The next morning, we planned to leave a bit early for our next destination in Gilgit-Baltistan, Skardu. It is quite some distance from Rama Valley. The maps will tell you otherwise and some people might say it different as well. But it takes good 6 to 7 hours from Rama Valley to Skardu and you definitely want to do this journey in the day light. You will make at least 2 stops on your way so give yourself good 7 hours depending on where in Skardu your destination is.
So after breakfast at the PTDC hotel Rama, we drove towards Astore that takes about 45 mins, and then entered the Deosai National Park towards Skardu.
This drive is not dangerous as it is not steep cliffs or mountains, but the road via Deosai plain is extremely bumpy and unpaved. You definitely are safer with 4WD and you should also be ready for a tiring, but very beautiful journey.
About Deosai National Park (Gilgit-Baltistan): Also known as “Roof of the Earth”, Deosai is the second highest plateau in the world. It. Is situated at the junction of four mountain ranges – Himalaya, Karakoram, Ladakh and Zansker. The elevation is between 3400 and 4500 meters above the sea level. With the area of 3626 sq km, it remains snow bound throughout the year. Snowfall starts in September and the access to Deosai Plains is closed from November onwards due to snow till Apr/Mnay. It is known for its special flora and fauna, and home to variety of wildlife like Himalayan Ibex, Red Fox, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Golden Marmot and endangered Himalayan Brow Bear.
Our first stop in Deosai was a tea stall for us where we stopped for 30 mins to enjoy the nature and the beauty of Deosai plains. After that we stopped at the Sheosar Lake. It is a lake at the height of 4142 meters.
Sheosar Lake is about 45 mins to 1-hour drive from Astore. From here on, it takes about 4 hours to reach Skardu. Again, you cannot do this route in the dark so plan the time well.
In Deosai Plains, the only way to stop overnight is to camp at the only campsite there. Again, come prepared for mosquitoes as you are out in the nature. Also, you should bring some food and snacks with you for the ride as there are not many options to buy any food or drinks in the Deosai plains.
We did not camp and continued to Skardu. Right before entering Skardu, we also saw the Sadpara Lake. Our final destination was Shigar valley in Skardu as we were staying at the Serena Hotel Shigar Fort. So, once you enter Skardu from Deosai, Shigar valley is another 45 minutes away. And after good 7/8 hours, we were here.
It was an absolutely beautiful and worthy journey, but also the most tiring of our whole Northern Areas trip. Even though we were in the car, but those bumps, we could feel. So, the rest of the evening was spent relaxing in the hotel and early call to bed.
Useful info, once you arrive in Skardu:
Skardu city to Shigar Valley – 45 mins
Skardu city to Shangrila – 45 mins
Skardu city to Khaplu Valley – 2.5 hrs
Serena Shigar Fort was one of the highlights of this trip and that continues in Part 4 of the Northern Areas of Pakistan series.
- Drive towards Deosai from Rama
- Sheosar (Shausar) Lake
- Sadpara Lake
- Shigar Fort Residence (overnight)
This post is part of a series:
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