MY EXPERIENCE OF APPLYING JAPAN VISA IN ISLAMABAD – PAKISTAN

HOW TO APPLY JAPAN VISA IN PAKISTAN – DETAIL GUIDE

Getting Japan Visa definitely make your Passport stronger for genuine travelers and it can also help getting approvals of other visas (USA, UK, SCHENGEN).

DISCLAIMER: I am writing this blog after my first hand experience of applying and getting Japanese visa in June-2023 from their Embassy in Islamabad. Things might get change anytime.

IS IT EASY TO GET JAPAN VISA?

The answer is both YES and NO 🙂

YES ! because as of today, there is NO VISA FEE for Japan Visa and very few documents are required for Tourist visa

NO ! because the process of submitting application (as of June-2023) is very insane

Currently Japan embassy has no appointment system and they are issuing only 50 visas per day. Out of which 25 visas for Visit (tourist) and 25 for Business (work). Hence you must be in first 25 people to submit your application otherwise you will be sent back.

PROCESS OF APPLYING VISA

After filling the Application form and attaching your documents, you have to submit your documents in Japan embassy. Since their Appointment system is yet to be launched, so you have to reach as early as possible at Visa-Seeker-Shuttle-Point in Islamabad

Embassy opens at 9:00 AM, but i reached at Shuttle point around 5:00 AM and see how many people were already standing in the que

PEOPLE WAITING OUTSIDE SHUTTLE AREA GATE AT 5:00 AM FOR JAPAN VISA

When i asked the first 20 people about their time, they told that they came at 1:00 AM at night so that they should be included in first 25 people. Hence i went back and then thought to come back next day.

I am sure when Appointment system will be launched by Japan embassy then this type of Hassle will be finished.

In case you are in Lucky 25 people, you have to pay 1000 Rs + CNIC copy to Shutte point and a Token will be given to you. On this token, a van will drop you at Japan embassy.

SECOND METHOD: WITHOUT SHUTTLE SERVICE

If you have any reference in Japan embassy or any other embassy inside Diplomatic enclave, you can avoid this hassle. Your friend will ask the security to enter your car inside Diplomatic enclave and you can directly reach to any Embassy on your own car. Park your car outside Japan embassy. The guards will initially send first 50 people who came there through shuttle point. Then they will ask the embassy to entertain without-token applicants. If they allow, they will send you inside. On second day, i applied through this method with reference of my friend.

TYPES OF JAPAN VISAS

You can apply Japan visa on the following basis:

  1. Tourist
  2. Business
  3. Work
  4. Relatives/Friend visit

Out of all above, the easiest is Tourist visa, however the approval is not 100% sure. Your Travel history and Bank statement matters a lot. I suggest to have closing balance above 25 Lac in your account.

For Business visa, you need Invitation letter, Guarantee letter and many other documents from Invitee that must attested from Japan Ministry.

FILLING APPLICATION FORM FOR JAPAN VISA

Japan application form are present on their official website. You must download and fill the form from HERE

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISIT/ TOURIST VISA

  1. Current Passport (original)
  2. Photocopy on current passport 1st page (on A4 page)
  3. All previous passports (original)
  4. CNIC original
  5. CNIC photocopy (on A4 page)
  6. Application Form
  7. Picture (2 x 2 inch) with white background must be pasted with Glue on form
  8. Day wise plan in detail: ITINERARY
  9. All Hotel bookings mentioned in above Itinerary
  10. Flight booking (only reservation)
  11. Visa request letter on your Business Letter Head (or Employer Letter head in case of Job)
  12. Business/Firm registration Certificate (to prove that you are running a registered business)
  13. Last 3 months Bank statement (closing balance above 25 Lac Rs)
  14. Bank Maintenance letter
  15. Nadra FRC (In case of family travel)

IMPORTANT NOTES: Take below points seriously otherwise your application will not be accepted

  • The Date + Sign at the end of Application should be the done after you reach inside embassy
  • All photocopies should be on A4 papers
  • All the blank fields in Application form must be filled and must not left empty. If any thing is irrelevant, write “NOT APPLICABLE” . e.g the 2nd page of Application (Invitor + Guarantor information is for Business visa applicants only. A tourist visa applicant must write “NOT APPLICABLE” in all the fields)
  • No document must have staple pins. Even picture should be Glued on the form

VISA INTERVIEW

Once your token number is called. You will go to the interview window. The glass window is one-side blind. The interviewer can see you from inside but you can not see him from outside. The officer is Pakistani and will ask questions in Urdu. He will judge you seeing your business, job, travel history, bank balance etc. If you do not satisfy him, he will return the documents as it is. If you satisfy him, he will submit your application but that does not mean that your visa will approved. Your application is accepted only for Processing.

VISA APPROVAL AND PROCESSING TIME

Once your application is submitted, they give you a tracking bar code and ask you to wait for 10 days to receive a call. Once you receive a call, you have to again go to Shuttle point and pick the passport. The approval chances are 50/50. If your visa is not approved you get a rejection stamp on your passport and you can not re-apply before 6 months.

ALSO READ OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS:

  1. HOW TO APPLY CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  2. HOW TO APPLY USA-VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  3. HOW TO APPLY JAPAN VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  4. HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING
  5. GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING
  6. Visiting BALKAN countries on PAKISTANI Passport – Detail Travel Guide
  7. PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE
  8. DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE
  9. GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP
  10. SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide
  11. KUMRAT VALLEY CAMPING AND VISITING GUIDE
  12. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE TREKKING GUIDE
  13. HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOTORBIKE ROAD TRIP

WATCH TRAVEL SERIES ON YOUTUBE

LOCAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. MISSION KASHMIR SERIES – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  2. LAHORE TO GWADAR – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  3. SINDH SERIES
  4. BALOCHISTAN SERIES
  5. LAHORE TO SKARDU – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  6. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE
  7. KUMRAT VALLEY
  8. GALIYAT SERIES

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. IRAN SERIES – BY BUS
  2. TURKEY SERIES – BY BUS
  3. NORTH AMERICA (USA + CANADA) 2022
  4. BALKANS (EUROPE) SERIES
  5. SRILANKA SERIES
  6. INDONESIA SERIES
  7. USA SERIES 2019

HOW TO APPLY USA VISA IN PAKISTAN – STEPWISE GUIDE

I have got my USA visa two times in last 10 years. First it was on the basis of my professional meeting and second was on the basis of Tourism. Both times 5 Years multiple entry visa was issued. Based on my personal experience, here is a guide about applying and getting the USA visa.

WHO CAN GET THE USA VISA

BENEFITS OF USA VISA FOR PAKISTANI TRAVELERS

As our Pakistani passport ranks in bottom 10 countries in the world, therefore getting visas for genuine travelers is very difficult. However if by luck you get USA visa then your green passport gets some strength and you get privilege of getting E-Visas of some countries as well as Free entry-on-arrival in many of the countries. Here is the list of countries that makes your entry easy on the basis of valid USA visa on your passport:

  1. Serbia (Free entry-on-arrival)
  2. Bosnia (Free entry-on-arrival)
  3. Montenegro (Free entry-on-arrival)
  4. Albania (Free entry-on-arrival, but USA visa must have been used atleast once)
  5. North Macedonia (Free entry-on-arrival)
  6. Turkey (E-visa)
  7. Saudia (E-visa)
  8. Morocco (E-visa)
  9. Georgia (Free entry-on-arrival)
  10. Mexico (Free entry-on-arrival)
  11. Puerto Rico (Free entry-on-arrival)
  12. Belize: can visit up to 30 days
  13. Guatemala: can visit up to 90 days
  14. Honduras: can visit up to 90 days
  15. El Salvador: can visit up to 90 days
  16. Nicaragua: can visit up to 30 days
  17. Costa Rica: can visit up to 30 days
  18. Panama: can visit up to 30 days if the visa holder has visited US at least once
  19. Bahamas: can visit up to 30 days
  20. Cuba: can visit up to 30 days. Visitor needs a Tourist Card, obtainable from Cuban embassies, authorized airlines and travel agencies
  21. Dominican Republic: can visit up to 30 days
  22. Sint Maarten: can visit up to 30 days
  23. Antigua and Barbuda: can visit up to 30 days
  24. Aruba: can visit up to 30 days
  25. Curaçao: can visit up to 30 days
  26. Colombia: can visit up to 90 days
  27. Peru: can visit up to 180 days
  28. United Kingdom: can visit for 24 hours only if in transit to or from USA and have an onward ticket within 24 hours
  29. GERMANY/FRANCE: Can transit through airport if you have USA visa (coming/going from USA)

Personally i have availed entry in many countries:

READ ABOUT MY TRAVEL IN BALKAN COUNTRIES (Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia) ON THE BASIS OF USA VISA

ALSO WATCH MY EXPERIENCE OF ENTERING TURKEY ON THE BASIS OF USA VISA

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO APPLY USA VISA

No doubt, getting USA visa approval is difficult on green passport, however applying USA visa is very easy. They demand no document like Europe, UK, Turkey embassies exhaustive list. All they ask is to fill an Online application and bring below documents during interview:

  1. Original Passport
  2. White background 2in x 2in pictures
  3. Print of Application Final page
  4. Print of Appointment

However they have also mentioned “Bring any document that support your case” . Hence you must know which type of visa you are applying and must take your documents accordingly.

While applying my first visa i took the Invitation Letter of Expo during the interview because i was going to attend a meeting. The interviewer checked it. Second time i was going for Travel Vlogging, so i took screen shots of my Youtube channel and Instagram Profile.

Also i suggest to take documents that shows you have good financial strength e.g; Property papers, Car ownership papers, FBR Tax returns, Saving certificates, Insurance Certificates, 3-Months bank statement

APPLYING ONLINE APPLICATION FOR USA – VISA FORM

Start filling your visa application from this link: https://ceac.state.gov/GenNIV/Default.aspx

VISA FEES

Visa fees is 160 USD. You will get the Allied Bank Fees voucher at the end of application form. You have to pay this fee in any Allied Bank branch of Pakistan.

Once you pay the fee then you will be able to get Visa Interview date

VISA INTERVIEW

Held in either Karachi or Islamabad as selected by you while filling the application. In Islamabad you have to visit VISA SEEKER SHUTTLE POINT. Pay the fee (2000 Rs) to shuttle van that will drop/pick service to USA Embassy.

After security clearance, you will be sent in a big hall and will wait for your turn.

1st Que: Submission of Application Form + Pictures + Passport

2nd Que: Finger Print Scanning

3rd Que: Give Interview

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Normally interview last for only 2 to 5 minutes for each applicant. The first question is always “Why you want to go to USA”? Always prepare a short and crisp answer for this. Then they will enquire about your financial situation through some questions and will judge your body language

VISA APPROVAL OR REJECTION

If your answers satisfy the visa officer, they will keep your passport and will give you a GREEN PAPER

However if you do not satisfy, your passport will be returned at the spot and will be given a Yellow/White paper in which unsatisfactory remarks are mentioned

COLLECTION OF VISA/PASSPORT

The passport collection address of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad are mentioned while filling the application. In Lahore you receive your passport within 3 working days at AMERICAN EXPRESS office opposite to Flettis Hotel

HOW I TRAVELED FROM USA TO CANADA BY BUS

ALSO READ OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS:

  1. HOW TO APPLY CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  2. HOW TO APPLY USA-VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  3. HOW TO APPLY JAPAN VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  4. HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING
  5. GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING
  6. Visiting BALKAN countries on PAKISTANI Passport – Detail Travel Guide
  7. PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE
  8. DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE
  9. GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP
  10. SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide
  11. KUMRAT VALLEY CAMPING AND VISITING GUIDE
  12. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE TREKKING GUIDE
  13. HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOTORBIKE ROAD TRIP

WATCH TRAVEL SERIES ON YOUTUBE

LOCAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. MISSION KASHMIR SERIES – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  2. LAHORE TO GWADAR – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  3. SINDH SERIES
  4. BALOCHISTAN SERIES
  5. LAHORE TO SKARDU – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  6. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE
  7. KUMRAT VALLEY
  8. GALIYAT SERIES

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. IRAN SERIES – BY BUS
  2. TURKEY SERIES – BY BUS
  3. NORTH AMERICA (USA + CANADA) 2022
  4. BALKANS (EUROPE) SERIES
  5. SRILANKA SERIES
  6. INDONESIA SERIES
  7. USA SERIES 2019

GETTING CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT – A DETAIL STEPWISE GUIDE

china visa for pakistani passport
How to apply China visa in Pakistan

Visiting China on Pakistani passport is not that easy. You can not get visa without a proper Invitation letter. I have faced lot of hurdles in getting my first Chinese Visa so this blog will help you in planning and getting your visa.

 
VIDEO: China Visa Guide + Travel Expenses

TYPES OF VISAS

There are several types of Chinese Visa Categories

D-TYPE: Issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently

F-TYPE: Issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities

L-TYPE: Issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist

M-TYPE: Issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities

Q1-TYPE: Issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion

R-TYPE: Issued to those who are high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China

S1-TYPE: Issued to those who intend to go to China to visit the foreigners working or studying in China to whom they are spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days

X1-TYPE: Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days

Z-TYPE: Issued to those who intend to work in China

TOURIST VISA (L-TYPE) V/S BUSINESS VISA (M-TYPE)

You can not get tourist visa just like other countries. For Pakistani passport, you must apply tourist visa in a group of 5 people and all your trip should be pre-booked with a Chinese Travel company. That Travel company will send you an official Invitation letter to apply the visa. Hence getting tourist visa for a single traveler like us is not possible. Even you gather 5 of your friends, still it becomes so expensive that you can not afford it.

However, being a Pakistani, you can travel to china alone on the basis of Business Visa. Don’t think that it would be easy.

FIRST TIME VISITOR

The process is long and tough for first time visitors. You have to apply Police Character certificate and also get it attested by Ministry of Foreign Affairs office. Read detail Blog on How To get Police Character Certificate

(MOFA ATTESTED POLICE CHARACTER CERTIFICATE)

OPTIONS OF APPLYING BUSINESS VISA

Getting Business visa is also very tricky. The most crucial document is getting Invitation letter that must be attested by Chinese Foreign Ministry by the Inviting Company in China. Companies in China usually give you a simple invitation letter on their business letter head, however they do not take any hassle of attesting that letter from their Foreign Ministry.

However, Business Chambers of big cities like Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi provide an alternate solution for businessmen. They provide GUARANTEE LETTER which is a replacement of Chinese “Foreign Affairs Stamped Invitation”

1. USING CHAMBER’S INVITATION LETTER ON CANTON FAIR + GUARANTEE LETTER

Canton Trade Fair comes twice a year in Guangzhou province of China. If you are a member of Lahore/ Khi/ ISB Chamber of commerce, they will help you to arrange Invitation letter from China and will apply business visas in group. However GUARANTEE letter payment of 9000 Rs to be paid.

