About Pakistan

A PIA Airplane at Skardu AirportPakistan is an interesting country, very rich in cultural heritage and human resources. It offers a great variety of scenic beauty fairly high altitudes towards the west. The northern region offers wild rivers, wonderful valleys, deep and steep gorges, snow covered sky high peaks, wild wastelands and eternal glaciers. There are dissected uplands and fertile plains in the middle, desolate deserts and plateaus toward the south, sandy silver white coastal beaches, lagoons, mangrove swamps and sea in the extreme south. The landscape in the north is stunning. There are mountains almost touching the sky. In a radius of forty square kilometers seven of the highest-seventeen peaks of the world are located. These peaks are considered as the Mecca of mountaineers all over the world.  There are more than forty mountain peaks, which are higher than 7000m (25000 feet), much higher than all the highest peaks of Europe, Australia, Africa, Japan, Middle East and most of the other Asian countries. Beside these high mountain peaks the area is known for the longest and dreadful glaciers found now here else except in the polar region. In addition to these glaciers there are scores of lakes, hundreds of streams and a wild web of mountain locked valleys. There are thick forests of pine, juniper and a vast variety of flora and fauna. The combination of all these natural gifts have turned several sports into tourists resorts which are admired, desired and loved by a great majority of people from almost all parts of the world.

Khyber Pass, PeshawarThe Quaid's residence in Ziarat, QuettaCamel Safari through the Cholistan Desert

Tourism to Pakistan started 4000 years ago with the arrival of the first tourist – the Aryans; they liked our land so much they never left. Next came the Persians, the Greeks, the Bactrians, the white Huns, the Turks, the Moghuls, and the British. But this country, which has been such an old tourist destination, is just now re-emerging on the tourist map. A late arrival but with a promising infrastructure, we can satisfy the most discerning travelers. Here, the tourist searching for the undiscovered, unspoiled gateway can find a vacation full of sublime vistas. Journey to the rugged Karakoram and Hindu Kush Mountains in the north to the historic fort-strewn deserts that sweep towards the south. Pakistan is a year- round destination, with new adventures developing each year. We have sophisticated cities that are modern and cosmopolitan, but still they preserve their age-old bazaars and ancient monuments that take days to explore. We have intriguing villages, with mysterious cultures that speak quietly of the past, clinging to old fashioned traditions that turn every visitor into a fascinated anthropologist. Everywhere in the cities, in the villages, on the roads that take you here to there – you will find a level of hospitality that is hard to forget.

Situated at the crossroads of history, Pakistan is a land of marvelous contrasts. From its southern desert plains to the terraced green fields of Askoli in the north (the last village before K-2), Pakistan drenches the senses with mountain majesty and exotic tribal cultures. Moving north, the endless white sandy beaches of the Arabian Sea give way to the Punjabi plains and vast agricultural lands, then the great gash of the Indus Gorge and countless snow-locked peaks along the border with China north, India east, Afghanistan west and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

Through the ages many civilizations settled along the banks of the mighty Indus River. The Indus, father of rivers, begins its journey in the remote peaks of the Subcontinent. Coursing in rolling fury through the Indus Gorge, the Indus is edged by the fragile ribbon of the Karakoram Highway (KKH). Today, the heirs of these ancient cultures, Baltis, Hunzakuts, Pushtuns and a host of others still practice their timeless ways of life along the KKH.

Each year millions flock to the European Alps and thousands visit Nepal. Only a few of the well-informed and adventurously curious are fortunate enough to experience the stunning “Roof of the World” that is Northern Pakistan. Here four great mountain ranges meet:

The Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir Mountains. Embracing many of the planet’s highest peaks, the Pamir Knot of Pakistan is the incredible confluence of these four great ranges. Of the fourteen highest peaks on earth, Pakistan has five, two of which are the sublime pyramid of K2 (at 8611 m) the second highest mountain on earth and the most dangerous mountain in the world, Nanga Parbat (8125m). In addition, the area contains some of the longest and largest glacier systems outside of the polar regions.

