Four incredible reasons to travel the northern areas of Pakistan

Published: February 1, 2016

Ratti Gali lake, Neelum valley, Kashmir PHOTO: Sher Ali’s Photography

The northern areas of Pakistan are heaven for those who seek adventure. From the highest mountains of the world, to lush green valleys and pristine lakes, the north has it all. Our travel gem.

Here, I shall take you through a visual journey of my travelling experience through the north of Pakistan. After this, I am quite sure you will be setting up your itinerary.

1) Pristine lakes and solitude

Northern Pakistan has been blessed with some of the most beautiful lakes that one could ever imagine. My favourites so far have been Karomber lake, Chitta Katha lake and Saral lake. I was once able to explore 20+ lakes in a single trekking trip to Kaghan and the Neelum valleys. Some are very easily accessible – Saiful Malook lake, for example, makes one of the most tranquil camping sites – but others, like Rush Lake, require strenuous multi-day trekking.

Chitta Katha lake, Shounter valley, Kashmir, Pakistan

Ratti Gali lake, Neelum valley, Kashmir

Karomber lake, Ishkoman, Gilgit Baltistan

Ratti Gali lake, Neelum valley, Kashmir

Saral lake, Neelum valley, Kashmir

Solitude at Saral lake, Neelum valley, Kashmir

Fairy lake of Sat Sar Mala lakes series in Kaghan valley, K-P

Shandur lake, Chitral, K-P

2) Thrilling mountain passes

If you are one to appreciate a walk in true wilderness, then these mountain passes are your calling. Difficult to cross, these passes can test the most brave hearts out there. An average trek is about six to seven hours a day on varied terrains, so mountaineering experience would definitely be a good idea. In fact, to cross certain passes, experience is a prerequisite – especially if you plan on trekking through Gondogoro La, Haramosh La, Mazeno pass etc.

Gondogoro La (5940m), Karakoram, Gilgit Baltistan

Gondogoro La (5940m) trek, Vigne glacier, Karakoram, Baltistan

Darkot pass (4600m) connecting Yasin and Broghil valleys

Darkot pass (4600m), Yasin valley, Gilgit Baltistan

Shandur pass, Ghizer valley, Gilgit Baltistan

Babusar pass (4173m), Kaghan valley, K-P

Jabbah Gali pass, Neelum valley, Kashmir

Saral pass (4488m), Kaghan valley, K-P

Ratti Gali pass, Neelum valley, Kashmir

3) Strenuous treks

If it looks overwhelming to you right now, you will not believe what you see when you are standing right in the middle of all its glory. These majestic beauties will humble you to the concept of nature. They say you will leave behind your worries when you travel to the mountains – but I think that the mere opulence of these breath-taking mountains give you no choice but to pay attention to them. Every step is a one step closer to nature, one step closer to self-discovery, and in a very strange yet comprehensible way, one step closer to God. If you are will to take that first step – the rest will follow. I promise you.

Gondogoro La (5940m) top, Karakoram, Baltistan

Goro-II, Baltoro glacier, Karakoram, Baltistan

K2 base camp trek, Concordia, Karakoram, Baltistan

Karomber lake trek, Broghil valley, Chitral, K-P

Rawat, Darkot, Yasin valley, Gilgit Baltistan

On top of Gondogoro La 5940m, Karakoram, Baltistan

Herrligkoffer base camp, Rupal side of Nanga Parbat, Astore valley, Gilgit Baltistan

Tashain glacier, Mazeno base camp trek, Astore valley, Gilgit Baltistan

Mazeno base camp trek, Shigiri, Astore valley

Chikar, Broghil valley, Chitral, K-P

4) Short and quick adventures

To explain the adventure that you will behold, all I will do is quote W.B. Yeats,

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”

Dagri Bangla trek, Bhiran Gali, K-P

Gulpur waterfalls, Gulpur, Kotli, Kashmir

Loh-e-Dandi top, Margalla hills

Mushkpuri top, Nathia Gali, K-P

The adventure awaits your presence – don’t leave it hanging!

All photos: Sher Ali

This post originally appeared here.

Sher Ali Saafi

Sher Ali Saafi

The author is a software engineer by profession, avid traveler, hard core trekker, passionate landscape photographer and WordPress Rockstar. When not at work he can be found in the wilderness of northern areas of Pakistan. He tweets at @tsilenttraveler (twitter.com/tsilenttraveler). The author can be found on the following forums; Travel blog (thesilenttraveler.com/) Instagram account (instagram.com/sheraliphotography/) Facebook (facebook.com/sheraliphotography) Personal photography website (sheraliphotography.com/)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • lalla Lorry

    As far as i know Northern areas are disputed territory in UN resolution…as a pakistani i know this….I hope blogger do some research….Recommend

  • M. Aamir. M

    Amazing…!!!! I would see these amazing places in Pakistan rather the rest of the world!! Now am a student! Waiting for money :PRecommend

  • Ramchand

    You forgot! You are suppose to be Allah Hafiz! Changed
    to lalla Lorry now?. Your bad English gives you away.
    Same bad grammar, spacing, disjointed sentences, spelling errors..Recommend

  • ahsan

    Hahaha…..Jealous troll !!!Recommend

  • Rukhshan Meer

    May you get soonRecommend

  • Rukhshan Meer

    Wow. My beautiful PakistanRecommend