Backpacking in Pakistan Final Journey Information

Backpacking in Pakistan is a one among a form journey, it is 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 depart.

Earlier than I went backpacking in Pakistan, I used to be not sure 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 individuals. Mix that with comparatively low cost journey prices, plentiful treks and actually beautiful mountains and you’ve got one hell of an important backpacking vacation spot.

Mountains of Pakistan

The safety state of affairs in Pakistan is at present beneath management and, except the Afghanistan border areas, a lot of the nation is completely protected to go to. On some events, you can be assigned a free police escort – examine my expertise trekking with mine – to regulate you however these guys are virtually all the time tremendous pleasant and imply effectively.

Pakistan Travel

Baba laughing at a joke no person else understood.

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

To attach with different backpackers travelling to Pakistan, be a part of the Backpacking Pakistan fb group. This group was very lately created, is moderated by me and a pal and is the place to discover a journey buddy for Pakistan if you wish to journey with an amigo. Pakistan Traveller is essentially the most complete journey information ebook to Pakistan, lately printed by my good pal Tim and effectively price choosing up earlier than you go.

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

Sorry in regards to the video high quality; I filmed the entire matter on my cellphone! 

The Pakistani individuals are very beneficiant and you can be plied with ridiculous quantities of free meals and chai. The buddies I made in Pakistan stay a number of the finest I’ve made on this journey; Pakistanis have an important 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 possibly can even apply it is advisable to get a a call for participation (LOI) from a Pakistani tour firm stating that, mainly, they’ll settle for accountability for you.

Replace third April: It’s getting more durable for tour firms to challenge LOIs to impartial vacationers on account of 1 backpacker getting in bother with the police by wandering effectively 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 firms on-line providing an LOI service and fairly just a few of them are very costly. Relying on what nation you might be from, you could possibly get your Pakistan visa comparatively straightforward – Sadly, British passports appear to have a number 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 often one of the simplest ways to go nonetheless I’ve heard reviews that it’s very straightforward to type 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 will 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 often the very best worth for cash however if you wish to splash out on one thing extra snug go along with Daewoo – I caught a trip inside a Daewoo minibus and it was ridiculously plush. Hitchhiking in Pakistan is feasible however you’ll encounter issues at police checkpoints. At any time when travelling any distance in Pakistan, you need to have a number of photocopies of your passport and visa at hand 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, it will trigger delays.

Typically, you might want to rent a automobile and driver to discover an space; vehicles are costly in Pakistan. To hire a automobile and driver for a complete 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 motorcycle (1500RS a day – potential 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 just a few exceptions, a lot of the lodging in Pakistan is pretty costly and never notably effectively arrange for finances backpackers. On some events, police would take me on to a lodge and demand I stayed there; you possibly can 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 potential to attain a room for round 500 rupees (5 {dollars}). I like to recommend Couchsurfing in Pakistan wherever potential, you’ll meet some superb individuals, 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 should utilize it with out cellphone sign so long as you will have beforehand downloaded the area you might be exploring. You may then kind within the GPS codes listed beneath and discover the lodging with much less trouble – we now have tried to make the GPS codes as correct as potential but it surely has all been carried out by Google maps and reminiscence.

 