Pakistani hospitality and friendliness are legendary. Far from the civil unrest that occasionally plagues Karachi and many other Asian cities, the mountain people of Northern Pakistan look forward to welcoming you into their midst. Come join them in a world of unparalleled beauty and drama, learn and witness for yourself what so few others have experienced.

Travellers Information

PEOPLE AND LANGUAGE
Being mostly Muslims, the people of Pakistan are culturally homogenous. The other religious groups include the Christians, Buddhist, Hindus and Parsees. All are of composite racial stock although the majority is of Aryan extraction. While Urdu, the national language, is spoken throughout Pakistan, English is extensively used in official and commercial circle and in the cities. The regional languages are Sindhi in Sindh, Baluchi in Baluchistan, Punjabi in Punjab and Pushto in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

HOW TO COME TO PAKISTAN
BY AIR

More than 5 airlines fly to Pakistan from over 40 countries. Most of the flights arrive at Karachi, but PIA, British Airways, Emirates, Saudi and China Xinjiang Airlines fly direct to the twin cities of Rawalpindi/ Islamabad. PIA, Indian Airlines, Saudi and Thai Airways fly direct to Lahore. Pakistan International (PIA) has direct flights from the main Mediterranian and European cities, as well as from New York, Toronto and Nairobi. It also runs a Far East Network from Tokyo, Beijing, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. PIA have also flights to Tashkent and Almaty from Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi while another Pakistan Airlines, Aero Asia has a weekly flight between Karachi, Bishkek and Dubai.

BY LAND
From China; The Khunjerab Pass is open from 1st May to 31st October for groups and to 15th November for individual tourists. Customs, Immigration post shall remain open daily from 08:30 to 11:00 for outgoing travellers and upto 16:00 (Pakistan Standard Time) for incoming tourists. Travel Time from Sost to Tashkurgan (China) is 05 hours (20 kms). The Chinese border post, Tashkurgan is open 12:00 noon to 14:00 (Beijing Time) for outgoing tourists and upto 19:00 for incoming travellers. PTDC nad NATCO (Northern Areas Transport Corporation) run daily buses, vans and jeeps from Sost to Tashkurgan and one-way fare is fixed at US $ 40 per person or equivalent in Pak. rupees (subject to change without notice).

FROM INDIA
Wagha is the only land border open between Pakistan and India (Lahore-Amritsar route). The Wagha bordser post is open daily for foreigners; summer (16 April to 15 October) 08:30 to 14:30 hrs and winter (16 October to 15 April) 09:00 to 15 hrs.

TRAIN AND BUS SERVICE TO AND FROM INDIA
In addition to Lahore -Delhi Samjhota Train service on Mondays and Thursdays, Pakistan Tourist Development Corporation (PTDC) and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has started a luxury direct bus service between Lahore and Delhi. The air conditioned bus service leaves simultaneously from Falteti’s hotel, Edgerton Road, Lahore and New Delhi on every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

LAND ROUTE FROM IRAN
Pak- Iran border crossing is only possible through Taftan – Zahidan. Several buses and coaches daily leave from Taftan to Quetta (634 kms and 18 hours drive). Train service is also available for the sector Quetta-Zahidan -Quetta.

TRAVEL WITHIN PAKISTAN
BY AIR

PIA serves 38 domestic airports with schedule connections, including multiple daily flights between major cities of Karachi, Quetta, Multan, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar. Two private airlines, Aero Asia and Shaheen Airline, also serve Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. PIA has daily flights linking the northern tourist towns of Gilgit, Skardu and Saidu Sharif with Islamabad and Chitral with Peshawar. All flights to the northern region are subject to good weather.

BY ROAD
Pakistan has an extensive network of roads and highways, linking every big and small town. There are several highways like the Grand Trunk road (G.T. Road) between Lahore and Peshawar, Supewr Highway and National Highway linking Karachi with Interior of Sindh and Punjab, Indus Highway linking Peshawar with the Southern Punjab, RCD Highway linking Karachi and Qetta and onto Taftan (Pak-Iran border) and the Karakoram Highway joining Islamabad with kashgar (China) through abbottabad, Gilgit Hunza and Khunjerab Pass. A landmark has been achieved with the completion of Lahore-Islamabad Motorway (M2), and Faislabad-Pindi Bhatian Motorway (M3), which have opened some of the remote areas of Pakistan for visitors. Another project of Motorway i.e; Islamabad- Peshawar (M1) will be completed in near future.

