From the mighty peaks of the Himalayas to the sandy, white beaches of the Arabia Sea, Pakistan is rich in natural beauty, culture and history. Over the years, thanks to an improvement in the security situation and increased accessibility, a lot of these spots, previously unknown, have become tourist hotspots.
On the occasion of World Tourism Day, let’s celebrate all the wonderful places our country has to offer.
‘Deosai’ which translates to ‘The Land of Giants’ is a high-altitude alpine plain located largely within the Skardu District in Gilgit Baltistan. It remains covered with snow for 8 months. The rest of the year, it hosts a range of beautiful flowers of all hues and colours, attracting tourists from far and wide. The area is also home to the brown bear.
Naltar, a valley near Gilgit, Hunza and Nomal, in the Gilgit–Baltistan province of the country, is popular for its three lakes which boast vivid colours of blue and green. Naltar is a forested region known for its dramatic mountain scenery and towering high peaks. The area is also known for its Ski Resort which hosts ski competitions regularly.
Neelum Valley – Arang Kel/Taobat/Sharda
The picturesque Neelam Valley is the northern most region and district of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. The valley is dotted with quaint villages and towns which make the perfect retreats away from the hustling and bustling of city life. The River Neelum meanders through the valley, the water making soft sounds as well as soothing the eyes.
Though Lahore doesn’t appear to be a tourist spot, the provincial capital is rich in history which dates back to the Mughal era, making it the perfect place for all those interested in history. Monuments and buildings dating back to the Mughals including the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Masjid, Wazir Khan Masjid and Shalimar Gardens are popular tourist spots. Moreso, buildings from the British era including Governor House, Quaid-e-Azam Library and Railway Station are also an integral part of the city’s history.
The mouthwatering dishes and food the city has to offer is also close to none. And as the locals say, “Whoever hasn’t seen Lahore, isn’t born.
Taxila meaning “City of Cut Stone” is an important archaeological site situated a few kilometres north-west of the capital, Islamabad. The city dates back to c. 1000 BCE and in its glory days was one of the main cities of the ancient Kingdom of Gandhara. What makes Taxila unique and fascinating is the mainly Buddhist art and architecture of the Gandharan period. The city is dotted with monasteries and stupas which provide a unique insight into Buddhism as well.
Derawar Fort, Cholistan Desert
Built in the 9th Century, the historic Derawar Fort, is a large square fortress located a few hundred kilometres south of Bahawalpur in the heart of the Cholistan Desert. The fort is an architectural marvel featuring massive bastions.
Meanwhile, the Cholistan Desert is rich in culture and tradition. The dry bed of the Hakra River runs through the area, along which many settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization have been found.
Kund Malir Beach/Hingol National Park
Kund Malir is a beach in Balochistan, Pakistan located in Hingol National Park. The drive between Kund Malir and Ormara is considered to be scenic. The area is part of Hingol National Park which is the largest in Pakistan. The Princess of Hope is also located in the area which is rich in flora and fauna and also has mud volcanos.
Mehwish Hayat Louds Using Truck Art for the Rights of the Girl Child
The Ministry of Human Rights initiative “Truck Art for Awareness and Advocacy for the Rights of the Girl Child in Pakistan” mesmerizes stakeholders.
- “The biggest achievement of this intervention is that Truck owners, Truck drivers and Truck artists own this initiative” says Samar Minallah (Anthropologist/ Pioneer of the Truck Art for Awareness intervention in Pakistan
- “Ministry of Human Rights, Government of Pakistan stands tall for upholding all constitutionally enshrined rights of the girl child” Dr Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights
This year marked over 25 years of the International Day of the Girl Child. The Ministry of Human Rights, government of Pakistan, through the Huqooq-e-Pakistan Programme, in collaboration with the European Union held a launch event on 11th October 2019 at Lok Virsa in the country’s capital, Islamabad.
20 Newly painted trucks transverse across Pakistan to ensure the right message reaches the right audiences. Trucks, moving billboards, here are becoming vehicles for spreading awareness regarding educating girls, and truck art is making its way to bridge communication gaps between key stakeholders involved in ensuring rights are given to the girl child
“Let’s pledge to give girls a better brighter future” said Mehwish Hayat, the appointed Goodwill Ambassador to the Rights of the Girl Child by the Ministry of Human Rights, in her talk engaging with the participants of the launch event.
“The brightly painted trucks through Pakistan’s indigenous truck art support us in creating awareness as well as amplifying a message to begin advocacy from within the grassroots of Pakistan from the remotest of areas” says Minallah.
She further added that Hayat Khan, a truck workshop owner, extended great cooperation in this regard and played a pivotal role in convincing other truck drivers to change the paintings on their rides.
The Launch evnt was attended by over 400 participants. A gathering with all relevant players present to commemorate the Day of the Girl Child. The event marks not only the beginning of a new era of the amplification of the rights of the girl child but also is a testiment to the fact that the Pakistani society is proud of its traditional art forms and the role community members like truck owner, drivers and artists are taken up for the cause.
5 Peaceful Travel Destinations in Pakistan
There are two types of people, ones who like to trek thousands of miles up to the mountains and others who like to stay in a cozy place, camp on the bank of a beautiful lake or those who would just like to be surrounded by beautiful nature in a hut or a dome. At one point, we do not want to explore but just want to enjoy the beauty around us. Even the trekkers need relaxation sometimes.
So, here we suggest 5 places where you can go and have a peaceful getaway without any trek, struggle or a travel hassle involved.
Untouched dense forest reserve in KPK, this place is located in Kaghan. All you have to do is to take a jeep from Paras and you will be in the forest within 1.5 hours. Now, the stop depends on the nature of your comfort and your requirement. If you are a person of extreme comfort, Chinar Family Resort should be your go-to place. Surrounded by a breathtaking view of mountains and forest; this place is a sheer beauty if described in one word. Beautifully maintained, having proper facilities of rooms and every food item available on order, this family resort provides you with the best in the middle of a forest.