2. SELF ARRANGED INVITATION + GUARANTEE LETTER FROM CHAMBER (as owner of company)

In case Chamber is not arranging group visas, you can apply on your own basis. and chamber will provide you a “Guarantee Letter”. You must ask any company in China to send you a simple invitation letter along with their Company registration certificate (in Chinese + English language). Chamber LCCI has 2 steps process to get this GUARANTEE LETTER and its fees is 9000 Rs

STEP-1 : GET VISA RECOMMENDATION LETTER FIRST

– Request letter on your company letter head
– Passport copy
– CNIC copy
– Picture with white background
– Chinese company Invitation letter
– Chamber membership certificate copy

– A pay order of 200,000 Rs in favor of LCCI which is refundable upon returning from China. This pay order should be made from your company bank account that is registered member of LCCI.
– Fees of 4000 Rs for recommendation letter

You will get the recommendation letter within couple of hours.

(VISA RECOMMENDATION LETTER BY CHAMBER)

PERSONAL OPINION: This recommendation letter by chamber has nothing to do with the process and taking 4000 Rs fees from people is totally unjustified. As per LCCI, they will not give you guarantee letter until you get the recommendation letter. In my opinion when embassy is demanding only GUARANTEE letter then Chamber should only charge fees for the Guarantee Letter.

STEP-2 : GETTING GUARANTEE LETTER

This is the main document required for visa. Once you have got the Recommendation letter, go to Floor#2 and apply for this letter with following documents

  • – Copy of Visa Recommendation letter (obtained in Step-1)
  • – Copy of Passport
  • – Chinese company registration letter in chinese language
  • – Chinese company Invitation letter
  • – Chamber membership certificate copy
  • – Corona vaccination certificate (with Chinese vaccine)
  • – Fees 5000 Rs
(LCCI GUARANTEE LETTER)

3. USING RECOMMENDATION LETTER FROM CHAMBER (as salaried employee)

The whole process will remain same as above, however you will provide below documents as extra:
– Designation letter from your company explaining you Job description plus request for Visa Recommendation letter
– Last 3 Tax payment slips (deducted from your salary) transferred in National bank

4. GET INVITATION LETTER FROM TRAVEL AGENT

If you do not own any company then the last solution is left which is most expensive. Travel agents in Pakistan charge a fee of 500 USD and arrange an Invitation Letter for you which would be attested through Chinese Foreign Affairs.

PERSONAL SUGGESTION: If you have ample time and have someone who can arrange an Invitation Letter then i suggest to follow Chamber process and get the visa within 30,000 Rs

STEP-1: Register a business firm on your name = 2000 Rs (Takes 5 days)

STEP-2: Become member of LCCI Chamber = 10,000 Rs (Takes 2 days)

STEP-3: Apply Recommendation Letter = 4000 Rs (Same day)

STEP-4: Get Guarantee Letter = 5000 Rs (Same day)

VISA APPLICATION ONLINE FORM

FILL THE ONLINE FORM USING THIS LINK AND TAKE ITS PRINT: https://cova.mfa.gov.cn

https://youtu.be/TqhJvhARxXY
(STEPWISE GUIDE OF APPLYING AND FILLING CHINA VISA FORM ONLINE)

TAKING APPOINTMENT

When the form is completed it will next sow you a window of available slots to submit your documents. Your documents re submitted in Gerrys’ Offices of Islamabad, Lahore or Karachi. Select the date and time and take print of Appointment page + Application along with all the documents mentioned above.

SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS AT GERRYS OFFICE

On your selected date and time, visit the Gerrys visa center. You will be only allowed to enter if you have the print of Interview appointment otherwise you are not allowed (even for information purpose).

Once you enter at Chinese section, you will be given a token and on your turn, Gerry’s officer will check all your documents one by one. If you have any document missing, you will not be allowed to proceed further.

If your all documents are OK, then you will be sent to next window to pay your fees 12,200 Rs. Some time they ask you to give a short interview which directly connected to embassy through camera. The ask company name of Invitation and your personal things.

I had previous Turkey visits which comes under HOTE REGION for China, so my interview was conducted aswel.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR BUSINESS VISA

DETAIL CHECKLIST GIVEN BY GERRYS’S CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM HERE. However i am summarizing all the documents below for ease.


1. Original Passport (6 month validity)
2. Copy of Passport (1st and 2nd page)
3. Print of visa application (filled online)
4. Appointment page for documents submission
5. Photo with white background 48 x 33mm
6. Invitation letter by Chinese organization + their Registration certificate in China
7. Visa request on your company letter head (sign and stamped)
8. Last 3 years FBR tax returns
9. Copy of your Chamber membership certificate
10. Bank statements 6 months (closing balance around 300 KRs)
11. Copy of police character/clearance certificate attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan for first time visit to China within the last five years,
12. Round-trip air tickets reservation (reservation only)
13 Hotel booking reservation (first time visit to China)

14. Guarantee Letter issued from Chamber LCCI

15. NTN certificate of your company

CHINESE VISA FEES

There is no Visa Fee charged by Chinese embassy however you need to pay 12,200 Rs (40 USD) to Gerry’s for their visa handling services.

VISA APPROVAL/PROCESSING TIME

Once your document are submitted the visa approval rate is 99.9% and you get the call from Gerrys to pick your passport within 7 to 10 days. You can always track your Passport status at: BIO.visaforchina.org/

SLIP GIVEN BY GERRY’S AFTER SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS

HELPLINE FOR CHINESE VISA INFORMATION

GERRY’S HELPLINE FOR CHINA VISA:+92-51-8439385
E-mail: islamabadcenterforchina@gerrys.com.pk

USING INTERNET/ SOCIAL MEDIA IN CHINA

As you are aware that no social media website works in China (due to rivalry with USA) and all Instagram, Facebook, Youtube are ban. You can only access them by using VPN on your mobile. Although i have tried many VPN but recommend EXPRESS VPN. Make sure that you must download and signup before entering China.

Get first 3 months free when you signup through below link:

TRAVEL RELATED EQUIPMENT AND PRODUCTS:

You can purchase any of Travel related products from this link: https://bit.ly/DOMINANCEpk

ALSO READ OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS:

  1. HOW TO APPLY CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  2. HOW TO APPLY USA-VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  3. HOW TO APPLY JAPAN VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  4. HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING
  5. GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING
  6. Visiting BALKAN countries on PAKISTANI Passport – Detail Travel Guide
  7. PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE
  8. DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE
  9. GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP
  10. SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide
  11. KUMRAT VALLEY CAMPING AND VISITING GUIDE
  12. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE TREKKING GUIDE
  13. HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOTORBIKE ROAD TRIP

WATCH TRAVEL SERIES ON YOUTUBE

LOCAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. MISSION KASHMIR SERIES – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  2. LAHORE TO GWADAR – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  3. SINDH SERIES
  4. BALOCHISTAN SERIES
  5. LAHORE TO SKARDU – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  6. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE
  7. KUMRAT VALLEY
  8. GALIYAT SERIES

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. IRAN SERIES – BY BUS
  2. TURKEY SERIES – BY BUS
  3. NORTH AMERICA (USA + CANADA) 2022
  4. BALKANS (EUROPE) SERIES
  5. SRILANKA SERIES
  6. INDONESIA SERIES
  7. USA SERIES 2019

HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING

Traveling on a budget is an art form that requires careful planning, resourcefulness, and a bit of creativity. But contrary to popular belief, budget travel doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort or missing out on amazing experiences. In fact, it can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling way to see the world. Whether you’re a student with limited funds, a young professional trying to save money, or simply someone who loves to travel without breaking the bank, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your adventures.

HOW I PERSONALLY SAVE MY FUNDS TO TRAVEL CHEAP

Sharing my personal experience of Backpacking and Budget traveling in this Blog

  1. Make Travel your priority

2. Savings + No To Brandism

3. Advance Bookings

4. Travel Credit Cards

I personally use Standard Chartered Travel Credit Card. You can also try Faysal Bank Travel Card or HBL World debit Card

5. Airline Miles Cards

6. Use CITY PASSES

7. Travel with one Backpack

Here is list Gadgets i use during Travel and also to make my travel content

8. Stay in Hostels

I always use BOOKING.COM for booking any kind of hostel or hotel during International Trips

9. Use public transport

10. Self Cooking in Hostels/ Airbnbs

11. Book night trains/buses

12. Avoid SIM purchases

13. Use Shutterstock for passive income

14. Sell your skills during travel

15. Try Volunteering https://www.worldpackers.com

16. Use CouchSurfing https://www.couchsurfing.com

House Sitting at https://www.trustedhousesitters.com

Become a Travel Content Creator

Getting Police Character Certificate and attestation from MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

There are several countries which requires that you must not have any criminal record before your visit to their country. For example China, Indonesia, Philippine and few others. Hence in order to apply visa of these countries, you must get Police Character certificate. As of 2023 there is no option to apply this certificate online. I have applied this certificate in Lahore for my Indonesia and China visas and here is my experience.

WHERE TO APPLY POLICE CHARACTER CERTIFICATE

You can visit any Police Khidmat markaz to get this certificate. I have personally applied the one in Allama Iqbal Town – Moon Market and many people also apply in Liberty Market Police Markaz. However it is recommended to always search your nearby Police markaz as per your residence.

PROCESS OF APPLYING POLICE CHARACTER CERTIFICATE

The process is very simple.

  1. Just visit the Police Khidmat markaz
  2. Take a form and fill the application
  3. Submit the Form + Picture + CNIC Photocopy + Passport Photocopy
  4. Also take your original CNIC with you
  5. Your instant picture will be taken
  6. Ideally there is no Govt. Fees for this certificate
  7. However you have to submit 350 Rs fees for TCS home delivery (You can write any address on TCS bag other than your CNIC address to receive this certificate)
  8. The certificate will be delivered at your mentioned address after 2 ~ 3 days

ATTESTATION FROM MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (MOFA)

For Indonesia visa, they only required Police Character Certificate. However for China visa, the embassy also demands to attest this character certificate from MOFA. Their office in Lahore is near MALL ROAD. Opening hour is 8:00 am and when you reach there, you will see there are already 1000 people standing in line who came at 6:00 am to get their things done. Hence standing in que for 3 ~ 5 hrs is a must thing. Better to come early and leave early.

REQUIREMENTS: Original Police Certificate + photocopy of CNIC + photocopy of Police Certificate

PROCESS:

  1. After 2~3 hrs standing in que, you enter in the premises and will be given a Token Number.
  2. Then you will stand in another que to pay for the Post Stamps (worth 50 ~ 100 Rs)
  3. Then you will be sent to HALL # 2 (upstairs) and stand in another que to submit your documents
  4. You have to wait atleast 3 hours in waiting area after which your Token number will be called and documents will be handed over

PERSONAL COMMENTS:

Personally i found this MOFA process very cruel, tiring and humiliating in this modern age. The Govt can make this process very simple and can reduce many steps. Overall you have to dedicate a full day for this activity. TCS and other couriers also give this service to get your attestation done in 700 Rs however their processing time is 10 days. If you are not time bound then you should avail this service instead of wasting full day in long ques.

VISTING BALKAN COUNTRIES ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT – Detail Travel Guide

The word Balkan is Turkish and means ‘mountain’. The Balkans, or the Balkan Peninsula, is a region in the south-east of Europe. Geographically these are 12 countries on the map that are Mountain region

  1. Albania
  2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Croatia
  5. Greece
  6. Kosovo*
  7. Montenegro
  8. North Macedonia
  9. Romania
  10. Serbia
  11. Slovenia
  12. Turkey (partially located in the Balkans)

How can Pakistanis visit Balkan Countries

All of the Balkan countries falls in Europe and Pakistani Passport holders require SCHENGEN visa to visit Europe. However there are few countries in Balkans that allow Pakistanis to enter without visa if you have below visas on your passport

  1. Valid USA visa
  2. Valid UK visa
  3. Valid Multiple Entry Schengen visa

and these countries are:

  1. Serbia
  2. Bosnia
  3. Montenegro
  4. Albania (UK/US/Schengen visas must be valid + used atleast once)
  5. North Macedonia
  6. Bulgaria (only on Multiple entry Schengen that must valid + used atleast once)

All of the above countries were once part of one country YUGOSLAVIA, however this region went through decade of civil wars from 1992 and hence Yugoslavia country got split into these countries.

I visited all of the above countries on my valid USA visa in winters of 2022 and here is my experience one by one. Other Balkan Countries: Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo and Bulgaria do not allow entry on the basis of US or UK visas.

SERBIA

ENTRY: I entered in Serbia capital Belgrade via flight while coming from Toronto (canada) however you can take cheapest FlyDubai flight from Karachi to Serbia

(FIRST DAY IN BELGRADE – SERBIA)

TRANSPORT IN BELGRADE: I was amazed to see public transport seems FREE in Belgrade. No one pays for the buses and train. Saw only few people who were actually paying.

CURRENCY: The currency of Serbia is the Serbian dinar. I exchanged few dollars at the airport and rest of the currency in the city center for better rates.

PLACES TO VISIT: I visited only capital city of Belgrade in Serbia. Following are the well known places in which i visited a few which you can watch in below VLOG:

  1. Kalemegdan Fortress and Park
  2. St. Sava Temple
  3. Skadarlija
  4. National Museum of Serbia
  5. Ada Ciganlija
  6. Nikola Tesla Museum
  7. Belgrade Zoo
  8. Republic Square
  9. House of Flowers
  10. Museum of Yugoslav History
(2ND DAY IN BELGRADE – SERBIA)

MY HOSTEL: I stayed in HABITAT HOSTEL that was right in the city center and was cheap. You can check its rates HERE. There are many Halal food outlets in the city and you will find many Indian, Turkish and Arabic restaurants. However dont forget to try famous Cheese Borek of Balkans.

BOSNIA & HARZEGOVINA

ENTRY: The bus from Belgrade to Sarajevo has 25 Euro ticket. I bought ticket from Belgrade Main Bus station one day before. The bus departed at 0800 hrs and Dropped me in Sarajevo at 1530 hrs. I thought the bus will drop me at some City center but it was going outside city center. So i asked the driver to drop me on the main road from where i walked around 3 km with may backpacks. Watch below video to see detail experience of Border crossing and entering Bosnia (Sarajevo) on my USA visa basis.

(BORDER CROSSING EXPERIENCE FROM SERBIA TO BOSNIA)

CURRENCY: The official currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Convertible Mark (KM), also known as the Bosnian Mark. During your Balkans trip, always buy currency of next country from the departing country so that you may easily use public transport after reaching your destinantion. I bought the Bosnian currency in Belgrade Bus terminal.

MY HOSTEL: Here i stayed in a shared Apartment that was converted into ZEYNEP HOSTEL. The hostel was very good and right at the middle of all Touristy places within the Old and New Bazar of Sarajevo. I got it in 8 Euro per nite however you can check latest rates HERE.

