Boldly Go Somewhere Different: Must See Places in Pakistan
Pakistan is a land full of breathtaking landmarks, diverse culture and scrumptious food that will make you fall in love with the country despite the negative image pertaining in the minds of the outside world. There are obviously many things to ponder over before coming to Pakistan to enjoy and have fun.
See our guide to must see places when you are in this beautiful country:
Photo Credits: Umair Khan
The heart of Pakistan and the capital of Punjab (province), Lahore, is a must visit place to be while in Pakistan. The eye catching historical heritages such as the Badshahi Mosque, Minar-e-Pakistan or even Pakistan Heritage Museum are some of the best tourist destinations here. If you are in Lahore, one can definitely not miss the finger licking good food here. The Food Street, located at the suburbs of Badshahi Mosque is one of the best food places to visit if you are a food lover. The crisscross of fly overs and bridges, the clean roads of the city, the emerging metropolitan lifestyle is nowhere else seen in the country. Make sure to check the events happening in the city before visiting as there is always something interesting going on there. Ranging from food festivals to music concerts to drams and street shows, everyone can delve into Lahore’s thriving lifestyle within no time. There are certain precautions to take as of now. The highly growing ratio of smog in the city is at an alarming rate nowadays. If you happen to be in the city during smog season that typically starts from October, make sure to not go out without a face mask otherwise, you may end up getting sick. The rise in dengue fever is also taking its hold in many cities especially Lahore as many cases of this epidemic disease were reported in recent times.
Where to Live?
Lahore has a number of hotels to choose from. From 5 star Pearl Continental Hotel to guest houses, the city has accommodation to suit all kinds of budget. But before you book anything, make sure to read the reviews.
Lahore offers local transport facility to the visitors including Rickshaw and buses. Though local transport is much cheaper, it is suggested to avoid traveling in Rickshaw due to air pollution. You can also ask your hotel to arrange a taxi or a car with driver to take you to the places.
Photo Credits: Wasif Malik
Multan, the city of Saints, is famous for its historical sites and Sufiism. Situated in the south of Punjab, there are numerous tourists’ destinations to visit in the city. Hussain Agahi Bazar, the oldest of the city’s markets, offers a diversity of culturally rich products may it be embroidered shoes or shirts or the famous “Hafiz Sohan Halwa” – a famous dessert of Multan. Multan Art Gallery, depicting the culture of the city through paintings and monuments is another popular tourist attraction. Tomb of Shah Rukne Alam is the forefront and the representation of the city’s saint culture. Blue Pottery is one of the best and most renowned product of the city. The people there are hospitable and welcome outsiders to try and taste their heritage and culture. Multan is an emerging city with both political and industrial progress taking place. The city is cold and chilly in winters as the cold winds from Quetta have a direction towards the southern Punjab. However, Multan gets extremely hot and humid in summer season and you should avoid visiting the city during warmer months usually from May to August.
Where to live?
You can find hotels in Multan is as low as $15 per night. But if budget is not an issue, we recommend you to book a hotel with good rating and with all the facilities to avoid any unforeseen circumstances.
Local transport is the best way to get around the city but if you want to avoid the unwanted stares (well, you’ll experience this all over Pakistan and eventually get used to it) then you should book a taxi. You can also have your own car and a driver. Many hotels offer such facility which is not only affordable but also safe.
Photo Credits: Murtaza Imran Ali
Also known as the city of lights, Karachi is the business hub of the country. The once prehistoric humble abode of Sindh’s fishermen, is now a busy metropolitan city with a very large sea port. The city has so much to offer that one may get tired but the attractions there never end. The Charna Island there offers numerous water sports. This place is situated at a two hour drive from the central city, and is a must visit place when you are in Karachi. The Mohatta Palace is also another famous tourist attraction in Karachi. The palace was built in the 20th century by a Hindu prince which is now used as an art gallery and museum. If you are into history, Karachi feature a number of historic places including Chaukhandi Tombs notable for the sandstone carvings.
With winters being a great time to visit the city, the mild cold weather is a best time to spot turtles at the Turtle beach. This beach is home to the green sea turtles that come out in the sands to lay their eggs.
