Visit Pakistan For A Memorable Vacation Trip

If you have a small budget and want to visit a country with diverse culture, unspoiled natural beauty, ancient history, centuries old traditions and the delicious food, then there is no place in the world better than Pakistan. The people of Pakistan are so friendly, helpful and hospitable with foreign tourists that you will not only enjoy your stay in this country but also take back home the sweet memories of your visit.

Most foreign tourists are afraid of the security situation in Pakistan and thus avoid visiting this country. In fact, the situation is not really as bad as being projected by the media reports. Pakistan is overall a safe country for foreign tourists though some parts of the country are not safe and must be avoided. I am giving below some safe and worth visiting places. This will be helpful in planning your visit to Pakistan so that you have the safest, most beneficial and enjoyable vacations.

Islamabad

Start your visit from Islamabad, the green and beautiful capital city of Pakistan. Some of the most interesting and must visit places of Islamabad are: Lok Versa Heritage and Museum, Pakistan Monument and Museum, Lake View Park, Saidpur Village (an old beautiful village of the Mughal era), Faisal Mosque (the largest mosque of South Asia). If interested in hiking then there are many hiking routes in the scenic Margalla Hills. Pir Sohawa, on top of Margalla Hills, is another place worth visiting. You can have lunch or dinner at the restaurant there and enjoy the delicious food as well as the fascinating view of the city.

Taxila

If you are interested in the archeological sites, dates back to Buddhist era (600 BC to 500 AD) then go to Taxila, a historical city 35 km away from Islamabad. There are 50 archeological sites scattered in an area of 30 km around Taxila. Some important sites are: Bhir Mound, Sirkap, Jandial Temple, Jaulian Monastery and Dhamarajika Stupa and Monastery. The great Gandhara civilization ruled this part of the world for over 1000 years. If you are in Taxila then you must visit the Taxila Museum which has a great collection of about 4000 Gandhara Art items including the stone Buddha sculptures.

Murree, Patriata, Ayubia

Only 35 kilometers away from Islamabad is the beautiful hill station Murree, called the Queen of the Hills. You can enjoy whole day there walking, hiking, riding the chairlifts or do the shopping. There are many shops on the Mall Road and in the adjacent streets that offer a lot of merchandize of tourist attraction. Many hotels and restaurants are also situated there.

Another beautiful place Patriata (also known as New Murree), is 15 km away from the main Mall Road, Murree. Patriata attracts lot of tourists due to its height and the cable car/chairlift that gives great view of the green hills and the forests. Ayubia National Park is 25 km from Murree and is well known for its picnic spots, hiking places, trails and a chairlift that takes the tourists to a nearby summit for a scenic view of the surrounding hills.

Khewra Salt Mines

Khewra Salt Mines, the world’s second largest salt mines, are 190 km away from Islamabad and the travel distance is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes by road. These mines were discovered by the soldiers of Alexander the Great, who noticed their horses licking the salt rocks while staying at Khewra. In the 13th century, the commercial salt mining started in Khewra. During the British colonial rule, the mines were modernized with the building of tunnels, rail link, electricity and a soda ash plant.

In 2002, the old portions of the mines were converted into a popular tourist destination that attracts around 200,000 visitors each year. Tourists can walk into the tunnel or take a train ride upto the main recreation area where everything is artistically created with white, pink and red salt. There is a mosque, a model of Minar-e-Pakistan (Pakistan Tower), Shish Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) a post office, a restaurant and stalls selling decoration pieces created out of salt rocks. The reflection of light, through the crystal clear salt, make this area look like a fairy tale place where fantasy becomes a reality. There is also Assembly Hall, Brine Chambers, Pulsarat (25 feet long bridge without pillars), salt ponds illuminated with fancy lights and a tree root that does not catch fire. Guides are available there to answer your questions and to give you detailed information about the mines.

Lahore

A 4 hour drive by a car or a luxury bus on the motorway can take you to the heart of Pakistan, the historical city of Lahore. If you are in Pakistan and did not see Lahore then you have seen nothing. Lahore is the centre of educational institutions and universities, historical sites, tombs and shrines, mosques, gardens, arts and literature, folk music and culture, festivals and foods. Some must see places are: Shahi Qila (Lahore Fort), Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Lahore Museum, Tomb of Emperor Jahangir, Data Darbar (Shrine of a Sufi Saint Data Gang Bakhsh who lived there more than 900 years ago), the old walled city and the food streets. People of Lahore welcome foreign tourists wholeheartedly and are very friendly with them.

