Hunza Valley Pakistan at 2,435 above sea level is valley located in the Gilgit Baltistan province. it is a lush green spellbinding valley situated in the extreme northern side of Pakistan borders with the Xinjiang region of China and Afghanistan. The state capital of Hunza that formerly known as Baltit is now named Karimabad to honor the spiritual head of Shia Ismaili Nizari community “Prince Agha Karim Khan”.
Hunza Valley also known as Wadi Hunza nationally is a mountainous region that is surrounded by many beautiful lakes with turquoise water and lush green valleys. This valley gives the breath-taking views of some of the beautiful mountains like Rakaposhi peak 25,551 ft. situated in the Karakoram Mountain Range. There are other magnificent peaks that add in the beauty of Hunza are Ghenta Sar, Ultar Sar, Diran Peak, Hunza Peak and Ladyfinger peak. Another well-known tourists’ attraction spot at the Hunza top is Eagle Nest that gives the mesmerizing 360 views of seven surrounding peaks. It makes eagle nest one of the must visiting places in your Hunza tour.
Hunza meaning Heaven itself describes that what kind of captivating, panoramic views, colorful landscapes, snowcapped mountains, lush green valleys and friendly people it would have; that too are the hallmark of Hunza valley tourism.
Hunza people are known as Hunzakuts and also known as Burusho or Brusho who mainly speak an almost unknown language Burushaksi. The hills of the Wadi Hunza are facing the southwards to the warming sun therefore, Hunza people are famous for the hospitality and friendliness as they are warm, open and welcoming towards tourists like Hunza weather. Hunza people to the rest of the world are known for the fact that they have exceptionally good health and live over 90 years without suffering from any chronic disease. With more than 85% of literacy rate, Hunza People have made this the most educated region of the Pakistan.
The longevity of people here is because of the food that is fresh and nutritious. Hunza water from glaciers even could be competed as the best water in the world because of its purity and alkaline pH levels. Hunza has a lot of traditional dishes for different occasions and on your Hunza tour it would be a mistake not to try some of the local dishes with the unique trademarks.
Some of the famous local dishes are:
Rose Mantu: these are rose shaped dumplings that are reserved for special occasions
Chapshurro: these are meat pies filled with minced beef that is made with simple sauce with few onions, red chillies, small tomatoes and coriander leaves.
Dowdo: is a local dish of noodle soup prepared with hand-cut noodles that are made from local wheat to be cooked with minced chicken.
Gyal: a wheat pan-fried cakes with honey or fruit jam, apricot oil and some local ingredients is a traditional breakfast with many varieties in it.
Museli: is made by the locally made cream/yoghurt that goes as topping on oats, brown flexseeds, almonds, apricot seeds and walnuts that are roasted and nicely crushed with some sprinkle of local spices.
The Hunza weather can make the temperature go below 0°C in winters and reaching maximum of 31degrees celsius at its peak in summers. Due to the road closure in winters the best time for Huzna tour is from April to October. During the mid-summer months Hunza gets crowded with the national and international tourists because of the nice and warm Hunza weather. However, the best time to avoid going on Hunza tour is from June to August if you are someone who doesn’t like crowded place.
Not only the beauty of Hunza is alluring and fascinating but it has a strong historical background too that you could get to know from Hunza people and local guides. Hunza valley tourism is a hallmark for so many exciting outdoor activities.
Wadi Hunza or Hunza valley can be divided into three parts based on three ethnicities:
Upper Hunza: known as Gojal tehsil of Hunza-Nagar district that is mainly populated with Wakhi speakers.
Central Hunza: known as Aliabad tehsil of Hunza-Nagar where 97% of people speak Burusakshi and 3% speak Domki language. The governing Hunza family, historically live in this region.
Lower Hunza: also known as Aliabad tehsil of Hunza-Nagar district mainly dominated by the Shina speakers known as Shinaki.
Some of the places you must visit in Hunza trip are:
Baltit Fort: is one of the prominent trademarks of the Hunza that is located at the west bank of Hunza river at 8,200 ft height facing towards the valley. Made up of stone walls and steep slopping large terraces; this place was made to monitor the surroundings against enemy threats that served as home and command center of the ruling family of the Hunza.
Altit Fort: is another fort located three KM from Karimabad and is nearly 800 years old. The tower at the fort is known as shikari that was used by the Hunza army to monitor surroundings. Though the fort is being renovated at the moment but there are various gardens and trees of white apricot and other fruits at the entrance that adds hugely in its beauty.
Shimshal Valley: is covered with many hiking range mountains and is the largest adventure area of Hunza. Without sighting the mountains like Shimshal White Horn, Minglik Sar, and Yazghail Sar a Hunza trip is incomplete. This village is renowned as “” Village of Mountaineers”. There are more than twenty mountaineers from this region have made Pakistan proud in the field of tourism.
Attabad Lake: a lake that happened in 2010 due to the land sliding and also known as Gojal Lake.
Hoper Glacier: Hoper valley is saturated at the peak of the mountains and is one of the fastest melting glaciers in Pakistan.
Rakaposhi Mountain: locally the word rakaposhi means snow covered mountain. In Pakistan, it is considered as 12th highest mountain.
Ultar Base Camp: if you want to have a hiking experience in your Hunza trip, Ultar Base Camp is the best place to go. You can see the glaciers and gigantic peaks of Ultar after you hike up the base camp.
Borith lake: is a breathtaking beauty of crystal clear water formed by melts of the Ghulkin Glaciers.
From travelling to camping, there are many hotels that offer reasonable Hunza valley packages that fits every traveler’s budget. There are many hotels in Hunza with the friendly staff, clean environment and beautiful views.
Eagle Nest: Hunza valley tour is not complete without visiting this place that is situated on the top of Wadi Hunza at the best view point of Duikar Village. It gives the best view of Rakaposhi mountain.
Luxus Hotel: situated at the beautiful Attabad lake it is a 5-start luxury hotel. Tourists staying in luxus Hunza can have the best panoramic views of endless blue sky and blue water while relaxing. Bit expensive but Luxus hotel is worth it as a truly wonderful elite experience.
Embassy Hotel: is one of the attractive, appealing and spacious hotels in the heart of the Hunza. While representing the unique characteristics of the legendary Hunza Valley, it represents the oasis of comfort and luxury of all modern facilities.
Hard Rock Hotel: is a 5-start luxury lodging and is one of the most prestigious and striking places in Hunza for the tourists.
Mulberry Hotel: is conveniently accessible to the tourists because of its location that is main bazar in Karimabad.
To conclude, while planning to explore Pakistan, Hunza is one of the tourists’ destinations not to be missed. This region is heaven on the earth for the tourists travelling alone or in the groups.
Let me know about your experience if you have been to Hunza in the comments below.