Backpacking in Pakistan Final Journey Information

Backpacking in Pakistan is a certainly one of a form journey, it is a nation which can elevate 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 principally one gigantic purple X. The media has painted the nation in an unlucky gentle, 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 really gorgeous 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 the moment beneath management and, excluding the Afghanistan border areas, many of the nation is completely secure to go to. On some events, you’ll be assigned a free police escort – examine my expertise trekking with mine – to control you however these guys are nearly all the time tremendous pleasant and imply effectively.

Pakistan Travel

Baba laughing at a joke no one else understood.

Generally, when arriving into a brand new city or space, police will insist that you just keep in a sure resort. Inns in Pakistan are comparatively costly and to be averted if attainable; I couchsurfed my approach across the nation, with the assistance of associates from The Karakoram Membership, and had a blast. Please bear in mind that though The Karakoram Membership is stuffed with tremendous useful individuals it’s a ‘free to affix’ Fb group which signifies that some tour teams, attempting to promote shit to backpackers, at the moment are within the group.

To attach with different backpackers travelling to Pakistan, be a part of the Backpacking Pakistan fb group. This group was very not too long ago 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, not too long ago revealed by my good good friend Tim and effectively price selecting up earlier than you go.

Take a look at this video from my first journey (in February 2016) backpacking Pakistan…

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

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

 

Backpacking Pakistan Journey Prices

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

 

Visa necessities for Pakistan

If there’s one factor 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 which you can’t get a visa on the street. 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, principally, they’ll settle for accountability for you.

Replace third April: It’s getting tougher for tour corporations to challenge LOIs to unbiased vacationers on account of 1 backpacker getting in bother with the police by wandering effectively off the crushed observe 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 straightforward – Sadly, British passports appear to have a few of the most issue getting a visa and the really, totally, 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 via 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. For those who merely need to get your visa sorted with the minimal of the trouble then utilizing a visa service is normally one of the simplest ways to go nonetheless I’ve heard stories that it’s very straightforward to type Pakistani visas in Australia and France; it really 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 one of the 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, it’s 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. For those who should not have the photocopies on the checkpoint, this can trigger delays.

Generally, chances are you’ll want to rent a automotive and driver to discover an space; automobiles are costly in Pakistan. To lease a automotive 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 motorcycle (1500RS a day – attainable from Islamabad) to discover the nation. You’ll be able to prepare bike leases via Karakoram Bikers. Flights in Pakistan are comparatively low cost – round eighty {dollars} from Islamabad to Gilgit – and a great way to skip some really horrific bus journeys.

 

Lodging in Pakistan

With a couple of exceptions, a lot of the lodging in Pakistan is pretty costly and never notably effectively arrange for funds backpackers. On some events, police would take me on to a resort 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 attainable to attain a room for round 500 rupees (5 {dollars}). I like to recommend Couchsurfing in Pakistan wherever attainable, you’ll meet some superb individuals, and bringing a tent or tenting hammock for trekking.

Beneath is a listing of low cost backpacker model 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 could have beforehand downloaded the area you might be exploring. You’ll be able to then sort within the GPS codes listed under and discover the lodging with much less trouble – we now have tried to make the GPS codes as correct as attainable however it has all been executed via Google maps and reminiscence.

 

