The country has often been touted as the next popular tourist destination because of its great variety of landscapes and destinations, however this has frequently been disrupted by a turbulent political situation. For some people this may be off putting, but with many areas of the country stable and safe to visit, Pakistan is a hidden gem for those looking for an alternative destination. Whether you look towards the imposing mountains of the Himalayas or the lower, warmer climate of the Punjab and Sindh, Pakistan has an awful lot to offer the intrepid visitor.
Explore Ancient Civilizations
One of the most ancient settlements to have been discovered in Asia is that in Mohenjo-daro, which dates from around 4,500 years ago, and is one of the largest settlements of that time to have been discovered. One of the remarkable features of this city is that it was actually very civilized for the most important in the society, who would live inside the citadel and would have had public baths and drainage. It is believed that of the total population of around 35,000 in the city, 5,000 of these would have been living within the citadel. Many exquisite artifacts have also been discovered in the city, which is now an UNESCO world heritage site.
Taxila is an important location which has seen a number of settlements in from the sixth century to the first century BC, and has been significantly excavated. It is particularly noted as a centre of ancient learning, and because of its tradition is still an important site in Buddhist and Hindu cultures. Another ancient site is to be found at Takht-i-Bahi, close to the northern city of Mardan. This large Buddhist monastic complex is important as it dates from the first century BC and shows the development in Buddhism, with several extra sections being added to the construction in the following eight centuries.
Although it may seem a surprising thing to be doing in Pakistan at first thought, when you consider its proximity to the Himalayan mountains, it does have three ski resort at Malam Jabba, Naltar and Kalabagh. Historically the Malam Jabba area had been inhabited by monks, but is now a modern ski resort boasting a number of runs and chair lifts. Naltar lies in the Karakoram range near the town of Gilgit, and is the oldest of the resort and also has a ski lift, whilst Kalabagh is at a slightly lower altitude and has easier skiing routes to help visitors to learn the sport.
Lahore is the capital of the Punjabi region of Pakistan, and is well known for its wonderful culture as well as for being one of the largest cities in the country. As the capital of British colonialism in the area, Lahore still has many signs of the British, including the GovernmentCollege, but also has indications of older civilizations, such as the Lahore Fort and the great cannon Zamzama.
Cultural events are particularly popular among visitors to the city, with the Festival of Lamps in March lighting up part of the city, and the Basant Festival being popular due to the tradition of ‘fighting’ kites.
Travel On The Karakoram Highway
Based on an ancient trade route over the Karakoram mountain range between Pakistan and China, today the Karakoram Highway is the highest paved road in the world, and offers some truly remarkable scenery. As well as being an exceptional trade route that still carries goods back and forth to China today, there are also many historical rock art and petroglyph sites to be found along the route too. The road is best traversed in the spring or the fall, with snow in the winter and monsoon rains in the summer making it difficult if not impossible to traverse at times.
Visit Lake Saiful Muluk
This lake is known as one of the most tranquil and beautiful spots in the whole of Pakistan, and as well as being over 3,000 meters in altitude, it also boasts some amazing mountain scenery as a backdrop to the lake. Although the site itself is beautiful by itself, it status in Pakistan was raised by the fairy tale about a prince who fell in love with a fairy princess at the lake written by the famous poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh.