Starting off with the city itself. Despite its regional importance, Skardu is a relatively small city, meaning it can easily be explored in a couple of hours. Visit Skardu Fort and shop for local crafts and textiles at the city’s souvenir market. Don’t forget to haggle!
Basho is a beautiful and picturesque valley in Skardu Valley at a distance of about one and half hour drive from the Skardu city. The valley is covered by the lush evergreen forest of different species, pastures and gushing, gurgling and trickling streams which make it a part of the heaven. The top of the peaks remain covered by the snow even in the summer.
Manthal Buddha Rock
Just a short drive south of Skardu lies Manthal, home to an ancient Buddhist monument known as the Manthal Buddha Rock. The rock is believed to be around 1200 years old and contains depictions of Buddha. It’s a great addition to your Skardu itinerary if you have some time on your hands.
Manthoka Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall about an hour southeast of Skardu. Surrounded by a serene green valley, Manthoka Waterfall emerges from the mountains so tall and majestically that it’s hard to believe the waterfall is actually manmade! Shower yourself in the waterfall’s pristine water, take photos of silky streams and rainbows, and enjoy a relaxing picnic in one of the most beautiful places near Skardu.
Sarfarangah Desert is one of the two famous cold deserts around Skardu. It’s located in the Shigar Valley along the Shigar River is therefore the perfect conclusion for a visit to Shigar. Leave behind your shoes to enjoy the smooth sand and enjoy jumping into the tall dunes with a bunch of friends. But beware, there might be thorns hidden under the sand in some parts!
Upper Kachura Lake
Kachura is a settlement about one hour northwest of Skardu and famous for its two lakes: the Upper Kachura Lake and the Lower Kachura Lake. The former one is accessible through a 15-minute trek through a small forest. Popular activities at the Lower Kachura Lake include swimming, fishing, and motorboating.
Lower Kachura Lake
The Lower Kachura Lake is located within the majestic Shangrila Resort, which is hands-down one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan, if not the world. Spend a relaxing afternoon surrounded by the greenest garden in this literal Heaven on earth and make sure to enjoy some organic apple juice in front of the heart-shaped lake. And if you feel extra fancy, consider staying a night at the resort.
Deosai National Park
Ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 meters altitude, the Deosai Plains near Skardu are the second-highest alpine plateau in the world. Deosai National Park was first established to protect the Himalayan Brown Bear and other endangered species and is currently on UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage list. Visit Deosai National Park to enjoy incredible wide and empty landscapes as well as the waters of Kalapani, Barapani, and Sheosar Lake, The drive south from Skardu to Deosai National Park takes one to two hours up a mountain pass.