Backpacking Pakistan Journey Information
Place Lodging Description Location
Lahore Lahore Backpackers For those who’re not Couchsurfing, you will most likely find yourself in Lahore Backpackers – The homeowners 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 Resort 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 Resort 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 for those who’re on a decent funds. Resort has WiFi and there is a few fundamental shpps round. GPS: 35.899276, 74.369235, If eager to go west to Chitral through Shandur Move, 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 resort right here. GPS: 35.491526, 74.591979
Hunza Previous 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 funds selection for Karimabad. GPS: 36.318776, 74.667137
World Roof Resort Personally did not keep right here however was beneficial as an inexpensive resort choice. 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 gorgeous 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 choice. Coming quickly!
Astore PTDC resort You’ll be able to camp outdoors the PTDC resort in Rama without cost. Coming quickly!
Peshawar Hidayat Resort Rooms for 600PKR, close to the Bala Hisar fort, accepts foreigners, tremendous pleasant employees. GPS: 34.016041, 71.573489, Handle: G.T. Street | Firdous Chowk, Peshawar 25000, Pakistan
ph: +9291-2566635
Chitral Al-Farouq Resort Rooms accessible for 600PKR, pleasant employees and really clear. GPS: 35.855608, 71.787096, Handle: Naya Bazaar, Chitral 54000, Pakistan
Kalash Valley Engineer Khans Homestay/Guesthouse Wonderful 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 stable wager for foreigners. An enormous because of veteran adventurer Olly Manson for doing a whole lot 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 normally prices foreigners 250 rupees to get in. For some treks, chances are you’ll want to rent a trekking information – you’ll want to 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 associates with locals alongside the best way who confirmed me round without 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 one of the 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 probably the most out of this superb area.

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

We’re at the moment SOLD OUT for 2018. Please electronic mail pakistan@thebrokebackpacker.com to be positioned on the ready listing

or just signal as much as the broke backpacker mailing listing 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 certainly one of Pakistan’s youngest entrepreneurs, Komail.

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

 

Staying linked 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 linked is to purchase a Pakistani sim card, I like to recommend Zong, and cargo it with as a lot knowledge as attainable. You will have 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 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 place to begin for a lot of a Pakistan backpacking journey, Lahore is certainly one of my favorite cities on the planet. The colors, the sounds, the smells, the vibrant-in-your-face-ness of all of it is greatest skilled on the again of a motorcycle; make associates with some locals and get them to indicate you round!

You should definitely go to Badshahi Mosque; One of the vital spectacular websites in Lahore and the seventh largest mosque on the 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 really gorgeous, a quiet, peaceable place that’s lit up at night time; I like to recommend a night stroll inside. Lahore Fort is spectacular and price a go to when you have time to spare.

Pakistan Travel

The unbelievable Badshahi Mosque

For a really distinctive night time out, you’ll want to observe down a Sufi Dance Ceremony – there’s one each Thursday on the shrine of Baba Shah Jamal. Lahore has every thing, 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 good friend on The Karakoram Membership Fb Group or you might 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; cut price laborious. 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 attainable 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 attempting 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 advised me to return to city. I managed to hitch a elevate with a few locals who, in regular Pakistani vogue, 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 price visiting however may be fortunately conquered in only a day. I discovered a Couchsurfing host with no issues. For those who want a resort, I like to recommend Harvey Visitor Home (3000RS with wifi and breakfast). Centaurus Purchasing Mall represents your final likelihood to refill on something chances are you’ll want within the mountains. For those who 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 automotive…

Pakistan Travel

The hills surrounding Islamabad

From Islamabad, your greatest 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 sizzling anyway. From Islamabad, the bus journey to Gilgit takes eighteen hours and prices round 1300 rupees. You should definitely have a number of photocopies of your passport and visa and, if attainable, get a seat proper on the entrance – the views from The Karakoram Freeway are really gorgeous. 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 positioned.

E-book Your Islamabad Hostel Right here!

Pakistan Travel

Avenue scenes in Rawalpindi

 

Backpacking Gilgit

Arriving into Gilgit, chances are you’ll encounter the police who will need you to examine into a selected resort. I managed to get out of this and went to seek 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 type 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 a neighborhood good friend to indicate you round; it took me ten minutes to fulfill 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 inside the mountains. It’s possible 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 attainable and easily move via. There’s a visa workplace in Yadgar Chowk and you may get your visa prolonged right here for one to a few days; convey 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 planet.

Qasim Ali speaks glorious English and is a superb information to backpacking the Gilgit space, he can even prepare onwards journey to Skardu. He charged me nothing for a day of adventuring round Gilgit. On this state of affairs, I are likely to attempt to purchase my new good friend’s dinner – it’s a well mannered approach of claiming thanks. It may generally be very laborious 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. For those who’d quite keep at a hostel, Hunza is the closest metropolis to Attabad Lake & has an airport which you can fly into.

