Is it safe to travel to Deosai Plains with babies?
Recently I have had a chance to travel to Deosai Plains with my family (my wife and an infant child). Before going to Deosai I had done my research about it and decided to proceed with my trip. There are two ways to reach Deosai Plains, first one is from Astore Valley and the next one is from Skardu via Sadpara Lake. As we were staying in a hotel near Shangrila Lake, lower Kachura ,so we started off our journey from there via Skardu City and Sadpara Lake.
As you can clearly see from the map above, from our departure point it is 57.7 km to the first stop of Deosai Plains which takes around 1 hour and 45 min to roughly 2 hours and 30 mins which makes up to 4 to 5 hours of round trip and with at least 1 hour of break that would make up to be 6 hours trip from Shangrila Lake to Deosai Plains’ first stop via Sadpara Lake.
About Deosai Plains:
Deosai Plains itself stretches for almost 40 km from one corner to another (east to west) and similar distance from north to south. It’s like a city of Singapore as far its size is concerned. To travel from one end of Deosai plains to the other end it takes more than an hour if you lucky but due to bad road conditions the locals told me that it takes 2.5 hours to 3 hours which adds up to around 5 hours round trip across the plains and back.
So if we were to travel all the way from our hotel to Shauser Lake, it would have taken us 5 hours one-way considering the road conditions and breaks. And the round trip would have been 10–11 hours after adding some buffer time and time to stay at the lake for sight seeing. If you are traveling with family and especially with a baby, that is a very hectic trip to cover for baby especially.
According to my research, I compared Deosai Plains’ altitude against altitude of other places in the northern area of Pakistan which is accessible to tourists.
Deosai Plains (average altitude): 4,114 meters, 13,497 ft above sea level.
Babusar Top: 4,173 meters, 13,691 ft above sea level.
Khunjerab Pass: 4,693 meters, 15,397 ft above sea level.
Deosai plains is known as roof top of the world and land of giants because it is the highest plains in the world. Because of its high altitude, it is not quite safe to stay there for a long period of time such as more than 2–3 hours or even for camping or night stays if you are an amateur tourist due to low oxygen level. If you are a frequent traveler or a mountaineer and travelling alone or with group of similar people then you can cover the whole plains in one go and come back.
If you are traveling with a baby or with family I would recommend to keep it easy. Visit Deosai Plains from either end you like, (from Skardu or from Astore Valley) and once you reach the top, spend a max of half an hour to an hour and start descending. Deosai Plains is one of the famous tourist spots which people wants to visit, though it’s not easily accessible, the roads are not one of the best, it is highly recommended to hire a jeep and travel in it. The scenery on the way is also good with rocky mountains and Sadpara Lake en-route (if you travel from Skardu). If Deosai Plains is one of your dream places to visit, then don’t miss it. Also before going there, do check the weather and time of the year as the terrain changes around the year from green (right after snow melts) to white (winters) to grey (autumn).