by Sara Rizvi
Our country Pakistan has no shortage of beauty. The Northern areas are full of mesmerizing spots that check all the boxes of a perfect tourist destination. Tall snow covered mountains, lush green valleys, blue lakes and rivers, we have it all. So this year, my family and I decided to take a little vacation. Since tourism in Pakistan is now at its peak, we set out for a visit
We wanted to explore the beautiful Northern areas of Pakistan. However we had on board three kids aged 12, 10 and 4, so had to plan accordingly. The journey was arduous, the trip long and trek difficult to navigate, we weren’t sure how we would manage. Fortunately it all went smoothly and the trip was memorable and unique.
We landed in Islamabad and were amazed to see the beautiful new Islamabad International airport which has the truck art theme, a massive improvement from the previous one. We stayed in Islamabad for a night and early morning headed for an exotic journey.
As we drove on the Islamabad Highway we saw the beautiful lush green trees and my kids were excited to see the mountains approaching. After a long drive of 5 to 6 hours we decided to stop at an unusual spot which was a restaurant built on a waterfall. The freezing cold water of the water fall was good enough to get rid of all our tiredness. The name of this place was Kiwai. We stayed there for a day and the next day we left for more adventure we drove on the Chillas Highway we crossed Kaghan , Muzafarabad and countless cities in between and the most spectacular river Kunhar gushing all along the way.
Our next stop was Naran and when we reached we selected the a hotel near the river Kunhar. The weather was very pleasant and my children were amazed to see no fans there. The next day we headed for Jheel Saiful Mulook the most mesmerizing lake surrounded with pure white ice coated mountains. The way to Lake Saiful Mulook was a very treacherous one. The twisted roads and bumpy way, jumps and scary turns made us extremely tired but once we reached the lake we were all active again.
The next destination was Lulusar Lake, a beautiful lake which was simply a lovely spot to visit. Next we headed for Babusar Top which being very high was exceptionally cold. We played in the ice and had mouth watering pakoras and tea. But since it was too cold and the children not being used to it, we said didn’t stay long and reached the warmer side of Pakistan.
We then travelled on Karakoram Highway which is one of the wonders of the world saw that all the green and icy cold mountains vanished and were replaced by brown, dusty, sandy and rocky mountains and river Indus.
On our way to Gilgit Baltistan we came to a point where the three famous mountain ranges of Pakistan Hindukush, Karakoram and Himalayas converge. As we reached Gilgit we witnessed with our own eyes the beauty so often talked about. We saw Rakaposhi another mountain covered with snow.
After exploring Gilgit we were all geared up for Hunza valley ‘ the most spectacular valley ‘ the first sight of this valley not only freshened our tired minds but made us forget the fact that we travelled 12 hours that day.
We were blown away on reaching our hotel which was on a steep mountain on our backside was a waterfall and on the other side was the famous Attabad lake which appeared in 2007 after an earthquake. This lake and the magnificent Passu Cones at the back are sights worth visiting.
We moved from Hunza as we wanted to visit the Pak / China border (Khunjerab Pass) We saw the dangerous land sliding areas, steep rocky mountains, unusual plantations, glaciers, waterfalls, twisted roads and rivers and not to forget the excited travellers everywhere.
We are lucky that we saw the first and last city of Pakistan (Sost). Once we reached Khunjerab Pass we were amazed to see such a beautiful and freezing place. It was so cold there that despite of wearing warm clothes we were shivering badly. This journey made us proud of our beautiful beautiful beautiful motherland Pakistan which is no less then Switzerland.