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It should take 4 to 5 hours driving from Islamabad or Peshawar , and 8 to 9 hours from Lahore. From Mingora to Kalam, the road gets quite rough. Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is known for its culture and history. As recently as a year or two ago, foreign travellers needed a special NOC permit to visit Peshawar.

Fortunately, the NOC system has been abolished and foreigners can now visit Peshawar without any hassle!

You can get to Peshawar by road, rail, and plane. There are frequent Daewoo buses from the Rawalpindi Daewoo station to Peshawar. Current ticket prices are Rs. Chitral was actually a separate state up until The valley can only be reached from the south via the 3,meter Lowari Pass now slightly easier due to a new tunnel , or via the north-east by crossing the 3,meter Shandur Pass. Chitral town is a nice place to spend a day or two, soaking in some views of the mighty Tirich Mir 7, m. Getting to Chitral overland takes a while. From Islamabad or Peshawar, the journey is about 10 hours by bus.

The Kalash Valleys are typically the main reason people venture all the way out to Chitral. The Kalash people are an indigenous group who inhabit three valleys near the Afghanistan border. There are three festivals each year that tend to attract the largest number of tourists. I visited during the Chilam Joshi festival, and it was an incredible experience.

Islamabad is a pre-planned city, it has a bunch of different districts that go by short names such as E I found it to be a very unwalkable city, but getting around is easy with the Careem taxi app. Islamabad is home to one of the few backpacker style hostels in Pakistan. From Lahore, you can take a quick hour long bus ride. These buses depart frequently, but you can check the Daewoo website for the exact schedule.

AND THERE I WAS VOLUME III A Backpacking Adventure In Pakistan and China

Lahore is considered the cultural capital of Pakistan. Lahore is also home to a backpacker-style hostel called Lahore Backpackers. From Islamabad, Lahore is a hour bus ride away. Check out the Daewoo website for the most recent schedule and prices. The journey from Karachi to Lahore by train should take between 18 and 20 hours. Some backpackers have been told to leave town right away for their own safety, while others have had to have a police officer accompany them around town.

Getting to Multan is easy — from Islamabad 8 hours , Lahore 5 hours , and Karachi 14 hours , there are frequent Daewoo buses. If coming from Karachi, it makes more sense to take an overnight train in my opinion. The ride will take between 13 and 15 hours. I recommend checking out the Karachi page on WikiVoyage for a list of everything to do in the city.

Many people begin their Pakistan travels in Karachi due to its large international airport. From Islamabad and Lahore, there are long-distance Daewoo buses, overnight trains, and flight connections. Take your pick!

Backpacking in Pakistan Ultimate Travel Guide - October

Sindh is an incredible place. Check out her great Sindh travel guide. The only people who tend to pass through here are overland backpackers going to or coming from Iran. Even then, those overlanders are provided with a police escort until they reach the Iranian border.

Getting between large cities in Pakistan is pretty straightforward — there are lots of different modes of public transportation on those routes. In Pakistan, trains are a great way to travel between the large cities of the south. To see up-to-date train schedules and fares, check out the official Pakistan Railways website. In parts of Pakistan, it can be up to 50 degrees during those seasons, and I can imagine a hour train ride being extremely uncomfortable in that kind of heat. There are some fairly comfortable and reliable long-distance bus companies operating in Pakistan.

Daewoo is great for getting around southern Pakistan, as it only operates as far north as Swat Valley. Buses are comfortable and affordable.

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Check out the Daewoo website linked above for complete route and schedule details. You can view their route schedule and fares here , and even book a seat online. For travel between smaller cities and especially in the north , minibuses are often the only option. When I took minibuses, I would often be bending my neck the entire time to avoid having my head slammed on the ceiling when we hit a bump.

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Drivers will usually wait until the minibus is full of passengers before departing, which can sometimes take a while. I often found it faster to just hitchhike rather than waiting for a minibus to fill up. Locals very kind, and almost every car that had space would stop for me. I highly recommend hitchhiking as a way to get around the Karakoram Highway. All of those routes can take at least a day to travel overland, so flying is a great way to save time.

