This Eid-ul-Azha we have been fortunate enough to be blessed with almost an entire week of holidays. With five entire days of the kids being off school and husbands off work, what better time to plan a short family vacation! Here are some interesting places you could go spontaneously with minimal planning. To incorporate many different possibilities we’ve included our top three destinations within Pakistan and we’ve also included the three most hassle-free international locations. Questioning the viability of staying within Pakistan? Worry not! We’ve picked our destinations such that they offer excellent accommodations paired with soothing picturesque surroundings.
Muzaffarabad is a city/valley located in Kashmir. It is one of the top destinations when it comes to traveling to the mountainous regions of Pakistan. Due to its cocooned position within the city of Muzaffarabad coupled with the presence of picturesque valley, Muzaffarabad offers a great vacation destination. One can bask in the sun, enjoying the cool winds while sipping a steaming cup sweet tea of in the garden of PC Muzaffarabad. You can opt to stay at the hotel reading and recuperating or you could opt for a more adventurous holiday exploring the nearby sight seeing areas. All in all, Muzaffarabad would be a good alternative to the typical Nathia Gali/Murree choice.
Karimabad, located in the heart of Hunza, is one of the most picturesque places to visit. There are many excursions here for the adventure lovers: the turquoise hued water of the magnificent Attabad lake, the historical Altit and Baltit fort, watching the sunrise at Eagle’s Nest, an excursion to Khunjerab pass (Chinese border) or visiting one of the local villages. Karimabad is a completely tourist friendly area, one can enjoy the tantalizing pancakes and apricot jam at Cafe De Hunza or just spend some time shopping for local crafts and specialties in the cobbled streets of Karimabad. After visiting the area, I was absolutely amazed! The tent rooms at the Serena Inn are recommended as they offer the most immaculate view of the surrounding snow capped mountains.
Shigar Fort, Skardu
Shigar fort located in Skardu is also one of the most recommended places to stay. The Serena Hotel is located within the restored Shigar fort and the experience of staying in this hotel is absolutely amazing! The rustic and historical feel of the hotel environment is definitely a unique experience. There are many short and low intensity hikes and the Kachura lake offers breathtaking views. If you do end up visiting Skardu the Deosai plain is also a sight not to miss!
For travel outside the country, these days Baku seems to be the hottest destination. Offering a beach and metropolitan city embellished with historical sites, Baku is the top international pick. An unconventional destination, Baku definitely has more to offer than the typical destination: interesting local cuisine and exotic historical sites. Recently, Azerbaijan has been promoting its tourism industry and so Baku can often be quite a cost effective vacation. The major plus point? Visa on arrival for Pakistani’s!! Definitely one of the biggest pro’s of visiting Baku 😛
Sri Lanka- a popular destination, also offers Visa on Arrival for Pakistani’s. With a mesh of beautiful hilly regions and alluring beaches, Sri Lanka is yet another cost-effective vacation destination. With historical destinations such as Sigriya or exemplars of Hindu and Buddhist Art; Sri Lanka has a bit of everything. Although the city of Colombo is not a highly recommended destination- the many other destinations in Sri Lanka are definitely worth visiting!
Montenegro is another exotic locale recommended for a short trip. Upon research, it shows that for people with a valid UK or USA visa, Montenegro and Georgia offer visa on arrival. The island of Montenegro has much to offer: opal blue water, edged by tower hills specked with red roofed houses. This island is a perfect microcosm of Europe. Although it is not a very well known destination, Montenegro definitely seems like a place to visit!