Astore is the recently established district headquarters at Gilgit-Baltistan with its district headquarters at Eidgah. The Astore Valley is comprised of numerous valleys and villages where the prominent ones are Rama, Gorikot, Rehmanpur, Rattu. Bunji, Dashkin and Chilim, among others. Of particular note in the District are Parbat (Rupal Face) and Rama Lake.
The Diamer District is the gateway to the Gilgit-Baltistan if driving from Islamabad via the Karkorum Highway (KKH) or Kaghan Valley through Babusar or Butogah passes. The area has been important since the pre-historic period and numerous traces of ancient rock carvings ore found in different shapes, especially rock inscribed pictures and writings which are spread all around the region. The important places in Diamer District are Tangir, Darel, Chiias, Bunar Das, Gonar Farm and Raikot.
Of particular note in this District are Nanga Parbat (8,125m) Raikot Face and Fairy Meadows, some of the most picturesque places in the world.
Gilgit strategically the most important region in the Karakorams and the trade centre of the region for centuries, is the capital town and administrative centre of the Federally Administered Gilgit-Baltistan. The area is watered by the Ghizer/Gilgit, Hunza and Indus rivers and several of their tributaries.
Gilgit was an important city on the Silk Road through which religions were spread to and from the region. At one time the region was under the influence of Buddhism and a large number of Buddhist texts have been found at various places. A good account of the region is found from the writings of Fa Hsien and Hsuan Tsang, ancient travelers along the Silk Road. There has been found Dardic influence as well. Gilgit was ruled for centuries by the local Trakhane Dynasty which came to an end in 1810 and was followed by the rule of Sikhs and the British before declaring independence in 1947 and becoming part of Pakistan in 1948.
Of particular note in this district are Naltar, 35 km from Gilgit and a picturesque grassland surrounded by high peaks with accessible glacial lakes and in the winter there is a private ski resort run under the auspices of the Pakistan Air Force and for military personnel only. Near to Gilgit there is the Kargah Buddha, a rock-wall carved Buddha dating back to the 8th century AD while a little further on is the ruins of a Buddhist monastery and stupa.
This region west of Gilgit has been ruled by various local Rajas of Yasin and Punial and later divided between the Mehthar of Chitral and the Maharaja of Kashmir. After 1948 the area became a part of the NAs as a district. The major places are Punial which is a former small kingdom and Sherqilla which has a wood carved mosque and 150 year old watchtower. Fishing is another activity in the villages.
Further west, on the main road from Gilgit to Chitral, is the important town of Gahkuch and the administrative centre for the district. Yasin is a green and picturesque region. The local inhabitants are mainly Ismailis. The Ishkoman valley is another beautiful region in Ghizer.
Phander is one of the most interesting places in the district. It is well connected by metalled road to Gilgit. A leisure day at Phander with fishing in the lake is ideal for holiday makers.
ShandurPass, the bordering plateau between Gilgit and Chitral is more famous for its annual polo tournament and gala. It offers superb panorama as the vast plateau fills with alpine flowers and the lake on the pass makes it more picturesque.
Hunza /Nagar District
This is the new district formed in the Gilgit-Baltistan comprising of the valleys of Hunza and Nagar.
Hunza was a former princely state for about 900 years which came to an end in 1974. Hunza valley is the prime attraction for tourists as the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains is overwhelming. A view of four 7,000 m high peaks, i.e., Rakaposhi, Diran, Golden and Ultar, from various points of Hunza makes it unique. The valley is known for its delicious fruits, terraced fields, and also for its changing colours in various seasons. Hunza is a tourist friendly region. The present literacy rate of the valley is above 90%
Of particular interest in this district are: Baltit Fort, a 700 year old building, made of mud, rocks and wood, is impressive and has been recently renovated and turned into a heritage museum. A walk through the villages with terraced fields is a pleasant experience. The bazaar of Karimabad is colorful and the main items of interest include local handicrafts, souvenirs, hand woven rugs, embroidered caps, shawls, hand woven cloth known as paffu and gemstones.
In the Upper Hunza or Gojal area, the high mountain land of Khunjerab with its crest at 4,743 m is a wide snow plateau and serves as the border between Pakistan and China. The region beyond Dhee is declared as Khunjerab National Park. While driving through the park one can see grazing wild asses, yaks, marmots and ibex. The sight of Marco Polo sheep and urial is rare. Snow leopard is also found but the sighting is occasional. There is a Tourist Facilitation Centre at Zero Point, Khunjerab Pass.
Nagar has been a state of equal status and importance as that of Hunza. Although the valley is spread in a vast region, however the main village of Nagar is just opposite to Karimabad, across the Hunza River. Bar, Jaffarabad, Husanabad, Sikandarabad, Nilt and Ghulmit are the major villages in Nagar. Presently there is no proper accommodation facility available (apart from a nice private place in Minapin village). Rakaposhi Trekking options include Rakaposhi Base Camp, Rush Lake and Rush Peak routes, while the most important is Hisper Pass, connecting the region with Baltistan.
Skardu town is located near the confluence of Shigar and Indus rivers, and is watered by the stream flowing down the Sadpara Lake. Although Skardu is the base camp for the routes to some of the world's highest peaks, low altitude mountains surround the town. The old bazaar has a few mountaineering equipment (second hand) shops and others provide basic provisions required by trekking and climbing parties.
Of particular interest in this district are: Khorpocho Fort, Manthal Rock (Buddhist carving), Sadpara and Kachura Lakes (including the upscale resort of Shangrila while so 3 full day excursions are a visit to Deosai Plains (the second highest plateau in the world), and the Shigar valley with an impressive renovated fort and fruit orchards.
Ghanche has two major divisions, Khaplu and Mc'herbrum. Hushe, under the shadow of Masherbrum Peak, is the gateway to various important peaks and glaciers.
A 102 km drive mostly along the Shyok river takes to Khaplu, the district headquarters of Ghanche. Khaplu Palace and Chaqchan Mosque are the interesting places to visit. The palace was the summer residence of the ex-ruler’s family. The mosque was built around 1500 AC and boasts to be the oldest mosque in Ba iitan. The building shows Buddhist influence and Tibetan architecture.
Ghondoghoro Pass at 5,650 m is one of the most popular and challenging trekking routes in the world. Other places to trek to with relative ease are the base camp of Masherburm Peak and Thalle La.