Backpacking Pakistan Journey Information
Place Lodging Description Location
Lahore Lahore Backpackers In case you’re not Couchsurfing, you may in all probability find yourself in Lahore Backpackers – The house owners communicate good English and there is a KFC close by in case you are 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 Resort Al – Jamal Some resorts 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 Resort Pak-China is true 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 possibility in the event you’re on a good finances. Resort has WiFi and there is a few primary shpps round. GPS: 35.899276, 74.369235, If desirous to go west to Chitral through Shandur Go, NATCO tickets may 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 Resort Low cost, dependable, English-speaking proprietor. OK WiFi. GPS: 35.920523, 74.328940
Fairy Meadows Greenland Resort Operated by Gul Muhammad Ph. No. : 03555124070 GPS: 35.384597, 74.580365
Shangrila Resort All guests to The Fairy Meadows start their journey at Raikot Bridge – Shangrila is the one lodge right here. GPS: 35.491526, 74.591979
Hunza Outdated Hunza Inn Has (sluggish) 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 possibility, primary however good backpacker vibe and nice views of the valley. My primary finances alternative for Karimabad. GPS: 36.318776, 74.667137
World Roof Resort Personally did not keep right here however was advisable as an affordable lodge possibility. GPS: 36.323045, 74.669675
Gulmit Rehman Homestay For these planning to stick with Rehman, it is 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 Resort Fundamental lodging and restaurant on the lake, there’s additionally a tenting space. GPS: 36.428057, 74.864054
Skardu Mashabrum Resort Costly and soiled however some rooms are blessed with completely beautiful views that make it worthwhile. Coming quickly!
Shangrila Resort Many people rave in regards to the views at Shangrila Resort however, to be trustworthy, I used to be underwhelmed. An costly possibility. Coming quickly!
Astore PTDC lodge You may camp outdoors the PTDC lodge in Rama without cost. Coming quickly!
Peshawar Hidayat Resort Rooms for 600PKR, close to the Bala Hisar fort, accepts foreigners, tremendous pleasant workers. GPS: 34.016041, 71.573489, Tackle: G.T. Highway | Firdous Chowk, Peshawar 25000, Pakistan
ph: +9291-2566635
Chitral Al-Farouq Resort Rooms out there for 600PKR, pleasant workers and really clear. GPS: 35.855608, 71.787096, Tackle: 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 Improvement Company) Motel and though these aren’t the most cost effective, they’re a strong wager for foreigners. An enormous because of veteran adventurer Olly Manson for doing lots 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 points of interest within the cities then it often prices foreigners 250 rupees to get in. For some treks, you might want to rent a trekking information – be sure you haggle, a good price 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 mates with locals alongside the way in which who confirmed me round without cost.

 

Solo Journey v.s. Group Excursions in Pakistan

Travelling solo in Pakistan is an unimaginable expertise however for a lot of, it may be daunting. Pakistan is a rustic the place it helps to have connections and in case you are brief on time, it’s very difficult to see the very best 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 essentially the most out of this superb area.

Our first tour was an superior success and in 2018 we might be working 4 extra adventures to this superb nation.

We’re at present 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 stored 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 trying out Discover My Journey Pakistan – run by my good pal, and one among Pakistan’s youngest entrepreneurs, Komail.

Komail works alongside TBB excursions on the bottom and in the event 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 good 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 finest 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 potential. You have to to go to the Zong HQ in Lahore and never one of many franchises. Telenor works finest within the Higher Hunza space.

Pakistan Travel

The blokes 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 one among my favorite cities on this planet. The colors, the sounds, the smells, the vibrant-in-your-face-ness of all of it is finest skilled on the again of a motorcycle; make mates with some locals and get them to point out you round!

Make sure you go to Badshahi Mosque; Probably the most spectacular websites in Lahore and the seventh largest mosque on this planet, the courtyard can accommodate 100,000 worshippers and the hooked up museum incorporates many holy relics belonging to the prophet Mohammed. The Grand Jamia Mosque is actually beautiful, a quiet, peaceable place that’s lit up at night time; I like to recommend a night stroll inside. Lahore Fort is spectacular and value a go to when you’ve got time to spare.

Pakistan Travel

The unimaginable Badshahi Mosque

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

When it come’s to discovering lodging in Lahore; It’s straightforward to discover a Couchsurfing host, a pal on The Karakoram Membership Fb Group or you would attempt 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 possibly can crash on the ground for a few hundred rupees; discount exhausting. From Lahore, you possibly can 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 potential to hitch right here in simply a few hours. I hoped to camp throughout the fort grounds however the Ak-wielding safety guards level clean refused me regardless of me making an attempt each trick within the ebook. Finally, insisting I might be eaten by wild animals, they stunning a lot simply marched me to the doorway and instructed me to return to city. I managed to hitch a raise 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 – verify!

