Pakistan has indeed been a target for a lot of negative attention in the past year. Yet, even as the war on terror rages on, one cannot ignore the charms of this country. Those who visit the country will tell you tales of land very much like the one from the Arabian Nights. Forts, sultans, spices, culture, art, music, folklore and myth to meet the nomad inside you. The ruling government’s partiality for the tourism industry is making it a safer place to visit.
Like a big natural park, Pakistan has hidden nooks and crannies that begs you to keep exploring. You will never know what you may find next. What Pakistan lacks is the availability of modern conveniences in the remote areas, it makes up in the sheer breath-taking natural splendour. Many international travel bloggers and vloggers swear by the high potential of Pakistan in terms of attractive tourist spots. The varied natural landscape makes it possible to experience everything, from sun-kissed desserts to the lush. There are pine-covered mountains with enough grandeur to send chills down your spine.
In this blog, we’d like to suggest 5 summertime travel destinations for you to visit if you are planning to visit Pakistan in the warmer months. Given the high-temperature average of the Pakistani summer season, it might be wise to stick to the cooler places to avoid dampening the whole vibe your trip with sun-burns and incessant sweating.
A place with one of the most diverse travel experience to offer in one region, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) is the crowning jewel of the country. Home to towering peaks over 20,000 feet, including the famous K-2, Nanga Parbat and snow-laden glory of the proud Rakaposhi, GB is definitely worth the visit. The whole region offers a multitude of places that warrant a stay for at least a month.
You can check out the highest polo ground in Shandur, or the turquoise-filled Attabad Lake that was created after a landslide in 2010, the ancient culture of Hunza Valley dotted with Juniper trees and friendly folks. Visit the local bazaar, famous for their antiques and authentic precious/semi-precious stones. Other wonders include the treeless Deosai National Park, a 4,114-meter high wonderland, that accessible only in summer. You may even summon some enthusiasm for the wild and adventure and make the trek up to the mystical Fairy Meadows or Rakaposhi base camp. Not to mention that the drive along the wonderfully treacherous Karakoram Highway is an adventure in itself.
Given Pakistan’s general ethnical diversity, you will perhaps be most supposed by the life in Kalasha because of its distinctive lifestyle. A land that appears to slumber through time, has preserved its unique and undisturbed natural beauty because of its remote access. The Kalash Valleys – Bumburet, Birir and Rumbur are part of Chitral, which is the largest district in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The area is surrounded by the imposing and serene Hindukush peaks.
The light-complexioned and blue-eyed natives of Kalash are known for their colourful garbs and distinguishing culture. Despite Islam being the dominant religion of the country, the people of Kalash practise their ancient religion of Indo-Aryan origins. The best time to visit this valley of folk music, wine and crafts, is during their three festivals – Chilam Joshi in May, Uchau in September and Chawmos close to the winter solstice.
3. Naltar Valley
This valley is one of the hidden gems of Pakistan, that’s quickly becoming a famous ski-resort in winter months. Small, quaint and out of the way, Naltar is one of the must-visit places in the country. As of now, it is accessible only by a rather gruelling off-road jeep track but a highway route is currently being constructed to enable more people to visit this Pakistan’s corner of Switzerland.
Surrounded by green hills, tall pines and terraced fields, Naltar is raw and entrancing in its beauty. Many lakes of varying natural hues dot the landscape. You might visit them by jeep or put on your trekking shoes. This valley is like a huge pasture for you to take solace in, away from the cares of the world, because this place isn’t a part of the fast-paced, technology-ridden modern world.
4. Babusar Top
For families, this route from Narran Valley to the Babusar hilltop is a delightful tree. It is perhaps one of the most scenic routes in Pakistan that’s safe for a car ride. With rolling greens, natural creeks, Kunhar river, hillside resorts, Lulusar lake, rafting spots and other adventures accompanying you, you will find a lot to be entertained. The Babusar hilltop itself is the highest point of the Babusar Valley (elevation 4,173 meters). You can trek up to the low mountain, and we guarantee that the view will be unlike anything you have seen, or likely to ever forget.
5. Neelum Valley
Also known as the Blue Gem Valley, the Neelum (means Sapphire) valley is a bow-shaped, 144-kilometre-long forested-region in Kashmir. The pure, fresh creeks flowing over the roads of the valley, the green mountains with woodland beauty of Irish myths, this place is scenic enough to move visitors to poetry. Once you visit this place, you might be able long, the on-going feud between Pakistan and India over this piece of land. The trek between Kel and Arang Kel, stay in Muzzafarabad, the ancient exquisiteness of Sharda, all make the Neelum Valley a beauty that must not be ignored on the quest to see the real Pakistan. The hills, the lakes, waterfalls, ruins, bazaars and resorts, will touch your soul and perhaps even make you rethink the priorities of life. As they say, getting lost in nature is how one often finds oneself.
If you are looking for a travel destination between May to August, a trip to Pakistan isn’t a bad idea, or so the Forbes claims. On a side note, even though the tourist destinations in Pakistan are great, you should take some time to visit the country’s famous metropolis. The peaceful federal capital Islamabad, the international-envy Lahore, the sea-facing, city of lights Karachi, land of Sufis and Islamic architect Multan. And if you plan to explore these cities, Airbnb might not serve you well for renting accommodation, not as well as Prop, in any case.