Shandur Polo Festival:

Shandur Top is located at 12,200 feet (3,719 metres) above sea level, in District Ghizer, Gilgit-Baltistan and it is often called the ‘Roof of the World’. The top is actually a flat plateau and it can be crossed from the end of April to the beginning of November. Shandur Pass is one of the major mountain passes of Gilgit-Baltistan. The people, who live on both sides of Shandur Top, speak the Khowar language.

Shandur Polo Festival invites a number of visitors to experience a traditional Polo Tournament. It has started in 1936, and it is held annually from 7th to 9th July, in the Shandur Polo Ground, on Shandur Top, between the teams of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. The festival includes Folk music and traditional dance as well. A camp village has been set up to accommodate visitors. The game is played in its original form. In the past, the British Rulers remained the patrons of the game.

shundur polo festival

Kalash Festivals:

Kalash Valley consists of Rumbur Valley, Bunboret Valley and Birir Valley in Chitral, near Nuristan in Afghanistan. Kalash is the home of Kalash (wearers of the black rose), a primitive pagan tribe. The Kalash is an ancient tribe and have a unique religious and cultural heritage. It is narrated that a General Salik Shah, who was called by the Greek as “General Sulfurous”, came with five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of MACEDON and got settled in Chitral; they are the progenitors of the Kalash (Kafir) Tribe. The Kalash are famous for their traditional festivals. There is much dancing where the elders chant lyrics with drum-beat, the women-folk dance around. Locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities. The Kalash People celebrate three main festivals in the year.

Chilam Joshi Festival kalaash


This Festival is celebrated on 14th and 15th May, to thank the Almighty. They celebrate it on the arrival of spring season with new hopes and aspiration.

Festival Chilam Joshi


On 19th to 20th August, Kalash celebrate Uchao to pay homage to Almighty, for the grapes and other ripe fruits. They prepare wine, cheese, corns etc. and rejoice in Uchao Festival.


Gianni Festival:

21st June to 25th June

The traditional “Ginani’’ festival has been celebrated in Central and Lower parts of Hunza valley, during 21st to 25th June, with traditional zeal and fervour. Two major gathering points are; Altit and Aliabad villages. Local community performs the traditional rituals, at the main places and along with traditional dances on local tunes. Special traditional dish, locally known as Dirum Pitti, has been prepared to mark the festival.

This carnival is called Ginani and Chineer in Hunza, Strublah in Baltistan and Ganoni in Gilgit.



It is celebrated in Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Chitral, from 21st to 23rd March to welcome spring season. Polo, foot-ball, volley-ball and hockey matches are played. Traditional folk dance and music also part and parcel of the carnival.


Silk Route Festival:

The Festival of colors, on the Roof of the world, where natural environment, serene landscape, highest mountain peaks of the world, spectacular scenic beauty, wildlife, glittering glaciers, valleys with lush green foliage and fruits, clear water of gleaming and scintillating streams, rich diversity of people, culture, folklore, arts, crafts and heritage, await you here in the Silk Route Festival.

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Skardu is set strategically between desert and mountains. It lies in the 10 Km wide and 40 KM long oval basin at the confluence of the Indus and the Shigar River. At an altitude of 25,00 meters (8200 feet), the town is surrounded by grey-brown colored mountains, which hide the 8,000-meter peaks of the nearby Karakoram Range.