 

Backpacking Islamabad

The capital of Pakistan and a surprisingly clear and exquisite metropolis, Islamabad has just a few websites price visiting however may be fortunately conquered in only a day. I discovered a Couchsurfing host with no issues. In case you want a lodge, I like to recommend Harvey Visitor Home (3000RS with wifi and breakfast). Centaurus Purchasing Mall represents your final probability to refill on something you might 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, finest explored with the assistance of a Couchsurfer and a automobile…

Pakistan Travel

The hills surrounding Islamabad

From Islamabad, your finest wager is to move 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. Make sure you have a number of photocopies of your passport and visa and, if potential, 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 seemingly clear, low cost and effectively situated.

E book Your Islamabad Hostel Right here!

Pakistan Travel

Road scenes in Rawalpindi

 

Backpacking Gilgit

Arriving into Gilgit, you might encounter the police who will need you to verify into a particular lodge. I managed to get out of this and went to search out my very own lodge, 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 type my bitch of an Indian visa. The close by ‘OK restaurant’ serves up tasty yak steaks. There may be not a complete lot to do in Gilgit itself until you will have an area pal 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 possibly can catch busses to a number of locations throughout the mountains. It’s probably 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 potential and easily go by. There’s a visa workplace in Yadgar Chowk and you may get your visa prolonged right here for one to 3 days; convey your passport, passport photocopies, 2 passport pictures 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 this planet.

Qasim Ali speaks wonderful English and is a good information to backpacking the Gilgit space, he may also 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 pal’s dinner – it’s a well mannered method of claiming thanks. It could actually generally be very exhausting in Pakistan because the individuals 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 reasonably 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 very best place to take pleasure in a cup of chai and other people watch…

 

Backpacking Fairy Meadows

To achieve Fairy Meadows catch a two and a half hour minibus from Gilgit to Raikot Bridge (going in direction of Chillas Metropolis) for 200 rupees and verify 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 an eye fixed watering 7000 rupees so it helps in the event you can fill it – six passengers can be very best. The jeep house owners will INSIST that foreigners can not share with Pakistanis however that is all a part of the racket; after getting the pleasant police to intervene I used to be capable of share a jeep. Attempt to sit on the left hand aspect as this has essentially 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 3 hour hike to The Fairy Meadows. Anyone with cheap health can do the hike but it surely’s additionally potential to hire a horse for 1000 rupees – discount exhausting.

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 effectively price it to view Nanga Parbat; the ninth highest mountain on this planet. 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 Resort which is the place I like to recommend staying (rooms begin at 2000 rupees). You should buy meals within the Fairy Meadows however essentially the most primary of meals will set you again 500 rupees… If potential, convey a tenting range, a tent and provides. You may simply spend just a few days up there. I visited throughout February, which is certainly the unsuitable time of 12 months to go, it was fucking freezing though completely attractive; the very best 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 probability that one of many native law enforcement officials will come alongside for the trip. 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 truthful if they’ve gone above and past the decision of responsibility.

UPDATE: I visited The Fairy Meadows once more in August 2016, I extremely advocate mountaineering 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 in case you are on a finances – right here’s a breakdown of a number of the finest tents to take backpacking. 

Pakistan Travel

Preserving 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, attractive 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 you need to positively take a look at each Altit Fort and Baltit Fort for some beautiful views of the traditional Silk Highway resulting in China. You may simply spend just a few days wandering across the cobblestone streets and happening day hikes. You may organize treks from one of many many out of doors outlets that line the city.

