Hunza Valley in northern Pakistan might be the most peaceful place in the world, despite what Western media has tried to tell us. Ninety-nine percent of Pakistan is just as safe as Europe, and Hunza Valley is even more peaceful than central Europe these days.Hunza Valley is one of the main stops on the Legendary Karakoram Highway , and it´s a comfortable place to stay for days, if not weeks or even months. It’s truly a paradise valley.Hunza Valley is divided into three geographic subdivisions, Upper Hunza, Central Hunza and Lower Hunza.
The central part of the valley is the most popular and the one people talks about when they say they are travelling to Hunza Valley.
HUNZA VALLEY, A REAL SHANGRI LA LOCATED IN PAKISTAN.
Hunza valley is considered to be the epitome of travel locations in pakistan. It is one of the first places to mind that come when foreigners and locals are looking to go for a vacation in the subcontinent. The encaptivating scenery of the valley is what has led tourists to coin the Hunza valley as paradise on earth.
My time at the valley was one of the most refreshing of all my trips, mainly because of the lively people and beautiful landscape that gives out countless feel-good vibes.
Read on ahead as I unravel my journey to the Hunza valley and present a complete guide on what to do, where to stay, and how to prepare for the lifetime trip to Hunza valley.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HUNZA VALLEY:
Hunza valley is located at the Pakistan-China border in the Gilgit-Baltistan province. The state capital of Hunza is Karimabad that offers a breathtaking view of the Rakaposhi mountain.
Located at a height of 2438 meters, the weather in Hunza valley can go below 0°C and because of the closure of roads due to snow, the official tourism season is from May to October (during the summers).
PEOPLE OF HUNZA VALLEY:
The people of Hunza are known as the Hunzakuts who are fair-skinned and speak the almost unknown language Burushaski. Most of the locals in the region are Ismaili Muslims and are very generous in accommodating tourists.
You will find that you are always welcomed in the hotels, restaurants, cafés, and homes of the people of Hunza valley. One of the best parts of visiting the valley for me was to get to know about the history and culture of the locals there.
HOW TO GET TO HUNZA VALLEY?
Once you are in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, you have two options to reach Hunza valley. The first is to take a flight directly to Gilgit airport and then make a short 2-3 hour drive to Hunza valley. There are several rental van services that you can choose from to get from Gilgit to Hunza. You can find regular flights between Gilgit and Islamabad through PIA, but all flights are subject to delays due to weather clearance. This option is simpler but far less exciting than the second option.
The second option is to take a 24-hour bus directly from Islamabad, witnessing the beauty of Karakoram, Skardu, and Kaghan valley on the way. Like me, if you love exploring new places, then I would recommend taking the drive and staying overnight at some of the must-visit places in Pakistan such as Naran.
Once you are in Hunza valley, private vehicles are primarily used for transportation, and most people rent out jeeps for the duration of their tour. You can get to the different cities within Hunza via bus or through your own rented transport as well. The first stop is the state capital, i.e. Karimabad.
PREPARING FOR A TRIP TO HUNZA VALLEY:
Next up is how you should prepare for the trip to Hunza, including all the things that you will need to get by. This can be a long list depending on how long you plan your trip for, but in general, the most essential items that you will need for travelling to Hunza valley are:
Trekking and Hiking Gear: There are quite a few trekking and hiking locations in Hunza valley and nearby such as the Baltit Fort and Ultar Base Camp. Most of the time, particularly in Karimabad and other cities, you will have to walk through slightly hilly terrains so you should keep your big boots with you for the trip.
Food Items and Water Bottles: If you choose to go to Hunza through road via bus then keep in mind that there are not a lot of stops where you will find food and water supplies. When in Islamabad, it is advised that you keep basic food items and a few water bottles with you to quench the thirst along the way.
Local Sim Card: There are no service centers to register sim cards for you in Hunza valley so you will have to purchase a local sim card either from Islamabad or from Gilgit. The internet speed is not fantastic, but you get EDGE internet speeds and sometimes even 3G in those parts, so it is sufficient to get by.
Travel Essentials: Keep your sunblock, warm clothes, spare pair of boots, and camping gear with you when travelling to Hunza valley (if you will be visiting other places or want to hike to the mountain ranges).
As for the daily budget for your trip, it can range between 4000 PKR to 5000 PKR which includes accommodation and three sizeable meals at the local cafés. You will not find anything too expensive and should be able to get by in as little as 1500 PKR as well if you prefer walking over renting out jeeps and sleeping in dorms.
WHERE TO STAY IN HUNZA VALLEY?