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Day 9: Eagle’s Nest (Duikar) to Aliabad

Author: Nawab Tanweer Ahmad
Date of Trip: September 2015

Date: 23rd September 2015

The morning at Eagle’s Nest Duikar was really frigid and it was raining outside. It was continuously raining since we got here in Duaikar and today is our 2nd day at Duikar. The outside view of the expanse from the window of our room was stunning. From there we can distinctly visualize the beautiful valley below in front and the mighty mountains in the skirting. It was the early morning with little sunlight spreading around the area. We got out to enjoy the beauty, fell the fascinating smell and inhale the sweet breeze. The area is surrounded by the clouds and the Hunza valley below is also covered by the clouds.

Spending some time outside and wandering around in the garden we went back to our room for a shower. After a shower and dressing up we went to the main hall at the reception area for the breakfast. Our today’s breakfast is “on the house” and needs to be provided by the hotel, but we were surprised to see that there was no one at the reception nor in the kitchen. We knocked at the door adjacent to the reception and also at the kitchen, but there was no answer, so we decided to sit in the lobby and waited for someone to come. After a while, another guest came out of his room and we started to have a conversation. He told us that he lives in Islamabad and frequently visit this place to admire the beauty and weather of this area. After experiencing that we are waiting for the breakfast, he went to the reception and banged on the door and called the receptionist with a loud voice, and to our surprise, a guy immediately came out of the room. He told the guy at the reception that we are waiting for breakfast and they should immediately serve us the breakfast. He told us that he is a regular visitor to this hotel and knows how to handle these type of situations.

The breakfast was served after nearly 30 minutes, it was an excellent breakfast, it consists of omelet, paratha (a type of South Asian flat bread that is fried in a pan), and half fried eggs, bread slice, locally made butter and locally made apricot jam. The breakfast also included a delicious tea for all four of us. After this savor breakfast, we decided to go outside and visit the surroundings of Duikar. It is still raining and the surrounding was stunningly beautiful. One of the main attractions of Duikar is the viewpoint (2900 m) which is a 5-minute climb up behind the Eagle’s Nest Hotel, from here one can have the best views during sunrise and sunset but because of continuous rain we were unable to view this magnificent sunrise and sunset. We again try to go to the viewpoint, but the path was slippery and the visibility was very low too, so we just roamed around the village, enjoyed the beauty of the surround of the area and then return back to the hotel’s lobby.

I have read many bad things about the manager and the staff of the Eagle’s Nest on different blogs but we have a very good experience here, it is situated in an ideal location from where one can view the whole Hunza Valley below and the surrounding mountains, the Golden Peak, Lady Finger, Rakaposhi and other mountains covered with snow above. The sunset and sunrise are breathtaking. When we reached here it was raining and the hotel offered us with umbrellas but unfortunately, they only have two umbrellas and we are four, so if anyone is traveling in a rainy season do remember to bring an umbrella with him. They also have only one heater in this big hotel, but they have provided us with blankets so we sleep with comfort. One more problem that we face at Eagle’s Nest and the Eagle’s Nest management need to address it is that there were no lights on walkways between blocks and reception, which is making it very difficult to move around in the night. But luckily we have already prepared for such kind of situation and bear a torch with us that helps us while moving in the area. The breakfast and dinner were excellent and at a reasonable price. The staff is very courteous and cooperative, they even helped us to take our luggage to our room and back to the car. Our overall experience is very good, we enjoyed here a lot and my whole family was very happy by visiting this place and will be visiting here again in near future. I recommend everyone visiting Hunza valley to stay at least one night at Eagle’s Nest Hotel especially to catch the sunset.

As per our itinerary we have to stay one more day at the Eagle’s Nest but because of the continuous rain and extremely cold weather we decided to move to Aliabad, a town near Karimabad. We asked the Eagle’s Nest management to arrange a transport for us so that we can go to Aliabad. In the meantime, we return back to our room and packed our luggage. At nearly 15 minutes our car arrived, we checked out of the hotel and started our journey toward Aliabad.

Travelling on the same beautiful road surrounded with trees and mountains we reached Aliabad in about 30 minutes. The weather in Aliabad is cloudy and pleasant, but it was not raining. We checked in at the hotel in Aliabad, we have a one day stay at Aliabad before we go to our desired endpoint of Khunjerab pass.

Aliabad is situated on the main Karakoram Highway and is a business and commercial hub of this area. There are many hotels, restaurant, shops, banks and markets in Aliabad. Being on the Karakoram Highway this city is very busy and somewhat more crowded than the other towns in this area. People travelling toward Passu, Gulmit, Gojal, Sust, Khujerab and China mostly break their journey at Aliabad for a rest and night stay. There are many transport companies operating in Aliabad. Many different types of transport like Buses, Coasters, Van and Taxies are easily available here to go to different places in Gilgit-Baltistan and even to Rawalpindi.

The hotel where we were staying is in the main market and we have whole day today to explore Aliabad. I and my son stay in the room for some rest but my wife and daughter immediately went out to the market for shopping. In the afternoon, we had Biryani from the local.

In the evening, we held our tea on the roof of the hotel and the vista of the area from there was marvelous with lush green valley and snow covered mountains surrounding the city and the busy Karakoram Highway below. The environment is not that much calm as in Karimabad and Duikar, cars and coaches moving along the road, people busy in their everyday chores, but it feels so wonderful by sitting on the roof watching the glorious sights and breathing the brisk air from the surrounding.

Finishing the tea we went down to explore the Aliabad city. Aliabad city is along both sides of the Karakorum Highway, adjacent the highway is shops, hotels and bus stops and the residential area is behind the market. Coming from Rawalpindi, we mostly tripped on the Karakoram Highway by jeeps, cars or buses but this is the first time we were walking on the magnificent Karakorum highway.

There was one problem in Aliabad, because of some failure, there was no power supply in the city but our hotel is providing the electricity with generators from 7 PM till 12 AM and we can charge our gadgets during this time. After dinner, we return back to our room and charged all our gadgets and packed our luggage for the big day tomorrow before going to sleep.

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