This is the second part of three articles series by a Thai girl in Hunza valley, Pakistan. She visited Hunza 2017 and shares her experience with our readers in “Hunza Through foreign Eyes” section of our blog. Read the first part of this series on Upside Down in Pakistan – Thai Girl in Hunza.
Our 13-day journey along the Karakoram Highway, the longest highway in the world, started from Islamabad and continues along Bisham, Chilas, Nanga Parbat, Gilgit, Karimabad, Hunza Valley, Gulmit, and Chiporsun. Then we returned to back to starting point, Bangkok.
1. Travel to Pakistan and KKH Ride
We took a plane from Suvarnabhumi to Islamabad. When we got off the plane, we went through the immigration checkout, waiting for our luggage, and then we went out to find a guide. Sayed, our guide in Pakistan, greeted us before we took the van. Driving here is very similar to India. If you have ever been to India, you can guess. There are horns all over, which is a way to ask for the way.
We took a van throughout our trip. It is a great option for the uphill areas and where roads were narrow, we used a 4×4 Willys Jeep. They are very common in the mountainous regions of Pakistan. The first day we rode for about 20 hours have been extremely tired. However, it was refreshing to see the amazing landscape.
On our way on KKH, we had watermelons. They were very tasty and we ate it together with the guide and driver. It was sweet. We often had tea and meals at the small restaurants on the highway. Thanks to the kindness of the Pakistani people, they were very nice to us and made us feel home with smiles on face.
2. Fairy Meadows
We took a jeep from KKH to Raikot town. From there onwards to Fairy Meadows, there is a trekking that takes about 4-5 hours, depending on the pace of each walk. It was quite sunny and hot.
As soon as you start to walk, the air will cool down. When you reach the top, it’s quite cold and good view. A policeman was on patrol with us. The local administration provides police with every foreign group.
When we reached Fairy Meadows, some people made local tea and green tea for us to drink. We were hungry but instead waited for dinner and made a lot of pictures.
We stayed there for two nights. We saw the local life of shepherds and boys playing cricket. I had never seen this game. The accommodation was very nice with a beautiful view of green pasture, stream and snow covered mountains. It was like a European country. We did not get warm water and a fireplace in the room. The hotels here are not very expensive with a lot of facilities. We had to manage anyway.
We took pictures in the meadows with our guide. There was a small pond in the pasture. The next day we had to go to Nanga Parbat Base Camp but we stopped on the way because it was going to be high altitude with no proper gear. We had fresh water from spring streams. It was nice.
3. Khunjerab Pass
It is also known as PAK-China border. The mountains of northern Pakistan and the city of Xinjiang in southwestern China meet here. The air was cold and the wind blows all the time. It is recommended to prepare a good windbreaker outside of the border. We took a lot a lot of pictures because the scenery was so good. We spent a few hours there.
When we got down, we found a snow leopard. For the first time in my life, I saw a snow leopard. We’ve seen white tigers but this was so pretty. It was unlucky that it was in a cage.
4. Indigenous people in Pakistan
I want to say that the reality in Pakistan is different from what we think and imagine. The mood of the guests. The people are friendly, handsome, pretty skin, sharp eyes.
We saw a lot of young boys, I told my friend if we can take pictures. Our guide said you can take pictures of boys but ask the girls before taking pictures. Most of them speak English. Most men and children will not have problems with pictures but some women are young girls are conscious.
5. Pakistani costumes
Mostly, the Pakistani people are Muslims. As Muslims, they wear simple, light-weight dresses. Women do not put gold jewelry. As we rode on the road, there were mostly males. Because women often work in the house mostly. The male costume is very minimal. You should buy some local clothes and wear during your tour. It looks nice and comfortable.
In Hunza, we visited Altit Fort and Baltit Fort. They are nice historical places. In Baltit Fort, there are shops for traditional handwoven items. They are very colorful and great designs.
6. Passu Glacier Trek
The next day we asked our guide if we can go to the glacier. When we reached the car parking at the entrance of something like a stone built a house with a tree full of no see of the sign glacier. We turned to ask the guide asked immediately where the glacier is. The guide said we have to hike.
After a small hike, we saw the glacier. It was aaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing! The blue sky, mountains, and glacier; an amazing sight. We did trekking for a few hours. It was hot but with a cool breeze.
In almost 2 hours, we reached the top of the mountain. The guide had promised to show more glacier because we were excited. When reached the top, we asked the guide where is the glacier? He said we were walking on it all the way up. We were surprised. It was amazing.
When crossing the glacier, I slipped and got bruises on my leg. We were not prepared for advanced trekking. We returned back and the guide helped us hiking down the glacier. It was fun.
If you visit Pakistan, you must visit the glaciers. It is a bit heard but really fun. So far, there is nothing I’m regretting. Fun everywhere.
7. Attabad Lake
Attabad Lake is on the Karakoram Highway while going from Karimabad to Khunjerab Pass. We really were hungry but it was Ramadan so there were no hotels open. It is a month for Muslims fast. Most restaurants are closed there. We had to eat butter dairy cakes in the car instead while having a beautiful view of Attabad Lake. The color of water is turquoise which makes it really beautiful. We took a lot of photos here as well.
But let’s say that the lake we can not play it. We can only look down from He stands beside us only. But we are not
8. Passu Cathedral
Passu Cones or Passu Cathedral is a mountain in the shape of a sloping castle. You can see it right from Karakoram Highwaywhen you reah Passu. You can also see river Hunza and Passu Glacier. It is a great sight.
There is a beaufiul suspension wooden bridge. It is a nice place to get good photos. You can be creative with you ideas but try not to spend more time on the bridge. It’s quite dangerous and water flow is very strong.
9. A Local Hunza Home
We went to a local home with our guide and had a meal with them. His family is very cute. They make a long powdered flour bread with milk powder here, it is called a Jardin, which is a native food. It was quite salty. You can eat with curry.
We were quite surprised that the family had salty tea. I had never had a salty tea before but people here prefer salty tea over sweet tea. After that, we went out to the village, which was really beautiful.
Chiporsun is another village in Hunza. We saw many things that were strage to us. The road is quite dangerous but less dangerous than the road for Fairy Meadows. The weather was very good. We strolled in the town and made pictures with cute Hunza people.
11. Back to Hunza
Our ride back from Chiporsun was very adventurous. There was road block and we waited for a long time. But then we had to move on foot and cross the stream. We did it and local people helped us. It was really amazing.
12. Back Home
Our diver was very skillful. Our guide Sayed led us well and we enjoyed the trip very much. We had to head back to Islamabad because our visa was expiring and we were not in a position to extend.
The experience has been very beautiful. I hope you read this post and make your mind to visit Hunza valley one day.