Naltar Valley
Beyond the Enchanting Lakes

Naltar, a rugged place with the softest heart and the most hospitable people.
I visit Naltar Valley every time I visit GB, it is mostly my first stop in GB.


Well, take a look around you, wherever you are right now. It’s all boxes.
Buildings, rooms, tables – everything feels so confined and limiting, even in the comfort of your own home.
It can be downright depressing, right? 😶
But the moment I leave Nomal and ascend into Naltar Valley, the dense pine forest of Naltar welcomes me. The greenery of this place takes away all my depression and frustration.
Seeing the snow-covered peaks as I leave Naltar Paine gives me the freedom of not worrying about any future expectations or past regrets.
Naltar gives me the perfect head start for my travels.
But that’s basically me using Naltar as my dumpster for all my frustration and annoyance.
Let me tell you, Naltar has a surprise in store for you.
7 breathtaking lakes that you can explore!
It’s very rare to get so many high-altitude lakes at one destination in the world.

But how to get there? 

Let’s go through every possible way that I have figured out till now.
Naltar Valley is just 40 km from Gilgit city, which makes it the first stop for many visiting GB.
Btw for those who don’t know, Naltar Valley has a lot of villages but is mainly divided into two villages.
  1. The lower valley is called Naltar Paine village
  2. The upper valley is known as Naltar Bala

4×4 Rentals

You will see many 4×4 rentals that can take you to Naltar Valley as you leave Gilgit City.
My personal recommendation 4×4 rental (Naltar Thrills) near an 18-megawatt powerhouse. (Map)
If you hire a jeep from the 18-megawatt, it will cost you around 8-9K to zero point and 11-12k for Naltar lakes.
Others might charge you more due to more distance.
You can choose between a 5-door or the traditional Jeep to travel from Paine to Bala.
If you are traveling by your own car, you can directly stop at Naltar Paine village. 
The road to the Naltar Paine is a beautiful carpeted and scenic road to drive.
The drive from Paine to Bala takes around 30 minutes. But, if your plan is to head straight to the lakes, it is a journey of approximately 2 hours. Don’t worry, we’ll cover all the lakes and other must-visit destinations in detail below.
 Suggestion: Make sure to grab some yummy snacks before you go to the lakes because the canteen there is closed for now.


If you have a bike, you can travel all the way to Naltar Lakes. I am sure if you love exploring on a bike like I do, you will love the off-road starting from 18 megawatts.
Getting to Naltar Bala is child’s play, the real off-roading starts when you leave for Naltar lakes.
It takes around 2 to 2.5 hours to reach the lakes from Bala.
Advice: Remember to refill your fuel from Nomal before leaving for lakes.

Public Transport:

If you have no transport and you are low on budget, no problem!

Just ask anyone standing on the road, which local van can take you to Ghanibad bridge.
They take around 50-60 PKR.

When you reach the Ghanibad bridge, look for the van that goes to Naltar Valley. It will cost you around 350 PKR.
Hope into it.
4-5 vans leave for Naltar Valley from 3-4 PM every day.
Let’s say you don’t want to spend money on transport, so is there any way you can reach Naltar?
Of course!


You can find many trucks, tractors, bikes, and cars traveling from Gilgit to Nomal.
Hop into anything you find. The people are extremely friendly and are always ready to help.
Once you reach Nomal, head towards the Naltar road. Again, there are many people traveling on this road till 4-5 PM.
I hardly walked much before finding a lift from Nomal to Paine and from Paine to Naltar Bala.
Look out for NLC trucks beyond Paine, working on road construction. Ask for a lift and Enjoy the ride!
If you don’t have any transport but traveling with your kids, you can call Mr. Khalid.
Khalid Hussain # +92 355 5755571
He can pick you up from the airport or bus stop.
He’s an amazing guy from Naltar Paine village. He will make sure to show you all the good places. And above all he will never compromise your tour by making excuses like the road is closed or so.
If he’s not available, He will make sure to provide you with a good and friendly driver. At least who won’t rush.
Suggestion: If you want to have a delicious dinner while your stay at Naltar, I recommend trying the trout from Chashma trout fish farm.

Where to stay in Naltar Bala?