Pakistan Travel

The beautiful view from Baltit Fort

 

Backpacking The Eagles Nest

For a number 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 effectively price 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 pal of mine, Rehman, within the very small village of Ghulkin, a splendidly conventional place only a stone’s throw away from many unimaginable treks, glaciers, tenting spots and backpacking adventures… Ghulkin is a 3 hour journey from Gilgit and you’ll go the beautiful Attabad lake, one of many bluest lakes on this planet.

Pakistan Travel

To learn up on my full expertise staying in Ghulkin, take a look at my homestay in Pakistan article which incorporates Rehman’s contact particulars. That is arms down, one of the simplest ways to see the realm and was a spotlight of my Pakistan backpacking journey. Rehman’s household will offer you a very unimaginable 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 truthful and I like to recommend staying three to 4 days. Make sure you attempt some dried apricots…

Pakistan Travel

Pakistan Travel

 

Backpacking Khunjerab Go

The very best border on this planet and an unimaginable feat of human engineering, the highway to the Pakistani-Chinese language borders is filled with beautiful peaks and makes for an important 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 finest tried when you’ve got 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 this planet.

 

Passu Basecamp Trek

A surprising six day trek that may be carried out with none permits, Passu Basecamp is only one of many unimaginable hikes out there within the space. Take a information, I like to recommend Rehman. Extra data 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 backward and forward) by native transport (500RS) departing Gilgit’s principal 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 potential in Skardu itself. I like to recommend staying and consuming, within the Diwan-e-Khas restaurant and lodge (rooms from 1800RS). There are some cheaper choices round however that is by far the very best worth. Mashabrum Resort is pricey and soiled however some rooms are blessed with completely beautiful views that make it worthwhile. Many people rave in regards to the views at Shangrila Resort however, to be trustworthy, I used to be underwhelmed.

Pakistan Travel

View from Mashabrum Resort window in Skardu

It’s price having a look at Khaplu Fort and Higher Kachura Lake the place you possibly can 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 potential 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 demise

 

K2 Trek

An eighteen day trek (doable in fourteen days in case you are tremendous match) resulting in the bottom camp of the second highest mountain on this planet. It’s potential to do it for about 150,000 RS however most firms will attempt to cost extra. I do NOT advocate reserving your trek prematurely; merely rock up and kind it out in Skardu, you’ll get a significantly better value.

Pakistan Travel

Picture Credit score: en.wikipedia.org

 

Backpacking Deosai Nationwide Park

One of the best time to go to Deosai is between July and mid-August when the complete plain is roofed in a blanket of beautiful wildflowers. This is among the finest spots on this planet 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 will have your personal transport, you will have to rent a jeep. Jeeps are very costly however, in the event you haggle, it’s potential to get an OK price…

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 type 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 possibly can view Nanga Parbat, one of the vital stunning mountains on this planet. You may camp outdoors the PTDC lodge in Rama without cost and, from the PTDC, it’s a 4 kilometre journey to Rama – relying on highway situations it’s generally potential 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 pal Joan’s expertise mountaineering in Astore.  

Pakistan Travel

Nom nom nom! Meat!

 

Chitral and The Kalash peoples

The Kalash individuals are Pakistan’s smallest non secular group and, yearly, they maintain a sequence of extremely vibrant festivals. From Gilgit, it’s potential to catch a 14 hour Natco bus, crossing the beautiful Shandur Go, to Mastuj. From Mastuj, you should then take a 4 hour jeep to Chitral the place you possibly can go to the Kalash Valleys and stick with Engineer Khan on the Kalash Guesthouse. The Kalash individuals retain lots of their conventional beliefs and a go to to the valleys is a novel alternative to see this small group, stated to be descended from the armies of Alexander the Nice. To seek out out extra, take a look at this text. If you wish to go to the Bumbaret and Kalash Valleys, you should first register on the Foreigner Reigstration Workplace in Chitral Police Station. In Bumbaret, Kalash Continental Guesthouse comes advisable as a spot to remain. It’s now potential to get to Chitral from Swat by Jeep or from Gilgit through NATCO bus.

