Attabad Lake Karimabad Hunza

The plan was made almost on a whim one night when Ali and I decided we should get away ‘soon’ — As it turned out the soonest we could do was the Eid holidays which were a good month and a half from then. It’s true, with plans that are meant to be everything falls into place… Our gracious host Shehryar, a Hunza native, got our reservations done and one after the other some of our dearest friends decided to join us on the trip. In the end 5 adults, 5 children all under the age of 8 and 2 helpers gathered at the airport on the 3rd of July.


How did we get there?

With five children, driving 12 hours was out of the question so we took our chances with the flights. We arrive in Islamabad a day earlier, spent time with my family and the next morning took the 6:30am PIA ATR flight to Gilgit. From the airport we went to Gilgit Serena and rented cars that took us to Serena Hunza. The Hiace rental was PKR 5500 + Fuel.

How many days were we there for?

We arrived in Hunza early morning of 3rd July and left early morning 8th July so five days in total but in retrospect I think a 7 day trip would be perfect.

Where did we stay?

Despite becoming a popular tourist destination… (One million expected this year), Hunza has little to offer in terms of quality lodging. If you’re travelling with children it’s best to prebook Serena way in advance (by advance I mean at least a month or so). It’s in the middle of Karimabad so very close to some tourist attractions and stores and local restaurants are within walking distance.

The other option within Karimabad is The Darbar Hotel, it is much bigger than Serena and offers rooms with brilliant views of the Rakaposhi. Unfortunately, the hotel is under renovation this season.

The third option is Eagles Nest, as breathtaking as the location of this hotel is, we were better off in Serena with the children given it’s proximity to different amenities.

How did we get around?

The great thing about Karimabad is that both Baltit Fort and Altit Fort are within 3km of the hotel so it’s not impossible to walk to both. But for our excursions to Attabad Lake, Gulmit etc we had rented a Hiace at PKR 6000 + Fuel for the entire day. I highly recommend the Driver Shiraz who was extremely cautious and safe on the hilly roads. I can pass on his number if you’d like, just leave a comment.

Five things to eat?

– Walnut Cake from Cafe de Hunza, Karimabad – Sorry no images as it was closing when we got there.

– Chapshoro from Cafe Kha Basi, Altit Fort Karimabad (The restaurant is run entirely by women)

– Apricot Cake from Glacier Breeze Cafe, Passu Glacier

– Freshly made mixed vegetables from Marco Polo Inn, Gulmit

– Local Food at Hidden Paradise Cafe (if you’re new to the local cuisine, we recommend mixing a bit of familiar with the unfamiliar)


PIA ticket rates are different for locals and foreigners so check you’re getting the right rate

Any local restaurant takes AT LEAST one hour to prepared your order as they cook from scratch

Your idea of an easy walk may vary from that of the locals

Even sunscreen won’t save you and a hat could be your only savior at times

Be prepared for frequent Hunza weather shifts during the day.


Written by Sadaf Zarrar
Founding Partner