Kaghan Valley

Kaghan, 270 km from Islamabad is a popular summer resort. It’s a 160 kilometer long valley, starting from an elevation of 2,134 feet upto 13,690 feet. The pine forests, alpine meadows, flowers, crystal clear lakes, and cool mountain streams of the valley all welcome you to enjoy your vacations in this natural wonderland.

The town of Naran in the Kaghan Valley, is a place where most tourists like to stay to enjoy short one day trips to Lake Saiful Muluk, Lalazar, Lake Lulusar and Babusar Pass. Most visited place is the legendary Lake Saiful Muluk which is surrounded by impressive snow clad mountains and crowned by the summit of Malika Parbat (Queen of the Mountains).

Shogran is, no doubt, the most beautiful plateau in the valley due to beautiful natural landscape with wild flowers and lush green meadows. A wonderful excursion trip by jeep from Shogran through an eight kilometer rough road takes you to the height of 2300 feet to the siri and paye, a lush green meadow, from where you can have a spectacular view of Malika Parbat.

Malam Jabba

Malam Jabba is 300 km from Islamabad and it takes 6 hour and 30 minutes to reach there by road. It is an excellent ski resort situated 8,700 feet above sea level, giving great view of the Karakoram range and black mountains. The resort has a ski slope of about 800m which is facilitated with a chairlift. The highest point of the slope is 9,200 feet. There is a smaller slope with ski-lift for amateur skiers as well. It has two trekking trails that pass through Ghorband valley (18 km) and the Sabonev Valley (17 km). Around Malam Jabba area there are two Buddhist Stupas and six monasteries dating back more than 2000 years.

Gilgit Baltistan

Gilgit can be reached from Islamabad in one hour by air and 20 hours by road. Located in the north of Pakistan, the region of Gilgit Baltistan is a paradise for mountaineers and trekkers. The area is surrounded by some of the world’s highest mountain peaks with a height of over 8000 meters. Apart from majestic mountains, the second highest mountain of the world, K2, is located in the Shigar Valley. Some of the largest glaciers outside polar regions are also situated in Gilgit region along with 2200 sq. kilometer of snow covered area; 119 lakes; diverse flora and fauna and 6500 sq. km of forests. The region is well known for its splendor and fascinating scenic beauty. Here the world’s three mightiest mountain ranges: the Karakoram, the Hindukuch and the Himalayas meet.

There are several tourist attractions relatively close to Gilgit city which are worth visiting. These are: Naltar Valley, Hunza Valley, Nagar Valley, Fairy Meadows, Shigar town, Skardu city, Haramosh Peak in Karakoram Range, Bagrot-Haramosh Valley, Deosai National Park, Astore Valley, Rama Lake, Juglot town, Phunder village, Yasin Valley and Kargah Valley.

 

What To Take On A Safari To Uganda

Pack Practical Clothing
One of the most essential items when walking somewhere like the Murchison Falls National Park or in scrubland is a well -worn pair of walking boots. A top tip is to wear them on the outbound flight. If your luggage is delayed you can buy basics locally but not those comfy boots. Although you are heading to a hot climate take a rain jacket. The weather is unpredictable in jungle areas and downpours are common when gorilla tracking. Pack a mix of short and long sleeved shirts. At dusk the mosquitoes are at their busiest and avoiding bites is essential on an African safari. Malaria is a significant risk in Africa so do ensure you have your anti- malarial medication with you as well as insect repellent.

Take Good Camera Gear
If you are planning to go on safari Uganda is an excellent choice as you’ll encounter many different species of animal. Make sure you pack a good pair of binoculars for bird watching and other sightings in top destinations like Queen Elizabeth National Park. Make sure you have zoom lenses and know how to use them as you see unforgettable sights. Do take extra camera cards and a battery pack as you don’t want to run out of power in the safari park. A power pack for charging up equipment is another handy item to take on an African safari holiday when access to a charger may not be readily available.

Have Useful Kit
Many safari holidays involve camping and whilst a lot of destinations are well equipped it is always worth packing a few useful travel gadgets. For a hands free bathroom experience in the dark pack a head torch. These are also useful for those early morning starts to see dawn animal sightings. A good pair of sunglasses is essential too, as is a sun hat. The heat of the day in places like Bwindi National Park can be deceptive and you’ll need to protect yourself against sunstroke. I always take a small notebook and pen to jot down names of plants or animal species and those unique anecdotes from the trackers. They are all too easy to forget after a day of wildlife watching and gorilla tracking.

