SKARDU-Skardu, a scenic valley with blue water and high mountains, is located at an elevation of over 7,300 feet (2,225 meters) in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The beauty of the valley is enhanced by its fresh spring water, delicious fruits, the blue water of the Indus River, historical sites, lakes, and pleasant weather, which attract tourists from around the world.
The city of Skardu is the main urban center and headquarters of the Skardu district, a strategic northern region of Pakistan bordering China, Afghanistan, and India.
The valley is known as a major tourism and trekking hub, and a gateway to four peaks towering over 8,000 meters high, attracting tourists, mountaineers, and trekkers from abroad.
Treks to Baltoro glaciers, K2 base camp
According to the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, five of the 14 highest independent peaks in the world over 8,000 meters in height are located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountains in northern Pakistan, including
K2 — the second-highest mountain in the world — Broad Peak, Gasherbrum, and Nanga Parbat. Four of these peaks are located in Skardu, while Nanga Parbat lies in the Diamer district of the Himalayas in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The valley remains a hub for global mountaineers from April to October during summer, while winter remains snowy and freezing in the area.
Tourist attractions in summer include Lake Kachura, the Mantokha waterfall, Sarfranga Cold Desert, Ft. Shigar, and the Buddha Rock in Skardu.
The majestic valley also has impressive glaciers in Baltoro, Gyari, and Gyong in the Siachen region.
The city of Skardu is located along the bank of Indus River, surrounded by mountains with no greenery and sand dunes. Near the city, the river is wide and still.
It is located a drive of some 25-30 hours from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, while by air it takes less than an hour. Daily flights by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) are offered, weather permitting.
Historic tourist spots
Ft. Shigar is located around 44 kilometers (27 miles) from Skardu on the route to the world’s second-highest mountain, K2.
The fort is built on a rock which was a palace of the raja of Shigar around 400 years ago, now transformed to a 20-room guest house for tourists with a hall and a museum of Balti culture.
The Shangri-La resort is another tourist spot in the valley, a unique resort set up on the banks of an artificial lake with shining blue water.