Over the decades, tourism industry has seen and experienced enormous and continued growth, becoming one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress and development. Many countries including Pakistan have been investing on their tourism sector, expecting it to contribute to their economy, not just stabilizing the growth but creating a positive image globally.
Pakistan is blessed nation with unparalleled beauty and resources. The extensive land has always drawn tourists towards its natural beauty and aesthetics. However, the situation of Pakistan has not been favorable for a long time for tourists to visit and enjoy their time in Pakistan with complete peace of mind. Fortunately, once thought of as one of the world’s most dangerous countries, Pakistan is back in the spotlight, but this time as a budding tourist destination. The country being led by former cricket PM Imran Khan has seen to show keen interest in developing the tourism sector, encouraging locals to visit more often and inviting foreigners to have an experience of a lifetime.
Pakistan has been blessed by nature with geographical diversity, well known historical sites and a rich cultural heritage. It has five of the eight highest mountain peaks in the world, vast deserts and a tremendous variety of flora and fauna. Above all, Pakistani people are friendly and hospitable. However, if you are a local or foreigner looking to experience more than just a destination but a vacation filled with beauty, adventure, fun, delicious regional food, Pakistan should definitely be on your travel list. We have arranged a list as a travel guide of the 10 best places to must visit while travelling in Pakistan;
1. Swat Valley:
One of the most popular tourist destinations of Pakistan; Swat Valley is a charming valley located in the north of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa known as the ‘Switzerland of the East’. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call this stunning valley straight out of a fairy tale. The beautiful lakes, blue sky, high-peak mountains, lush forests and the pleasant weather add scenic beauty to the natural wonders of this place. There are three places in Swat Valley that you can’t miss;
Boyun Village: On a short drive from Kalam, Boyun Village is an easy day trip with the beautiful and intrinsic village.
Kandol and Spindhor Lakes: Both of these lakes are at a 2-hour drive from Kalam. Kandol is much advanced and can be reached by a jeep track. However, Spindhor can be only reached by 2-hour trek.
Ushu Forest: A beautiful forest full of deodar leaves that goes along many villages of Kalam is a definitely a place to get lost in.
2. Hunza Valley:
Whether you live in Pakistan or have heard of Pakistan, one place that must have crossed your mind is Hunza Valley, blessed with the extraordinary natural wonders is definitely a place to bring all the calmness and peace yet an adventure trip. The valley is located in the Gilgit district. The snow-covered peaks, snow-covered leaves and lush green grass at certain times of the year give the place a spectacular look. One of the most popular sights of Hunza Valley include;
Attabad Lake: A lake that was born out of tragedy, is the most unreal and the most spectacular views in Pakistan.
Passu Cones: Passu cones can be viewed from different locations and the most iconic view is from Karakoram Highway.
Eagles’ nest: One of the most beautiful sunsets can be viewed from the windows of hotels or the sunset can also witnessed by nearby viewpoints.
3. Lahore Fort:
Designed by the great Akbar in the late 16th century according to Hindu and Muslim designs of that time is one of most beautiful heritage of Lahore, Pakistan. Later, the designs were added with modernism with luxurious marble by Emperor Shah Jahan and the famous Alamgiri gate was built by Emperor Aurangzeb. One greatest beauty with Lahore Fort is the Sheesh Mahal, meaning of Palace of mirrors. This is one of the best places to visit in Lahore. The details, colors and designs of this place are absolutely stunning. Another beauty spot at Lahore is the Picture Wall created by the great Aurangzeb in the early 17th century. Jahangir used European style features and icons of Christianity in his developments. The Picture Wall is decorated lavishly with mosaics, frescoes and glazed tiles.
4. Badshahi Mosque:
One of the best examples of Mughal architecture and largest imperial mosque of Mughal era; Badshahi mosque was created under the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb. Despite of the modernism and different recreational activities in Lahore, Badshahi mosque remains on the top of the priorities not just by locals but mostly by foreigners. Mostly mosques have restrictions for non-Muslims but Badshahi Mosque is open for all and has received over-whelming respect and love from all over the world. Each side of this construction measures around 170 meters. Skilled architects used red sandstone and marble in the construction of this monumental mosque.
Minar-e-Pakistan or tower of Pakistan holds great importance in the history of Pakistan as the resolution of a separate land was passed on 23rd March 1940 in this significant place. Very near to Badshahi mosque is the famous minaret. If you are in Lahore, then Minar-e-Pakistan should be in your list of best places to visit in Pakistan.
