Backpacking in Pakistan Final Journey Information

Backpacking in Pakistan is a considered one of a form journey, this can be a nation which can increase many an eyebrow and steal many a coronary heart… The one hazard with backpacking Pakistan just isn’t wanting to go away.

Earlier than I went backpacking in Pakistan, I used to be uncertain what to anticipate. Pakistan journey recommendation from my authorities is mainly one gigantic pink X. The media has painted the nation in an unlucky mild, a truth most Pakistanis are painfully conscious of. Wherever I went, I used to be greeted by pleasant faces and extremely useful folks. Mix that with comparatively low-cost journey prices, plentiful treks and actually beautiful mountains and you’ve got one hell of an awesome backpacking vacation spot.

Mountains of Pakistan

The safety state of affairs in Pakistan is presently below management and, aside from the Afghanistan border areas, a lot of the nation is completely protected to go to. On some events, you’ll be assigned a free police escort – examine my expertise trekking with mine – to keep watch over you however these guys are virtually at all times tremendous pleasant and imply properly.

Pakistan Travel

Baba laughing at a joke no one else understood.

Typically, when arriving into a brand new city or space, police will insist that you just keep in a sure resort. Accommodations in Pakistan are comparatively costly and to be prevented if doable; I couchsurfed my method across the nation, with the assistance of buddies from The Karakoram Membership, and had a blast. Please remember that though The Karakoram Membership is filled with tremendous useful folks it’s a ‘free to hitch’ Fb group which implies that some tour teams, making an attempt to promote shit to backpackers, at the moment are within the group.

To attach with different backpackers travelling to Pakistan, be part of the Backpacking Pakistan fb group. This group was very just lately created, is moderated by me and a good friend and is the place to discover a journey buddy for Pakistan if you wish to journey with an amigo. Pakistan Traveller is probably the most complete journey information ebook to Pakistan, just lately revealed by my good good friend Tim and properly value selecting up earlier than you go.

Try this video from my first journey (in February 2016) backpacking Pakistan…

Sorry concerning the video high quality; I filmed the entire matter on my cellphone! 

The Pakistani persons are very beneficiant and you’ll be plied with ridiculous quantities of free meals and chai. The chums I made in Pakistan stay a few of the greatest I’ve made on this journey; Pakistanis have an awesome sense of humour and lots of of them are actual journey journey fanatics.

 

Backpacking Pakistan Journey Prices

So, how a lot does it value to journey to Pakistan?

 

Visa necessities for Pakistan

If there’s one matter that sucks about Pakistan, it’s getting maintain of a visa. For many nationalities, visas can solely be obtained from the embassy in your nation of origin – this implies you can’t get a visa on the highway. Visas are fairly costly, for British nationals they’re a whopping £100, and earlier than you’ll be able to even apply you might want to get a a call for participation (LOI) from a Pakistani tour firm stating that, mainly, they are going to settle for accountability for you.

Replace third April: It’s getting tougher for tour corporations to subject LOIs to unbiased vacationers on account of 1 backpacker getting in bother with the police by wandering properly off the overwhelmed monitor and never being on a tour – regardless of his visa software saying he was on a tour. 

There are numerous Pakistani corporations on-line providing an LOI service and fairly a couple of of them are very costly. Relying on what nation you might be from, you could possibly get your Pakistan visa comparatively simple – Sadly, British passports appear to have a few of the most problem getting a visa and the actually, completely, ineffective ‘official visa service’ of Gerry’s in London by no means reply the cellphone, emails or certainly appear to even open their workplace.

I’ve on each events ended up sorting my Pakistani visa by a visa company – VisaHQ, nonetheless these guys are fucking shit and cost a fortune so I now not advocate them. The identical could also be true for different nationalities struggling to get a Pakistan visa. In case you merely wish to get your visa sorted with the minimal of the trouble then utilizing a visa service is normally one of the best ways to go nonetheless I’ve heard experiences that it’s very simple to kind Pakistani visas in Australia and France; it actually appears to differ from nation to nation.

Make no mistake although, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get your Pakistani visa outdoors of your nation of nationality until you could have a residency visa within the nation you might be making use of in.

 

Transport in Pakistan

There’s a HUGE number of transport choices in Pakistan; the native NATCO buses are normally the most effective worth for cash however if you wish to splash out on one thing extra comfy go along with Daewoo – I caught a experience inside a Daewoo minibus and it was ridiculously plush. Hitchhiking in Pakistan is feasible however you’ll encounter issues at police checkpoints. Every time travelling any distance in Pakistan, it is best to have a number of photocopies of your passport and visa handy over at checkpoints – on one journey, from Islamabad to Gilgit, I needed to hand over a complete of 11 photocopies. In case you would not have the photocopies on the checkpoint, this may trigger delays.

Typically, you could want to rent a automobile and driver to discover an space; vehicles are costly in Pakistan. To hire a automobile and driver for an entire day of gallivanting in Hunza, or to drive as much as the China border space, prices round fifty to eighty {dollars}. I strongly advocate shopping for or renting a bike (1500RS a day – doable from Islamabad) to discover the nation. You may organize bike leases by Karakoram Bikers. Flights in Pakistan are comparatively low-cost – round eighty {dollars} from Islamabad to Gilgit – and a great way to skip some actually horrific bus journeys.

 

Lodging in Pakistan

With a couple of exceptions, a lot of the lodging in Pakistan is pretty costly and never notably properly arrange for price range backpackers. On some events, police would take me on to a resort and demand I stayed there; you’ll be able to generally get out of this however different occasions you can not. There may be some backpacker pleasant lodging round and, throughout low-season anyway, it’s doable to attain a room for round 500 rupees (5 {dollars}). I like to recommend Couchsurfing in Pakistan wherever doable, you’ll meet some wonderful folks, and bringing a tent or tenting hammock for trekking.

Beneath is an inventory of low-cost backpacker type lodging choices in Pakistan…  I extremely advocate downloading the free app, maps.me, it really works in Pakistan and you need to use it with out cellphone sign so long as you could have beforehand downloaded the area you might be exploring. You may then kind within the GPS codes listed under and discover the lodging with much less trouble – we’ve tried to make the GPS codes as correct as doable nevertheless it has all been accomplished by Google maps and reminiscence.

