This is where I would write about Traveling to Pakistan, to clear misconceptions of outside world and would try to give a rational picture. Something more about how I feel the world should know my homeland and a nation of 200 million awesome human beings minus religious fanatics.
Sophee Southall, An australian travel blogger, famously described her experience of visiting Pakistan in these words.
Ultimately, while Pakistan offers enough experiences to entertain short-term tourists, this complex country isn’t a holiday destination, it’s a unique classroom offering a sharp, character-building education for adventurous nomads. A trip to Pakistan will not only change your perspective on Pakistani and Muslim culture, it’ll also challenge how you view the rest of the world especially countries which cop a lot of flak in the media.
New Options for International Tourists
The guys from The Broke Backpacker are planning a small operation with a focus on cultural experiences and real, off-the beaten path, adventures. They will take a group of International tourists to Pakistan in August & September 2019. If you are interested than you should checkout the details of the trip on the website or connect with him on facebook.
Dawn has published a nice article on the idea of SUMMER’S HERE: FIVE TREKS TO DO UP NORTH. Pakistan is a mountaineer’s paradise. This makes the possibility of the sheer variety of treks among these giants nearly endless. They’ve shortlisted five once-in-a-lifetime treks for you to take this summer, in order of difficulty. The main trekking and mountaineering season ends in September and so there is still time to head for an adventure in the north.
- Drew Binsky visited Pakistan in March-April 2019 and tagged Pakistan as one of his all time favourite countries. He published several videos but my two most favourite ones are these: 1) 10 Things I love about Pakistan and 2) How Cheap is Pakistan?
- Eva had a chance to speak in front of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, and shared her experience of Pakistan over the last year in this video. In her words, “I strongly believe that the country has infinite tourism potential, and I can’t wait to see Pakistanis from all regions benefit from this. And, of course, I can’t wait for the whole world to see what Pakistan is truly like.”
- Sindh has been home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Stories are seeped into its soil, legends whispered across its land. In this short film #PakistanIsLegendary by Shanakht Studio, narrator Eva zu Beck tells us about the star-crossed lovers Sohni and Mahiwal, shares the legend of Udero Lal, and visits the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.
- Zabardast is the video on intimate travel diary of an incredible freeride expedition into the heart of the Karakoram range. It will start screening in December 2018.
- Baboon valley from Ali Ahmed: Beautifully shot video of Baboon Valley, Patlian Lake and Neelum Valley.
- Gilgit Baltistan. (Made by Qammer Wazir): Aerial view of different places in Gilgit Baltistan including Skardu, Karakoram Highway, Deosai, Hunza Nagar, Ataabad Lake, Kachura Lakes and Shigar valley.
- Skardu - Land Of Dreams from Ali Ahmed and Rizwan Ahmed: Amazing effort to capture some absolutely stunning shots of Skardu and mainly the world famous high-altitude Cold Desert. These guys have covered some awesome places and you should check out their videos.
- 3 months. 100 sites. 220 seconds (Made by Agam Saran) : Come, be a part of a journey of a lifetime to celebrate life in a solo cross-country tour and live… all those dreams.
- Karakoram Highway, The world’s best roadtrip : The Karakoram Highway was one of the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. Take the most stunning roadtrip in the world.
- “Rediscovering Pakistan - The Untold Tale” : 9 riders from across the oceans came to Pakistan to explore the beautiful northern areas with Moin Khan. Here is the full film to showcase our small exploration of the gorgeous north.
- Gwadar to Khunjerab : An epic compilation of shots taken by drones to offer aerial videography of all famous landmarks and beauty in Pakistan.
- Skardu : A videography on Skardu, Pakistan.
- Trekking to Fairy Meadows : The Fairy Meadows is one of the most stunning places I have ever been and when you go to Pakistan be sure to visit.
- 4 friends, 9 days, 1000 miles, and countless memories. Thanks to 37Production Team for capturing the trip to Khunjerab Pass via this video so brilliantly!
- Documentary on Norther Pakistan : A group of 4 travelors (originally from Karachi) went from Babusar Top to Khunjerab Pass touching almost all the famous touristic spots in North. This video is a beautiful compilation of their visit and is worthy to be used as a bucket list.
- Global Perspective : A nice initiative of presenting collection of documentaries and pictures to promotes culture and tourism in Pakistan.
