With the end of March, It’s the wonderful time of the year again when the spring with all its glory and color revitalizes the minds and souls of the nature lovers. In the scenic Hunza and Gilgit, Cherry and Apricot Blossom is all set to cover the valleys with their eye-catching fiery colors and fragrance. Northern Areas of Pakistan are already receiving heavy tourist influx for the last few years with their numbers rising progressively. Still, there are places which have eluded the eyes of the rugged travelers who can go to any extent to explore breathtaking places.
Following is The Bucket List 2018 of Top Ten least explored and heavenly places in Pakistan
10. Taobut, Kel, Arang Kel The farthest point on the Neelum Valley road, Taobut is recklessly omitted by travelers visiting this breathtaking valley. With its unusual architecture where houses are mostly built out of straw wood and dried grass, Taobut, Kel and Arang Kel valleys in Neelum Azad Kashmir welcome tourists for a unique experience. Bordering with the arch rival India, Neelum valley attracts thousands of tourists in the region. Majority of these tourists make a final stopover in Sharda and miss out the opportunity to visit the valleys ahead including Kel and Arang Kel.
09. Kumrat Valley Upper Dir
The spectacular and serene Kumrat Valley in upper Dir is one of the must-see destinations for explorers and enthusiasts. The valley has remained off-limits for a few years as the region embroiled in terrorism and counter-insurgency operations but it has attracted attention for the last few years with the hostility subsiding gradually.
People are friendly and one of the most hospitable in entire country. Some of the famous and breathtaking places include Jahaz Banda Lake, Katora Lake, Do Kala Chasma, and Pajgora river. Region is rich in flora and fauna including Markhors, Snow Leopards, Chakor, Deer, brown beer etc. Jahaz Banda and Katora Lakes also offer serene Camping sites and delicious Trout for Anglers.
08. Supat and Palas valleys Kohistan
West of the Kaghan road and southeast to the Karakorum Highway lies the serene and least explored Supat and Palas valleys of the Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhaw. Kohistan is inhabited by people of some of the remote cultures of Pakistan. Bound by lush green Deodar forests, Nullahs and fresh water streams, Supat and Palas valleys offer rich grazing grounds for the cattle herders.
07. Dodipitsar/ Saral Lake Kaghan Valley
Located in the famous Lulusar-Dodipitsar National Park, these two lakes are some of the most sought after, yet difficult to reach lakes in Kaghan Valley. The trek leaves from Beosal on the right side of the road, crossing over the Kunhar River through wench pulleys. This is at least two days round trip if the explorers intend to witness the glory of both Dodipitsar and Saral Lakes.
Best time to barge on this trek is from mid-July to mid-September. These vast valleys are also rich in wildlife and mostly dwelled by seasonal cattle herders. Ideal for Angling as Dodipitsar is famous for the rare and delicious Golden Trout. These valleys are relatively safe then Kohistan region but traveling light is recommended.
The road to the ancient Silk Route, Ghizer is the western most district of Gilgit Baltistant. With its capital as Gahkuch. These areas are some of the scenic destinations on the Gilgit-Chitral road leading all the way into Shandor valley of Chitral. Safe for all travelers and easily accessible by road, Ghizer is relatively less traveled by mainstream tourists although it has a bounty of breathtaking sights and places.
The exquisitely breathtaking and sparsely explored the beautiful Haramosh Valley and Kutwal Lake presents one of the top ranked destinations on this year’s Bucket List. The jeep track starts 53kms from Gilgit on Gilgit-Skardu road right from the shoulders of the raging Indus. Two day trek will lead us over tough hikes alongside gushing streams and dense coniferous forest crossing Mani glacier into the Kutwal Village.
04. Diamir Base Camp Nanga Parbat
Diamir Base Camp is particularly notable for its rich history of climbing expeditions spanning for more than 100 years. From the early days of imperial expeditions to the mainstream explorers, all the way to the renegade Hippy climbing bums, Daimir Face has been the center of attraction thereby boasting of a unique climbing history unlike any other face of the mountain.
This trek, however, is not a weekend-trekker’s ball game. Contrary to the much hyped Fairy Meadows and Raikot face of Nanga Parbat, Diamir aka Diamoro (in local dialect) is much rugged, long and a raw trek. It takes a painstaking three days of a continuous trek to reach the south-western face of the mountain from where one can directly see the main summit standing at an altitude of 8,125m.
Far from the madding crowd, Minimarg and Domel are normally out-of-bound for the usual tourist squad primarily for being at the border with India. For those who have the necessary will can always get a pass to trudge along these breathtaking valleys.
This difficulty in access has kept these places pristine and heavenly and away from the littering crowds who throng the neighboring Deosai with no regards to the environment. The only road access to Minimarg is via 4000 meters high Burzil Pass. This area remains disconnected from rest of the world for 7-8 months because of the snowfall.
This is also the road to the infamous Kargil region which was the flashpoint of 1999 war between Pakistan and India. Reaching upto 3500m ASL, the undulating slopes of Minimarg and Domel are lined up with never-ending Birch and Deodar tress adding to their immense beauty. Rainbow Lake is one of the must-visit places in Minimarg. This lake is known to change color throughout the day giving a mesmerizing look whenever a photograph is taken. Right connections in the Pakistan Military can ease out the travel red-tapes, opening up clean and nice places to spend the night and quality food along the lake side restaurants.
One of the trekkers dream destination is the remote Shimshal Valley and pass in the eastward of Passu on Karakorum Highway stretching all the way to the Chinese border. This is a two-day trek from Passu Upper Hunza and takes the trekkers northward of the Karakorums, presenting jaw-dropping sites of the mountain range. Difficult to access and one of the remote regions, Shimshal is a world which shoots right out of antiquity.
01. Wakhan Corridor Lower Pamirs
Finally the Lion’s share as the most spectacular and least explored destinations goes to the legendary Wakhan Corridor in Lower Pamirs. One of the oldest routes on the Silk Road, Wakhan used to be the gateway to many ancient Caravans crossing over to the Central Asian states.
The Boroghil region along the Wakhan Corridor is an area yet to be explored. There exist secluded virgin valleys and grazing lands touching Afghanistan and the Central Asian states through this famous strip. While trekking we cross three passes starting with an easy stroll through the valleys and pastures. The scenery is captivating and out of this world.