Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, the country of Pakistan might not have made the news for the very best reasons. From a tourism standpoint, that's not always a good thing. But maybe one day, people will get to know how wonderful it can be.
One of the most famous places in Pakistan is its Khyber Pass, the natural border to Afghanistan, 3,501 feet above sea level. No, it isn't as high as say K2 or Everest, but the jagged beauty of the Hindu Kush Mountains can still take your breath away.
Pakistan's capital is now Islamabad, but it used to be Karachi. This is home to Auaid-e-Azam-Mazar, the mausoleum to the country's founder. While Islamabad is full of parks & gardens, the National Gallery, and one of the country's largest mosques.
You'll find lots of mosques in Pakistan, as almost 100-percent of the country's 187 million people are Muslim. Arabic, believe it or not, isn't the official language, Erdu is--but English and Punjabi are widely spoken. Whatever you're speaking, just remember to dress modestly; and ask before lighting up a cigarette.
Forget smoking, there's barely enough oxygen to breathe when you've gotten to K2, the second highest mountain on the planet--found close to the city of Kashmir. Peshawar doesn't have high terrain, more like 20 gates along its high city walls.
On top of everything else, Pakistan has a variety of watersports found along Rawal Lake; and the shopping is great pretty much wherever you are. Buy some camel skin lamps, some pottery, or bamboo products to bring back home. You should be careful with antiques more than 50 years old--check with the Antiquities Department before putting it in your suitcase.
You gotta check withe consulate before you leave home--you'll need a passport and visa. Your vaccinations should be updated; and only drink bottled or boiled water during your stay. You could try some tea or chai (not the same thing, by the way), and Tibetan Tea is made with butter--tasty, but not good for anyone on a diet.
Try some Sag gosht, a curry made with lamb. It has spinach in it, so consider it good for you--not just for your tastebuds.
No worries about calories, since you can burn them off getting around Pakistan. While bikes aren't the best mode of transportation in the cities, they're great for getting around in more remote areas. Cities have buses, minibuses, and taxis for getting around. Sorry, no car rentals as driving on your own isn't recommended.
What is recommended is to take Pakistan for what it is; a place with modest nightlife, awesome architecture, and lots of fun by white water rafting and skiing.
Yeah, maybe one day the world will know Pakistan--and not for just what's been in the news.
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