 

Backpacking Pakistan Journey Information
Place Lodging Description Location
Lahore Lahore Backpackers In case you’re not Couchsurfing, you will most likely find yourself in Lahore Backpackers – The house owners converse good English and there is a KFC close by if you’re craving western meals! GPS: 31.561763, 74.318469 (Lahore backpackers)
Islamabad Harvey’s Visitor Home 3000 rupees with WiFi and breakfast, this is among the cheaper choices in Islamabad itself.
Rawalpindi Lodge Al – Jamal Some accommodations in Rawalpindi will not take foreigners.ls in Rawalpindi will not settle for foreigners, Al Jamal does settle for foreigners however just isn’t so nice – you are higher off staying in Islamabad itself. GPS: 33.611931, 73.066033
Gilgit Pak China Gateway Lodge Pak-China is correct subsequent to Gilgit South/East Bus station. Good for an evening, NATCO bus stops right here if coming from Islamabad/Rawalpindi. Additionally good if you wish to catch the bus again South or head as much as Hunza. Taxis get costly in Gilgit so it is a good choice when you’re on a decent price range. Lodge has WiFi and there is a few fundamental shpps round. GPS: 35.899276, 74.369235, If desirous to go west to Chitral by way of Shandur Cross, NATCO tickets might be purchased from this bus station: GPS: 35.923883, 74.302709
Medina Visitor Home, Foreigner pleasant place, down an alleyway. Proprietor speaks good English. OK WiFi. GPS: 35.922304, 74.313923
Medina II Lodge Low cost, dependable, English-speaking proprietor. OK WiFi. GPS: 35.920523, 74.328940
Fairy Meadows Greenland Lodge Operated by Gul Muhammad Ph. No. : 03555124070 GPS: 35.384597, 74.580365
Shangrila Lodge All guests to The Fairy Meadows start their journey at Raikot Bridge – Shangrila is the one resort right here. GPS: 35.491526, 74.591979
Hunza Outdated Hunza Inn Has (gradual) WiFi, good landlord who speaks OK english. Can organise Treks. Right here is their Fb . GPS: 36.318915 74.666178
Karimabad Inn One other low-cost choice, fundamental however good backpacker vibe and nice views of the valley. My primary price range selection for Karimabad. GPS: 36.318776, 74.667137
World Roof Lodge Personally did not keep right here however was really helpful as an inexpensive resort choice. GPS: 36.323045, 74.669675
Gulmit Rehman Homestay For these planning to stick with Rehman, this can be a tough location of the place he lives. He can come to Karimabad or meet you in Gulmit. Message him for particulars. Discover out extra about my expertise staying with Rehman right here. GPS: 36.405012, 74.866814
Passu Borith Lake Lodge Fundamental lodging and restaurant on the lake, there’s additionally a tenting space. GPS: 36.428057, 74.864054
Skardu Mashabrum Lodge Costly and soiled however some rooms are blessed with completely beautiful views that make it worthwhile. Coming quickly!
Shangrila Resort Many people rave concerning the views at Shangrila Resort however, to be trustworthy, I used to be underwhelmed. An costly choice. Coming quickly!
Astore PTDC resort You may camp outdoors the PTDC resort in Rama at no cost. Coming quickly!
Peshawar Hidayat Lodge Rooms for 600PKR, close to the Bala Hisar fort, accepts foreigners, tremendous pleasant workers. GPS: 34.016041, 71.573489, Handle: G.T. Highway | Firdous Chowk, Peshawar 25000, Pakistan
ph: +9291-2566635
Chitral Al-Farouq Lodge Rooms out there for 600PKR, pleasant workers and really clear. GPS: 35.855608, 71.787096, Handle: Naya Bazaar, Chitral 54000, Pakistan
Kalash Valley Engineer Khans Homestay/Guesthouse Glorious English, good meals. GPS: 35.771545, 71.694037
Swat Valley Swat Valley Backpackers For contacts inside SWAT VALLEY. Please message Swat Valley Backpackers on Fb.

 

Most locations round Pakistan even have a PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Growth Company) Motel and though these aren’t the most affordable, they’re a stable wager for foreigners. A giant due to veteran adventurer Olly Manson for doing plenty of the leg-work on this desk.

 

Actions in Pakistan

Entrance to Pakistan’s most breathtaking websites, the mountains, is free. If you wish to go to sights within the cities then it normally prices foreigners 250 rupees to get in. For some treks, you could want to rent a trekking information – make sure you haggle, a good charge for a day’s work in Pakistan might be round 500 – 1500 rupees a day relying on the realm. I didn’t have to rent a trekking information as I used to be fortunate sufficient to make buddies with locals alongside the way in which who confirmed me round at no cost.

 

Solo Journey v.s. Group Excursions in Pakistan

Travelling solo in Pakistan is an unbelievable expertise however for a lot of, it may be daunting. Pakistan is a rustic the place it helps to have connections and if you’re brief on time, it’s very difficult to see the most effective that Pakistan has to supply because the distances and transport hyperlinks are a hurdle. In September 2017, we ran the primary ever Broke Backpacker Journey Tour to assist adventurers get probably the most out of this wonderful area.

Our first tour was an superior success and in 2018 we will likely be operating 4 extra adventures to this wonderful nation.

We’re presently SOLD OUT for 2018. Please e mail pakistan@thebrokebackpacker.com to be positioned on the ready record

or just signal as much as the broke backpacker mailing record to be saved within the loop.

If you wish to go on an journey in Pakistan and TBB excursions are both full or our dates don’t give you the results you want, I extremely advocate testing Discover My Journey Pakistan – run by my good good friend, and considered one of Pakistan’s youngest entrepreneurs, Komail.

Komail works alongside TBB excursions on the bottom and when you can’t come on a TBB tour of Pakistan, Komail is the man you wish to organize your journey.  TBB readers get 10% off FMA providers with the coupon code: TBBT10

 

Staying related in Pakistan

Pakistan is a superb place to unplug… partly as a result of there’s little or no wifi round and frequent energy cuts in lots of the mountain cities. Your greatest wager for staying related is to purchase a Pakistani sim card, I like to recommend Zong, and cargo it with as a lot information as doable. You will want to go to the Zong HQ in Lahore and never one of many franchises. Telenor works greatest within the Higher Hunza space.

