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Places to Visit in Hunza: Exploring Northern Pakistan

hunza culture

The Hunza Valley in Northern Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region has long been a hotspot destination for local and foreign tourists. 

As a result, the Hunza Valley is probably the most developed part of the mountain areas and is the perfect introduction to those looking to experience Northern Pakistan. The big draw to Hunza is of course the accessibility to epic mountain views and local hospitality – both of which are hard to beat elsewhere in the country. 

So what is there to do and see here? From epic multi-day hikes to cultural festivals to feasting on local apricots and traditional dumplings – there are enough awesome places to visit in Hunza to keep you busy for a while – that’s for sure. 

The area that makes up the entire Hunza Valley can be classified like this: Any area from Aliabad to Attabad Lake is considered “Lower Hunza” while areas north of Attabad Lake are considered “Upper Hunza”. 

Below is a list of the best things to do in Hunza Valley for people keen on visiting this magical part of Pakistan

#1. Stay with a Local Family

The concept of village homestay in Pakistan has not been around for very long, but has become one of the best things to do in Hunza for a couple of years now. 

The idea is simple: tourists can stay with a local family in their home and see what day-to-day life is like in a rural mountain village. 

Epic Expeditions was the first company to start including homestay experiences on our trips when we started staying with our dear friends in Ghulkin Village back in 2016 as independent travelers. 

There are now a handful of other homestay options to choose from in both Gulmit, Ghulkin, and Charpursan Valleys respectively. 

Staying in a local homestay is perhaps the best way to meet local people, experience Hunza Culture, of of course, enjoy a home-cooked meal. 

best places ti visit in Hunza
Eating local food in the home of a family in Ghulkin Village

#2. Visit Hussaini Suspension Bridge

If you have ever seen a photo of Hunza Valley, odds are you have seen images of the iconic Hussaini Suspension Bridge. 

In recent years, the popularity of this site has swelled – with local people capitalizing on the sudden boom by charging a fee to tourists for visiting. 

To be honest, the bridge can get very busy these days! That said, it is still one the best places to visit in Hunza, if not just once. 

things to do in hunza

#3. Bridge to Bridge Hike

If you want to take your vist to Hussaini Suspension Bridge up a few notches, then make a hike of it!

There is a much less frequently visited bridge (Passu Suspension Bridge) just a few kilometers down the road where you can start the hike to Hussaini Suspension Bridge. 

The entire hike takes a couple of hours from bridge to bridge and is the best way to escape the crowds.

You can break up the hike as you pass through a small agricultural village before pushing on to finish at Hussaini bridge.

We advise that you go with a local guide as navigating the terrain can be pretty tricky if you have never been here.  

best places to visit in Hunza
The Passu Suspension Bridge

#4. Eat Yak Burgers

Typically speaking Yak burgers are not really a thing in other parts of Pakistan. But in Hunza, thankfully THEY ARE A THING. 

A small, misleadingly humble shack on the side of the road in Passu called the Yak Grill is serving up one of the tastiest burgers and thick-cut French fries we have tried anywhere in the world. 

All burgers are made to order fresh using local yak meat and freshly baked brioche-style buns. This is the perfect meal to follow a big hike. 

best food in Hunza yak burgers
Behold: the Yak Burger

#5. Hike to Baskochi Meadows /Attabad Lake View Point

The Baskochi Meadows /Attabad Lake View Point is a spot to take in some of the best views in all of Hunza, 

The vibe could not be more different too than the weird carnival-like feel of the Attabad lakefront. 

The hike is steep but well worth the effort as very few people know about the hike or make the effort to come here. 

Access to the hike is right near the turnoff to go down to the lake shore itself. 

things to do in hunza

#6. Eagles Nest

Another one of those must-see Hunza viewpoints is at Eagles Nest. 

Eagles Nest – much like the name suggests – is a 360-degree viewpoint situated up the hill from Karimabad (30 minutes by car from there). 

