Ratti Gali Lake is a glacial lake located in Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir region of the country. I took a trip to Neelum Valley last week and covered Ratti Gali lake along with a number of other tourist sites in Neelum Valley but Ratti Gali Lake was definitely the highlight of entire tour.
This post covers my travel itinerary along with how to get there, what to do, what not to do in addition to estimated cost of the trip.
How to Get There:
Islamabad to Dowarian:
Ratti Gali is accessible from Doarian by a 02 hour jeep trek and a 45 minute hike. Doarian or Dowarian is a small town in Neelum valley situated around 310 km from Islamabad. Total road trip from Islamabad to Dowarian is around 8-9 hours long via Murree Expressway. There’s a metalled road up till Muzaffarabad however, there are some bumpy patches from there on but road’s in good condition overall.
Dowarian to Ratti Gali Base Camp:
From Doarian, there’s a 19-km jeep trek to base camp that takes around 02 hours. The ride is really bumpy due to road conditions but the scenic, panoramic views of the valley along with glaciers and fresh water streams more than make up for it.
Jeep rent varies between Rs. 6000-8000 for a round trip depending upon your negotiation skills.
Base Camp to Lake:
From base camp to Ratti Gali Lake, there’s 45 min – 1.5 hour hiking trek. The hike’s pretty steep but not very lengthy. You can rent horses at the base camp as well if you want to avoid the hike. The horses cost around Rs.600-800.
Where to Stay:
Unfortunately, Azad Kashmir is not the most developed part of the country and there’s a dearth of quality mid-to-high level accommodations. There are hotels in every small town between Muzaffarabad and Doarian or alternatively, you can camp at Ratti Gali Basecamp. They have a well equipped campsite at the basecamp with all necessities e.g. food/washroom etc available.
Ratti Gali tour can be done in a 2 day trip if you are willing to stretch yourself a bit. You can leave Islamabad early morning at 5-6am and reach basecamp on the same day. Make an early morning trek to lake the next and reach back Islamabad on the same day.
However, this is subject to road conditions, the jeep trek is prone to landslides in rainy season and that can cause log unscheduled delays but that’s a risk you have to account for every time you travel north as there are few unforeseen things just beyond one’s control.
Leaving you with a few pictures from the trip to give you an idea what’s in store for you if you choose to take this trip.
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