An Epic Cultural and Hiking Tour to Pakistan

Wander With Wonder – Discovering Wow Moments Around the World or Across the Street

Pakistan is an exceptional country with warm and friendly hospitality, stunning scenery, and various hiking trails. Read on for what to know about booking a cultural and hiking tour to Pakistan.

“What do you think of my country?” asks the smiling man as he turns around while walking down the street. Smiling, I replied, “I love your country. The people are friendly and helpful, and the food is delicious.” The man thanked me and continued walking. This was a question people often asked when I was traveling in Pakistan on a cultural and trekking tour.

People are curious and are happy to see a foreigner visiting the country. Someone will stop and ask if they can help or if you need something. One woman—a doctor for speech pathology—gave three of us from my travel group a ride home from the shop because she said it was too hot to walk the 15 minutes back to the hotel.

There are many reasons to visit, including the people and the landscape. While the cities are great places to explore, visiting the North for hiking is also essential. I decided to book a cultural and hiking tour to Pakistan with Ready for Road because I wanted to hike and did not want to deal with the logistics myself, and it was an excellent way to meet other people.

Getting to Pakistan

I flew into Lahore because my tour started here. It was a two-and-a-half-hour direct flight from Oman. Some airlines may first stop in Dubai or Qatar. Other airports to fly into include Islamabad, Karachi, and Gilgit.

The Anarkali Market in Lahore sells clothing, bags, and more. Photo by Erin Coyle

Safety for a Cultural and Hiking Tour to Pakistan

I never had an issue of safety while I was in Pakistan. I arrived a few days before my tour began. I walked around the streets of Lahore with no problems and took tuk-tuks—a type of motorbike taxi. Locals will want to talk to you because they are curious and want to know what visitors think of their country. When walking on the streets, some may ask guests if they need any help; they are genuine and want to assist if they can.

Walking around the markets in Lahore is safe, and the shop owners will not haggle. I was with two other women from my group at Anarkali Market in Lahore, and we needed to take a tuk-tuk to a bookshop, but we didn’t know how to tell the driver the location. One of the fabric shop owners helped us and arranged the price and driver for us.

This is me riding in a tuk-tuk. Photo by Erin Coyle

Culture and Hiking Tour to Pakistan

As mentioned above, locals will welcome anyone to their country. It is easy to have conversations with people. Walking around Lahore, I noticed a faded red building and peeked through it. Someone motioned for me to come toward security. This building was Punjab University, and a former English teacher invited me to sit with him and three guards over tea and biscuits to converse. We discussed my role as an English as a Second Language teacher abroad and compared notes about students. Nearly an hour later, I had to leave to head to the market.

Whether staying at a guesthouse, homestay, or hotel or walking around the streets, expect generosity when traveling around Pakistan. There will always be someone offering chai (tea) or a meal. The warm and friendly hospitality is another reason to go on a cultural and hiking tour to Pakistan.

A pot of Chai with black tea and milk. Photo by Erin Coyle

Hiking in Pakistan

Another reason to visit Pakistan is for the hiking. The peaks, mountains, and surrounding scenery give the illusion that everything is fake. I kept waiting for someone to remove the movie set. My group flew from Islamabad to Gilgit in the North. Each hike had its unique landscape.

This is one of the views when hiking Eagle’s Nest. Photo by Erin Coyle

Fairy Meadows

Expect to walk about two hours to reach your stay for the night. The graveled path sometimes has slight inclines with some steep sections. Trekkers will be surrounded by Himalayan pine and other spruce trees, with views of Nanga Parbat, the ninth-highest mountain in the world. I was not expecting to see so many trees along the way, and I needed to find other words to describe the scenery besides ‘amazing, beautiful, and wow’ while I was hiking. Riding a donkey is possible for those who do not want to walk.

This is part of the Fairy Meadows trail. Photo by Erin Coyle

Nanga Parbat Basecamp

The trek begins from Fairy Meadows with loose stones and a flat gravel path until a short break at Beyal Camp after about forty-five minutes. Climbers will walk past tall pine trees, and then the break area is an open field with wooden cabin hotels on one side and houses for locals on the other. Thirty minutes later, visitors will reach the Nanga Parbat viewpoint and catch glimpses of glaciers and mountains. Some stay here, while others continue to the basecamp.

The beginning starts on a narrow gravel path close to the edge with loose rocks. Pay attention to your feet and put one foot before the other. I needed assistance from the local guide a few times because I did not trust my feet so close to the edge. At one point, hikers will walk through snow, mud, and grass. There is a steep ascend toward the last forty-five minutes. The last part is challenging because of the slipping in mud and snow, making you want to stop; however, reaching the end is worth it. Hikers will climb 300 meters (almost 1,000 feet) before reaching 3,980 meters (13,057 feet). The views of Nanga Parbat Peak and the snowy caps seem surreal when reaching this point.