There are a lot of hotels in Bala where you can stay as per your liking and budget.
If you want, you can use my reference for the following hotels. They will give you some discount on the room rent: 
  1. Glacier View Hotel (Zero Point)
  2. Beauteous Inn (Zero Point)
  3. Flying Bird Resort (Near Ski ground – Zero Point)
  4. Top hill guesthouse (Zero Point)
  5. Torgul (Bala)
If you have a camp and low on budget, I got you covered on that as well 😎
You can camp outside the Al-Nasir hotel.
The hotel is run by Ishtiaq and he’s a darling. He might let you camp for free or charge you very little for it.
All you will have to do is pay for your food!

2019 Backflash

During my first visit to GB, I came across a map of Gilgit-Baltistan. It showed a Valley close to Gilgit city.

Excitedly, I set off in the afternoon, assuming it would be an easy 40-kilometer journey.
Imagining I’d be there in an hour tops!
You see, back then, there was no road-like structure as you crossed Nomal.
And I had no experience of off-roading in Karakoram and Himalayas.
I reached Naltar Bala exhausted and covered in dirt.
Thankfully, the road has improved significantly since then.

It was already 6 PM. A local offered me water and asked if I was alone.
He enlightened me about a place that was around three hours away.
Truth be told, I had only read about the valley, not the lakes. 
When he told me few people go there to stay. 
It filled me with excitement.
I expressed my gratitude and decided to head forward again.
Fortunately, I had a full tank when I left for Naltar.
The landscape was simply breathtaking, with rivers flowing and lush pine forests adorning both sides of the road.
It was like a dreamy place.
The road took a dip on the way to the lakes. I glanced down and thought it was a good spot to take a break just before the darkness set in.
Being a novice at off-road biking, I lost my grip on the dirt and slid down.
“Well, that wasn’t part of the plan, but at least I made it down!”
I thought brushing off the dirt. I parked my bike and enjoyed a smoke before continuing.
Without wasting any further time, I made the most of the remaining daylight.
The pine forest grew thicker as the sun bid farewell.
It was around 8:30 PM and darkness had slowed me down.
The road now passed through the heart of the forest.
To avoid getting lost in the dark forest, I recalled a memory of my childhood days of watching “Man vs. Wild” and marked the trees as I went along.

I felt quite exhausted after riding bumpy roads for 6-7 hours.
I thought about starting a fire and spending the night under a tree.
And in the morning, I’d continue my journey.

I spotted a distant fire, just as I was thinking this.
It gave me the push I needed.
When I arrived, there was no one in sight.
I sat there for 8-10 minutes.
Warming myself by the fire and wondering if this was the place the local guy had mentioned.
Perhaps this is where they set up camps i thought.
I waited for another 15 minutes, but still, no one appeared.
I felt a mix of comfort and unease.
Maybe it was divine intervention, as I was tired and freezing.
On the other hand, being alone in the forest with no one around to start a campfire gave me the creeps.
Eventually, I made the decision to leave and press on. It was around 10 PM when I reluctantly left my beloved campfire, with no idea of the remaining time or the right direction.
After 15 minutes, I caught sight of distant headlights. It was then I realized I had strayed from the correct path in the forest.
I flashed my phone’s flashlight as I ran toward the approaching jeep.
Asked the driver if I was on the right track to the lakes and how much longer it would take.
He assured me I was on the right road and just 15 minutes away.
After 15-18 minutes, I spotted another campfire and some camps.
As I reached the campsite, a guy grabbed my bike, seeing how exhausted and energyless I was..
I dismounted my bike and hugged the guy.
It was Faizan, who would later become a dear friend.
That night, there were no tourists, only locals. We danced, laughed around the bonfire, and chatted for hours.
They generously shared their delicious dinner with me.
Finally, around 2 AM, Faizan provided me with a royal size camp to spend the night.
The next morning when I stepped out of my camp, I looked around and thought
Oh yeah, it was definitely worth it!”
Looking back, traveling alone at night in remote areas is not advisable especially if you are traveling solo.
The road to the lakes in daylight is a breathtaking sight. So, tighten your gloves for an exciting off-road ride!

Why Naltar is worth it?

