Battling the dust of the town itself!
Carved on rocky stone, the huge Buddha carving along with surrounding Bodhisattvas is reminiscent of Tibetan Buddhist roots of the region dating back to 7th and 8th century AD. The rock can be found just 3 km from Skardu off the Skardu-Sadpara-Deosai road. This historcial momument is literally unguarded and situated on a walkway; it is sheer luck...more
Lower Kachura Lake, also known as Shangrila Lake, is famous for its out-of-the-world, or heaven-on-earth in the words of James Hilton, beauty. Serenity in the atmosphere, freshness in the air, and tranquility in the water are suggestive of an ideal romantic ambiance light-years away from worldly distractions. Should you like to absorb the harmony...more
When around Skardu, or anywhere in the Northern Areas of Pakistan for that matter, you have the liberty to pick from abundantly availble seasonal fruits not only from stray trees but also from private farms, however, on request.We always loved picking handfull of juicy apricots while trekking around from open-source treckside trees. Not only this,...more
The Lower Kachura Lake is one of the most beautiful natural lakes in the world and is truly called Heaven on Earth i.e. Shangrila. This Lake belongs to the divine couplet of lakes situated in the small Northern town of Pakistan, Kachura, which itself is situated near Skardu. The lake is surrounded with fruit laden trees, forests, and 'high-rise'...more
Hi,K2 and Gondghoro la, very beautiful itineraries in the heart of Karakoram.But you should be enough fit for the moraines of Baltoro glacier, because this trek's demanding.From Askole to K2 base camp and back includes, 13,14 trekking days, there're 2 rest days because one's to approach 5200 m, the base camp and if you're going to Gondghoro la 5600...more
Skardu Baltistan lies in the heart of world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram. It presents a unique contrast of high peaks, deep gorges, straddling glaciers, vast deserts, sandy plains, blue lakes, colorful panorama, lush green oases and villages. It consist of following valleys like skardu, Rondu, Shiger, Khaplu,...more
If you make it to Skardu, check out the Khurpa Care office (Khurpa is the Balti word for porter). The manager is a guy called Raza. He used to be a trekking guide but now he's working to improve the conditions of moountaineering and trekking porters. The office is also a small research library if you're interested in learning about...more
I found it great of an evening just to sit out under the stars and watch the sky with the slight shillouette of the valley wall thousands of feet above you.
Where we were staying up near Kachura village we felt these amazing changing winds coming up the valley blowing warm air at one moment and cool night air the next. I thought Skardu was just the most magical place and would return there tomorrow if travel in Pakistan was a bit more settled!
Once booked, PIA flights to and from Skardu need reconfirmation – 24 hours in advance from the departure time – from the local PIA office. For Islamabad – Skardu, ticket reconfirmation is done at the Northern Areas Desk of the PIA office located at Mall Road, Rawalpindi. You don’t need to go there in person but your original ticket needs to be...more
After we went for a walk through Kachura Village we had just passed this bridge when a group of people came past in the back of a trailer being towed by an ancient looking tractor. The offered us a lift back to the camping resort and we bumped along with all the smiling faces. This kind of encounter was so common in Pakistan and was what made my...more
If you are living around Lower Kachura Lake (Shangrila) and want to do some grocery then you might end up doing it from the shop just outside the resort. Although the shop is not that unreasonable in terms of prices but you can still have better deals from the Kachura Bazaar which is located up the hill and consists of around 30 small shops selling day to day grocery at market rates.
What to buy: You may consider the Bazaar a local departmental store and can buy usual domestic day to day stuff. Soft drinks - pepsi, coca cola, etc - juices, cookies, snacks, milk, and mineral water are easily available from the Bazaar. We tried to buy some fresh milk and yogurt but could not find the same despite of our effort.
What to pay: Prices are usually fixed and at par with, or negligibly higher than, Skardu bazaar.