There are also frequent flights between other cities in Pakistan — useful ones for tourists are likely Karachi-Lahore and Karachi-Islamabad. Lahore and Karachi both have decent metro systems, and a few other cities have bus rapid transit networks. However, I personally recommend using a ride-sharing app to get around. With Careem, you can call motorbikes, rickshaws, and cars. When I was in Islamabad, I could get almost anywhere in the city for less than Rs.

I spent over a month backpacking all over Pakistan, and I think anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks is a great amount of time for your first visit. Fly into Islamabad and spend a couple days exploring Islamabad and nearby Rawalpindi. From there, you can head to Gilgit one night max , and then onto Minapin to complete the day hike to Rakaposhi Base Camp.

After that, spend a few days relaxing in Karimabad and enjoying some good coffee at Cafe de Hunza. Wake up to a cacophony of vehicle horns that lasts from dawn to midnight. Leave the aircon and enter the kind of heat that envelopes you like a hot, damp facecloth. Step into the street and be prepared to side-step the advance of tuk-tuk drivers, shop sellers and street kids all plying for their percentage of your tourist dollar.

We spent a week visiting the must-do attractions, tasted the best of the local cuisine and found a few hidden gems along the way. Tucked away down a narrow alley map away from the bustling main street is the Smyle Inn. We stayed there for a week and loved it.

Its central location is perfect for exploring the streets in the early evening when they come alive with market traders, wandering travellers and all manner of locals set to the mystical background sounds of the local mosque. Choices, choices and more choices!


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Delhi has almost every kind of Indian food on offer and safely sampling at least some of the street food has to be a staple for the intrepid traveller. It takes up to ten years for the human body to become immune to certain types of E Coli and Salmonella! Open from am to pm How much? Home to an Indian staple and something you have to try — parathas.

Watch in wonder as one man rolls out the dough at lightening speed, fills it with topping usually spices and mixed vegetables then throws it to another guy who fries it up in boiling oil.

AND THERE I WAS VOLUME III: A Backpacking Adventure In Pakistan And China

The winding back streets are full of little cafes serving soft, sumptuous Momos, Thali and Nepali style curry. Famed for their fresh bread and vast range of cheeses, the shop is full of tasty snacks like breadsticks and flatbreads, cookies, muesli and jams, honeys and homemade peanut butter. You'll always catch him with a contagious smile on his face. A fun fact about Charles: he is an excellent violinist, playing from a ripe age of four! Cathy grew up in Yunnan Province, China, and was drawn from an early age to cycling.

Her easy going nature and passion for Yunnan's myriad of peoples and cultures make her a favourite with locals and fellow travellers alike. After 10 years as one of China's most experienced cycling leaders showing off her extensive knowledge of back roads, she remains happiest when on a bike! A native of Xi'an, David used to work as an assistant manager in a 5-star hotel.


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  • He is full of smiles, patience, positive energy and always willing to help others. Those who work closely with David describe him to be as bright as the sunshine and optimistic about life. Dr Anderson lives with his wife in a small town near the Lakes District in the north of England.

    He is a family doctor and spends much of his spare time travelling as an expedition doctor. He has more than 10 years of altitude and travel medicine experience. Previous treks and expeditions have focused on the Himalayas, with others in the Scandinavian Arctic and mountainous areas of Africa. He also enjoys trail running, cycling and open-water swimming. A custom made itinerary is the ultimate way to see the world how YOU want.

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    Our well-travelled consultants can give you firsthand suggestions and eliminate any uncertainty with trip planning to ensure you maximise the quality of your experience and get truly off the beaten track. Simply email, phone or visit us to start planning your dream adventure. Immerse yourself in the ancient city of Lhasa, the gateway to stunning rural Tibet and the heart and soul of Tibetan culture. Traverse the Chinese section of the ancient trading route, the Silk Road.