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

04/08/2017 Journey Report from Felix Lenzing:  The bus trip to Chitral from Gilgit is about 14 hours (scenic trip). The bus is NOT GOING TO CHITRAL OR EVEN MAJUD! In Gilgit you purchase a ticket for Majud, however they’ll 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 instructed me the bus will trip to Majud as that is what he was instructed 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 true subsequent to the checkpoint… What a coincidence 

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

I arrived on the TPDC motel in Mastuj and will keep without cost (on the cellphone the proprietor provided me a room for 2150, I declined and requested if he can provide me a spot to camp). I feel he simply provided to remain without cost as a result of he knew that my bus to Chitral is leaving at 5am. From Majud jeeps (150 Rps) should not going straight to Chitral, they’re going to Booni the place you must change to a van (130) going to Chitral.

Earlier than leaving Gilgit, purchase sufficient water for not less than one and a half days. I forgot to purchase water the day earlier than I left from Gilgit and this was a giant 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 purchase one thing. Use this! In case you don’t have water at Shandur Go you’ll really feel the altitude. Shandur go has “sleeping services”. There are two tent resorts 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 gorgeous surroundings on the way in which. Al Farooq lodge presents nice single rooms for 600Rps an evening – Wifi is the very best I had in Pakistan up to now.

Pakistan Travel

Picture Credit score: paktravel.internet

 

Backpacking The Swat Valley

Probably the most conservative locations in Pakistan and a must-visit for eager hikers, Swat is a really fascinating place certainly…. The entire girls listed here are in full-clad Burkahs and lots of the males should not used to seeing a girls’s face. The primary cities are Mingora and Saidu Sharif however the true 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 affected by vital Buddhist monuments and relics. The Taliban invaded in 2009 and did their finest to destroy the statues within the transient 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 army presence however is basically thought-about protected, I encountered no issues. Essentially 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, be sure you go to Udegram, an historical Mosque, in addition to Malam Jabba; the very best place in all of Pakistan to catch some powder and strap in your skis. You have to your personal transport while in Swat or to make mates with an area couchsurfer; taxis are insanely costly and there should not many public transport choices.

Swat presents adventurous backpackers many alternatives to trek into valleys which have in all probability by no means been visited by foreigners earlier than; I spent an unimaginable, but arduous, couple of days trekking round Beshigram Lake the place I stayed without cost with native shepherds. One of the best treks in Swat are speculated 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 unattainable. Multi-day rafting and trekking expeditions are potential 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 in case you are heading to Kalam – you possibly can attain him on 03411914522 – he’s a well-known hiker and may 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 let you know completely different. One matter that does appear to be clear is that you simply positively want a Pakistani pal within the area. Safety is tight and you’ll discover the rise in machine weapons and military personnel – don’t {photograph} them. Ihsan, my host in Swat, is making an attempt to convey tourism to the area and places up backpackers in a room hooked up to his home – it’s primary however homely and in case you are visiting Swat, you will have a contact. Ihsan is dependable, speaks good English, has the hottest 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 may 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’ll have an unimaginable alternative to satisfy with the native individuals 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 potential to get to Chitral from Swat through Kalam (ten hours) by jeep (I, sadly, needed to give this a miss as the most cost effective value 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 – it will prevent practically ten hours.

In some elements of Pakistan, particularly Swat, it pays to decorate a bit of extra conservatively. Girls ought to hold their hair coated and their physique shapes hidden and males should purchase a salwar kameez; a brilliant snug set of free pyjama-like robes. Observe; 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 possibly can cover 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 simplest 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 price its weight in gold when chilling, or tenting, on the seashore. It comes with a carabiner, a secret zipped pocket the place you possibly can cover stuff and pocket loops which you’ll be able to overwhelm utilizing stones.

