The north of Pakistan is full of adventures and amazing natural beauty. Besides holding the landscapes, few activities like trekking, snow-skidding, white water rafting, mountain and desert jeep safaris, camel and yak safaris, trucking, and bird watching make Pakistan an attractive place for everyone.
Hunza comes first in our mind whenever we talk about the northern beauty of Pakistan. Tourists from around the globe call it Shangri-La because of its scenic views. There are many places to see in Hunza, such as the Baltit and Altit Forts, Eagle’s Nest, etc.
Traveling further from Hunza will leave you to places like Attabad Lake, Hussaini Bridge or you can head towards the world’s highest border Khunjerab.
Here is a travel guide to help you get to these places.
How To Get To These Places?
Attabad Lake is situated at a short distance of 28 Km from Karimabad (the capital of Hunza) which takes about one hour. For reaching there you must have some kind of transport. You can rent a car from Karimabad which charges around 1500-2000 PKR per day, for one way drop, along with a driver. If you want to enjoy your ride you can rent a bike or bicycle you can rent them for a day at 2000 and 1500 PKR respectively. But relying on bikes/cycles requires your stamina if you have any plan to travel further from Attabad Lake.
Traveling Through KKH
Driving down from Hunza will let you travel on Karakorum highway toward China. It is a well-managed and well-constructed highway with the warning signs of possible land sliding at some places. Karakorum highway, also called KKH, is known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, due to its high altitude and difficult conditions under which it was built. While traveling on this carpeted road you get to see the beautiful mountain ranges on one side, while there is a deep valley with picturesque views of the Hunza River on the other side, which makes the journey memorable.
You will also get to the 6 tunnels that were constructed after the main Karakoram Highway was submerged by land sliding. These tunnels span for seven kilometers and are an impressive feat of engineering – something you will see in Pakistan nowhere else.
After an hour’s drive from Karimabad, you will witness a beautiful spot, Attabad Lake. This huge lake of Gojal valley is full of spectacular blue water; the color that you might have never seen in your lives. It is the largest lake of Gilgit, Baltistan region surrounded by mighty mountains and glaciers. It was formed as a result of the water blockage of the Hunza River during land sliding in January 2010. This land sliding led to the death of 20 people and transformed the region’s landscape. At the same moment, it is eerie and tragic to know that the magnificent Attabad Lake was born of such a calamity.
Things to do in Attabad Lake
- Jet Skiing
Hussaini Suspension Bridge
Another attraction in the Gojal valley for travel junkies is the Hussaini Suspension bridge. It is marked as one of the most dangerous bridges in the world. In 1960, then Pakistani President Ayub Khan went to Zarabad to hunt and ordered the authorities to construct a suspension bridge. The bridge links Zarabad hamlet to the Hussaini village across the Hunza River. This long rope bridge has many planks in it and the strong wind shakes the bridge as you cross it. Despite having a scary appearance, this is a safe bridge that attracts the tourists and hikers to test their nerves while crossing their way.
Journey Towards Khunjerab
Continue traveling through KKH from Attabad Lake will lead you to Khunjerab border. If you are planning to travel from Hunza then you have to set early for it because it requires a three to four-hour drive to reach Khunjerab. On your way to Khunjerab their lies a frontier post known as Sost. It is one and a half-hour drive from Hunza and is the last station of Pakistan before China. While passing through Sost you will observe the changing of landscapes and terrain. The mountains start appearing barren with little to no vegetation until the gate to the Khunjerab Pass eventually becomes clear. There is a progressive ascent until the Khunjerab pass Gate is finally seen.
It is the highest point on the Karakorum highway at 4733 meters and the widest paved international border crossings having the world’s highest ATM. It is the highest border that connects the north of Pakistan to the south of China. This is a serene place with welcoming cold winds from China. You will find this border with no barbed wire of any kind.
Surrounding the place is Khunjerab National Park. It is a great place to witness wild animals such as Himalayan ibex, blue sheep, Marco Polo sheep, and yolks. Because of high altitude and a shortage of oxygen, you may feel shortness in your breaths after walking a little.