6. Yarkhun Valley:
Although not a very popular tourist destination as this place has been over shadowed by other northern areas but this valley has its distinct beauty and aesthetics associated to it. Located in the Upper Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Yarkhun dazzles with its mountain ranges and untouched villages. The valley does not only involve beauty and nature to it but can add up an adventure through the dirt roads up to the valley. Not having your own vehicle can put up a little effort as it is a little further from the village Mastuj. The valley of Ghazi is also in close in proximity with this valley which will add the sight of the mountains of the Thoi Pass, a high-altitude pass that connects Upper Chitral with Yasin Valley in Gilgit Baltistan.
7. Broghil Valley:
Broghil Valley is located in the upper northern areas closer to Chitral and also very close to Afghanistan Wakhan corridor. One very beautiful sight of this valley is the Karambar Lake, the jewel in the Broghil Valley is located at an altitude of around 4300m above sea level and is the 33rd highest lake in the world. The valley can be only reached by treacherous jeep track which is why the place is enjoyed by only a very few visitors. This should definitely be added in your travel guide for summers. However, for winters the place is heaped under the snow and wouldn’t offer a pleasant weather.
8. Phander Lake:
Another insanely beautiful lake in the most beautiful village on the northern side of Pakistan is Phander Lake. A plethora of villages line the way from Shandur Pass to Gilgit, but none are so picturesque as Phander, a small village in the eponymous Phander Valley. The Phander Village is an untapped spot on the norther area of Pakistan which is why it welcomes very few tourists as compared or Lake Saiful Muluk or Attabad Lake. The teal-colored lake sits silently amongst light-green trees befitting a landscape painting. The residents of the village and the hosts around the area are very hospitable which only increases the value of this Lake.
9. Makli Necropolises:
The vast necropolis of Makli is among the largest in the world. Kings, queens, governors, saints, scholars, and philosophers are buried here in brick or stone monuments, some of which are lavishly decorated with glazed tiles. It is an excellent proof of Sindhi civilization of ancient times. It houses around 500,000 to 1 million tombs and includes several tombs of Sufi saints and scholars.
10. Lake Saif Ul Mulook:
Northern areas of Pakistan are famous for their breathtaking beauty and Saiful Mulook is one of the famous mountainous lake located in the Northern part of Kaghan valley, near Naran in Saiful Mulook National Park. The elevation of this lake is 3,224m above the level of sea and it is considered as one of the highest lakes of Pakistan. It was name after a Persian prince named Prince Saiful Mulook. It is one of the most renowned tourist spot in the country and one cannot understand the beauty of it, unless they experience it themselves. The locals of Khybers are very welcoming too. It put a joyful impact on the traveler.
11. Ansoo Lake:
A very beautiful eye attracting tear shaped lake located in Kaghan valley, Mansehra KPK is Ansoo Lake at a height of 4,245m. The air force of Pakistan discovered this spot while flying over Kaghan valley in 1993. The tourists do not have access to this valley because of the unsafe land of the high mountains. It has a very dramatic story behind its name about a demon and a princess.
It is said that only lucky people can see this lake because of hours of tiring trekking the lake is sometimes covered with ice or inside the fog so everyone is not lucky enough to experience the immensely beautiful scenes.
12. Hingol National Park:
Hingol National Park is one of the most exciting mountainous sight for the adventure lovers of Pakistan. It is considered as the hope for tourism in Pakistan. It is one the biggest national parks of Pakistan and only 190km away from Karachi. In Balochistan it lies within sections of Lasbela District, Gwadar District, and Awaran District. A decision has been taken to slice the part of this park for air force and other defense organizations.
A few wildlife creatures left there are the attraction for tourists and without any doubt the asset of the country.
For anyone who is interested in the historical monuments or the nature, Skardu has one of the best historical and mesmerizing scenes to its beauty. The breathtakingly picturesque town of Skardu has more to offer than its views. Located atop two different corners of the land, Shigar Fort and Khaplu Palace are restored symbols of Balti royalty and aristocracy. More than the breathtaking views and hospitality of its people, Skardu is an area deeply devoted to preserving its heritage and tradition, and it has been remarkably successful in its conservation efforts.