Due to uncertain weather, PIA flights to and from Skardu usually get delayed and sometimes even cancelled out. So, it is better to have a backup plan and a delay strategy in mind rather than ruining your vacations and then cursing me and the PIA. Flight Delays: Usually, airport staff does not open check-in counters, especially at Islamabad Airport,...more
I guess the warning or danger is yourself (or just me?), after being completely removed from civilisation for such a period jokes between your trekking party can run for days - and get a bit out of hand.Here I introduce our 'new firends' - the coffee tin girls, wait for it.......Ness, and Caffie (a la Nescafe)ahem.....................I think I'll...more
Before we head to the day trip to Deosai Mountains, our driver, Basharat, insisted us to buy some food from Indus Pizza and Fast Food, located in Skardu, which we fortunately did not listen to and avoided the trap only to fall into it later. After returning from Deosai we decided to give the eatery a chance only to disappoint ourselves. Quality of...more
Shiger, a beautiful valley of the Baltistan. Situated in the heart of the Karakoram, 32 kms (20 miles) from Skardu and 1/2 Hour by jeep. It forms the gateway to the great mountain peaks of the Karakoram, including Mount K-2. The valley filled with perpetual snows for millions of years. Due to its high ranges mountains, snow clad peaks, glaciers and...more
What I didn't realise was that it is customary to tip Porters, Guides and Cooks who have accompanied you on trekking trips (on top of the payment for the trip itself) I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THIS......CONSIDERING THE WORK YOUR TREKKING STAFF DO! However, I was caught out by embarrassingly not having enogugh money to pay all our guides, porters and...more
You should seriously consider bringing a polarising filter for your mountain photos up here. There are some stunning photos to be had but the light conditions can be pretty difficult. A filter will help to bring out the contrast in your photos where this detail is usually blurred by the sheer light reflected from snow.
Even if you have an auto camera you can do what I did and buy a small camcorder polariser and hold it over the lens while you take the photo - granted there will be some guesswork as you acn't see the polarising effect thru the viewfinder but it helped bring up some photos like this beauty! Sorry for runing it with the yellow, but I have heard far too many stories of original work being ripped-off so I am just covering myself - you can get the impression well enough!
Deosai Plains – Average Height: 4,114m (13,500ft); Area: 3,000 sq. km; Population: Zero; Accessibility: April – October depending upon weather – are an abode to a variety of rare wildlife species especially to the Himalayan Bear and belong to the Tibetan Plateau. These plains provide with an excellent adventure opportunity due to their wilderness...more
Although Skardu has mostly been perceived as a base camp for adventure expeditions, Karakoram summits and Deosai Plains being the most popular ones, but the surroundings of Skardu are also abundantly gifted with some exquisite natural gifts. Out of those pearls, Kachura Lakes - the Lower Kachura Lake and the Upper Kachura Lake - are a treat to...more
Kachura Village was stunning at the time of year we were there (June) as the fruit trees were all laden with fruit and the people in the village went about harvesting the fruit by stringing out sheets underneath the mulberry trees and shaking the trees to collect the berries. The children all wanted to greet you and shake you hand (with the...more
Polo the Game of Kings, and the king of all games had its beginning in Baltistan. Unlike its international version, invented by the British, which is broken into seven-minute segments, at the end of which horses can be substituted, People over here play free style polo, with no referee, no rules and no change of horses during the play.
“It is one of the toughest sports I’ve ever seen” Michael Palin mentioned in his article appeared in the Sunday Times on 1st January 2006. Not only Michael but every tourist who visit this land has the same view for this game.
A regular Polo tournament is held every year between Skardu, Khaplu, Rondu, Shiger, Chorbat, Gilgit and Chitral. Every match between these teams is a nail biting battle which attract thousands of tourist from all over the world.
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Skardu City is just another commercial locality, good for shopping and bargaining, but definitley not a recreational place. Usually, people prefer staying at Skardu and making it the base for day trips and surrounding tours, but the ambiance of this town does not synergize with the mood and preferences of a recreational tourist.I prefer and...more
The Balti language a member of the Sino-Tibetan branch of languages and is a derivative and related to Tibetan, except it's written in Arabic script when the Moguls invaded the territory of what is now Baltistan. The following are some phrases i've picked up from the locals, which may be useful breaking the language barrier:Hello: chia-lyuhtWhat...more
Skardu is the last place you can re-sort your bags and leave behind anything which is unnecessary for your trek. Basically when trekking in Pakistan you are allowed to give a duffel bag weighing no more than 12.5 kgs to your porter. This is set by the Governement and is well-communicated to porters who carry hand scales and meticulously weigh...more