Since my first visit, I have been exploring more and more of Naltar.
It surprises me there are so many places to see and so many things to do here in Naltar 🤩
In this blog, let’s delve into some of the easily accessible destinations that are worth exploring.
Of course, we can’t miss talking about the famous Naltar Lakes, but there’s so much more to discover beyond the lakes.
2 of the lakes are accessible by a 4×4 or bike, the remaining you will have to trek.
Though the trek is not so tough.
In fact, in 2020 I guided a group of five adventurous souls from Faisalabad in their late 30s to the highest lake.
Surprisingly, they had zero hiking experience, yet they conquered it with ease.
That’s how accessible these places are for anyone!
Let’s explore the lakes area first:

1.     Mirror Lake:

Approachable by: Trekking/4×4/Bike
Cellular Reachability: Weak
Trek time: 10-15 minutes from road

This is the first lake you will come by. It is a newly formed lake in 2021 due to global warming. You will see the trees dipped into the lake. Making it uniquely beautiful.

Trek is considerably very easy so you can enjoy a less crowded place.

2.     Satrangi Lake:

Approachable by: Trekking/4×4/Bike
Cellular Reachability: Weak (You will get some signals near the guesthouse building)

The 7-colored lake of Naltar. 
It is one of my preferable sites to camp when in Naltar.
At night you will only hear the sound of a river passing by in the distance.

The overwhelming stars at night is yet another reason for me to camp there.

There is a place on the right bank of Satrangi Lake.
Search for a rock tower. The route up is quite easy but the view is just mesmerizing. 

Some colors are only visible at sunrise and dawn. Try to find all 7 shades in the lake 😉

3.     Pari Lake:

Approachable by: Trekking/4×4/Bike
Trek time: 25 minutes from Pari/15 minutes on jeep track
Cellular Reachability: Weak (Might catch bar signal bar on the roadside)

There are two routes that lead to this lake.

  1. You can continue hiking on the Jeep road which will lead you to Pari Lake. It takes around 15-20 mins using this route.
  2. The second route is from the backside of the Satrangi lake.
    This is a more interesting route to take which leads to a beautiful rocky route.
    This route takes around 25 mins.

If you are planning to trek to all the lakes, I suggest taking this scenic route. You can reach Pari and Blue lake and you will get a magnificent view of the valley.

4.     Blue Lake:

Approachable by: Trekking/4×4/Bike
Trek time: 25 minutes from Pari/20 minutes on jeep track
Cellular Reachability: Weak

It surprises me when I meet people who visit only Satrangi and then head back.
If only they knew what they were missing out on!

I often ask them why they didn’t explore this lake too. Most of them say,
“Well, we already saw Satrangi, so this one must be similar.”

But let me tell you a little secret, my friend—don’t ever miss out on this lake when you visit Naltar!

Once you arrive at Blue lake, you’ll be amazed by the calming sight of a crystal blue oasis against a backdrop of snow covered mountains and pine trees. It’s like stepping into a serene painting!

And the best part? It’s a short 10-minute ride from Satrangi on a 4×4. So, make sure to add it to your must-see list!

If you’re up for an adventure, there are two ways to reach Pari lake. Those who love trekking can follow the same rocky terrain from Pari to blue lake. The choice is yours! 

5.     Bodlok/Aasmani Lake:

Approachable by: Trekking, Hiking
Trek time: 45 minutes – 1 hour from blue lake
Cellular Reachability: None

Right on the edge of the mesmerizing blue lake, there’s a hut that you can easily spot. Pay close attention because just to the left of this hut.

To its left, a path winds through a lively pine forest, filled with the melodies of singing birds

The trail transitions to boulders and gradually ascends.
The trick here is to take small baby steps at a slow pace on the uphill slope.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a splendid surprise awaits you on the other side of the hill—Bodlok lake.
But wait, there’s more! Prepare to be amazed as you witness the majestic sight of seven glaciers all in one place! 

6.     Halima Garden & Lake:

Approachable by: Trekking, Hiking
Trek time: 20 – 30 minutes from blue lake
Cellular Reachability: None

The lush green meadows with small rivers flowing all around you. A royal garden no doubt.

