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Journey to the hills of Pakistan

Updated on December 9, 2011
At the Daewoo rest stop on the way to Rawalpindi
At the Daewoo rest stop on the way to Rawalpindi
Some Japanese girls who were travelling around Pakistan
Some Japanese girls who were travelling around Pakistan
Outside the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad
Outside the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad
Mosque
Mosque
Outside the shop where I bought a water Pashmina shawl.  After being told I should have worn a shawl in the Faisal Mosque.
Outside the shop where I bought a water Pashmina shawl. After being told I should have worn a shawl in the Faisal Mosque.
On the road to Murree
On the road to Murree
A small village on the road to Murree
A small village on the road to Murree
Murree
Murree
The hotel in Murree
The hotel in Murree
A view outside my room in Murree
A view outside my room in Murree
We bought Pistachio nuts here
We bought Pistachio nuts here
An advert for Knorr and typical English flowers
An advert for Knorr and typical English flowers
This is a stall where I bought a grain of rice with my niece's name written on it
This is a stall where I bought a grain of rice with my niece's name written on it
The man writing on the rice grain
The man writing on the rice grain
A shop in Murree that sells only shawls
A shop in Murree that sells only shawls
Murree the day after the rain
Murree the day after the rain
This man was outside the bus station in Murree
This man was outside the bus station in Murree
Abbotobad
Abbotobad
Here I wore a shawl in the mosque in Abbotobad
Here I wore a shawl in the mosque in Abbotobad
All these children were very happy to be photographed
All these children were very happy to be photographed
Some boys, I think they were coming out of school
Some boys, I think they were coming out of school
A street in Abbotobad
A street in Abbotobad
Abbotobad is very clean and the climate similar to England,and the air is very fresh
Abbotobad is very clean and the climate similar to England,and the air is very fresh

September 2005 I travelled to Pakistan for the first time. After spending almost a week in Lahore the next leg of my journey was to Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Murree. We took the Daewoo bus first to Rawalpindi. There was a group of Japanese students who were travelling through Pakistan. They felt perfectly safe and I think as long as people are sensible Pakistan is as safe as most countries. (Except the border areas of course).The day after arriving we went to the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. Unfortunately, I cannot find many pictures. It had rained in the night and the day was very humid. I also had begun to feel a little unwell.

The mosque is a very spectacular building, with several levels and very shiny marble floors. As the floor was wet from the rain I found it very difficult to walk with bare feet. I expected to go sliding across the ground at any second. The main prayer room is large and with a light in the middle like an orb. I went in and sat for a while absorbing the peace and tranquility of the place. After I left and was outside, a mosque guard came up and told me I should have a shawl at all times in the mosque. In Lahore no one had said anything and I didn't think it was so important but after that I always cover my head in a mosque. (There is a sign before you arrive at the mosque saying people should have their heads covered, but I didn't have anything with me).

In the main shopping centre I bought a very nice blue water pashmina shawl. It is my favourite and I wish I had bought more. On my second trip to Pakistan in 2008 I bought a large number of very beautiful pashminas but did not find any water pashminas like that one.

Arriving back in Rawalpindi we went to Subway because we did not know the best places to eat and it is food that is safe. But in the evening we had an excellent filet steak at the Pearl Continental Hotel.

Next day we took a taxi for the two hour journey to Murree. It took us along some very hilly roads with sharp drops down. The walls that had been built a long time ago are crumbling in places and it is possible to see places where maybe drivers had gone over the edge. I was glad to get up to the top. Murree is a very clean place with fresh air and a climate similar to England. It is a popular place for tourists in summer away from the heat of the lower areas. When we left Islamabad it was very hot but in Murree we needed jackets part of the day.

Murree has lots of shops and attractions, like the man who writes names on grains of rice and puts them in a small magnifiying container on a thread to wear around the neck. I bought one for my niece and her two first names are quite long but he got them on the rice. I bought a couple of things in a gift shop, pistachios from a man who had every kind of dried fruit you could want. I also bought some material from a man who had huge sacks of it. The quality of cloth in Pakistan is excellent, especially the lawn.

Over the next few days I developed a stomach problem and besides eating Pringles, plain yogurt and bananas I was afraid to eat much. As a result, I did not get to see any of the attractions of Murree because I had to stay in my room for at least 2 days. One day rained the whole time but the next day was warm and sunny so we went for a walk. Outside the bus station there was a man selling flutes so I bought one to take back home.

