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A Tourist Guide to Phander Lake

December 6, 2023

Phander Lake is an amazing haven of peace and beauty nestled in the heart of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. Phander, with its immaculate waters, verdant surrounds, and breathtaking mountain backdrop, is a must-visit location for tourists looking for a restorative getaway.

Lakeshore City Blogs has prepared a tourist guide to Phander Lake, including the best time to visit, things to do, and more.

Best Time to Visit Phander

If you want to make the most of Phander, you must schedule your trip between April and October because hotels are only open during this season. It is best to visit in July and August for the most colorful scenery and good weather. In addition to mulberries, cherries, and apricots in abundance, fishing aficionados can maximize the season during these months in the orchards.

But bear in mind that July and August are thought to be the busiest months for domestic travelers. Even while Phander isn’t as popular with tourists from Pakistan as other Gilgit Baltistan sites, its appeal is growing every year.

September and October are great options if you’re looking for peace & quiet or to take in the autumn foliage. During this time, the summer holiday rush lessens, creating a calmer environment. Despite the fact that September often sees highs between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius (50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit), the changing foliage adds a lovely touch to the surroundings. 

How to Reach Phander

Because the Phander Valley is located along the Chitral-Gilgit road, visiting it is a must if you’re going this way.

Gilgit to Phander

The NATCO bus, which leaves at six in the morning, is the most dependable way to get from Gilgit to Mastuj. It is suggested to reserve your seat at the Gilgit NATCO bus terminal, which is situated at the intersection of River View Road and Punyal Link Road, one day in advance, especially during the busiest time of year (summer, after Ramadan). The ticket is 400 Rs, and you have to mention that Phander, not Mastuj, is your destination when you buy it.

The bus ride usually takes six hours, so you get to Phander in time for lunch at midday. A Hi-Ace minivan, on the other hand, leaves from the same NATCO stand at a more acceptable time of 11:00 in the morning, or until it fills up completely. The cost of a Phander ticket is 450 rupees. It’s advised to arrive around 10:30 in order to guarantee a seat.

Chitral/ Mastuj to Phander

The procedure is the same for the trip back. Catch the even earlier 5:00 NATCO bus from Mastuj, which leaves from the station. Tell the driver that Phander is where you plan to stop.

It is noteworthy that the Chitral-Gilgit road is closed every year from roughly November to May. The snow on Shandur is the reason for this closure during this period.

Things to do in Phander

Instead of hurriedly crossing things off a preset list of the Top Things To Do, Phander is the place to take your time and enjoy the scenery around you. Though it’s best to halt and let things happen organically, there are a few notable things to look forward to in Phander:

Trout Fishing

Many residents of Phander are passionate about trout fishing, which is well-known there. Officially, you need fishing permission, but you can ask your hotel owner nicely if you can borrow a fishing rod (a query that usually gets a positive answer). You are welcome to try your luck by going to the river; the regions outside of Phander near Handrap town are well-known for having an abundance of fishing places.

Village Walks and Short Hikes

You can meet friendly residents while strolling across the villages across the canals, which makes for a lovely experience. Explore some of the shepherd routes that lead up to the nearby mountains for a more strenuous trip.

As an alternative, you can enter the mountains by following two nelas, or little streams. One starts in Chashi, the settlement that lies either below Phander or in front of it when traveling from Gilgit. The other begins with a handshake. You can see that both of the waterways are heading south on the map.

Trip to Shandur Pass or Teru

Perched a little higher than Phander, Teru is a charming mountain town. It is a satisfying experience to spend a day discovering its fields and small homes.

Around two to three hours’ drive from Phander is the well-known Shandur Pass, a more remote and pristine natural site. It is feasible to visit Teru and Shandur for day outings, particularly if you have your own conveyance or can rent a motorbike. However, as Shandur is frequently blocked due to snow for the majority of the year, it is imperative to confirm its accessibility before starting the trek.

Religion, Culture, and Language in Phander

The majority of the people living in Phander are Ismaili Muslims who speak Khwar and are followers of the Aga Khan. Ismailis as a whole tend to be liberal thinkers and highly educated. In Phander, there are mixed-gender schools for boys and girls, a large proportion of women in public places, and relatively high literacy rates.

Even in this liberal environment, it’s best to follow standard measures. Always get permission before taking someone’s picture, and dress modestly.

Hotels Near Phander Lake

In the vicinity of Phander Lake, there are numerous hotels. Below is a discussion of a few of them.

Lake Inn Phander

For 1,000 Rs per night, there’s a reasonably priced motel with several double bedrooms, adjoining bathrooms, and hot water. In addition, there is a garden area at the hotel where visitors can set up tents.

Dream Island Hotel Phander

Dream Island Hotel is an additional hotel where you can stay. There are two-person tents available for 1,000 Rs per night and four-person tents with electricity available for a minimum of 1,600 Rs per night.

The campsite has many restrooms with showers and toilets as well as a brand-new, well-kept kitchen where visitors can make their own food or place orders from the menu. You are welcome to bring your own tent if that is more your style. Please be aware that staff members’ knowledge of English is low.

PTDC Motel Phander

Perched on a hillside with a panoramic view of Phander Lake, this motel provides the most opulent lodging in the area, albeit at a premium price. Single accommodations cost 3,500 rupees a night, and double rooms start at 4,500 rupees. Expect standard amenities like warm water and a restaurant on the premises; extras are minimal. The manager is kind and speaks fluent English, even if you decide not to stay at the hotel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions and responses regarding Phander Lake.

Q1.How can I get to the Phander Lake area?

The most popular way is by road, which may be taken by private transportation or via the Gilgit NATCO bus. A motorbike rental would provide you with greater flexibility on your travels.

Q2.Is a fishing permit necessary at Phander Lake?

It is true that official fishing permits are required. See your hotel if they can help you get one.

Q3.What time of year is ideal for visiting Phander Lake?

April through October is the best time of year, with July and August being especially nice for nice weather and seasonal fruits.

Q4.How is the weather at Phander Lake in September and October?

Lower temperatures are to be expected, with usual highs in the range of 10-15°C (50-60°F).

Q5.Is it possible for me to get to Teru and Shandur Pass in one day from Phander Lake?

You can rent a motorbike or arrange for private transportation to reach Teru and Shandur Pass as day outings.

Q6.What language is spoken by the people who live in Phander Lake?

The majority of people living there are Ismaili Muslims who follow the Aga Khan, and Khwar is the primary language.

Q7.Is Phander Lake accessible all year round?

Due to snow closures from November to May, access to the Chitral-Gilgit road, which includes Shandur Pass, may be restricted.

Q8.What choices for accommodation are there in Phander Lake?

Yes, Phander has hotels, but it’s best to schedule your visit during the months of April through October when they’re open.

Q9.What are some suggested things to do in Phander Lake?

Take in the surrounding area’s natural splendor, go trout fishing, tour the nearby communities, and follow shepherd trails into the mountains.

Q10.Is traveling to Phander Lake safe?

Phander is generally regarded as safe for travelers. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to take standard safety precautions when traveling and keep up with local conditions.

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