One of the most beautiful residencies being developed and constructed as per the international standards; Gwadar is expected to become the hub of commercial activities. Warm water deep seaport, white sand dessert, pristine beaches with white dunes and hills along the beach belts, naturally craved sphinx surrounded by crystal waters and supple waves layering, Gwadar is a master piece of natural beauty. It is overloaded with mesmerizing picturesque places bringing every tourist individual closer to the nature not lesser than any fantasy. The most talked and appraised Gwadar has received much importance and has significantly risen over the years.
15. Kalash Valleys:
In addition to the beautiful valleys of Chitral, Kalash Valley is another very famous valley of this city. Kalash Valley is also famous for its historical background as the people of Kalash are also considered as the descendants of the Alexander the Great. The culture, people, food, pleasant weather during April till October make this place not something lesser than a heaven. Many international tourists prefer to visit this famous valley and enjoy the Greek culture, delicious seasonal fruits and regional food. In winters, the valley faces heavy snowfall which is difficult for a normal tourist to bear and most of the beauty of the valley is covered with snow.
16. Gorakh Hills:
With majority of the destination spots in Pakistan not being welcoming during the winter season, Gorakh Hills has emerged as a popular destination to travel to even during the cold season. One of the best part about this place is that despite of being near Dadu, the temperature here is always chilly. It is zero degrees during the nights of winters and 3 degrees at night during the summers while the temperature reaches to 50 degrees in Dadu.
Along the edges of Gorakh Cliff, Benazir Point is roughly a two-kilometre walk from the hill station – a small pathway with Balochistan on one side and Sindh on the other. From here, you can easily observe the boundless beauty and the profound depth of the Kirthar mountain range. With all the beauty and adventure, Gorakh Hills is definitely a place to mark on your map.
17. Ranikot Fort:
Ranikot Fort, which is one of the largest forts in the world, has yet to be explored. However, an MoU has been signed between Italian archeologists and the Sindh Government to allow for exploration. To date, the research is ongoing. Archeologists are working on getting this fort the recognition it deserves as the architecture resembles the Great Wall of China and is also called as the ‘Great Wall of Sindh’. Its unusual size, lost history, strategically useless position, uninhabited area, and unexplored features make the fort one of the strangest yet the one of the most fascinating places in the world.
Not so famous but astonishingly beautiful and remote Shimshal Valley can turn out to be the experience during your visit in Pakistan. The valley is the gateway to the Shimshal Pass, a relatively popular trek with avid trekkers and mountaineers. Mountains or not, Shimshal offers a great trekking experience. Nonetheless one can simply unwind the stress with a cup of coffee in chilled breezes and relaxing atmosphere.
19. Katas Raj Temples:
Situated within embrace of the Salt Range near Kallar Kahar, Punjab. Katas Raj Temple is a splendid complex of temples dedicated to Ram, Hanuman and Shiva is laid around a natural pond. Katas Raj is one the best examples to visit the historical place with a beautiful pond being the central attention.
You must be surprised to find the metropolitan city at the end of this list. But it will be unfair to not include Karachi. Always up and running, the streets of Karachi are a cacophony of colorful buses, impatient people and the infectious energy of its daily hustle. Few of the best places to visit in Karachi are;
Churna Island: If you are a sea lover, then this place is a must visit. You can snorkel, dive, watch a multitude of sea animals underwater and is at a 2-hour drive from Central Karachi.
Mohatta Palace: With finest architectural designs and ideation, Mohatta Palace is a place for art lovers always entertained by thought-provoking dramas and theatres.
Quaid-e-Azam House Museum: This museum showcases the personal history and life of Quaid-e-Azam with the colonial building and the peaceful gardens around it.
Beaches: One of the best part of Karachi is the beaches, Karachi is blessed with the most beautiful and serene beaches, be it- French Beach, Turtle beach, Paradise Point, Cape Monze, Hawksbay, or any other.
The Chawkandi Tombs: The intricate make of these graves is its most attention-grabbing feature with carvings and designs typical of its region, Sindh.
The beauty of Karachi doesn’t end here and there is much more to it. But these are one of the very famous and most visited places in Karachi and the list can go on following the amazing historical museums, Port Grand, Do Darya, Empress Market, Frere Hall, amazing parks, clubs, and many recreational spaces in Karachi.
Here are only a very few places of Pakistan mentioned but the it is almost difficult to mention the uncountable beautiful places this beautiful land has to offer, the landscape is mesmerizing in one way or another. Let us know in the comment section if you have visited the places and want to endorse more untapped locations. For more info and updates. follow LandTrack.pk