My journey to Abbotobad came after I had visited Faisalabad and Khewra. This was just a one night stay but I saw the mountains and met some very friendly children who were happy to have their photographs taken. I visited a small mosque here too.

I only have happy memories of Pakistan and would like to visit again very soon. There is so much more to see. Mostly, I would like to visit Murree again, I missed all the good places there and I like to be near mountains. I am not a climber but I like to see them.

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    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 2 years ago

      Thank you. I really liked Murree. Because of a stomach problem I didn't see as much as I wanted. Like going to Pindi Point, etc.

    • Ayeshafarid profile image

      Ash 2 years ago from USA

      Awesome travelogue about murree. Really enjoyed seeing the pictures.

    • TheMisterWriter profile image

      TheMisterWriter 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Sure, thank you. I will start writing today and will be hopefully done in a few days. I will make sure to add pictures too. \

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 2 years ago

      Thank you for reading my hub.

      Yes, do write a hub on Lahore, I haven't been able to visit lately and Lahore has changed since I was there. There is the new Metro, for example. I look forward to reading it when you write it.

    • TheMisterWriter profile image

      TheMisterWriter 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Excellent Hub Humm! Your articles on my country just make me grin ear to ear! I visited Lahore recently and will write a hub on it soon. Should i write a hub on it? :)

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 2 years ago

      Thank you for reading my article. I liked Pakistan and felt at home there.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 2 years ago

      Thank you for reading, I am happy you liked my hub.

    • profile image

      Maribeth 2 years ago

      Thanks for the insthgi. It brings light into the dark!

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 4 years ago

      Oh, I didn't know. But if you don't have a Kindle a free app for the computer is available from Amazon. Kindle books are a lot cheaper, the paperback version is printed by Create Space, Amazon's free publishing but they are quite expensive, in my opinion. Sales of the book so far are only for Kindle.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      I checked amazon.ca and they are only available in Canada on Kindle.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 4 years ago

      I have written 2 books called Pakistan seen through my eyes. One about Lahore and one about Abbottabad. They are on Amazon. They haven't been published in Pakistan. There is no Amazon in Pakistan yet.

      Thank you for your confidence about my writing.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      May be one day you will think writing a book on your travelogue and include Pakistan in it. I am sure that will be a best seller in Pakistan.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 4 years ago

      I am glad I was able to do that. I really enjoyed my visit to Pakistan and I miss it too even though I was only there for 2 months altogether. Thank you for reading.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      You have written a great hub on a region I grew up and used to visit a lot in the 80s. Some of my pictures of Pakistani wildlife were also taken in sub-Himalayan hills near Rawalpindi-Islamabad area.

      Your hub (the travelling, shopping and eating) reminded me of a super-awesome trip that my parents and us siblings made in the hills starting from Rawalpindi and then visiting Murree, Nathiagali, Ayubia, Abbotabad and back. That was back in the late 70s. Reading it was pure nostalgia. Thank you for bringing some great memories back.

    • profile image

      Ahsan 4 years ago

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 4 years ago

      Thank you. I like it especially when people from Pakistan or nearby countries like my hubs about Pakistan.

    • tanveerbadyari profile image

      tanveerbadyari 4 years ago

      Thanks a lot for this beautiful hub about your journeys to Pakistan.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 5 years ago

      Thank you. I am very happy that you liked it.

    • geetika iyer profile image

      geetika iyer 5 years ago from India

      WOW! This is the first time i am reading any travel article on Pakistan. I am so glad that i found you. I like people who travel. Great experiences here.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Thank you for reading. We cannot stay home for fear that something might happen. We could be attacked in our own street.

      Pakistan cannot be blamed for all the ills of the world. There are far more dangerous places.

      I always felt safe in Pakistan and hope to visit again soon.

    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks for a nice hub about my country. There are problems but just let me know which country is safe? I went to Italy last year and there were two attempts to relieve me of my possessions. I recently crossed into Kenya from Tanzania and was fleeced of $50. Why blame Pakistan for all ills.

      I had bad feelings for Uganda but found it most safe and peaceful in East Africa.

      Thanks once again, seeing is believing.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      That is true. Only people who actually go to Pakistan see how it really is. Many believe the scare stories in the media and don't go. I am glad I did. Thank you for reading my hub.