SARAJEVOPLACES TO VISIT:

Here are some places to visit in Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  1. Baščaršija: The old bazaar and historical center of Sarajevo, featuring Ottoman-era architecture, markets, and cafes.
  2. Latin Bridge: The site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which sparked World War I.
  3. Sebilj: A wooden fountain in Baščaršija, considered to be the heart of the old town.
  4. Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque: A 16th-century mosque located in Baščaršija, one of the largest and most important mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  5. Sarajevo City Hall: A magnificent Austro-Hungarian building, which has been restored after being destroyed during the Bosnian War and now serves as a museum.
  6. Vrelo Bosne: A nature park and spring located on the outskirts of Sarajevo, featuring trails, picnic areas, and wildlife.
  7. Sarajevo Tunnel Museum: A museum dedicated to the tunnel that was used during the Bosnian War to smuggle supplies and people in and out of the city.
  8. Yellow Fortress: A historic fortress overlooking the city, offering panoramic views of Sarajevo and the surrounding mountains.
  9. National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina: A museum featuring exhibits on the history, culture, and natural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  10. Trebević Mountain: A mountain located near Sarajevo, featuring hiking trails, ski slopes, and a panoramic cable car.

I spent 2 days in Sarajevo filmed few of the places as shared in below video:

(A DAY IN CAPITAL OF BOSNIA – SARAJEEVO)

….. and yes I know i have spoken SARA-JEE-VO instead of SARA-EE-VO at many places in the above video, but i liked to speak in that way.. 🙂

MOSTAR TOWN: This is the old Ottomon Period town which you should not while visiting Bosnia. I had a great time exploring this beauty. My Hostel in MOSTAR was MUSALA HOSTEL

(A BEAUTIFUL TOWN OF BOSNIA – MOSTAR)

IMPORTANT !! BE CAREFULL WHILE BOOKING YOUR BUS IN BALKANS

Yes, thats right otherwise you can get in trouble just like me. As you must know that not every Balkan country allows to enter on US/UK visas hence you must always ask the exact route of the bus before buying ticket from the booth. I mistakenly booked a bus from MOSTAR (Bosnia) to Montenegro whose route was not direct. The bus took a road that passed from CROATIA who do not allow entry on the basis of US/ UK visa. Hence the bus dropped me at the Border and took all other Nationalities with them as they do not have any such restrictions on their passports. Below video explains in detail what happened with me at the Border

(I WAS SENT BACK FROM BOSNIA – CROATIA BORDER)

MONTENEGRO

ENTRY: So again i bought a different bus ticket in 27 Euro that took me directly to Montenegro. The bus left from Mostar at 10:00 hrs and reached Kotor Terminal at 15:30 hrs. Whole experience of journey and border crossing can be watched in below video

(BOSNIA TO MONTENEGRO BORDER CROSSING)

MY HOSTEL

This HOSTEL PUPA was one of the best hostel i stayed in Balkans. It was 14 EU/nite during my stay. A perfect location on the bank of water coast and just in front of Old town. Bus stop was only 5 min walk and grocery store was only 2 min walk. The kitchen was good for self cooking as you have seen in the video

CURRENCY:

The currency in Montenegro is Euros hence it is little expensive than other Balkans

PLACES TO VISIT IN MONTENEGRO

Montenegro is a beautiful country with many places worth visiting. Here are some of the top places to visit in Montenegro:

  1. Kotor: A stunning coastal town with a well-preserved old town, Kotor is a must-visit destination in Montenegro.
  2. Budva: Known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife, Budva is a popular destination for tourists.
  3. Durmitor National Park: This park offers spectacular mountain scenery, including the deepest canyon in Europe, the Tara River Canyon.
  4. Sveti Stefan: A small island located off the coast of Budva, Sveti Stefan is famous for its luxury resort and stunning views.
  5. Biogradska Gora National Park: This park is home to one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, as well as a stunning glacial lake.
  6. Ostrog Monastery: Located in the mountains, Ostrog Monastery is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Balkans.
  7. Lake Skadar: The largest lake in the Balkans, Lake Skadar is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, and boating.
  8. Lovcen National Park: This park offers breathtaking views of the Montenegrin coastline, as well as the historic Njegos Mausoleum.
  9. Cetinje: Once the royal capital of Montenegro, Cetinje is now a cultural and historical center with many museums and art galleries.
  10. Ada Bojana: A long, sandy beach located near the Albanian border, Ada Bojana is a popular spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding.
  11. Coffs Harbour: There’s another coastal gem waiting to be explored known as Coffs Harbour NSW. This coastal haven, tucked away in New South Wales, Australia, offers its own unique blend of sun-soaked beaches and natural beauty, making it a must-visit for beach enthusiasts. From the sandy shores of Ada Bojana in Montenegro or the coastal allure of Coffs Harbour, these destinations beckon travelers to experience the serenity and excitement that only beachside paradises can provide.

HIKING IN KOTOR

I visited only one city KOTOR and did a hiking in rain along with its Old Town walk

(HIKING IN MONTENEGRO)

ALBANIA

ENTRY: The ticket from Kotor to TIrana (Albania) was 30 Euro. The bus started at 1030 hrs from Kotor and reached Tirana Bus Terminal (Ring Center) at 18:30 hrs

In order to enter Albania, you must apply E-Visa from their official website: https://e-visa.al/apply If you want to enter ALBANIA on the basis of US/ UK/ SCHENGEN visa then your visa must valid and you must have used that visa atleast one time.

Following information is mentioned on their website:

Exemption of visa to enter and stay in the Republic of Albania for up to 90 days in 180 days:

1. Foreign nationals that have a valid multiple entry Schengen visa, with the condition that the visa must have been used previously in one of the countries of the Schengen area or persons have a valid residence permit in one of the countries of the Schengen area.

2. Foreign nationals that have a valid multiple entry visa or a valid residence permit issued by United States of America, Great Britain or Northern Ireland, with the condition that visa issued must have been used previously in the issued country.

3. Foreigners who are provided with a 10-year residence permit, issued by the authorities of the United Arab Emirates, valid not less than one year from the moment of entry.

4. Foreign citizens who enter and stay without visa in the Schengen area

(ENTERING IN ALBANIA ON USA – VALID VISA)

CURRENCY:

The official currency of Albania is the Albanian LEK (ALL). LEK is taken from ALEKZANDER nickname LEK.

PLACES TO VISIT IN TIRANA (Capital)

Tirana, the capital of Albania, has a rich history and a unique culture, making it a great destination to explore. Here are some places to visit in Tirana:

  1. Skanderbeg Square: The main square in Tirana, it’s surrounded by important government buildings and is home to a large statue of Skanderbeg, an Albanian national hero.
  2. Et’hem Bey Mosque: A beautiful mosque located in the city center, it’s one of the oldest in Tirana and is famous for its colorful frescoes.
  3. National History Museum: A must-visit for history buffs, this museum showcases the country’s fascinating history, from ancient times to the present day.
  4. Bunk’Art: A unique museum located in a former underground bunker, it showcases Albania’s communist past and the country’s struggle for independence.
  5. Mount Dajti National Park: Just a short drive from Tirana, this park offers stunning mountain views and hiking trails.
  6. Blloku: A trendy neighborhood known for its bars, cafes, and restaurants, it’s a great place to experience Tirana’s nightlife.
  7. Piramida: A controversial monument located in the city center, it was built as a museum to former dictator Enver Hoxha but has since fallen into disrepair.
  8. Grand Park of Tirana: A large park in the heart of the city, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
  9. Tanners’ Bridge: A historic bridge located in the old part of the city, it’s one of Tirana’s oldest structures and is a great spot for photos.
  10. National Art Gallery: Featuring works by Albanian artists from the 16th century to the present day, it’s a great place to experience the country’s art and culture.
(EXPLORING CAPITAL OF ALBANIA – TIRANA)

MY HOSTEL AND NEAR TO DEATH EXPERIENCE IN TIRANA

The hostel i stayed in Tirana was ME AND YOU HOSTEL. This came out to be a worst hostel experience of my backpacking when a Depressed drug addict attacked on the hostel 2:00 am at night

(ATTACK IN OUR HOSTEL)

KOSOVO

NO ENTRY: I tried to visit Kosovo during this trip from Tirana but their embassy told me that i can not enter Kosovo on US/ UK visa and i have to apply a separate visa in Istanbul. Hence i decided to move towards North Macedonia

NORTH MACEDONIA

ENTRY: It was only 20 Euro Bus ticket from Tirana to Skopje (Capital of Macedonia). The bus started at 0800 hrs and reached Skopje at 15:30 hrs

CURRENCY: The official currency of North Macedonia is the Macedonian denar (MKD).

PLACES TO VISIT IN SKOPJE:

Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, has a rich history and a unique blend of cultures, making it a great destination to explore. Here are some of the top places to visit in Skopje:

  1. Skopje Fortress: A medieval fortress located on a hill overlooking the city, it offers panoramic views and a glimpse into Skopje’s past.
  2. Stone Bridge: An iconic symbol of Skopje, this Ottoman-era bridge spans the Vardar River and is beautifully illuminated at night.
  3. Old Bazaar: One of the largest bazaars in the Balkans, it’s a lively and colorful place to shop for souvenirs and sample local food.
  4. Macedonia Square: The main square in Skopje, it’s home to the impressive statue of Alexander the Great and is a great spot for people-watching.
  5. Mother Teresa Memorial House: A museum dedicated to the life and work of Mother Teresa, who was born in Skopje.
  6. Kale Fortress: Another fortress located in the city center, it dates back to the 6th century and offers stunning views of the city.
  7. Memorial House of Tito: A museum dedicated to the former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, who was born in Croatia but spent much of his life in Skopje.
  8. Skopje Aqueduct: A well-preserved Roman aqueduct located on the outskirts of the city, it’s a fascinating example of ancient engineering.
  9. Museum of Contemporary Art: Featuring works by local and international artists, it’s a great place to experience Skopje’s vibrant art scene.
  10. Millennium Cross: Located on the summit of Vodno Mountain, this massive cross is one of the tallest in the world and offers breathtaking views of Skopje and the surrounding area.
(A DAY IN CAPITAL OF MACEDONIA – SKOPJE)

MY HOSTEL

I stayed in HOSTEL VALENTIN which was a family run apartment type hostel only 7 Euro per night.

VISITING MATKA CANYON

A DAY TRIP TO MATKA CANYON NEAR SKOPJE

HOW I MANAGE TO FUND MY TRAVELS

USEFUL LINKS

TRAVEL, TREKKING, CAMPING PRODUCTS:
https://bit.ly/DOMINANCEpk

MUSIC FOR VLOGS:
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3 months FREE VPN when you SIGNUP thru below link
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ALSO READ OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS:

  1. HOW TO APPLY CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  2. HOW TO APPLY USA-VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  3. HOW TO APPLY JAPAN VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  4. HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING
  5. GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING
  6. VISITING BALKAN COUNTRIES ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT – Detail Travel Guide
  7. PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE
  8. DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE
  9. GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP
  10. SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide
  11. KUMRAT VALLEY CAMPING AND VISITING GUIDE
  12. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE TREKKING GUIDE
  13. HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOTORBIKE ROAD TRIP

WATCH TRAVEL SERIES ON YOUTUBE

LOCAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. MISSION KASHMIR SERIES – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  2. LAHORE TO GWADAR – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  3. SINDH SERIES
  4. BALOCHISTAN SERIES
  5. LAHORE TO SKARDU – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  6. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE
  7. KUMRAT VALLEY
  8. GALIYAT SERIES

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. IRAN SERIES – BY BUS
  2. TURKEY SERIES – BY BUS
  3. NORTH AMERICA (USA + CANADA) 2022
  4. BALKANS (EUROPE) SERIES
  5. SRILANKA SERIES
  6. INDONESIA SERIES
  7. USA SERIES 2019

PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE

This trip was done in October + November 2022. I will share all details and expenses in description of each epiosde.

GETTING IRAN VISA:

– Fill the form online at: https://evisa.mfa.ir/en/

– There are majorly 4 types of visas. Select the type wisely

  • ZIARAT VISA: Select this if your purpose is to visit Shrines and religious sites (3500 Rs)
  • TOURIST VISA: Select this if your purpose is to explore Iran other than religious sites (10,500 Rs)
  • TRANSIT VISA: Select this if your stay in Iran is less than 7 days and you have onward booking/travel in another country (Turkey/Azerbaijan/Dubai)
  • BUISINESS VISA: Select if your main purpose is to official meetings

– While filling the online form, if it ask any “hotel address/phone” then simply search “Hotels in Chahbahar” on google and enter its Name and Number. This is just a formality.

– Take the print of this form and visit Iran Embassy in your city (Lahore, Islamabad or Karachi)

– You also need to take Insurance (1800 Rs) from Iranian company (Millat Insurance company). If you are applying in Lahore then their office is in HIGH-Q tower (floor-10), Jail road Lahore (Mobile # +923224834802)

– Give a small interview at embassy and pay the Tourist visa fees: 10,500 Rs

– They will keep your Passport for few days and will give you the Date of Passport-Pickup

USING INTERNET IN IRAN

As you are aware that no social media website works in Iran and all Instagram, Facebook, Youtube are ban. You can only access them by using VPN on your mobile. Although i have tried many VPN but recommend EXPRESS VPN. Make sure that you must download and signup before entering to Iran, otherwise you will not be able to even download VPN apps after arrival in Iran.

Get first 3 months free when you signup through below link:

Click to Signup Express VPN

TRAVEL RELATED EQUIPMENT AND PRODUCTS:

You can purchase any of Travel related products from this link: https://bit.ly/DOMINANCEpk

GETTING TURKEY VISA:

– Pakistani Passport holders can get Turkey Visa in two ways:

(i) E-VISA (Online) (ii) Sticker Visa (manual)

E-VISA can only be obtained by those who have USA/ UK or SCHENGEN valid visa on their Passports. I had USA visa, so i got E-VISA from their website: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/

– EVISA fees = 60 EUROS

– For STICKER VISA, you need to submit your visa documents at ANATOLIA TRAVELS. They have offices in all big cities of Pakistan:

– All documents required are present on ANATOLIA TRAVELS: Website: Https://www.anatoliatravelservices.com

Documents Checklist is also available on their website

– Visa Fees = Almost 28,000 Rs (This includes: Insurance + Service fee + Embassy Fee)

LAHORE TO IRAN BORDER:

– Daewoo Sleeper bus Lahore to Karachi = 8000 Rs

– Daewoo Terminal KHI to Yusuf Goth = 1000 Rs

– Al Mumtaz Bus ticket from Yusuf Goth to Ramdan Border (Gwadar) = 2500 Rs

– Al-Mumtaz Bus contact Number +923312767347

BORDER CROSSING EXPEREINCE:

– To keep yourself on safer side, must bring an Hotel booking if you dont have any contact in Iran.

