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From Deosai to Kund Malir, Pakistan’s top tourist spots

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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

‘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

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.

Lahore

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

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.

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5 Beautiful And Affordable Destinations For Pakistanis This Summer

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Travelling doesn’t have to be expensive. Us Pakistanis are passionate about traveling and entertainment and this passion has increased the tourism to the northern areas of the country by up to 100%. Thousands of people visit northern areas of Pakistan each year which has made Pakistan a tourists’ heaven. However, most of the Pakistanis would love to travel to other countries if they are given a choice. This could be done in budget spending under 100,000 rupees for a nice trip.

Here are the cheapest tourist destinations for Pakistanis to travel to.

1. Iran

This Muslim nation has one of the cheapest currencies in the world which makes it one of the cheapest countries for tourists. Iran has beautiful landscapes and well-built infrastructure which are enough to tempt the tourists for a visit. One Pakistani Rupee is equal to almost 264 Iranian Rials and this currency comparison can attract thousands of Pakistanis for visit. The return ticket from Lahore to Iran would cost around Rs.70,000.

2. Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a newly established state after the breakage of Soviet Union. The country offers a diverse culture and vast natural beauty. Azerbaijan has a much stronger currency than Pakistan and one Azerbaijani Manat costs around 93 Pakistani Rupees. The airfare from Lahore to Baku and Baku to Lahore would cost you around Rs. 65,000. Its capital, Baku, is famed for its medieval walled Inner City. Within the Inner City lies the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a royal retreat dating to the 15th century, and the centuries-old stone Maiden Tower, which dominates the city skyline.

3. Thailand

Thailand is known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern city-scape rises next to quiet canal side communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin. 1 Baht is equal to around 5 PKR and shopping in Thailand is really affordable as well. Not to mention, you save a lot on tuk tuk rides as well as Bangkok’s traffic is really bad and you mostly travel on foot. The airfare starts from Rs. 65,000.

3. Malaysia

Malaysia is tourists’ heaven with diverse culture and godly natural beauty which give you a glimpse of fairy tale and some mythological land. Majority of the population is practicing Muslim which gives you a sense of harmony and acceptance. It’s known for its beaches, rain forests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers.

Currency of Malaysia is stronger than Pakistan as one Malaysian Ringgit is equal to more than 37 Pakistani Rupees but still, it offers you cheap traveling and living cost. The airfare starts around Rs. 38,000.

5. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean with extremely friendly people and pleasant weather. The country offers beautiful beaches and peaceful outdoor activities. It is a world famous tourist destination due to its beautiful forests, beaches and landscapes, in addition to its rich cultural heritage. The country is well known for the many natural resources it produces; such as coffee, tea, rubber, coconuts, and cinnamon.

Sri Lanka has diverse wildlife and deep forests which offer a heavenly tour to animal loving people. Sri Lankan currency is also known as Rupee and it is cheaper than Pakistani Rupee. One Pakistani Rupee is equal to 1.11 Sri Lankan Rupee which gives you the luxury of enjoying the trip to Sri Lanka. The airfare starts from Rs. 84,000.

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Spotted: Saad Shahid In Bali

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This summer, Saad Shahid, the owner of 9 lines, is vacationing in Indonesia and we’re going to give you an inside scoop on how beautiful Bali is! It is the most popular island holiday destination in the Indonesian archipelago. The island’s home to an ancient culture that’s known for its warm hospitality. Exotic temples and palaces set against stunning natural backdrops are some of its top attractions. Dining in Bali presents endless choices of local or far-flung cuisine. After sunset, famous nightspots come to life offering exciting clubbing and packed dance floors. Inland, towering volcanoes and pristine jungles greet you with plenty to see and do. Most can’t stay away from the beach for long, though. Enjoy amazing beach resorts and luxury resorts in any of Bali’s famous areas. These include Kuta, Seminyak and Jimbaran where most of the great hotels and villas are right on the beach. They’re also home to most of Bali’s exciting surf spots.

