Asia Pakistan

2 Week Itinerary for Pakistan | Best Places to Visit on Your First Trip!

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Words literally cannot describe how much I loved my 3 weeks in Pakistan. Backpacking Pakistan is high up there as one of my favourite trips and to see how much I loved it, the best way is to check out my Instagram Stories (see Lahore & Islamabad here, and the Northern areas of Pakistan here) and my Pakistan YouTube videos!

Pakistan tourism is slowly increasing thanks to the visa process becoming a lot easier in 2019, so now in 2020, you don’t have to be a backpacker or intrepid traveller to visit Pakistan. You CAN visit beautiful Pakistan in 2 weeks, so if you’re bored with the usual 2-week holiday destinations, in this Pakistan travel blog and Pakistan travel guide, this is where to go in Pakistan in 2 weeks!

Pakistan Itinerary

When is the Best Time to Visit Pakistan?

Pakistan is an all year round destination however you can’t visit the whole country all year round! The Northern area of Pakistan is the most popular area to visit in Pakistan for tourists right now and rightly so, it’s stunning and so easy to travel!

When planning your trip to the beautiful Northern areas of Pakistan you’ll want to visit during late Spring, Summer and early Autumn otherwise the mountains are covered in snow and tourist attractions in Northern Pakistan close up. I visited Pakistan in the last week of September and the first 2 weeks of October and although it was a good time to visit and the crowds were less, it was getting chilly.

If you can only visit Pakistan during the winter months like November to April, you’re going to want to visit Southern Pakistan including Karachi and Lahore.

There are many Pakistan itineraries you can do but on your first visit to Pakistan, I think the below itinerary is the best itinerary for Pakistan and I’d recommend you do this between May and early October.

Related Post: Make sure you read my 10 Pakistan Travel Tips to know BEFORE going to Pakistan!

ellie quinn and passu mountains | Pakistan itinerary

In October in Northern Pakistan it was cold at night but hot and sunny during the day!

Best Places to Visit in Pakistan.

There are certain areas of Pakistan that tourists cannot visit, specifically those areas on the western side of the country, and that’s ok because as tourists you wouldn’t want to visit there anyway and there are more than enough places that tourists can visit in Pakistan!

When it comes to safe areas of Pakistan to travel and good places in Pakistan to visit, places such as Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Swat, Hunza, Skardu are all possible for foreigners to visit and most of these are included in the below itinerary!

Map of Pakistan.

Here’s a map which details all of the places to visit in Pakistan I mention below, this will help you plan your trip in Pakistan, especially with the northern areas of Pakistan on the map as they can get confusing!

Day 1, 2 – Explore Islamabad City.

Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan and its airport is well connected with international flights. Islamabad is a pretty new city, it was only built in the 1970s so it’s a great place to start your Pakistan adventure.

Things to do in Islamabad.

Pakistan Monument & Museum.

Faisal Mosque for Sunset.

Margalla Hiking Trails.

Lok Virsa Heritage Museum.

Golra Railway Station and Heritage Museum.

Saidpur Village for Lunch.

Dinner at Monal.

Islamabad is organised into blocks called F-7, G-8 etc and it’s an extremely safe and easy city to see. The best way to see all of Islamabad’s tourist attractions and the best way to get around Islamabad is by Uber which is really cheap and there are always drivers available.

To see a more crazy side of Islamabad, head to Rawalpindi and check out the Bazar’s and Street Food. Islamabad and Rawalpindi are known as twin cities however they are very different!

Faisal Mosque Islamabad sunset | Pakistan itinerary

Faisal Mosque at Sunset.

Pakistan Monument lotus flower with blue sky | Pakistan itinerary

Pakistan Monument.

Day 3 – Fly from Islamabad to Skardu.

Flight from Islamabad to Skardu.

There are daily flights each morning from Islamabad to Skardu with Pakistani Airlines. Do note that this flight along with the flight to Gilgit in Hunza do not always run due to the weather up in Northern Pakistan and are often cancelled and delayed. (I speak from experience!)

However, because Skardu has a bigger airport than Gilgit the planes are bigger and therefore, the chances of them being cancelled are lower so I suggest flying to Skardu first, and make sure you book the earliest flight possible as there are more chances of this one leaving than the later ones!

If your flight does get cancelled Pakistani Airlines will book you onto the next available flight which should be the next day when flying to Skardu. Because you are on a tight timeframe, you may even want to book a flight on Day 2 in Pakistan so if it gets cancelled you have another day spare.

The flight from Islamabad to Skardu is one of the best in the world, it’s essentially a scenic flight as you fly above the mountains the whole way and even go over Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world!

Day 4 – Explore Skardu.

There are a few different ways you can explore Skardu. I stayed in Upper and Lower Kachura Lake for 2 nights, spending one night at each lake. Accommodation around here is limited and relies on you turning up to see what’s available, however, there is a Shangrila Resort on Lower Kachura lake which is really nice and if you are treating yourself to a holiday in Pakistan, I’d recommend booking here. However, if you are reading this because you will be backpacking Pakistan, Motel Tibet is a cheap hotel next to Lower Kachura Lake.

