Pakistan, has not received enough limelight, as much as it truly deserves. While this country that neighbors India is an evocative mix of culture, and nature waiting to be explored.
Since travel in Pakistan is often much less heard of compared to India. Furthermore Here’s our pioneering effort to put forward to you some mesmerizing destinations that might just get your heart wanting for more.
So if anybody plans on giving this country a visit, here’s a list of places that must be visited:
1. The Karakoram Highway
It is Often called the KKH, the Karakoram Highway, is probably the first thing that will come to one’s mind when someone speaks of Northeastern Pakistan. And why not? Considered to be one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century. With some sources pushing for it to be the eighth wonder of the world. The 805-mile long KKH connects Pakistan with China. Running from Abbottabad down to Gilgit-Baltistan that leads up to Kashgar, in the province of Xinjiang in west China.
As much as the beauty is set to marvel you with never-ending, display of beautiful sceneries, like that of Mansehra, Thakot and especially Gilgit-Baltistan, the road is, in fact, one chilling jeep drive in the world, with its twisted paths, narrow corners and probably “I’m going to die now” moments. At some areas, no two jeeps can ride side by side, thus one must really understand the roads well, to be able to meander through these narrow paths. Hire a driver for this one, and make sure there are spare tires. Don’t forget your refreshments too.
Sources say that during the 27-year construction period which began in 1959. 810 Pakistani and 200 Chinese workers lost their lives due to landslides, and falls while building this highest paved international highway, in the world.
Amid the astounding gorges, valleys, and rivers. The highway is also spectacularly known for its rocky mountains with more than 20,000 bits of rock art at 10 sites located, in the middle of the mountainous, valley of Hunza and the archaeological site of Shatial.
You can take a long-distance, bus ride from Rawalpindi. Which is located 14km south of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, to start your journey towards the KKH.
Immensely adored for its geographical landscape, that boasts unforgiving scenic beauty, Gilgit-Baltistan is well-loved by mountaineers, trekkers, and anglers. You can’t get enough of the valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan. But one of the most highly sought after is the Hunza Valley. Which some have called the Shangri-La of Pakistan.
The local atmosphere, topped with jaw-dropping sceneries of mountainous peaks, magnificent forts, a colorful medley of flora, and splendid cuisines, has made Hunza increasingly popular among travelers, who have continuously claimed that the area is actually very safe.
Another popular destination is the Skardu, district, that lies in the center of Gilgit-Baltistan. Its stunning views of crystal clear lakes, deserts, picture-perfect roadways, and villages make up Skardu’s fascinating, yet unique beauty. Avid mountaineers will be happy to learn that the district is the base camp for some of the world’s highest mountains such as the K2, K3 and Gasherbrum.
Other valleys in the Gilgit-Baltistan, region, which you can explore include Astore, Diamir, Gilgit, and Ghizer.
While you could get to Gilgit-Baltistan, via the KKH, you can also fly on Pakistan International Airlines from Islamabad to Gilgit Airport.
3. Azad Kashmir
Azad Kashmir, which literally translates to “Free Kashmir”, is a self-governing political, entity like Gilgit-Baltistan that, along with the latter, forms part of the Pakistan-controlled, area of once the unified state of Jammu and Kashmir. While Despite their political autonomy, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, still act like parts of Pakistan, which India claims belongs to her. Hence Jammu and Kashmir are now split at the border with India.
If Gilgit-Baltistan, was stunning enough. You should make your way down to the connecting Azad Kashmir, to let your eyes feast, on more beauty. Hence In Muzaffarabad, the capital city, you can head up to Pir Chinasi, at a peak of 2,900 meters. And take in the panoramic, view of the city. Furthermore, The enticing lush green forests, and serene waters of Neelum Valley, Jhelum Valley, Sharda Valley and Leepa Valley, are definitely, not to be missed. Hence There are also pretty lakes located, in these valleys, such as the Shounter Lake, Ratti Gali Lake, and Chitta Katha Lake in Neelum Valley!
Most relevant Rawalakot, another city in Azad Kashmir. Also offers fascinating attractions, such as Nergola Waterfall, and the picturesque Banjosa, Lake. Hence, You can also explore other cities such as Mirpur and Dadyal.
Do note though, as a foreigner traveling into Azad Kashmir, you must obtain, a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad. This may take a week or so, thus you might need to plan accordingly.
Since, there are no direct flights to Azad Kashmir, you can take a plane to the Islamabad International Airport, and then enjoy a scenic four- to five-hour road trip down to Muzaffarabad.
Most noteworthy, Lahore, is a wondrous mix of cultural, artistic, and heritage-filled, attractions that boast the legacies of the Mughal Empire and the British Raj, also enchanting gardens, parks, and forts, majestic mosques, and scrumptious food. A couple of days at Lahore may not suffice to explore this beloved city.
Hence, Please don’t forget to make your way, out to the outskirts of Lahore, to witness the Guard Ceremony at the Wagah Border with India, just in the background!
Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, is a peaceful city surrounded, by calming scenery, and it is no wonder that it has been travellers’ favourite after Lahore. While, One of the most sought-after location is the Faisal Mosque, with its splendid whitewashed facade, and four minarets towering over you. Also Located on the foothills of Margalla, Hills, which itself is popular among hikers, the mosque is, in fact, a gift from Saudi Arabia, for the people of Pakistan, and is the largest mosque, in the country.
Consequently, Now if you’re already at the foothills of Margalla Hills. Also, you can make your way to Saidpur Village. That has been around since the Mughal era. Most noteworthy, Here you can witness the perfect blend of the traditional, with the modern, despite it being an informal heritage site.
Despite, Karachi losing its crown as the capital of Pakistan, it still remains the largest and most populated city of the country, and also its economic heartbeat. With this, Consequently, Karachi has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities of Pakistan. Home to large numbers of ethnic Sindhis, Punjabis, Pashtuns and other nationalities.
Furthermore, Karachi, is one also place where you can see the love and admiration, of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in many landmarks, monuments and buildings. Seems like such as the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. Also the Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum, the Wazir Mansion (the founder’s birthplace) and the Bagh-e-Jinnah, also known as the Frere Hall Garden.
The Quetta, Hence being the capital of Balochistan, and also 9th biggest metropolis, of Pakistan. While Quetta, is titled as “fruit production hub of Pakistan” because, of several yield plantations, producing massive diversity of fruits, and dry fruits, within and around it.
Also, In the past. Hence because of its stunning look and geographic placement, it was famous as “Mini Paris”. Quetta, situated, an altitude of 1,680 meters, above lowland. In the northwest Balochistan, near the Pak-Afghan border, is a commercial and communicating nerve between these two states.
Quetta, is a city with numerous pasturelands, mountains, diverse plants and beautiful creatures. Hence Therefore also Quetta, is among the most inhabited and populous cities of Pakistan, with population nearly two million.