Pakistan Travel

The fellows making use of a uncommon spot of sign.

 

Backpacking Pakistan Journey Information – The place to go

Firstly, this map took about 4 hours to place collectively… so take a look at it!

 

Backpacking Lahore

The Paris of Pakistan and the start line for a lot of a Pakistan backpacking journey, Lahore is considered one of my favorite cities on the earth. The colors, the sounds, the smells, the vibrant-in-your-face-ness of all of it is greatest skilled on the again of a bike; make buddies with some locals and get them to point out you round!

You’ll want to go to Badshahi Mosque; One of the spectacular websites in Lahore and the seventh largest mosque on the earth, the courtyard can accommodate 100,000 worshippers and the hooked up museum comprises many holy relics belonging to the prophet Mohammed. The Grand Jamia Mosque is really beautiful, a quiet, peaceable place that’s lit up at evening; I like to recommend a night stroll inside. Lahore Fort is spectacular and value a go to if in case you have time to spare.

Pakistan Travel

The unbelievable Badshahi Mosque

For a very distinctive evening out, make sure you monitor down a Sufi Dance Ceremony – there may be one each Thursday on the shrine of Baba Shah Jamal. Lahore has the whole lot, even underground raves and its very personal Eiffel tower…

When it come’s to discovering lodging in Lahore; It’s simple to discover a Couchsurfing host, a good friend on The Karakoram Membership Fb Group or you would strive your luck with Let’s Go To Pakistan; a homegrown Pakistani initiative launched off the again of People of New York. Lahore Backpacker Hostel is a pleasant sufficient place the place you’ll be able to crash on the ground for a few hundred rupees; discount laborious. From Lahore, you’ll be able to catch a 5 hour bus to Islamabad.

E book Your Lahore Hostel Right here!

 

Backpacking Rohtas Fort

This mammoth Rohtas Fortress  is between Islamabad and Lahore and it’s doable to hitch right here in simply a few hours. I hoped to camp inside the fort grounds however the Ak-wielding safety guards level clean refused me regardless of me making an attempt each trick within the ebook. Ultimately, insisting I’d be eaten by wild animals, they beautiful a lot simply marched me to the doorway and advised me to return to city. I managed to hitch a carry with a few locals who, in regular Pakistani trend, then insisted on taking me for dinner and dropping me at a guesthouse.

Pakistan Travel

Pakistan journey experiences; watch the sundown from a fort – examine!

 

Backpacking Islamabad

The capital of Pakistan and a surprisingly clear and delightful metropolis, Islamabad has a couple of websites value visiting however might be fortunately conquered in only a day. I discovered a Couchsurfing host with no issues. In case you want a resort, I like to recommend Harvey Visitor Home (3000RS with wifi and breakfast). Centaurus Buying Mall represents your final likelihood to replenish on something you could want within the mountains. In case you fly into Islamabad, a taxi from the airport to the primary metropolis is 800RS. Only a stone’s throw away from Islamabad is a few woody hills and good picnic spots, greatest explored with the assistance of a Couchsurfer and a automobile…

Pakistan Travel

The hills surrounding Islamabad

From Islamabad, your greatest wager is to go North… Actually, most of Pakistan’s most breathtaking websites and jaw-dropping backpacking treks are within the North and in the summertime the South of the nation is unbearably scorching anyway. From Islamabad, the bus journey to Gilgit takes eighteen hours and prices round 1300 rupees. You’ll want to have a number of photocopies of your passport and visa and, if doable, get a seat proper on the entrance – the views from The Karakoram Freeway are actually beautiful. The bus station is in Rawalpindi, not Islamabad itself. Rawalpindi is a thirty minute drive from Islamabad.

Replace: I haven’t stayed there however vacationer hostel is outwardly clear, low-cost and properly positioned.

E book Your Islamabad Hostel Right here!

Pakistan Travel

Avenue scenes in Rawalpindi

 

Backpacking Gilgit

Arriving into Gilgit, you could encounter the police who will need you to examine into a particular resort. I managed to get out of this and went to search out my very own resort, taking a taxi (200rs) additional into the primary city and scoring a double room with satisfactory wifi for 1000 rupees at Madina Two Guesthouse. There are cheaper choices round, for about 800 rupees, however on the time I desperately wanted wifi to make some Skype calls and attempt to kind my bitch of an Indian visa. The close by ‘OK restaurant’ serves up tasty yak steaks. There may be not an entire lot to do in Gilgit itself until you could have an area good friend to point out you round; it took me ten minutes to satisfy a pleasant dude who confirmed me round all day and took me to hang around along with his mates within the night. From Gilgit, you’ll be able to catch busses to a number of locations inside the mountains. It’s doubtless that you’ll have to return to Gilgit greater than as soon as as that is the transport hub for the Hunza area. I’ll be trustworthy… I dislike Gilgit, attempt to keep away from staying right here if doable and easily move by. There’s a visa workplace in Yadgar Chowk and you will get your visa prolonged right here for one to a few days; carry your passport, passport photocopies, 2 passport photographs and a letter out of your guesthouse stating you might be staying there. Gilgit has an airport.

Pakistan Travel

Attabad Lake; the bluest lake on the earth.

Qasim Ali speaks glorious English and is a superb information to backpacking the Gilgit space, he may organize onwards journey to Skardu. He charged me nothing for a day of adventuring round Gilgit. On this state of affairs, I are inclined to attempt to purchase my new good friend’s dinner – it’s a well mannered method of claiming thanks. It will possibly generally be very laborious in Pakistan because the persons are so rattling beneficiant and hospitable that they merely received’t allow you to pay for something. There are some Couchsurfers within the Gilgit space. In case you’d somewhat keep at a hostel, Hunza is the closest metropolis to Attabad Lake & has an airport you can fly into.

E book Your Hunza Hostel Right here!