Like other places in Hunza, the area around Eagles Nest has gotten developed to the point where we no longer recommend to spend the night up there. As you drive up the road to Eagles Nest, you will see what I am talking about; there are hotels every 50 meters!

That said, the view point remains unaffected and is probably the best place to visit in Hunza for the sunrise. 

Eagles Nest
Sunrise views from Eagles Nest

#7. Sleep in a Luxury Eco-Yurt Cottage

Hunza is one of the few places in the whole country where you can find a legit boutique hotel offering yurt-cottage accommodation with incredible mountain views.  

There are even multiple options of great places to stay in both Aliabad and Gulmit. 

Our friends at Mountain Story resort in Aliabad have built something truly special and for the last few years, we make a point of visiting them every time we roll through Hunza. 

From the terrace of the property, commanding views of the valley and Rakaposhi dominate the landscape. 

The menu at Mountain Story also makes it one of the best places to visit in Hunza – if not just for the food. The chocolate mousse and local manti-style dumplings rank as our favorite options on the menu. 

things to do in hunza
The inside of a yurt at a resort in Gulmit Village

#8. Visit The Old Hunza Forts

As recently as the middle of the 20th century, Hunza Valley was actually still a kingdom lorded over by a local royal family. 

Their former residences – which are actually fortresses – are located at the top of two villages: Karimbad and Altit. 

The Baltit and Altit Forts were expertly restored in the 1990s and remain one of the most fascinating historical sites in Northern Pakistan. 

You can visit both forts in the afternoon and with a local guide who can explain a bit about the history and features each fort possesses. 

The views from both forts are equally impressive. 

things to do in hunza
The inside of the Balti Fort

#9.Try Local Food in Karimabad

Traditional Hunza food is very different from the typical curries and meat barbeque found across Pakistan. 

And… it is amazing. 

There are a couple of local food stalls in the center of Karimabad that serve up some of the tastiest traditional Hunza food we have found anywhere. 

Our favorite dishes are Chapshuro – a sort of local pizza-style thing filled with minced meat (beef) and a local version of pasta called Hoi Lo Garma.

food in Hunza
Tasty, tasty Chapshuro

#10. Visit Nagar and Hopper Glacier

Located directly across the river from Karimabad, the Nagar Valley is a great place to a day trip. 

There are not a ton of touristy attractions here – which is exactly why a drive through it is special. 

Nagar Valley is peppered with small, traditional villages and agricultural fields – and arguably one of the best Chapsuro joints in the whole region. 

At the far end of the valley, the road stops, and the Hopper Glacier begins. 

It is possible to actually go down from the view point and walk a bit on the glacier. If you opt to set foot on the actual glacier, use caution and go with a local if possible as there are crevasses and unstable ice that can be very dangerous.

#11. Go Camping at Patundas

The most spectacular 2-day hike you can do in Hunza involves crossing the Passu Glacier and a few nights camping at Patundas Meadows (or just below it). 

The views from Patundas offer one of the best mountain landscape viewpoints we have seen anywhere in the world. 

Crossing the Passu Glacier to get there is a whole other wild experience and one that should only be attempted with a local guide. 

When we go to Patundas with our Discover the Hunza Valley groups, we tend to camp down below Patundas as there is often no reliable water source on the actual Patundas top (4300 m). 

trekking in Pakistan
Crazy views of the Batura Glacier from Patundas

#12. Go Ice Skating / Play Hockey

One of the best things to do in Hunza during winter is ice skate!

When temperatures plummet, several lakes in the area freeze over, making them ideal for a few games of hockey or just a simple skate. 

There are local children’s groups who play regularly during winter time – and even if you do not play yourself, attending one of the games is a lot of fun. 

If you do plan to be in Hunza during winter, pack accordingly. Temps can regularly plummet below -15 c during the day.

#13. Rent a Motocyle and Drive the Karakoram Highway

One of the most iconic stretches of road in the world, the Karakoram Highway is the ultimate place to go for a drive on a motorbike. 