Skardu is the base town of the famous K2 Concordia trek and the Biafo Hispar trek, also known as Snow Lake trek. The 67 km long Biafo Glacier meets the 49 km long Hispar Glacier at an altitude of 5128 m ( 16,824 ft ) at Hispar La ( Pass) to create the world’s longest glacial system outside the polar regions. This highway of ice connects two ancient mountain kingdoms, Nagar (immediately south of Hunza ) in the west with Baltistan in the east. At the base of Hispar Pass on its eastern flank rests Snow Lake, a basin of ice (16 km wide) surrounded by granite pinnacles yet to be climbed. PakistanTravelGuide is offering Pakistan Tour Packages to domestic and international travelers in Pakistan, also you can book Skardu Tour Packages for our tour lists

Top 10 Places to Visit in Skardu

1. Khaplu

Khaplu Valley of the Shyok River is 103 Kilometres ( 64 miles ) from Skardu to the east. Khaplu was the largest kingdom in old Baltistan, guarding the trade route to Ladakh along the Shyok River. At 2600 meters (8400 feet), Khaplu is the cooler than Skardu, which combined with the friendly character of the people and the superb walks along the irrigation channels, makes Khaplu the nicest place to stay in Baltistan. The tiny village with its apricot and apple orchards, and lush green fields set by rugged mountains, homes set on mountain slopes, and thrilling views of Masherbrum, K-2, and K-7, is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Dominating the Valley from the top end of the alluvial fan, the imposing Palace of the ex-raja gazes down the kingdom. Its whitewashed façade, punctuated by irregularly placed little windows, supports and extravagant carved wooden balcony up its center. Built about 150 years ago, it has a faintly Tibetan style, like Baltit fort in Hunza. Also worth seeing in Khaplu and the old wooden mosques on the way up through the village. The beautiful Chaqchan Mosque is around 700 years old, founded by Mir Sayyed Ali Hamadani, the first Islam preacher in this area.

Traditions are still very much alive in Khaplu. The annual Spring Festival is held on the polo ground just below the old palace and goes on for three days. Polo competitions between local teams from Khaplu and neighboring villages are part of the festivities.  

Khaplu Village Skardu


on 30 minutes drive from Skardu city after crossing the check point and Shyok River entering from Shigar Door ( Babe-Shigar) on Safranga Cold desert you will find different terrain of mountains as feel like that you are on Mars then a beautiful Valley appear along Shigar River.

Shigar is famous for Shigar fort runs under Serena Pakistan and small walnut wood crafted mosques and of freshwater streams. It is dominated by the Tibetan-styled Baltit Fort which stands guard over the entire valley. The exact origins of the Shigar fort are unclear, although the foundations date back to 700 years ago, with rebuilds and alterations over the centuries. Shigar is the base for a number of short walks and excursions, as well as being a popular place with visitors to relax and unwind. The local bazaar is full of colorful shops with local dry fruits, handicrafts, and a number of souvenir shops.

Shigar Skardu

3. Upper Kachura Lake

Beautiful Lake of all time with no seen source of water but always remains full, no source of water coming and leaving from the lake, the water looks very fresh surrounded by mountains, it’s 20 minutes walk from the parking lot to the Upper Kachura Lake. Speed boating is the real fascination and a Chinar tree standing in front of the lake. Trout fish is easily available in small restaurants with the pristine beauty of Upper Kachura Lake Skardu.

Best Season to Visit the Lake is June – November

Upper Kachura Lake Skardu

4. Shangrilla Lake and Resort

Shangri-la is located just 35 minutes away from Skardu. The resort is built along a beautiful lake, which is surrounded by the most enchanting and splendid scenic beauty. One may stay here, take a boat ride, or trekking to the hills nearby. It offers perfect peace to visitors especially in summers amidst a comfortable cool climate and a fresh breeze blowing across the tiny retreat.

Shangrilla Resort and Lake

5. Kharpucho Fort

There are many archaeological sites found in the Northern Areas, particularly in Skardu and Kharpocho Fort is one of them. It is built by Maqpon Bugha (1490-1515 A.D) but the Mughal historians refer it to the great Ali Sher Khan Anchan (1560-1625 A.D). The fort stands on the bank of River Indus in the Skardu and the city can be viewed from the fort. The fort is illuminated at night and it seems as if the olden days get revived. Some observations about this fort have been found in the Imperial Gazetteer of British India, which state that this was one of the most famous of the Gralpos (Monarchs of Skardu), Ali Sher Khan, who ruled over the region till the end of the 16th century, conquered Ladakh and Skardu; and he built a fort at Skardu.

