Pakistan: A Pocket Friendly Tourist Destination

It would not be wrong to call Pakistan a land of beauty. Oceans, Forests, Deserts, Islands, Mountains Everything is there. Many historical and religious places can also be a reason to travel here. Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. All four seasons can be seen on this small piece of land, so this country is a great place to enjoy a good variety of places at a low cost. Because of all these amazing features, it has recently been listed as the top tourist destination in the world for 2020 by an international travel magazine, Conde Nast. Now we will take a look at its different attractive destinations one by one.

Northern Areas of Pakistan

Do you spend your vacations between mountains, waterfalls and Lakes, then a visit to the Northern areas of Pakistan must be included in your travel bucket. During the summer vacations or other holidays a number of peoples from different parts of the country come here to relax with their families or friends and spend their leisure time in those picturesque tourists destinations. Weather its enchanting green meadows of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or the sky-high snow covered mountain peaks in Gilgit Baltistan, as far as I can see they are masterpieces of nature.

Foreigners can catchup an international flight to Islamabad. Here the journey starts, now you have three way out where you desire to go first, tremendous areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, or do you want to acquittance with breathtaking views of Azaad Kashmir or the eye catching Gilgit Baltistan.

Gilgit Baltistan

Passu cones covered with clouds
image by Flickr

It is not wrong if I say Gilgit Baltistan is capital of tourism in Pakistan. A place of high mountains and glaciers whose picturesque views will mesmerize your eyes. World’s second highest peak, K-2 is also here. Gilgit Baltistan is about 269km distant from Islamabad. That’s your choice if you want to go by road or take a flight from Islamabad to Gilgit. For capturing heavenly beautiful sky-high snow covered mountains, visit this place in winter season.

People of Kalash are the most unique and taboo in Pakistan and anywhere else on earth, do visit Kalash of Gilgit Baltistan during the festival season. The three main Kalash festivals are Chilam Joshi (spring festival), Choimus (winter festival), Uchal (summer festival).

Some common treks in the area are
• Fairy Meadows & Nanga Parbat Basecamp.
• K2 Basecamp, Concordia Glacier & Baltoro Glacier.
• Rakaposhi Basecamp.
• Borith Lake & Passu Glacier.
• Hoper Valley.
• Malik Pass in Deosai Plains National Park.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

A beautiful view of River Kunhar in KPK
image by Destination pak

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa shares its border with Afghanistan, which has a deep influence of its culture and is reflected in its language, dresses, food and also in cultural events. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is filled with breathtaking beauty, tremendous crystal clear blue lakes, green valleys, natural forests with wild life and some historical landmark as well. In fact, KP was the center of the ancient kingdom of Gandhara

Swat, the east’s Switzerland, you will find plenty of resorts just next to Swat River that offer breathtaking views both at sunrise and sunset. The best time to visit Swat is Summer to enjoy the refreshing waterfalls and cold river streams.

Naran and Kaghan valleys lie about 240km away from Islamabad. Tourists visiting northern areas do visit there because these valleys have some mesmerizing views, including Siri and Paye meadows, Saif ul Muluk lake (9km away from Naran) with eye-catching views of Malika e Parbat and Kiwai Waterfalls.

Babusar top, a mountain pass which connects Naran with Chilas. This list does not end here, KPK is blessed with so much picturesque beauty.

Azad Kashmir

Neelum Valley, Heaven on earth.
image by Parhlo

Traveling to the Azad Kashmir is itself, as you enjoy splendid green meadows, crystal clear lakes, natural waterfalls, flowing rivers and much more by the sight throughout the route. Pir Chinasi, Nelum River, Banjosa Lake, Arang Kel and Mangla dam are some of the tourist attractions in Azad Kashmir.

Do’s and Don’ts while visiting Northern areas of Pakistan

Let me give you some traveling tips for visiting Northern Areas of Pakistan

• For all those people who are looking forward to the summer vacations to plan their trip, try to avoid traveling during monsoon season. Usually, monsoon season starts in July, so try to plan before the end of June as heavy rainfall can lead to land sliding and getting caught by the rain in the middle of the road can be dangerous.

• While planning a trip, make a list of all the essentials like boots, warm jacket, rain coat, gloves, 2 or 3 pair of socks, shirts and trousers, some first aid medicines and a power bank or any other item for personal use but try to keep it light do not pack extras in your bag. Because if you want to enjoy more in less time you have to carry your luggage with you.