– Just google any hotel and print yourself (Hotel name, address, phone, Check in and Checkout date)

– Bring atleast 500 ~ 1000 USD foreign currency (Euros or USD) with you. Your Bank cards will not work in Iran

– I requested Iran immigration not to put their entry stamp on my passport. They stamped it on my e-visa paper.

IRAN BORDER TO CHAHBAHAR CITY:

– Give 150 PKR to a shared Taxi at Border. They will drop you at Chahbahar Taxi Terminal (10min far)

– Further give 1000 PKR to another shared Taxi. They will drop you at Chahbahar Hotel/ Bus Terminal

– From Chahbahar Bus Terminal, you can book any bus to Shiraz City, Mashahad or Zahedan

– I went to Bandar Abbas by hiring multiple Shared Taxi in almost 3000 PKR (because no Bus goes to Bandar Abbas from Chahbahar)

HOW TO BOOK HOTEL/ HOSTELS IN IRAN:

– Unfortunately Booking.com and Agoda.com do not work in Iran. But there are below options available:

a) HostelWorld.com

b) Trivago.com

c) TripAdvisor.com (Search from here, take their number and contact them on whatsapp)

d) Alibaba.ir (A persian online booking website for Bus, Plane, Airtickets, Hotel)

COST OF PAKISTAN TO TURKEY BY BUS:

This is the most asked question, how much is the cost if one has to Travel to Turkey by Bus. There is not a fixed number. It depends how many days you spend in Iran so i will given a cost estimation below in USD:

i) Lahore to Karachi Bus = 35 USD

ii) Karachi to Gwadar (Ramdan Border) = 15 USD

iii) Ramdan Border to Chahbahar Terminal (using shared Taxi) = 5 USD

iv) Chahbahar to Shiraz Bus = 10 USD

v) Shiraz to Tabriz Bus = 12 USD

vi) Bus from Tabriz to Turkey (VAN City Terminal) = 30 USD

vii) Bus from Van City to Istanbul = 45 USD

viii) Each Night in Iran Hostel will cost = 4 to 7 USD

ix) Each night in Turkey Hostel will cost = 15 to 20 USD

So roughly Total Cost of BUSES from Lahore to Istanbul will be around = 150 USD

Accommodation cost will be = 30 USD (atleast 3 Nights stay in Iran + Turkey. Mostly nights will be passed in the Buses. No need to book hotels)

Food Cost = 60 USD

Total Days required to Travel from Lahore to Istanbul = 7 ~ 8 Days (without staying extra in Iran)

ALSO READ OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS:

  1. HOW TO APPLY CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  2. HOW TO APPLY USA-VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  3. HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING
  4. GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING
  5. Visiting BALKAN countries on PAKISTANI Passport – Detail Travel Guide
  6. PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE
  7. DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE
  8. GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP
  9. SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide
  10. KUMRAT VALLEY CAMPING AND VISITING GUIDE
  11. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE TREKKING GUIDE
  12. HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOTORBIKE ROAD TRIP

WATCH TRAVEL SERIES ON YOUTUBE

LOCAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. MISSION KASHMIR SERIES – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  2. LAHORE TO GWADAR – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  3. SINDH SERIES
  4. BALOCHISTAN SERIES
  5. LAHORE TO SKARDU – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  6. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE
  7. KUMRAT VALLEY
  8. GALIYAT SERIES

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. IRAN SERIES – BY BUS
  2. TURKEY SERIES – BY BUS
  3. NORTH AMERICA (USA + CANADA) 2022
  4. BALKANS (EUROPE) SERIES
  5. SRILANKA SERIES
  6. INDONESIA SERIES
  7. USA SERIES 2019

DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE

Dudipatsar lake is termed as Queen of lakes in Pakistan. It is not because of the Lake only, but because of its beautiful trek. However it is still not very popular among tourists because its remote location and long trekking. However, in recent couple of years it is gaining popularity. I trekked this lake on 22nd Jul 2022 and hence sharing my experience so that you may plan your visit accordingly.

WHEN TO VISIT DUDIPATSAR LAKE

Unfortunately the window of this Lake trekking is very small and you can only visit this lake in the months of July and August. This is because of Snow that melts until June and hence beauty appears in July and August. The locals setup their Camping facility in June End

In September, it starts cold weather and snowfall again and hence locals remove their camping site in September 2nd week.

IMPORTANT LOCATION ON GOOGLE MAPS

  1. Naran Valley – KPK – Pakistan
  2. BESAL – The starting point of Trek
  3. Mullah ki Basti – Camping site/night stay
  4. Dudipatsar Lake

SAFETY/ SECURITY

The history of this lake has not been very good in terms of Safety. Many tourist were attacked by some Chilasi/ Kohistani looters in past decade. However these days KPK Govt. has appointed several policemen who stays at Mullah ki Basti – camping site and also clear the trek daily if any tourist need help.

On my return, we were trekking in dark at 8pm and 2 policemen continuously trekked with us until we reached back Besal.

However if you go beyond Dudipatsar trek (towards Saral pass and Rati gali trek) then there is no such security over there and there are chances that those Chilasi looters might loot you on the way.

TREKKING AND CAMPING EQUIPMENT

I always recommend to buyYoBefore going on any trekking or camping trip, make sure you always have high quality branded products with you that should withstand extreme condition. I recommend Pakistani brand DOMINANCE from where i buy most of my trekking and Bike gadgets. Must check their latest discounts: https://bit.ly/DOMINANCEpk

HOW TO REACH BESAL USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Besal is the basecamp in order to start your trekking. If you have your own car then you can directly reach Besal and park your car. However if you want to reach there using public transport then you can take below local (non-AC) vans:

  1. Take Van from Pirwadhai Mandi mor (Rawalpindi) to Mansehra (Cost 500 Rs)
  2. From Mansehra Bus terminal, take another van to NARAN which will take 4 hrs and 550 Rs
  3. In Naran there are no local vans but if you go at the end of Naran Bazar, there is taxi stand after the metal bridge. People pool a taxi and go further. We also got a pool car and paid 400 Rs per person to the driver to drop us at Besal.

ACCOMMODATION/ FOOD FACILITIES AT BESAL

At Besal, there are many options of Accommodation. Few people have established camping sites having. Each camp has capacity of 4 persons at a rate of 1000 ~ 2000 Rs/tent

Moreover there are proper Family rooms available at a rate of 2500 to 4500 Rs/room

There are multiple food restaurants available where you can have Desi aswel as Fast food.

Parking space is abundant and you can also setup your own tent (without any charges)

MOBILE SIGNALS/ INTERNET/ ELECTRICITY AT BESAL

  • Currently (Aug 2022) there are no mobile signals at Besal however rumors are there that Telenor will be installing their tower in 2023 or 2024
  • Satellite wifi internet is available. You need to purchase a card of SkyNet from Moon Restaurant or Pak Dream hotel. I bought 1 GB data at 200 Rs valid for 3 days
  • Electricity is now 24 hrs available at Moon restaurant and BUTT karahi restaurant (hotel) as they have installed water turbines which generates free electricity

PREPARATIONS FOR DUDIPATSAR TREKKING

Since this trekking is not a simple one and you should prepare yourself seriously. Below are the must-to-bring things and you should not skip any of these:

  • Trekking stick
  • Rain coat
  • Round Hat
  • Sun block
  • Trekking shoes
  • Trekking (stretchable) pants

TREKKING DETAILS

1. TREKKING DISTANCE

The total distance from BESAL to DUDIPTASAR lake is around 18 km

  • From Besal to Mullah ki Basti Camping site: 15km approx
  • From Mullah ki Basti to Dudipatsar lake: 3 Km approx

2. TREKKING TIME

From Besal to Mullah ki Basti Camping site: 7 ~ 9 hrs
From Mullah ki Basti to Dudipatsar lake: 1.5 ~ 2 hrs

NOTE: Horses are also available at the start of the trek. They charge 3000 ~ 4000 Rs for one side

3. TREKKING PATH/ DIFFICULTY

  • The terrain of the trek is very good and beautiful
  • Initial 3 hrs are difficult due to upward hike but after Galma village you enter into meadows and the path becomes beautiful and relatively easier

4. FACILITIES AT MULLAH KI BASTI CAMPING SITE

After almost 7 ~ 9 hrs trekking from Besal, you reach at MULLAH KI BASTI camping site. The locals setup this facility only in July and August and you are allowed to trek only when this facility is available (from security point of view)

There are almost more than 10 ~ 12 tents available and each tent can accommodate 6 to 7 persons.

Per night cost of each tent varies from 1500 to 3000 Rs

They have small kitchen too and can serve basic level food and tea

ALSO READ OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS:

  1. HOW TO APPLY CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  2. HOW TO APPLY USA-VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  3. HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING
  4. GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING
  5. Visiting BALKAN countries on PAKISTANI Passport – Detail Travel Guide
  6. PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE
  7. DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE
  8. GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP
  9. SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide
  10. KUMRAT VALLEY CAMPING AND VISITING GUIDE
  11. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE TREKKING GUIDE
  12. HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOTORBIKE ROAD TRIP

WATCH TRAVEL SERIES ON YOUTUBE

LOCAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. MISSION KASHMIR SERIES – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  2. LAHORE TO GWADAR – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  3. SINDH SERIES
  4. BALOCHISTAN SERIES
  5. LAHORE TO SKARDU – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  6. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE
  7. KUMRAT VALLEY
  8. GALIYAT SERIES

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. IRAN SERIES – BY BUS
  2. TURKEY SERIES – BY BUS
  3. NORTH AMERICA (USA + CANADA) 2022
  4. BALKANS (EUROPE) SERIES
  5. SRILANKA SERIES
  6. INDONESIA SERIES
  7. USA SERIES 2019

SRI LANKA TRIP EXPENSES AND DETAILS

SRILANKA VISA

You can apply Sri Lanka visa by yourself on their Official ETA site. Visa fees is 20 USD and processing time is 2 to 5 days

MY EXPENSES DETAILS DURING THE TRIP

RETURN AIR TICKET FROM LAHORE = 85000 PKR (475 USD)

E-VISA OF SRILANKA = 4000 PKR (20 USD)

HOTEL STAYS FOR 15 NIGHTS = 9975 PKR (Total 19,975 PKR divided in 2 persons)

PETROL FOR 15 DAYS RIDING AROUND 1200 Km = 3817 PKR (Total 7634 PKR divided in 2 persons)

FOOD = 7087 PKR for 15 Days

ENTRY TICKETS OF PLACES: 4200 PKR

SIM CARD and TEMPORARY DRIVING LICENSE = 1000 PKR + 800 PKR

BIKE RENTAL = 8 USD/ DAY from SRILANKA BIKE RENT

HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE IN DAMBULLA = 200 USD/ person

TRAVEL EQUIPMENTS AND GADGETS:

Before going on any travel, make sure you always have high quality branded products with you. I recommend Pakistani brand DOMINANCE . Must check their latest discounts: https://bit.ly/DOMINANCEpk

HOW TO GET TEMPORARY (TOURIST) DRIVING LICENSE IN SRILANKA

  • Take Bus # 187 from Katunayak Bus station (1km walk from Colombo Airport) and get off at Colombo Fort Bus Terminal ( fare = 180 LKR, Time = 1 hr)
  • Take Bus # 103 from Colombo Fort and Get off at PETTAH – WERAHERA Department of Motor Traffic Department
  • Go to Building # H for License and ask people for Tourist Temporaray driving permit counter (which is Counter # 1)
  • You would have to submit: 1) Original license of your country (2) its photo copy (3) Passport 1st page copy (4) Copy of Srilanka entry stamp on your passport (5)1000 LKR fees in cash
  • The process involves visiting multiple Counters and ques and it will take almost 1~2 hours
  • You will get a Paper Driving Permit for 30 Days
  • NOTE: If you want to get your Driving Permit ready before arrival then SRILANKA BIKE RENT will arrange for you in 30 USD and you have to send all above documents to their email or Whatsapp +94 76 666 1379

TAKING A BIKE, SCOOTER OR TUK TUK ON RENT IN SRILANKA

  • I got my bike rented thru SRILANKA BIKE RENT
  • They have registered HONDA workshop.
  • All their bikes and scooters are insured
  • The scooters are 8 USD/day and Bikes are 14 USD/day
  • They will keep 100 USD security deposit and will refund once you return the bike.

ACCOMMODATION DETAILS DURING MY TRIP IN SRILANKA

Since I am a backpacker and select only budget hotels during my trips. Hence I selected Budget Home stays whose average room rate per nite was between 1000 ~ 2500 PKR only (which was further divided between 2 of us). Below are the links of all my accommodations in Srilanka

  1. NEGOMBO – Aurora Beach Hostel
  2. DAMBULLA – Lotus Inn
  3. SIGIRIYA – Bandula Home Stay
  4. KANDY – Central City Hostel
  5. NUWARA ELIYA – Leisure Nest Hostel
  6. NUWARA ELIYA – The Galways Edge Home stay
  7. ELLA – Ask Home stay
  8. MIRISSA BEACH – Piumi Guest House
  9. PITIWELLA BEACH – Ceylon Beach Home
  10. BENTOTA BEACH – Lotus Villa

GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP

Fairy Meadows is one of the most attractive place for Adventurers, Explorers and Mountaineers. The main point of attraction is Nanga Parbat Mountain – ” A.K.A “The Killer mountain” which is the 9th Highest mountain in the world (8126 meter). While camping in Fairy meadows, you can observe mighty views of Nanga Parbat in the morning and millions of stars and Galaxies at Night.

HOW TO GET THERE

In order to reach Fairy meadows, first you need to reach at RAIKOT BRIDGE. There are two ways to reach there:

  1.  Islamabad > Naran > Babusar > Chilas > Raikot  (preferable route during May to November only)
  2. Islamabad > Bisham > Dasu > Chilas > Raikot (remains open whole year but bad road condition)

TREKKING AND CAMPING EQUIPMENT:

Before going on any trekking or camping trip, make sure you always have high quality branded products with you that should withstand extreme condition. I recommend Pakistani brand DOMINANCE from where i buy most of my trekking and Bike gadgets. Must check their latest discounts:

https://bit.ly/DOMINANCEpk

TRANSPORT TO REACH AT RAIKOT

By Car: You can reach Raikot by your own car either via Naran/Babusar road or via Bisham and park it at any hotel at Raikot. They will charge you 500 ~ 1000 Rs per day

Transport from Islamabad: you can take public transport NATCO buses from Rawalpindi Pirwadhai mor and get off at Raikot Bridge

Transport from Naran: If you have already reached Naran on your car and want to go further on Public transport then there is local mini van that leaves early morning 8:00 ~ 9:00 am from Saiful Malook bridge (End of Naran Bazaar) which can drop you at Chillas (cost around 800 Rs) . From CHillas, mini vans leave every hour towards Gilgit, so its better to stay a night in Chilas and Travel from Chilas to Raikot next morning.

