Skardu, capital of Baltistan is perched 2,438 metres above sea level in the backdrop of the great peaks of the Karakorams. Balti people are a mixture of Tibetan and Caucasian stock and speak Balti, an ancient form of Tibetan. Due to the similarity of its culture, lifestyle and architecture with Tibet, Baltistan is also known as the “Tibet-e-Khurd” (Little Tibet).
It borders on the Chinese province of Xinjiang and Indian Kashmir. The tourist season is from April to October. The maximum temperature is 27 C and minimum (October) 8 C. Apart from its incomparable cluster of mountain peaks and glaciers Baltistan’s five valleys, – Shigar, Skardu, Khaplu, Rondu and Kharmang are noted for their luscious peaches, apricots, apples and pears.
Pakistan International Airlines flies daily from Islamabad. However, since the pilots fly on mere sight (no computer navigation), the flight only goes on clear days. During the flight it’s possible to catch a glimpse of Nanga Parbat (the 9th highest mountain in the world) and K2 (the 2nd highest mountain in the world.The air journey is full of thrills and could itself be regarded as the highlight of the visit. After following the same air route, which connects Gilgit to Islamabad/Rawalpindi, the plane turns right and flies over the gorge of the Indus River.
Skardu can be reached by bus from Islamabad. The drive takes you all the way over the KKH (Karakoram Highway).
Since the KKH is still under construction and the Skardu road still has to be repaired, the road can take min 36 hours by public transport
It’s also possible to get to Skardu from Gilgit. Though it’s less than 200km the journey will take you close to 8 hours (by public transportation.