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Punial, Ishkoman, Yasin & Ghizar

Getting there & away

Buses and minibuses leave daily (usually in the morning) from Natco’s Punial Rd bus yard in Gilgit for Gupis (Rs 90, six hours), Ishkoman (Pakora; Rs 80, six to seven hours) and Yasin (Rs 90, six to seven hours). For Gakuch (Rs 60, four hours) catch either the Yasin or Gupis buses.

Less predictable are cargo and passenger jeeps leaving from shops along Punial Rd in Gilgit. Ask at Kakakhel General Store about Gupis, Phander and Teru. For Ishkoman, you can ask in Gakuch (at the auto-parts shop opposite the Snowdrop Inn) about jeeps to Chatorkhand and Imit. On most days, cargo jeeps go from Gupis to Phander and/or Teru.

To get to the Shandur Pass or to continue on to Chitral, Natco runs a 10-seat Land Cruiser at least once a week (Rs 650 to Chitral, 16 hours) in summer from Gilgit (Punial Rd). Alternatively, there’s a daily minibus to Mastuj (Rs 360), from where you can board a minibus to Chitral (Rs 130). Readers continually praise the Gilgit–Chitral service offered by ‘Driver Yaqub’ from Gupis who can be contacted at Madina Hotel & Guest House (05811-53536). The cost is about Rs 10, 000 for four people and all their gear. If you can afford it, the most reliable option is to hire a jeep and driver in Gilgit from a travel agency such as Travel Walji’s. The Shandur Pass is usually open from June to late October, and it is not unknown for travellers to resort to several hours’ walking through snow in May to ‘get to the other side’.

Punial, Ishkoman, Yasin & Ghizar