Like Lahore, unfortunately, there is so much pollution in Karachi that could make you sick by the end of your trip there. But don’t you worry, by wearing a masks and taking precautions, you can prevent yourself from getting any kind of disease.
Where to Live?
There are a lot of options of staying in Karachi from guest houses to hotels. You can also book from AirBnb but make sure to read reviews for your own safety.
Like Lahore, you can use public transport here in Karachi as well.
Photo Credits: ZHK Blue Rose
The capital of Pakistan, Islamabad is one of the most beautiful capitals in the world and for all the right reasons. The city offers clean roads, lush green parks and many other landmarks to its visitors. The Faisal Mosque is the most popular mosques not only in Islamabad but all over Pakistan. Another such attractive historic site is the LokVirsa Museum. The word itself means “place of people’s heritage”. The museum exhibits the unique culture of Pakistan and thus is famous for such intricacies. Margalla Hills and Daman-e-Koh Park are the forest covered terrains that lead up to the Himalayan mountain range. The walking trails in these areas may lead you towards the abundant wildlife such as the Rhesus Macaque Monkey or the Asian Paradise Flycatcher which is a very rare yet exotic bird with a long grayish tail. The panoramic view of Islamabad from Daman-e-Koh is a must-see specifically at sunrise or sunset.
There is no perfect time when it comes to Islamabad as the city offers beautiful weather all year around. However, if you don’t want to sweat yourself, avoid visiting in the summer months from April to July.
Where to live?
You’ll find plenty of options to live in Islamabad. If you don’t want to pay a hefty amount for accommodation, book a guest house. There are a number of guest houses in the F sector of Islamabad that are not only safe but also affordable.
Islamabad doesn’t have many options of public transport including rickshaw. But you can always book a taxi or uber to go anywhere in the city.
Photo Credits: Asad Durrani
Situated at the foot hills of Nanga Parbat in Gilgit-Baltistan, the place is accessible through a horse ride up the mountain or trekking. The 3 hour hike is worth the effort and even if you don’t want to hike, you can book a jeep that will take you to the Fairy Meadows. The beauty of the Meadow surrounds one in a magical symphony taking the mind to a whole new dimension. The best time to visit the Fairy Meadows is in summer season that is from May to July. The temperature above is rarely hot as compared to the base however foreign expeditions usually take place in the winters as they visit the place with the motive to climb Nanga Parbat. If you are not coming with a mission to climb Nanga Parbat, then it is recommended to avoid winter season at all costs as winter here In this district gets extremely harsh, making it difficult to travel around. Apart from that, the locals in the district are extremely hospitable and cooperative. Feel free to interact with them or it is highly likely that any local family may invite you to their house to try their scrumptious food.
Where to live?
Camping is the best option to stay in Fairy Meadows. However, you can also book Fairy Meadow Cottages especially if you want to reach the Nanga Parbat base camp.
Walking is the best way to stroll around the Fairy Meadows but you can also book a horse ride.
Photo Credits: Imran Shah
You’ve not really seen Pakistan if you’ve not visited the breathtaking Hunza Valley in Gilgit Baltistan. The Valley is located at around 13-hours drive from Islamabad. Hunza Valley is home to a number of spectacular attractions including the famous Attabad Lake which allows you to take a boat ride amidst the gorgeous natural setting. Other famous places include Altit Fort and Baltit Fort. These forts are worth a visit if you wish to know about Hunza’s history and culture. While heading towards the Hunza Valley, you’ll be welcomed by the ethereal sceneries with Karakorum’s mountains in the background.
The best time to visit Hunza is from April to October. Summers in Hunza are hot in morning and afternoon but cold at nights. If you want to see beautiful Cherry Blossom in the region, then you must visit the Valley in April. Though you can travel to Hunza in any season, it is recommended to avoid winter season at all cost. During winter season, many places get closed due to the harsh weather. It is best to check the forecast before you leave.
Where to live?
Hunza Valley has a number of hotels from low budget to high budget. Hunza Serene Inn is the most popular accommodation among the tourists. Another great option is Luxux Hunza Resort situated right at the corner of Attabad Lake.
