Gilgit-Baltistan borders the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan to the north-west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in north-eastern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to the south and southeast, the Pakistani state under control of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the south, and Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province to the west.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the "eight thousanders" and more than fifty peaks over 7000 meters. Gilgit and Skardu are the two main centers for expeditions to the mountains. The region is home to some of the beaches in the world's highest mountain the main ranges are the Karakoram and western Himalayas. Pamir Mountains are north and the Hindu Kush to the west. Among the highest mountains are K2 (Mount Godwin-Austen) and Nanga Parbat The latter is one of the most feared mountains in the world.
Three of the world's longest glaciers outside the polar regions are located in Gilgit-Baltistan - Biafo Glacier, the Baltoro Glacier and the Batura Glacier. There are also several mountain lakes in Gilgit-Baltistan:
* Sheosar Lake in Deosai Plains - Astore region
* Satpara Tso Lake in Skardu - Baltistan
* Katzura Tso Lake in Skardu - Baltistan
* Phoroq Tso Lake in Skardu - Baltistan
* Bara Tso Lake in Gangche - Baltistan
* Byarsa Tso Lake in Gultari - Baltistan
* Borith Lake in Gojal upper Hunza - Gilgit
* Rama Lake near Astore
* Rush Lake near Nagar - Gilgit
* Kromber Lake In Kromber Pass - Ishkoman Valley, Ghizer District
* Barodaroksh lake in Bar valley Nagar
Deosai plains are located above the tree line, and are the second highest plateau in the world at 4,115 meters (14,500 feet) after Tibet. The plateau lies east of Astore, Skardu and south west of Ladakh. The area was declared a national park in 1993. Deosai plains cover an area of nearly 5,000 square kilometers. For more than half of the year (between September and May), is Deosai snow-bound and cut off from the rest of Astore & Baltistan in winters. The village is close Deosai chokki Chilum and is connected with the Kargil district of Ladakh by an all-weather road.
The climate of Gilgit-Baltistan varies from region to region, the surrounding mountain ranges creates large variations in temperature. The eastern part of the wetland has the western Himalayas, but by going to the Karakoram and Hindu Kush dry climate considerably.
There are towns like Gilgit and Chilas are very hot during the day in summer, but cold at night, and valleys as Astore, Khaplu, Yasin, Hunza and Nagar, where temperatures are cold even in summer.
Economy and resources:
The economy of region is basically based on traditional route of trade through Silk Road. China Trade organization was the leading economic forum through which most of barter trade activity made a phenomenal change in the general economical outlook of the area which being the remotest region of Pakistan was neglected for over quarter of century. This forum led the people of the area to actively invest and learn the modern trade know how from its neighbor Xingkiang. The participation of the all ethnic groups and active force behind this activity, legendary economist of the area Ashraf Khan brought a great change in the region. Later the establishment of Chamber of commerce and SOst dry port(in Gojal Hunza) are milestones. Rest of the economy is shouldered by mainly agriculture and tourism. Agriculture such as: wheat, corn (maize), barley, fruits; Tourism is mostly in trekking and mountaineering and this industry is 'growing in importance.
Polo is the favourite game of the people of Gilgit, Chilas, Astore, Hunza, Nagar and the surrounding areas.Every year, many tourists visit to enjoy polo in Gilgit-Baltistan.Other games such as cricket, Tuksori of Nagar, gulli danda, kabbadi, and volleyball are also played.
Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO) offers bus and jeep transport service to the two hubs and several other popular destinations, lakes, and glaciers in the area.
In March 2006, the respective governments announced that, commencing on June 1, 2006, a thrice-weekly bus service would begin across the boundary from Gilgit to Kashgar, China, and road widening work would begin on 600 kilometers of the Karakoram Highway. There would also be one daily bus in each direction between the Sust and Tashkurgan border areas of the two political entities.
Pakistan International Airlines used to fly a Fokker F27 daily between Gilgit Airport and Islamabad International Airport. Flying time is approximately 50 minutes, Dand the flight was one of the most scenic flights in the world, as his route passed through the mountain Nanga Parbat summit which was greater than the cruising altitude the plane. PIA also offers regular flights of Boeing 737 between Skardu and Islamabad. However, the Fokker F27 aircraft was retired after a crash at Multan in 2006. Currently, flights are operated by PIA Gilgit on the ATR42-500 aircraft while nine, which was purchased in 2006. With the new aircraft, cancellation of flights is much less than it was the Fokker aircraft. All flights, however, are subject to the conditions of leave, and in winter, flights are often delayed by several days.
The population consists of many diverse linguistic, ethnic, and religious groups, due in part to the many isolated valleys separated by some of the world's highest mountains. The population of this area is a mixture of many ethnic groups such as Shins, Yashkuns, Kashmiris, Kashgaris, Pathans,and Kohistanis. Ismailism is present here, unlike in the rest of Pakistan.Urdu is the lingua franca of the region, understood by most of the inhabitants. The Shina language (with several dialects like Asturjaa, Kharuchaa, chilasi) is the language of 60% of the population, spoken mainly in Gilgit, Astore throughout Diamer, and in some parts of Ghizer. The Balti dialect, a sub-dialect of Ladakhi and part of the Tibetan languages group, is spoken by the entire population of Baltistan. Minor languages spoken in the region include Wakhi, spoken in upper Hunza, and in some villages in Ghizer, while Khowar is the language of Ghizer. Burushaski is an isolated language spoken in Hunza, Nagar, Yasin (where Khowar is also spoken), in some parts of Gilgit and in some villages of Punyal. Another interesting language is Domaaki, spoken by the musician clans in the region. A small minority of people also speak Pashto.
Despite being referred to as part of Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan has few remnants of Kashmiri. At the last census (1998), the population of Gilgit and Baltistan was 870,347. Approximately 14% of the population was urban.