Uganda safari holidays are an unforgettable experience. By travelling light with the correct gear you’ll have the journey of a lifetime and see more than you ever thought possible. Go ahead and book that gorilla watching experience in Uganda today.

 

Adventures of Trekking to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal

Nepal is a wonderful country that has many aspects of diversity within itself. The most prominent one among the various aspects would be the topography, where the land structure is plain and smooth in the lowlands of terai, isolated valleys among rigged terrains in the hills and majestic mountains in the Himalayan region. Nepal is called the country of the Himalayas and has the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest located at the Khumbu region of the country. Along with Mount Everest, there are many other mountain peaks surrounding Everest as well. Trekking in the Everest Region of Nepal is perhaps one of the most famous trekking destinations for travelers all over the world. The Sagarmatha zone, named after the world’s tallest mountain, is abundant with Sherpa settlements, with Buddhist culture and religion being the majority. That is why, while trekking to the Everest Base Camp, you are likely to come across many monasteries, Gumbas, chaityas and Bihars all along the trekking trail. The path to the Everest Base Camp is decorated mostly with colorful Buddhist prayer flags and carvings on the Mani-stone walls.

The Khumbu region also has Sagarmatha National Park; and while trekking to Everest Base Camp, you would have to hike through the park and get to Namche Bazaar. Adventures in Namche include exploring the village of Namche. It is also called the “Gateway to Everest”, and is a wonderful settlement which provides the first glimpses of Mount Everest and its surrounding peaks. The Sagarmatha National Park is a natural World Heritage Site which has a wide variety of unique flora and fauna preserved within its perimeters. The foliages at the park include mostly alpine vegetations of pine, junipers and cedar trees, along with the national flower of Nepal, rhododendrons. In fact, while trekking to the Everest Base Camp, the trekking trail is adorned with rhododendron flowers blossoming in the colors of red, white and pink. Trekking to the base camp, you will most likely excurse the upper catchment areas of the Khumbu region like the Dudh Koshi River, the Bhote Koshi River Basin and the Gokyo Lakes. Other surrounding peaks of the region include Mount Lhotse, Mount Cho Oyu, Mount Thamserku, Mount Nuptse, Mount Ama Dablam and Mount Pumori among many others. Trekking through the forests of the region to the Everest base camp, you will encounter various avifaunas that inhabit the acreage. The forest provides habitat to at least one hundred and eighteen species of birds, including Himalayan Monal, Blood pheasants, red-billed and yellow-billed choughs. Not only that, the Sagarmatha National Park allows you to trudge through the habitat of rare animals like Musk-Deer, Snow Leopards, Himalayan Black Bears and Red Pandas. Himalayan Thars, Langur Monkeys, Martens and Himalayan Wolves are also found in the park.

Trekking to Everest Base Camp also has the revelation of visiting the Tengboche Monastery along the trail. It lies in the Tengboche Village in Khumjung. It is a famous Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Sherpa people and is also a hub for trekkers in the Everest region. The Tengboche monastery is one of the largest Gompas in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The monastery provides amazing panoramic views of the mountains like Tawache and Everest, and the monastery itself is ornately decorated with precious and religious paintings and murals and is intricately carved. The monastery attracts many trekkers who are on their way to Everest Base Camp.

While trekking, you will also come across a village called Dingboche. It is also called “The Summer Valley”. Excursing from Tengboche, you would come across this little Sherpa settlement that lies in the Chhukung Valley. The Imja River flows directly east of the village. One of the characters of Dingboche is the kilometers of stone walls, built using stones of different sizes that cover the entire valley of Imja. The stones are removed in order to plow the soil and end up being piled one over the other creating the kilometers of wall. It is named the “Summer Valley” because it receives more sun than the village of Pheriche, and is less affected by the icy winds that descend through the valleys of Khumbu.

From Nagerjun, which is a settlement lying just above Dingboche set on the edge of a hill in the Chhukung Valley, you would be presented with Himalayan vistas of Mount Lobuche east and Lobuche west, Toboche Peak; and sometimes, when the weather allows, you can even see the magnificent sight of Mount Makalu as well from here. Mount Makalu is the fifth tallest peak in the world. Trekking to the Everest Base Camp, you would eventually be going to Lobuche as well, and there, you can experience the cyan of the Khumbu Glacier moraine. The Khumbu Glacier is located in the ridge between Mount Everest and Lhotse-Nuptse. With an elevation of four thousand nine hundred meters, it is the world’s highest glacier, and is also one of the largest glaciers of Nepal. The Khumbu Glacier is followed for the final part of the trail to Everest Base Camp. The glacier has a large icefall, The Khumbu Icefall, at its west end.