For bikers: Take any of the above two routes to reach Raikot and then Park your bike at any hotel there. Do not take your bike from Raikot to Fairy Meadows because  the road is badly damaged and full of big stones and it is extreme difficult to take your bike on such a steep off-road

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

You must Stay one night nearby Raikot Jeep point. For this you have accommodation options at

  • Raikot Bridge (Only 3 Hotels and much expensive)
  • Chilas (2hrs from Raikot. Atleast 10 hotels available )
  • Nanga parbat view point (15min ahead from Raikot 2~ 3 basic type hotels)
  • Jaglot (25min ahead from Raikot.  3 ~ 4 hotels with good rooms) – I stayed in Jaglot

MOBILE NETWORK AND INTERNET

Since this area is in Gilgit Balitistan region so only SCOM mobile netwrok works here properly and you get 4G internet speed at Fairy meadows camping site. Few locals were also sharing that Zong Network also works at some places but i could not find any signals.

You can buy SCOM sim at Gonar Farm Bazar (1 hr before Raikot) or otherwise buy it from Lahore (Kashmir PCO – Lohari Gate) before leaving on your trip

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Fairy meadows is quiet famous and safe area for Travellers and explorers. Locals are very hospitable and there is no point where you can get lost. All the paths are marked and you will

It’s best to be ready with a contact of towingless.com in case of emergencies.

JEEP RIDE FROM RAIKOT BRIDGE TO TATTU VILLAGE

  • Jeeps from Raikot: 8600 Rs (fixed price) for 6 to 8 persons (This rent is for both ways). Must note Name, Mobile number and Plate number of your jeep.
  • Jeep time from Raikot to Tatu village = 1.5 hrs
  • Jeep track is one of the adventurous track in the world however it is very hot and dry so cover your self properly from protect from dust and heat
  • Jeeps drop you at Tattu village from where you have to hike towards Fairy meadows top
  • You will tell your jeep driver about the Date and Time of your Return and he will come at Tattu village on that day/time

TREKKING FROM TATTU VILLAGE TO FAIRY MEADOWS CAMPING SITE

  •  Difficulty level: First half is tough and 2nd Half is relatively easier
  • Length of the Trek: 8 Km approx
  • Total time of Trekking: 3 ~ 4 hrs
  • Hiring a horse/mule: They charge 70 Rs per Kg to take your luggage
  • Terrain/surface: 1st Half is full of lose and dry sand having lot of Horse/Mule leftovers. 2nd half has stones and fallen leaves
  • Cleanliness: Unfortunately people have spread lot of trash on trek. You will see lot of Wrappers, Empty bottles along the path
  • Beauty/nature: 1st Half is Dry on rocky mountains but after reaching in the middle, you will experience some trees and bushes along the way
  • Water streams: There are 4 to 5 small water springs during the track and you can fill water bottles
  • Tuck shops: Around 2 or 3 tuck shops are there in middle of the trek where you can have Drinks, snacks and Tea.
  • Wild animals: There are no wild animals on this trek

ACCOMMODATION AT FAIRY MEADOWS

  • Tent rate 2500 ~ 3000 rs for 4 person (Including mattress and Sleeping bags)
  • Wooden cottage rate 4000 ~ 5000rs for 4 to 5 persons (One double bed and 2 Mattress with blankets)
  • If you travel with group, they charge 1400 Rs per person that includes Breakfast and Dinner
  • Public Bathrooms for campers are made at common area (separate for Male and Female) however wooden cottages have attached bathrooms
  • Accommodation Options: There are two main sites where Camps/cottages have been built. One place is the main Fairy Meadows ground which has lot of options at around this plain. Second Option is at other side of the Tree Forest where camps and cottages are built (The famous ones are  Broad view Resort and  View Point Resort)
  • If you want to set up your own tent, most of the hotels allows you to set it up in their side area Free of charge but in case of high season they might charge you a little fee.

TREKKING FROM FAIRY MEADOWS TO BEYAL CAMP AND NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT

  •  Difficulty level: Easy and Almost straight
  • Length of the Trek: Fairy Meadows to Beyal Camp = 4 Km AND Beyal Camp to Nanga Parbat View Point = 1.5 Km
  • Total time of Trekking
  1. Fairy Meadows to  Beyal camp = 2.5 hrs
  2. Further Beyal camp to Nanga Parbat View Point = 1.5 hrs
  3. And if you want to go towards Nanga Parbat ase camp then another 2.5 hrs trekking
  • Terrain/surface: The surface is hard and soft sand and have wide paths
  • Cleanliness: The trek is relatively cleaner and you will find less trash/ wrappers
  • Beauty/nature: I liked this trek more as compare to Tattu Village to fairy meadows trek because this Trek takes you in Nature and have trees, green plains and water streams along the way
  • Water streams: You will find many water stream along the way aswel as one stream will travel along you till Beyal Camp
  • Tuck shops: 2~3 Tuck shops and Tea huts are present at Beyal camp (also there are camping facilities at Beyal Camp) and 1 Tuck shop is present at Nanga Parbat view point where i had Noodles
  • Wild animals: There are no wild animals. Only cows, horses and goats of local villagers are seen

ALSO READ OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS:

  1. HOW TO APPLY CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  2. HOW TO APPLY USA-VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  3. HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING
  4. GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING
  5. Visiting BALKAN countries on PAKISTANI Passport – Detail Travel Guide
  6. PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE
  7. DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE
  8. GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP
  9. SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide
  10. KUMRAT VALLEY CAMPING AND VISITING GUIDE
  11. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE TREKKING GUIDE
  12. HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOTORBIKE ROAD TRIP

WATCH TRAVEL SERIES ON YOUTUBE

LOCAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. MISSION KASHMIR SERIES – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  2. LAHORE TO GWADAR – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  3. SINDH SERIES
  4. BALOCHISTAN SERIES
  5. LAHORE TO SKARDU – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  6. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE
  7. KUMRAT VALLEY
  8. GALIYAT SERIES

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. IRAN SERIES – BY BUS
  2. TURKEY SERIES – BY BUS
  3. NORTH AMERICA (USA + CANADA) 2022
  4. BALKANS (EUROPE) SERIES
  5. SRILANKA SERIES
  6. INDONESIA SERIES
  7. USA SERIES 2019

Explore Galiyat Region in KPK | Pakistan

Galiyat (گلیات‎) region, or hill tract, is a narrow strip or area roughly 50–80 km north-east of Islamabad, Pakistan, extending on both sides of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-Punjab border, between Abbottabad and Murree. The word itself is derived from the plural of the Urdu word gali, which means an alley between two mountains on both sides of which there are valleys and it is not the highest point in the range. Many of the towns in the area have the word gali as part of their names, and are popular tourist resorts

LOCALITIES IN GALIYAT

MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN GALIYAT REGION:

Galiyat is the best place in North to spend quality time for 1 week vacation with family:. Below are places which should be in your schedule while visiting this Galiyat region

  • Pipeline Track between Donga Gali – Ayubia
  • Mushkpuri Peak Trek from Donga Gali
  • Lalazar Wildlife Trek from Nathiagali to Mushkpuri Peak (2800 meter)
  • Miranjani Peak Trek (2990 meter) from Nathia Gali
  • Samundar Kattha Lake
  • Namli Mera Waterfall
  • Ayubia Chairlift
  • Khanspur Youth Hostel and Cricket ground
  • Khanspur Church

VIDEOS OF GALIYAT REGION

1. PIPE LINE TRACK

 

2. LALAZAR WILD LIFE PARK AND TREKKING TO MUSHKPURI PEAK

 

3. TREKKING OF MIRANJANI PEAK (2990 meter)

 

4. DONGA GALI TO MUSHKPURI PEAK TREKKING

 

5. SAMUNDAR KATHA LAKE AND NAMLI MAIRA WATERFALL

 

6. KHANSPUR AND RIALA WATERFALL

 

 

 

GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING

Listing down all my gadgets currently in use (as of year 2024).

VIDEO CONTENT DEVELOPMENT

  1. DSLR Camera for VLOGS: Sony A7iii
  2. Mobile for VLOGS: iPhone 14 Pro Max 1TB + Samsung S22-Ultra 512GB
  3. DRONE: DJI Mavic Air 2
  4. Action Camera: DJI OSMO ACTION-4 and GoPro Hero 7
  5. Action 360Camera: Insta360-X3
  6. Gimbal for DSLR: Zhiyun Weebill S
  7. Gimbal for Mobile: Insta360-Flow
  8. Mic for Mobile: DJI wireless MIC
  9. Mic for DSLR : Boya MM1
  10. Mic for Voiceover recording: ZOOM H6 Black
  11. Lavalier Microphone: Boya M1
  12. Mic for Bike Helmet : XO-MKF-02 (c-type)  
  13. Sony Lenses: Sony 50mm f/1.8 and Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8

VIDEO EDITTING:

  1. LAPTOP: 14″ MacBook PRO, M1 MAX Chip, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 10 Core CPUs + 32 Core GPU
  2. Second Monitor: Acer 24 inch (V243H)
  3. External Drive for editting: 2TB Samsung 980 PRO SSD NVME (with 10 gbps casing)
  4. Mic for Background Voiceover recording: ZOOM H6 Black

TREKKING:

Although i prefer buying only Imported Branded Products, but in Pakistan if you want to buy quality Trekking products, then I recommend DOMINANCE Products only.

  1. Trekking Backpack: FORCLAZ 70liter (Model: Travel 500)
  2. Carry Bag: FORCLAZ Carry bag (Model: Duffel 500 40 – 60 lit)
  3. Trekking Shoes (long ankle): Columbia Trekking Tatanium Outdry
  4. Trekking Shoes (Short Ankle): Skechers  hiking shoe
  5. Blue Color Quick dry Travel Shirts from Decathlon-Kalenji
  6. Red Color Quick dry Travel Shirts from Decathlon-Quechua
  7. Trekking Trouser (stretchable) from DOMINANCE
  8. Quick dry Trekking Socks from Dominance
  9. Water proof socks to cross water streams from DOMINANCE
  10. Water cover for Trekking shoes from Walimall.pk
  11. Waist bag while Trekking

CAMPING:

  1. Summer Tent: Ozark trail 2 person camping Dome tent
  2. Winter Tent: Dominance Weather proof D2
  3. Sleeping Pad: Air Inflated type
  4. Camping Stove:  Coleman Butane stove 440gm
  5. Cooking pots set

MOTORBIKE:

  1. The motorbike currently i use to travel all around Pakistan is SUZUKI GS-150SE. Watch my review below
My review with SUZUKI GS-150SE

All my Motor Bike related Gadgets are sponsored by WaliMall.pk (WM). Get Special discount from them on mentioning that you are Subscriber/Follower of Being A Traveler

  1. Tank Bag from Walimall.pk
  2. Riding Jacket by Walimall.pk
  3. Riding Shoes by Walimall.pk
  4. Saddle Boxes by Wallimall.pk
  5. Elbow – Knee guards by Walimall.pk
  6. Front SMB LED light by Walimall.pk
  7. Portable Air pump by XIOMI from DARAZ
  8. Summer Gloves
  9. Seat Air Cushion
  10. Waist Bag
  11. GoPro 360 degree Bag clip
  12. You can read full detail of Motorbike preparation checklist
  13. Watch below how I prepare my Bike and Bags before leaving on Tour

NOTE: I have bought all above items by saving penny by penny and after wasting so much money in buying cheap products. If you are a serious traveler/trekker, always buy branded stuff.

ALSO READ OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS:

  1. HOW TO APPLY CHINESE VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  2. HOW TO APPLY USA-VISA ON PAKISTANI PASSPORT
  3. HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BUDGET TRAVELING TIPS FOR BACKPACKING
  4. GADGETS I USE FOR TRAVEL AND VLOGGING
  5. Visiting BALKAN countries on PAKISTANI Passport – Detail Travel Guide
  6. PAKISTAN TO IRAN + TURKEY BY BUS – DETAIL GUIDE
  7. DUDIPATSAR LAKE TREKKING – AN ULTIMATE GUIDE
  8. GUIDE TO TREK FAIRY MEADOWS | BEYAL CAMP | NANGA PARBAT VIEW POINT AND BASE CAMP
  9. SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide
  10. KUMRAT VALLEY CAMPING AND VISITING GUIDE
  11. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE TREKKING GUIDE
  12. HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A MOTORBIKE ROAD TRIP

WATCH TRAVEL SERIES ON YOUTUBE

LOCAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. CHITRAL SERIES
  2. GILGIT HUNZA SERIES
  3. MISSION KASHMIR SERIES – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  4. LAHORE TO GWADAR – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  5. SINDH SERIES
  6. BALOCHISTAN SERIES
  7. LAHORE TO SKARDU – SOLO BIKE TOUR
  8. JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE
  9. KUMRAT VALLEY
  10. GALIYAT SERIES

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SERIES

  1. CHINA SERIES – BY BUS (VIA KHUNJERAB)
  2. IRAN SERIES – BY BUS
  3. TURKEY SERIES – BY BUS
  4. NORTH AMERICA (USA + CANADA) 2022
  5. BALKANS (EUROPE) SERIES
  6. SRILANKA SERIES
  7. INDONESIA SERIES
  8. USA SERIES 2019
https://youtu.be/xeYWRn6HiZo
HOW I FUND MY TRAVELS – BACKPACKING TIPS

Trekking Miranjani Peak in Nathia Gali – Pakistan

Miranjani is the highest peak of Galiyat region of Pakistan and is 9800 ft above sea level which is only 3 hours from Islamabad. I did this trekking solo on a rainy day of 27-Aug-2020. Below is the highlights video of this trekking.

EXPENSE AND TIMING DETAILS:

I visited Nathiagali when i was already spending my family vacations in Murree. So took a local van from Muree and reached Nathia gali on a rainy day

Van fare from Murree to Nathiagali = 150 Rs

Travel time from Murree to Nathiagali = 1.5 hr

Nathiagali bazar to Miranjani starting point distance = 3km

Uphill trekking time from Start to End = 2.5 ~ 3 hrs (i took 4 hours)

Downhill trekking time = 1.5 hr

MAP LOCATION OF STARTING POINT OF MIRANJANI

https://goo.gl/maps/QFS1BKdv4j4SSHSj6

MIRANJANI TRAVEL SERIES

EP-01: TRAVELING FROM MURREE TO NATHIA GALI

EP-02: STARTING MIRANJANI TREKKING PATH

EP-03: REACHING TOP OF MIRANJANI PEAK

EP-04: I LOST MY WAY WHILE RETURNING FROM MIRANJANI PEAK

GUIDE | Trekking to Jahaz Banda, Katora Lake and Kund Banda

HIGHLIGHTS OF JAHAZ BANDA TRIP

WHEN TO VISIT JAHAZ BANDA

Jahaz banda is a beautiful meadows in upper DIR district of KPK province in Pakistan. It remains covered with snow from October end till May. So the best time to visit Jahaz Banda is between JUNE to SEPTEMBER.

