The Best Backpacking Spots in Pakistan

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Pakistan was ranked the number one travel destination in 2018 by the British Backpackers Society, a rarity that garnered much media attention from giants like Lonely Planet and Gulf News. The ranking highlighted how Pakistan was the ultimate destination for adventure tours and had the most majestic sights and the friendliest people. It is indeed about time that the outer world sees the country for what it really is: a wondrous mesh of spellbinding landscapes, unique and rich cultures and ridiculously friendly people. Let us share with you the best spots for backpacking in Pakistan for a great budget adventure.

1. Gilgit city region

Gilgit is the main city you can arrive in from any international airport, whether it’s Lahore or Islamabad. You can take buses like NATCO or Daewoo or you could fly there, although flights are only scheduled once or twice a week because of high altitude weather. The city of Gilgit itself is not a place where you will stay for long, but rather, pass through to explore the region.

Guest houses with WiFi can be booked for a 1000 rupees (US $9) but if you fly in, you will be energetic enough to see the city by night after a day of exploring. The bus ride from Islamabad, however, is tiring and long. Gilgit is the main hub of the region with a visa extending office. Spots to see in Gilgit include the Gilgit River and the rock carving of Kargah Buddha. Couchsurfing is another option.


2. Fairy Meadows

Fairy Meadows is an incredible spot to see. The lush green meadows with sky scraping peaks make an exemplary spot to camp. Reaching Fairy Meadows from Gilgit requires taking a two and a half hour public bus ride to Ranikot Bridge for about 200 rupees (US $1.8) and from there, a private four-wheel drive needs to hired, which costs 7000 rupees (US $70). To bear this cost, it’s best to have six friends with you to share. Sometimes, you can share with locals who may offer to join you or even take you for free if you are solo.

The jeep only goes to a trail ahead from where there is a hike of two to three hours, depending on your speed. While the hike is simple for most people, a horse can also be hired. Upon reaching Fairy Meadows, you can camp, but make sure bring along your own tent or rent a room. The beautiful site of Nanga Parbat is surely worth the while and the meadows themselves are magical enough to house legendary fairy people. From here, you can hike to Nanga Parbat’s (the ninth highest mountain) base camp and engage in exhilarating glacier treks to other camps higher up.

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