Skardu Fort

6. Buddha Rock

This is the only remaining Buddhist Rock, with rock carvings, located on the Satpara road in the Skardu. The rock carvings and images of Buddha are dated back to the period of the Great Tibetan Empire when the people migrated from Tibet to present-day Northern Areas of Pakistan. They settled here temporarily and carved drawings of Stupas, scenes of their experiences, and images of Buddha with Kharoshti language transcript. There were a number of such Buddhist rock carvings in the Skardu Valley. The sculpture of Buddha and his disciples are 2000 years old. It was a place of worship for Buddhists till the mid of 14th century A.D. There are scriptures of Buddha o the Rock.

Buddha Rock Skardu

7. Nasdoq / Organic Village

Nansoq Village is located behind the famous Kharpocho Fort. It has been developed into an Organic Village through the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP). The village is visited by many famous personalities including Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and His Highness Aga Khan.

Organic Village Skardu

8. Sadpara Lake

Sadpara (Satpara) Lake is located 8 kilometers (5 miles), in the South of Skardu, and takes just 20 minutes by jeep to get there. It is surrounded by high mountains. The lake has an island in the mid of its clear water, which can be reached by boat. The lake is ideal for fishing and home of wild birds migrated from Siberia. Sadpara Dam is also a source of hydroelectricity and freshwaters supply to adjacent areas.

Sadpara Lake Skardu

9. Deosai Plains

The roof ground of the world, an astonishingly different world, immense grassland, and moraine surrounded by the world’s largest plains with brown bears, here bigness is a trademark. Here each day’s travel brings constant revelation the magic of incomparable vistas, breathtaking views of snow, jade lakes, murmuring streams, dancing waterfalls, dynamic and colorful cultures, and rare wildlife.

Deosai Plains Skardu

10. Manthoka Waterfall

Beautiful waterfall attracted in both seasons, Summers and Winters, In winters due to minus temperatures waterfall completely frozen down.

Manthoka Waterfall

 List of Top 10 Places to visit in Skardu

  1. Khaplu
  2. Shigar
  3. Upper Kachura
  4. Shangrilla Lake and Resort
  5. Kharpuchu Fort
  6. Buddha Rock
  7. Nasdoq/Organic Village
  8. Sadpara Lake
  9. Deosai Plains
  10. Manthoka Waterfalls


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chilas travel guide


Chilas is a small town, located in the Gilgit-Baltistan Region in Pakistan, on the left bank of River Indus. It is 375 kilometres (233 miles) away from Islamabad and the journey takes 8 hours and 45 minutes approximately. It is connected through Karakoram Highway (KKH) to the rest of the country, from the South via Dassu, Besham, Mansehra, Abbottabad and Haripur; and in the North, it is connected to the Chinese cities of Kashgar and Tashkurgan en-route to Gilgit, Sost and the Khunjerab Pass.

Historical Records:

More than 50,000 samples of Rock Art (Petroglyphs) are found all along the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Gilgit-Baltistan including Chilas, some of these dated back to 5000 and 1000 BC. Chilas has a recorded history of arrival of business delegates, trade merchants and Buddha pilgrimages from across the borders, for thousands of years. It has been remained a hub for holidaymakers from the ancient times.



The weather of Chilas is dry, hot in the summers and cold in the winters.


It can be reached through Karakoram Highway (KKH). The alternate route is from Kaghan Valley through Babusar Pass. Foreign tourists must get permit for travelling to Chilas, from the relevant authorities.