However before leaving, always take weather, route and distance updates from from Accuweather.com and Google maps

LOCATIONS ON GOOGLE MAPS

  1. JAHAZ BANDA
  2. KATORA LAKE
  3. KUND BANDA
  4. KUMRAT VALLEY

CAN FAMILIES VISIT THESE PLACES?

This is subjective. Every family should take decision according to the age group of their members. You can see the trekking paths in my videos (below) and should take decision accordingly. I have seen many families trekking these valleys from age group of 12 years to 60 years but not everyone can do this.

You should ask following questions from your family, friends (and yourself too) before coming to this place:

  1. Have you done hikings and trekkings before?
  2. Do you have stamina for this?
  3. Can you hike for 6 to 10 hrs in a single day without having proper meals?
  4. Can you bear wild places and sleeping in a camp on an un-even surface?
  5. Can you use uncleaned and smelly toilets with no soap and small amount of water?
  6. Can you eat un-hygienic and not a proper cooked food?
  7. Do you have some members who always have complaining nature and have high demands of having facilities?
  8. Do you have members whose habit is to always curse the Government on not providing facilities in every remote location of Pakistan?

The main purpose of visiting this place should be to enjoy the Wild nature away from hustle and bustle of populated city life. Your focus should not be on getting facilities but to enjoy few nights in a forest/valley

TRANSPORT

There are 4 ways to reach Jahaz Banda

  1. Join a group tour on facebook (around 12,000 Rs per person for 3 Nights trip)
  2. Drive your car upto THAL and then hire a jeep to reach Takki Banda
  3. Take public transport to reach THAL and then reach Takki Banda on jeep
  4. Drive your motor bike and you can even take it up to TAKKI BANDA (and there is proper parking area for bikers at tuckshop)

I traveled to Kumrat Valley and Jahaz Banda on Public Transport. Although my route was:

Lahore > Dir > Thal > Takki Banda > Jahaz Banda

but i recommend to travel through other route because its a hassle to get a public transport from Dir > Thal. So i recommend the below route:

Lahore > Mardan > Thal > Takki Banda > Jahaz Banda

There is another route recently being used by tourist:

Lahore > Swat > Kalam > Utror > Badgoi pass > Thal

CONTACT NUMBERS TO BOOK A SEAT IN PUBLIC BUS/ VAN:

  • SADAAT BUS: Lahore to Dir or Mardan : 0300-5697625 or 0306-4066634
  • VAN from Mardan to Thal (and vice versa): 0347-3075783

They have fix timings of departure so better take all timings from them by calling and then plan your journey accordingly.

ACCOMMODATION FACILITY IN JAHAZ BANDA

You should always keep this thing in mind that you are going on an adventure journey and going to stay in a remote area where no facilities are present. These places are for only those who love hiking, trekking and want to spend some time in wild nature. You should never expect good facilities and hospitality like Naran, Shogran, Murree and Nathiagali which are proper developed places for more than 50 years.

I visited first time Jahaz Banda in July 2019. At that time there were only camping facility available by locals. A 2-person tent is given at 500~1000 Rs and a four person camp is given at 1000 ~ 2000 Rs.

jahaz banda camping trekking site

The rates are depending upon the number of tourist visiting this place. However i visited Jahaz Banda again in July 2020 and now 5 to 6 proper wooden hotels have been built with attach bathroom. They charge 1500 ~ 2000 Rs for a room which can accommodate 3 to 4 people.

FOOD AVAILABILITY

food at jahaz banda kumrat valley

Although there are local tuck shops and kitchen huts available but you should keep this thing in mind that Jahaz Banda (or Kumrat) is a place of adventure and camping so you should not expect high quality facilities and food options at this place.  Locals try their best to serve you chicken, daal, rice etc and you should thank them instead of complaining them for taste and hygiene conditions.

I always suggest people not to eat Roti, Naan and bread during your trekking trips because you have to do Katora Lake trekking next day which will take around 9 hrs (both ways) and there will be no bathroom in the way. So better eat some snacks or take along Noodles, Dry fruits and snacks with you.

ELECTRICITY AND CHARGING FACILITY

There is no proper electricity at Jahaz Banda top. People have installed Solar panels at their huts which are only sufficient for LED bulbs for lighting however do not expect that you would be able to charge your mobiles or Drone batteries. So better take Power banks and extra batteries with you.

MOBILE SIGNALS AT JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE

As of now, there are currently Telenor and Jazz mobile signals available at Jahaz Banda top. You would hardly able to use internet but can easily make calls.

There are no mobile signals at Katora Lake (and also not at KUMRAT VALLEY)

SAFETY/ SECURITY/ LAW AND ORDER

The upper DIR region is very hospitable and i have found no issue of security during my 2 separate visits of Kumrat valley and Jahaz Banda. You can see my video of Katora Lake trekking where i left my big Backpack in my tent at Jahaz Banda and nothing was stolen. People are genuinely helping and offer you free things as a good gesture.

From camping point of view, there are no wild animals in this area. So you can sleep without worry.

⛔JEEP DRIVERS SCAM⛔

I am writing these lines with heavy heart and It is very unfortunate that Jeep owners at THAL are very unprofessional and  not reliable. The are new in this tourism industry and thus lack professional ethics. Be very cautious while dealing with them and i highly recommend to record your conversation on mobile while you are finalizing the Jeep fare and the drop-off point or any other terms and conditions. For example; You guys negotiated with jeep owner that in 2500 Rs he will drop you at Takki banda. So what they do, either they will drop you 2 km before Takki banda point OR if they drop you at exact point, they will demand some other price (say 4000 Rs which they asked you initially while negotiations)

jeep thal jahaz banda kumrat being a traveler bilal azam

It has happened to me 3 times and i have heard many such scam stories from my friends and tour operator companies.  I personally reported these scams to local police and also hope that local people will learn professional business ethics with the passage of time.

Average jeep fare are:

Thal to Takki Banda: 2500 ~ 4000 Rs (one way)

Thal to Kumrat Valley: 2500 ~ 3500 Rs (one way)

Kumrat to Takki Banda (vice versa): 3500 ~ 4500 Rs

Take phone number of 5 to 6 separate Jeep owners with you so that you can call them when you want to return from Takki Banda/Jahaz Banda to Thal.

PREPARATION FOR LEAVING ON CAMPING/ TREKKING TRIP TO KUMRAT

In order to see how to pack your bags, read my separate blog on Preparation Checklist

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

RESOURCES TO BUY TREKKING/ CAMPING EQUIPMENT IN PAKISTAN

Since many of you have asked to share resources where one can purchase camping/trekking gears so here is the list:

  1. Dominance.pk (5% discount code: BBT05)
  2. Hazari.com.pk
  3. Acsender.pk
  4. TheSportStore.pk
  5. Higher.com.pk
  6. Camps.pk
  7. Gearup.asia
  8. WALI MALL (for Bikers and campers)
  9. DARAZ.pk (open market for all kind of equipment)
  10. OLX.pk (Pick from the seller directly and save the shipping fees)

EXPENSES AND JOURNEY DETAILS OF MY PERSONAL VISIT TO JAHAZ BANDA

Jahaz banda is getting much popularity these days and it is always filled with lot of group tours and tourists from all over Pakistan. So in order to avoid heavy rush, i decided to travel this place just 5 days before Eid-ul-adha. This is the time when no one travels to north and every one is busy at their home in buying Goat and cows for the sacrifice. So here is chronological details of my journey:

DAY-1 | 26-JULY-2020

– Took Sadaat Bus from Lorry Adda Lahore @ 1400 Rs

DAY-2 | 27-JULY-2020 | TREKKING TO JAHAZ BANDA

– Left from Lahore @ 06:00 PM and Reached DIR bus stop at 0400 hrs

– Left from DIR in Jeep at 500 Rs @ 0730 hrs

– Reched THAL bazar @ 1030 hrs

– Hired a personal jeep @ 1500 Rs from THAL to Drop me till Takki Banda

NOTE: In normal days, average one-way jeep fare is 2500 ~ 4000 Rs depending upon season. Since i went there just 4 days before Eid-Ul-Adha so there was not a single tourist in Thal. Thats why i got a good price of 1500 Rs

– Left from THAL @ 1100 hrs and Reached at TAKKI TOP at 1230 hrs

– Trekking from Takki top to Jahaz Banda normally takes 3 ~ 4 hrs (depending upon your fitness and number of stops you take during the trip)

– I was shooting my videos with different angles and flying drone so it took my around 7 hours to reach at my camping site.

– Although lot of huts and camps are available at Jahaz Banda (between 500 to 1000 Rs per nite) but i setup my own tent. Had a rest and slept early at 9:00 PM

 

DAY-3 | 28-JUL-2020 | TREKKING TO KATORA LAKE

Trekking time from Jahaz Banda to Katora Lake one-way is 3 ~ 4 hrs . I woke up at Fajar time and left at 0600 hrs. Since i was alone and took the wrong path so i took around 7 hours to reach Katora Lake. However, on return i took the right path and reached back to Jahaz Banda in 3 hours only. Below are the details of trekking from Jahaz Banda to Katora Lake path:

Powered by Wikiloc

It is highly recommended that if you are visiting first time then either travel with a group of people or hire a local tour guide for this track.

TREKKING TO KUND BANDA AND JAHAZ BANDA WATERFALL

– After coming back from Katora Lake at 1700 hrs, i took some rest and then packed my tent from Jahaz Banda and left for trekking towards Kund Banda which starts at backside of TAJ DIN HUT. This trekking is 45 min down hill and very steep. This place is one of peaceful spot and my favorite place in this region. I setup my tent and slept alone in that valley as there was not a single tourist there.

kund banda location jahaz banda

 

Locals have also setup tents and huts to offer you a sleeping place at 500Rs per person. If you do not have your own tent, then you cn easily get space there along with mattress, pillow and blanket.

Watch details of Kund Banda trekking in below video:

 

DAY-4 | 29-JUL-2020 | KUND BANDA TO THAL

– Woke up early morning and left from Kund Banda towards Takki Banda at 0700 hrs

– Reached at Takki Banda at 1200 hrs

– Had a long wait at Takki Banda to get some jeep because no tourist was coming from THAL (because of upcoming Eid) and hence no jeep was available which could take me to THAL

– Finally after a wait of around 3.5 hrs, there were few people going back on their personal HILUX, i took a lift from them @ 03:30 PM and they dropped at THAL at 04:30 PM

– From THAL, took a local van seat @ 700 Rs for Mardan. The van started at 08:30 PM from Thal

 

DAY-5 | 30-Jul-2020 | MARDAN TO LAHORE

– Van dropped me at Mardan Bus stop at 0400 hrs

– From Bus stop, went to Malakand Chowk (on rickshaw) which is around 1km and Booked a seat for Rawalpindi at 300 Rs on HIACE van

– Van started at 0515 hrs from Mardan and Dropped me at Pindi Peshawar mor at 0645 hrs

– From Pindi, took a YUTONG bus @ 800 Rs at the spot at 0800 hrs and reached Lahore at 1200 hrs

– 31-Jul-2020: Had a full time rest and got our Goats for Qurbani

– 1st-Aug-2020: Celebrated Bakra Eid and started editing of videos 🙂

 

BEING A TRAVELER – T-SHIRTS COLLECTION:

bilal azam t shirts official merch

ALSO READ: How To Visit Kumrat Valley On Public Transport

guide visit kumrat valley jahaz banda beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

How to Prepare for a Motorbike Tour – (checklist)

I have developed below checklist before departing on my Motorbike trip to Northern mountains of Pakistan. The checklist is further divided into sub-categories,  I hope this will help you as a starting point to get yourself prepared before hitting the road.

All my motorbike gadgets and gears are sponsored by WALIMALL.PK

MODIFICATIONS REQUIRED ON NEW BIKE

  1. Install metal Leg guard
  2. Air deflector shield on head light
  3. Extra LED lights for night driving
  4. Saddle side boxes
  5. Tail box
  6. Mobile holder
  7. Mobile charger
  8. 2nd keys of Bike + Wirelock, Saddle boxes or any other locks
  9. Tubeless tyres

TOOLS FOR BIKE: 

  1. Puncture kit
  2. Extra tube
  3. Air pump
  4. Multi sizes nut and bolt opening keys
  5. Extra wiring fuses
  6. Extra petrol bottle
  7. Extra engine oil
  8. Bike rain cover (during parking)
  9. Small clock on bike handle
  10. Luggage binding elastic strips with hooks

 GADGETS FOR DRIVING

  1. Seat comfort cushion (buy from any medical store)
  2. Dust proof glasses
  3. Wind breaker upper
  4. Leg and arms guards
  5. Protective hand gloves
  6. Seat cushion (air filled tube)
  7. Rain coat
  8. Rain pent
  9. Reflector strips

ALSO READ: HOW I PARCEL AND SHIPPED MY BIKE FROM KARACHI TO LAHORE ON PAKISTAN RAILWAY (TRAIN)

PERSONAL ITEMS DURING DRIVING

  1. National ID card CNIC
  2. Driving license 
  3. Your employee/ business card
  4. Wireless handsfree
  5. Cash
  6. ATM/Memory cards
  7. Multiple mobile network sims (for travel in Kashmir buy SCOM sim from here)
  8. Rain coat and Rain pent

PERSONAL ITEMS IN LUGGAGE

  1. Luggage bag (tied with elastic strings at back seat)
  2. Rain cover for bag
  3. Camera + extra cards and batteries
  4. Mobile + Charger
  5. Torch or Head light
  6. Power Bank
  7. Eye Mask
  8. Ear plugs

FOOD RELATED

  1. Water bottle
  2. Snacks
  3. Dry fruits
  4. Noodles
  5. Ready to eat food (FRESHMATE)
  6. Coffee sachet (3 in 1 ready to drink sachet)
  7. Tapal or Everyday Sachet (3 in 1 ready to drink)

THINGS RELEVANT TO CAMPING

  1. Tent (waterproof)
  2. Nylon rope to tie camp
  3. Sleeping mat
  4. Air pillow
  5. Sleeping bag (below -5 degree rating)
  6. Sleeping Hygiene sheet
  7. Sleeper/ Flipflop
  8. 2/3 pair of trousers and shirts
  9. Small towel
  10. Tooth Paste (small)
  11. Paper soap
  12. Normal Small size soap/ shampoo
  13. Detergent sachet to wash any thing
  14. Multi purpose tools having knife, cutter, etc
  15. Small pan
  16. Camping stove to cook something
  17. Mini umbrella
  18. Mini Lighter (to start a fire)

THINGS RELEVANT TO TREKKING

  1. Long boots for trekking (water proof)
  2. Long Socks special for trekking
  3. P-Cap/ Hat
  4. Sun glasses
  5. Trekking poles (hiking sticks)
  6. Water bottle
  7. Metal hooks (to hang something on bag)