BY TRAIN
Pakistan has over 12,700 kilometers of railways, including 8,500 kms inherited from the British. Main line runs from Karachi to Peshawar connecting important tourist places like Moenjodaro, Sukkur, Bahawalpur, Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi/ Islamabad, Taxila and Peshawar. Another main line link Quetta with the rest of the country. There are several daily trains running on these lines, however, the faster trains like Shalimar Express (Lahore-Karachi) and Railcar (Lahore-Rawalpindi) have more comfortable air-conditioned compartments for travelers. Pakistan Railways allows a 25% concession in all classes, to foreign tourists and 50% discount for foreign students (both for groups and individuals). This concession is allowed on production of a recommendation certificate issued by any PTDC Tourist Information Center and original passport, to the Divisional Superintendent of Pakistan Railways (at Karachi, Quetta, lahore, Sukkur, Multan, Peshawar and Rawalpindi or Station Masters of other principal Stations.

WHERE TO STAY
HOTELS/MOTELS

Pakistan offers a wide range of accomodation. Modern, well equipped chain hotels like Sheraton and Avari (at Karachi & Lahore), Pearl Continental Hotels (at Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Bhurban and Abbottabad), Marriott (Karachi & Islamabad), Holiday Inn(Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Islamabad), Serena Hotels (Faisalabad, Quetta, Gilgit, Hunza and Saidu Sharif), Pine Park Hotels (Naran, Khannian & Shogran), Green Hotels (Nathiagali, Abbottabad, Peshawar), Shangrilla Resorts & Hotels (Naran, Chilas & Skardu) offers good services and facilities. Pakistan Tourist Development Corporation (PTDC) also operates 2 hotels and 29 motels located throughout Pakistan. A government tax/ duty up to 17.5% is added to the rent at most places. There are official Dak Bungalows and Rest Houses at most of the stations and valleys, maintained by either Provincial Forest Department, Public Works Department (PWD) or by the local administration. Advance booking is recommended.

YOUTH HOSTELS
Pakistan Youth Hostels Association (PYHA) was founded in 1951 which now runs a chain of 6 Youth Hostels is available to the members of organistaions. For more details and reservation, email us info@hunzaadventuretours.com

WHAT TO BUY
Pakistan is a treasure house of exquisite handicrafts, made by people who grew up to weave, to pot, to work metals, wood and stone, to decorate, to build things small and great. Pottery here is a living history, a traditional craft that became an art, with its origins going back to 3,000 years B.C. Today, each region of Pakistan claims its own special jars and jugs, from sturdy terra – cotta to paper thin ceramics, in vivid colours of mustard yellow, deep green, brick red and sky blue. For those keen on shopping, the prices are still quite reasonable. You will find yourself still returning home with hand woven carpets, marble pieces, copper and brass items, woodwork, embroidered “Kurtas” and “Khussas” and countless objects d’art.

WHAT TO EAT
Having inherited the culinary traditions of the Moghuls, the Turks, the Central Asians and the Iranian, eating out in Pakistan is a rich and unique experience. Most local restaurants serve authentic Pakistan dishes straight from the oven, with the sights and sounds of a bazaar in the background. Meat, fish and vegetable dishes are seasoned with spices. Particularly palatable are the grills barbecues; Seekh-Kabab (minced meat grilled on skewer), Shami-Kabab (minced meat), Tikka (barbecued mutton, beef or chicken) and Saji (Barbecued leg of lamb). Pakistani mutton and chicken curries and the oriental rice dish called pullao, are also popular with natives and foreigners alike.

WHAT TO WEAR
Lightweight, cotton clothes suffice except in north in winter. Men wear suits for business meetings, social events. Casual shalwar suits are worn by all women and most men in public. Women should dress modestly.