The most common bikes in Pakistan are 125 cc Honda bikes – which are ubiquitous in just about every corner of the country. 

It is possible to rent a bike in Gilgit or Karimabad for a very reasonable rate per day. 

You should have previous experience riding motorbikes if you choose to rent one as the roads are not for beginer-lvel bikers. Always wear a helmet when you ride!

best places to visit in Hunza
The legendary Karakoram highway

#14. Ultar Base Meadows and Base Camp Hike

Another awesome off-the-beaten-track hike in Hunza is to Ultar Base Camp. 

Located in the mountains above Karimabad, the hike to Ultar Meadows / base camp is an all-day affair and is not recommended for those with poor fitness. 

Very, very few people who visit Lower Hunza attempt this hike – which is a shame because the scenery is incredible. 

Expect 7-8 hours roundtrip if you are a fast hiker. As always with these sorts of hikes, go with a local guide to avoid getting lost. 

#15. Go for a Swim in Borith Lake

In the summertime, temperatures can heat up in the Hunza Valley and the only thing attractive to do is go for a swim!

Borith Lake is the prime spot to do it (Attabad Lake can be too busy and cold). 

It is also possible to rent small boats or kayaks if that is more your thing. 

Apart from swimming, Borith is just a cool area to hang out and absorb the mountain vibe over a picnic. There are also a couple of hotels right on the lake, so you order meals or stay overnight as well. 

passu cones
Borith Lake during the colder months

#16. Go to Hunza During Cherry Blossom Season

Once winter breaks and spring appears, the barren valleys erupt into a sea of color from the spring fruit blossoms. 

The best time to visit Hunza for cherry blossom season is around the middle of march. 

And it is not just cherries – apricots, apples, and other fruits are also in bloom around the same time. 

If Japan is known as the world capital to see the cherry blossom explosion – then the Hunza Valley is a close second. 

Cherry blossom season in Hunza

#17. Sip a Real Espresso in Cafe de Hunza

Much to our dispair, Pakistan is simply not a coffee-drinking nation. On all of the trips we run in Pakistan, we always bring our own coffee and French press from abroad. 

But wait… there is a place in Hunza where you can get real coffee!

The Cafe de Hunza is a cozy little cafe in the heart of Karimibad serving real espressos, lattes, and their famous walnut cake. They also serve a variety of sandwiches and rostis – both of which are uncommon menu items elsewhere in the area. 

Bring your favorite book, sip on a few espressos, and while away the afternoon. For people who love coffee and chill time, a visit here is clearly one of the best things to do in Hunza. 

best places to visit in Hunza
Walnut cake and a latte from Cafe de Hunza

#18. Attend a Wedding Ceremony

While obviously not a thing just open to anyone, if you find yourself in the right place at the right time with some local Hunzai friends, you might just get invited to a local Hunza wedding. 

Local weddings are probably the biggest parties that happen around here and are always a ton of fun. 

Sometimes the festivities can go on for days and always involve a ton of good food, dancing, and local music. 

#19. Try Hunza Water

Just because Pakistan is an Islamic country, does not mean that people do not drink and that there is no alcohol around. Hunza people (well, men mostly) like to drink – and there is no doubt about it. 

A locally distilled spirit, Hunza Water is famous in the area. While not the best-tasting beverage we have ever tried, Hunza Water is the thing if you are wanting to have some alcohol at the end of the day while visiting Hunza. 

Made from local fruits like mulberry or grapes, Hunza Water is a clear spirit and is often sold cut with water already. 

Beware the hangovers from Hunza Water as they can do your head in if you over-indulge. 

#20. Explore Ganish Village

Ready to step back in time? Visit Ganish Village

Visit the oldest and first settlement on the ancient Silk Road in the Hunza Valley: here you will find various ancient watchtowers, traditional mosques, religious centers, and a reservoir (where local kids swim in the summer). 