• Pakistan is mostly cash based country so do carry some cash with you, although you can find ATMs in almost all the tourist destinations but for the transection with the local shops you must have some cash in your pocket.

• Get dressed in layers so you may put off or put on according to the present weather conditions.

Coastline and Island

If you are a Thalassophile, then all you need is vitamin sea. Nature has gifted a beautiful gift of coastline to Pakistan, about 1000km long. This coast is distributed between Sindh coast and Makran coast, both lies on Arabian Sea.
Let’s discuss some beautiful beach destinations in Pakistan which would help you in planning your trip.

Seaview or Clifton Beach

Within city a must visit family picnic point
image by Zameen

It is the most popular beach within Karachi city. You can stay here as late as you want and enjoy the buggy, camel rides and nightlife of Karachi.

Sandspit Beach

 A remarkable variety of marine life are found here including algae and crabs
image by Beautiful Pakistan

A family-friendly beach situated in the long narrow spit to the west of Karachi. This beach is calm and flat during the dry season, making it a perfect place for standup paddle boarding. If you visit it during nesting season, then you will easily find the nesting spots of turtles.

French Beach

This beach may require entry fee but it would some cheap amount.

image by Medium
This beach offers the chance to go scuba diving and snorkeling. In Pakistan, it is one of the cheapest places in the world to get your PADI scuba diving certificate.

Paradise Point

Naturally cut rock at paradise point.
image by Country inn

For visiting natural beauty without going too far from Karachi city then paradise point is a must go option. Here you can find nearby restaurants and hotels too.

Ormara Beach

Calm and clean beach located in Baluchistan province.
image by Premio travels

The breathtaking Ormara beach lies on the Makran coastal highway and Alexander the great. Its attractions include cycling and hiking. If you are afraid of getting lost, then do carry a local guide with you as mobile signals here may not be present.

Gadani Beach

Government of Pakistan is working to enhance the more beauty of this beach.
image by Pinterest

Gadani is the world’s third largest ship breaking yard, so definitely swimming here is not a good option. Although you may walk on the sea shore. You can find its location on a ship breaking yard road.

Kund Malir

Hingol National Park is a natural sanctuary for endangered wildlife in Pakistan
image by Happening

It is situated almost between Karachi and Gwadar. To experience the calmness of nature, pack your essentials and spend a few days there camping. One of the most beautiful sights in Baluchistan is Hingol National Park.

Astola Island

There is sparse vegetation on the island comprising halophytic plants indicating the saline

image by Brand synario
The largest offshore island in Pakistan, also known as the island of the seven hills, it takes a boat trip to reach there. Visitors can spent few days here on island camping, popular spot for birdwatching, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Manora Island

It is a group of associated islands of the Pakistani coastline along the Arabian Sea
image by Pinterest

Take a sailboat from Karachi to Manora island, ask to captain for taking you to a fishing spot where you can catch fishes and prepare the lunch by yourself in the boat.

Churna Island

Here, The water is clean with lots of corals and swimming opportunity.
image by Desti map

The paradise of Churna Island is located in the Arabian Sea. It is the best known and popular place for snorkeling and scuba diving trips as the sea is calm without high tides. Here, you can enjoy jet ski riding, cliff diving and underwater photography too, under professional guidance. The best time to snorkel is especially in the months of September till April.

Gorakh Hill Station

At an altitude of 5,690ft in the Kirthar Mountain Range
image by Blizin

Mountains are the beginning and end of all natural scenery.

 A visit to Gorakh Hill Station is definitely a good idea for enjoying camping in the mountains without going to northern areas. It is also known as Murree of Sindh, situated at an elevation of 5,689 ft (1,734 m) in the Kirthar Mountains, 94km northwest of Dadu city. It takes nearly 8 hours by road to reach there from Karachi by road. Visitors stay here in camps at night and enjoy bonfires and bar b que. Now a new rest house has also been constructed on the hill. The government is also constructing a new road from Dadu to Gorakh.

Vibrant Cities

Karachi

This roundabout in Karachi was listed as one of the world's top roundabouts in 2015. Charminar Chowrangi, built in Bahadurabad in 2007.
image by Gulf news

Karachi is the Hub of Cultures. That’s why there is plenty to see in a beautifully spread out metropolis. It is the first financial city of Pakistan and a bouquet of cultures. Most visitor attractions are concentrated in the southern district, while the outlying beaches and islands make for excellent short trips within or out of the city. To discover more about the culture and history, visit museums like the National Museum of Pakistan and Mohatta Palace Museum.