- Ho Jao Aazad : This is actually not a documentary but a music video by super talented Zoe Viccaji and shot brilliantly. I thought about mentioning it because it shows a lot of famous touristic landmarks in Northern Pakistan. I am damn sure those places look more beautiful than shown in this video.
- This timelapse video is a gift for the lovers of Hunza Valley & Nanga Parbat. It took almost a year for the photographers from Moojoz to capture content for this video.
- Checkout this video to find out 17 gorgeous places that are NOT in the North of Pakistan.
- Megan Smith from MeganoTravels spent two weeks (Oct/Nov 2016) traveling about 3000 km in Pakistan (with Travelore Adventures), discovering what it has to offer in beauty, culture, diversity, history, and religion. This is a video which she compiled and shared on her facebook page.
- A team from Britain representing Power of Youth and WeAreCampfire visited Pakistan in Nov 2016. They compiled a video which beautifully captures the most realistic and raw moments of a normal city life in Pakistan. It eloquently answers the question, “Have you ever wondered what Pakistan is like?”.
- Video titled “Glimpses of Pakistan: Call of the Sublime” highlights some of the most scenic and iconic landmarks in Pakistan from a unique perspective. The video briefly covers the old city of Lahore and Islamabad.
- Travel film titled “Among Giants”, shot over Deosai National Park, Baltoro Glacier and K2 Mountain. It’s hard to believe that Pakistan holds such wonders the rest of the world simply isn’t aware of.
- Video about Road Trip from Naran > Gilgit > Ghizer > Chitral and showing some breathtaking scenery.
Best Local Instagrammers to follow
International Tourists who visited Pakistan
- Rosie Gabriele is doing a solo motorcycle trip through Pakistan and she has already done 1500 Km and love it. She actively shares her experiences via stories and vlogs from her Instagram account.
- Drew Binsky is a very famous travel blogger and he spent 2 weeks in Pakistan and recorded several videos which you can watch on his youtube channel.
- Nathan Buchan is the travel blogger behind World Nate and spent 12 days in Pakistan and had all awesome things to say. He is right about confessing that he has also been exposed to only negative news about Pakistan but found how wrongly Pakistan is portrayed in International media. Do read the description and also watch the video he shared on his fb page.
- Mark Wiens is the face behind Migrationalogy and he travelled to Pakistan in October 2018. Mark is a full time travel eater and video blogger, who loves to share local food experiences with the world. See his video where he shared about a trip of his lifetime.
- 8 French mountaineers spent 5 weeks in Pakistan during May and skied from the Biacherahi Tower standing at 5880m. Their documentary will be screened in December 2018 but trailor is already available.
Foreign tourists have been coming very regularly but very few got a chance to get viral and a well known face among Pakistanis. Eva Zu Beck is one of those faces for all the good reasons. She has been activily traveling around Pakistan and recording her vlogs. She is also very active on her Instagram and you should follow her for good dose of traveling updates. She has tens of videos on Pakistan but I would like to give special mention to Why I love Pakistan and Everything you need to know videos because they offer some authentic knowledge to outside world.
World should remember a new name, Andrzej Bargiel because this guy did one hell of a crazy thing by putting down the first-ever ski descent of the Karakorum giant known as K2 in July 2018. You can read more about it here and this is a short video.
- Alex visited Pakistan for the 3rd time and explored Sindh and some off the beaten tracks in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakisan. She wrote about her visit to Phander Valley and described it as, “Peace and paradise in Phander Valley”. I would like to give her special thanks for writing on 10 experiences that need to be on your Pakistan bucket list which is an ultimate list not even many Pakistanis have checked off from their list :)
- Polish couple (Kate and Lukasz) who also run the facebook group By The Way were in Pakistan in December 2017 and fell in love with what they saw and experienced. Their interview was also published in a local blog.
- Afiniti’s International Team of more than 12 visited Pakistan and enjoyed an insane heli-skiing experience this year in September in the northern snow-capped peaks of Pakistan. You should watch this mind-blowing video and maybe read more on Bloomberg post.
- Australian Biker behind AtTheHandleBars visited Pakistan in Feb 2017 and described it as a nature lovers hidden paradise, left mostly untouched by the rest of the world. Totally loved how he used the most common misconceptions as the headlines in his blog post and then brilliantly explained why they are all just plain wrong. He also posts regularly about his adventures on his facebook page. Thanks mate for visiting, exploring and sharing your experiences from such a personal and human factor.