Places to visit in Skardu:

Upper & Lower Kachura Lake

Satpara Lake

Satpara Dam

Cold Dessert

Skardu Fort

Manthal Buddha Rock

The best way to get around Skardu will be to hire a driver for the day. Upper and Lower Kachura Lake are in walking distance but all of the above things to do in Pakistan are further apart.

Related Post: Make sure you read my 10 Pakistan Travel Tips to know BEFORE going to Pakistan!

Upper Kachura Lake and Mountains | Pakistan itinerary

Upper Kachura Lake. It’s beautiful here and quiet, but has limited accommodation.

Lower Kachura Lake Shangrila Hotel | Pakistan itinerary

Lower Kachura Lake also known as the Shangrila Lake as this is the Shangrila Resort Hotel.

Day 5 – Travel from Skardu to Hunza.

Skardu to Gilgit Road.

There is a direct road that goes from Skardu to Gilgit. As of writing this and based on my trip there in October 2019, works were being done on this road which really disrupted the travel along it. However, the works are to make the road much better and therefore make it quick and easy to get from Skardu to Gilgit and the start of the Karakoram Highway.

This is just another way that Pakistan is making moves to improve tourism in Pakistan for both domestic tourism and international tourism and connect the tourist places in Pakistan.

Deosai National Park.

Once the road is finished it will be possible to travel from Skardu to Gilgit directly, however, if you want more of an adventure and you want to take a more scenic route between Hunza and Skardu then I recommend hiring a jeep and driver (foreign tourists cannot rent drive cars and jeeps themselves) to take you via Deosai National Park. You’ll want to leave early in the morning and you’ll need to spend a night in a town called Astore as you won’t make it to Gilgit in one day.

Your driver will know where to take you and where to stop so you can get chai and lunch in the teahouses in Deosai National Park which I loved so much, it was so nice speaking to all of the friendly locals in here.

jeep and lake in deosai national park | Pakistan itinerary

The jeep that we rented along with a driver for 1.5 days!

Day 6 – Drive to Karimabad in Hunza.

The Karakoram Highway.

Ask your driver to take you to Rama Lake this morning before you leave Astore. Make sure they drive as far as they can but you will need to walk for the last part however the views when you get to Rama Lake are worth it.

From Rama Lake, head towards Hunza up the Karakoram Highway! This drive will take about 6 hours and you may want to get your jeep driver to drop you in Jaglot or Gilgit and then get a taxi further North to Hunza from here as otherwise, you’ll be paying for your driver to drive all the way up and then back down again.

We found it very easy to catch taxis, and hitchhike, along the Karakoram Highway. Or you can hire a motorbike in Gilgit and ride as the Karakoram Highway is perfect to ride along!

I suggest heading to Karimabad and staying there for one night as part of your Northern Pakistan itinerary as it’s a great tourist town with very friendly locals, good places to eat, a relaxed atmosphere and it’s one of most beautiful places in Pakistan.

Rama Lake and snow capped mountains | Pakistan itinerary

Rama Lake near Astore.

Day 7 – Explore Karimabad in Hunza.

Things to do in Karimabad.

Baltit Fort

Eagles Nest

Cafe de Hunza

Shopping

Relax!

Baltit Fort and Flowers | Pakistan itinerary

Balfif Fort in Karimabad.

mountains in karimabad | Pakistan itinerary

Mountain view from Karimabad.

Day 8 – Attabad Lake.

Further north, up the Karakoram Highway, is Attabad Lake. This is an impressive blue lake that was created in 2010 because of a landslide which blocked the Hunza River and created this separate lake, now it is a popular tourist attraction in Northern Pakistan.

Boat tours can take you out on Attabad Lake which is well worth doing to see the sheer beauty of this Pakistan destinations.

You can stay overnight in accommodation close to Attabad Lake but I would suggest continuing further up the Karakoram Highway to one of the villages and towns to see even more of the beautiful places in Pakistan!

I personally recommend that you look into Rehman Backpackers which is the accommodation in Hunza I stayed in. Rehman and his Dad- Khan Bhag are very well known in this area of Hunza.

Alternatively, I would recommend staying in a hotel in the village of Gulmit which has plenty of hotels, guesthouses and places to eat with a really nice, local vibe.

Day 9 – Hussaini Suspension Bridge & Hiking in Hunza.

You may have heard of the ‘scary bridge in Hunza’ this is Hussaini Suspension Bridge and you have to visit it on your 2 weeks Pakistani itinerary! The only thing is, is that it is closed to cross during the day and has men guarding it, so if you want to cross it, you’ll need to go before 8:00 am.. and don’t say that I told you!

It would be a good idea to get a local to take you out hiking in Pakistan today because they will know all of the good areas. Because I stayed at Rehman Backpackers, we got to go out with Rehman’s Dad along Husseini Suspension Bridge and then on a 4-hour hike all the way to the village of Passu, including crossing Passu Suspension Bridge which was even scarier than Husseini bridge and through the local fields. I’ll be honest and say we couldn’t have done this without a guide and local so look for some help here.

