From magical Himalayan valleys to lunar landscapes of bubbling mud volcanoes, Yugo present Hot List travel destination for 2020 Pakistan offers a variety of exceptional natural beauty.
1. Baltoro Glacier
With 63 km of ice, Baltoro is one of the longest glaciers in the world and leads through the Karakoram Mountains in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Its broad trough cuts through steep mountains, and smaller glacial valleys sneak aside along the way. Not surprisingly, it’s a popular trekking destination from which you can jump to mountaineering destinations like K2, Broad Peak, and the Gasherbrum peaks at the top.
Its meltwater feeds the lush valleys of northern Pakistan. Approach the glacier from the Baltic city of Skardu.
2. Neelum Valley
An emerald green gem, embedded in the rugged snow-capped peaks of Azad Kashmir: No wonder that the Neelum valley bears its name after a gem.
A lost world of green forests, babbling brooks and lush pastures. It is a true oasis in the arid north – a place where people live a simple life and feed on the animals and crops that thrive here.
The best time to travel is when the sun goes out. Visit in the summer and enjoy a festival of apples, apricots, walnuts and plums for which the valley is famous.
3. Hingol National Park
Hingol National Park is a place of beyond beauty: an inhospitable lunar landscape that stretches along the Makran coast west of Karachi.
The elements have carved the rocks of Hingol into mystical shapes – princesses, sphinxes and whatever your imagination can conjure up – and a cluster of active mud volcanoes is pattering and splashing near an azure sea.
The park is famous for it’s diverse wildlife. Eagle-eye observers can observe Sindh leopards, chinkaras, honey badgers and Indian pangolins.
4. Trango Tower
The Trango Towers, a family of rock towers in northern Pakistan, are considered one of the most spectacular vertical alpine climbs in the world. They tower 800 m over the dry mountains that surround them and were first climbed in 1977 and since then have been a holy grail for climbers.
The towers are also a popular destination. Her sheer majesty, which is reflected in a lake below, rewards those who are not inclined to put on a harness and climb.
5. Deosai Plains
Pakistani locals believe that the Deosai Plains is the closest to paradise on earth, especially in summer when this high-altitude meadow is full of millions of wildflowers.
Locals will tell you that it’s a magical place inhabited by fairies. When you look out over the colorful flowers, the green hills and the snow-capped mountains, it’s hard to disagree.
Tibetan wolves, Himalayan ibex, Tibetan red foxes, golden marmots and even endangered Himalayan brown bears are also enchanted.
6. Thar Desert
The Thar Desert stretches across the eastern border to India and forms a natural border between the two countries. In Pakistan alone, it’s 200,000 square kilometers, and the sand dunes are 498 feet high.
Considered the heart of the country, it occupies a special place in Pakistani folklore and art. A place of breathtaking beauty, especially at sunsets when the color of the sand changes and shadows dance across the dunes.
7. Saiful Muluk
Pakistan’s highest alpine lake, the bewitching green lake Saiful Muluk, lies at an altitude of 3,200 m in a valley above Narran, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers.
Legend has it that a prince, Saif-ul-Malook, fell in love with a fairytale princess, and on a clear night when the lake looks like a mirror, the reflections of the stars on the surface sparkle like a magical parade.
However, the way to the lake is not easy. It’s a hot and sweaty two-hour hike up the mountain from Narran, or a hair-raising jeep ride on one of the world’s most dangerous roads.
8. Hunza Valley
Widely Known as Shangri-La, the Hunza Valley is extremely peaceful and beautiful. It’s a popular stopping point on the Karakoram Highway, a green patch in the midst of dry, towering mountains, a country full of rippling streams, lush orchards, and hospitable locals.
The mountains surrounding the valley are littered with medieval forts and offer breathtaking hikes if you feel like energy. Wild animals also thrive here with the valley and the mountains, in which snow leopards, markhorses, ibex and red-striped foxes live.
9. Attabad Lake
The Attabad Lake, which is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in Pakistan, was only created in 2010 and even then under the most tragic circumstances. A massive landslide rumbled through the city, killing 20 people and blocking the Hunza River for five months.
When the blockage was finally removed, a large ethereal blue lake formed in its place, which became one of the most popular tourist spots in this part of Pakistan and is a fitting memorial to those who have lost their lives.
10. Babusar Top
Babusar Top is a mountain pass in the north of the 150 km long Kaghan Valley, which connects it via the Thak Nala to Chilas on the Karakoram Autobahn (KKH). It is the highest point in the Babusar Valley that is easily accessible by car. The Babusar Pass joins KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) with GB (Gilgit Baltistan).