Pakistan Travel

Gilgit’s river is the most effective place to take pleasure in a cup of chai and other people watch…

 

Backpacking Fairy Meadows

To succeed in Fairy Meadows catch a two and a half hour minibus from Gilgit to Raikot Bridge (going in the direction of Chillas Metropolis) for 200 rupees and examine in with the police on the outpost there the place you’ll have to hand over your passport particulars for the millionth time. You’ll then want to rearrange a jeep to take you to the trailhead, the value of the jeep is a watch watering 7000 rupees so it helps when you can fill it – six passengers could be preferrred. The jeep house owners will INSIST that foreigners can’t share with Pakistanis however that is all a part of the racket; after getting the pleasant police to intervene I used to be in a position to share a jeep. Attempt to sit on the left hand aspect as this has probably the most adventurous views…

Pakistan Travel

Taking the jeep to the trailhead of The Fairy Meadows…

From the path head, it’s a two to a few hour hike to The Fairy Meadows. Anyone with affordable health can do the hike nevertheless it’s additionally doable to hire a horse for 1000 rupees – discount laborious.

The Fairy Meadows is among the most beautiful locations in all of Pakistan and you’ll camp right here comparatively low-cost (however you want your personal tent). Rooms can be found right here however are costly – beginning at 2000 rupees an evening and rising all the way in which to 7000 rupees. Regardless of the expense, it’s properly value it to view Nanga Parbat; the ninth highest mountain on the earth. You may trek to Nanga Parbat’s base camp and do loads of different superior treks within the space.

Pakistan Travel

Heading into the hills in Swat…

Gull Muhammad – out there at 05811484687 – can organize a jeep and rents out log cabins at The Greenland Lodge which is the place I like to recommend staying (rooms begin at 2000 rupees). You should purchase meals within the Fairy Meadows however probably the most fundamental of meals will set you again 500 rupees… If doable, carry a tenting range, a tent and provides. You may simply spend a couple of days up there. I visited throughout February, which is certainly the flawed time of 12 months to go, it was fucking freezing though completely beautiful; the most effective time of 12 months to journey in Pakistan is between March and November. There may be, apparently, generally electrical energy within the Fairy Meadows; it didn’t make an look while I used to be there. There may be cellphone sign in a single particular spot; get the native guys to point out you.

Pakistan Travel

Fairy Meadows throughout March

There’s a good likelihood that one of many native law enforcement officials will come alongside for the experience. In the event that they such as you, they might even information you round The Fairy Meadows – they count on nothing in return however a tip of 500 rupees on the finish (of the overall Fairy Meadows journey) is honest if they’ve gone above and past the decision of obligation.

UPDATE: I visited The Fairy Meadows once more in August 2016, I extremely advocate mountain climbing to Nanga Parbat basecamp. Eager photographers ought to contemplate staying at Bial Camp; a one hour hike from The Fairy Meadows and a quieter place to camp.  I strongly advocate taking a tent to the Fairy Meadows if you’re on a price range – right here’s a breakdown of a few of the greatest tents to take backpacking. 

Pakistan Travel

Conserving watch over the mountains

 

Backpacking Karimabad

The jewel of Hunza and the leaping off level for extra implausible treks, Karimabad is about two and a half hours away from Gilgit by bus. The Outdated Hunza Inn is a implausible place to stick with pleasant vibes, beautiful views, educated workers and occasional energy. A double room (in off-season) value me 800 rupees. There are a lot of implausible matters to do in Karimabad and it is best to undoubtedly try each Altit Fort and Baltit Fort for some beautiful views of the traditional Silk Highway resulting in China. You may simply spend a couple of days wandering across the cobblestone streets and occurring day hikes. You may organize treks from one of many many outside outlets that line the city.

Pakistan Travel

The beautiful view from Baltit Fort

 

Backpacking The Eagles Nest

For a few of the most beautiful views in all of Hunza, get a taxi to drive you as much as The Eagles Nest and pitch your tent, or hire one (round 2000RS) there, to spend an evening – it’s properly value it. It’s a twenty 5 minute drive and a return journey prices 1500RS.

Pakistan Travel

View from The Eagle’s Nest

 

Backpacking Ghulkin

I strongly advocate staying with an area good friend of mine, Rehman, within the very small village of Ghulkin, a splendidly conventional place only a stone’s throw away from many unbelievable treks, glaciers, tenting spots and backpacking adventures… Ghulkin is a 3 hour journey from Gilgit and you’ll move the beautiful Attabad lake, one of many bluest lakes on the earth.

Pakistan Travel

To learn up on my full expertise staying in Ghulkin, try my homestay in Pakistan article which incorporates Rehman’s contact particulars. That is arms down, one of the best ways to see the realm and was a spotlight of my Pakistan backpacking journey. Rehman’s household will give you a very unbelievable expertise and a spot to sleep and meals while you go on epic adventures upon the close by glaciers. A donation of $15 – $20 per day per particular person is honest and I like to recommend staying three to 4 days. You’ll want to strive some dried apricots…

Pakistan Travel

Pakistan Travel

 

Backpacking Khunjerab Cross

The very best border on the earth and an unbelievable feat of human engineering, the highway to the Pakistani-Chinese language borders is filled with beautiful peaks and makes for an awesome day journey. It’s costly to hire a automobile for the return journey – 8000RS – and there’s no public transport that I may discover. That is an journey greatest tried if in case you have your personal transport. I extremely advocate skipping Sost (though there may be an immigration workplace right here that could be useful for vacationers heading to China) and making time to cease at Hussaini Bridge, Passu Bridge and the beautiful Passu Glacier.

Pakistan Travel

Freezing my ass off on the highest border crossing on the earth.

 

Passu Basecamp Trek

A surprising six day trek that may be accomplished with none permits, Passu Basecamp is only one of many unbelievable hikes out there within the space. Take a information, I like to recommend Rehman. Extra info coming in 2017. 

Pakistan Travel

The view from the place I hope to open Pakistan’s first backpacking hostel.

 

Backpacking Skardu

The city of Skardu is a well-liked backpacking hub and lots of vacationers in Pakistan will discover themselves right here. It’s a 5 hour tough drive from Gilgit (count on to be thrown back and forth) by native transport (500RS) departing Gilgit’s important bus station at 9 am – arrive earlier to get your ticket. Skardu additionally has an airport. The costs in Skardu, particularly throughout excessive season, are on the excessive aspect as that is the focus of tourism in Pakistan. Skardu was the one place in Pakistan the place I felt that the locals have been fascinated by ripping off foreigners. In all honesty; I like to recommend spending as little time as doable in Skardu itself. I like to recommend staying and consuming, within the Diwan-e-Khas restaurant and resort (rooms from 1800RS). There are some cheaper choices round however that is by far the most effective worth. Mashabrum Lodge is pricey and soiled however some rooms are blessed with completely beautiful views that make it worthwhile. Many people rave concerning the views at Shangrila Resort however, to be trustworthy, I used to be underwhelmed.

