A Malaysian embarks on an incredible 13-day adventure in Pakistan
Many of my friends, colleagues and family members first thought I was crazy when I told them that I had been on a tour in Pakistan a few years ago. I didn’t care about their opinions, thankfully, otherwise I would have missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
When our tour group arrived in Peshawar, about 50 km from the Afghan border, in September, our bags were all loaded onto a minibus. It was a first for me because I had never had my luggage placed on a bus like this. We weren’t worried as our driver made sure all the bags were well secured and covered.
If you are planning a visit, the weather in September is simply pleasant – neither too cold nor too hot. But bring a light jacket and some warm clothes just in case.
Traveling by road in the country can be tiring, but seeing the mountain ranges and beautiful lakes made up for it all.
Pakistan is known for its 1,300 km Karakoram Highway, or China-Pakistan Friendship Highway. This highway is full of indescribable views of the highest mountain ranges in the world. This makes the Karakoram Highway, one of the highest tarmac roads in the world, a popular tourist attraction.
Due to its high altitude and the harsh conditions in which it was built, the highway is often called the eighth “wonder of the world”.
However, I found the Karakoram Highway very bumpy. But we had a great driver who tried to make the ride as smooth as possible for everyone.
We also visited the Khunjerab pass, which is the border of Pakistan and China. On our way, we passed some truly beautiful places including Lake Attabad, Passu Cathedral and Passu Glacier.
Khunjerab Pass is a scenic and breathtaking landmark located in the Karakoram Mountains. It is the highest paved border crossing in the world – China’s Xinjiang Province is across the border.
After that we went to Glacier Hopper where we got a few jeeps to see the awesome glaciers. We had so much fun driving around in our jeeps.
Speaking of vehicles, I have come across many interesting ones in Pakistan. The trucks in particular were fun to watch as many of them were fully decorated with plastic flowers, stickers, calligraphy and other things.
You can also find the Pakistani version of a “tuk tuk” called a qingqi everywhere. These motorized rickshaws are named after the Chinese motorcycle brand Qingqi.
people and food
I loved the kids I met in Pakistan because they were so sweet and polite. We gave them snacks and ballpoint pens, which they love and have even argued over. I will be sure to bring a few boxes of these pens if I ever go back to the country in the future!
Before my trip, I didn’t know that Pakistan and China had such a close relationship. You can see evidence of this all over the country, or at least in the destinations we visited.
I even met Chinese engineers working in Pakistan and had a friendly chat with them.
When it comes to food, you don’t have to worry about eating anything ‘strange’ in Pakistan. In fact, you will enjoy the kitchen.
For breakfast, we were usually served naan chana or paratha, and lassi to drink. Many of the dishes are actually quite similar to what we have in Malaysia.
All the hotels we stayed at in Pakistan had modern amenities and facilities. Some of these hotels such as Silk Route Lodge, Hunza Serena and Eagle’s Nest in Duikar had amazing views of the snow capped mountains so we took tons of photos. We even climbed a mountain to see the sunrise (you can also see the sunset at the same place) near one of the hotels.
Our last day was spent hanging out at the Islamabad hotel, which was a large property. Security was very tight at the hotel, but that didn’t stop lots of photos and videos being taken at the many photo-worthy spots around the place.
If you are looking for a good destination to visit after the pandemic, I would definitely recommend Pakistan.
The opinions expressed are entirely those of the reader.