Reaching the Everest Base Camp presents one with the sublime atmosphere of the mountains. The area is enveloped with snow and is extremely tranquil and beautiful. You would be having the adventure of a lifetime trekking to the Everest Base Camp. Encountering wonderful natural surroundings adorned with emerald foliages, serpentine rivers and rare animals, trekking in the Khumbu region presents you an excellent opportunity to observe and take part in the unique and diverse culture of the people, experience their traditions and customs and visit many religious sites and temples. Trekking to the Everest Base Camp also gives you the opportunity to view some of the most ravishing sights of the mountains, along with dainty picturesque villages and settlements. The trekking journey incorporates all of the aspects of the Everest region to give you an amazing adventure!

With over fifteen years of trekking experience to all the regions of Nepal, Balaram Thapa has a sense of Travel and Adventure in his blood, leaving no landscapes of Nepal unexplored and no mountain unclimbed. It is hard to sum up the achievements and experience that he has gained in such a long time frame. He has led many tour groups through the most challenging terrain and has many extraordinary experiences to share. Travel has been a big part of his life and challenges his obsession. As a keen traveler, he has spent his life exploring the beauty of Nepal and sharing it with visitors to the country. Mr. Thapa is a responsible and caring person who has been able to win hearts of his fellow travelers by his responsible and warm nature.

 

A Mixed Race In Lhasa

In Lhasa, I found myself flirting and making out with a Chinese and Indian mixed race from Hong Kong. Chinese in her features and really dark in her skin – as a tanned South Indian woman, – she was a visual artist and loved drawing and painting. She just separated from her French boyfriend and was upside down. We liked each other, we were good together, doing long walks in the streets of Lhasa, around the ‘Potala’, kissing, touching, and rubbing whenever possible, especially at night, in the darkness of a city completely devoid of light, but of the stars. She did not want to go any further, she was still in love with her former partner, who was also nearby, and liked to draw me in charcoal, portraying my face as her favorite art model.

I was not alone either. At that time, I had a relationship that for long did and did not work, seasoned with little joy and great incentives of suffering, since when, one summer evening, shortly after our second meeting, while rolling a cigarette in the quiet car park of a nearby village cemetery, she told me: “You are my last man”, just after telling me how many lovers she had. That’s when I felt the crushing weight of my puritan upbringing and I felt a fool. From that moment it was so, until a few years later when I finally managed to unhook from her and change course. I loved her but at the same time, every time I looked at her or thought of her, I could not get that army of people out of my mind, which moreover she was from time to time introducing me.

The Chinese depicted everyone she met and knew. She was a portrait lover and kept training by continuous charcoal strokes, which perfectly portrayed the expressive moment of everyone’s soul. I threw that portrait – the copy of it, since she never gave the original – I intentionally lost it in the succession of my travels. When she asked me to sign it, I was upset and I wrote: ‘BHX’. Who is ‘Bhx’? Who knows? The fact is that I was like her, or rather, like her I did not know who I was, and like her I was living, lost in and lost out.

Lhasa, however, was supportive and complicit of an unborn love and play that was what it was, nothing more and nothing less, but that is still in my memory because it was important. I do not know why, I do not know what, but caressing, in the darkness of Lhasa, that unknown dark skin Chinese woman, was something so exotic that more of that I would never be able to think or imagine of. She was beautiful, she was sweet, in the true sense of the word, and kissed well, kissed just fine. I do not remember her name, but her face and smile are engraved in my memory; in the memory of another lifetime.

Dr. Andrea Scarsi is a metaphysician, mystic, and meditator devoting his life to sharing the supreme understanding through direct teaching and books he writes on the subject of spirituality. He loves traveling, and beside India, lived for long periods in the Buddhist Southeast Asia: Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, China and Tibet. Doctor of Metaphysical Science, Holistic Life Coach, Reiki Grand Master, Karuna Reiki®, Crystals, Shaman, and Meditation Master, he’s the author of several books on spirituality and subjects dear to his heart. You can check out one of his websites at: Books by Dr. Andrea Scarsi, where he indicates simple and everyday’s ways to come in touch with your inner self.