Pakistan Travel

View from Mashabrum Lodge window in Skardu

It’s value having a look at Khaplu Fort and Higher Kachura Lake the place you’ll be able to swim within the lake and dine in an area restaurant on fresh-caught trout. Skardu is known for its gem stones and crystal mines; I’ve heard it’s doable to trek to a few of these mines and get very low-cost charges on valuable stones – an enterprising backpacker might contemplate filling their backpack…

Pakistan Travel

A thermal lake the place one can swim with out freezing to loss of life

 

K2 Trek

An eighteen day trek (doable in fourteen days if you’re tremendous match) resulting in the bottom camp of the second highest mountain on the earth. It’s doable to do it for about 150,000 RS however most corporations will attempt to cost extra. I do NOT advocate reserving your trek upfront; merely rock up and type it out in Skardu, you’re going to get a a lot better worth.

Pakistan Travel

Picture Credit score: en.wikipedia.org

 

Backpacking Deosai Nationwide Park

The very best time to go to Deosai is between July and mid-August when your entire plain is roofed in a blanket of beautiful wildflowers. This is among the greatest spots on the earth to view the celebs and I extremely advocate tenting for an evening. Watch out the place you pitch your tent – I used to be woke up by 4 bears a mere three meters from my camp. It prices 800RS to enter Deosai and until you could have your personal transport, you’ll need to rent a jeep. Jeeps are very costly however, when you haggle, it’s doable to get an OK charge…

Pakistan Travel

Exploring Deosai, the land of giants.

I managed to barter a jeep and driver for 2 nights and three days, with tenting and fishing gear thrown in, for 18,000RS. We drove from Skardu to Deosai (three hours), camped an evening, after which drove to Rama Lake (4 hours) the place we camped once more. The subsequent day our driver dropped us in Astore and we caught an area bus to Raikot Bridge (three hours) the place we caught a jeep to the trailhead for the Fairy Meadows. You may additionally join from Astore on to Gilgit.

Pakistan Travel

The view from my tent within the morning.

 

Backpacking The Astore Valley

With rolling hills and herds of horses, The Astore Valley form of jogs my memory of Switzerland… There are a lot of implausible hikes available right here and I extremely advocate visiting Rama Lake the place you’ll be able to view Nanga Parbat, one of the stunning mountains on the earth. You may camp outdoors the PTDC resort in Rama at no cost and, from the PTDC, it’s a 4 kilometre journey to Rama – relying on highway circumstances it’s generally doable to do two kilometres of this by jeep; my jeep grew to become caught for 2 hours, I wouldn’t advocate making an attempt it if the roads are a river of mud…  Learn up about my good friend Joan’s expertise mountain climbing in Astore.  

Pakistan Travel

Nom nom nom! Meat!

 

Chitral and The Kalash peoples

The Kalash persons are Pakistan’s smallest non secular group and, yearly, they maintain a collection of extremely vibrant festivals. From Gilgit, it’s doable to catch a 14 hour Natco bus, crossing the beautiful Shandur Cross, to Mastuj. From Mastuj, you will need to then take a 4 hour jeep to Chitral the place you’ll be able to go to the Kalash Valleys and stick with Engineer Khan on the Kalash Guesthouse. The Kalash folks retain lots of their conventional beliefs and a go to to the valleys is a novel alternative to see this small group, mentioned to be descended from the armies of Alexander the Nice. To seek out out extra, try this text. If you wish to go to the Bumbaret and Kalash Valleys, you will need to first register on the Foreigner Reigstration Workplace in Chitral Police Station. In Bumbaret, Kalash Continental Guesthouse comes really helpful as a spot to remain. It’s now doable to get to Chitral from Swat by Jeep or from Gilgit by way of NATCO bus.

Try this superior put up for more information on exploring the Kalash valley!

04/08/2017 Journey Report from Felix Lenzing:  The bus experience to Chitral from Gilgit is about 14 hours (scenic experience). The bus is NOT GOING TO CHITRAL OR EVEN MAJUD! In Gilgit you purchase a ticket for Majud, however they are going to write down a small village 25km earlier than Majud as the ultimate vacation spot. It’s written in Urdu so it’s not comprehensible for many foreigners. They received’t clarify this… my host in Gilgit purchased the ticket for me and advised me the bus will experience to Majud as that is what he was advised by the bus firm. A couple of kilometers earlier than Majud there are two landslides which aren’t crossable for the NATCO-bus. So the bus will simply cease on the final police checkpoint earlier than Majud and that’s it. Then the sport begins… the police received’t allow you to by and so there are two choices out there: Both ready for a “particular automobile” coming from Majud or staying in a single day on the Guesthouse which is correct subsequent to the checkpoint… What a coincidence 

The general public within the bus determined to begin strolling since one of many law enforcement officials mentioned it’s roughly an hour stroll until we’re on the opposite aspect of the landslide. There could be vehicles ready for us on the opposite aspect, we have been advised. After three and a half hours strolling (absolutely outfitted) at nighttime we lastly crossed two landslides and the police picked me up from there to escort me to a resort. These two factors are undoubtedly not crossable for any autos in the mean time!

I arrived on the TPDC motel in Mastuj and will keep at no cost (on the cellphone the proprietor supplied me a room for 2150, I declined and requested if he can provide me a spot to camp). I believe he simply supplied to remain at no cost as a result of he knew that my bus to Chitral is leaving at 5am. From Majud jeeps (150 Rps) will not be going straight to Chitral, they’re going to Booni the place you need to change to a van (130) going to Chitral.

