Pakistan’s Gilgit–Baltistan featured among Forbes 10 coolest places list

Hunza, Shigar and Khaplu have made it to the American business magazine’s travel list, prepared by travel blogger Ann Abel…

LAHORE — Three cities of northern Pakistan’s Gilgit–Baltistan region have made it to the Forbes list of 10 Coolest Places to Visit in 2019.

Hunza, Shigar and Khaplu have claimed a spot in the American business magazine’s travel list, which was compiled by travel blogger Ann Abel and includes the names of must-visit places around the globe.


Hunza is a mountainous valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region and is situated in the extreme northern part of the South Asian country, bordering with the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan and the Xinjiang region of China.


Shigar is a district in the Baltistan division in the north of Skardu. The Shigar River, bisecting the Shigar valley, falls in the Indus River at Skardu city. The town is a popular site for tourists and trekkers and contains many historical buildings of architectural significance associated with all communities.


Khaplu is a town that serves as the administrative capital of the Ghanche District of Gilgit-Baltistan, in northern Pakistan. Lying 103 km (64 mi) east of the town of Skardu.

The Khaplu Valley is 103 kilometres (64 miles) from Skardu and two hours by jeep. It is a sprawling village located at the confluence of the Indus and the Shyok Rivers in Pakistan.

Khaplu is a base for trekking into the Hushe valley which leads to Masherbrum mountains. Many famous mountains, such as Masherbrum, K-6, K-7, Sherpi Kangh, Sia Kangri, Saltoro Kangri, and Siachen etc. are located there.

“Explore the valleys of Hunza, Shigar, and Khaplu via the renowned Karakoram Highway,” suggests Sara Barbieri, a specialist working with luxury travel website GeoEx.

“This little-visited region in the far northeast of the country offers the kind of startlingly striking scenery that compels you to gaze from the window of your 4WD without blinking, for fear of missing a moment of the majesty of the landscape—or one of the astounding suspension bridges that cross the surging rivers filled with snowmelt,” she added.

Barbieri adds that the warm welcome of the people, the glacial blue of Attabad lake, the centuries of history, the juxtaposition of granite to greenery, the chance to walk through an age old-apricot orchard along water channels cut by hand, and the blazing snow-covered glory of Rakiposhi, and you must acknowledge there is a grand adventure to be had.

Other places/countries that made it to the list are:

  • The Azores in Portugal
  • Eastern Bhutan
  • Los Cabos in Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Ethiopia
  • Madagascar
  • Mongolia
  • Rwanda
  • Turkish Riviera