Skardu is a city in Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region. It’s the biggest city and the main centre of Baltistan. Skardu is an amazing place to visit, with many things to do. The valley has tall mountains and cliffs surrounding the city, with rivers on both sides.
The valley is about 10 kilometres wide and 40 kilometres long, with beautiful plants and animals. Finding a desert between the green valleys, lakes, waterfalls, and rivers is mesmerising. Many people from Pakistan and other countries come to Skardu every year to have a fantastic time and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
This valley remains as captivating as ever for locals and visitors. The orchards full of apricots, cherries, and mulberries add to the peaceful feeling. Whether walking in the meadows or looking at the tall mountains, Skardu Valley has a unique feel that attracts travellers and explorers.
Every time you visit, you’ll discover something new, and it feels like a new adventure. This Valley is like a hidden treasure you keep finding repeatedly, making each journey memorable and meaningful. Graana.com has gathered information about Skardu, including its location, how to reach there, and more.
How to Reach to There?
To get to Skardu Valley from different cities in Pakistan, here’s how you can do it:
You have two choices if you start your journey from Islamabad, the capital city. The distance from Islamabad to Skardu is about 637 kilometres. It takes around 14 to 20 hours to drive, depending on how the roads are and if there’s traffic. Your route goes through beautiful valleys and landscapes, so it’s a pleasant experience.
The quickest way to reach Skardu is by air. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has flights directly from Islamabad to Skardu. The flight takes about one hour, and you can see amazing views of giant mountains like Nanga Parbat and K-2 from the plane.
The distance between Lahore and Skardu is around 1,030 kilometres. The journey by air gives you a chance to see the beauty of Pakistan along the way.
Taking a road trip from Lahore is also quite an adventure. The drive usually takes about 4 hours, depending on the roads and any stops you make. Even though it’s a bit distant, the beautiful views and unique experiences make it a trip to remember.
So, there are different ways to reach this valley from cities in Pakistan, each with its unique charm.
If you want to travel from Skardu to different places, here are some options:
Skardu to Islamabad
You can drive from Skardu to Islamabad, which is about 750 kilometres. It takes around 2 days, and you can stop overnight in Chilas. If interested, you can get more info about this by contacting us for booking details.
You can take a jeep if you’re going to Hushe village for trekking. It usually takes about 6 hours to get there.
Askole is another village like a starting point for different treks. It takes around 5 hours by jeep to reach Askole.
If you’re going to Shigar, it’s only a 2-hour drive from Skardu. You can take a Jeep or a car.
Khaplu is about 4 hours away from Skardu by jeep or car. The road is in good shape, so it’s a nice trip.
If you’re heading to Rama in Deosai Plains, it takes about 6 hours by jeep. There’s a PTDC motel there for you to stay.
These options are available for groups and individuals anytime.
Plan Your Day
You can plan your visit to Polo Ground and Puran Bazaar, also known as Old Bazaar.
Half-Day Sadpara Buddha & Satpara Lake Tour
Take a ride to Sadpara Buddha to visit the Buddha which is carved in the mountain. Moreover, you can enjoy the charm of Satpara Lake.
You can spend your day at the lake while fishing.
Get on a jeep and visit Khaplu. Over there, you can travel over the bazaar and also the Khaplu Fort. Furthermore, you can also capture beautiful pictures.
Shigar Valley Tour
Visit Shigar Valley through scenic roads, and visit Shigar Fort. You can also try their local cuisine at the resort.
Finally, visit the mesmerising Deosai plains to witness the beauty of plateau, which is 4,000 metres above sea level.
So, there are many ways to explore and enjoy here, whether you want to go on trips around the area or check out the cool places nearby.
Top Places to Explore
Skardu Valley is famous for its unique sights and thrilling adventures. There are many places you have to see when you’re here. Check out these excellent spots:
Shangrila Resort is a super popular place for tourists in Skardu, Pakistan. It’s close to Upper Kachura Lake, and you can see the lake and the mountains there. The resort has lovely places to stay, restaurants that serve yummy local food, and you can even go boating and fishing in the lake.
Skardu has the world’s highest cold desert, called Sarfranga Cold Desert. It’s so amazing! The desert has massive black dunes and amazing views that look out of this world. You can do cool stuff like jeep rides, ride camels, and camp under the stars.
Deosai National Park
You can go to Deosai National Park if you’re there. It’s super high up, more than 4,000 metres above sea level. The park is like a prominent flat place on top of the world. It has these beautiful meadows, colourful wildflowers, and many animals, including the famous brown bears. People love going trekking, camping, and watching birds there.
Basho Valley, also called Basho Meadows, is a secret treasure close to Skardu. It’s like a hidden picture with green meadows, clear streams, and tall mountains. It’s perfect for hiking, taking pictures, and just enjoying the calm and quiet of nature.