Earlier than leaving Gilgit, purchase sufficient water for no less than one and a half days. I forgot to purchase water the day earlier than I left from Gilgit and this was an enormous mistake. There’s no store in Gilgit which is open at 6am. There’s just one cease on the way in which the place you should buy one thing. Use this! In case you don’t have water at Shandur Cross you’ll really feel the altitude. Shandur move has “sleeping amenities”. There are two tent accommodations alongside the way in which. Don’t count on something particular. Sit on the left aspect of the bus, you’ll see extra of the attractive surroundings on the way in which. Al Farooq resort presents nice single rooms for 600Rps an evening – Wifi is the most effective I had in Pakistan thus far.

Pakistan Travel

Picture Credit score: paktravel.internet

 

Backpacking The Swat Valley

One of the conservative locations in Pakistan and a must-visit for eager hikers, Swat is a really fascinating place certainly…. The entire ladies listed here are in full-clad Burkahs and lots of the males will not be used to seeing a ladies’s face. The principle cities are Mingora and Saidu Sharif however the actual great thing about Swat is to be discovered within the forests….

Pakistan Travel

The oldest mosque in Pakistan

Swat Valley was as soon as the cradle of Buddhism and continues to be suffering from vital Buddhist monuments and relics. The Taliban invaded in 2009 and did their greatest to destroy the statues within the temporary interval they occupied the valley. They have been kicked out after six months with an enormous lack of life to each Pakistani and Taliban forces, the realm now has a really heavy navy presence however is essentially thought of protected, I encountered no issues. Probably the most spectacular of the Buddhist monuments is the towering Jehanabad Statue, attempt to catch it for sundown.

Pakistan Travel

A peaceable place to ponder

While round Mingora, make sure you go to Udegram, an historical Mosque, in addition to Malam Jabba; the most effective place in all of Pakistan to catch some powder and strap in your skis. You will want your personal transport while in Swat or to make buddies with an area couchsurfer; taxis are insanely costly and there will not be many public transport choices.

Swat presents adventurous backpackers many alternatives to trek into valleys which have most likely by no means been visited by foreigners earlier than; I spent an unbelievable, but arduous, couple of days trekking round Beshigram Lake the place I stayed at no cost with native shepherds. The very best treks in Swat are presupposed to be round Kalam and Daral Lake however sadly I didn’t make it up that far as I used to be unable to search out inexpensive transport and the heavy military presence makes hitching not possible. Multi-day rafting and trekking expeditions are doable in Swat, I met one native who had constructed a raft and headed down the river…

I’ve heard that Aslam Khan is THE man to hang around with if you’re heading to Kalam – you’ll be able to attain him on 03411914522 – he’s a well-known hiker and might take you on some epic treks.

Pakistan Travel

A tricky fourteen hour trek to achieve this glacial lake.

Not many vacationers backpacking in Pakistan make it to Swat; formally you want a No Objection Certificates (NOC) to get in though some Pakistani locals might inform you completely different. One matter that does appear to be clear is that you just undoubtedly want a Pakistani good friend within the area. Safety is tight and you’ll discover the rise in machine weapons and armed forces personnel – don’t {photograph} them. Ihsan, my host in Swat, is making an attempt to carry tourism to the area and places up backpackers in a room hooked up to his home – it’s fundamental however homely and if you’re visiting Swat, you’ll need a contact. Ihsan is dependable, speaks good English, has the freshest intel on the Swat NOC state of affairs and is a eager hiker.

Ihsan has now arrange a fb web page –  Swat Valley Backpackers and might help along with your NOC and supply backpackers with a spot to remain; I couchsurfed with him for 4 days. Ihsan is a eager hiker and a conservative Muslim. Please make a donation of $15 – $20 per particular person per day to cowl your meals, lodging, transport and actions while staying with Ihsan. As soon as you might be into Swat Valley you should have an unbelievable alternative to satisfy with the native folks and to discover the beautiful surroundings of lush inexperienced fields, glacial lakes and cloud-cropped peaks.

It’s a six hour Daewoo bus from Islamabad to Swat, 600RS, and it’s also doable to get to Chitral from Swat by way of Kalam (ten hours) by jeep (I, sadly, needed to give this a miss as the most affordable worth I discovered was 20,000RS). If you wish to head up north to Gilgit don’t return to Islamabad – as a substitute, journey from Mingora to Besham after which catch a bus from Besham to Gilgit – this may prevent almost ten hours.

In some elements of Pakistan, particularly Swat, it pays to decorate somewhat extra conservatively. Girls ought to hold their hair lined and their physique shapes hidden and males can buy a salwar kameez; a brilliant comfy set of unfastened pyjama-like robes. Word; this solely actually applies to Swat…

Pakistan Travel

Rocking my shalwar kameez on a psychedelic truck…

 

What to Pack for Pakistan

On each journey, there are 5 matters I by no means go touring with out:

AR Security Belt

1. Safety Belt with Hidden Pocket: I by no means hit the highway with out my safety belt. This can be a common wanting belt with a hid pocket on the within – you’ll be able to disguise as much as twenty notes inside and put on it by airport scanners with out it setting them off. That is arms down one of the best ways to cover your money.

 

gifts camping mat

2. Pocket Blanket: This light-weight, waterproof, tremendous compact pocket blanket is a should for all adventures. Doubling up as an emergency poncho, this picnic blanket is value its weight in gold when chilling, or tenting, on the seashore. It comes with a carabiner, a secret zipped pocket the place you’ll be able to disguise stuff and pocket loops which you’ll overwhelm utilizing stones.

 

AR microfibre towel

3. Microfibre TowelIt’s at all times value packing a correct towel. Hostel towels are scummy and take without end to dry. Microfibre towels dry shortly, are compact, light-weight and can be utilized as a blanket or yoga mat if want be.

 

Headlamp4. HeadtorchI’d by no means journey with no headtorch. Even when you solely find yourself utilizing it as soon as, an honest head torch may save your life. If you wish to discover caves, unlit temples or just discover your method to the toilet throughout a blackout, a headtorch is a should. At present, I’m utilizing the Petzl LED headlamp with pink mild (which bugs can’t see).

 

Hammock for backpackers5. HammockTaking a tent backpacking just isn’t at all times sensible however hammocks are light-weight, low-cost, robust, attractive (chicks dig hammocks) and will let you pitch up for the evening just about wherever. Proper now, I’m rocking an Lively Roots parachute hammock – it’s mild, colourful and hard.