The trek starts from the right side of the hut in blue lake. You will have to follow the trek up from here.

The whole trek is scenic. You will have to cross bridges made with tree trunks to reach your destination.

If you have one extra day, I recommend camping here.
As finally, you are out of the light pollution now.
The night view of the sky is mind-blowing. You can spot so many satellites and meteors (shooting stars).

7.     Feroze Lake:

Approachable by: Trekking, Hiking
Trek time: 15 minutes from Halima garden
Cellular Reachability: None

After crossing Halima Garden’s enchanting meadows, the trek leads to rocky terrain northward.
But don’t worry, it’s an easy path without slippery or loose rocks.

When we reach the top of the boulders, the view opens up, revealing its full beauty.
The lake, adorned with a vibrant turquoise hue, is fed by small waterfalls cascading from the glaciers.

Look around, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by sprawling meadows stretching as far as the eye can see.
It’s a sight that will make you hesitant to turn back. 

All these incredible destinations are remarkable and very easy to reach.

I will try to leave markings along the trekking routes to assist future explorers, especially Pakistanis.
Hoping to igniting the true spirit of exploration into the wild.
Or you can always reach out to me 😉
Okay, so all these destinations are amazing to visit. But are there any places if you decided not to go all the way to the lakes but to Naltar Bala only?

Exploring Naltar Paine & Bala

 Let’s explore some of easy to reach destinations near Naltar Paine and Bala.

1.     Hoper:

Approachable by: Trekking, Hiking
Trek time: 1 hour from Paine
Cellular Reachability: Strong

This is not the hopper valley, near Karimabad in Nagar. This is a place near Naltar Paine. It is a pasture where locals keep their cattle.

You will get a panoramic view of the majestic Karakoram mountains. On your back, you will see the snow-capped mountains of Naltar.

Nobody knows about this place so it is basically untouched by outsiders.
The route is quite easy. And guess what, you can also stay the night there if you like.

2.     Jugot:

Approachable by: Jeep, Bike, Hiking
Trek time: 20 – 25 minutes from Naltar Bala road
Cellular Reachability: Good

There’s a quaint little settlement that has stood for over 400 years. It’s tucked away up the road, just before Bala.

There are only 20-25 houses in Jugot, so the whole place is very calm.
The road is rocky. You can reach there on foot, on a 4×4, or on your bike.

Fun tip: If you come across a local with a bike or car, they’ll be more than happy to give you a ride there.

It’s only 10-15-minute journey from the main road.
You will see the road splitting into two directions when as you drive on this road.
Take a left and you will reach the village of Jugot.

You will have one of the best views of Naltar Valley from Jugot. It’s an amazing place to camp as well, as it’s near to the main village and shops.

3.     Ka Chali:

Approachable by: Jeep, Bike, Hiking 
Trek time: 15 – 20 minutes from Jugot 
Cellular Reachability: Medium

Remember the left we took for Jugot?
For Ka Chali take the right and continue going up on the road.

Keep going and eventually, you will reach a meadow. There are some farms and a big place to sit and enjoy the place.

If you are a coffee or tea person, Sit under any tree and enjoy it with the panoramic view of Naltar Valley.

The place is so beautiful and calm that Mr. Hussain Shah has decided to live here with mother nature.
You will find only one house here.

You can easily bring your food supplies if you decide to spend the night here.
This is also a great place for taking pictures.

Suggestion: If you are lucky, you can try the delicious goat milk lassi from Hussain Shah 😁

4.     Torgul:

Approachable by: Hiking, Trekking
Trek time: 45 minutes – 1 hour from zero point
Cellular Reachability: Weak

Torgul offers a close-up call with the Pallu mountain of Naltar and an awe-inspiring view of the mighty Rakaposhi. The 27th highest mountain in the world.

Torgul leads to some other places as well, which are completely untouched by outsiders.
For now, let’s focus on the easy destinations in this blog 😉

There are two routes that lead to Torgul.

  1. If you are an adventurer and love to trek. I suggest taking a more direct route.

    The route starts from alongside the agriculture farms near zero point.
    The easy way up is to follow the water channel.
    The trees cover most of the trek giving you cover from the sun.