WHAT TO SEE
Pakistan is a special interest destination. Its main attraction include adventure tourism in the Northern Areas, cultural and archeological tourism as found in Taxila, Moenjodaro, Harappa, and Swat and early Muslim & Mughal Heritage of Multan, Lahore, Thatta and Peshawar. From the mighty Karakorams in the North to the vast alluvial delta of the Indus River in the South, Pakistan remains a land of high adventure and nature. Trekking, mountaineering, white water rafting, wild boar hunting, mountain and desert jeep safaris, Camel and Yak safaris, trout fishing and bird watching, are a few activities which entice adventure and nature lovers to Pakistan.

Touristic Facts:

THE ULTIMATE TOURIST DESTINATION.
The “first tourist group” arrived in Pakistan some 4000 years ago. They were the Aryans. They liked the land so much that they never went back. In their search, came the Persians followed by the Greeks, Bactrian’s, Huns, Arabs, Dravidians, Turks, Mongols, Tibetans & many others, but all preferred to stay here. The obvious reason was the incomparable beauty, grandeur & tranquility of this region. Pakistan possesses all ingredients for a Booming Tourist Destination. Its “extremely rich heritage” is enough to quench the aesthetics from all walks of life. Unfortunately, however, Pakistan’s tourism potential is little known to the western world & its rich & multicolored heritage is lying untapped.

THE INCOMPARABLE HISTORY.
10 million years ago, the common ancestors of the man & ape roamed around ISLAMABAD – the gleaming new capital of Pakistan. The Stone Age tools of the Homo sapiens species of 50,000 B.C are found along the So’Aan River. We happen to be the proud inheritors of the regions that remained “centers” of the ancient civilizations of the World. Not just one out of dozens, but “ONE” out of the “TWO” ancient civilizations on this Earth. Yes..! the developed civilizations of the Indus, at Harrappa & Mohenjodaro are Contemporary to the Egyptian civilizations of the Nile & the Mesopotamian civilizations of Euphrates. The developed city of Mehrgarh was “3000 years old” when Alexander the great invaded this region in 326 B.C. The region that forms Pakistan has always been on the crossroads of history. All the ancient routes and great passes happen to be in Pakistan, which made this region a favorite play ground for the conquerors, traders, travelers, historian, preachers & tourists.

THE UNUSUAL GEOGRAPHY.
Enveloped in the extremes of 04 distinct weathers, the contrasting Geography of Pakistan is the nature’s great gift. Spread over an area of 8,68,591 Sq Kms, this magnificent land contains galaxies of towering snow capped mountains, gigantic creeping glaciers, lush green alpine meadows, rushing white rivers, tumbling waterfalls, quiet lakes, blossoming fruit orchards in the “North” & fertile plateaus, rich alluvial plains, meandering yellow rivers, glowing deserts & sandy beaches in the “South”. The “CONTINENTAL COLLISION” of the three mighty mountain ranges of the world the Himalayas, the Karakorams & the Hindukush in the North gave birth to the “thickest cluster” of the Highest Peaks & Largest Glaciers on Earth. The statistics are simply baffling. “05” of the world’s “14” peaks above 8000 meters are in Pakistan. “101” peaks are above 7000 meters & whereas peaks from 6999 to 3000 meters are countless. “50” of the world’s “100” highest peaks are in Pakistan. “K-2” 8626 M is the second highest on Earth. Alone in Baltistan & Hunza, there are more than “100” peaks above 18,000 ft. literally; most of their base camps are higher than the Summits of all the peaks in Europe. Pakistan’s glaciated region covers 12000 Sq/Kms. The “06” longest valley glaciers of the world, are also in Pakistan & their total length exceed 350 Km. the Biafo-Hispar glacial corridor of 116 Km is the longest on Earth. No mention of over 300 small glaciers & their tributaries. The Hundreds of miles of rushing torrents surging out from the snouts of these glaciers mingle to form the 3200 Km long Indus river which quenches the entire length of the country & merges with the Arabian Sea which banks a sandy beach of over 1000 Km. This incomparable contrast will be completed only but with a brief mention of the 470,000 Sq Km deserts located in Baluchistan, Sind & Southern Punjab with a rich multicolored culture of their own.