PERSONAL MEDICAL & EMERGENCY KIT

  1. Pain killers
  2. Disprin
  3. Anti-nausea
  4. Stomach upset medicine
  5. Nimcol/ ORS
  6. Safety pins
  7. Medical bandage
  8. Balm/Iodex
  9. Sunny Plast
  10. Knee braces (for trekking)
  11. Mosquito repellent lotion
  12. Whistle (for emergency communication)
  13. Masking Tape
  14. Chepstick
  15. Sunblock cream
  16. Sewing needle and thread
  17. Tissue wipes
  18. Extra plastic bags
  19. Ballpoint/ Marker to write something

 

NOTE: SPECIAL TIPS FOR SUZUKI GS-150

  • Change the genuine wiring fuse with a car fuse because of its availability issue during tour
  • Take extra fuses during the tour
  • Take extra clutch wire and brake wires with you. You will not find them anywhere during the tour

MY VLOGGING AND TRAVEL EQUIPMENT DETAILS:

Gadgets gears travel vloggin media kit bilal azam being a traveler

ALSO READ:

Checklist for a  TREKKING/CAMPING trip

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

Checklist for an INTERNATIONAL TRIP

TRAVEL CHECKLIST BILAL AZAM

Visiting Tao Butt (Taobat) and Rati Gali (KASHMIR) using public transport

I Visited Taobutt and Rati Gali lake August 2018 on a public transport. For your ease i am mentioning to the point details of my Bus Journey and all expenses which i spent day wise:

BUS FROM LAHORE

You have below options to depart from Lahore

  1. Sri nagar express (Lorry Adda)
  2. Habib Express (Lorry Adda)
  3. Skyways (Niazi Stop Bund road)

DAY-1 | 03-AUG-2018 | LEAVING FROM LAHORE

1400 Rs ticket of Habib Khan Bus Daewoo ticket which leaves at 2200 hrs from Lorry Adda Lahore

– The bus has good service, Air conditioned and travels via Motorway

DAY-2 | 04-AUG-2018 | ARRIVAL MUZAFFARABAD

I slept whole night in the bus and when wokeup, the bus was going on murree express way and was moving towards Muzaffarabad.
– 0530 hrs crossed KOHALA BRIDGE kashmir.
– 0612 hrs crossed NEELAM ROPE BRIDGE
– 0625 hrs reached at MUZAFARABAD BUS STOP

MUZAFARABAD > KERAN > DAWARIAN > SHARDA > KEL

After arriving muzaffarabad, I had breakfast at bus stop and bought a ticket of a local bus from MUZAFARABAD TO KEL @ 430 Rs. The bus is without AC and not very comfortable so better choose a seat with a good leg space.

– 0700 hrs Bus started but stopped at many locations
– 0915 hrs crossed NEELAM JEHLUM DAM
– 1035 hrs crossed kundal shahi
– 1100 hrs crossed ATH MUQAM
– 1135 hrs crossed KERAN

Keran is a good spot to stay and also at this point you can see Indian flags just few hundred feet in front of you. Few of the good hotel options at Keran are

– Valley tracker Hotel

– Neelam star river Hotel

– Pine park lodges

– Kashmir Color guest house

The bus did not stop at Keran and continued onwards:
– 1200 hrs  Stopped at LAWAT for lunch break
90 Rs: I had Bar B Q tikka at Lawat
90 Rs: Purchased water bottles

– 1215 hrs Left from LAWAT
– 1235 hrs crossed DAWARIAN (from where ratti gali Jeep track starts)
– 1410 hrs reached SHARDA and had a small break

Sharda is one of the famous stop for stay. Most of the tour operators provide accommodation at this place. There are many basic level guest houses as well as camping tents available along the river. There is also ancient times, Shardah hindu Temple which was built 1000 years ago which you can visit across the river. I did not stop at Shardah during this trip, however sharing my video of visiting shardah temple during my May 2017 trip below:

From here, KEL is 19km far and Tao butt is 62km
– 1430 hrs left from SHARDA
– 1545 hrs reached KEL

My today’s bus journey ended at KEL. I booked a basic level guest house at KEL and kept my bags there to spend 2 nights there:

1000 Rs (500 Rs x 2 nights) paid to “Green hills view guest house”

After keeping my bags in guest house, i decided to hike towards ARANG KEL. There are 2 options to reach Arang Kel from Kel:

i) Complete track by hiking which takes almost 2.5 hrs

ii) Cover half way by Cable Car and then hike the remaining portion in just 45min

So, i decided to go through cable car. The waiting line for cable car is almost 30 to 40 min but still it is better than hiking (for those people who do not have tough stamina). The cable car takes only 30 seconds to drop you on other side.
100 Rs cable car ticket (for both ways)
– 1645 hrs sat in Cable car, dropped at other point and started trekking onwards

– 1720 hrs Reached Arang kel top

Since there was lot of public and long ques on going back so i spent only 45min at Arang Kel and then returned back to reach my Hotel before sunset.
– 1800 hrs started trekking back from Arang Kel and reach at cable car point at 1835hrs

– 1915 hrs sat on cable car and reached back to my room at 1945 hrs
– slept at 2100 hrs

DAY-3 | 05-AUG-2018 | KEL TO TAOBUTT AND RETURN

– Woke up at 0500 hrs
– 0620 hrs left from Hotel to KEL Bus stop
350 Rs jeep ticket from KEL to Taobut from Alhabib Hotel 03558111937

There are only 2 jeep timing from KEL to TAO BUTT: 0730 hrs and 1030 hrs
– 0740 hrs jeep left from KEL towards TAO BUTT
– 1100 hrs reached Tao Butt

Tao butt has wooden guest houses and 02 very good family hotels on the bank of river i.e; Ganga Hotel and Shabistan Hotel


350 Rs Return jeep ticket bought at 1400hrs timing
50 Rs pakoray at Taobutt
– 1410 hrs left on Jeep from Taobutt
– 1440 hrs stopped for 30min at Hulmat due to heatup of jeep
– 1600 hrs dropped few passengers at Phulawai
– 1815 hrs reached KEL
250 Rs dinner chicken meal
– 2030 hrs slept at Kel guest house

DAY-4 | 06-AUG-2018 | KEL > DAWARIAN > RATI GALI LAKE

– 0500 hrs wokeup and reached bus STOP at 0545 hrs
250 Rs bus ticket KEL to DAWARIAN
90 Rs paratha and egg breakfast
– 0600 hrs bus left from KEL (every 30min bus leaves starting from 4.30am)
– 0740 hrs reached SHARDA and and then resumed onward journey at 0805 hrs
– 1000 hrs Reached DAWARIAN and got off from Bus

From here, you have to hire a separate jeep which takes almost 2500 ~ 3000 Rs to take you upto Base camp. However i was traveling solo so i sat with locals by paying them 500 Rs
500 Rs took a local jeep from Dawarian to Rati Gali Base camp
– 1330 hrs reached at base camp of RATI GALLI

The base camp has lot of tents to spend a night and also have local kitchen huts and food options.
– 1345 hrs started hiking towards RATI GALLI
– 1500 hrs reached top of RATTI GALI LAKE


– 1620 hrs left from Rati Gali due to heavy rain started  and reached base camp at 1700 hrs

Few people had already booked their jeep, so i requested them to take me along.
500 Rs paid to jeep for one seat. Jeep started at 1710 hrs
– 1850 hrs reached at DAWARIAN BRIDGE and waited a long for bus. After 1.5 hr a bus arrived which was fully packed and i could only find a space to stand in the gate of Bus.
– 2030 hrs Bus started at Dawarian for Pindi
650 Rs Bus fare to Rawalpindi

On the way, there was lot of rain and land sliding

DAY-5 | 07-AUG-2018 |  DAWARIAN > RAWALPINDI > LAHORE

– 0010 hrs bus stopped at GHORI (CHASHMAY WALI JAGA) due to heavy land sliding. The road was blocked and bus river brought the bus 1 km back. We spent the whole night in a Mosque to wait for clearance of land sliding.

– Wokeup at 0545 hrs and all passengers sat in Bus but still land sliding was not clear and again waited for the crane.
– 0910 hrs finally sliding cleared by dumper and resumed the journey
– 0945 hrs crossed Muzaffarabad city Rope Bridge
– 1040 hrs crossed KOHALA BRIDGE
– 20 min stop for meal at PHAGWARI
– 1245 hrs entered MURREE EXPRESS WAY
– 1425 hrs bus dropped me at FAIZABAD Bus Stop Rawalpindi
– 1445 hrs sat in FAISAL MOVERS BUS for Lahore
1070 Rs FAISAL MOVER ticket to Lahore

– 1915 hrs reached Lahore

———–
TOTAL EXPENSE OF TRIP  = 6900 Rs (Including all bus tickets, accommodation and meals)

———-

 

 

ALSO READ: HOW TO PLAN YOUR FIRST TRIP TO NEELUM VALLEY | KASHMIR

Neelam valley kashmir pakistan beingatraveler

How to visit Kumrat Valley and Jahaz banda on public transport

VISIT KUMRAT VALLEY AND JAHAZ BANDA | KOHISTAN | KPK | PAKISTAN

First thing first, Kumrat Valley is not a Family Vacation spot (currently in 2020). Its an adventurer place where there are small camp-style-hotels with basic necessities only. Its a place for camping and trekking and requires lot of pre-planning.

Since the place has starting getting popularity after Imran Khan visit in 2017, so after seeing lot of people’s interest, KPK Govt has launched Tourism police there and now going to start road construction in early 2020.

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KUMRAT VALLEY

Kumrat Valley is not accessible for full year. Because of heavy snow, you can not visit this place in winters. The snow starts melting in April till end may when it becomes accessible for locals  however after June, the greenery start appearing in the valley and finally the valley gets started to welcome the visitors.

Hence the best time to visit Kumrat Valley is from  Mid of June to Mid of October.

The videos you are seeing in this blog were made in 1st week of July 2019

CAMPING SITES 

There are several camping sites along the river of Kumrat and locals have provided wooden huts and tents for tourists. If you want to put your own tent then it is allowed however locals will ask you to pay 500 Rs per nite if you peg your tent near Waterfall area. If you go further in a little no-mans land, then you can camp free-of-cost. You can get a camp of 2, 3 persons from locals at 500 ~ 1000 Rs per nite (as per availability)

ELECTRICITY AND CHARGING FACILITY

There is no proper electricity at in Kumrat Valley. People have installed Solar panels at their huts which are only sufficient for LED bulbs for lighting however do not expect that you would be able to charge your mobiles or Drone batteries. So better take Power banks and extra batteries with you.

MOBILE SIGNALS AT JAHAZ BANDA AND KATORA LAKE

As of now, there are currently mobile signas at THAL bazar only. There are no mobile signals at Kumrat Valley camping site. I had to make some emergency calls and for that i hired a motorbike who braught me to Thal bazar so that i could call at home and then i went back to camping site

IMPORTANT TIPS FOR PACKING

1. Always pack your bags light

2. Prefer foldable things, to utilize maximum space

3. Prepare for the emergency, not for leisure

4. Never rely on your friend, bring your own things


PREPARATION FOR LEAVING ON CAMPING/ TREKKING TRIP TO KUMRAT

In order to see how to pack your bags, watch the below video. Also you can see the

Preparation Checklist

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

RESOURCES TO BUY TREKKING/ CAMPING EQUIPMENT IN PAKISTAN

Since many of you have asked to share resources where one can purchase camping/trekking gears so here is the list:

  1. Dominance.pk (5% discount code: BBT05)
  2. Hazari.com.pk
  3. Acsender.pk
  4. The Sport Store
  5. Higher.com.pk
  6. Camps.pk
  7. Gearup.asia
  8. WALI E-MALL (for Biker and riding gadgets)
  9. DARAZ.pk (open market for all kind of equipment)
  10. OLX.pk (Pick from the seller directly and save the shipping fees)

TRANSPORT

There are 3 ways to reach Kumrat Valley

  1. Join a group tour on facebook (around 12,000 Rs per person for 3 Nights trip)
  2. Drive your car upto THAL and then hire a jeep to reach Kumrat Valley
  3. Take public transport to reach THAL and then reach Kumrat Valley on jeep

I traveled to Kumrat Valley  on Public Transport. Although my route was:

Lahore > Dir > Thal > Kumrat Valley

but i recommend to travel through other route because its a hassle to get a public transport from Dir to Thal. So i recommend the below route:

Lahore > Mardan > Thal > Kumrat Valley

EXPENSES AND JOURNEY DETAILS OF VISITING AND STAYING IN KUMRAT VALLEY

===============
1. LAHORE TO DIR (KPK):
===============
– Take bus from LAHORE-to-DIR at Larri Adda near Minar-e-Pakistan ( Bus Fare = 1400 Rs)
– You can book your seat by calling SADAAT BUS SERVICE at 0306-4066634 or 0313-5747238
– Bus leaves from Lahore at 1800 hrs and drops at DIR early morning 0430 hrs

=============
2. DIR TO THALL 
=============

– From DIR bus terminal, you can either take a seat in local van to KUMRAT or THALL but they start operation at 0830 hrs. (Fare = 500 ~ 600 Rs/person)
– So if you are 5~6 people, you can hire a personal car that will drop you at THAL BAZAR in 3 hours.
– Private Car fare: 2000 ~ 2300 Rs (for all 5~6 persons)



=================

3. THALL  TO KUMRAT

=================
– If you are solo and have small bag, you can hire a local motor bike who will drop you at Kumrat Valley within 1.5 hr in 500 ~ 700 Rs
– Or you can hire a 4×4 Jeep in 2500 Rs (can take upto 7 persons) that will drop you at Kumrat Valley in 2 ~ 2.5 hrs
– You should do camping near Waterfall point (Kumrat Aabshaar)
– A 3 to 4 person camp can be rented out at 500 ~ 1000 Rs depending upon the season

====================

3a. FIRST DAY CAMPING IN KUMRAT

====================

==================================
4. KUMRAT TO KALA (PATHAR) CHASHMA
==================================
– Trekking time = 1 hour (if starting from Kumrat Waterfall point)
– Path is very wide and worthy for 4×4 Jeeps and Motorbikes
– There are few camping facilities (4 to 5 camps only) at Kala Chashma point.
– You should stay a night there only if you want further trekking to Shahzor Lake or Kundal Lake
– There is one Tuck Shop and restaurant at Kala Chashma who can serve Pakora, Daal, Chicken Karahi, Cold drinks etc.
– Camp of 4 to 5 people @ 500 Rs/nite

============================
5. KALA CHASHMA TO SHAHZOR LAKE (15 hours trekking)
============================
– Trekking from Kala Chashma to DOJAGGA is almost straight path and takes around 3 hours (with breaks)
– From DOJAGGA (also called DOJANGA in Kohistani language) to Shahzor Lake, the trekking path is slightly UP-HILL and takes around 6 hours (with multiple breaks for rest and re-energize)
– On return, it takes only 03 hours from Shahzor lake to DoJagga point, however from Do-Jagga to Kala Chashma, trekking time is same i.e 03 hours.

