If someone was asked to describe Pakistan a few years ago, they might have explained it as a scary, unsafe and dangerous place. But not anymore! After a lengthy and successful military operation purging out extremist elements out of the country, the government has declared the country safe for tourists. Since 2013, the number of foreign tourists has increased three-fold and a more handsome increase is expected in the coming decade. Pakistan, that borders India, has a lot to offer from lush green valleys and historical monuments to snow-capped mountains and beautiful lakes. There are vibrant food and lifestyle festivals as well as expos held every year by custom trade show display companies, so there is plenty to do. Recently, the British Backpacker Society rated Pakistan as the world’s top adventure travel destination of 2018. That’s just another reason to visit the untapped tourist destination, so here I have listed the top places to visit in Pakistan for a first-timer to press you even more.
The Karakoram Highway
The Highway is located in North Eastern Pakistan. The world’s highest paved international highway is an accurate description of a 20th-century engineering wonder. The 805-mile-long highway connects Pakistan with China through the Khunjerab Pass. What’s so thrilling about a highway? Well, this particular highway sits in the belly of some huge mountains, and beautiful sceneries. The treacherous roads go through mammoth mountains and bend in the impossible angles, making the driving experience stomach churning. Along the way, you also get to see ancient rock carvings of the Buddha, especially at the archeological site of Shatial.
The famous valley looks like it has fallen from Paradise. The valley is full of lush green grass and snowy mountains. Hunza also hosts some great mountains that are a mountaineer’s dream. Every year, scores of enthusiasts make their way toward this northern Pakistan region and climb the perilous peaks. One very famous among them is the Hon Pass, with a view which renowned British mountaineer, Eric Shapton describes as ‘the ultimate manifestation of mountain grandeur’. The recently formed Attabad Lake with its serene blue water is a sight to behold.
If you are interested in the history and the Mughal era, Lahore is the city for you. Lahore served as a Mughal capital for a long time and it shows in the beautiful architecture of the city. There are plentiful gardens, parks, forts, mosques, and eateries to discover. Visit the Lahore Fort, Minar-e-Pakistan, Shalimar Gardens, Anarkali Bazaar and feel right at home with one of the friendliest people you will ever meet. There is a big focus on food in Lahore, so keep your stomach empty for some delicious treats.
Dubbed the City of Lights, Karachi hosts a healthy mix of cultures and mouth-watering cuisines. The mega cosmopolitan city has a huge population of over 20 million! Being the economic hub of Pakistan, Karachi has a bustling shopping scene with a large number of bazaars and malls. Hints of British colonial era buildings and architecture can still be found here with Frere Hall being the most prominent among them. Other than that, you can visit the National Museum that has precious artifacts from the Indus Valley civilization and the Buddhist dynasties in the North, Wazir Mansion, Quaid’s Mausoleum and the Mohatta Palace among other places. If you need a hunger fix, Karachi has hundreds of restaurants to cater your cravings.
Although for the sake of this short blog post, I have mentioned just four places, there is a lot more to discover. What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and book a trip to this top travel destination of 2018.
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