Satpara Lake is near Skardu, a calm lake with mountains all around. You can go boating and fishing there, which is pleasant and relaxing. Just being by the lake and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere is calm.
Visit the Kharpocho Fort
Discover the historic Kharpocho Fort, also known as Skardu Fort. It’s located above the Organic Valley Trek and is relatively easy to reach. From its balcony, enjoy panoramic views of this City and the valley. Take stunning photographs of nature’s beauty and the diverse landscape from this 16th-century fort.
Katpana Lake in Katpana Desert
Relax by the serene Katpana Lake in the Katpana Desert near the City. Enjoy swimming in its refreshing waters and take pictures of the stunning surroundings. Since the Katpana Desert is nearby, you can explore it as well.
Head to Kachura, just 30 kilometres from the central city, and explore its captivating lakes, waterfalls, streams, springs, and wildlife. While Lower Kachura Lake may be closed for public visits, you can still enjoy the raw beauty of Upper Kachura Lake. You can swim in the warm water or trek to Sok Nala for more exploration.
Manthal Buddha Rock
Uncover the history of Buddhism in Skardu by visiting the Manthal Buddha Rock. This ancient granite boulder depicts Buddha and his Bodhisattvas. It’s a fascinating archaeological site testament to the region’s rich heritage.
The Italian K2 Museum near the bazaar is a must-visit for mountaineering enthusiasts. It houses captivating photographs and maps related to the first expeditions to K2, also known as “The Savage Mountain.” Learn about the climbers who conquered this challenging peak.
Weather and Climate in Skardu
The city’s weather during summer is pretty nice, not too hot or cold, and it only rains a little all year round. From March to September, the temperature usually goes from around 24°C (not too hot) to about 4four C (which isn’t too cold). But when winter comes, things get chilly. From October to February, it gets super hard, even down to -10°C. But after that, as winter ends, it starts getting warmer again.
Beyond the stunning scenery, history, and culture, the lively festivals in this region also capture visitors’ attention. The renowned Polo Festival is here alongside various local festivals specific to each valley. Polo is a traditional game in Balti culture, often called “The Game of Kings” or “The King of Games.” This exciting festival takes place during the second week of August every year and includes a polo tournament commemorating Baltistan’s liberation from the Dogra rule in 1948.
Jashn e Nowruz, the celebration of the Persian New Year, is a festive occasion celebrated throughout Gilgit Baltistan. People come together to enjoy delicious feasts, decorate tables with painted eggs, and adorn their hands with henna (a local plant paste mixed with water to create red hand designs).
Planning Your Skardu Trip: Useful Tips and Advice
- Weather conditions influence flights to Skardu Tours, so checking flight schedules and availability in advance is a good idea.
- For a more enjoyable experience, consider booking accommodations and tour packages in Skardu ahead of time, especially during busy tourist periods.
- Pack suitable clothing, including warm layers, as Skardu’s temperatures can drop significantly, particularly during the winter.
- Connect with local tour operators or guides who can provide helpful insights and ensure a seamless and memorable trip.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is Skardu known for?
A: Skardu is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, including towering mountains, serene lakes, and unique landscapes. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
Q: How can I reach Skardu?
A: Skardu can be reached by both road and air. There are flights from Islamabad to Skardu, and you can also take a scenic road trip from various cities in Pakistan.
Q: What are the best places to visit in Skardu?
A: Some must-visit places include Shangrila Resort, Cold Desert, Deosai National Park, Basho Valley, Satpara Lake, Kharpocho Fort, and Katpana Lake.
Q: When is the best time to visit this area?
A: The best time to visit Skardu is during the summer, from March to September when the weather is pleasant and most attractions are accessible. However, some areas might be closed during the winter due to heavy snowfall.
Q: What are the adventure activities available there?
A: Skardu offers a range of adventure activities such as trekking, camping, jeep safaris, boating, fishing, and mountaineering. Deosai National Park is an excellent place for trekking and wildlife enthusiasts.
Q: Is Skardu family-friendly?
A: Yes, Skardu is family-friendly and offers a variety of activities suitable for all ages. Families can enjoy sightseeing, picnics, and exploring the natural beauty together.
Q: Can I find accommodations easily in Skardu?
A: Yes, various accommodations are available in Skardu, including hotels, guesthouses, and resorts. It’s recommended to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
Q: What is the weather like in Skardu?
A: Baltistan experiences pleasant weather during the summer months, with temperatures ranging from around 24°C to 4°C. Winter can be pretty cold, with temperatures dropping to -10°C.
Q: Can I visit Skardu during the winter?
A: While you can visit this area in winter, some areas may be inaccessible due to heavy snowfall. It’s advisable to check the weather conditions and road accessibility before planning a winter trip.