Skardu is one of the top tourist destinations in Pakistan's North for a summer vacation. From June to September, visitors flock to the mountainous city which, with its pretty peaks, calm lakes, and pleasant weather, provides the perfect respite from the sweltering heat.
We have compiled a list of the five most unforgettable destinations to visit when you're in Skardu. Read on to learn more!
Destinations in Skardu, Pakistan
1. Deosai National Park
According to the government website for the national park, the word “Deosai” comes from “Deo,” meaning jinn or spirits, and “Sai” meaning a sitting place, i.e. “place of spirits.”
Don't let the spookiness of the name distract you from the fact that this primarily empty landscape is one of the most gorgeous destinations in Skardu.
Once you've braved the harrowing journey to this park, which was founded for the conservation of the Himalayan brown bears, you're in for a treat.
Situated between three mountain ranges, the western Himalayas, the Ladakh, and Zanskar, Deosai is an exceptional location.
Tourists can expect to catch sight of rotund golden marmots, rare birds, and herds of peaceful Himalayan ibex.
Surrounded by nature in this location where it is said to be so quiet that one can hear their heartbeat, it's almost a spiritual experience.
During the tail-end of summer, if you're lucky, you might even get to experience live snowfall, which is an experience in its own right.
As you make the mountainous drive, there are many spots to stop along the way, so pick and choose how far to travel based on your itinerary.
Tourist hotspots include Sheosar Lake and Bara Desosai (the habitat for Himalayan brown bears).
2. Satpara Lake
At an elevation of 8,650 feet (2,637 meters) above sea level, Satpara Lake is another prime location for visitors wanting to explore Skardu, Pakistan.
Satpara Lake is a deep, almost unnatural shade of blue which sparkles gold in the sunlight, inspiring an aura of magic and sparking local myths such as the one that there is a gold mine situated at the bottom of the lake.
It is a picturesque location, with a stop for some photos. The mountains surrounding the lake are reflected in its mirror-smooth surface, and its still blue waters instill a feeling of immense calm within a person.
Apart from photos, you can also engage in activities such as boating and fishing on the lake. There's the option of using motor boats or rowboats; a fishing license is required and can be obtained cheaply.
3. Upper Kachura Lake
Another of Skardu's mesmerizing lakes, the Upper Kachura Lake is surrounded by a gorgeous view of the Himalayas.
This is a popular location for boating and fishing for trout. The boat ride takes you around the circumference of the lake, a captivating experience.
You get to witness the lush green forests and snow-capped peaks surrounding the lake and the fish in the clear green water.
The lake's water is freezing, and at a depth of nearly 197 feet (60 meters), boating is not allowed without life jackets; local boat owners provide them.
4. Katpana Cold Desert
You've likely heard of burning hot deserts which only get cold at night, but Skardu offers an entirely new experience: the Katpana Cold Desert.
The temperatures here vary from a maximum of 80.6 F (27 C) in the summer to below-freezing temperatures in December and January.
Katpana's gently undulating dunes and fine light-colored sand make it a desirable destination in Skardu, Pakistan.
The landscape looks mesmerizing at dawn or dusk when the sun rises or sets over the dunes, casting a gorgeous show of light and shadows.
Katpana is a travelers' favorite for pictures. The dunes allow for pictorial illusions as photographers play around with distance in the empty expanse of desert.
5. Shigar Valley
The Shigar Valley, a short distance from Skardu, is a must for any backpacker in Pakistan because of its rich exposure to the culture and historical tradition.
There are two main attractions in the Shigar Valley apart from the cold desert mentioned above, Shigar Fort and Jarba Lake.
The Shigar Fort is an architectural marvel, made entirely of stone and nearly 400 years old.
It houses historical artifacts about Balti culture and tradition, which visitors can observe via a ticket to the fort. It functions as a guest house with 20 rooms, so staying at this historical spot is also an option.
The second attraction of Shigar Valley is Zarba/Jarba or Blind Lake. This lake is reached by traversing the Skardu-Shigar road; the Shigar and Indus Rivers surround it.
Like the other lakes mentioned, this lake is also a stunning tourist destination. Its tranquil beauty attracts people from all over to visit while they are visiting the Shigar Valley, and it should be on your checklist, as well.
These five places will make your trip to Skardu, Pakistan, a wonderful experience. For the travel agents reading, consider advertising your next tour to Skardu by creating travel posters.
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- Rail Europe for train passes.