Hotels in Chilas:

Hotel Shangri-La Indus View Hotel:

  • Total 7 Rooms
  • Marbled Bathrooms
  • Hot & Cold Water
  • Efficient Room Service
  • Traditional Wood Panelled Fireplace
  • Well-Decorated with Rugs
  • Restaurant Garden
  • Main Bazar, Chilas


Chilas Inn Hotel:

  • 12 Spacious Rooms
  • Elegantly Furnished
  • Air Conditioned Rooms
  • Vast Garden
  • Main Bazar, Chilas


Panorama Hotel:

  • Total 24 Rooms
  • Main Bazar Chilas
  • Basic Standard


Grace Continental Hotel:

  • Total 11 Rooms
  • Basic Standard
  • Main Bazar, Chilas


Shangri-La Motel, Panorama Hotel and Restaurant Chilas, are famous accommodations in the Chilas Valley. There is another appropriate place to stay, is FWO (Frontier Works Organization).


Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan

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Pakistan is blessed with so many world famed places by the nature. Be it the Northern Areas or Kashmir Region; its tourist places are famous all around the world because of sky-high Mountains, lush green Valleys, mighty Rivers, beautiful Lakes and rare wildlife treasured-forests. The Paradise on Earth ‘Neelum Valley’, mini Switzerland, ‘Swat Valley’ and Mountain Kingdom ‘Hunza Valley’ are the major tourist attractions in Pakistan.

Below is the list of Best Ten Places in Pakistan.


  1. Neelum Valley:

Neelum Valley is a 144 kilometres long bow-shaped Valley in Azad Kashmir. The Valley is situated in the North and North-East of Muzaffarabad, Capital of Azad Kashmir, on the bank of Neelum River, in Himalayan Mountain Range. Neelum Valley is one of the most attractive tourist places with its lush greenery, springs, streams, lakes and sloppy mountains. Some of its famous sites are; Athmuqam, Kundal Shahi, Kutton/Jagran, Dowarian, Jura, Karen, Neelum, Shounter Lake, Ratti Galli, Saral Lake, Baboon, Noori Top, Tehjian, Sharda, Sharda Fort, Sharda University (The Oldest University of Sub-Continent) Kel, Arrange Kel, Surgan, Halmet, Taobut etc.

neelum valley

Tour Packages of Neelum Valley 5 Days 4 Nights

    1. Hunza Valley:

The Hunza Valley is a mountainous Valley, located in the Gilgit–Baltistan Region. It was a former Princely State. Hunza Valley is situated on the Northern and Western banks of the Hunza River, at an elevation of 2,500 metres. The Valley has three Regions

  1. Upper Hunza (Gojal)
  2. Central Hunza; and
  3. Lower Hunza.

hunza valley

Some of the beautiful places of Hunza Valley are; Rakaposhi Base Camp; Diran Base Camp; Hoper Glacier; Passue and Gulmit; Khunjrab Pass; Atta Abad Lake and Nagar Valley.


  1. Swat Valley:

Swat Valley is situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan and lies in the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. Swat Valley is known as a Mini Switzerland of Pakistan and its tourist attractions include; Mahodand Valley & Lake, Ushu Valley & Ushu Forest, Malam Jabba, Madyan, Kalam Valley, Boner, Dir.

kalam, swat valley

  1. Kalash Valley:

Kalash Valley is one of the major tourist attractions and situated in the Chitral District of Pakistan. Kalash is a very old Greek Civilization, it belongs to old tribes and it has its own religion and culture. The culture of the Valley is a unique and amazing. These villages are located at the banks of the streams and rivers, and the houses are constructed in the rough log-shaped. Kalash are cheerful people and they celebrate many festivals; like Uchal Festival, Phoo Festival and Chomos Festival.

kalash valley

  1. Kaghan Valley:

Kaghan Valley is a beautiful Valley lies in the North-East of the Mansehra District. It attracts a number of tourists each year from all over Pakistan as well as from abroad. Laying in lower Himalayan Mountain Range, is the most charming tourist Resort. There are many beautiful and attractive places like Shogran, Jared, Naran, Lake Saif-ul-Malook, Lake Dudipatsar, Lake Lulu Sar, Babusar Pass.

