When we look at those beautiful pictures of foreign lands on the internet and start planning our next vacation; we make one very common mistake – we forget about Pakistan.
Here are 12 undeniable reasons you should spend this summer in Pakistan:
1) ‘Cuz if you like adventure, Pakistan has buckets of it!
We have five of the fourteen highest peaks in the world right here! What do you want to do? Trekking, hiking, camping, skiing, wind surfing, rock climbing? You name it and the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindukush will give it to you.
2) Because you don’t just want to go fishing, you want to go fishing at the most beautiful place on earth
Kaghan and Naran are beautiful valleys that feature pine forests, alpine meadows, crystal clear lakes and cool mountain streams. Kunhar River is where you want to go fishing this summer, trust me!
3) Because going on a road-trip in Sindh is epic!
Gorakh Hill, Thatta, Bhambore, Chawkandi, Makli, Sehwan, Hala and the list goes on. A week to 10 days and a car is all you need to explore the beauty hidden in Sindh. If you have an interest in the Sufi way of life, Sindh is definitely your road to take.
4) Because the shrines and mosques in this country are worth exploring
Pakistan has beautiful historical and cultural monuments with the most exciting rich background behind each. Grab a tour guide, visit the beautiful Shah Jehan Mosque in Thatta, the Badshahi Mosque and Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, the Siddiqia masjid in Quetta, the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai in Bhit Shah and find out just why they are so special.
5) Because you want to meet the wildlife at Kirthar National Park and Hingol National Park
Kirthar, home to the gorgeous Rani Kot Fort in Sindh, also houses one of Pakistan’s largest national parks. Driving on the hilly and rugged network of unpaved dirt roads in Kirthar National Park is a true adventure and if you’re lucky you might even get to meet some of the wildlife in the park! Hingol Park in Balochistan, on the other hand, is another majestic park famously known for its wildlife, especially the Houbara Bustard, and off-roading!
6) Because you want to play polo… in Shandur!
Located north-east of Chitral, Shandur is an internationally renowned landmark of Pakistan. Famous for its polo competition, Shandur hosts our finest polo athletes. In fact, if you plan your trip fast enough, the Shandur Polo Festival 2015 took place from July 1, 2015 to July 3, 2015. The dance and music performances, along with many other activities are just an added benefit!
7) Because you want to experience the magic of Fairy Meadows
And the beauty isn’t all – go to the villages nearby and hear folktales about why exactly the place is called Fairy Meadows. Wake up at sunrise, walk out of your tent and breathe in the remarkable beauty that is set before you. Then, you go skiing!
8) Because the stretch of Karachi and Balochistan beaches is amazing!
Sure the beaches in Barcelona might be beautiful, but the thrill of spending a day at the beaches in Karachi or Balochistan, riding camels, eating corn, driving a lit-up dune buggy all over the place is unbeatable! And if you’re lucky, the people from nearby villages might offer to make you fresh crabs, prawns and fish for a small sum of money – that little seafood extravaganza is well worth every rupee spent! If you’re in an extra-adventurous mood, go to Kemari, sail a rickety boat into the sea and eat the most scrumptious lollipop crabs you have ever had. Your taste-buds will be forever grateful.
9) Because you choose the north of Pakistan over Switzerland this year!
Hunza Valley, one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan. You won’t just fall in love with its beauty, culture, traditions, shopping, its people, music or art, you will fall in love with the delicious apricot pancakes found in this little piece of heaven on earth. Yum.
10) Because the ski-resort at Malam Jaba is calling out to you
Skiing, riding a chairlift, snowboarding are only appetisers. The main course is waking up to the sight of the most beautiful snow-capped peaks in the world! Malam Jaba is a hill station 40km from Saidu Sharif and hosts Pakistan’s only ski-resort. The dessert, however, are the monasteries and Buddhist stupas you come across on your way back down. Then you go to Swat and have some delicious trout cooked by the very best – us!
11) Because you didn’t think Pakistan had a dance festival!
The Chilam Joshi Festival in the Kalash Valley which takes place in May every year is a very popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. Packed with entertainment (and dairy), this festival commemorates the arrival of summer with music and dance! Not only is it culturally enriching, it is a tremendous amount of fun too!
12) Because you want to explore the mysticism of the Festival of Lights
Celebrated in the last week of March every year at Shah Hussain’s tomb, Mela Chiraghan is a tribute to the prominent Sufi saint. Hundreds of people from across the country come to celebrate his life amidst the light of candles and fairy lights, music and dance, food and rituals. An experience of a lifetime.