Shandur PassShandur is the Highest Polo Ground on Earth. Located about 3738 meter above sea level between Chitral District and Ghizer District of Gilgit-Baltistan. It is often called the ‘Roof of the World’. The top is flat, a plateau and can be crossed between late April and early November.
In addition to it’s natural attractions, each summer a hug event called the Shandur Polo Festival is organized here. There is a polo match being played between the teams of Chitral District and districts of Gilgit-Baltistan. That is also a big source of attraction for the tourists. Different people come against each other in this freestyle contest.
The Shandur Pass is one of the major mountain passes of Pakistan. Also, one of the best places to visit in Pakistan. It is generally unpopulated and passing through its snow covered slopes in winters is an exceptionally difficult adventure. The polo ground is about 168 Km from the main town Chitral and accessible by jeep. The road is closed during winter due to heavy snow.
How to Get to the Phander Valley & Shandur National Park
Either on a daily NATCO bus from Gilgit, leaving at 6 am. The NATCO bus stops at every village, making it for a slow ride but highly enjoyable as you can take in the scenery.
Or with a private jeep, which costs about 4,000 PKR (Pakistani Rupees) (30 US$) per day with driver
The distance between Shandur and Gilgit is about miles (190 km) and takes between 5 to 6 hours.
The journey is somewhat long and challenging
By public transport:
Take a private Jeep from Chitral to Mastuj. Cost is about 4,500 PKR (35 US$) for the jeep, which you can share with other travelers. The ride over the very bumpy and dusty road takes about 4 hours
From Mastuj, take a NATCO bus to Gilgit. The bus leaves at 5 am or 5:30 am so you need to spend a night in Mastuj. When we were there, a large rock blocked a portion of the road between Mastuj and Sol Larkspur, so we had to take another private car to reach Sol Larkspur where the NATCO would leave the next morning.
NATCO bus from Mastuj (or which town is available at that time) to Gilgit. There is only one bus per day, and we recommend booking your tickets the day before. Note that some buses actually stop in Gakhuch, where you need to board another bus to Gilgit
Renting a private car is most likely a more comfortable option, but the ride will be long regardless given the state of the road. Most likely you will have to spend a night along the way.