kaghan valley

  1. Murree Hills:

Murree is a summer hill station and resort. Murree was the summer capital of the Punjab Province during British Rule. People want to go there in summers to enjoy its beautiful scenery and in winters for an amazing experience of snowfall. Bhurban and Patriata are main tourist attractions. Galliat has fascinating greenery and scenic beauty and other picnic points are; Dunga Gali, Muskpuri Hill, Nathia Gali, Bara Gali, Jhika Gali and the Mall Road.

murree hills

  1. Shandur Pass:

Shandur is the highest Polo Ground on the face of the earth. It is about 3,738 metres above sea level and lies between Chitral and Gilgit. Shandur Polo Festival is held here every year, which is the biggest tourist attraction of the Region. The polo ground is about 168 Kilometres from the main town of Chitral and accessible by jeep. The road remains closed during winters, due to heavy snowfall.

shandur top


  1. Rawalakot

Rawalakot is a beautiful place in Azad Kashmir and it is the District Headquarter of Poonch Division. It is popularly known as Pearl Valley and it is located 80 kilometres away from Rawalpindi/Islamabad. Rawalakot is a summer Resort, while in winters it remains cold and chilly. The main tourist attractions are; Banjosa Lake; Toli Pir; Poonch River; Tatta Pani.


  1. Ziarat:

Ziarat is the capital of District Ziarat in Balochistan, Pakistan. Ziarat is a famous holiday resort and a hill station. The hills around are thick and picturesque. A trip to Quetta is incomplete without a visit to Ziarat. It is famous for Quaid’s residency. It remains quite cool during summers and receives plenty of snowfall during the winters.


  1. Jhelum Valley:

This is an ideal Valley of Azad Kashmir. The curling river Jhelum passes through the East to West, between the high green mountains. Leepa Valley is the most beautiful, fascinating and loveliest Valley in Azad Kashmir. Its lush green rice fields in summers and typical wooden Kashmiri houses present a wonderful look to the visitors of the area. Walnut, Apple, Cherry and honey of Leepa are very popular and in great demand. The famous sites of the Jhelum Valley are; Peer Chinasi, Chikar, Sudhan Gali, Chinari, Dao Khan, Leepa, Chakothi, Ghari Dopatta, Chakothi-Cham fall and Zilzal Lake.


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Why Neelum valley trending more then Swat/Naran/Skardu/Murree ?

Pakistan Travel Guide analyzes data of tourists, which part of Northern areas is more trending for summer vacations, we manage hundreds of tours and analyzed that Neelum Valley is one of best tourist destination for summers.

Reasons of tourist trends for Neelum Valley

1. Cheap accommodations

If we compare Neelum Valley with Naran KPK  then the prices are like as;

Hotel rates in June-August at NARAN  PKR 5000/- to 25000/-

Hotel rates in June-August at Neelum Valley PKR 1500/- to 5000/-

 2.  Easily Approachable

Neelum Valley is easily approachable , road conditions are good, you need 6 to 5 days to explore complete Neelum Valley, AJK tourism offer guidelines for tourists about routes/tourist huts/food restaurants. Naran opens for very little period of time and you don’t had much to explore as compared to Neelum Valley. 3 days are more then enough for visiting complete Naran Valley.

3. More Lakes then Naran

Neelum Valley blessed with 200 plus lakes but Naran had only one lake approachable named Saiful Malook, Neelum Valley lakes are far more beautiful and unexplored. RattiGali Lake is one of the famous lake of Neelum Valley just like Saif ul Malook Lake.

 4. Lush Greenery

Lush Greenery over the neelum river makes the valley more beautiful as compared to Naran and Swat.

5. Security 

Security is one of the biggest factor of tourist rush towards Neelum Valley, as media highlights taliban issues at Swat, Hunza route security issues, Naran Kaghan Glacier Issues.


Disclaimer : This opinion could be right or wrong, it’s based on trends we are having from tourists each year.

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