Earlier this morning, in a conversation with my family about all the places we’d been to and explored in our lives, it dawned on me how much of our country we left unexplored. While there are places we’ve been to, there’s so much more out there. So, in that spirit, I thought I’d document my trip to Skardu, a few years ago. It is probably the most memorable trip I have taken in Pakistan.
We started our trip by reaching the Skardu airport, which is located between the hills in a valley, which makes the approach of the flight, not the most straight forward one. From there, we made our way to the Shangrila.
We had to travel through Balististan to get from Skardu to Shangrila resort. Baltistan is relatively urbanised with proper roads and shops, which means you can shop for some ethnic garnets, rubies and pashmina along the way but you’d find most other places don’t have the best roads and drive is a rather adventurous one. Having said that, it’s nothing new for the drivers there; so there’s not much to worry about.
Expect driving from over lakes and along the cliffs. It’s the closest you get to heaven in this world. At Shangrila resort you can enjoy a nice meal in a hut surrounded by water (I don’t remember the food being very exceptional though), in a valley between the mountains. Many people also choose to stay there for a few days.
Our next stop was Upper Kachura, where there are more lakes and nature waiting to be explored. The best thing about the place is that not many people come this far, so it is impeccably calm. Here at Upper Kachura, I saw the most beautiful lake in my life. The only comparison I could make with that water is of a mirror. Given the bitter cold weather (and the water) I didn’t dare take a swim, but the cold didn’t keep my father and brother from taking a dip. It’s a swim they will remember for life.
In this area, they say the fruit grows itself, they don’t have to plant seeds or irrigate the area. So, it is not a surprise that no one will stop you from just picking an apple, pear or apricot from the trees and enjoying the most juicy and sweet fruit ever. There’s lots of amazing dry fruit you could buy too.
A little drive away from Skardu, is the Shigar Fort. This was build back in the 17th century and has been restored and well-kept, thankfully. They have also converted some of the rooms into residences, where you could hire the room to experience royal life back in the days.
On our last few days in Skardu, we paid a visit to the Satpara dam, which was still under construction as that time. I am not quite sure what the situation is like anymore. But it was quite a drive and view.
By the end of the trip, we all had experienced nature like we had never before. But this only reminds of all the amazing places I haven’t explored yet, including Kaghan, Naran, Nanga Parbat, Kashmir – Perhaps, they should be next on my list?!