- Johanna Michel, french traveler visited Pakistan in Feb 2017. She summed up her experience in these words, “In my time spent in Pakistan, all I saw was amazing hospitality, landscape, food, music, and the most welcoming people. Everyone was kind and loving, and they would do everything to make you feel at home. I haven’t come across such generosity anywhere else in the world (and I have travelled quite a bit)”. She even wrote an article in Dawn and gave an interview to Jovago which is much appreciated.
- Sophee Southall (Australian) travelled to Lahore, Islamabad and Northern Pakistan and described her experience as “I carried a reinvigorated sense of hope and optimist with me. It’s the best souvenir I could’ve asked for. Thank you Pakistan”. She also wrote a detailed blog post and I believe it’s the best I have read so far.
- Surprising Pakistan : A german couple visited Pakistan and drove to famous Karakoram Highway on bike. This is their blog post sharing their amazing experience (sorry, it’s in German!).
- Alex (Netherland) & Sebastian (American) reached Pakistan from Iran through the taftan border and travelled from southern most point to northern Pakistan. I came to know about them through the article in dawn and found out they have a brand, “Lost with Purpose”. They shared their experience with this video, beautiful instagram pictures and series of blog posts including 5 serious dangers of traveling in Pakistan & Total cost of backpacking in Pakistan.
- Cynthia D. Ritchie, a former Goodwill Ambassador to Pakistan has traveled around Pakistan and meticulously navigated the country’s social, political, and cultural layers. She is now on a mission to produce a docu-series that will capture “the true spirit of Pakistan,” by showing its beauty, vibrance, and devotion to hospitality. Recently she addressed questions and changed perceptions - all through Twitter.
- Antoine Girard is a world famous paraglider from Franch who completed 1260km bivouac fly solo in Pakistan in 19 days. Something he refers as “A great experience in a wilderness land. Beautiful encounter with the Pakistanis people!”. He recorded a short video sharing breathtaking views of Himalayas.
- Emily Hauze is an American blogger & professional photographer. She frequently visits her loved ones in Pakistan but confidently says that there are many other reasons of attraction to the culture and curiosity about the Pakistani way of life. But for her, the question of a “reason to visit Pakistan” is almost irrelevant, because the truth is that Pakistan has given her a reason to do almost everything that she does. Recently her interview with Jovago got published and that’s how I came to know about her. She is quite active in maintaining a blog and sharing her experiences in Pakistan. We can just say a heartiest “Shukriya” to her for the effort :)
- Will Hatton who is more known in the world as the guy behind The Broke Backpacker. He has done a backpacking trip to Pakistan and described it in his words, “I thanked my lucky stars for taking a chance on Pakistan; this country is the most incredible place I have ever been.” He was kind enough to write about 10 reasons to travel to Pakistan. You can follow his adventures on facebook page.
- Clara Arrighi visited Pakistan on an official trip and stayed 7 months in 2016. She described her experience in a Facebook post but the highlight were these amazing words: Luckily, someone also told me: “When you go to Pakistan you cry two times: when you are sent there and when you have to leave”. Seven months afterwards I indeed have cried two times.
- 11 Images That Will Change Your Perception About Pakistan : This article includes reference to several international travelors/photographers/mountaineers who visited Pakistan in 2015.
- Youth Outreach Ski Camp in Pakistan : Two Austrian ski guides (Andreas Gumpenberger and Stefan Ager), the photographer and filmmaker Jan Eric Euler, Mirza Ali and our very own mountaineer Samina Baig were behind this project.
- Matthieu Paley is a National Geographic photographer who has been visiting Northern Pakistan since 1999. He wrote this article describing how things changed in Passau in past 15 years.
- Will Meara visited Pakistan in Oct-Nov 2016 and loved every bit of it. He wrote a very moving post titled “7 reasons why Pakistan needs to be your next holiday destination” sharing his most rewarding travel experience ever.
- Petr Jan Juračka, a Czech scientist at Charles University of Prague and an amateur photographer travelled to Pakistan to break the world record in altitude photography. On June 30, 2016, Petr flew his drone at the altitude of 6,334 metres above sea level on K2’s Camp One for three minutes under freezing conditions — a likely world record and the video is just breathtaking.