 

Best Places To Go For A Road Trip In Europe

Summers are here and do you know what that means? It means that you finally get the chance to flee away from the tedious tasks that you go through every single day. Whether it is school, college or work, by the time the summer vacations start rolling most of us are pretty much tired of our everyday life. However, the summers are when we get the chance to revive ourselves and go on an adventure of a lifetime (Very subtle reference for Coldplay fans). So to help you out with your travel adventures, we bring to you a list of the perfect way to have fun which is a Road Trip. So get cheap airline tickets online and fly to Europe to start one of these amazing road trips in Europe with your friends.

1. From Paris to Berlin
Start at the glamour of the French Capital and move to the depths of the German culture in Germany. You have the option to go from Paris on a cruise to the next country on your route or you can take the highway (not literally) and go on the real time road trip. On the way you can visit Luxembourg City which houses many medieval castles as well as roman styled baths that are surrounded by beautiful Bascillas. Next you get to visit the quaint city of Heidelberg which will provide with the feeling of a small town like never before. And the last point of this trip is Berlin which has a lot of attractions for tourists. And if you’re a football fan then don’t forgot to go for a tour of the Olympistadion and preferably while a match is being held there to get the true football experience.

2. From Bucharest to Bratislava
Travel to Bucharest and then start your trip from this Romanian capital to the Capital of Vienna. Choose your own route and discover the delights hidden in the cities of Transylvania ( which is home to Bran Castle – the place that marks the beginning of the concept of Counts and Draculas) and then travel towards the Hungarian city of Budapest which is also housing many delights of its own (Széchenyi thermal baths). And then conclude your trip by visiting Vienna where you get to explore amazing Austrian architecture.

3. From London to Edinburgh
Start your trip at the capital of United Kingdom and travel all the way to highlands ending your trip in Edinburgh. On the way you get to explore many cities in England such as Bristol, Leeds and Glasgow. All of these places have their own list of attractions that you need to see such as Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, the local pubs of Glasgow and the London Eye in London.

 

Five Tips For a Better Great Wall Hiking Tour of China

Great Wall of China is one of the important ancient wonders in the world. Perhaps, in the world, there is no civilized man, who has not heard about the “eighth wonder of the world (Pre-1900 Creation)” – the Great Wall of China. It stretches from the Liaodong Bay to the northeast of Beijing over North China in the Gobi desert. There are several opinions about its exact length, but what we can say for sure is that it extends to a distance of more than two thousand kilometers, and considering extending from her other ramparts, in an amount to obtain all 6000-6500 km. The Great Wall of China was built by hundreds and thousands of soldiers and workers in ancient times. It seems impossible to understand the hard work and great art of this man-made construction until you will experience it yourself.

• Get amazing experience by visiting Badaling or Mutianyu sections for a different situation. If you want to enjoy wild hiking tracks, walk the track from Jiankou to Mutianyu or from Jinshanling to Simatai.

• Each section has different characteristics that can give you amazing experience at a Great wall hiking tour. Choose the sections carefully by keeping various factors in mind such as budget, the time you have available if you just want to see the wall to see what it is or if you want to enjoy walking to cover the long stretch. The stretches are easy, challenging and sometimes dangerous too.

• One important thing you need to consider is that the Great Wall is located in the mountains. This means two things. First, you choose any section prepared to walk; there are various steps to climb and descend. Second, there are stretches of Wall reachable only on foot, sometimes with long climbs and hilly areas and other much more easily accessible and effortlessly by cable car.

• Regardless of where you choose to explore the wall, remember to bring plenty of water, hat, and sunscreen if you go in summer. In winter, you will find it warm that say it is long but very cold.

• If you decide to go to Badaling or Muyantu, try to reach early in the morning between 7 to 8 am, or go in the afternoon. Remember that Chinese buses arrive between 9 and 12 to attractions, so it’s the worst time to do so.

• A third sector that is qualified to receive tourists is Huanghua Cheng, but it is not suitable for everyone, since the land there is too steep and is in ruins, so you could even climb. If you are adventure lover, you must go for great wall tours for maximum enjoyment and thrilling climbings.

To enjoy the trekking at Jinshanling, you must be very athletic and active. Its difficult routes can make you feel tired on the way. To reach the Great Wall of China, you have to cover a distance of 4 hours. Enjoy your vacations with Great wall hiking tours!