    Once you have crossed all the farms, you will see “Ya Ali” written on the mountain. 
    Go below it making a left. This is the easiest way to go up on this route.
    Once you make a left, you will enter a small forest area. 

    The trek is visible but in some places there are many treks. So, choose as per your comfort to go up.

    You will see many glaciers going down into the valley as you ascend.

    Remember, if you take this route then take small steps and go slow.
    Do not rush.

    Once out of the forest, you will reach a pasture, with trees and grass.
    This is where the people of Naltar keep their yaks in the summer. Because it’s too hot in summers for the yaks in Bala or Paine.

  2. The second route is a bit easy with a steady inclination. The route starts from the Turbat village near zero point.

    The route goes up all the way to the pasture of Torgul. This is a bit easy and less strenuous trek to reach this place.

5.     Ishkoman:

Approachable by: Hiking
Trek time: 45 minutes – 1 hour from zero point
Cellular Reachability: Weak

Ah, Ishkoman, my friend, a picture-perfect paradise! Imagine the sun gracefully rising over the neighboring mountain, illuminating the whole scene.

Wanna know a secret?

If the air force chairlift is running, grab that ticket! It’ll cut your travel time by a whopping 85%, getting you to Ishkoman in no time.

But don’t worry if the chairlift isn’t running. Just follow its route on foot, taking it nice and slow.

Why am I emphasizing going slow?
Well, my friend, most people aren’t used to the high altitude of GB.

It takes time for our bodies to adjust and work properly at these elevated heights.
Spending 4-5 days in GB will make you feel better and more ready for treks and walks.
But until then, go easy on yourself. You can’t rush natural process, you know.

All the above places are untouched by outsiders. So, if you decide to visit these places, try to keep the place as you found it.
Even for a cigarette bud, try to keep it in your cigarette packet and throw it when you find a dustbin.

6.     Zero point:

Approachable by: Hiking, Jeep, Bike
Trek time: 25-30 minutes from Bala
Cellular Reachability: Good

Most people know about this place. It is reachable by car, jeep, or bike.

Once at the top, you will have to hike for 5 minutes to get to the top. Zero Point is a place surrounded by high mountains.
Offers an amazing view and is very easy to get to.

Many people think there is only zero point to enjoy in Naltar Bala. But now you know. There are many places to explore.

Disclaimer: I have seen some drivers misguiding people into believing Bala is Zero point. Zero Point is on a top of a small hill in Bala.

But hey that’s all about visiting different places. Is there anything else that you can enjoy while in Naltar?

Let’s get to the fun part.


In summer there is an old festival, “jashan-e-ghanoni”.
It starts from 1st July – 20th July. This festival remains only in a few villages in GB now.
They make all types of traditional food, that you must try.
During this festival, you might get to taste their delicious food for free!
What’s better than free food, right? 🤤
Let me share all the yummy dishes that I have tried in Naltar till now.
  • Dhooda Gali (roti with milk, egg, and ghee)
  • Gul mandi (The roti is filled with yummy vegetables and curd)
You can ask the hotel management for these dishes’ availability where you are staying.
You can enjoy their delicious summer food.
If you are visiting Naltar in winter, you can ask for the following dishes:
  • Taltapu (desi roti with different types of flours)
  • Nasalo gosht (Dried meat, can try its barbeque, curry, roasted)
  • Karoi chupati
  • Dum Deram (special flour, chocolaty with almond oil)
  • Gae guro (Made from Shatoot and almond)

My fellow adventurer!

Let’s have a little chat. Sometimes we get caught up in this idea of doing a whirlwind tour, covering as many cities as possible.
But here’s the thing:
Traveling to these amazing places is a rare treat, maybe once or twice a year. And let’s not forget about the cost involved!
All that to spend only a measly 15-20 minutes at each destination?
Pause and think:
Are you racing from one spot to another on your vacation, or is it to truly relax, enjoy, and soak in the beauty of the surroundings?
So, my friend, if you feel that rush taking over, it’s time to hit the brakes!
Replan your journey and savor every destination.
Truly making the most of your precious vacation time.
You can reach me out if I missed any place which is easy to reach in Naltar or if you want to plan your travel with me 😁


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