With tourist destinations reopening across the country, many of our favourite celebrities travelled up north to enjoy the scenic beauty of Pakistan.
Restricted by advisories on traveling abroad, Pakistan's jet set has been getting its holiday fix in the country's picturesque north. We've seen and salivated over pictures of magnificent mountain ranges, lovely orchards, bubbling streams and rivers and heavenly sights, brought to you by some of our favourite stars including Anoushey Ashraf, actor Osman Khalid Butt, designers Amir Adnan and Huma Adnan, PR guru Frieha Altaf and many others. They kept their Instagram feeds populated with images of their Rakaposhi adventures and we followed, making a bucket list of our own!
PR guru, Frieha Altaf shared that she visited Chitral, Mastuj and Shandur. AI visited these areas of the Hindukush Mountains and Kalash Valley and most of it was done by road, she told Instep, adding that they spotted Pakistan's national animal, the Markhor, by the river in Chitral. The Markhor, listed as endangered just a few decades ago, have survived extinction and now stand at a head count of 3500.
Frieha went on to say that for her the high point of this entire trip was Mastuj. AI had never even heard of Mastuj, which was about a four-hour drive from Chitral and it is like a tiny valley by the river; it was gorgeous and quite serene. We also drove to Shandur, which is at an altitude of over 12,000 feet and is the world's highest polo ground where the Shandur Polo Festival takes place every year. The drive was precarious but there was a lot of history and we stayed overnight in tents by a stream. This was the first time I was camping outdoors.
Amir and Huma Adnan
Designer couple Amir and Huma Adnan took a flight to Islamabad and then continued by road, all the way up to the Hunza Valley; they went through the Baltit Fort, Lulusar Lake, Saiful Muluk National Park while taking in the magnificent Rakaposhi Mountain, which is the highest and most iconic on the Karakoram range. Huma Adnan's Instagram handle gives an insight of the stunning places that the couple visited.
They went to the incredible Rakaposhi view point, where they stopped while on their way to Hunza and according to Huma, Ait was breathtaking. She also shared that road trips are a must when exploring northern Pakistan to truly enjoy the beauty of these areas. They jet-skied in Gilgit's infamous Attabad Lake, that has a dramatic mountainous backdrop.
Hiking all the way to Eagle's Nest, a high point in Karimabad, Hunza, the designer says that it was quite a task to reach Eagle's Nest, which is surrounded by all the mountain ranges including Nanga Parbat, Golden Peak, Rakaposhi, and Ladyfinger Peak.
We all know how passionate about traveling Anoushey Ashraf is. A self-confessed travel junkie who loves exploring new places, she decided to take a trip from Karachi to Khunjerab, the border of China, by car with her dog. Talking to Instep, Anoushey shared, AWe went from Karachi to Sukkur, then to Islamabad. From there we headed to Naran, Karimabad (Gilgit-Baltistan), Hunza and finally to our destination, the Khunjerab Pass.
According to her, it wasn't crowded at all and she ensured that she followed all SOPs, wore a mask, gloves as well as maintained social distancing. AI just kept my space while enjoying the beauty of nature around me, she said.
For Anoushey, the only reason behind this trip was to get out and explore Pakistan as much as one possibly could. ASince I have been to Hunza multiple times I thought I'd lead the way and guide my family and friends a little bit as well. To get to Khunjerab with my dog, my best friend, was an adventure and that was the highest point of my trip, she shared. Anoushey further stressed on the fact that this was not a bad year and it is much cheaper and safer to travel in your own country. ASince tourism has been low due to the pandemic and if you want to spend some money on going out, I think we should put it back into our own economy.
Osman Khalid Butt
Another Pakistani celebrity who headed to the northern areas of the country is Osman Khalid Butt.
The actor, writer and choreographer travelled to the Fairy Meadows near one of the base camp sites of the Nanga Parbat, Gilgit-Baltistan. At an altitude of about 3,300 metres above the sea level, in 1995, the government of Pakistan declared Fairy Meadows a National Park. OKB shared a scenic picture on his Instagram and captioned it, ABusy resetting my brain.
Aiman and Minal Khan
Sister duo Aiman and Minal Khan went to Swat, enjoying their brief trip along with the family. They went to Malam Jabba, which is a hill station in the Hindukush mountain range in Swat Valley. Apart from that they also visited Kalam Valley along the bank of Swat River, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Surrounded by lush green hills, thick forests and alluring meadows and waterfalls, Kalam is located at an elevation of about 2,000 metres (6,600 feet) above sea level. The twins shared loads of pictures of the scenic landscapes on their Instagram.
One of Pakistan's most famous photographers, Tapu Javeri shared captivating images of Nathiagali on his Instagram handle. Known for its scenic beauty and amazing hiking tracks, Nathiagali is situated between Murree and Abbottabad.
Tapu Javeri has not only captured incredible Nathiagali and its iconic church through his lens, but there are breathtaking pictures of an upside-down Nathiagali, a ladybug, full moon breaking through the clouds, lightning and a monkey on a roof; he's captured 360 degrees of nature around him.