Imagine towering mountains, brilliant blue rivers and mountain lakes and lush valleys. Barren landscapes that quickly change to shrub covered mountain sides with incredible boulders. This is Pakistan!
Pakistan was one of the most surprising and beautiful countries I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. It is so unknown to the western world, in fact often it is damned by the media as a country of chaos and destruction. When in fact, Pakistan should be on your bucket-list! Not many would believe or can imagine the beauty of not just the country, but it’s people and wildlife. There is so much to explore, discover and do. It’s a paradise for avid adventurers and cultural lovers a like.
It’s time we got Pakistan back on backpackers radars. So come with me to explore Pakistan through pictures. By the end I’m pretty confident you’ll be looking at plane tickets!
The paths to Glaciers aren’t boring old concrete. There are no railings separating you from the edge or boundary lines drawn at the end. For the curious, adventurous and brave – or maybe just stupid – you can venture as close as you want!
There’s nothing quite like camping in a mountain range. Especially when that mountain range is the Karakoram range and just over the hill to the left is a Glacier!
In the quiet of the night you can hear the cracking and movement as it pushes – and melts, thanks global warming – its way down the mountain side. The avalanches and rock falls running off the peaks around you interrupting the quiet with a small thunder. It’s pretty magical.
How can it get more magical? Well, when you get up at 3am to pee and take your head torch in preparation for the darkness, only to met by a glowing full moon lighting up the snow-capped peaks. Stars twinkling in the shadows, everything is still and quiet. That was one magical 3am pee…
The Fairy Meadows. A fairytale, lush green valley found high up in the Himalayan range, nestled into the mountain side. Why live in cities and appreciate skyscrapers when natures giants give a much better view?
These little ponies are the strongest pack horses I’ve met. Together we trekked up a the mountain to the Fairy Meadows. Setting off later than planned we actually arrived in the dark! Together, me and Stardust (yes, it’s an awesome name. No, not her real name) walked over rivers and waterfalls. Trekked narrow trails with drop offs into the unknown darkness below, through rain and lightning. It was magical and a little scary.
This picture was taken the next day from the top. Just before Stardust and her owner went back down the mountain again.
It’s not just the nature that is beautiful, Lahore is an incredibly historic and architecturally beautiful city. Filled with ancient Mosque’s and Forts which are a little run down but definitely adds to it’s character.
I like that you can bribe the caretaker of the mosque to let you up the tower for a photo. But to make sure no one else follows, he locks you in!
Passu Bridge is just a little terrifying. While we penguin walked over this bridge, not taking my eyes off my feet unless stopped. The locals basically ran across the bridge. Would you have the nerve to cross this crazy swing bridge?
It’s not just barren mountain sides and green valleys. Pakistan also has some incredible blue mountain lakes. Can you believe this lake is actually relatively new? Earthquakes and landslides caused water to flood this valley and produce this massive, insanely blue, mountain lake.
Contrary to popular belief, Pakistan isn’t all dirt roads and dodgy cars. Our comfy mini bus with a fantastic driver took us over some of the most incredible mountain passes. On tarmac roads! – insert gasp here.
Barren mountains – Lush green valleys – beautiful blue rivers. Does this image spring to mind when you first think of Pakistan?
The city of Lahore has hidden surprises all over the place. We stumbled across this beautiful courtyard of an incredibly old Mosque in Delhi Gate. The mosaic art, the colours and the detail are just incredible.
One of the most dangerous roads in the world to drive. It’s common for landslides to block or completely destroy the road. These jeep drivers are some of the best drivers I’ve ever known, they know this road like the back of their hand. It would be waaaaay too sketchy to try to drive this yourself! Before you get in the jeep make sure you have a head for heights, your camera at hand and a good sense of humour!
Goat lovers rejoice, there’s a lot and they try to ride motorbikes! Or this one certainly did…
The walks in Pakistan never fail to disappoint. Just over the hill from the main town of Karimabad is this gem. Dusty, dirt tracks circling a small town below, leading you through tiny mountain villages, over sketchy bridges and finally to the Altit Fort!
Did I mention Pakistan has a lot of Forts? These are the ruins of the mighty Rohtas Fort. It was built with several layers of walls to protect the people inside, it even once had Elephant proof doors! One of the largest forts built-in the world it’s now protected by UNESCO. This fort was never taken by force, instead it was abandoned by a cowardly army – I bet they got into a heap of trouble after that! – This was pretty magnificent and definitely worth a visit!
Hiking in Pakistan is just breathtaking and will not disappoint! We hiked to base camp at 4000m and man! It’s hard to breathe while hiking at 4000m! Reaching base camp we had Green Tea, watched the mountain views, talked to our guide and then it started to snow! That was my biggest high – excuse the pun – of the whole trip!
Pakistan’s beauty is not lost when the sun goes down. In fact, it gets better! the sunsets here re the best mountain sunsets I’ve ever seen!
Okay, so maybe there were 17 photo’s but can you really blame me?
Pakistan blew me away and totally surprised me. It’s a country I would definitely go back to, to explore some more!
Have you ever been to a place that totally blew away your expectations?
Is Pakistan now on your list?
*If you liked this blog post pleaseeeee take the time to drop me a comment or share it with well, anyone! Lets put Pakistan back on the map for backpackers and adventurers opening it up to tourism again. This beautiful country deserves its real reputation of hospitality and beauty. Not the bad reputation the western media branded it with.
**Note: Not all pictures are mine, thanks to my amazing friends Joel and Veronica for sharing their awesome photos from our trip! I promise I’ll have a better camera next time!