Ghizer District is the westernmost district in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Home to some spectacular scenery, high altitude passes and lakes, and the legendary Shandur Polo Festival, Ghizer District is truly the land of adventure. Below you can find all you need to know to make the best of your trip to Ghizer District with our Ghizer district travel guide.
Best time to visit Ghizer District
Due to its elevation and geography, Ghizer District can be a cold and unforgiving place. The best time to visit Ghizer District is in summer. The Shandur Polo Festival is held in the first week of July at the Shandur Pass, which straddles the border of Ghizer Dsitrict and Chitral Districts in KPK.
Best things to do in Ghizer District
Ghizer District is truly the land of adventure. Remote, rugged, and absolutely gorgeous, this land is waiting to be explored. Below are some of our favorite destinations in Ghizer District.
The capital of Ghizer District, and a great base for exploring the region, especially the Punyal Valley, in which it’s located. Gahkuch is surrounded by spectacular scenery, has a decent bazar where you can stock up on supplies, and has some reasonable hotels and guesthouses.
This valley separates the Karakorum and Himalayan mountain ranges and is 65 km from Gahkuch. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and a perfect getaway for hikers and trekkers. Home to alpine meadows and beautiful glaciers, and Ilmit, an important town for those wishing to organize multi-day treks, there is great potential for tourists here. Another great spot is Borth, where you can camp and go on small hikes.
Chilengi Pass trek
This 5-day trek starts from the village of Matramdan-Ishkoman in the Ishkoman Valley. The jeep road ends at Matramdan and from there starts 5 days trek. The trail crosses a footbridge to the Krumber River and after the crossing of Chilengi glacier, this trek leads Baba Ghondi Shrine, the uppermost part of Chapursan valley in District Gilgit. It’s advised to do this trek with a local guide unless you’re an experienced trekker.
If you go on the Chilengi Pass trek you’ll pass through the Krumber Valley, but it’s also a great place to explore by itself. Krumber houses one of the largest alpine meadows in the Northern Areas and used to be an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage route from Afghanistan and Wakhan corridor. Another trek passing through this valley is from Naltar(Gilgit) to Pakora Asumbar (Ishkoman) and Barkulti, (Yasin-Ghizer). This is relatively easy trek passing through villages in upper Ishkoman valley and some settlements along the way.
Home to Gupis Fort, Khatli Lake, stone circles of megaliths, and Shingalote village, this is a great stop between Gilgit and Chitral, as it’s on the way to the Shandur Pass. A PTDC Motel is available at Gupis.
Yasin Valley is home to plenty of natural splendor and several historically significant passes. Darkot is a small village in the Yasin Valley and the name of a pass linking Chitral with Ghizer District. Darkot holds historical significance because several historical figures and armies used this pass in the past. Sandi is the largest village in Yasin Valley and is famous for a fort from the time of Gohar Aman.
One of the north’s most famous valleys sometimes referred to as ‘Little Kashmir’, Phander is easily reached from Gilgit or Chitral. The valley is home to Phander Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the region, and famous for its trout fish.
Connecting Chitral in KPK with Ghizer in Gilgit Baltistan, this pass is home to the legendary Shandur Polo Festival. Every first week of July teams from KPK and GB come together for an epic match of polo.
Best places to stay in Ghizer District
Most valleys have small rest houses or camping sites set up in season. If you organize your own camping trip, make sure to bring enough supplies and dispose of your trash properly.
- Mid-range: Hotel Green Palace – Surrounded by lush gardens, this place offers decent amenities and boasts a great location. Food is available but costly.
- Budget: Lake View Guest House – Basic budget accommodation run by a friendly manager. Next to the PCO phone tower and across from the, now defunct, Phander Rest House.
- Budget: Lake Inn Phander – Halfway between the PTDC and Lake View, this places offers reasonable rooms and basic amenities.
- Mid-range: PTDC Phander Valley – At the edge of Phander Lake, this PTDC offers a superb location and decent amenities.
- Mid-range: PTDC Motel Gupis – Close to Khalti Lake, this place offers everything you can expect from a PTDC Motel.
- Mid-range: Shandur Guest House – Basic accommodation near the Shandur Pass. Good value considering the remote location.
- Sada Bahar Hotel – A little further down Shandur Pass, towards Phander Valley, this hotels offers basic amenities and good food. Run by a friendly family.
Best places to eat in Ghizer District
Most hotels and guest houses have food available. Bigger cities and towns will have tea stalls and small eateries for a quick bite, but don’t expect fine dining options. Bring your own supplies if you go camping.
How to get to and from Ghizer District
Ghizer District can be reached from either Chitral in KPK or Gilgit in Gilgit District. Note that these roads are winding and that drivers who aren’t experienced in driving on mountains roads should be extra careful.
The intrepid soul can walk to Ghizer from either Chitral or Gilgit District. There are several passes in the area, and we suggest you find a local guide who knows the region. Maps are unreliable.