Heaven for Adventure Seekers: Pakistan’s Hidden Gems – OpEd


Pakistan is a heaven for adventure seekers and mountaineers. It is located at the cross road of the most exotic mountain range in the world. Here we see the confluence of Himalayas, Karakorum, and Hindu Khush. Pakistan is a land of adventure and tourism, and is home to some of the world’s highest and most beautiful mountains. The country’s mountain ranges offer a plethora of adventure activities for thrill-seekers, from trekking and mountaineering to rock climbing and paragliding. 

In January 2021, two renowned paragliders, Tom de Dorlodot from Belgium and Horacio Llorens from Spain, made history by performing the first-ever paragliding flight over K2, the second-highest peak in the world. The duo flew to an altitude of 7,577 meters, breaking the previous world record for the highest altitude paragliding flight.

The flight took place in Gilgit-Baltistan, a mountainous region in northern Pakistan that is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and challenging peaks. K2, located in the Karakoram Range, is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb due to its steep incline and unpredictable weather conditions.

De Dorlodot and Llorens began their journey in the early hours of the morning, launching from the base camp at an altitude of 5,300 meters. They soared over the mountain, navigating through strong winds and treacherous terrain. The flight lasted for more than an hour, with the paragliders reaching a maximum altitude of 7,577 meters before descending safely back to the base camp.

The historic flight was not only a remarkable achievement for the paragliders but also a significant milestone for Pakistan’s tourism industry. The country has been actively promoting adventure tourism in recent years, highlighting its unique landscape and offering a range of activities for adventure enthusiasts. The successful K2 paragliding flight is expected to attract more visitors to the region, generating revenue for the local economy and creating job opportunities.

Pakistan’s potential as an adventure tourism destination is enormous, with its diverse landscape offering a range of activities such as trekking, mountaineering, skiing, and white water rafting. The government’s efforts to promote adventure tourism have been successful, with an increasing number of international visitors arriving in the country each year. The K2 paragliding flight is a testament to Pakistan’s potential as an adventure tourism destination and is expected to encourage more adventure enthusiasts to explore the country’s natural beauty.

Pakistan is home to some of the highest peaks in the world, including K2 and Nanga Parbat and 12 other 8000ft mountains. These mountains attract mountaineers and trekkers from all over the world who come to challenge themselves and experience the incredible beauty of the Pakistani landscape. The Karakoram Range in northern Pakistan is particularly popular among trekkers, offering various trekking routes that lead to the base camps of different peaks. The region’s glaciers, such as the Baltoro Glacier, are also popular among trekkers.

Rock climbing is another popular adventure activity in Pakistan, with various locations offering excellent opportunities for climbers of all levels. The Margalla Hills in Islamabad are a popular destination for rock climbing, with numerous climbing routes available for climbers of different skill levels. The Karakoram Range also offers excellent opportunities for rock climbing, with various peaks and rock formations that are ideal for climbers.

Pakistan is home to several ski resorts, including Malam Jabba, which is located in the Swat Valley. The resort offers skiing facilities for both beginners and experienced skiers, with several ski runs and slopes of varying difficulty. Other ski resorts in Pakistan include Naltar and Shogran, both of which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Pakistan has several rivers that offer excellent opportunities for white water rafting. The Indus River is one of the most popular destinations for white water rafting in Pakistan, with rapids that range from grade III to V. The Kunhar River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Neelum River in Azad Kashmir are also popular among rafters.

Pakistan is home to several deserts, including the Thar Desert and the Cholistan Desert. These deserts offer a unique and exciting adventure experience for travelers. Desert safaris are a popular activity in these areas, with camels and jeeps used to explore the vast desert landscape. The deserts are also home to several ancient sites and historical landmarks, including the ruins of the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro.

Pakistan is a country that offers endless opportunities for adventure and tourism. From trekking and mountaineering to skiing and white water rafting, Pakistan’s diverse landscape is a playground for thrill-seekers. The country’s ancient sites, historical landmarks, and diverse culture add to the adventure and make Pakistan a unique and exciting destination for travelers.

The writer is an Islamabad based independent researcher and currently pursuing her PHD in International Relations from the University of Wyoming. 

Afia Atiq Malik

Afia Atiq Malik is an independent researcher and currently pursuing her PHD from the University of Wyoming, USA.

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