Exploring Shimshal Valley: Pakistan’s Hidden Gem 

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Shimshal Valley, a remote and captivating hamlet located within Hunza, beckons travellers seeking an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience.

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In this blog, Graana.com unveils the wonders of Shimshal Valley, offering insights into its unique appeal, how to get there, where to stay, and what to explore. 


Why Visit Shimshal Valley? 

In the stunning Hunza Valley, Shimshal is undoubtedly a hidden gem. Due to one of the world’s most hazardous roads, getting there is a journey in and of itself. However, Shimshal’s allure stems from its remoteness. Shimshal has maintained its natural charm and attractiveness in contrast to its more visited neighbours.

When you are there, you’ll discover straightforward guesthouses and a serene setting that transports you to a time before commercialism made its impact. A trip to Shimshal is like entering into another planet where unexplored mountains and trails await those who are up for the exhilarating jeep ride. 


Shimshal Valley Weather – When to Visit? 


Summer_in_Shimshal Valley


Shimshal, which is located at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet, has a harsh environment. Summertime, from May through September, is the ideal season to travel. Even though the weather in late April can be beautiful, the nights are frequently cold.

Plan your trip between June and early September when the weather is most conducive to trekking and exploration for the best possible experience. 


How to Get to Shimshal Valley from Hunza 

Accessing Shimshal is an adventure. The trip includes navigating a rough road that calls for tough vehicles, particularly 4x4s or big vans. A small number of jeeps use this risky route from Aliabad in Central Hunza to Shimshal Valley for public transportation.

Up until Passu, the final settlement on the Karakoram Highway before the turn onto the beautiful route to Shimshal, these jeeps can be flagged down anytime along the way. Local hotels or guesthouses can help with seat reservations, with costs averaging 400–500 PKR per seat, with front seats costing slightly more. Although it may take some patience, especially during the busy season, hitchhiking is an alternative. 


Where to Stay in Shimshal Valley 


Where to Stay in Shimshal Valley 


The Shimshal Embassy Guesthouse & Camping Site is a fantastic lodging choice. This hotel offers delicious, fresh food, as well as affordability and proximity to Shimshal’s main attractions. Warm hospitality is guaranteed by the gracious owner and family. Camping is made a lot easier by the large garden, where you may frequently see cute farm animals. 

Prices for those seeking a traditional stay with comfortable bedding typically range at 800 PKR; the cost can be split among several visitors. There is a nearby shared loo, which is convenient. Prices for private rooms with attached bathrooms normally range from 2000 to 3000 PKR. Remember that continuous hot water might not always be accessible in Shimshal Valley due to its isolated location, which is typical of trekking in Pakistan. 


Places to Visit in Shimshal Valley 

Exploring Shimshal Valley reveals a host of captivating destinations: 


Take a Day Trip to the Yazghil Glacier 

With a guide, set off on a day journey to the Yazghil Glacier to take in Shimshal’s untamed splendour. However, most guesthouses can set one up for you if you want one. The glacier is about a three-hour walk from the hamlet and provides a rare chance to see the pristine magnificence of glaciers in a natural environment. 


Explore The Village 

Shimshal encompasses a vast and sprawling village, making it one of the most authentic destinations in Hunza. It boasts diverse neighbourhoods and a central town area. Wandering aimlessly through Shimshal, without a set destination, allows travellers to immerse themselves in its authentic ambiance. 

For enthusiasts of yaks, Shimshal promises encounters with these magnificent creatures. While thousands of yaks inhabit the high-altitude pastures above the valley, some often wander through the village. 


Trek the Shimshal Pass 


Trek the Shimshal Pass 


The Shimshal Pass, also known as Pamir, ranks as a highlight of Shimshal Valley. However, embarking on this high-altitude trek is not without its challenges. The journey takes trekkers through grasslands, past snow-capped mountains, and alongside numerous yaks. Situated at an elevation exceeding 4700 metres (15,419 feet) above sea level, this trek spans approximately seven days, starting and ending in Shimshal Valley. 

This trek is a dream for photography and videography and hiking enthusiasts, and having a camera is essential to capture its breathtaking vistas. However, do not underestimate the altitude gain, which can exceed 7000 feet when starting from Central Hunza. To support the local economy and ensure a safe trek, it is advisable to hire Shimshali guides and porters who possess unparalleled knowledge of the area. 


Life and Culture in Shimshal 

Shimshal offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture and lifestyle of this remote region. Since the road connecting Shimshal to the rest of Pakistan was established in 2003, Shimshali culture has thrived, preserving traditions and sustainable living. The Shimshalis, who adhere to the Ismaili sect of Islam, are renowned for their organic and delectable produce. 

Women in Shimshal play a significant role in daily life, often herding animals, providing travellers with opportunities for meaningful interactions. The overall atmosphere in Shimshal exudes tranquillity, providing a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. 


Is Shimshal Valley Safe? 


Shimshal Valley 


One of the safest areas in Pakistan, and possibly the entire globe, is known as Shimshal Valley. By 2023, it won’t be necessary for foreign visitors to have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) or hiking permits to visit Shimshal. Soon after exiting the Karakoram Highway, a police roadblock primarily serves registration reasons by registering tourists. 

In Shimshal, altitude sickness and the difficult journey are the main worries. It is advisable to hire a local guide for a safe and enjoyable trip, especially during multi-day treks. Local tour guides are the most knowledgeable and reliable option for experiencing this gorgeous location because Shimshal is known for its mountaineers. 

Shimshal Valley is a well-kept secret that provides a genuine and unspoiled view of Pakistan. For tourists looking for an adventure off the main route, it is a must-visit because of its isolation, gorgeous surroundings, and warm culture. 

Explore Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation – PTDC


FAQs about Shimshal Valley 

Some of the mostly asked questions and their answers are listed below: 


Is Shimshal Valley safe for tourists? 

Shimshal Valley is considered one of the safest places in Pakistan for tourists. The region is known for its peace and tranquillity. However, travellers should be cautious about altitude sickness and the challenging road conditions. It’s advisable to hire local guides and porters for treks to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. 


What is the best time to visit Shimshal Valley? 

The best time to visit Shimshal Valley is during the summer , from May to September. This period offers pleasant weather and is ideal for trekking and exploration. While late April can also be enjoyable, nights can be quite cold. It’s recommended to plan your visit between June and early September for the most favourable conditions. 


How do I get to Shimshal Valley from Hunza? 

To reach Shimshal Valley from Hunza, you can take a jeep or public transport. Jeeps depart from Aliabad in Central Hunza and can be flagged down along the way, especially until you reach Passu. Most guesthouses or hotels can help you book a seat on these jeeps. Alternatively, you can try hitchhiking, though it’s advisable to start early and attempt it during the peak season. 


What accommodation options are available in Shimshal Valley? 

Shimshal offers a range of accommodation options. The highly recommended choice is the Shimshal Embassy Guesthouse & Camping Site, known for its delicious food and affordability. Guests can choose between shared rooms with comfortable bedding and private rooms with attached bathrooms. Keep in mind that continuous hot water may not always be available due to the remote nature of the area. 


What are the must-visit places in Shimshal Valley? 

Shimshal Valley offers several captivating destinations to explore. Some of the must-visit places include the Yazghil Glacier, which can be reached on a day trip, and the Shimshal Pass (Pamir), a high-altitude trekking paradise. Exploring the village itself, meeting the friendly Shimshali people, and experiencing their culture are also highly recommended activities. 

This is all about Shimshal Valley; for more information, visit Graana blog.  

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