This is Nanga Parbat Basecamp. Photo by Erin Coyle

Naltar Valley

Blue Pool Lake starts the forty-five-minute hike to reach Naltar Valley’s water source. The first fifteen minutes require walking around boulders before stepping on a flat grassy path. No one is around; simply nature with its brownish/moss-colored valleys, mountains, and peaks. I felt as if I was walking in a painting. Hikers will climb around small boulders before reaching the water source. On one side is sulfur-colored water with glaciers and mountains; on the other, there is a small stream of water, glaciers, and mountains. Those not wanting to do this hike can walk near Blue Lake while waiting for the group to return.

One of the Naltar Valley views reminds me of a painting. Photo by Erin Coyle

Eagle’s Nest Route While Hiking in Pakistan

From Karimabad, this two-hour hike combines walking across one sturdy and safe wooden swinging bridge, around boulders, and on a narrow grassy path near the edge. Hikers will also have views of valleys and mountains in forest green and brown colors. I enjoyed the variety of the trail and scenery. At the end of the route, hikers walk past guesthouses and tuk shops that sell drinks and snacks, which are part of Eagle’s Nest. Visitors can also walk five more minutes to the viewpoint to see mountains, valleys, trees, water, and villages. It is an alluring sunset spot.

A lovely view at the end of the Eagle’s Nest trek. Photo by Erin Coyle

Baskochi Meadows Trek

The two-hour hike is part flat, with some loose rocks and other parts walking around boulders. The steep ascent is difficult for about forty-five minutes. I took several water breaks during this ascent. Walking on a very narrow path close to the edge for about ten minutes will be required. Not trusting my feet again, I had someone take my hand while I walked here. The views of the turquoise Attabad Lake and mountains on either side are worth it.

The stunning view of Attabad Lake. Photo by Erin Coyle

Ghulken Black Glacier

The trail is a mix of small loose rocks, flat gravel, and going around small boulders. Some flat parts of the path are muddy and icy, so be careful when walking. There is a less narrow path close to the edge just before the viewpoint, but this one was wide enough, so I did not need help walking. Walking up and down a rocky path is sometimes required, so be careful because the rocks can be slippery. The views of snow-capped mountains and glaciers are stunning. It took us about four hours to reach, but we stopped for an hour for a swim and snack break at Borith Lake.

This is one of the views while hiking the Ghulkin Black Glacier trail. Photo by Erin Coyle

General Information About Hiking in Pakistan

Wear hiking boots when trekking. When starting the trail at Fairy Meadows, those who do not want to hike can take a donkey. The prices vary and could change, but expect to pay between $12-16. Taking the bus and meeting fellow travelers later in the day is also possible with a group.

For those visiting Karimibad, it is a laid-back town with souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes. Guests can relax while taking in mountain views, stacked layered houses, and hotels on the hill. Make sure to buy some dried apricots at one of the shops.

Guests can enjoy some tea or coffee while admiring this view in Karimabad. Photo by Erin Coyle

Additional Details for Your Cultural and Hiking Tour in Pakistan

Below are some other tips to keep in mind before traveling to Pakistan.


It may take two to three weeks to get an e-visa, so apply early. The price varies depending on where travelers are from. Mine cost $60. Immigration will ask for a copy of the visa grant notice upon arrival.


Visitors will need Pakistani Rupees for markets, tuk-tuks, food, and taxis when visiting Pakistan for culture and trekking. There are ATMs around Lahore and a couple of money exchange offices. Check the times for the money exchange because most will close during lunchtime.

How to Dress in Pakistan

It is best to avoid sleeveless tops and shorts above the knee. Women should wear skirts, pants, or dresses below the knee and will need to cover their heads when visiting mosques. Visitors should also take off their shoes before entering mosques. Bring a neck gaiter or a scarf for sun protection and the dust. The mountains will be cold, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so bring a jacket and a hat.

My group at Badshahi Mosque. Photo courtesy of Anjum

Getting Around Pakistan

Visitors can download the In-drive app, similar to Uber, except drivers can bid once a passenger enters a price. I had issues using the app, so when I wasn’t with the group, I took tuk-tuks around Lahore or walked. It’s important to be able to stay in touch while traveling in Pakistan, so I recommend purchasing an e-sim card. Remember, there is a separate network in the North.

Several roads, including the one to reach the starting point of Fairy Meadows, the path leading to Naltar Valley, and the road traveling from Gilgit to Islamabad, are narrow and winding. For those who experience motion sickness, bring pills along.

Jeeps are the mode of transportation to drive to the starting point of Fairy Meadows. Photo by Erin Coyle

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Ready to Travel to Pakistan for a Cultural and Hiking Tour?

Pakistan is an exceptional country with warm and friendly hospitality, stunning scenery, and various hiking trails, resulting in one of the most incredible trips I have taken. I would recommend a cultural and trekking tour to Pakistan to everyone. The best months for trekking are May through October. To book with Ready for Road, go online or check out their Instagram pages @readyforroad and @readyforroadpk. They will make sure travelers have a memorable trip.


An Epic Cultural and Hiking Tour to Pakistan