Out of all the countries you think or or you may see advertised as your next dream holiday location, Pakistan is likely down the very bottom of that list along with Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria! However, I’m here to debunk all of this for you. Having been one of the handful of adventure explorers that take to Pakistan each year, I have some very special news. The media is a big red faced liar! One month in Pakistan (check out the full guide here) gave me the most rewarding travel experience of my life and indeed those who were in our company agree that this is the best country we’ve visited to date! Here are some of the many reasons why:
Pakistan is completely safe
The media has painted Pakistan as a Taliban infested, wore torn plateau with nothing but bombing after bombing to report on! I’m not going to lie, there are incidents but there are usually in very specific areas and they have been beaten into submission so much that you can be pretty sure you won’t be bothered…ever! There are checkpoints everywhere and people will do all in their power to ensure you feel safe and are having a good time! The local people hate extremism and have very little tolerance for it!
The hospitality is probably the best in the world
It almost seems insane how welcome you are made feel and how generous they are. People will walk up to you to say hello, buy you tea, introduce you to their friends, invite you into their house and ask you to stay so you can sleep easy. Not only that but they will try and feed you over and over. So much so that you may never have to reach into your pocket to pay for food even if you try. One restaurant wouldn’t even let us pay for our food insisting we were their guest. Another chemist, made us stay for tea while his friend recited poetry for us! Unlike most places in the world where people have an agenda for being kind, they have love in their hearts and just want to show you a good time. It’s difficult to understand at first but it truly is a mind blowing experience to see how endless their hospitality goes!
It’s extremely cheap
Backpacking is all about going with the value option in exchange for the best experience locally. This is pretty much the best place for it. With a cup of chai (Tea) costing you 10c and most dinners coming in around the $1 mark, you will find it hard to spend much here. As you read above, people often times insist on paying for you! A 35 hour train cost us $30 and most accommodation will set you back $3-5 a night. If you’re a scrooge, this is your dream holiday!
It has some of the most outrageous trekking on Earth
When people think of stunning trekking, they immediately think of Nepal, The Rockys, The Alps or other tourist hotspots where prices are massively inflated and tour companies rule the areas! North Pakistan is home to the highest concentration of peaks in the world, some of the longest glaciers, the blues lakes and the mildest trekking conditions. You have an endless amount of treks to enjoy and the region is home to some amazing local specialities such as dried fruit, textiles, rubies, sapphires and more!
You’ll never be lonely
It’s rare you will ever sit alone for more than five minutes before being approached my people who are dying to know who you are, where you come from and what it is you are doing in Pakistan. They are extremely aware of the worlds impression of Pakistan and will want to know what you think. Once one comes over, you will be surrounded by people fascinated by you and wanting to welcome you, give you a snack or invite you home to stay with them. They are amazing conversationalists and love to chat for hours and hours. The english is pretty decent and you will have no problem passing time on trains of buses learning about their areas and lifestyles!
Food is mouth watering
The food is not too far from India which is known the world over for its outstanding cuisine. The spices, flavours and shear variety of options available to you is outstanding. It’s everywhere you look and the smells will kiss the rings of your nostrils enticing you in for more! It seems they never stop eating and it’s very clear to see why! Once you get a taste for it, you’re hooked! The well renowned Biryani is the popular favourite!
Extremely diverse and accepting
Outside impressions would leave you thinking that Pakistan was close minded and religiously divided on all accounts. This could not be further than the truth. Muslims, Christians, Hindus and more all live in harmony side by side! It’s not perfect but it’s not perfect anywhere in the world! They don’t see each other as this religion or that religion but rather as Pakistani people, their fellow countrymen!
Ready to start planning your trip? Check out our full guide to Pakistan, including everything you need to know!