Lahore to Gilgit Skardu and Hunza by road - Travel Pakistan

Mar 31, 2014

Lahore to Gilgit Skardu and Hunza by road

Lahore to Islamabad 

The best way to reach Gilgit-Baltistan from Lahore is via by air, for which one has to reach Islamabad because there is no flight which operates directly among Lahore, Gilgit, and Skardu. 
To reach there by road is the same i.e first one has to reach in Islamabad or Rawalpindi from here there are dozens of transport agencies of best qualities including NATCO Daewoo buses.


Normally it takes 4  and half hour to reach Islamabad from Lahore. After reaching there, one can reserve the seat for Gilgit, Skardu, and Hunza which are the main hub of tourists. The main reservation office of the NATCO is at the Pirwadhai bus stand but it has a reservation office at the I-11/4 Faqir Aipee road in Islamabad too. One can reserve the seats from both of these offices and buses operate from both terminals to Gilgit-Baltistan. 
Other transport agencies have their reservation offices at the general bus stand Pirwidhai, the list of them is given at the end of this page.
If you have your own conveyance and you want to travel from Lahore to Gilgit, Skardu, and Hunza then again it is the same, you need to reach Islamabad first because there are no roads which link the Gilgit-Baltistan with Lahore directly. Gilgit-Baltistan is in the north and has to pass through the KPK to reach there. 

Islamabad to Gilgit, Skardu, and Hunza

What are the possible routes?

By road journey from Islamabad or Rawalpindi to Gilgit and Skardu is one of the adventurous and enjoyable journeys of the world, because departing from Islamabad to Skardu or Gilgit the vehicles pass from scenic wonderlands and panoramic valleys i.e almost all the beautiful places of the KPK. There are two routes to reach Gilgit-Baltistan from Islamabad or Rawalpindi. One is directly through KKH (Karakorum Highway) which is named as N35. If you follow this route you will see the beautiful places of KPK like Mansehra, Abbottabad, Batgram, Chatarplane, Patan and Bisham etc.


Karakorum Highway passing through the Gilgit-Baltistan 

Another way is same from Islamabad to Mansehra city of KPK but from here it follows the national highway named as N15. If you follow this route that also meets to KKH at Chilas District of Gilgit-Baltistan, you will see the most beautiful and panoramic places of Pakistan i.e. Naran and Kaghan valley and Babusar Top of Gilgit-Baltistan. You can see the map below to understand the route better.

Major cities and towns along the route»

Route 1 
Islamabad » Taxila» Haripur » Abbottabad » Mansehra »  Batgram» Thakot » Bisham » Dasu   » Chilas »  Gilgit » Skardu  
Route 2  
Islamabad » Taxila» Haripur » Abbottabad » Mansehra » Balakot » Mahandri »Kagahn » Naran  » Chilas » Gilgit » Skardu 


You will never forget the journey and will be proud of it which you have made through worlds highest road network, KKH (Karakoram Highway) passing through worlds three mightiest ranges of mountains (The Himalayas emerging from India and Nepal, the Karakorum from north Pakistan and Hindukush from Afghanistan).

Departing from Islamabad or Rawalpindi the more you cover the distance the more you will be going higher and higher towards the land of Peaks.   
It takes about 4 or four and half hours to reach Mansehra and vehicle, whatever you have chosen, will make a stop for tea or meal depending upon the time of departure. After that, passing through green carpeted lands of KPK you will reach the Besham City. Here the vehicles will make a stop for meal or tea.  From here the KKH will be following every twist and turn of the Indus River. Now passing through Kohistan, the last district of KPK, you will be hugged by the Peaks of Gilgit-Baltistan. Entering the Diamer District you will reach at district headquarter, Chilas. Mostly the vehicles depart late noon, in that case, you will be in Chilas for breakfast but if you have left Islamabad before noon you will be at Jougloat for breakfast. After departing from here you will reach a junction separating ways of Gilgit and Skardu. 

If you are going to Gilgit it will take about a half an hour to reach Gilgit city from this junction. But if you are determined to go to Skardu you will have to cover 200 km more. It will take about four to five hours to reach Skardu. On the way towards Skardu, the vehicle will make a stop for lunch at  PTDC motel Stak Valley which will be the last tea or meal.  Now, after 2 and half hours, you will reach Skardu city and will be enjoying the beautiful weather and places of Skardu.

Junction of Indus and Gilgit River from where ways of Skardu and Gilgit split

A close view of Skardu Road across the Gilgit River

Going to Hunza

If you are interested in going to Hunza, there are two ways to reach there. First is, if you buy a direct ticket, the vehicle will carry you directly to Hunza passing through Gilgit city. Second is, if you buy a ticket for Gilgit city the vehicle will make last stop at the Gilgit city and from here you can go there by yourself which is about one and a half to two hours drive from the Gilgit city.
The way to Hunza is same as to Gilgit i.e vehicle passing through Gilgit reaches Hunza. 

How long does it take to reach Gilgit and Skardu from Islamabad? 

Mostly people ask this question, so here is the answer. For Gilgit, it takes 18-20 hours and for Skardu, it takes 24-26 hours in normal traffic and if there hasn't been any temporary blockade. 
Nowadays the Karakoram Highway is under maintenance and the work from the China border to the periphery of Chilas city has been completed. Therefore travel time from Chilas city to the Gilgit city has been reduced as compare to the earlier times. But the condition of KKH from Chilas city to the Bisham city of KPK is not satisfactory. Also, the Gilgit-Skardu road is in a dilapidated condition and there are talks of reconstruction of the road.
Once you are in Gilgit and Skardu you can visit other cities as well from these two, these two cities are accessible via by air travel as well. From Gilgit, you can visit all cities of Gilgit-Baltistan in different directions. It will take 5 hours for Skardu, about 2 hours for Hunza and Nagar, 2 hours for Ghizer and about 3-4 hours for Astore and Chilas. 

List of Transport Agencies
There is no shortage of transport agencies. You will have your own choice of vehicle. Also, you may take rental vehicles for private use to reach Gilgit or Skardu.
For more information, you can visit Stations and Terminals.
The list of transport agencies are:
NATCO (Northern Areas Transport Corporation) 
Mshabrum Tours
Himalaya Tours
K2 Tours

6 comments:

  1. thanks for comprehensive detail.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What is the best route to rech hunza if i want to travel on my own car ???
    Can you please tell me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What is the best route to rech hunza if i want to travel on my own car ???
    Can you please tell me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Islamabad to naran kaghan babusar top jaglot gilgit hunza

      Delete
  4. Thanks for providing such useful information. Thanks a lot !

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have visited Skardu and Khaplu.Shanghrilla Garden is marvellous in Skardu. While touring towards Skardu road blokages are experienced. While flights between Skardu and Islamabad are discontinued for several days.

    ReplyDelete

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