Pakistan is quite renowned for its stunning Northern Areas that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, from all over the world. These infamous spots are indeed heaven on earth for nature-loving travel enthusiasts. Northern Pakistan includes some of the most amazingly breathtaking sceneries around the globe. With Fairy Meadows, calm and mesmerizing lakes, the landscape covered with exotic flowers, sheets of green, vibrant rivers, and mist-covered mountains – what’s not to love! If you’ve planned to visit and see them for yourself, you have made the right call! but did you plan, what you would be doing there?
Here is a list of the top 10 activities you can enjoy with your friends and family or traveling companions!
1. Roasting Delicious Marshmallows on a campfire!
Camping food doesn’t have to be just sandwiches and grocery store items. Gourmet it up! You can do a lot of things with an open fire and a skillet. Moreover, you don’t have to prepare everything from the bottom, barbequing semi-cook-food is just as fun! not to mention the roasted marshmallows & tea cooked on those make-shift tandoors or burning woods. You can use campfire time to enjoy games like Truth or Dare, group therapy sessions, or have a jamming session (if your buddy didn’t forget to bring that guitar!).
2. Trekking in Astore
Astore District is ideal for those who enjoy exploring nature by foot, quite notable for its grassy slopes that are perfect for hiking, trekking, and climbing among other mesmerizing valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan. The best times to travel here are summer and spring, as roads can be blocked by snow, making the valley inaccessible and rocks too cold to climb. Astore is also an excellent place to camp with its scenic beauty. Skardu – surrounded by the enormous mountainous ranges of Karakoram and Himalaya, is considered to be the center for activities like mountain climbing, trailing, and trekking.
3. Fishing in the freshwater of natural lakes!
Whether it’s recreational or you’re attempting to catch a meal, it can be a fantastic way to unwind and shed modern-life-stresses. Sadpara and Kachura Lake are popular for activities such as Trout Fishing and require a fishing license. Information and licenses are easily accessible at fisheries offices in towns. So grab your rod, fishing line, sunglasses, and some buddies and enjoy the serenity of the water for a couple of hours. Fishing gear can be purchased and rented at cheap prices in many places around the district. Capturing and cooking your own food experience like this is as near as we can get to our primitive side in modern times.
4. Hey, could you guess that tree?
You don’t have to be a botanist to be interested in distinctive flowers, premium-grade fruits, high trees that are a specialty, exclusively to this part of the globe. While Hunza is amazing throughout the year, one of the best times to visit the region in the Spring, also known as the Apricot or Cherry Blossom season. You can grab a book to read up more about the interesting species of plants found in this area. Many visitors from around the globe travel this season to explore the valley covered in layers of pinks, whites, and greens! Spring unfolds with almond trees soon followed by the blossoming of apricot, plump peaches, delicious cherries, soft pear, and juicy red apples.
5. Relax with yoga or your meditation of choice!
Breathing in and out to fill up your lungs with pollution-free air is an enticing experience on its own – not to mention the health benefits it has on the body and mind. Places such as these are considered a safe haven for people seeking meditation and spirituality. I am incredibly lax, so these activities are always a challenge to me, but I don’t believe anybody will really argue about the advantages of yoga or meditation.
6. Go swimming!
Put on your bathing attire and hit the shores of your favorite lake. Altit Pari and Nasirabad are well-known spots to enjoy swimming in crystal clear waters of melted ice coming straight from the mountains. Jump off the boat or pier, use a pool noodle, float in the water, or go all-out to bathe in natural springs. If you’re looking for Water Rafting you should consider visiting Neelum valley, it is one of Azaad Kashmir’s most beautiful valleys, hosting several streams of freshwater, forests, and lush green landscapes. The rivers Neelum and Jhelum are perfect for summer white water rafting.
7. Stargazing on Top of the World!
If you’re at Hunza – given that it’s the roof of the world – you get to witness miraculous events at dawn at dusk. Watching light rays reflect on top of the peaks, hues of whites & blues turning into tangerine glow is an ethereal experience. Regardless of whether it’s over the water, over the hills, over the fields, or trees, the sunset is always exceedingly mesmerizing in Northern Areas. At night time, clear skies away from hustle bustle & stale air of metropolis can be quite captivating to observe and stars appear to be indeed much closer to the earth.
8. Meet new people!
That’s right, exploring the land isn’t enough, you can’t truly experience a culture without knowing its people, folks from the north got some fairly intriguing tales to tell, they’re famous for their endurance -which is a given considering their harsh living environments, colorful clothes, peculiar traditions, au-natural food (secret to their long lives) and most of all hospitality!
9. Clean up your campsite
Leave with a positive message. Reports of a staggering amount of plastic waste & litter ruining the natural beauty of these places are quite the topic of debate nowadays, a good example is a situation in “Saif-ul-Malook”. The responsibility of preserving the natural beauty of these fairy meadows falls onto our hands too. We can play our part by cleaning our plastic waste and avoiding dumping the garbage around. If you can’t seem to find a garbage bin nearby, make sure that you put your litter in a bag and carry it until you discover one instead of throwing your trash in the water or stacking it around sideways and bushes!
10. Attend some local festivities & events!
There’re plenty of colorful festivals that take place at different spots in Northern Areas all year round, with the most notable being the Spring Festivals – a good example is, the traditional “Ginani” festival, which is celebrated from 21 to 25th June in Hunza. Polo tournaments are also organized for tourists and are a great pleasure to watch. If these top 10 fun activities are not exactly your cup of tea, fear not as you can enjoy plenty of other activities such as horse riding, visiting historical sites, and wildlife/nature photography. Ready to pack your bags and hit the Karakoram Highway? Check out when our next tour leaves! (link to tour updates page)
Writer: Sheeza Khan