If you are an adventurous person with an idea of cooking your own food but having a comfortable sleeping pod; you can always book these camping pods set up by the government of KPK that will provide you a serene view, a cozy room and the choice to cook your own food.
If your soul needs an adventure in open air with your camps on, go for camping outside this youth hostel that was built by the British and is now a perfect camping spot for a thrilling experience.
Again, known for its dramatic mountain scenery, another unruffled world, away from the hubbub, Naltar Valley is a pure magic. Setting up a camp near one of the lakes, far away from human existence, in the middle of mountains is an experience which is pure bliss. There is also an option available of staying at skiing resorts with comfort in your room but the exuberance of spending a night in a camp and getting up to the majestic view of the lake right in front of you cannot be compared with anything else.
A hamlet in the surroundings of Borith Lake to the northwest of Husseini, a village near Gulmit, Gojal, Borith is located in the upper Hunza. The lake can be reached through jeeps and is surrounded by calm and quiet mountains with little or no human interaction. The best and only comfortable place to live in Borith is The Borith lake hotel and resort. The option of camping is always available to wake up to the astonishing view of the lake.
ICE Dome- Nathia Gali
The world’s first LED embedded in the structure, ICE Dome in Nathia Gali is one of its kind. With a warm and homely ambiance, this place is a whole new experience to live and enjoy nature. With Nathia Gali being the oldest spot for a vacation in the north, this concept of the dome is unique with a blend of camping and a comfortable room giving you services with the proper easement. Surrounded with green view isolated and peaceful, book this dome and enjoy your vacation away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Rumbur is one of the three Kalash valleys in Chitral. With a polytheist belief, you will find these people to be extremely loving, hospitable and liberal. There are not many rental places except for a few wooden rooms that are surrounded by amazing views and a touch of old school charm. You can either hire people to cook food for yourself or you can do it on your own. Having a totally different tradition, culture and religion, these people are a great company and the place offers a completely different aura in terms of experience. This valley, being isolated and uncommercialised, will let you experience the essence of life in a small valley.
Quashing the Travel Myths with the Globetrotter; Mishaal Hashmi
We all are in awe as to why suddenly and rapidly traveling has become one of the most discussed topics among every generation. Is it because there are more awareness and access to information available on groups regulated by frequent travelers or has it simply become a trend to follow? To debunk a few myths and to know more about traveling and its ever-growing business, we got in touch with Mishaal Hashmi; the founder and admin of the very popular group “The Travel Diary, a social media community leader and an entrepreneur.
1) “Traveling has only become a fashion statement”
I feel more than a fashion statement, travel has become a statement period. People are now identifying what makes them happy and traveling is something that makes us all happy. People have become smarter and therefore are better equipped to indulge in this love for exploration. Traveling is essential to discovering yourself. If identifying your needs and happiness is a trend, then let’s happily acknowledge it is.
2. “People are more into taking pictures to show around rather than enjoying the moment and a certain destination.”
The ease of connecting to social media does make it appear so. However, if you look at it positively, it’s real-time experience sharing with your people. It becomes a window for others to share in your experiences. The hardcore traveler will document but live in the moment. Those who document and not enjoy the experiences, lose out on the essence of travel.
3. “There are no checks and balances on travel companies. It’s more like a business and less about providing facilities to people.”
There is a need for proper government rules and regulations to keep travel and tour operators in check. It is quite necessary for the promotion of tourism in our country. Registered businesses with decades of reputation are a good option. The novice traveler in an attempt to save money falls prey to dubious tour operators. Till we don’t research and pay fair rates to legitimately registered businesses, travelers will continue to be exploited.
4. Your favorite travel Spot till now?
South East Asia will always have a special spot in my heart. I go back repeatedly and every time fall in love all over again.
5. How does The travel Diary play a part to boost tourism in Pakistan?
The Travel Diary has given people a platform to share their love for traveling. When you gather a diverse group of people who are eager to share their experiences, you realize that travel is not an unattainable dream. From budget management to airline deals, exploration of new destinations and the members rallying up for each other in various countries of the world; The Travel Diary has given many people the courage as well as the guidance they needed to take a leap.
6. How do you think The Travel Diary is a reliable source for travel-related queries. How do you moderate the suggestions?
The group is getting larger even as we speak. We employ moderators in different countries. As well as seasoned travelers who can corroborate what is being said. It is a large forum and managing it is a monumental task. We are trying our best and more often than not are successful.
7. What is the worst thing or a common mistake Pakistanis do while traveling in a different country?
Trying to find shortcuts for everything. There are legitimate ways and then Pakistanis trying to be penny-wise end up being pound foolish.
8. How can we encourage women-oriented travel companies in Pakistan?
There is an encouraging trend as of late. Women are looking to travel with other women on holidays and exploratory trips. It takes time but getting such groups together empowers a lot of solo female travelers. Again, we are moving to new norms and traveling for women is fastly becoming easier.
9. What is your take on women traveling solo outside Pakistan
I would say I love it. Not only do I encourage it, but I also propagate it. It’s on my bucket list. My girlfriends and I are soon heading out for our dream holiday. Just at the end of this month, The Travel Diary is taking its first international trip and I am so happy that half of our travelers are women looking for a travel adventure.
10. “Running this group is just a hobby”
It was never a hobby. The page was a work of love. The group started with my search for people who were as passionate about traveling as I was. I never dreamt that it would become a platform of such epic proportions and become so vital for Pakistan’s travel culture. It is still my heart and soul. The group is not a hobby but a labor of painstaking love.
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