 

AR microfibre towel

3. Microfibre TowelIt’s all the time price packing a correct towel. Hostel towels are scummy and take endlessly to dry. Microfibre towels dry rapidly, are compact, light-weight and can be utilized as a blanket or yoga mat if want be.

 

Headlamp4. HeadtorchI might by no means journey with out a headtorch. Even in the event 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 strategy 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 all the time sensible however hammocks are light-weight, low cost, sturdy, horny (chicks dig hammocks) and let you pitch up for the night time just about anyplace. Proper now, I’m rocking an Energetic Roots parachute hammock – it’s mild, colourful and difficult.

 

For lots extra inspiration on what to pack, take a look at 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 will have a a call for participation (LOI). You may attain an LOI from anyone residing in Pakistan, nonetheless, there have been quite a few reviews of issues and even some visas being rejected when the LOI just isn’t from an official tour firm. My mates Lizzy and Shah run a registered tour firm in Pakistan and are capable of present LOI’s cheaper than anyone else – you possibly can submit your software for an LOI on this web page. I obtain a small fee from this so in the event 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 residence nation?

Except you will have a residency visa within the nation you might be making use of in, it’s unattainable to get a Pakistani visa from outdoors of your nation of nationality – you possibly can, nonetheless, publish your passport residence and undergo a visa service. You don’t bodily should be in your nation to make the applying, your passport does nonetheless and there’s no method round this in the mean time.

 

Can I prolong my visa in Pakistan?

It’s potential 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 prolong visas by as much as six months based on sources. By all reviews, Gilgit is the simplest place to increase your Pakistani visa.

 

When is the very best time of 12 months to go to Pakistan?

September is the very best month to go to Pakistan, August is completely rammed stuffed with native vacationers and costs go up.

March – April can also be good and Karimabad is solely attractive early March. It’s potential, however powerful, to get into the Fairy Meadows even when they’re snowed beneath in the event you name Gul Mohammed. In case you make it up there, you’ll virtually definitely be the one individuals there.

 

What the fuck is a NOC and do I want one?

Most backpackers travelling to Pakistan is not going to want a No-Objection-Certificates (NOC). NOC’s are solely required in areas with heavy army management – similar 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 potential to enter Swat with out an NOC – speak to Ihsan, he’ll know the newest 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 army checkpoint and swiftly circled. You may solely enter Kashmir with the related NOC however regardless of many backpackers making an attempt, no person has but been issued a NOC for Kashmir.

 

What ought to I put on in Pakistan?

In most of Pakistan, you possibly can gown just about as you’ll at residence though I like to recommend preserving tattoos coated and a tank high is an apparent mistake. Girls ought to have a headband with them however is not going to should put on it more often than not. Swat is a unique story – be conservative in Swat. Males should purchase a Salwar Kameez; they’re tremendous comfortable…

 

Is Pakistan protected for girls?

On the whole, international girls travelling round Pakistan might 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 might be releasing an article quickly comprised of interviews with feminine explorers in Pakistan filled with numerous helpful data; keep tuned. I’ve been getting lots of requests from solo feminine travellers heading to Pakistan for more information so I’ve arrange the Backpacking Pakistan fb group. In case you are fascinated by connecting with different backpackers heading to Pakistan, that is the place to do it. Try this publish 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 a part of this Fb Group: Backpacking Pakistan and be happy to fireside away with questions!

 

What are the Pakistani individuals like?

Pakistanis are a stunning bunch and are often falling over one another to ensure you have sufficient chai, meals and hash to maintain you cheerful. Make an effort to get to know the locals; a few of my finest mates are Pakistani. I rapidly learnt that every part is feasible in Pakistan; even completely insane underground raves.

 

Ought to I tip in Pakistan?

Tipping just isn’t anticipated however in the event you encounter superb service or wish to tip a information then go for it – simply hold the quantity cheap so different backpackers should not hit by guides anticipating heavy suggestions. 5 to 10 p.c is lots.