E-book Your Hunza Hostel Right here!

Pakistan Travel

Gilgit’s river is one of the best place to get pleasure from 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 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 for those who can fill it – six passengers can be excellent. The jeep homeowners 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 capable of share a jeep. Attempt to sit on the left hand facet 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 however it’s additionally attainable to lease a horse for 1000 rupees – cut price laborious.

The Fairy Meadows is among the most gorgeous locations in all of Pakistan and you may 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 best way to 7000 rupees. Regardless of the expense, it’s effectively price it to view Nanga Parbat; the ninth highest mountain on the planet. You’ll be able to 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 – accessible at 05811484687 – can prepare 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 purchase meals within the Fairy Meadows however probably the most fundamental of meals will set you again 500 rupees… If attainable, convey a tenting range, a tent and provides. You may simply spend a couple of days up there. I visited throughout February, which is unquestionably the mistaken time of yr to go, it was fucking freezing though completely beautiful; one of the best time of yr 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 indicate you.

Pakistan Travel

Fairy Meadows throughout March

There’s a good likelihood that one of many native cops will come alongside for the trip. In the event that they such as you, they could even information you round The Fairy Meadows – they anticipate nothing in return however a tip of 500 rupees on the finish (of the whole Fairy Meadows journey) is honest 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 take into account 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 funds – 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 Previous Hunza Inn is a implausible place to stick with pleasant vibes, beautiful views, educated employees and occasional energy. A double room (in off-season) price me 800 rupees. There are various implausible issues to do in Karimabad and it’s best to undoubtedly take a look at each Altit Fort and Baltit Fort for some gorgeous views of the traditional Silk Street resulting in China. You may simply spend a couple of days wandering across the cobblestone streets and happening day hikes. You’ll be able to prepare treks from one of many many out of doors outlets that line the city.

Pakistan Travel

The gorgeous view from Baltit Fort

 

Backpacking The Eagles Nest

For a few of the most gorgeous views in all of Hunza, get a taxi to drive you as much as The Eagles Nest and pitch your tent, or lease 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 a neighborhood 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 gorgeous Attabad lake, one of many bluest lakes on the 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 really 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 should definitely attempt some dried apricots…

Pakistan Travel

Pakistan Travel

 

Backpacking Khunjerab Move

The best border on the planet and an unbelievable feat of human engineering, the street to the Pakistani-Chinese language borders is stuffed with gorgeous peaks and makes for an important day journey. It’s costly to lease a automotive for the return journey – 8000RS – and there’s no public transport that I might discover. That is an journey greatest tried when you have your personal transport. I extremely advocate skipping Sost (though there’s an immigration workplace right here that may be useful for vacationers heading to China) and making time to cease at Hussaini Bridge, Passu Bridge and the gorgeous Passu Glacier.

Pakistan Travel

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

 

Passu Basecamp Trek

A surprising six day trek that may be executed with none permits, Passu Basecamp is only one of many unbelievable hikes accessible 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 plenty of vacationers in Pakistan will discover themselves right here. It’s a 5 hour tough drive from Gilgit (anticipate to be thrown back and forth) by native transport (500RS) departing Gilgit’s fundamental 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 facet 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 excited about ripping off foreigners. In all honesty; I like to recommend spending as little time as attainable 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 one of the best worth. Mashabrum Resort is pricey and soiled however some rooms are blessed with completely gorgeous 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 looking at Khaplu Fort and Higher Kachura Lake the place you possibly can swim within the lake and dine in a neighborhood restaurant on fresh-caught trout. Skardu is known for its gems and crystal mines; I’ve heard it’s attainable to trek to a few of these mines and get very low cost charges on valuable stones – an enterprising backpacker might take into account filling their backpack…

Pakistan Travel

A thermal lake the place one can swim with out freezing to dying

 

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 planet. It’s attainable to do it for about 150,000 RS however most corporations will attempt to cost extra. I do NOT advocate reserving your trek prematurely; merely rock up and kind it out in Skardu, you’re going to get a significantly better worth.

