Hunza Valley Pakistan !!
The last 10
years we've been travelling the world for a lot of places and met a lot of
people. Tourists, as us, and local people. From all
these travels one place has truly hit our the heart and this is where this
website is about.
How it started
The previous journey (2001) was
a trek around the Annapurna Range in Nepal. Sixteen days of unseen
beauty and in the wake of 9/11 and the ongoing troubles in Nepal, a very
onpopular backpackers destiantion. But, my God, what a
Next year (2002) we were lucky to be able to
combine our 2002 holiday with the first weeks of 2003 and therefore
enjoying 6 weeks.
What to do with six weeks of holiday ? Where to go to ?
Luxuary as a problem ! Scenery in Nepal was beautiful and the sight
of monks wandering around their stupa quite impressive, but for some
reason it was not a place to spend 6 weeks. There were some topics
on our 'request' list : there had to be mountains, BIG ones, it had to be
accessible in winter time (December-January), it had to be a Moslim
country (since we had never been before in a Moslim country besides
Marokko), culture would have te be 'challenging' and most of all people
had to be open and friendly. For obvious reasons not easy to
find ! So we came up with the idea of going to Pakistan and
India. Both countries are so big we had to choose which places to
visit so we split the Journey in 3 places: Northern areas in Pakistan,
Rajasthan in India and to close the year and start a new one : Kerala in
South-India. From these 3, Northern Areas in Pakistan was the most
difficult. I saw a picture on the internet of Baltit Fort in
Karimabad and .... done, nobody could set this beauty out of my
mind. This was the place I wanted to visit, even it would be snow
covered in Winter, not easy to acces and...unknown ???
all places : Pakistan
idea of going to the mountain area of the Karakoram, finding the castle,
doing the KKH (Karakoram Highway) in wintertime, the end of Ramazam
(december 2002), visit the beautiful city of Lahore with its wonderful old
Fort and town,.... We had a thouht about it (5 seconds) and yes, this is
the place we wanted to see !! Even if it would take us the whole 6
weeks, we wanted to visit Pakistan and Northern Areas (even as if
I'm writing memories are coming back). Can't really say our
folks liked the idea, but...why worry.
the streets have ....
when planning the trip, the streets didn't have a name, but as I'm
writing this, I would take the airplane, get on the bus, take a taxi
and get there in a second. It seemed difficult, but in fact,
doing the trip was quite easy.
December and January 2002-2003 we would fly on Delhi, head by
train to Amritsar, cross the border at Wagah and head
for Lahore. Lahore would be are "base camp"
for a few days where we would try to get some usefull information
about the road to Gilgit. The Karakoram Highway had
been blocked by earthquakes a few days before we took off and
flying to Gilgit is not always possible in winter time.
Lahore would give us the answer to are questions, we would head the
KKH for Gilgit, and from Gilgit try to head for Karimabad.
The route to Karimabad would depend on the weather
conditions. It was December and snow is common in the Karakoram from
November 'till May. Bye the time we would be freezed out, we
would head back for Gilgit and try for Lahore. If all worked
fine, we would come back from Gilgit to Lahore and cross the border
back into India to visit Rajasthan and Southern India, Kerala (Christmas on the
did manage to do all this, including some extra's, but this webpage
is not about the whole trip, it's about this little palace, Baltit
fort, it's valley, it's nature, it's (freezing) cold, it's unnatural
beauty and escpecially.... it's warm people. Not that I'd want
the whole world visit this place, but if you're goodhearted, enjoy
nature and are in for some adventure...
world has become a little bit different since 9/11 and the war in
Afhanistan, Iraq.... Blame it on Osama, blame it on Uncle George, it doesn't
really matter. Besides the casualties (Bless them on both
sides cause they are a son of a mother and father), the wounds are
not that deep in our Western Countries.
in countries like Pakistan, India, Nepal, Indonesia,.... who are
dependant on foreign tourism suffer a lot (and still are). As
backpacker, you can help the local people in these troubled
times. Head for their country.and enjoy their
hospitallity. Spend some money so they can fund their schools
and education. Beauty and Grace didn't chance since
9/11. So don't worry..... and go.
webpage is also dedicated to my friend, Iftikhar Hussain. We
met Ifti a few times by accident on our first trip (Winter 2002 -
2003) when he helped us out with the PIA tickets to Rawalpindi and
gave us his e-mail: "in case you would ever come back to
Pakistan, give me an e-mail and I manage some things
out". Six months later (September 2003) we decided to go
back and dropped him an e-mail: "Ifti, can you help us out on
some trekkings we'd like to do".
in September 2003 we head back for Pakistan to see the same Hunza
Valley in Autumn. We stayed for two weeks in Hunza and Nager
Valley, enjoyed the warm hospitallity of Ifti, his family and
Rowena (a Canadian NGO worker but with one hell of an English
accent), met the wonderfull people from the Medina Guesthouse in
Gilgit again (where we had a wonderful experience in December 2002),
and enjoyed Hunza valley again. Snow was already low for this
time of the year, so the scenery was amazing. Forget the Alps,
forget Matterhorn, forget Annapurna. If Reinhold Messner would
be 40 years younger, he would do it all over again,
but he would definitely start in the
Karakoram. No place on earth has this amazing beauty.
Mount Everest may be the highest, but K2 is the most impressive.
Iftikhar helped us on our trip to see some of the beauty hidden in
the Karakoram mountains: the people, their culture and their nature.
I hope you enjoy this website and spend some time in this
This page was last adapted on 25-03-04.