Saad Shahid spotted at the Beachwalk Shopping Mall in Kuta Beach, Bali
Gorgeous view of the Mengwi Royal Family Temple
Enjoying Bali food: Nasi Goreng, which is Indonesian stir fried rice
Chilling and soaking some sun on Kuta Beach with a bottle of Coca Cola
Breathtaking view of the Mengwi Royal Family Temple reflected on water
Monkey Temple in Ubud
Saad Shahid beating the heat in Seminyak in white shorts and matching shoes paired with a chic buttoned down shirt
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple in Bali
Rice plantation in Ubud
Saad Shahid in Badung (regency of Bali)

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The Balochistan I know

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 Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan and is home to a fair share of the beautiful landscapes. Due to the media portraying a dangerous image of Balochistan, many people are hesitant to believe that this place is home to heartwarming locals and breathtaking locations. 


1- Pir Ghayb (The Invisible Saint) Waterfalls

Bolan, BalochistanPir Ghaib Falls, is an awe-inspiring view of Pir Ghaib, Balochistan. Locals here believe in the myth of the Invisible Saint (Pir Ghaib), who was saved by the Almighty, after a wicked King’s men attacked him. The Saint struck a stick in the mountain from which the water pours out till date, believe it or not.

2- Moola Chotok

Khuzdar, BalochistanMoola Chotok, Is a tourism deprived sight. Amidst stronghold of nationalists in the Jhalawan belt, Chotok seemed like a lost cause at first. Ever since the military operations in Khuzdar division, Chotok has been swiped clean of all dangers and is now open to locals and tourists to go and witness the unfathomable beauty.

3- Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat, Balochistan

Father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohommad Ali Jinnah spent his days of affliction in this wooden cottage in Ziarat, Balochistan. Definitely one of the top tourist attractions of Pakistan. The place holds historic importance but faced a bombing attack on 2013. However miraculously the concrete structure was standing and the photographs along with the other artifacts were safe and sound. The reconstruction work completed by renowned builder Nayyer Ali Dada and the rehabilitated Ziarat Residency opened on August 14, 2014. 

4- Hannah Jheel (Hannah Lake and Urrak) – Quetta, Balochistan

This is how the Hannah Lake looks in winters, frozen, frosted and astounding. This is where people from all over Pakistan go first when they visit Quetta. Only about 18km away from the city, the Hannah Lake serves as the perfect escape for the locals.

5- Hingol Nationa Park, Hingol, Balochistan

 Exotic looking mountains, rare and exotic animals including the Markhor and several others of the deer family, which are protected by the National park authorities, surrounded by shallow blue waters in monsoon seasons and shallow frozen lake in winters. 

6- Pir Chattal Noorani Gandhawa, Jhal Magsi, Balochistan

An oasis in the middle of nowhere. An astonishing natural habitat amid desert plains with a mythical story to follow. The awe-inspiring oasis caters to thousands of rare fish in the water. Legend has it, that if you catch or eat one of Pir Chattal’s fishes, you’re bound to either die of poisoning or the fish comes out of your mouth alive in one piece. This myth is a huge tourist attraction of Balochistan. But maybe this is just the locals way of making sure the fish are not eaten. 

7- Prospect Point

 Located about 6 km from Ziarat town, called Nari Sar by locals, Prospect Point offers a panoramic view of the Koshki valley below. A Jupiter tree is also located there which is in the shape in Allah’s (SWT) name, known to be here for many many years.

 8- Astola Island, Gwadar/Pasni

Astola Island, also known as Jezira Haft Talar Satadip or ‘Island of the Seven Hills’, is a small uninhabited Pakistani island in the Arabian Sea. Also the largest island in Pakistan, it is the epitome of Balochistan’s undermined beauty. 


 9- Jhal Magsi, Balochistan

Famous for its desert safari and the yearly desert rally, caters huge crowds and sponsors every year. Rally enthusiasts from all over Pakistan round up in one place for stay till the rally ends. The desert like plains of Jhal Magsi offer the best route in Pakistan for people who like to off-road. Definitely one of Pakistan’s top attractions.

10- Zezri, ziarat balochistan

Zezri, is one of the most beautiful valleys of Ziarat. This valley possesses a breathtaking beauty. The valley has very large and some of the oldest Juniper trees. The mountains surrounding the valley are called khalifat. It has untouched natural beauty which make it unique from other valleys of Ziarat. 

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