If you are doing a Pakistan itinerary by motorbike you can bike up to Passu and still see the very famous Passu Cones which are one of the most iconic landmarks on the Karakoram Highway!

If hiking in Hunza isn’t your thing, today you could visit the China Pakistan Border which is just a few hours further up North and the Karakoram highway.

ellie quinn on husseini suspension bridge | Pakistan itinerary

The Hussaini Suspension Bridge!

Passu Cones and Mountains | Pakistan itinerary

The mountain views and the view of the Passu Cones up here are incredible!

Khan Bhag and friend in Hunza mountains

Khan Bhag on the right is Rehman’s Dad and a total legend, I 100% recommend trying to stay with them and meet him!

Passu Suspension Bridge | Pakistan itinerary

Passu Suspension Bridge.. it’s even longer than Husseini Bridge!

Day 10 – Fairy Meadows Hike & Stay.

Make sure you get up early this morning and head back south along the Karakoram Highway, past Gilgit to Raikot Bridge to catch a jeep and then hike up to the Fairy Meadows!

The Fairy Meadows is a green plain up in the mountains, which is common in the Northern areas of Pakistan, however, this one is special and the reason it is one of the best places in Pakistan to visit is because from there you can get an incredible view of Nanga Parbat, the second highest peak in Pakistan (the highest is K2), and the ninth highest mountain in the world! 

From the Fairy Meadows, you can climb even further to Nanga Parbat Base Camp. If you follow this 2 week Pakistan itinerary, you won’t have time to do this but if it’s on your list of things to do in Pakistan and on your Pakistan bucket list, be sure to create an extra day to do it.

I didn’t go to the Fairy Meadows in Northern Pakistan as it started to get too cold in mid-October but I found this blog post from Against the Compass very helpful on how to get to the Fairy Meadows by jeep and by foot when I was planning my Pakistan travels.

Day 11 – Fairy Meadows to Gilgit.

Now you can reverse the journey and from the Fairy Meadows head back to Gilgit but I would take your time as from my experience there’s not really any things to do in Gilgit for tourists.

Here I suggest 2 options to get back down South and back to Islamabad:

1 – Fly from Gilgit to Islamabad.

This flight is the flight that gets cancelled a lot as it is a small plane and a small runway. I booked this flight and crossed my fingers that it did run and didn’t get cancelled and it was fine, so it can be fine, however, nothing is guaranteed. Again, if you do go for this, book the earliest flight with Pakistani Airlines leaving Gilgit to Islamabad to increase your chances of getting on.

You will need to fly on Day 12, not Day 11 as you need a few hours to get down from the Fairy Meadows.

Related Post: Make sure you read my 10 Pakistan Travel Tips to know BEFORE going to Pakistan!

2 – Overnight bus from Gilgit to Islamabad.

If you are worried about the flight to Islamabad, and if you have to leave Pakistan on a specific date and you are going to be tight for time, I suggest getting an overnight bus which will ensure you do arrive back in Islamabad on time.

Day 12 – Gilgit to Islamabad, Islamabad to Lahore.

Lahore is a must-visit place in Pakistan and I don’t think you can do this Pakistan itinerary without going there.

Unfortunately, as it stands there are no direct flights between Northern Pakistan and Lahore and although there are flights from Islamabad to Lahore I found them to be very pricey, and I wouldn’t trust booking a connecting flight from Islamabad to Lahore after flying back from Gilgit in case your flight from the North is delayed.

Luckily Lahore is just a 5-hour bus journey from Islamabad and there are regular, high-quality coaches running all day.

If you feel like you saw enough of Islamabad earlier on in the trip, then I’d suggest flying from Gilgit to Islamabad or in the morning or doing the overnight bus journey, and getting a taxi straight to one of the bus stations in Islamabad to get a bus to Lahore.

I found that I couldn’t book buses online because of my international bank card but I used bookme.pk to help check the times of buses from Islamabad to Lahore and Lahore to Islamabad and then went to the station 45 minutes before to book a ticket at the station.

Day 13 – Explore Lahore & Wagah Border Ceremony.

Lahore is a chaotic city and it will give you a good taste of Punjab. If you have been to Amritsar in India you will notice many similarities.

Things to do in Lahore.

Lahore Fort

Badshahi Mosque

Sulfi Night

Street Food Tour

Wagah Border Ceremony

Badshahi Mosque Lahore | Pakistan itinerary

ellie quinn, travel tomtom, pakistani guide at vaga border | Pakistan itinerary

Seeing the Wagah Border Ceremony is a must-do thing in Pakistan and the main reason I recommend going to Lahore!

Day 14 – Leave Pakistan.

Lahore Airport is well connected with international flights so you could fly out of Pakistan from Lahore. However, if it works out cheaper to get return flights from Islamabad, be sure to book a later flight and get the bus from Lahore to Islamabad in the morning.

 

Make sure you have a watch of my Pakistan YouTube videos and Instagram Stories to help you see just how amazing Pakistan is and why you should visit!

For more of my Pakistan blog posts to help you plan your trip see:

ALL PAKISTAN POSTS

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