- Tati, a Spanish Adventurer stayed 45 days in Pakistan and travelled from South to North in September and October 2016. She wrote a very comprehensive guide based on her wonderful experience and shared details ranging from society, safety, clothing to food and visa procedure. In her own words, Pakistan is a country that will put your travel rod too high, because you can not help but compare every country with it and still you’ll keep it in a special place in your heart.
- Globetrotter Cassie de Pecol arrives in Karachi in pursuit of Guinness World Record. The 27-year-old American was in Karachi on 14.12.16 for a bit of sightseeing as part of her daring journey to set a Guinness World Record of becoming the first female to travel to 196 countries of which Pakistan is 191st. It was covered by Dawn.
- Megan Smith (American citizen) from MeganoTravels spent two weeks (Oct/Nov 2016) traveling about 3000 km in Pakistan (with Travelore Adventures), discovering what it has to offer in beauty, culture, diversity, history, and religion. She shared a video and also a blog post about her experience.
Collection of Breathtaking Photos
Agencies/Portals to help you in planning trips
- Karakoram Bikers is a well reputed team who deliver custom designed motorcycle tours that will see you fall in love with the northern areas of Pakistan.
- The Karakoram Club : This facebook group acts as a one stop platform for travel enthusiasts in Pakistan.
- K2 Kings Tourist Association of Pakistan : This is a group of bikers who like to receive travelers, for pure entertainment, advise and help them with a sole intention of giving a good impression of Pakistan. It is completely non-profit and are very nice people.
- Tripkar Tours
- Lets Go To Pakistan
- Carvanistan offers defined tours.
- Pakistan Travel Guide
- Pakistan Tour and Travel
- Silent Traveler
- Climax Adventure Pakistan
- Visit Swat
- NorthFace Pakistan
- Mountain Madness Pakistan
- Hunza Adventure Tours
Instruction Manual for Foreign Tourists
- Eva compiled some really authentic and useful pieces of advice in this video for International tourist interested in visiting Pakistan.
- Backpacking Pakistan - Travel Guide is a very useful article for foreigners who are planning a trip to Pakistan. It shares some really useful information about the challenges like visa, border crossing and how to cope with security forces. It also outlines famous spots for adventurers and tourists alike to visit and make the best out of their trip.
- Carvanistan have compiled vital information about visa application for Pakistan, border-crossings.
- Pakistan Outdoor Map can be used to find Lakes, Peaks, Waterfalls, Hill Stations, Forts, Parks, Hotel & Resorts by using left panel on the map.
- Tati, a Spanish travelor who stayed in Pakistan for 45 days during September and October 2016 write a Guide which gives a nice perspective of Do’s & Dont’s from a foreigner perspective. She covered topics like Security, Society, Clothing, Food, Visa, How to Reach, Lodging, Transportation and Budget. Only problem is that she wrote in Spanish but I’m sure it’s easy to translate :)
- These tips, if followed, will result in an enhanced experience while you travel from one location to another. You will enter the field prepared and ready to take on any challenge that the travel in Pakistan can throw your way!
- Hopefully, this guide to female travel in Pakistan will encourage the next generation of kick ass solo female travellers to hit the road and travel to Pakistan. Shoutout to Will Hatton for the amazing article.
Quality Travelogues with detailed plan
- Silent Traveler is created and managed by Sher Ali Saafi as his personal travelogue where he shares his travel experiences. You can also checkout his facebook page.
- FFK Travel Blog shares a lot of valuable information about guides, travel ideas, detailed plans and informations on what to visit in Pakistan.
- Arslan has shared the details of his journey from Islamabad to Skardu in his blog post. In his own words, “This blog post is about the trip. Destinations covered, the difficulties we faced and why you should do it too if you are a nature lover.”
Social Media Accounts To Follow
- Mera Passion Pakistan : MPP ultimately aspires to become a platform where all the well-wishers of the country can come together and become harbingers of hope, optimism and change.
- Best Pakistani Music on Soundcloud (Curated by me)
- Patari : Pakistan’s largest Pakistani music streaming platform.
- Pepsi Battle of the Band
- Coke Studio : Pakistan’s biggest music television franchise which features live studio-recorded music performances by various artists.
- Nescafe Basement : A creative platform that nurtures the talent and drive of a group of gifted unknown youngsters and their love for Music.