THE MATCHLESS PEOPLE.
Pakistan is an eternal abode of 120 Million people of over “30 Ethnic Groups” speaking over “40 Languages & Dialects” (excluding immigrants). They all differ from each other in every respect. Here live the people in caves, straw abodes, mud houses & boats quite aloof from the privileges of modern life & in the same country dwell the people in palatial living quarters & skyscrapers well acquainted to the space-age. Pakistan, is perhaps, the only country which exhibits an amazing contrast of color, creeds, races, inheritance, customs, languages, dresses & religions after every 25 miles in any direction. Whether they are the Fierce Pathans or the Upright Baluchi; the Submissive Baltis or the Amiable Hunzakurts; the Primitive Kafirs or the Versatile Punjabis – all wear different cultures, but are fastened with just one common character – the “TRADITIONAL HOSPITALITY”.

THE WEARERS OF THE BLACK ROBES.
Pakistan’s population, as you know is derived from a variety of races bearing distinct languages, culture, & dresses. Out of many interesting & lively cultures we have in Pakistan, I would like to highlight the colorful culture of Kalash. The Kalash valleys are inhabited by a primitive people known as Kafir Kalash, which means the wearers of the black robes. Their origin is cloaked in controversy. Since the sign of the Macedonian period are still to be found among these people. They are said to be the decedents of the Greek soldiers who entered this valley in 327 B.C. The Kalash people live in centuries old houses multi storied on steep mountain slopes along the river beds. The cluster of these small houses look like bee-hives. The odd rituals, primitive customs and peculiar habits of friendly and peaceful Kalash bewitch and enthrall the tourists from all over the world. Kalash women still wear black woolen homespun garments, red beaded necklaces by the dozens and exceptional headpiece that flows down their backs embroidered with cowry shells, beads and trinkets. Unlike the Pakistani Muslim women, the Kalash women do not observe “veil” (purdah) and possess frank manners. Their instruments are flutes and drums. They worship wooden idols and have strange habits. The woman carries their make up & hair dressing at the river, as they are not allowed to bring combs and cosmetics to their homes as they bring evils. Another peculiar habit is the separation of women during their menstruation periods. The ceremonies accompanying death are the queerest of all. Every death is celebrated with dance & music by the elders & mourned upon by the young who are not yet fully aware of the Kalash philosophy which says “the dead are passed on to a better world” The body is then placed in a wooden coffin with its personal belongings and jewelry etc and left above the ground to decay.

THE ULTIMATE TOURIST DESTINATION.
The “first tourist group” arrived in Pakistan some 4000 years ago. They were the Aryans. They liked the land so much that they never went back. In their search, came the Persians followed by the Greeks, Bactrian’s, Huns, Arabs, Dravidians, Turks, Mongols, Tibetans & many others, but all preferred to stay here. The obvious reason was the incomparable beauty, grandeur & tranquility of this region. Pakistan possesses all ingredients for a Booming Tourist Destination. Its “extremely rich heritage” is enough to quench the aesthetics from all walks of life. Unfortunately, however, Pakistan’s tourism potential is little known to the western world & its rich & multicolored heritage is lying untapped.

THE INCOMPARABLE HISTORY.
10 million years ago, the common ancestors of the man & ape roamed around ISLAMABAD – the gleaming new capital of Pakistan. The Stone Age tools of the Homo sapiens species of 50,000 B.C are found along the So’Aan River. We happen to be the proud inheritors of the regions that remained “centers” of the ancient civilizations of the World. Not just one out of dozens, but “ONE” out of the “TWO” ancient civilizations on this Earth. Yes..! the developed civilizations of the Indus, at Harrappa & Mohenjodaro are Contemporary to the Egyptian civilizations of the Nile & the Mesopotamian civilizations of Euphrates. The developed city of Mehrgarh was “3000 years old” when Alexander the great invaded this region in 326 B.C. The region that forms Pakistan has always been on the crossroads of history. All the ancient routes and great passes happen to be in Pakistan, which made this region a favorite play ground for the conquerors, traders, travelers, historian, preachers & tourists.

