Hopper Valley – A day trip to a glacier

We heard that a visit to Hopper Valley makes a nice day trip from Karimabad and there would even be a glacier. As our visit to Passu Glacier was not as successful as we had hoped for, we decided to give Hopper Valley a go.

It would be possible to travel from Karimabad to Hopper Valley by public transport via Aliabad. We ended up hiring a driver, though. We met a German man, Carsten, at our guesthouse, and he joined us to split the costs. Getting an own driver was a good idea, because he made many stops on the way so we could see much more than just the Hopper Valley. Private day tour with the nice driver and his Landrover costed 3000 rupees altogether (around 18 euros).

Sights on the way

Our first stop was the 1000-year-old village of Ganish, the oldest settlement of the Hunza Valley. Even though a big part of it has been destroyed by floods, it was an amazing historical place to see.

In the village of Ganish
In the village of Ganish
Views from the village of Ganish
Views from the village of Ganish

Our next stop were the sacred rocks of Hunza. On these big rocks next to the Karakorum Highway thousands of years old buddhist inscriptions are still visible. It was kind of interesting to see, even though one gets quite fast bored staring at rocks. But the views behind them were stunning as ever.

The beautiful view behind the sacred stones
The beautiful view behind the sacred stones
Up on the hill sits the oldest fort of the area, Altit Fort
Up on the hill sits the oldest fort of the area, Altit Fort

Our driver had another surprise for us. Before driving to Hopper Valley, we also had a small stop at a ruby mine. It didn’t sound very interesting, but as we managed to find stones with tiny ruby pieces attached to them, we got excited. While Johanna and Carsten focused on the ruby search, Seri explored the long dark tunnels leading through the rock.

On our way to Hopper Valley we saw some cool trucks
On our way to Hopper Valley we saw some cool trucks
Men at work
Men at work

On our way to Hopper Valley

Finally, we started our way towards the Hopper Valley. We drove by a riverbank where local families had built camps. They live there to search diamonds from the river.

The tent village at the riverbank
The tent village at the riverbank

Then we started ascending to the mountains. Breathtaking mountain views, goats, the vivid autumn colors… you know, the usual. The sand road leading up was rather narrow at some points, so it almost got exciting. We passed many small villages with streets filled with happy kids on their way to school, seemingly excited to see some foreigners.

Near Hopper Valley. In the distance is the glacier.
Near Hopper Valley. In the distance is the glacier.

Visit to the glacier

In Hopper Valley, our driver parked the car in front of a “Hilton Restaurant”, which had (luckily) nothing to do with the actual Hilton chain. From here it would be around 2 hours to walk to the glacier and back. We were offered a guide, but we refused, confident that we will find the way on our own.

The glacier seen from up
The glacier seen from up

We could see the glacier from afar but wanted to make it on top of it this time. The descent was quite steep. When we finally arrived at the side of the glacier, we searched for a way to get on top for a long time, as it was all muddy and hard to cross. The hard work paid off, as the views from on top of it were quite spectacular. We’ve never stood on a glacier before (the one in Passu doesn‘t count).

Goats on the glacier
Goats on the glacier
Never been on a glacier before
Never been on a glacier before

After getting back up, all the way to the Hilton Restaurant, we had a lunch there and then drove back to Karimabad. 

A trip to recommend

We don’t often do daytrips like that. Hire a driver and tour around from one sightseeing point to another. But we would recommend to do this trip with a driver, as there were many things to see on the way that we would have missed by taking the public transport. As you could fit at least five or six passengers to a Landrover like that, it’s also very affordable when you share the costs. 

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Johanna & Seri

We are Johanna and Seri and this is our travel diary. At the moment we are on our way overland from Finland to India and beyond. Read more about us here.

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