While less popular than other tourist areas of Pakistan, Skardu is among the best tourist destinations because of the unique natural spots in its vicinity. The beautiful city in Gilgit-Baltistan serves as an alpine plateau or a cold desert with some delicious Balti cuisine. If you want to see some incredible sights of northern Pakistan, it is time to pack your bags to explore Skardu.
Skardu is at 2,230m altitude, right along the Indus River and Shigar Ricer. The location comprises a unique landscape and ecosystem, which is in only a few other places in the world.
Skardu boasts comparatively mild weather than other northern areas. It stays warm from June to September, with a high temperature of up to 30°C, whereas it is chilling from December to February with frequent minus degree temperatures.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit this beautiful place is from June to September as you can enjoy the green landscape in comfortable weather, escaping from the scorching heat in the other regions of the country. Another great time to visit Skardu is October when the spot turns into golden autumn colors. While winter makes Skardu a stunning wonderland, it is usually hard to access the region in that season.
Arriving at Skardu
Reaching Skardu can be a blessing and a nightmare at the same time. Luckily, it is the only northern area where you can get to by air that is safer than traveling to the town by road. You can hire a car with an experienced driver or join a group tour to reach Skardu. Joining a group tour or traveling with a private driver cum guide is the best way to get around this cold desert.
Top Places to Explore Around Skardu
The neighborhood region around Skardu showcases several fascinating tourist destinations. While it is hard to cover all in a single post, some suggestions include the following:
Skardu is not a big city, meaning you can easily explore it in a few hours. Besides shopping in the local markets, visit the famous Skardu Fort to enjoy the historical construction.
Deosai National Park
Known as the world’s second-highest alpine plateau, the Deosai Plains spread around 3000 to 5000m altitude. The Deosai National Park aims to protect endangered species, including the Himalayan Brown Bears. The site is on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage. The region has broad and empty landscapes and waters of Sheosar, Kalapani, and Barapani lakes.
This splendid site is an hour driving away from Skardu and has a serene green valley in its surroundings. The Manthoka waterfall emerges from the mountain and looks natural despite being an artificial wonder.
The beautiful vale of Shigar is a one-hour drive away from Skardu. Located on the banks of Shigar Rive, the site allows you to witness the local architectural wonders like Shigar Fort and Khilangrong Mosque and a traditional Balti village life. Do not miss visiting Sarfarangah Desert, another famous cold desert after Skardu inside the Shigar Valley along the river.
Located near Skardu, it is another cold desert in the surroundings of tall mountains and a beautiful lake in the middle. It especially becomes breathtaking in winter when the sand wears smooth layers of snow.