THE UNUSUAL GEOGRAPHY.
Enveloped in the extremes of 04 distinct weathers, the contrasting Geography of Pakistan is the nature’s great gift. Spread over an area of 8,68,591 Sq Kms, this magnificent land contains galaxies of towering snow capped mountains, gigantic creeping glaciers, lush green alpine meadows, rushing white rivers, tumbling waterfalls, quiet lakes, blossoming fruit orchards in the “North” & fertile plateaus, rich alluvial plains, meandering yellow rivers, glowing deserts & sandy beaches in the “South”. The “CONTINENTAL COLLISION” of the three mighty mountain ranges of the world the Himalayas, the Karakorams & the Hindukush in the North gave birth to the “thickest cluster” of the Highest Peaks & Largest Glaciers on Earth. The statistics are simply baffling. “05” of the world’s “14” peaks above 8000 meters are in Pakistan. “101” peaks are above 7000 meters & whereas peaks from 6999 to 3000 meters are countless. “50” of the world’s “100” highest peaks are in Pakistan. “K-2” 8626 M is the second highest on Earth. Alone in Baltistan & Hunza, there are more than “100” peaks above 18,000 ft. literally; most of their base camps are higher than the Summits of all the peaks in Europe. Pakistan’s glaciated region covers 12000 Sq/Kms. The “06” longest valley glaciers of the world, are also in Pakistan & their total length exceed 350 Km. the Biafo-Hispar glacial corridor of 116 Km is the longest on Earth. No mention of over 300 small glaciers & their tributaries. The Hundreds of miles of rushing torrents surging out from the snouts of these glaciers mingle to form the 3200 Km long Indus river which quenches the entire length of the country & merges with the Arabian Sea which banks a sandy beach of over 1000 Km. This incomparable contrast will be completed only but with a brief mention of the 470,000 Sq Km deserts located in Baluchistan, Sind & Southern Punjab with a rich multicolored culture of their own.

THE MATCHLESS PEOPLE.
Pakistan is an eternal abode of 120 Million people of over “30 Ethnic Groups” speaking over “40 Languages & Dialects” (excluding immigrants). They all differ from each other in every respect. Here live the people in caves, straw abodes, mud houses & boats quite aloof from the privileges of modern life & in the same country dwell the people in palatial living quarters & skyscrapers well acquainted to the space-age. Pakistan, is perhaps, the only country which exhibits an amazing contrast of color, creeds, races, inheritance, customs, languages, dresses & religions after every 25 miles in any direction. Whether they are the Fierce Pathans or the Upright Baluchi; the Submissive Baltis or the Amiable Hunzakurts; the Primitive Kafirs or the Versatile Punjabis – all wear different cultures, but are fastened with just one common character – the “TRADITIONAL HOSPITALITY”.

THE WEARERS OF THE BLACK ROBES.
Pakistan’s population, as you know is derived from a variety of races bearing distinct languages, culture, & dresses. Out of many interesting & lively cultures we have in Pakistan, I would like to highlight the colorful culture of Kalash. The Kalash valleys are inhabited by a primitive people known as Kafir Kalash, which means the wearers of the black robes. Their origin is cloaked in controversy. Since the sign of the Macedonian period are still to be found among these people. They are said to be the decedents of the Greek soldiers who entered this valley in 327 B.C. The Kalash people live in centuries old houses multi storied on steep mountain slopes along the river beds. The cluster of these small houses look like bee-hives. The odd rituals, primitive customs and peculiar habits of friendly and peaceful Kalash bewitch and enthrall the tourists from all over the world. Kalash women still wear black woolen homespun garments, red beaded necklaces by the dozens and exceptional headpiece that flows down their backs embroidered with cowry shells, beads and trinkets. Unlike the Pakistani Muslim women, the Kalash women do not observe “veil” (purdah) and possess frank manners. Their instruments are flutes and drums. They worship wooden idols and have strange habits. The woman carries their make up & hair dressing at the river, as they are not allowed to bring combs and cosmetics to their homes as they bring evils. Another peculiar habit is the separation of women during their menstruation periods. The ceremonies accompanying death are the queerest of all. Every death is celebrated with dance & music by the elders & mourned upon by the young who are not yet fully aware of the Kalash philosophy which says “the dead are passed on to a better world” The body is then placed in a wooden coffin with its personal belongings and jewelry etc and left above the ground to decay.

 

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