Ghanche is the gateway to several high altitude peaks. None of these peaks are in Ghanche district, so most people just travel trough Ghanche without giving it much notice. Ghanche is the eastern most district of Gilgit-Baltistan, and borders China and Kashmir. Although Ghanche lacks the major drawing power other districts have, there is plenty to explore for adventure travelers and history lovers alike.
Best time to visit Ghanche District
The best time to visit Ghanche District is in spring and summer.
Best things to do in Ghanche District
Ghanche District is the gateway to several high peaks, including as K2 and Broad Peak. However, Ghanche District itself if often ignored by tourist due to it’s lack of mainstream tourist attractions. This is a shame, as the district boasts spectacular scenery, and houses historically significant architecture. Here are just a few of the best things to do in Ghanche District.
The district capital is historically significant. Situated at the confluence of the Indus and the Shyok Rivers, its first recorded mention was in the 16th century by the renowned military general Mirza Haidar.
Khaplu is home to the 700 year old Chaqchan Mosque, which has been listed as a Pakistan Heritage Site.
Another famous site is Khaplu Palace. The palace, which houses a hotel, was build in the 19th century, and was completely renovated between 2005 and 2011 by the Aga Khan Trust.
Ghanche Lake, near Khapli, offer unrivaled views of several high peaks. The lake itself is situated at 4,600 meters above sea level. From the lake you can see K2, Broad Peak , Gashabrum-4, Gashabrum-3 , Hrnami Ka Peak, Tchogho Lingsa Peak, Gashabrum-2, K6, and K7.
Hushe Valley is blessed by a range of high peaks, including K6, 7, and 12. The valley is relatively untouched by tourism, and among the most beautiful valleys in Ghanche. There a very few facilities near the valley, so make sure to bring your own supplies.
A beautiful lake near the village of Kharfaq, on the Skardu Khaplu road. The water is crystal blue, and known for trout fish. It’s a pleasant place to camp.
Although Ghanche is mostly seen as a gateway to K2 and Broad Peak, it does house several high altitude peaks itself. These include K1, K6, and K12. Make sure to get an experienced local guide if you plan to conquer these peaks.
Best places to stay in Ghanche District
- Mid-range: Karakoram Lodge – Offers good facilities at decent rates. Great place to stay for families or groups of friends.
- Mid-range: PTDC Motel Khaplu – Another PTDC Motel, situated on the banks of the Shyok River. Decent facilities in a stately building.
- Luxury: Serena Khaplu Palace – Part of the famous Serena group of hotels, this hotel is housed in the historical Khaplu Palace.
If you wish to stay near any of the valleys, lakes or villages, it’s best to bring camping equipment, as facilities are limited.
Best places to eat in Ghanche District
Most hotels can arrange food, and villages have simple dining options. If you go out camping, you’ll need your own supplies.
How to get to Ghanche District
Ghanche District is only accessible by road. Khaplu is roughly 115 km east of Skardu, and it takes approximately 4 hours to get there from Skardu via the Shyok River Valley Road.