Best time to visit Pakistan


The elevation of northern Pakistan, where most holidays occur, mean that travel is influenced by snow. The best time to go to Pakistan is May-Oct. Cities can hit over 40°C in midsummer, as can the Chitral Valley; while the Hunza Valley might dip below 20°C at the same time. Most trips reach over 3,000m, so have fleeces ready. Shandur Pass, for example, can see snow in July. You’ll need many layers for the Kalash Winter Solstice Festival but, as visitors are rare, you will be well wrapped in the warmth of their welcome. And wine.
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Things to do in Pakistan

Although the mountains of Northern Pakistan are some of the most accessible in the world, views of the seven, 7,000m peaks of the Hunza Valley all drivable to, there is also plenty of adventurous hiking to be done. From the open pastures of Fairy Meadows, hike into the foothills of Himalayan great, Nanga Parbat. Or Dosai Plateau which leads to Skardu, the gateway to the Karakoram Mountain range. You can even hike a glacier, aptly named climate change-wise, Hope Glacier.
The Karakoram Highway, or KKH, is the Pakistani section of the ancient Silk Road. Most holidays are small group tours, starting in Kashgar in China and passing through the Karakoram Mountains; they’re not for vertigo sufferers. Although even the most hardened travellers will be rendered weak at the knees by some of the stupendous sights en route to Islamabad or Lahore.
Visit the Kalash people of the Kalash Valley for a most humbling and uplifting cultural exchange. Completely different from other Pakistani cultures, they are a pagan people said to be descendents of four Greek soldiers of Alexander the Great’s army. Their subsistence husbandry, fruit farming, bright traditional clothing and festivals that celebrate natural wonders are all, in themselves, wonders to behold. As is their wine.

Things not to do in Pakistan…

Try and do it alone. You really need to travel with responsible tourism experts, who know the highways and byways like the back of their hands. Security is still an issue in Pakistan, but similarly policing and protection of tourists are high on the agenda for the country nowadays.
Presume everything is basic. You’d be wrong. Pakistani tourism was booming pre 9/11 and there are many tourism providers not only switched on to sustainability but also quality. From boutique hotels in the Hunza Valley, overlooking infinitesimal peaks, to impressive roads along the iconic Karakoram Highway, superb museums in the likes of Lahore, as well as exemplary local guides.
Ignore the fact that Pakistan is an Islamic country. Inform yourself of all the usual dress and behavioral etiquette before you go. At the same time, hospitality is a huge part of the culture, so be prepared to be showered with cakes, sweets and tea on arrival just about everywhere. Bringing some of your own gifts will go down well too.
If you'd like to chat about Pakistan or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700

Pakistan travel advice


Jonny Bealby from our leading Pakistan holidays supplier, Wild Frontiers, named after Pakistan’s North West Frontier:

Tips on what to expect

“One thing that surprises people is that there are very good quality hotels. Particularly in the Skardu area, there are two exceptional, palace style boutique hotels. What people forget is that if you go back to the early 1990s there was a large tourist population throughout the summer. And indeed, when I started running trips there, I had to book hotels and experiences a year in advance. Travelling between Chitral and Gilgit, you would find rafting parties, trekking parties, mountain bikers, horse riders, even people paragliding. You name it. I am not talking mass tourism, but large numbers of adventure tourists. But since the troubles and 9/11, it has really dried up. So, the brilliant thing about travelling in northern Pakistan at the moment is that you have all these wonderful experiences to yourself. And as a consequence, travellers feel more special and the people you are meeting haven’t been in any way changed by tourism.”
“Everyone who goes to Pakistan, the word that always comes back is ‘surprise’. Everyone is always surprised by how hospitable, how friendly and – I know it is a bit of a cliché – at just how welcomed you are made to feel by the Pakistanis. I think there is a sense of gratitude that you are going to their country and treating them normally. And experiencing their country and going home with good stories about it. And they’ll possibly come up to you and say, ‘wow, thank you for visiting, you are very welcome.”

Cultural tip

“Pakistan is where our company started. I wrote a book about it, and it was from that book that I started the company. Wild Frontiers is named after the North West Frontier, which is the province that runs along the Afghan border. I even have a small log cabin in the Kalash Valley and I go up there every year. One of the big draws that people don’t know too much about here is the pagan tribe the Kalash, and we usually spend three days with them on most of our trips. It’s an extraordinary phenomenon that they are still around, really. And one of the main reasons why I started in the travel business.”

And some advice from our holiday reviews:

“Think about what you want before you are there. In this fantastic environment, you can also white water raft, trek, climb, mountaineer... 4 wheel drive etc. I was more than content with the cultural touring, some walking/trekking, however there is so much more there if you are younger and more active than me. Because it is so beautiful and unique you need to plan the other activities in advance. There is no security problem, the food is great and not overly spicy, accommodation is good. I rate it - For beauty 10 out of10. For hospitality and friendliness 10 out of 10. For adventure 9 out of 10, (I took it easy..), could be 11 out of 10 with minimal effort. Comfort, 9 out of 10. Food 8 out of 10, nothing wrong with that, the street food is particularly good, sometimes not a big range to choose from, but for isolated regions it is good. Safety, 10 out of 10!” – Jim Troy
Photo credits: [Weather chart: Fasih Ahmed] [Helpdesk: big-ashb] [Tips on what to expect: Joseph Bautista] [Culture & history tips: manalahmadkhan]
Written by Catherine Mack
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