Karimabad is one of the most famous towns in Gilgit-Baltistan. Located under the snow packed Ultar Mountain (7388 m) in Hunza valley, this town is awesome in scenery and tourist facilitation. The altitude of Karimabad is 2450 meters and it offers superb views to a number of mountain peaks and vast area of Hunza and Nagar.
The Hunza valley is rich in fruit and crops production. Wheat, barley, millet, beans and various vegetables are important crops while apple, apricot and pear are the major fruit of Hunza. Many of the world renowned mountaineers and guides belong to Hunza valley which reflects the involvement of Hunza people in tourism of Pakistan.
The journey from Gilgit to Hunza valley is the most scenic, adventurous and exciting road travel.
The old palace of the mirs of Hunza, Baltit Fort was built 700 years ago. This is a Tibetan style construction consists of three floors and various rooms. The Baltit Fort is an ideal place for the best photography of the whole valley including peaks like Rakaposhi, Ultar, Lady Finger, Batura and Shishpar.
Baltit Fort is few minutes’ walk from anywhere in Karimabad.
The Altit fort is richer in wooden work and fascination than the Baltit Fort. It was also a palace like Baltit Fort but it is called to be the oldest monument in the Hunza valley as it is 900 years old. Altit Fort is renowned as the original capital of Hunza which was later shifted to Baltit Fort.
At a distance of 2 kilometers from Karimabad, Altit fort is now a tourist museum and culture centre for the community.
Ultar Meadows hike can be an exciting and scenic long-day trip from Karimabad. It is a popular hike and camping for most of the Hunza visitors. The trek starts from the Baltit fort and follows a steep stony path.
This is a green summer pasture right under the Ultar Glacier with superb views of Ultar and Bubulimating peaks.
Karimabad is a famous base and rest home for the climbers of Hunza and Nagar region mountain peak. A large number of Karakoram peaks exist in the Hunza and Nagar. The most famous names are Rakaposhi, Ultar, Batura, Shishpar, Passu, Kanjut Sar, Kunyang Kish, Distaghil Sar, Spantik, Miyar, and Diran.
There are equally fair trekking possibilities which can be started from Karimabad. The most renowned and visited trails include Rush Lake, Bualtar-Barpu Glaciers to Miyar, Shimshal valley, Hispar – Snow Lake, Batura Base Camp and Khunjerab-Pamir etc.
Karimabad is the best place for shopping as well. The handicrafts, woolen clothes, caps, embroidery and handmade decoration items are unique gifts to buy at Karimabad. Dry fruit of Hunza valley is also a pleasant offer at Karimabad.
Where to stay
A good number of hotels are available in Karimabad. Tourist may find a reasonable deal for a stay according to the budget. There are several paid camping sites which can be more appealing for those who are geared up with essential camping for trekking.
Transport and Access
The Karakoram Highway passes a long way through the Hunza valley. Aliabad is the main stop at the KKH before the Karimabad. From Aliabad to Karimabad is a 2.5KM distance which can be climbed up or by a public/private vehicle. It is Due to the extreme weather and mountain conditions in the winters, the KKH traveling can be challenging.
From Rawalpindi, busses leave for Hunza daily. The usual time from Rawalpindi to Hunza is 20 hours which usually expand upto 24 hours due to the road conditions. The distance from Gilgit to Karim Abad is 100 KM and takes about 3 to 4 hours by road.
For air traveling, two flights between Islamabad to Gilgit are scheduled by Pakistan International Airline (PIA). The air travel is also subject to the weather conditions around the Nanga Parbat region.