Ratti Gali: A Tour Guide

Ratti Gali

Pakistan is bristling with a number of tourist attractions and sights. The placid lakes, jagged forests, vast natural spaces and hiking trails leading to the precipices of snow-capped mountains that dominate the skyline — all reflect a lost-in-time ambience and character that attract a large number of visitors. Azad Kashmir is one such place, with its gleaming waters and wildflower meadows. One especially popular destination there is the glacial lake of Ratti Gali.  

Nestled within the wilderness, the Ratti Gali Lake is fed by the glacial melt of the surrounding mountains, especially the Karakoram Mountain Range. It is named so due to the red shades of these adjacent slopes and plateaus (‘ratta’ means ‘red’ in Punjabi). The locals in this area call it Dowarian Lake. It is also referred to as the ‘jewel of Neelum Valley’. 

Graana.com, Pakistan’s smartest property portal, has prepared a tour guide for Ratti Gali below.


Ratti Gali: A tour Guide
Ratti Gali: Location and How to Get There
Recommended Gear
Things to do in Ratti Gali
Ratti Gali Hotel


Ratti Gali: Location and How to Get There  


Ratti Gali Lake, Neelum Valley, Kashmir


This alpine glacial lake is located in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, at an altitude of 3,683 metres (12,083 feet). The only major city nearby is Muzaffarabad, the administrative capital of Azad Kashmir, at a distance of 75 km. Depending on the traffic and current weather conditions, the journey from Muzaffarabad to Ratti Gali may take around 4-6 hours. 

After passing by the village of Keran, which is 45 km away from Ratti Gali, the next stop is at another village called Dowarian, which is only 19 km away from the lake. This is where you would be required to shift to a jeep (there are several travel services that can arrange one for your ride) to continue your journey to Ratti Gali. The jeep ride usually costs around Rs. 5,500 for same-day return, and Rs. 7,500 for next-day return. It is important to note that jeeps in this area tend to hurtle around the corners at high speeds, and fly close to the cliff edges due to the rough terrain. 

After this 2-hour journey, you will reach the base camp area. From there, you would have to trek for another 2 hours to reach Ratti Galli. You can also choose to go on a horse ride for this trail, at the cheap price of Rs. 300 per person. Halfway through the trek, you can spot a small lake that has been formed by water flowing downwards from the lake. 

On the other hand, the distance from Naran to Ratti Gali is about 200 km via the Muzaffarabad Gary Habibullah Road. Whereas, from Islamabad, the distance is 157 km and it takes about 3 hours to reach. 




Ratti Gali Lake during winter


The weather conditions in this area are highly changeable, with each season bringing in a fresh influx of colour. 

The spring season extends from March to May, while the summer season stretches from May to August. Summers see the bulk of tourist activity in the area, as it is primed for walking, hiking or just simply basking in the sun. 

As the temperature dips (it can drop as low as 0 degrees Celsius), the crowds thin significantly. The lake remains completely frozen from November to April. As the weather can take a dodgy turn, be sure to pack multiple layers of warm clothes. 


Recommended Gear

The following is a list of items that you should ideally pack when you are planning to travel to Ratti Gali. 

  • Backpack
  • Warm clothes
  • Hiking/trekking shoes
  • Rain coat
  • Hiking stick (if you think you would need it)
  • Water bottle
  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Medicines


Things to Do in Ratti Gali


Ratti Gali base camp


There are plenty of activities here to keep you engaged — and awestruck, for that matter. For instance, the surrounding areas are laced with hiking trails where you can walk at your ease to take in the pristine beauty of the place. Otherwise, you can just stroll next to the Ratti Gali lake. There are also many organised walks or tours that you can participate in. This is especially helpful for those who are travelling on their own as you get to interact with a larger group. 

You can also choose to go fishing or camping in the base camp area, prices of which range from Rs. 500-1200 per night. 


Ratti Gali Hotels 


Ratti Gali Lake, Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir


There are plenty of options for hotels in Ratti Gali, ranging from low-range to mid-range packages. 

The following is a list of the most highly-rated ones:

  • Sharda Resort
  • Wadi Resort
  • Neelum Star River Guest House
  • State Continental Sharda
  • Park River House Sharda

Many of these hotels are located just beside the Neelum River, thus attracting a steady stream of visitors throughout the year. The guest rooms are also carefully designed, brimming with traditional details, so as to provide an authentic experience to the tourists. 

There are also different tourism packages that you can check out, which arrange transportation, accommodation, food etc. so you don’t have to deal with the trouble of planning the whole tour. Costs may vary according to the duration of the trip and the type and number of services they are providing.

Among the many scenic places to visit in Azad Kashmir, from its quaint towns to wild, azure rivers, Ratti Gali is a worthy stop on your itinerary. 

For more informative tour guides on the most popular Azad Kashmir tourist places – or in any other area of Pakistan – visit Graana.com.


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