Islamabad: Pakistan has been ranked the world’s top travel destination for 2018 by the British Backpacker Society, which described Pakistan as “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination”.
The British Backpacker Society announced the results, ranking the world’s top 20 adventure travel destinations for 2018, which also includes Russia, India, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and China.
“Pakistan is the clear winner of the British Backpacker Society’s top 20 adventure travel destinations 2018 and we encourage keen travellers to book a trip now” the backpackers, who have travelled to over 101 countries, shared on social media.
Talking to Gulf News, Samuel Joynson and Adam Sloper of the British Backpacker Society said the amazing hospitality and breathtaking natural beauty of Pakistan won their hearts.
“Pakistan is one of the friendliest countries on earth. So, prepare to be invited into people’s homes, take more selfies than you can count, and have every preconception that you ever held about this area of the world changed forever,” Samuel said.
Joynson, 26, and Sloper, 25, both from southern England, visited Pakistan in the summer of 2016, spending a few days in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad, from where they travelled through the Kaghan valley to Naran, later heading to Babusar Top to Gilgit. They completed their journey in the tranquil Hunza Valley, where they climbed to the top of the Hon Pass (4,257m) from Karimabad.
“We chose to climb the Hon Pass as Eric Shipton, one of Britain’s most famous mountaineers, described the view from the pass as ‘the ultimate manifestation of mountain grandeur’, and we wanted to follow in his footsteps and experience this spectacle,” Samuel recalled. “The view from the Hon Pass was indeed the greatest natural sight that either of us has ever seen, and we would recommend it to anyone with a keen interest in mountaineering.”
Sharing travel tips, Sameul says: “Head north to the astonishing peaks of the Karakoram along the unforgettable Karakoram Highway. It is beautiful, exciting and culturally interesting, and travellers are rewarded at the journey’s end-point with perhaps the most beautiful natural sight on earth, the Hunza Valley.”
British Backpacker Society inspires people to travel to rarely visited destinations in the developing world and is followed by thousands of people online.
Discussing the security concern that lurks in the minds of many foreign tourists, Adam has this advice for travellers: “Our advice would be to put preconceptions on the security situation in Pakistan to one side, and conduct some independent research. You should certainly review travel advisories from respective governments, but also speak to local Pakistanis about the situation.
“We believe that travel is at its best when it changes a visitor’s preconceptions, and few experiences achieve this more than travelling in Pakistan” he implored.
In Pakistan, the backpacker duo recommended travelling to Hunza Valley, Kaghan Valley and climbing the Rakaposhi (7,788m) and Nanga Parbat (8,126m) peaks as “the mountain scenery was unimaginably beautiful, and we will remember it forever.” They cherish Pakistan’s magnificent mountains more so because there are no such high mountains in Britain.
The adventurists also insisted that tourists should take the Karakoram Highway as the road from Islamabad to the China border on the Khunjerab Pass offers “the world’s greatest road-trip”.
— With inputs from agencies