    • profile image

      Proud Pakistani  6 years ago

      The sad thing is that International Media never shown positive sides of Pakistan.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Thanks for reading. I do not use Facebook but I will have a look at your site.

    • profile image

      pakadventures 6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures you are welcomed to share your adventure with us on our fan page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pakistan-Adventures/...

      and also visit us at www.pakistanadventures.com to see more amazing places in Pakistan.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Thank you, it was a fascinating journey and I look forward to my next visit, maybe next year.

    • Jaspals profile image

      Jaspal Singh 6 years ago from India / Australia

      Fascinating journey and fantastic way to share. Awesome Pictures

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Thank you very much. It was a wonderful journey.

    • LittleFairy profile image

      LittleFairy 6 years ago

      Awesome pics! Love your descriptions of the various places too :)

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      It definitely is! I am glad you found this interesting. Thank you for reading.

    • aslanlight profile image

      aslanlight 6 years ago from England

      That's incredible about the man writing on the rice grain! I found your hub interesting, and I'm sure Pakistan is amazing to visit.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Ye, Murree is the place to go to get away from the heat of other cities. I remember how hot and humid it was in Islamabad and then when we reached Murree it was like English weather. Murree is also so clean.

      I am glad you enjoyed my hub. Thanks for reading.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Thank you for reading my hub and sharing the beautiful photos. I hope I visit this place someday.I like to walk but am not a hiker, I am afraid.

      But that does not stop me enjoying the beauty of Pakistan.

    • profile image

      Abraham 6 years ago

      Hummingbird, good to hear you liked the trip Pakistan. I see that you went to Muree but you missed far more beaty just few miles from Muree.

      It's called Nathia Gali. Just one hour trip from Muree, it's breathtaking. Pakistan's oldest Church is there which is made of wood. If you like trekking (not sure I spelled that right) then you got to do it on Mukeshpuri and Miran Jani, you'll love it.

      And if you are bit more hardcore hiker then I'll tell you untouched beauty up in the mountains. It's called Haramosh, it's in NWFP, very near to Gilgit. Also, words largest meadows can be found in the same area.

      Just look at the pics of Nathia Gali

      http://www.google.com.pk/images?q=nathia%20gali&am...

      Nathia Gali is between Abbtobad and Muree. You can go there either cities.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Thank you for reading it. I am glad you liked it. I certainly enjoyed the experience.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. The pictures you have used in this hub are beautiful. I enjoyed reading your hub.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Hi, Gabriel. I got a visa and bought a plane ticket then stayed in hotels. Simple. Thanks for reading my hub.

      Pakistani music, glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      Pakistani music 6 years ago

      great journet for sure....

    • profile image

      Gabriel 6 years ago

      Cool post,I really enjoyed it! :) Have a question,though? How did you arrange for travelling to Pakistan? I used this site for calls from the UK:

      briing.com/cheap-calls/pakistan.php

      It was cheap, and much,much better than skype! haha Sorry,a bit off topic,I guess! :)

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

      Thank you for reading it. I am glad you enjoyed it.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 6 years ago from USA

      What a journey and an education. I wish I felt safe enough to travel the world. But, I can read about it from your hubs!

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Thank you for coming back.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Hey there! I just came by to have another look and say hi. Hi! I do love your pictures. They soothe me, so I'll be back. Thank you Dear!

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Thanks for reading my hubs. I don't go on Facebook. But I am glad you enjoy my hubs enough to want to talk to me.

    • profile image

      Kooki Naeem - Naeem Iqbal 7 years ago

      I sure am. I am sorry for the mix up but I thought it would be easier for you to dig kooki naeem on Facebook. Though you can reach me on my email too: naeemeqbal@gmail.com

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Are you the same person as Naeem Iqbal who wrote the other day.Thank you for the offer.

    • profile image

      Kooki Naeem 7 years ago

      Anytime Hummingbird! Just dig me on Facebook and let me know when you are in town. I go by kooki naeem on Facebook. I will be more than happy to show you around the good old Walled City.

      Regards,

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Thank you for reading my hub. I hope to visit Pakistan again and want to see more of the country. I am glad you enjoyed my hub.