Lahore

Minar-e-Pakistan is a national monument located in Lahore, Pakistan.
image by Blue and green tomorrow

It is the traditional capital of Punjab and the second largest city in Pakistan and is known for its gardens, Mughal architecture, bazaars, and rich food.

Islamabad

Islamabad is located in the Pothohar Plateau in the north of the country
image by Daily times 

The capital of Pakistan. It is a clean, naturally green , modern, and relatively young city with museums, monuments, and some of the best restaurants situated in the Margalla Hills and definitely elite-class hotels in the country.

Skardu

The name "Skardu" is believed to be derived from the Balti word meaning "a low land between two high places." The two referenced "high places" are Shigar city, and the high-altitude Satpara Lake.
image by Nature adventure club

Skardu is a wonderland of waterfalls, lakes, and some of Pakistan’s most famous mountains, including K2, situated in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Multan

According to Hindu tradition the ancient name of Multan was Kashep Puri and the town was built by Kashyap. After Hiranyakashipu, his son Prahalad succeeded the throne and the town was then named after him as Prahalad Puri.
image by Trip advisor

Multan is also called the City of Saints and is one of the oldest cities in the Asian subcontinent. And it is the sixth largest city in Pakistan. International visitors can directly catch up a flight to Multan international airport and experience the heritage of sufism.

Cultural Heritage

The region of Pakistan is rich with cultural history and diversity. There are many historical places in Pakistan that deserve to be experienced by everyone. Archaeological sites, stupas, forts, shrines, tombs, buildings, residences, monuments, and places of worship all includes in its cultural heritage.

Some of the famous places includes:

Mohenjo-daro

he archaeological importance of the site was first recognized in 1922, one year after the discovery of Harappa
image by Harappa

The mound of the dead. For visiting Mohenjo daro, the nearest international airport is the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi in Pakistan. You can drive from here to Mohenjo daro, which is about 420 km away. The nearest major city from Mohenjo daro is Larkana, approx. 30km to the north, and one can easily get to Larkana by bus (either air-conditioned or not) from any major city of Sindh.

Wazir Khan Mosque

It was built by the Governor (or Wazir) of the Punjab, Hakim Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari. The construction of the mosque commenced in 1634
image by Zameen

Wazir Khan Mosque (Masjid Wazir Khan) in Lahore, Pakistan is said to be the most beautiful and most well decorated mosque of the Mughal era, which is located in the inner walled city of the old Lahore, Pakistan and is famous for its magnificent interiors which the enlightened era of the Mughal empire.

Kartarpur

The Kartarpur Corridor is known as the corridor of 'international peace and harmony
image b The print

Kartarpur is the most significant place in the life of Guru Nanak Dev – the founder of Sikhism and first of the ten gurus of the sect. Kartarpur is a town on the right bank of the Ravi River, which was founded by the first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, where he established the first Sikh commune.

Altit fort

An ancient fort at Altit town. Hunza valley.
image by Nation

Altit Fort and in particular the Shikari tower are around 1100 years old, which makes it the oldest monument in the region of Gilgit–Baltistan.  The UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award  for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2011 was presented to Altit fort .

Makli Necropolis

The site houses approximately 500,000 to 1 million tombs built over the course of a 400 year period.
image by Buddies

Makli necropolis is the world’s largest graveyard and it is spread over an area of approx. 10 sq. km. This world heritage site is situated in the city of Thatta, which was the former capital of Sindh.

Mohatta palace

 Mohatta Palace was a luxurious home built in the late 1920s,
image by Ilaan

The palace was built by Mr. Mohatta. He was the richest man east of Suez in British times and was a summer house for the Mohatta family for two decades before they left for India in 1947. It is located in the most posh locality, Clifton, Karachi.

Rohtas Fort

It is a 16th-century fortress

image by Travel Horizone 
Rohtas fort was built in the 16th century by Afghan King Farid Khan who was also known as Sher Shah Suri. Rohtas fort is not only a historical place but also a wonderful most visiting place in Pakistan. This place can mesmerize you if you are interested in historical places. That’s why it is included in world heritage places of UNESCO. 

Conclusion

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is currently safe for travelers of all genders and sects after years of struggle with violence and terrorism. Many places in Pakistan are now safe for locals and foreigners alike. In short: yes, Pakistan is safe.

 

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