Phander Valley is located 61 km (38 miles) from Gupis Valley, District Ghizer of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. A winding road through lush green fields and forests with a view of a flowing river and snowcapped peaks will lead you to this fascinating valley.
From freshwater springs to lakes and rivers of blue water, there is every color of natural beauty in the Phandar Valley. A preview of this valley will alleviate all the fatigue of the trip and will empower you with its amazing views. The calm, deep blue waters of the Ghizer River and the surrounding green and gold fields are amazing.
Phander Valley Weather & Best Time to Visit
The weather in Phander Valley is always very good between June and July and this is the best time to visit this valley because the beauty of this valley is the best during these months. The days are always nice and warm and the nights are a little colder.
Phander Valley Location
Phander, a settlement and village nestled in the Gupis-Yasin region within Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, is a place of natural beauty and cultural significance. Located at a distance of 184 kilometers from Gilgit, it lies on the road leading to Shandur Pass and onward to Chitral.
The name “Phander” holds a unique local significance as it stems from the Khowar language, where “Phan” translates to “palm.” This nomenclature aptly describes the landscape, as the area resembles the flat expanse of a palm tree, thus earning the name “Phander.” This picturesque location serves as a magnet for tourists, with its scenic charm and cultural appeal.
Phander Valley is notably distinguished by the presence of four lakes, the largest of which is Phander Lake. The allure of this place is not limited to its serene waters; it’s also one of the rare spots where the mighty Gilgit River splits into multiple channels upon entering the valley. These channels gracefully meander through the landscape, eventually converging at the valley’s mouth. Phander Valley stands as a testament to the natural beauty and cultural richness of the Gilgit-Baltistan region, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a taste of its unique charm.
Language, Culture, and Religion in Pander
The primary residents of Phander predominantly belong to the Ismaili Muslim community, who are followers of the Aga Khan and primarily speak the Muslim language.
Ismailis, as a collective, are generally characterized by their high levels of education and a liberal outlook. In Phander, it’s common to witness a significant number of women traveling, which is a notable contrast to many other regions of Pakistan. Additionally, boys and girls often attend coeducational schools, contributing to a society where literacy rates are notably high.
How to get to the Phander Valley
Phander Valley is strategically situated along the Chitral-Gilgit highway, making it an integral part of the journey between Chitral and Gilgit. Travelers on the Chitral-Gilgit road will have the opportunity to pass through and experience the scenic beauty of Phander Valley along their route.
Distance from Gilgit to Pander Valley
For a reliable journey from Gilgit to Mastuj, your best option is to catch the NATCO bus, typically departing at 6:00 p.m. To secure your seat, it’s advisable to purchase your ticket promptly. However, during the peak season, especially in the summer and after Ramadan, it’s wise to consider booking your seat a day in advance at the NATCO stop, conveniently located at the corner of River View Road and Punyal Link Road in Gilgit. Ticket prices for this route are typically around Rs 400. Be sure to inform the ticket seller that your destination is Phander and not Mastuj.
If you choose to travel by bus, the journey usually spans about 6 hours, with your arrival in Phander around noon, just in time for lunch.
As an alternative to the bus, you can opt for the minivan. These minivans depart from the same NATCO stop but at 11:00 a.m., filling up with passengers before they embark on the journey. This option provides some flexibility and convenience for those looking for different departure times.
From Chitral / Mastuj to Phander Valley Distance
The process remains consistent on the other leg of your journey. To reach Phander from Mastuj, you’ll need to catch a NATCO bus from the Mastuj station, typically departing at 5:00. It’s essential to communicate with the driver and let them know that you intend to disembark at Phander.
An important note to consider is that the Chitral-Gilgit road remains closed from approximately November to May each year, primarily due to the closure of Shandur Pass caused by heavy snowfall. Travel plans should be adjusted accordingly during this period to ensure a safe and feasible journey.
Phander Valley Accommodation
There are a limited number of residential and limited accommodations in Phander – where you live depending on your budget. Keep in mind that prices may rise over the course of a season due to demand.
Things to do in Phander
Phander is a kind of place where you live and watch the world go by, don’t chase after a bucket list of Top Things to Do. While I think you should take a breather and let things happen in a living way, there are a few things you can look forward to in Phander:
Trout fishing in Phander Valley Ghizer
Phander is synonymous with trout fishing, a passion shared by many of the locals.
In principle, a fishing permit is required for this activity, but in practice, this regulation is not enforced, and permits are not commonly obtained. You can casually inquire with your hotel owner if they might lend you a fishing rod (even though this request might be somewhat meaningless), and then you can eagerly wade into the water to test your luck. The river areas near the town of Handrap, situated just beyond Phander bustling with abundant opportunities
It’s essential to be aware that the prime fishing season typically occurs in late autumn, coinciding with the trout mating season. This is when the conditions are most favorable for a fruitful and enjoyable fishing experience.
Phander to Teru and Shandur Pass
Teru, another enchanting mountain town, sits at a slightly higher elevation than Phander. A leisurely day can be spent strolling through its verdant fields and observing its modest homes, immersing yourself in the local charm.
Not too far from Phander, approximately 2-3 hours away, lies the renowned Shandur Pass, known for its breathtaking natural beauty.
Both destinations are ideal for day trips if you can secure a motorcycle rental or have your own transportation. However, it’s crucial to verify the accessibility of Shandur Pass before setting out on your journey, as it remains closed due to snow for most of the year.
Communication in Phander Valley
One of the drawbacks of Phander, and indeed the entire region of Gilgit Baltistan, is the limited mobile signal availability. It’s a common issue that many travelers encounter.
In Phander, the sole mobile network provider is SCOM, and while it offers some level of connectivity, it can be quite sluggish. You should anticipate a maximum of 2G service in Phander, and it’s advisable to acquire a SCOM SIM card in Gilgit if you have the opportunity. Mobile stores in Phander are limited, so it’s better to make necessary arrangements beforehand to ensure you stay connected during your visit.