Pakistan Travel

Picture Credit score: en.wikipedia.org

 

Backpacking Deosai Nationwide Park

The most effective time to go to Deosai is between July and mid-August when your complete plain is roofed in a blanket of gorgeous wildflowers. This is among the greatest spots on the planet to view the celebrities 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 will have to rent a jeep. Jeeps are very costly however, for those who haggle, it’s attainable 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 tools 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 following day our driver dropped us in Astore and we caught a neighborhood 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 various implausible hikes available right here and I extremely advocate visiting Rama Lake the place you possibly can view Nanga Parbat, one of the lovely mountains on the planet. You’ll be able to camp outdoors the PTDC resort in Rama without cost and, from the PTDC, it’s a 4 kilometre journey to Rama – relying on street circumstances it’s generally attainable to do two kilometres of this by jeep; my jeep grew to become caught for 2 hours, I wouldn’t advocate attempting it if the roads are a river of mud…  Learn up about my good friend 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 neighborhood and, yearly, they maintain a sequence of extremely vibrant festivals. From Gilgit, it’s attainable to catch a 14 hour Natco bus, crossing the gorgeous Shandur Move, to Mastuj. From Mastuj, you will need to 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 neighborhood, mentioned 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 will need to first register on the Foreigner Reigstration Workplace in Chitral Police Station. In Bumbaret, Kalash Continental Guesthouse comes beneficial as a spot to remain. It’s now attainable to get to Chitral from Swat by Jeep or from Gilgit through NATCO bus.

Take a look at this superior submit 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 advised me the bus will trip to Majud as that is what he was advised by the bus firm. A number 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 via and so there are two choices accessible: Both ready for a “particular automotive” 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 cops mentioned it’s roughly an hour stroll until we’re on the opposite facet of the landslide. There can be automobiles ready for us on the opposite facet, we have been advised. After three and a half hours strolling (absolutely geared up) at midnight 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 automobiles in the intervening time!

I arrived on the TPDC motel in Mastuj and will keep without 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 feel he simply supplied to remain without 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 at the very least 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 best way the place you should buy one thing. Use this! For those who don’t have water at Shandur Move you’ll really feel the altitude. Shandur move has “sleeping services”. There are two tent accommodations alongside the best way. Don’t anticipate something particular. Sit on the left facet of the bus, you’ll see extra of the attractive surroundings on the best way. Al Farooq resort presents nice single rooms for 600Rps an evening – Wifi is one of the best I had in Pakistan thus far.

Pakistan Travel

Picture Credit score: paktravel.internet

 

Backpacking The Swat Valley

One of the vital conservative locations in Pakistan and a must-visit for eager hikers, Swat is a really fascinating place certainly…. The entire ladies listed below 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 fantastic 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 plagued by vital Buddhist monuments and relics. The Taliban invaded in 2009 and did their greatest 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 secure, 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, you’ll want to go to Udegram, an historic Mosque, in addition to Malam Jabba; one of the best place in all of Pakistan to catch some powder and strap in your skis. You will have your personal transport while in Swat or to make associates with a neighborhood 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 without cost with native shepherds. The most effective 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 seek out reasonably priced transport and the heavy military presence makes hitching inconceivable. Multi-day rafting and trekking expeditions are attainable 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 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 totally different. One factor 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 attempting to convey 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 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 together 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 fulfill with the native individuals and to discover the gorgeous surroundings of lush inexperienced fields, glacial lakes and cloud-cropped peaks.

It’s a six hour Daewoo bus from Islamabad to Swat, 600RS, and additionally it is attainable 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 worth I discovered was 20,000RS). If you wish to head up north to Gilgit don’t return to Islamabad – as an alternative, journey from Mingora to Besham after which catch a bus from Besham to Gilgit – this can prevent practically ten hours.