It is located 90  km and 2.5 hours traveling time from Gilgit. The meaning of the word “Ganish” is unknown but according to local “scholars”, it is derived from the Burushaski word “Genish”, meaning gold. Ganish has been a major town for travelers since the days of the Silk Road and now sits just off of the Karakoram Highway.

altit village hunza

Wrap Up: Best Places to Visit in Hunza

It should now be no secret that there are plenty of awesome things to do in Hunza. 

From epic hikes to village homestays to tasty local food – there is definitely something or everyone here in Hunza. 

It is our hope that as tourism expands in the region, the magic that has made the Hunza Valley so popular is preserved for future generations of locals and visitors. 

Want to experience Hunza yourself? Join Epic Expeditions as we hit all of the best places to visit in Hunza during our Discover the Hunza Valley Tour

Anything we left off of this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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One Reply to “Places to Visit in Hunza: Exploring Northern Pakistan”

  1. Thank you for this informative article about Attabad Lake. As a traveler, I’ve always been captivated by the breathtaking beauty and adventurous opportunities this region offers. Having recently visited this awe-inspiring destination, I am compelled to share my experience and express my profound admiration for Attabad Lake.

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Welcome to our Journal!

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Here at Epic Expeditions, adventure is constantly on our minds. 

Our blog – or Journal as we like to call it – contains epic trip stories, photo diaries, and news about new tours. 

Thanks for checking it out! 

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The trip we're most stoked about

Island Peak Climbing Expedition

Next trip: October 14th - 31st, 2024

Adventure Guide

Hailing from the Toronto region of Eastern Canada, with a background as a former standout athlete (hockey of course) and a  love of mountain adventure, Clark is a welcomed addition to the Epic team.

In addition to being a keen photographer and adventurer, Clark brings his brilliant sense of humor, leadership skills, and positive attitude to everything he puts his mind to. 

When he is not leading trips, he is working on taking over the hard apple cider game in Canada as a skilled craft brewer. 

Adventure Guide

Noemi grew up in the mountains of German-Speaking Switzerland where she naturally developed a deep love and respect for mountain environments.

She is a talented photographer, aspiring climber, and speaks at least 5 languages fluently including Arabic (and probably a few more that we don’t know about), which she taught herself in a matter of months by watching YouTube videos. 

Noemi has spent the last several years traveling, hiking, and photographing her way around many different countries in the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and Europe, and we could not be more stoked to welcome her to the Epic team! 

Adventure Guide

As our man on the ground in Mongolia, there is not much this legend can’t do. As a native the Bayan-Ölgii province of the Western Mongolia Altai, Syerik has been working as a guide and tourism entrepreneur…

for the past several years and is one of the rising stars in Mongolia adventure travel industry. 

He is currently building a beautiful Ger (Yurt) camp near his hometown where he will host Epic Mongolia team members on our trip as well as other travelers from around the world! 

He is the perfect guide for your trip to Mongolia. Serik did an amazing job giving us a well rounded experience in the Altai NP region and down in the Gobi…
The food was fantastic and Serik gave us many opportunities to learn about the Kazakh culture in that region including traditional meals. (I can’t recommend enjoying the milk tea enough!)

– Coastal

Head of canine operations

Choriza started off life as a care-free vagabond on the streets of Madeira Island without any place to call home. From the moment we met her, we knew this dog was just different, and it was pretty much love at first sight. 

She gave up the dog street life in favor of joining her new dad Chris to become a full-time member of the Epic family towards the end of 2022.

These days she can be found listening in on the fringes of important Epic business meetings while half-asleep on the couch. She is a keen hiker, lover of mud, rare steak, and might just be the sweetest little dog we have ever seen. 

Adventure Guide

An experienced trek leader and
IFMGA aspirant ski guide, avid alpine climber, devoted adventure photographer.

Organized and guided trekking expeditions, climbs and ski tours in Tajikistan’s Pamirs, Patagonia, Peru, Morocco, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Georgian and Russian Caucasus and Kamchatka.

