With the security situation much better in Pakistan, many foreigners have started coming to Pakistan for traveling and tourism purposes. But even after big names like Mark Weins and the Food Ranger came to Pakistan, there is still some doubt in the West that Pakistan is still not safe.
To show them how wrong they are, many backpackers from various countries are not only visiting Pakistan but also writing tour guides for those who want to come to the country.
Just recently Will Hutton, a backpacker from the United Kingdom completed his second tour to Pakistan and only has good words to say about the country. He also created this humungous guide to help others travel to Pakistan.
This is his journey and the things he had to say about his visit to Pakistan.
Like everyone else, Hutton was told that Pakistan was not safe and that he should not visit the country.
Before I went backpacking in Pakistan, I was unsure what to expect. Pakistan travel advice from my government is basically one gigantic red X. The media has painted the country in an unfortunate light, a fact most Pakistanis are painfully aware of.
But his views soon changed when he first got the taste of what people in Pakistan are like.
Wherever I went, I was greeted by friendly faces and incredibly helpful people.
And later on his journey, he figured out that Pakistan was one of the best places to go backpacking.
relatively cheap travel costs, plentiful treks and truly stunning mountains and you have one hell of a great backpacking destination.
After his initial travels to Pakistan in 2016, Hutton wrote a huge guide. He addressed many concerns and questions other Westerners may have about Pakistan and most of what he had to say was nothing short of good things.
For starters, he had a problem with acquiring his Pakistani Visa.
If there’s one thing that sucks about Pakistan, it’s getting hold of a visa. For most nationalities, visas can only be obtained from the embassy in your country of origin – this means that you can’t get a visa on the road.
But he later found out a solution and described how someone can get a visa for Pakistan easily.
He then talked about his experience with transportation in Pakistan and particularly found Daewoo bus a good service to travel in.
There is a HUGE variety of transport options in Pakistan; the local NATCO buses are usually the best value for money but if you want to splash out on something more comfortable go with Daewoo – I caught a ride inside a Daewoo minibus and it was ridiculously plush.
And he advised against renting a car, instead, he said a bike would be better.
Sometimes, you may need to hire a car and driver to explore an area; cars are expensive in Pakistan. To rent a car and driver for a whole day of gallivanting in Hunza, or to drive up to the China border area, costs around fifty to eighty dollars. I strongly recommend buying or renting a motorbike
Hutton believes the accommodation in Pakistan is a bit expensive, especially during the peak season.
With a few exceptions, much of the accommodation in Pakistan is fairly expensive and not particularly well set up for budget backpackers. On some occasions, police would take me directly to a hotel and insist I stayed there; you can sometimes get out of this but other times you cannot. There is some backpacker friendly accommodation around and, during low-season anyway, it’s possible to score a room for around 500 rupees (five dollars).
While Hutton loved traveling around the country, he did have some trouble staying connected with people.
Pakistan is a great place to unplug… partly because there’s very little wifi around and frequent power cuts in many of the mountain towns. Your best bet for staying connected is to buy a Pakistani sim card
Over the duration of his tour, Hutton went to various cities of Pakistan. He started out with Lahore and called it Paris of Pakistan.
The Paris of Pakistan and the starting point for many a Pakistan backpacking adventure, Lahore is one of my favourite cities in the world. The colours, the sounds, the smells, the vibrant-in-your-face-ness of it all is best experienced on the back of a motorbike
He was even surprised to see Eiffel tower replica and raves in Lahore.
Lahore has everything, even underground raves and its very own Eiffel tower…
He then traveled to Rohtas Fortress and wanted to camp outside the walls but the security guards didn’t let him because of wild animals.
I was hoping to camp within the fort grounds but the Ak-wielding security guards point blank refused me despite me trying every trick in the book. Eventually, insisting I would be eaten by wild animals
And like everyone else, Hutton found Islamabad surprisingly beautiful.
The capital of Pakistan and a surprisingly clean and beautiful city, Islamabad has a few sites worth visiting but can be happily conquered in just a day.
And he is probably the first person to not like Gilgit because of security checks and security forces forcing him to stay in specific places.
I’ll be honest… I dislike Gilgit, try to avoid staying here if possible and simply pass through. you may encounter the police who will want you to check into a specific hotel. I managed to get out of this and went to find my own hotel, taking a taxi (200rs) further into the main town and scoring a double room with passable wifi
He then further traveled north and discovered the great mountains of the country and was blown away by the natural beauty.
And just like everyone else, he found the people of Pakistan some of the most generous people in the entire world.
The Pakistani people are very generous and you will be plied with ridiculous amounts of free food and chai. The friends I made in Pakistan remain some of the best I have made on this trip
He found the Pakistani food delicious too!
The food is delicious (never got sick once!)
And to sum it all up, he concluded that Pakistan was indeed one of the safest countries he had visited.
Pakistan is one of the safest countries I have ever visited and is packed with friendly and inquisitive individuals who are always happy to meet somebody backpacking in Pakistan.
And to all the haters, he had only one thing to say..
The only danger with backpacking Pakistan is not wanting to leave.
More About Will Hutton
Will Hutton runs the blog The Broke Backpacker and is quite popular around the world for his blogs and videos about traveling on a budget. He has been to many countries including Pakistan.
He first visited Pakistan in 2016 and fell in love with the country. He immediately decided that he wanted to explore the country more and returned recently to continue his tour. You can find many of his stories about Pakistan on his blog.