In some components of Pakistan, particularly Swat, it pays to decorate slightly extra conservatively. Ladies ought to maintain their hair lined and their physique shapes hidden and males can buy a salwar kameez; a brilliant snug 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 issues I by no means go touring with out:

AR Security Belt

1. Safety Belt with Hidden Pocket: I by no means hit the street with out my safety belt. It is a common trying belt with a hid pocket on the within – you possibly can cover as much as twenty notes inside and put on it via 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 crush utilizing stones.

 

AR microfibre towel

3. Microfibre TowelIt’s all the time price packing a correct towel. Hostel towels are scummy and take eternally 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 might by no means journey with no headtorch. Even for those who solely find yourself utilizing it as soon as, an honest head torch might save your life. If you wish to discover caves, unlit temples or just discover your option to the lavatory throughout a blackout, a headtorch is a should. At present, I’m utilizing the Petzl LED headlamp with purple gentle (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, attractive (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 gentle, colourful and difficult.

 

For lots extra inspiration on what to pack, take a look at my full backpacking packing listing.

 

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

To use in your Pakistani visa, you will have a a call for participation (LOI). You’ll be able to attain an LOI from anyone residing in Pakistan, nonetheless, there have been quite a few stories of issues and even some visas being rejected when the LOI just isn’t from an official tour firm. My associates 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 for those who’ve discovered this information helpful, please do prepare your LOI via this web page.

 

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

Except you could have a residency visa within the nation you might be making use of in, it’s inconceivable to get a Pakistani visa from outdoors of your nation of nationality – you possibly can, nonetheless, submit your passport dwelling and undergo a visa service. You don’t bodily need to be in your nation to make the appliance, your passport does nonetheless and there’s no approach round this in the intervening time.

 

Can I prolong my visa in Pakistan?

It’s attainable 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 places of work. You’ll be able to very simply prolong visas by as much as six months in accordance with sources. By all stories, Gilgit is the simplest place to increase your Pakistani visa.

 

When is one of the best time of yr to go to Pakistan?

September is one of the best month to go to Pakistan, August is totally rammed filled with native vacationers and costs go up.

March – April can be good and Karimabad is just beautiful early March. It’s attainable, however powerful, to get into the Fairy Meadows even when they’re snowed beneath for those who name Gul Mohammed. For those who make it up there, you’ll nearly definitely be the one individuals there.

 

What the fuck is a NOC and do I would like 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 – comparable 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 attainable to enter Swat with out an NOC – discuss 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 behind the bus. I used to be noticed on the second army checkpoint and rapidly circled. You may solely enter Kashmir with the related NOC however regardless of many backpackers attempting, no one has but been issued a NOC for Kashmir.

 

What ought to I put on in Pakistan?

In most of Pakistan, you possibly can costume just about as you’d at dwelling though I like to recommend preserving tattoos lined and a tank prime is an apparent mistake. Ladies ought to have a scarf with them however is not going to need to put on it more often than not. Swat is a special story – be conservative in Swat. Males can buy a Salwar Kameez; they’re tremendous cozy…

 

Is Pakistan secure for girls?

Basically, overseas ladies travelling round Pakistan can be handled with the utmost respect. For those who encounter any points merely slap and make a scene; close by Pakistanis will rush to your assist. I can be releasing an article quickly comprised of interviews with feminine explorers in Pakistan filled with plenty of helpful information; keep tuned. I’ve been getting a whole lot of requests from solo feminine travellers heading to Pakistan for more information so I’ve arrange the Backpacking Pakistan fb group. If you’re excited about connecting with different backpackers heading to Pakistan, that is the place to do it. Take a look at this submit for in-depth interviews with 4 feminine travellers in Pakistan. 

 

Can I journey solo in Pakistan?

For those who’re travelling to Pakistan on a solo journey and need to meet up with different backpackers heading that approach, 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 at liberty to fireside away with questions!

 

What are the Pakistani individuals like?

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

 

Ought to I tip in Pakistan?