A full member and meets the organiser of the British Alpine Club. Visited over 40 countries, lived in the UK for four years. Certified first-aider.

We joined Andrew on a fantastic trip to the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan, pure nature and magnificent scenery! Andrey was super prepared and led us safely up and down numerous passes and through some rough and icy cold rivers. Thank you for a very memorable trip, your planning and prep was excellent!

– Monika Steinlechner

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Adventure Guide

Our man in Nepal, Sandip is what we like to call a “Swiss Army Knife”. There is not much Sandip can’t do when it comes to helping Epic to run our expeditions smoothly in Nepal.

His tireless work ethic, passion for all things trekking in the Himalayas, and smart decision-making mean that Sandip is a truly invaluable member of our team.

Sandip is passionate about showing visitors to his country an amazing time, and he goes above and beyond to make sure that happens. 

His company Himalayan Masters is Epic’s trusted partner in Nepal and one of the country’s top new tour agencies.

We really enjoyed the entire journey, and I would like to say that Sandip is truly professional. He guided us and he is a hardworking person, providing us with the best service and taking care of each one of us. Plus, he is super funny! The kind of professionnal you always want to find on your path for your explorations! 

– Alexandra Ruth

Fairy Meadows

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Our Favorite Experiences

#1 Sunrise from Reflection Lake

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#2 Hiking to Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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#3 Playing cricket with the locals

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Trips Where We Visit Fairy Meadows

Our flagship Pakistani adventure tour.  Road trip with some  hiking and cultural immersion.

A trekking-style tour that features some very remote locations, inlcuding a K2 viewpoint.

Adventure Guide

João has born in the mountains of Madeira Islands in Portugal. Nature lover, writer, musician, guide, for him, a day without contact with outdoor vibes is a nightmare. 

With a degree in Cultural Studies in Portugal and a Master of Arts in Global Cultures and Creativity in the U.K.

João found out what really matters in life can be found on the trails, and in the contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Guiding, crazy trekking missions, and sharing observations about the natural world, – these are some of João’s passions. 

After trekking to K2 Base Camp and exploring all over Northern Pakistan, he fell in love with the country and the local people. His experiences resulted in his desire to share these feelings with the world.

João is one of the most experienced guides at Epic and his skillset and positive mindset in the mountains is second to none

When not in Pakistan, João is  guiding and exploring in the Madeira Islands trails –  discovering some of the hidden treasures on his Portuguese Island.

João I can not thank you enough for the off the beaten paths and views you keep giving. Definitely one of the most challenging and amazing hikes we did 1200m meters all the way up to Fanal forest and circling back to the hidden village. Wow!

– Jeffery 

travel hunza valley

Adventure Guide

Sohail is the newest addition to the Epic team and we are beyond stoked to have him on board. As a veteran of the Karakoram and a native of Karimabad in Hunza, there is not much Sohail can’t do in the mountains. 

Besides having the ability to speak more languages than we can count, Sohail has explored every corner of Gilgit Baltistan and logs more trekking miles 

in a year than most people will do in a lifetime. As of the summer of 2022, Sohail has summited Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and K2 – three of Pakistan’s five 8000-meter peaks. Sohail guides several trips including our annual bespoke expeditions but specializes in Hunza Valley tours.

Chris and Sohail, and the team at Epic are FANTASTIC! Highly recommend anyone to do a tour with ‘Epic’. They have the perfect balance of fun, excitement and wild adventures, tied in with being super professional and ensuring your safety/health in a foreign environment. Don’t waste a moment and book a tour with these guys as the value for money is UNREAL!

– Borgan

iran travel tour

Adventure Guide

Pedro’s been traveling all around the globe since 2009. His keen interests in documentary photography, rural life, and local people from different ethnic groups have been the focus of many of his professional projects.

Since 2012, he has developed his passion for travel and awesome shared experiences into a full-time adventure photography tour leader position.

