PAKSITAN Camping Destinations

The travel bug is real, just like it should be. What’s the point of jobs, education and the works if you aren’t going to find time to take a break out from deadlines, meetings, presentations, day-to-day routines and other basic responsibilities us adults are laden with but the figures on your bank balance aren’t coordinating well with the Europe backpacking trip that has been on the list for so long, that the paper is slightly yellowing? Yes, we’ve all been there and if you are a millennial, then you’re probably still there.

But taking a travel break doesn’t always have to be worth trading spare organs on the black market. If you have an inkling of an idea of how travel-esque Pakistan is, the Europe trip will be bumped down on the list. Pakistan is recently named one of the top 10 tourist destinations of 2019 thanks to our otherworldly Northern areas and as best as nature can get along the Balochistan coast line. Forget taking time off work and visa queues (and painful rejections!) and make weekend getaways your new thing. And is accommodation really going to be a problem? People, camps and tents are Instagram-appreciated these days. Point made.

Derawar Fort, Cholistan Desert

Sindh is not the only province that features bravura of architecture, handed down to us from our ancestors that breathe life into the desert. The infamous Derawar Fort in the Cholistan Desert in Punjab brings the questions raging in the back of the mind; just how did men build this square fortress of forty bastions? How did they manage to foster grandeur of this scale with a few hand tools and wild life? How about you ponder the thought and let it itch you over a night full of stars, in the shadow of the fort itself? This is soon becoming a happening camping destination and for all the right reasons.

Ranikot Fort, Sindh

With a slight touch of mystery and a whole lot of remote, the Great Wall of Sindh is expeditiously becoming a sought-after camp-able spot in Sindh. For too long, we have divested this province from the tourism scene by labeling it barren lands with nothing to see. The beauty of this age is that everything is worthy; it all depends on how you see it. While the largest fort in the world has rested on these very plains for the past seven decades, now is when you let it bask in due recognition and put it on your camping destinations list. Put up a tent and the coo-desert winds shall swamp your realities away. Also, the raging flames of a bonfire and the lit Milky Way shall be a new level of star-gazing goals.

Dudipatsar Lake, Kaghan Valley

How is it possible to make a travel itinerary of Pakistan and not have Kaghan Valley on it? Personally, I’ve had a few trips up north; the green lands and forests as far as the eye can see and the surging Kunhar River underneath is a sight that never gets old. There are a few lakes here, namely Saif-ul-Malook and Lulusar, that have lost their charm, thanks to the tourist invasion and zero maintenance. But to experience the Kaghan Valley anew, the Dudipatsar Lake, adorned in the shadow of snow clad peaks and hidden away in the Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park, this is an out of the world camping spot. The best part is that it’s secluded so you might not run into any humans there, and the herds of sheep will keep you company.

Astola, Pasni

Island of the Seven Hills, Astola, is a destination unheard of by the mainstream masses and a quick Google search of this coastal spot shall leave you baffled. The Balochistan coast is without a shadow of a doubt undeniably beautiful. Open skies and jade blue waters shall hypnotise you and the discomfort of camping shall become an afterthought. The still virgin island is a 25km ride from a fishing village called Pasni and thats makes it a perfect camping spot for a weekend getaway. Take a dip in the magical waters, it cleanses you of worldly stresses and when you are back at your desk on Monday, the corners of your lips will slightly curl up at the thought of the weekend and even Monday-ing will be a breeze.

Rakaposhi Base Camp, Nagar Valley

What you have to do is to put on your big boots for this one because camping here is not going to be a breezy affair. This will be an avalanche, literally. In the Nagar Valley, sits the mighty Rakaposhi, the 27th highest peak in the world and the world from this height is a flash of white, the silence is cold but the peace is unparalleled. This is a whole new terrain for camping because there won’t be any meadows here, just frozen land as far as the eyes can see and it’s going to get cold. Only make this trip if you are sure that you can brave the cold. But here’s why you should be including this on your camping list. It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the one that you can brag about for a long time.

Are you geared?

Camping sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it? But imagine being under geared (yikes!). I’m talking out in the open, middle of nowhere saying goodbye to essentials like running water and privacy. But also, getting in touch with nature, a peek into the lives of people who rough it (that’s putting it mildly), getting firsthand experience of being a new kind of independent on the easily taken granted for luxuries of life. It gets the adrenaline going and the feeling is exhilarating. Don’t YOLO it, you need to be prepared. Here are the camping essentials you should never leave without:

• Tent

• Sleeping bag

• Flashlights/headlights

• Extra batteries

• Camp chairs and tables

• Duct tape, multi-tool

• Kitchen equipment and fire starting kit

• Maps, navigation tools (not all places support connectivity)

• Appropriate clothing as per your stay

• Not-so-basic first aid (take more than just bandages and gauzes, taking in account of unpredictability of the trip)

• Toiletries

• Sunscreen and other related products

• Fully charged power bank

Make a checklist and double check it, it’s not paranoia. And when you get there, don’t do it just for the ’gram. •