Tipping just isn’t anticipated however for those who encounter superb service or need to tip a information then go for it – simply maintain the quantity affordable so different backpackers will not be hit by guides anticipating heavy suggestions. 5 to 10 % is loads.

 

Ought to I Volunteer in Pakistan?

If executed correctly, volunteering is a wonderful option to reduce down your prices on the street and actually get to know a rustic. I strongly advocate Workaway – you pay simply $29 for the yr after which have entry to actually hundreds of initiatives all all over the world the place you possibly can 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 gorgeous mountain views. Word that flights are regularly cancelled in Gilgit and Skardu attributable to dangerous climate – the pilots function utilizing sight and never fancy AI tools.

 

Is Pakistan secure?

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 completely satisfied to fulfill any individual backpacking in Pakistan. The extraordinarily useful military and the generally useful police will all the time maintain a watch out for foreigners and they’re completely in all places. For those who encounter any issues I recommend discovering the closest soldier; many of the officers converse some English. For recommendations on staying secure 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 a web-based revenue.

Pakistan Traveller – Essentially the most complete journey information ebook to Pakistan, not too long ago revealed by my good good friend Tim.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot- From tea with warlords within the countryside to events with drunken overseas 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 alter 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 group 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 center 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 Exhausting Nation- With nearly 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 menace to Pakistan just isn’t Islamist insurgency as such, however the actions of america, and the best longterm menace is ecological change.

 

I like your web site, how can I assist?

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

 

How can I lease a car in Pakistan?

Sayiah Riders, based mostly in Islamabad, rent out motorbikes with insurance coverage for 1500 rupees a day. Having your personal transport for Pakistan is unquestionably the best way 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 – you’ll want to agree prematurely that gas is included in the price.

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 for those who’re a non-Muslim vacationer with a allow. You will discover dwelling brewed alcohol round, however provided that you’re trying in the correct locations. Imported alcohol can be accessible if you’re linked. It’s attainable to seek out ecstasy if you’re at raves outdoors Lahore or Karachi however you’ll need to be effectively linked.

Within the north of Pakistan Marijuana crops develop wild, so it’s tremendous straightforward to seek out one thing to smoke. Pakistan’s opium commerce is flourishing, so it’s fairly straightforward to seek out. Chances are high, your information will provide your one thing to smoke when you’re backpacking Pakistan. Most Pakistanis have by no means smoked weed however smoke hash regularly. Take a look at my article, Blazed Backpackers 101 on methods to keep secure while partying.

 

Tips on how to keep secure in Pakistan

Take a look at Backpacker Security 101 for suggestions and methods to remain secure while backpacking.

Choose your self up a backpacker safety belt to maintain your money secure on the street.

Take a look at this submit 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 great headtorch!) – take a look at my submit for a breakdown of the greatest worth headlamps to take backpacking.

 

Do I would like insurance coverage for Pakistan?

Everytime you hit the street 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 might have been totally screwed on all three events.

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

Even for those who don’t get insurance coverage with First Allied Insurance coverage, Please do get some form of insurance coverage from someplace, there are many first rate choices on-line.

 

Helpful apps to obtain earlier than backpacking Pakistan

Be warned, it’s typically 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 all the time 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 preserving all of your units linked with out having to buy a number of VPN packages.

 

Pakistan Journey Information – Getting in and in a foreign country

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

I’ll offer you a fast run-down of what I do know, please word this information modifications regularly…

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

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 need to 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 totally 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 straightforward it’s to rearrange a Chinese language visa inside Pakistan however the two international locations have good relations so I think about it needs to be doable.

Border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan will not be suggested. I seemed into this for weeks however all people I met advised me that the border guards will not be at the moment letting foreigners throughout and even for those who do get throughout you will 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; once I myself am researching border crossings and visas, that is the positioning I exploit.

Pakistan journey data is regularly 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 here are ten causes it’s best 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 not too long ago travelled to Pakistan? Bought something so as to add to this submit? Electronic mail me at pakistan@thebrokebackpacker.com

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

 

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