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How-To Where-To?


Gilgit is an odd town that doesn’t have much going for it. Nonetheless most travelers to and from Gilgit tend to spend at least a night here. Despite passing through Gilgit many times, my knowledge of this town is limited as I try and minimize my stay here.

Gilgit is the largest of towns in the Northern Areas, so options abound for eating and accommodation. When we travel in a large group we usually head straight for the Hunza Inn opposite the Chinar Bagh next to the PTDC Chinar Inn. Hunza Inn is a large motel build around a peaceful garden away from the town center that must have seen better days. The last few times we have been here, the place has been empty so it makes good sense to invade it with a hundred people. Rates are reasonable though be warned that service is a little slow.

If you’re looking for something more upscale, you can check out the PTDC that is right next door. There are a few other upscale hotels so look around and find something that suites your taste and your budget. The really low cost hotels tend to be clustered around the center of the town.

Gilgit has plenty of food options, and the best ones are in the center of the town. Standard Pakistani fare is what you should expect. To get around town, you can either walk (Gilgit is not that big) or flag down the Suzukis that run up and down the bazaar. The fare is usually two to five rupees.

All types of food, from imported chocolates to local products are readily available in the market at prices comparable to what you find down country. A limited variety of camera film is available here (do not count on finding slide film or black and white film). If your procuring supplies for a trek, you can find kerosene stoves, tarps, cooking pots and other similar items. Gilgit is a good place to make last minute purchases such as flashlights, batteries, shoelaces or medicine.

If you need to kill time then a walk along the river in either direction is recommended. A good place to start would be the Chinar Bagh opposite the PTDC and Hunza Motel. The Chinar Bagh is a secluded place to sit and contemplate the river amidst tall trees. A Buddhist Stuppa exists just outside the town. Hire a Suzuki for a few hours to take you there.

Thanks to trade with China, there’s a large Bazaar that sells goods imported from China. I’ve only walked past it, but supposedly there’s supposed to be a good selection of items such as silks, crockery and cutlery and other odds and ends. It is a fairly large bazaar so it may be a place to spend some time should these sort of things tickle your fancy. A few shops in the center of the city sell handicrafts but my impression is that these can be found a lot cheaper in Karimabad, Hunza.

Getting Away
Hopefully, Gilgit will only be a transit station and not the end of your journey. Even if you have only a day to spare, a trip to Hunza is strongly recommended. For information of getting to Hunza or Skardu, Baltistan from Gilgit please refer to our Hunza and Skardu, Baltistan ) resource pages.

An outing to the Naltar Valley is also recommended. You need to travel in a jeep to get to Naltar. Private hires to Naltar village are between a thousand and 1200 rupees and the ride takes two hours. Jeeps going all the way to the Naltar Lakes used to cost 2000 rupees. Public jeeps used to leave from across the cinema in the morning and cost 50 rupees per passenger. Public jeeps only go as far as Naltar village. I haven’t been there is a while; hopefully Ali Moscow who was there last with his merry men shall write something about it. With lush green valleys, forests, streams, and sub-6000m peaks, the valley has a distinct alpine feel and is worth exploring. Gilgit is sweltering in the summers and the cool green valleys of Naltar are a welcome relief.

If you plan on going to Raikot Bridge to begin your journey to Fairy Meadows and the Nanga Parbat North Side, hop onto a wagon heading back towards Pindi and get off at the bridge. A private hire will cost you 1000 rupees. Don’t try and rent a jeep to go up the jeep track to Tato as the road from the Bridge to Tato is a private road made by locals from the region. Only jeeps from Raikot Bridge are allowed up the valley which is where you hire another jeep for this purpose.

If you’re traveling in the Astor Valley to either Chilam Chowky (for the Deosai Plains) or Tarashing for the Rupal Valley and the Nanga Parbat South Face–Winter you can hire jeeps in either Gilgit or Jaglot where the road to Astor breaks off. The rate is the same. For the Deosai Plains see our Deosai resource page. For Tarashing expect to pay close to 2500 rupees. It is a seven-hour ride from Gilgit so get an early start.


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