Pakistan things to see and do

Tourist offices

Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC)

Flashman's Hotel, The Mall, Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan
Tel: (51) 927 1591 or 1592.
www.tourism.gov.pk

Things to see and do

Rawalpindi

Located on the Pothowar Plain, Rawalpindi lies waiting to be discovered. The old part boasts fine examples of local architecture and bazaars crammed into the narrow streets where craftspeople still use traditional methods.

Chitral

In the shadow of the Hindu Kush, lies the wild and beautiful area of Chitral Valley. North of Peshawar, Chitral administrative centre is a laidback and welcoming town, and feels quite different to the rest of the country, not least because of its remote location. Travellers tend to visit Chitral en route to the Kalasha valleys where the Kalash people, the last of the non-Islamic tribes of Kafiristan, live. This valley is noted for its hot springs and trout-filled rivers. It is also a good base for a few days before setting off to the Shandur Pass or Peshawar.

Cricket and polo

Watch a cricket or polo match. Polo is particularly popular in the northern towns of Gilgit and Chitral and is a wild form of this traditional game. Popular in towns in the northern areas of Pakistan, which can still afford to gather a team together and to put the spectacle on, the game is accompanied by music and a lot of bravado from the crowd. The first game of the season tends to be after the Spring Festival, towards the end of March.

Islamabad

Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan since 1963, has an air of spaciousness, with parks, gardens and fountains below the silhouette of the Margalla Hills. It is quite different to its neighbouring twin city, Rawalpindi. In the midst of these lies Daman-e-Koh, a terraced garden with an excellent view over the city. The city is also home to the world’s largest mosque, Faisal Masjid whch can accommodate 15,000 people. The majestic white building comprises four 88m (288ft) minarets and a desert tent-like structure, which is the main prayer chamber.

The National Gallery of Pakistan is also warrants a visit. It is home to an impressive four-storey art gallery and a 400-seat auditorium. For a really unusual day out coincide your visit to Islamabad with a trip on a steam train. On the first and last Monday of the month, the Gandhara Steam Safari heads to and from Rawalpindi to Golra; your fare will include a visit to the railway museum too.

Karachi

Observe the wonders of Karachi, Pakistan's former capital and its largest city, situated on the shores of the Arabian Sea. The magnificent Quaid-e-Azam's Mazar, the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan, is made entirely of white marble with impressive north African arches. Other places to visit are the National Museum and the beach at Clifton.

Karakoram Highway

Follow the Karakoram Highway, which follows the ancient Silk Road over a breathtaking knot of mountain ranges that incorporates the Himalaya mountains, Hindukush and Pamir. The trail runs along the Indus River and to the beautiful Gilgit and Hunza valleys.

Kashmir

See some of the highest mountains in the world in Kashmir, including the famous Nanga Parbat and the second-highest mountain in the world, K2. The Baltoro Glacier and the Batura Glacier are the largest outside the polar regions.

Khyber Pass

In the land of the Afridis, view the Khyber Pass, the 1,067m- (3,501ft-) high break in the sheer rock wall separating Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Malam Jabba

Ski at the Malam Jabba resort in the Karakoram range.

Peshawar

Visit Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province. The city is surrounded by high walls with 20 entry gates. Much of the surrounding area is still under the jurisdiction of tribal law. These areas can only be visited with a permit from the relevant authorities.

Rawal Lake

Take a day trip to Rawal Lake. Situated about 8km (5 miles) from the capital, the lake has an abundance of leisure facilities for watersports and a picnic area.

Rawalpindi

Also located on the Pothowar Plain, Rawalpindi lies waiting to be discovered. The old part boasts fine examples of local architecture and bazaars crammed into the narrow streets where craftspeople still use traditional methods.

Shah Faisal Masjid

Witness the Shah Faisal Masjid (mosque) in Islamabad, which can accommodate 10,000 worshippers. The majestic white building comprises four 88m (288ft) minarets and a desert tent-like structure, which is the main prayer chamber.

Sindh

Tour the Sindh region, known for the remarkable quality of its light. The two main places of interest are Mohenjodaro, a settlement dating back 5,000 years, and Thatta, notable for its mausoleums and mosques. There are sporting facilities on Lake Haleji.

Swat Valley

Discover the beautiful Swat Valley, east of Chitral, an area of wild mountains and fantastic alpine scenery. In ancient times, it was home to the famous Gandhara school of sculpture, a manifestation of Greek-influenced Buddhist forms. The ruins of great Buddhist stupas, monasteries and statues remain. It also boasts popular mountain retreats such as Miandam and Mingora.

Take to the water

Go white-water rafting or canoeing. Both are increasingly popular on the rivers of the north of the country.

Taxila

Near Taxila, explore Jaulian and Sirkap, two excavated sites that date back to the Buddhist Gandhara period.

The Punjab

Discover The Punjab. Lahore is a historic, bustling city with buildings of pink and white marble. Visit the Badshahi Mosque (one of the largest mosques in the world, and an example of Moghul architecture rivalled only by the Taj Mahal), the beautiful Shalimar Gardens and the Gate of Chauburji.

Trekking and mountaineering

Pakistan contains five of the world's highest peaks and several of the world's largest glaciers. The northern areas are the most popular for trekking, with Gilgit and Skardu being good starting points for trips.

Edited by Jane Duru
Did you find what you were looking for?
Newsletter