By Isla Oliver- Guest Blogger
Pakistan is a land that must be on your bucket list if you are a peripatetic. For those who are still unaware about the beauty of this sensational place, I have to say only one line. Don’t take my word for it and go see the magic yourself. The beauty of Pakistan will blow your mind straight away, that’s a given.
If I am being brutally honest, Pakistan is the ideal place for Nature Lovers and it’s indubitably bee’s knees for the metrosexuals pinning their hopes on getting their mitts on traditional embroidered clothes and jewellery. The benefits of becoming the guest of this country are thin on the ground- no two ways about it.
Alright, one of the important questions I get asked about is “Whether Pakistan is a safe place to travel in”. Well, to be brutally honest, it really is. Though some of the factors gave a huge blow to the tourism industry of Pakistan such as political instability, conservative religious groups, declined state of law and order in the country and absence of the internal campaigns to recover the image of the country. Well, the truth hurts. Be that as it may, this country has got some serious beauty nonpareil to any other place in the world.
Tip for those who are backpacking around Pakistan
Having said that, travelling to Pakistan is all about excitement. Be that as it may, there are some things that you must look back on while backpacking to Pakistan. Alright, I’ll get onto it:
Packing your bag for Pakistan
Yes, you’d definitely be knowing this well if you are a traveller. It is recommended to turn little packing over your mind and consider implementing the Spanish Proverb “On a long journey, even a straw weighs heavy”. That’d be fructiferous. Almost everything is easily available in Pakistan so pack as less as possible to keep your rucksack lighter.
Keep the most necessary stuff on you including your clothes, shoes, charger, medicines (if you are on any) etc. And in case, you have excess luggage more than allowed by the airline you are travelling with, nothing is to worry about. You can find out a handful of companies who offer Cargo to Pakistan which can cater to all of your needs.
Bargaining is compulsory
Well, it might seem a bit weird to you but bargaining is the key wherever you are shopping around. Yes, it works at almost every corner in Pakistan. I had been asked the price fourth times that of the right price quite a lot times. While shopping around for an embroidered shawl from the local shops in Lahore, I had been asked to pay 4500 for it but with the help of little bargain, I managed to get it in 2000 rupees. That was surprising. So, it is recommended to bargain to bring off a few bucks.
Food in Pakistan
Food in Pakistan is super delicious and is regarded as one of the most tantalizing foods around the globe. That being the case, don’t forget to get your hands on the street food in Lahore and Karachi, that’s mind-boggling. However, watch out for the food from places which are open to dust and flies. With that, always use bottled water and watch out for the seal whether it’s intact or not. Remember, Pakistani food is much spicy, so avoid giving it a try if your stomach doesn’t have friendly relations with spice. Nihari and Paye are the dishes I liked the most while my stay in Lahore. Just try out these and you’ll love them. That’s not a big ask, is it?
Getting into and around Pakistan
Getting into and around Pakistan is super easy. You need only three things to get into Pakistan including a valid passport, a visa and a ticket and you are all set to get into Pakistan. And if you spend a moment just talking about travelling around Pakistan, Trains are your best companions (particularly for longer journeys). Though it was a bit slower (a train took 20 hours to move from Lahore to Karachi). That’s no gross, that’s how things work in Pakistan. However, you can get the services of buses, taxis and autos (for relatively shorter distances). Flights are also available in the bigger cities. I mean, everything is available to cater to all of your traveling needs. Whoa!
Must see places while backpacking around Pakistan
We have singled out a few must-see places if you are planning a trip to Pakistan. Let’s jump into this:
Azad Kashmir- Paradise on Earth
If you want to witness a real paradise on this earth, the first place on your bucket list must be Kashmir. Yes, you heard it right, a real paradise. The fact that people sing the praises for this majestic place is not without the reason. This is due to the fact that Kashmir is the first place you must get your sights on if you are after a place far away from the hustle and bustle of life. Pristine pure place with true blue water lakes, I hope those words would do justice with this amazing place (Indeed there is no word in the dictionary that can describe the real beauty of Kashmir).
The lush green grasses, snow-covered mountains, true blue water Lakes and finger-licking dry fruits, all these things define Kashmir. There are a bunch of places which you can pay a call to while visiting Kashmir such as Neelum Valley, Drawl Kot, Jhelum Valley, and Drawl Kot. You will be leaving a piece of your heart right there when you’ll say good bye to Kashmir. The best line that can define Kashmir is probably “Go as a guest and you’ll be leaving as a life time fan”. That’s how everything looks like in Kashmir.
Decked out with lush green grass, Kashmir receives a thumping great number of tourists from around the world each year.
Shangrila Resort, Skardu
Up for another magnificent place with picturesque beauty? Alright, I present you with Shangrila Resort, Skardu.
Having whereabouts in north of Pakistan, Skardu the beautiful valley of Gilgit-Baltistan. Skardu is unequivocally synonymous with beauty, tranquillity and wilderness. Vola!
After getting through the old wooden bridge, built over the River Indus, you will reach Shangrila, paradise on earth for Nature Lovers. It’s a popular tourist spot in Skardu, around 25 minutes’ drive from the city. Restaurant in Shangrila rest house is a must visit if you are stretching your legs in the Resort. The speciality of this restaurant is that it has been built on the fuselage of an aircraft that had crashed nearby.
The beautiful Hunza valley is located in Gilgit, the northern side of Pakistan. This place has been a tourist attraction from years due to the picturesque scenery the valley is surrounded by. The giant peaks of Himalayas surrounding the valley binds a person to think about the sumptuousness of the Mother Nature. The most favourable season to visit Hunza Valley is generally from May to October. If you try to travel in winter season, the roads and almost all paths will be found covered with snow and you won’t be able to soothe your eyes with the greenery scattered all around due to frost.
Not only the place but the people of Hunza Valley are extremely loving in nature and hospitable. It was an awesome experience to talk with them.
This article is written by Isla Oliver. She is fond of Travel and loves to share her experiences. Currently she works for a company that specializes in sending cargo to Pakistan from UK. In her line of service, she has visited Pakistan several times, hence she wrote this article on the basis of her experience.