Monday, December 11

Must-See Places in Pakistan

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Want to see towering mountains that seem to stretch to the heavens? How about pristine mirrored lakes that reflect every cloud in the sky? Or perhaps you would like to experience exquisitely ornate architecture? If you said yes to any of these, then you may want to consider touring the beautiful country of Pakistan.

Covering a geographical area that is larger than France and the United Kingdom combined, where does one begin? Perhaps the first stop in Pakistan should be the legendary Kyber Pass. This famous 53-kilometer passage through the Hindu Kush mountain range has been used for centuries by traders, explorers, and the military. The Kyber Pass not only offers exception vistas of the snow-capped Himalayas, but it has also been the site of some of history’s bloodiest and most important battles. One such battle took place in 1842, when 16,000 British and Indian troops lost their lives defending this important mountain pass during the First Afghan War.

Another must-see mountain destination is the famous Silk Road. Used by silk traders for over 3,000 years, the Silk Road is the route traveled by Marco Polo on his journey to China. Travelers along the Silk Road will delight at majestic peaks like Rakoposhi, Diran, and Deobani, as well as ancient cities such as Peshawar.

Pakistan is much more than mountains, however. Make sure to visit the cultural heart of Pakistan, the dazzling city of Lahore. Lahore, which is the capital of the Punjab province, is the second largest city in Pakistan, and is home to many tourist attractions like the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Zoo, and the Shalimar Gardens. These gardens, which date back to 1642, are designated as a World Heritage Site.

After touring the cultural sites in Pakistan, head to the scenic Kaghan Valley for some quiet relaxation. In the Kaghan Valley, a traveler can explore lush evergreen forests and glaciers, or fish for trout in the pristine Khunar River. The Kaghan Valley is a paradise for outdoors enthusiasts with many opportunities for fishing, hunting, hiking, and bicycling.

Finally, no trip to Pakistan would be complete without taking in a polo match at Shandur. Thousands of fans from all over the world gather at the Shandur Polo Grounds each year to watch teams play the sport at the highest polo grounds in the world. This annual tournament is full of music, dancing, food, and of course, highly competitive polo matches. For most Pakistanis, going to Shandur is the social event of the year.

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