Astore Valley (el. 2,600 m (8,500 ft)) is now located in Astore District in the autonomous Pakistani regions of Gilgit-Baltistan,previously in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The valley, adjoining the eastern side of mountain Nanga Parbat, is about 120 km (75 mi) long, having area of 5,092 km2 (1,966 sq mi).
The entrance of the valley is located about 60 km southeast of Gilgit with four side-valleys. The valley has more than 100 villages with a total population of 71,666 (Census 1998), including Loas, Louze, Chilm, Bubin, Gorikot, Parisheng Eid Ghah, Fina, Bulen, Chongra, Tari Shing, Rattu, Kamri,and Minimerg. Chilm is the most beautiful village of Astore, being a starting point of Deosai, the world’s second highest plateau. Rama lake and pastures are the most famous tourist attraction in the region. The majority of people practice subsistence agriculture and livestock is the main source of livelihood complemented by seasonal work in down districts of the country. Due to its diverse landscape and climatic conditions the valley provides excellent habitat for a variety of commercially important medicinal plants.
Gilgit city is one of the two major hubs for all mountaineering expeditions almost all tourists headed for treks in Karakoram or Himalaya ranges arrive at Gilgit first. Many tourists choose to travel Gilgit by air since the road travel between Islamabad and Gilgit by Karakoram Highway takes nearly 18 hours, whereas the air travel takes a mere 45-50 minutes. Gilgit Airport is located at a small ground very close to the center it takes 5 – 10 Minutes from Airport to any hotel in town.
Gilgit is just off the Karakoram Highway between Chilas and Karimabad, and most people arrive by road. The main bus stand is on the KKH – Karakoram Highway, and requires a taxi ride or shared jeep to reach from town. There are booking agents in town for long distance buses along the KKH. The journey from Islamabad can take as long as 24 hours.
The best season to visit is from May to mid October. The local dialect is Shina, however, Urdu and English are also spoken and understood.
Flights between Islamabad and Gilgit
Gilgit has an airport, providing daily flights to Islamabad, punctuated only by adverse weather conditions. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies 12 weekly flights between Gilgit and Islamabad and the flight is one of the most scenic flights of the world as its route passes over Nanga Parbat and the mountain’s peak is higher than the aircraft’s cruising altitude. These flights, however, are subject to the clearance of weather and in winters, flights are often delayed by several days
- Airport Type – Public
- Elevation – 4,781 ft (1,457 m)
- Length – 5,400 ft (Asphalt) 983 ft (Concrete)
- Phone Number – 92-572
- Coordinates – 35?55’07″N, 4?20’01″E
- Time Zone:
+5:00 hours from UTC/GMT
- Airport Code:
FlightStats code: GIL
IATA code: GIL
ICAO code: OPGT
Book online flights here:
- Park Hotel Gilgit.
- Madina Guest House, NLI Chowk. Popular with foreigners. Has a restaurant with seating area in a courtyard. Prices as of May 2009 are 150 Rs for a 6 bed dorm / 330 Rs for a double with shared bath / 450 Rs for a double w/private bath Rs 200-600.
- New Tourist Cottage Also popular with foreigners. Private doubles with bath are Rs 320. Rooms are large and well maintained. Also has outdoor seating areas.
- Gilgit Motel.
- Park hotel, Airport Road (on main road from Jutial to main market). Quite spacious with good quality food, and best located as antique shops are situated nearby
- Gilgit serena hotel