 

For lots extra inspiration on what to pack, try my full backpacking packing record.

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How can I get a a call for participation for my Pakistani visa software?

To use to your Pakistani visa, you’ll need a a call for participation (LOI). You may attain an LOI from anyone residing in Pakistan, nonetheless, there have been quite a few experiences of problems and even some visas being rejected when the LOI just isn’t from an official tour firm. My buddies Lizzy and Shah run a registered tour firm in Pakistan and are in a position to present LOI’s cheaper than anyone else – you’ll be able to submit your software for an LOI on this web page. I obtain a small fee from this so when you’ve discovered this information helpful, please do organize your LOI by this web page.

 

Can I apply for my Pakistani visa outdoors of my house nation?

Except you could have a residency visa within the nation you might be making use of in, it’s not possible to get a Pakistani visa from outdoors of your nation of nationality – you’ll be able to, nonetheless, put up your passport house and undergo a visa service. You don’t bodily should be in your nation to make the appliance, your passport does nonetheless and there’s no method round this in the mean time.

 

Can I lengthen my visa in Pakistan?

It’s doable to get a free two week visa extension in lots of locations in Pakistan; I sorted mine out in simply 4 hours in Gilgit. Skardu and Lahore even have visa workplaces. You may very simply lengthen visas by as much as six months based on sources. By all experiences, Gilgit is the best place to increase your Pakistani visa.

 

When is the most effective time of 12 months to go to Pakistan?

September is the most effective month to go to Pakistan, August is totally rammed stuffed with native vacationers and costs go up.

March – April can be good and Karimabad is solely beautiful early March. It’s doable, however robust, to get into the Fairy Meadows even when they’re snowed below when you name Gul Mohammed. In case you make it up there, you’ll virtually definitely be the one folks there.

 

What the fuck is a NOC and do I would like one?

Most backpackers travelling to Pakistan won’t want a No-Objection-Certificates (NOC). NOC’s are solely required in areas with heavy navy management – akin to Kashmir, the Afghan border space and Balochistan. I required an NOC to enter Swat however phrase on the road is that it’s now doable to enter Swat with out an NOC – speak to Ihsan, he’ll know the most recent about NOCs in Swat.

 

Can I get into Pakistani Kashmir?

I entered Kashmir on public transport, hidden in the back of the bus. I used to be noticed on the second navy checkpoint and unexpectedly rotated. You may solely enter Kashmir with the related NOC however regardless of many backpackers making an attempt, no one has but been issued a NOC for Kashmir.

 

What ought to I put on in Pakistan?

In most of Pakistan, you’ll be able to costume just about as you’d at house though I like to recommend conserving tattoos lined and a tank high is an apparent mistake. Girls ought to have a scarf with them however won’t should put on it more often than not. Swat is a distinct story – be conservative in Swat. Males can buy a Salwar Kameez; they’re tremendous comfortable…

 

Is Pakistan protected for ladies?

Typically, international ladies travelling round Pakistan will likely be handled with the utmost respect. In case you encounter any points merely slap and make a scene; close by Pakistanis will rush to your help. I will likely be releasing an article quickly comprised of interviews with feminine explorers in Pakistan full of a lot of helpful data; keep tuned. I’ve been getting plenty of requests from solo feminine travellers heading to Pakistan for more information so I’ve arrange the Backpacking Pakistan fb group. If you’re fascinated by connecting with different backpackers heading to Pakistan, that is the place to do it. Try this put up for in-depth interviews with 4 feminine travellers in Pakistan. 

 

Can I journey solo in Pakistan?

In case you’re travelling to Pakistan on a solo journey and wish to meet up with different backpackers heading that method, or are eager to choose the brains of myself and different Pakistan backpacking veterans – be part of this Fb Group: Backpacking Pakistan and be at liberty to fireside away with questions!

 

What are the Pakistani folks like?

Pakistanis are a stunning bunch and are normally falling over one another to be sure to have sufficient chai, meals and hash to maintain you content. Make an effort to get to know the locals; a few of my greatest buddies are Pakistani. I shortly learnt that the whole lot is feasible in Pakistan; even completely insane underground raves.

 

Ought to I tip in Pakistan?

Tipping just isn’t anticipated however when you encounter wonderful service or wish to tip a information then go for it – simply hold the quantity affordable so different backpackers will not be hit by guides anticipating heavy ideas. 5 to 10 p.c is a lot.

 

Ought to I Volunteer in Pakistan?

If accomplished correctly, volunteering is a superb method to reduce down your prices on the highway and actually get to know a rustic. I strongly advocate Workaway – you pay simply $29 for the 12 months after which have entry to actually 1000’s of tasks all around the globe the place you’ll be able to assist out in alternate for meals and board.

 

Can I fly in Pakistan?

A number of cities have airports and flights are a great way to get round and to catch some beautiful mountain views. Word that flights are ceaselessly cancelled in Gilgit and Skardu as a result of unhealthy climate – the pilots function utilizing sight and never fancy AI gear.

 

Is Pakistan protected?

Pakistan is among the most secure international locations I’ve ever visited and is full of pleasant and inquisitive people who’re at all times joyful to satisfy someone backpacking in Pakistan. The extraordinarily useful military and the generally useful police will at all times hold a watch out for foreigners and they’re completely in every single place. In case you encounter any issues I recommend discovering the closest soldier; a lot of the officers converse some English. For tips about staying protected while backpacking, try backpacker security 101.

 

Books to learn on Pakistan?

The Backpacker Bible – Learn to ditch your desk and journey the world on simply $10 a day while constructing an internet revenue.

Pakistan Traveller – Probably the most complete journey information ebook to Pakistan, just lately revealed by my good good friend Tim.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot- From tea with warlords within the countryside to events with drunken international correspondents within the “dry” metropolis of Kabul, journalist Kim Barker captures the humor and heartbreak of life in post-9/11 Afghanistan and Pakistan on this profound and darkly comedian memoir.

Three Cups of Tea– The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian marketing campaign to make use of training to fight terrorism within the Taliban’s yard. Anybody who despairs of the person’s energy to vary lives has to learn the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was impressed by an opportunity encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to construct them a faculty.