 

Ought to I Volunteer in Pakistan?

If carried out correctly, volunteering is a wonderful strategy 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 initiatives all world wide the place you possibly can assist out in trade 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. Observe that flights are ceaselessly cancelled in Gilgit and Skardu attributable to 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 filled with pleasant and inquisitive people who’re all the time joyful to satisfy anyone backpacking in Pakistan. The extraordinarily useful military and the generally useful police will all the time hold an eye fixed out for foreigners and they’re completely all over the place. In case you encounter any issues I counsel discovering the closest soldier; a lot of the officers communicate some English. For recommendations on staying protected while backpacking, take a look at backpacker security 101.

 

Books to learn on Pakistan?

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

Pakistan Traveller – Essentially the most complete journey information ebook to Pakistan, lately printed by my good pal 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 college.

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 outdated 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 typically near the guts of it, generally in very confrontational circumstances, and this has allowed him to write down the story of a misbegotten diplomatic love affair, right here memorably laid naked.

Pakistan- A Laborious Nation- With virtually 200 million individuals, 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 risk to Pakistan just isn’t Islamist insurgency as such, however the actions of the US, and the best longterm risk is ecological change.

 

I like your website, how can I assist?

Thanks! If you wish to assist the location, take a look at The Backpacker Bible.

 

How can I hire a car 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 military personnel. At some factors, you’ll have no alternative however to rent a jeep – be sure you agree prematurely that gasoline is included in the fee.

Pakistan Travel

My 4×Four for my Deosai journey

 

Intercourse, medication & rock n roll!

Pakistan is often a dry nation, nonetheless, you’re permitted to buy alcohol in the event you’re a non-Muslim vacationer with a allow. Yow will discover residence brewed alcohol round, however provided that you’re wanting in the proper locations. Imported alcohol can also be out there in case you are related. It’s potential to search out ecstasy in case you are at raves outdoors Lahore or Karachi however you’ll should be effectively related.

Within the north of Pakistan Marijuana vegetation develop wild, so it’s tremendous straightforward to search out one thing to smoke. Pakistan’s opium commerce is flourishing, so it’s fairly straightforward 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 keep protected while partying.

 

Tips on how to keep protected in Pakistan

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

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

Try this publish for loads of concepts on ingenious methods to cover your cash when travelling.

I strongly advocate travelling with a headlamp while in Pakistan (or anyplace actually – each backpacker ought to have a very good headtorch!) – take a look at my publish for a breakdown of the finest worth headlamps to take backpacking.

 

Do I want 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 3 times; if I didn’t have backpacker insurance coverage I might have been completely screwed on all three events.

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

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

 

Helpful apps to obtain earlier than backpacking Pakistan

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

Maps.me – My favorite offline maps app.

VPN – I all the time have a VPN able to go on each my cellphone and laptop computer, I personally use Disguise Me which is among the quickest and most dependable choices on the market. This explicit VPN permits for as much as 5 connections which is useful for preserving 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 word this data adjustments ceaselessly…

Border crossings between Iran and Pakistan are comparatively straightforward 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 straightforward 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 must apply in Lahore and so they then ship your passport to Islamabad. You can not apply in Islamabad however you possibly can 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 solely by fucktards.

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

Border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan should not suggested. I appeared into this for weeks however everyone I met instructed me that the border guards should not at present letting foreigners throughout and even in the event you do get throughout you’ll discover 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 data I like to recommend you guys head to Caravanistan; after I myself am researching border crossings and visas, that is the location I exploit.

Pakistan journey data 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 you need to journey to Pakistan!

Eager to discover Pakistan with a gaggle of like-minded adventurers; take a look at Broke Backpacker Journey Excursions.

Have you ever lately travelled to Pakistan? Bought something so as to add to this publish? E mail me at pakistan@thebrokebackpacker.com

Wish to learn to journey the world on $10 a day? Try the Broke Backpacker’s Bible…

 

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