Skardu, a town in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, is located in the north-eastern part of the country. The journey from Islamabad to Skardu by road is a long and arduous one, but it is also a beautiful and scenic one. The journey from Islamabad to Skardu by road takes about 14 to 18 hours. The first 8 hours, approximately,  are spent driving through the plains of Punjab province. The second 8, approximately,  hours are spent winding through the mountains of Gilgit Baltistan. The scenery along the way is breathtaking, with green fields and snow-capped mountains providing a contrast that is both beautiful and awe-inspiring. The journey from Islamabad to Skardu is not for the faint of heart. 

Gilgit-Baltistan can be reached by two different routes from Islamabad or Rawalpindi.  

First Route ( N-35) 

Islamabad => Taxila => Haripur => Abbottabad => Mansehra => Batgram => Thakot => Bisham => Dasu => Chilas => Gilgit =>Skardu   

Second Route (N-15) 

Islamabad => Taxila =>  Haripur =>  Abbottabad => Mansehra => Balakot => Mahandri =>  Kagahn => Naran => Chilas =>  Gilgit =>  Skardu  

Islamabad to Skardu by road –First Route details ( N-35) 

One is by N35, the direct route across KKH (Karakorum Highway). Following this path will allow you to see some of KPK’s most picturesque locations, including Mansehra, Abbottabad, Batgram, Chatarplane, Patan, and Bisham, among others.  

The map of the first route is below: 

In four and a half hours, one can get to Mansehra, you may stop there for a while for a cup tea or fast food. After passing through the lush green lands of KPK, you will reach Besham City, and it is better to pause over there for a cup of tea or lunch. From there on, the KKH will follow the bends and twists of the Indus River. You will be embraced by the Gilgit-Baltistan peaks as you pass into Kohistan, the last KPK region. Afterwards, you will reach Chilas, the district’s administrative centre, as you enter the Diamer District. 

Most often, the bus leave about midday, in which case you will have breakfast in Chilas; however, if you left Islamabad earlier, you will have breakfast in Jougloat. But if you are travelling with a private car, it is upto you. After leaving, you will come to an intersection where Gilgit and Skardu divide ways. 

From this intersection, it will take you about 30 to 40 minutes to get to Gilgit City if you want to visit Gilgit. For Skardu, you’ll need to go an additional 200 kilometers and you will reach there in four to five hours. However, it is good to stop for lunch at the PTDC motel Stak Valley on the way to Skardu, which will be the last tea or meal. Afterwards, you will arrive in Skardu city after 2 and half hours. Once you arrive in Skardu, you will be greeted by stunning views of the mountains and valleys. The town itself is small but charming, and there are plenty of places to stay and things to do. Whether you want to go hiking, explore the local culture, or simply relax in the beautiful scenery, Skardu is the perfect place for a memorable vacation. 

Islamabad to Skardu by road –Second Route details ( N-15) 

The second route runs from Islamabad to the KPK city of Mansehra, but from there it takes the N15 national highway. The most stunning and panoramic areas of Pakistan, including the Naran and Kaghan valleys and Babusar Top of Gilgit-Baltistan, may be seen if you take this road. Afterwards, this route connects to KKH at Chilas District of Gilgit-Baltistan. However, this route is not viable in winter or autumn season because of the harsh and cold weather. The map below will help you better understand the journey through the second route: 

Route from islamabad to skardu by Road: How long does it take? 

The fare of the NATCO bus for Skardu, which departs from Islamabad at various times, ranges from 2500 to 3500 rupees per person. Various other transportation companies also offer the same services with 2500 to 6000 Rupees per head. The average bus trip lasts 20 hours. We do not advise taking the bus if you are travelling with family. No public transportation, only rental cars and private cars, can pass through Babusar if you want to use the second route. Additionally, they take much less time. Private autos make the trip much more comfortable. Accordingly, we advise you to rent a car or a hi-ace, depending on the number of travellers. Estimated budget of 200-250k rupees should be kept in mind for a week for a group of 5 to 6 people. 

You can look up places to halt if you’re considering taking a road trip to Skardu. To confirm the weather, double-check the road conditions. Based on the most popular locations recommends, find the top lodging options, dining establishments, and tourist attractions.