In Different Rooms- A set of tales that make up a vivid portrait of feudal Pakistan, describing the benefits and constraints of social station, the dissolution of previous methods, and the shock of change. Refined, sensuous, by flip humorous, elegiac, and tragic, Mueenuddin evokes the complexities of the Pakistani feudal order as it’s undermined and remodeled.

Magnificant Delusions- Husain Haqqani has a novel perception into Pakistan, his homeland, and America, the place he was ambassador and is now a professor at Boston College. His life has mapped the connection of the 2 international locations and he has discovered himself usually near the guts of it, generally in very confrontational circumstances, and this has allowed him to jot down the story of a misbegotten diplomatic love affair, right here memorably laid naked.

Pakistan- A Exhausting Nation- With virtually 200 million folks, a 500,000-man military, nuclear weapons, and a big diaspora in Britain and North America, Pakistan is central to the hopes of jihadis and the fears of their enemies. But the best short-term menace to Pakistan just isn’t Islamist insurgency as such, however the actions of the US, and the best longterm menace is ecological change.

 

I like your website, how can I assist?

Thanks! If you wish to help the positioning, try The Backpacker Bible.

 

How can I hire a automobile in Pakistan?

Sayiah Riders, primarily based in Islamabad, rent out motorbikes with insurance coverage for 1500 rupees a day. Having your personal transport for Pakistan is certainly the way in which to go as long-distance bus providers are fairly uncomfortable, taxis are costly and hitchhikers can encounter points with curious police and armed forces personnel. At some factors, you should have no selection however to rent a jeep – make sure you agree upfront that gasoline is included in the price.

Pakistan Travel

My 4×Four for my Deosai journey

 

Intercourse, medicine & rock n roll!

Pakistan is usually a dry nation, nonetheless, you’re permitted to buy alcohol when you’re a non-Muslim vacationer with a allow. Yow will discover house brewed alcohol round, however provided that you’re wanting in the precise locations. Imported alcohol can be out there if you’re related. It’s doable to search out ecstasy if you’re at raves outdoors Lahore or Karachi however you’ll should be properly related.

Within the north of Pakistan Marijuana crops develop wild, so it’s tremendous simple to search out one thing to smoke. Pakistan’s opium commerce is flourishing, so it’s fairly simple to search out. Chances are high, your information will provide your one thing to smoke whilst you’re backpacking Pakistan. Most Pakistanis have by no means smoked weed however smoke hash ceaselessly. Try my article, Blazed Backpackers 101 on how one can keep protected while partying.

 

The right way to keep protected in Pakistan

Try Backpacker Security 101 for ideas and tips to remain protected while backpacking.

Choose your self up a backpacker safety belt to maintain your money protected on the highway.

Try this put up for loads of concepts on ingenious methods to disguise your cash when travelling.

I strongly advocate travelling with a headlamp while in Pakistan (or wherever actually – each backpacker ought to have a superb headtorch!) – try my put up for a breakdown of the greatest worth headlamps to take backpacking.

 

Do I would like insurance coverage for Pakistan?

Everytime you hit the highway and go travelling, you want insurance coverage. I’ve been backpacking for 9 years and have needed to declare a complete of thrice; if I didn’t have backpacker insurance coverage I’d have been completely screwed on all three events.

Solely a handful of journey insurance coverage corporations will cowl vacationers visiting Iran – First Allied Insurance coverage is the most effective wager by far; these guys are specialists and canopy journey to extra remote locations.

Even when you don’t get insurance coverage with First Allied Insurance coverage, Please do get some form of insurance coverage from someplace, there are many respectable choices on-line.

 

Helpful apps to obtain earlier than backpacking Pakistan

Be warned, it’s usually laborious to obtain new apps on the transfer in Pakistan so I recommend downloading the next earlier than you journey to Pakistan.

Maps.me – My favorite offline maps app.

VPN – I at all times have a VPN able to go on each my cellphone and laptop computer, I personally use Conceal Me which is among the quickest and most dependable choices on the market. This specific VPN permits for as much as 5 connections which is helpful for conserving all of your units related with out having to buy a number of VPN packages.

 

Pakistan Journey Information – Getting in and in another country

Pakistan has 4 land borders; India, Iran, China and Afghanistan.

I’ll provide you with a fast run-down of what I do know, please be aware this data adjustments ceaselessly…

Border crossings between Iran and Pakistan are comparatively simple however a prolonged (and scorching!) expertise. My buddies, Alex and Sebastian, wrote a implausible report over at Misplaced with Function.

Border crossings between India and Pakistan are simple sufficient; I used the Wagah Border crossing. Getting my Indian visa while in Pakistan was a complete god-damn nightmare and regardless of asking for six months (the usual Indian vacationer visa) I used to be solely granted six weeks. It took three days of hanging across the embassy to get my passport again – technically, you need to apply in Lahore and so they then ship your passport to Islamabad. You can’t apply in Islamabad however you’ll be able to flip up on the embassy and make a fuss… I strongly advocate getting your Indian visa earlier than your enter Pakistan because the Indian embassy in Pakistan is staffed completely by fucktards.

Border crossings between China and Pakistan are easy so long as you could have your Chinese language visa pre-sorted. I have no idea how simple it’s to rearrange a Chinese language visa inside Pakistan however the two international locations have good relations so I think about it must be doable.

Border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan will not be suggested. I regarded into this for weeks however everyone I met advised me that the border guards will not be presently letting foreigners throughout and even when you do get throughout one can find your self in part of Afghanistan which isn’t famed for its stability. Higher to enter Afghanistan from Tajikistan… that’s my plan anyway.

Pakistan Travel

For extra info I like to recommend you guys head to Caravanistan; once I myself am researching border crossings and visas, that is the positioning I exploit.

Pakistan journey info is ceaselessly altering; I’ve traveled to the nation in each 2016 and 2017 and can proceed to maintain this web page updated.

Nonetheless not satisfied? Listed below are ten causes it is best to journey to Pakistan!

Eager to discover Pakistan with a bunch of like-minded adventurers; try Broke Backpacker Journey Excursions.

Have you ever just lately travelled to Pakistan? Bought something so as to add to this put up? Electronic mail me at pakistan@thebrokebackpacker.com

Need to discover ways to journey the world on $10 a day? Try the Broke Backpacker’s Bible…

 

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