ghulkin Village, in particular, is famous for its community-based tourism initiatives and offers homestays for travelers seeking an authentic experience.
Deosai National Park: The Land of Giants
Deosai National Park is a high-altitude plateau often referred to as the “Land of Giants” due to its vast landscapes and the presence of brown bears. This remote wilderness, with its rolling plains and wildflower-covered meadows, is a paradise for hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. The park remains covered in snow for much of the year, but during the summer, it transforms into a colorful, vibrant landscape.
Kalash Valley: A Unique Cultural Experience
Nestled in the Hindu Kush mountain range, Kalash Valley is home to the indigenous Kalash people, known for their unique customs, language, and festivals. Visiting this valley is like stepping back in time, as the Kalash people have preserved their ancient traditions for centuries. Lush forests also surround the valley and offer trekking opportunities to explore the scenic beauty of the region.
Shigar Fort: A Historical Gem
While Skardu is a popular base for treks and expeditions in the region, the nearby Shigar Valley often gets overlooked. Shigar Fort, also known as Fong Khar, is a 17th-century fort that has been lovingly restored and transformed into a heritage hotel. Staying here is like stepping into the past, with its intricate woodwork and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Rakaposhi Base Camp: Trekking Paradise
Rakaposhi, one of the most beautiful peaks in the Karakoram Range, offers a trekking experience that is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors. The trek to Rakaposhi Base Camp takes you through lush green valleys, dense forests, and alpine meadows.
The breathtaking views of Rakaposhi’s icy slopes and its towering presence are truly awe-inspiring. Camping at the base camp under a star-studded sky is an experience you won’t forget.
Going to the base camp without a guide is not advised. You can find many leading travel agencies in Lahore and Islamabad that can book a guide for you and help you further.
North Pakistan is a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be explored. From the serene hills of Nathia Gali to the rugged beauty of Khunjerab Pass, and from the unique culture of Kalash Valley to the historical charm of Shigar Fort, there is something for every traveler in this region.
While these hidden gems may require a bit more effort to reach, the rewards are well worth it: unforgettable experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and a deeper understanding of the rich culture and history of North Pakistan. So, pack your bags, embark on an adventure, and uncover the hidden treasures of this remarkable part of the world.