You can walk or use the jeeps to travel to the places all over Hunza Valley.
Photo Credits: Dr Shaggy
Skardu Valley is indeed a paradise on earth. The Valley offers such mesmerizing views that leave visitors awe-struck. The diversity that this Valley offers to its visitors is never seen elsewhere in the world. Skardu Valley is home to many landmarks that one must visit on trip to Pakistan. Surrounded by the magnificent snow-covered mountains, the Satpara Lake in Skardu provides fresh drinking water to the residents. Enjoy boat riding and fishing in this crystal clear gem of Skardu. This Valley has unlimited number of places with spectacular views welcoming the visitors and one of them is Khaplu Valley. While Khaplu is an year-round destination, it looks ethereal in autumn season from mid October till November when the yellow colored leaves envelope the dark roads of Valley. If you are looking for a place to live in Skardu during your trip, then head off to Shangrila Resort surrounding the beautiful Upper Kachura Lake followed by the lower Kachura Lake which is just a few kilometers away. Another gem of Skardu is Deosai that is accessible only for few months from June to September. The massive plains of Deosai get closed during winter season due to harsh weather. If you have never seen any cold desert in your life before, then we strongly recommend you to visit Katpana Desert in Skardu featuring the world highest cold desert situated at a height of 14,000 ft.
There is no drawback of visiting Skardu but winter season should be avoided at all costs because many famous destinations become inaccessible during the season that lasts from November to March or sometimes till May.
Where to live?
Shangrila Resort is the best place to live in Skardu. This 5 star resort offer mesmerizing views of the lakes surrounded by snow-covered mountains. There are other hotels available in the valley at affordable rates.
Jeep is the only recommended transport to take you to all the popular landmarks. You can either book a jeep with a driver for yourself or travel with a group.
Naran & Kaghan Valley
Photo Credits: JD Rucker
Pakistan is truly filled with breathtaking places that should be on your bucket list. From bustling city life to the peaceful vibes of the northern side, this country has so much to offer. One such place is Naran and Kaghan Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that is visited by thousands of locals and foreigners every year. Both the Valleys offer a number of activities and attractions to the tourists. One of the most iconic place in Kaghan is “Saiful Malook” lake which is accessible by jeeps. If you wish to trek, then from this lake, there is a trekking route taking you to the “Ansoo Lake (tear shaped lake)” located at an altitude of 4,245 metres above the sea level. This lake is one of the highest lakes of the Himalaya Range. Another beautiful lake situated in Kaghan valley is “Lulusar Lake” sitting at 11,190 ft above the sea level. When you are in the valley, you must pay a visit to the Babusar Top also known as Babusar Pass connecting the province with Gilgit Baltistan. This is the highest place in the region with the height of 13,700 ft above the sea level. There is no shortage of lakes in this valley and another gem that is worth the visit is Dudipatsar Lake covered under the snow blankets all year round. When you are in Naran Valley, you can drive to the Jalkhad and from there, you can trek for 4-5 hours to the lake. Another place that sees the influx of tourists every year is Siri Paye Meadows in Shogran Valley of Naran Kaghan region. After having a cup of tea under Kewai waterfalls, a jeep will take you to the Siri Paye Meadows featuring lush green plateau. Once you reach the meadows, you can enjoy food and horse ride amidst the breathtaking mountain view.
The best time is obviously during the summer season from May to September. But it is highly recommended to avoid June and July as these are the months when locals from all over the country visit the valleys. If traveling amidst the crowd is not your thing, then you should avoid visiting Naran and Kaghan during these months. The ideal time is to visit in September when the weather is mild during the day but cold at night. You may witness snow at Babusar Top during September. Avoid traveling in winter months as many places will be closed down especially the lakes and Babusar Top.
Where to live?
You can enjoy camping at the all the lakes when in Naran and Kaghan Valley including Babusar Top. However, if you don’t want to stay at lakes overnight, you can book a hotel in Naran Valley in as low as $15 per night.
To reach the places, you can book a jeep that costs you around $30 or more for a round trip depending on how far you want to go.