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Not many countries in the World are as generously diverse and gifted as Pakistan. It has abundance of historical sites and naturally scenic vistas which are a must-visit at least once in a lifetime. Northern Pakistan has the highest peaks in the World, vast lush green plains, longest glaciers, fresh water lakes and what not. Recently we visited Northern areas of Pakistan and here is my brief blog on top 5 tourist destinations in Pakistan everyone must visit this summer:
- Deosai National Park, Gilgit Baltistan
- Swat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Neelum Valley, Azad Jammu and Kashmir
- Naran Kaghan Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Hunza Valley, Gilgit Baltistan
1. Deosai National Park, Gilgit Baltistan
Located at the most Northern part of Pakistan, it is a high altitude alpine plain near Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan. The Government of Pakistan has recently upgraded Skardu airport to an international destination. Being a bigger valley, wide body commercial planes can land at the Skardu International Airport. This makes this region open to the international tourism. The valley is also reachable via Karakoram Highway (KKH). The Deosai plain are famously known as the Land of Giants. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the lush green undulating ground and blue water lakes make it a paradise for all nature loving people. The area has abundance of bio diversity being home to Himalayan wolves, Siberian ibex, red foxes, as well as yellow-bellied marmots.
Distance from Islamabad: Approximately 750km, 14 hour drive by car
What to Eat: Muskut and Prapo, Rdung Bhalay
Where to Stay: Lots of BnB, Hotels, Shangrila Resort, Baltistan Continental Hotel
Ideal time to visit: Beginning of July to end September
2. Swat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, Swat is called paradise on Earth because of the majestic natural environment it offers to the stunned tourists. Enjoy the hospitality of the local people, delicious food which is cheap as well as unique in taste. Thanks to the newly built Swat motorway, travel distance to Swat has considerably reduced. By road travel time from Islamabad is only 4 hours. Various well-built roads give tourist access to the nearby undiscovered valleys. Some valleys such as Kumrat, however, are only accessible via 4x4 vehicles. There is something royally majestic about this spectacular place of Pakistan, as its is rightly considered a must to go destination when in Pakistan. Swat has wonderful weather and super friendly people. You can enjoy trekking, hiking or simply devour trout in the most natural environment on the sides of river Swat.
Distance from Islamabad: Approximately 250 km, 3-4 hour drive by car
What to Eat: Chapli Kabab, Dum Pukht, Mutton Ribs
Where to Stay: Cheap guest houses are easily available, with free Wi-Fi and Parking
Ideal time to visit: Beginning of April to end May
3. Neelum Valley, Azad Jammu and Kashmir
This beautiful scenic valley is located in the north most part of the Pakistan administered Kashmir or locally called Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK). This valley is hot favorite honeymoon destination being breathtaking views, green clad mountains and abundant natural beauty all around. The peaks soar well above 13000 feet, with thick forest on the top and water streams flowing around in the valleys. The Neelum valley is rightly regarded as the most scenic valley of the AJK. It’s lush green meadows, freshwater rivers, deep forest, friendly locals and delicious food make it the must go destination in the region.
Distance from Islamabad: Approximately 233 km, 7 hour drive by car
What to Eat: Dum Olav, Rogan Josh, Modur Pulav
Where to Stay: Lots of local guestrooms and 3 stars hotels. Advance booking is not needed.
Ideal time to visit: Beginning of March to mid-October
4. Naran Kaghan Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Coming by road from Islamabad, just short of Mansehra, if you turn right towards Balakot you will thank yourself for the rest of your life! That right turn will first show you the amazing tourist town of Balakot and then will onward take you to Kaghan and then Naran. Two most amazing places to visit in Pakistan, located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and arguably the most popular tourist attraction all year around especially in summers. Each year local and international tourist flock to the valley to enjoy amazing local hospitality right in the most naturally preserved environment. The town of Naran is located only 120 km from the city of Mansehra and has ample of hotels, guestrooms and houses to welcome the tourists with open arms.
Distance from Islamabad: Approximately 281 km, 6 hour drive by car
What to Eat: Trout fish, Chicken/Mutton Karahi.
Where to Stay: Slightly expensive but still affordable hotel rooms, with free Wi-Fi and Parking
Ideal time to visit: Beginning of April to mid-October
5. Hunza Valley, Gilgit Baltistan
Hunza valley needs no introduction. The valley is well known all over the World, for its unmatchable natural beauty, historical forts, healthy happy people, amazing culinary skills and vast orchards of apricot. The valley is located in Gilgit Baltistan, and is one of Pakistan’s amazing touristic gems. It is located at the region which is formed by the two giant mountain ranges: the Himalayas and the Karakoram. Hunza deserves your several days stop just to know the place, food and its people a bit. The valley is located close to Gilgit which has an airport and from there drive to Hunza is only 99km. The road condition is decent and the views you will get all around the Hunza valley, up to the valley from Gilgit and on your way further from Hunza to Khunjerab pass are simply out of the World. They valley and its glorious views await you!
Distance from Islamabad: Approximately 600 km, 12 hour drive by car
What to Eat: All raw fresh fruits. Molida. Hoilo Garma.
Where to Stay: Cottages, hotels and guestrooms are easily available, with free Wi-Fi and Parking
Ideal time to visit: Beginning of April to end September
Last word on tourist destinations in Pakistan
One cannot over emphasize the beauty, its a must go for every nature loving person.
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