    • profile image

      Naeem Iqbal 7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your profound travelling account. Murree is known as the queen of hills. Firhill Villas is is a nicely tucked place - paces away from the Mall Road offering solitude with homely comfort, doesn't break the bank. Of course, one would be better off exploring the gulliat region. Places like Donga Gali with an exquisite place to stay at like Mukashpuri - a hotel preserved from the colonial. Not to mention a winding walking trek amidst thick pine forest with gorgeous views of ravines on the way to Ayubia chair-lift. Bourbon with it's Pearl Continental sprawl offers posh ambience with breath-taking views of Kashmir on a clear day. Patriata is where you spend the day hopping chair-lifts and cable cars to reach the summit.

      Of course, as a native son, I would love to take you on a walking tour of Lahore Walled City and show you gems like "Masjid Wazir Khan" (The Vizier Khan Mosque) - an excellent example of Moghul architecture set in fresco painting should you visit us again!

      Kooki Naeem

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      They are not useless comments.

    • PBR profile image

      PBR 7 years ago

      Yup do visit... If mountains impress you then NWFP(Khyber Pakhteen khwah) province is the place to go... Murree is in Punjab and is not much above sea level.... However I won't even recommend going all the way to K2(the second highest mountain peak in the world) and climbing it to reach the peak (LOL!). I say this because I am so glad you liked my country so I am eager to tell more. :P

      Anyways, I won't be wasting precious internet space with my useless comments. :D

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      I wanted to travel more but there wasn't enough time. I hope to do that on another visit. I

      I am glad you liked the photos. Thanks.

    • PBR profile image

      PBR 7 years ago

      You came to Pakistan and didn't go beyond Murree? I mean you didn't visit Kalam Kaghan Sawat etc???!!! Murree is nothing and there are much much more beautiful valleys than Murree.

      Anyways liked the pics!

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Thank you for reading. I really did enjoy the visit. I will be back.

    • gulnazahmad profile image

      gulnazahmad 7 years ago from Pakistan

      Vow! you have mentioned the names of the places so well, hope you have enjoyed the trip:) Its the cultural heritage of these places that is important but unfortunately so much is getting destroyed now. I hope you will come back to Pakistan again.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Thanks for coming along.

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 7 years ago from South of France

      What a fascinating trip - thanks for sharing!

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      I am glad you liked this hub. I went to Pakistan because I have friends there. I visited them and we travelled around together.

    • perihelionecho profile image

      perihelionecho 7 years ago from Michigan

      Awesome post Hummingbird! Can I ask, why did you choose to visit Pakistan? It seems you've traveled all over the world and seen many things. It isn't very often that you hear of a person who is traveling to Pakistan, and normally they have a certain reason (family, business, etc.). I was just wondering what made you choose beautiful Pakistan as your next destination.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Thank you. It was a fascinating journey for me too. I think the best holiday I had ever had.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      This is a fascinating journey! I surely enjoyed this Hub. The photographs are excellent as is the writing. Thank you.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Thanks, that is so true. I am glad you like my hub.

    • profile image

      Lahoreee 7 years ago

      I love this hub. It has so much to tell. Poor people but rich at heart.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      I thought you would like this. There wasn't time to visit Swat in 2005 and then when I went again in 2008 there were the troubles and so it wasn't possible. But they are places I definitely want to see. It certainly is breathtaking and majestic.

      I am looking forward to your next hub. Best wishes.

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 7 years ago from uk

      Beautiful hub....and I almost traveled with you with each picture! wow, I never realized you've been as far as Muree and Abottabad! Aren't those mountains such breathtaking? And I loved the vendors too. Did you get a chance to visit Swat, Kallam and Kaghan Valley? Those are some of favorite places on this earth! Such a pity so much natural beauty has been destroyed though...by the earthquake and War both.

      Anyway, loved this as well... and am planning to do one on northern pakistan myself so will link this to mine! Take care...and keep sharing! :)

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image
      Author

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      Thank you DjBryle for reading my hub. I am glad you liked it.

      Also, breakfastpop, it is a fascinating country.

      Micky Dee. It is beautiful and I think Abbotobad would be very good for cycling. Murree is all hills. So you would need a lot of energy for that but it is a very beautiful place.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      It looks beautiful. You make it sound so beautiful too. It looks like great cycling country! Thank you Hummingbird!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Fascinating hub about country I know very little about. Thank you.

    • DjBryle profile image

      DjBryle 7 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

      Thanks for sharing such wonderful experience! =)