Prince William and Catherine’s journey to Pakistan is historic as it marks the first official visit by a British royal in 13 years. The last was made by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall back in 2006. Their visit will certainly put the country back on the map as they’ve made it look extremely appealing for travelers of every type.
“From the modern leafy capital Islamabad to the vibrant city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the North, and the rugged border regions to the West, the visit will span over 1,000 kilometers, and will take in Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes,” said a statement by Kensington Palace on the official website of the British royal family.
Pakistan is right in the middle of India, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. As a result, it’s at a unique meeting point of South Asia, the Middle East, and Central Asia. It experiences all four seasons, so the climate supports a wide range of wildlife, fauna, and flora. The landscape is as diverse as it is beautiful!
Unfortunately, however, the conflicts over the past 15 years have kept Pakistan sadly unexplored. This last visit was described as “the most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations,” according to the statement by Kensington Palace.
Despite the fact that the security situation has improved quite a lot and that most visits that stay out of high-risk areas are deemed safe, the U.S. Department of State advises visitors to “reconsider travel” to some parts of the country, while warning them “not to travel” to other parts as “some areas have increased risk,” the department notes. To read it for yourself, you can see the official U.S. government website.
Read on to learn about some of the best places to safely visit and activities to take part in Pakistan!
Go birdwatching in the Himalayas
William and Catherine went to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad first on the tour. There, they visited with workers and schools in the Margalla Hills, part of the Margalla Hills National Park at the foothills of the Himalayas.
In this region, you’ll find many hiking trails as well as scenic areas for spotting wildlife. Some of the most fascinating to see are Egyptian vultures, falcons, hawks, spotted doves, leopards, deer, and wild boar.
Celebrate Pakistan’s diverse identity
An evening reception was held in William and Catherine’s honor at the Pakistan Monument, the country’s spectacular national monument and museum.
The building was magnificently designed in the shape of a flower with several petal structures as different sections, representing the various cultures and regions of the country. The complex as a whole being brings it all together to symbolize the nation’s unity.
Absorb Karachi culture
Karachi is undoubtedly Pakistan’s most populous city, but it’s also it’s most cosmopolitan. As a result, it’s a cultural heart. Among the sites to be seen, there are the impressive Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum (dedicated to Pakistan’s founder Muhammed Ali Jinna), the National Museum of Pakistan (displaying the country’s earliest artifacts, like 2 million-year-old Stone Age axe, for instance) and cathedrals, halls, and other traditional structures of architectural interest.
Dive into Karachi’s beaches
Pakistan also has a number of beautiful beaches which you’ll find on the coastal fringes of Karachi, like the popular Clifton Beach and the family-friendly Sandspit, or the quieter French Beach, Hawkes Bay, and Paradise Point. Each one is just about 25 to 45 kilometers from central Karachi.
Admire Lahore’s imposing architecture
Lahore houses some of Pakistan’s most magnificent architectural wonders, like the 17th century Badshahi Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in the world, for instance.
The grandiose building is known for its eye-catching silhouette of minarets, marble domes, and a grand courtyard with a capacity for 100,000 people.
Get lost in the gardens of Lahore
You’ll also find the 16th century Lahore Fort across the way from the mosque. Visitors can spend hours here in the maze of marble pavilions, palaces, and gardens. If you’re looking for somewhere a little less crowded, you can check out the Shalimar Gardens as well as the decorated tomb of Emperor Jahangir, which is hidden in a garden on the outskirts of Lahore.
Walk on water in the Hunza Valley
Finally, spending a day navigating the many water channels, starting at Ultar peak, in the valley along Pakistan’s northernmost edge in the Gilgit-Baltistan region bordering China and Afghanistan is one of the most ideal ways to appreciate Pakistan’s beauty.
While in the area, you’ll also want to see the Baltic Fort as well as the 1,000-year-old Altit Fort and village of the same name along the Hunza River.