Pedro has found himself continuously going back to the Middle East, with his likely favorite destination being Iran. Pedro lead his 11th tour in Iran with Epic in spring 2020

When Pedro’s not traveling the world with Epic Expeditions, you’ll find him based in the western south of Portugal planning he’s next adventure missions, logistics and working out his photos in local exhibitions.

 I loved the combination of hiking, camping around breathtaking scenery mixed with the cultural aspects. The guide (Pedro) is knowledgeable and work very hard to make the trip as memorable as possible. All in all an epic adventure with some extremely epic individuals! Go for it, you won’t regret it!

– Coastal

Diane Bouvet

Adventure Admin / Marketing

After fleeing from the corporate fashion world in Paris towards the start of 2020, Diane has been working as a web developer and graphic designer remotely from various bases across the globe

She brings all of her incredible design and organizational power to Epic Expeditions and is responsible for many of the beautiful behind-the-scenes design elements. 

Diane has been to Iran and to Pakistan twice including all over Gilgit Baltistan and KPK.

k2 gondogoro la trek

Head of Operations | Guide

A veteran of Pakistan travel, Ralph is an experienced guide, photographer and writer who specializes in documenting remote locations. 

Not one to simply go where everyone else does, he insists on exploring new and lesser-known areas.

Together with Epic Expeditions, he shows people parts of Pakistan that most other operators don’t even know about. He is particularly fond of the village of Barah, which he believes will become just as famous as Hunza one day.

Just got back from EBT’s Trekking Amongst Giants 15 day tour. The experience was first class. Ralph, our head guide, ensured that the entire trip ran smoothly and relatively on time (a bonus for anyone travelling in Pakistan). We had so many unforgettable days on the tour and the trekking was well-planned, safe but also a rewarding challenge. 

– Calvin

Traveling to a non-tourist destination can be a little intimidating but EBT takes all of the worry and trepidation away. From the pre-trip call to meeting the wonderful staff in person you can tell that you are dealing with a company that has a passion for what they do each and every day. Ralph, Zahid, and Khan were supportive, kind, and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone on the trip was getting what they wanted out of the experience.

– Katrina 

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Founder | Adventure Guide | Director

Since he started exploring the world, Chris has been seeking out every shade of adventure in various parts of the globe and had visited more than 70 countries along the way. 

Over the last 10 years, Chris has logged more than 7000 trail miles across five continents and climbed multiple 6000 + 7000 meter peaks in Pakistan and Nepal.

A few years back, a distant dream and a deep passion for the mountains and the people of Pakistan led Chris to co-found Epic Expeditions at a time when foreign adventure tourism in Pakistan was almost nonexistent. Since then, Chris has guided more than 20 expeditions to various parts of Northern Pakistan.

Chris believes in using photography and powerful adventure experiences to dismantle negative stereotypes regarding what mainstream media considers “dangerous” countries while facilitating unique and meaningful memories in the mountains for countless people from around the globe. 

For him, an ideal start to the day begins with a steaming cup of good coffee, the beam of a headlamp, alpine boots, and a camera in hand.

He lives in Madeira Island when not leading expeditions in far-flung lands. 

Chris also works as a writer and photographer on his blog Off the Atlas – an adventure travel blog all about Pakistan.  

Read this interview our staff did with Chris to learn more about him!

Chris believes in Pakistan and its people, and he believes in the value of journeys shared with others and family cultivated on the road. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what he does, and this really shines through in his work as a guide. He also makes great coffee – whether at 5am in an empty guesthouse or half way up a Himalayan peak.”

– Will De Villers

Pakistan is a magical country! Had 3 of the best weeks of my life thanks to Epic Backpacking Tours with owner, and one of our awesome guides, Chris. From detailed itinerary, preparation with an equipment list, and visa assistance. To amazing food, great porters, helpful guides, and great accommodations. Epic really hit home run after home run. […]

Their desire for adventure and amazing trip is just as high as yours. Bring a good pound of coffee for the trip. French press coffee every morning and no average tin coffee, plus you’ll be in your guides good books.

– Clark Tyler

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