– So total time of Uphill (towards Shahzor Lake) = 9 hrs and Down-hill (towards Kala chashma) = 6 hrs

(We started our trekking at 0800 hrs and came back 2300 hrs. Dont forget to take food and Head-lamps with you)



========================
6. THALL TO JAHAZ BANDA
========================
– Jeep track is steep, it takes you from Thal and drops at Takki Top (Taki Banda)
– Jeep fare = 3000 Rs
– Time from Thal to Takki Top = 2 ~ 2.5 hrs
– You can not take Jeep or Bikes further from Takki Top
– Trekking time from Takki Top to Jahaz Banda = 03 hours
– Camping facility at Jahaz Banda = 500 rs per camp (for 2 or 3 people)
====================
7. JAHAZ BANDA WATER FALL
====================

– Just 15 min down-hill trekking from camping point, you will witness beautiful waterfall and lush blue zig-zag water flowing between lush green ground.
– You can also do camping at this so-peaceful place.
=========================
8. KATORA LAKE TREKKING
=========================
– Must start your trekking at 0600 hrs from Jahaz Banda
– Trekking time one-side = 03 hrs approx
– Must take rain coats with you as you will witness rain on the way 2 or 3 times and even heavy hail storm.

I COULD NOT UPLOAD REMAINING 04 EPISODES OF KUMRAT VALLEY TRIP BECAUSE I LOST MY ALL DATA WHEN I WAS TOURING IN USA AND SOMEONE STOLE MY LAPTOP AND ALL HARD DRIVES BY BREAKING INTO MY CAR.

Anyways, i went again Jahaz Banda in 2020 and filmed separate Vlog series

READ: Solo trip to Jahaz Banda, Katora Lake and Kund Banda

jahaz banda kumrat valley trekking

 


 

Watch my other VLOGS of Exploring the beauty of Pakistan

—————————————————————————————–
1. Androon Lahori Nashta: https://bit.ly/2XacxXt
2. Camping in SHARAN Forest: https://bit.ly/2FbE2Fy
3. Visiting TAOBUTT Kashmir: https://bit.ly/2XhbRzf
4. Rati Galli Lake: https://bit.ly/31LKexY
5. Toli Peer Hike Kashmir: https://bit.ly/2Xgg86m
6. Swat Kalam Malam Jabba: https://bit.ly/2IkoIZd
7. Saji Kot Waterfall: https://bit.ly/2WNfe1I
8. Road trip to HUNZA Valley: https://bit.ly/2Rgw3vZ
9. Mushkpuri Top hiking: https://bit.ly/2WJxELN
10. Neela Wahan (Blue Ponds): https://bit.ly/2ZtWwsU
11. Neelam Valley Kashmir: https://youtu.be/dcg4xauI2Pg
12. Haneef Siri Paye | Ambala Lassi: https://bit.ly/2Ko77ll
13. How to visit KUMRAT VALLEY & JAHAZ BANDA: https://youtu.be/FpMOvAiaPHQ
———————————
BACKPACKING IN INDONESIA:
———————————
▶️ Episode-1: Preparing for my longest trip| https://bit.ly/2JrCX02
▶️ Episode-2: Met my humshakal in Bangkok to Bali | https://bit.ly/2Ee40aX
▶️ Episode-3: Day trip to Nusa Penida Klingking Beach | https://bit.ly/2JrDzTo
▶️ Episode-4: visiting Gate-of-Heaven (Lempuyang Temple) | https://bit.ly/2LSlu2W
▶️ Episode-5: Tukad Cepung Waterfall | Bali | https://bit.ly/2QdoDZD
▶️ Episode-6: TANAH LOT TEMPLE: https://bit.ly/2wcN4x7
Episode-7: A Day in UBUD |Bali Swing | Monkey Forest | https://bit.ly/2VC8DBv
▶️ Episode-8: Going BALI to JAKARTA | https://youtu.be/zTTTkIUFQSI
▶️ Episode-9: I met president of Indonesi | https://youtu.be/TISH0mEtTyU


FOLLOW MY TRAVELS ON:

https://www.INSTAGRAM.COM/beingatraveler

Trekking and Camping preparation checklist

This is my personal packing list for camping and trekking. You may find few things extra and can use this list to take help for your packing. You can watch the whole video about my packing at the end of this blog.

IMPORTANT TIPS FOR BACKPACKING TRIP

1. Always pack light things

2. Prefer fold-able things, to utilize maximum space of your bag

3. Prepare for the emergency, not for leisure

4. Never rely on your partner, bring your own things

RESOURCES TO BUY TREKKING/ CAMPING EQUIPMENT IN PAKISTAN

Since many of you have asked to share resources where one can purchase camping/trekking gears so here is the list:

  1. Dominance.pk (5% discount code: BBT05)
  2. Hazari.com.pk
  3. Acsender.pk
  4. TheSportStore.pk
  5. Higher.com.pk
  6. Camps.pk
  7. Gearup.asia
  8. WALI E-MALL (for Bikers and campers)
  9. DARAZ.pk (open market for all kind of equipment)
  10. OLX.pk (Pick from the seller directly and save the shipping fees)

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

 BAGS AND DOCUMENTS

  1. 60 – 80 Lit backpack
  2. Rain cover for bag
  3. Day bag (30-40 Lit) to keep daily essentials like food water, wind breaker
  4. Waist bag
  5. Dry bag
  6. Multiple organizer bags
  7. Laundry bags
  8. National ID card (and its photocopies)
  9. Driving License
  10. Your employee/business card
  11. Credit/Debit cards
  12. Ball point
  13. Wallet

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

WEARABLES

  1. Trouser
  2. Jeans
  3. Shorts
  4. T-shirt 
  5. Trekking Joggers/shoes
  6. Flipflop/ sleeper
  7. Neck cover 
  8. Round Hat
  9. P- Cap
  10. Winter Cap
  11. Arm covers-sleeves  (to avoid sun contact)
  12. Small personal Towel
  13. Sun Shades/Glasses
  14. Thermals (For winters)
  15. Zipper (Wind breaker)




trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

TOILETRIES

  1. Tooth brush
  2. Small paste
  3. Mouth freshener (paper mint)
  4. Shampoo sachet
  5. Small soap
  6. Paper soap
  7. Razor
  8. Shaving cream small
  9. Nail cutter
  10. Scissor
  11. Small comb
  12. Oil
  13. Small cutter
  14. Sewing pin + thread
  15. Tissue pack
  16. Deodorant

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

MEDICAL/ EMERGENCY KIT

  1. Disprine / Panadol for mild headaches and pain
  2. Pain killers for severe pains
  3. Stomach upset Medicines (Emodium)
  4. Anti Vomit medicines
  5. Sun Block cream
  6. Lip balm
  7. Sunny plast (for minor cuts)
  8. Medical doctor tape
  9. Safety pins
  10. Nimcol / ORS
  11. Bandage
  12. Balm/ Iodex
  13. Knee braces

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

TREKKING/ CAMPING GADGETS

  1. Camp with water sheets/cover
  2. Sleeping bag
  3. Sleeping mat
  4. Trekking poles
  5. Anti slip rubber grips (for mud and snow)
  6. Torch light
  7. Head light
  8. Water bottle hooks
  9. D-shape hooks
  10. Rain coat
  11. Emergency blanket
  12. Small Umbrella
  13. Small lighter (use it for cooking breakfast and other meals or bonfire) 
  14. Whistle for emergency
  15. Small strings to ties camping sheets etc
  16. Anti cut gloves
  17. Air Pillow
  18. Foldable Water bottles
  19. Water bag with pipe
  20. Dust mask
  21. Foldable glass
  22. Rubber bands to tie something
  23. All mobile network Sim cards (to catch signals in mountains)

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogsFOOD AND TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

  1. Travel neck pillow
  2. Eye mask
  3. Ear plugs
  4. Book/Novel
  5. Coffee (3 in 1) sachet
  6. Noodles
  7. Dry fruits
  8. Ready to eat food (FRESHMATE)
  9. Snacks & Chocolates
  10. Chewing gum




trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

ELECTRONIC GADGETS

  1. Camera and batteries
  2. Power banks (solar is better)
  3. Blue tooth speakers
  4. Mobile and Chargers
  5. Travel sockets
  6. Old mobile with long battery life
  7. Water covers for mobile and DSLR
  8. Dry bag  (rafting bag)
  9. Wrist watch/band
  10. Handsfree
  11. Empty USBs
  12. Car charger
  13. AUX cable (to connect mobile with car/jeep audio tape)

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

MY PERSONAL VLOGGING EQUIPMENT

  1. DSLR camera (Canon 6D and SONY A7iii)
  2. Drone (DJI MAVIC PRO and DJI MAVIC Air-2)
  3. 360 deg Camera (samsung)
  4. Action Cameras (Hero4, Hero7, SJ4000)
  5. Microphone during Travel (BOYA shotgun mic)
  6. Microphone for Voiceover recording (ZOOM H6 Black)
  7. Extra batteries of all cameras
  8. Tripods (big n small)
  9. Gimbal (Zhiyun Weebill-S)
  10. Head mount for GoPro camera
  11. Timelapse revolving mount
  12. Selfie Stick
  13. Extra memory cards
  14. OTG device (to connect USB with mobile)
  15. Charging extension board

VIDEO OF PREPARATION FOR CAMPING AND TREKKING TRIP TO KUMRAT VALLEY


You can also refer TRAVEL CHECKLIST for packing your bag for an INTERNATIONAL TRIP


INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL CHECKLIST

When you’re heading off around the world, getting organized can be pretty daunting. To help you prepare for your trip, use this handy checklist to check off important items before you travel.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

  •  – Air Ticket
  •  – Passport/ Visa
  •  – Hotel reservations
  •  – Travel Insurance (if required)
  •  – Tour Itinerary
  •  – Travel wallet and Pouch for Passport/ ticket/ boarding pass etc
  •  – National ID card
  •  – Driving license (National/ International)
  •  – Your Employee card + visiting cards + Student card
  •  – Photocopies of all above Documents (for each individual – in group travel)
  •  – Soft copies of all above documents in mobile or USB


BAGS & CURRENCY

  •  – Backpack (Day bag)
  •  – Waist bag
  •  – Destination country currency + US Dollars
  •  – Credit and Debit cards


ELECTRONICS

  •  – Laptop + charger

  •  – Mobile + charger
  •  – Headphones
  •  – Camera + lenses + charger
  •  – Power bank
  •  – USB
  •  – Portable Hard disk for Data or pictures transfer
  •  – Universal Travel socket/ Adapter 
  •  – Water proof cover for mobile 
  •  – Water proof cover for Digital Camera
  •  – Water proof cover for DSLR Camera
  •  – DSLR Slim Travel pouch for Travel 
  •  – Selfie stick 
  •  – Wrist watch

TOILETRIES

  •  – Travel Toiletries bag 
  •  – Tooth Brush
  •  – Tooth Paste/ Mouthwash
  •  – Shampoo: 100ml bottle or Sachet
  •  – Shaving razor + Shaving cream
  •  – Hair oil
  •  – Small Soap/ hand wash/ paper soaps
  •  – Hand Sanitizer
  •  – Moisturizing lotion
  •  – Sun Block lotion
  •  – Small personal Towel
  •  – Tissue/ Wipes
  •  – Brush/ Comb


OTHERS

  •  – Sun glasses
  •  – Eye cover + Ear plugs
  •  – Travel U-Pillow (Air filled) 
  •  – Travel rectangular Pillow (Air filled) 
  •  – Sewing kit
  •  – Rain coat
  •  – Book/ Novel for time pass 
  •  – Pen/ Diary
  •  – Swimming shorts for Beach
  •  – Sleepers (Chappal)
  •  – Thermals (for winter season)
  •  – Hat/ P-Cap
  •  – Maffler/ Winter cap
  •  – Baggage weighing scale 
  •  – Water bottle foldable 
  •  – Medicines: Pain killers/ Asprin
  •  – Snacks items (Chips, Nuts, Biscuits, Chocolates etc)


Watch how i prepared for my backpacking trip to Indonesia

Did i miss anything important? Lets help others by suggesting HERE

How to Plan your first visit to Turkey – An Ultimate Guide

How to plan your first visit to Turkey – An Ultimate Guide

Planning to visit turkey and not sure how many days are enough? And what is must to see and good to see? Let me make it easy for you.

How to get Turkish Visa

  • Getting Turkish tourist visa was never easy before. If you are resident of USA, UK, Schengen States or Ireland (or even you have a valid visa of these countries on your passports) then you can get 6-Months Tourist visa through ONLINE system. Just fill the form and pay the fees 60USD and you will receive the PDF copy of visa on your email within a minute. I personally had a USA visa on my Pakistani passport and got the online Turkish visa very easily.

online turkey visa bengatraveler.com

  • (For Pakistani Citizens): In case you guys don’t have valid visa’s of USA, UK, Schengen or Ireland then you have to apply to Turkish Embassy through GERRY’s Pakistan drop box visa service. You must apply for visa atleast 2 ~ 3 weeks before your actual travel to turkey. Gerry’s takes  2500 Rs other than Visa fee to provide their services.

Purchasing the Air ticket

Although the best and cheapest option is to travel through Turkish Airline however before booking your tickets through a Travel Agent, you must check cheapest flight to Turkey using online Flight search engines like SKYSCANNER.COM  or  KAYAK.COM


 

TRAVELING AROUND TURKEY

 

istanbul blog turkey travel beingatraveler bilalazam

 

ISTANBUL !! The only city in the world where you can visit ASIA and EUROPE at the same time.

 

 



Where to Stay:

If you want to experience the deep culture of Istanbul then your Hotel must be in SULTAN AHMET area. However if you want modern touch then you can get your hotel around ISTIKLAL STREET. I personally recommend Sultan Ahmet area because you would love roaming around streets of Istanbul and meeting local Turkish people and eating in local food restaurants

 

Istanbul Sultan Ahmet by beingatraveler
A street in Sultan Ahmet – Istanbul

You can book your Hotel/ Hostel through booking.com or agoda.com. I am personally using booking.com from last 6 years because they dont charge from your credit card before arrival and also their help in case of wrong charging or any dispute with Hotel is remarkable.



What Transport to be used:

Istanbul has a very well established Metro Trains and Bus system. Just buy ISTANBUL KART (Istanbul Metro card) and you can visit around Istanbul from Europe to Asian sides of Istanbul using this card. Never use Private Taxis as these are 10 times expensive. In case you are with family you should use APP Taxis like CAREEM which are much cheaper.

 

Istanbul Metro beingatraveler.com
Tram passing through a street in Sultan Ahmet

 

Day-1 | I S T A N B U L

 

Morning: Start exploring Turkey from the most iconic Sultan Ahmet Mosque which is also called Blue Mosque. I am not writing any history here. Just Go ! and Explore yourself 🙂

 

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Afternoon: Topkapi Palace/ Hagia Sofia

For Muslims, Topkapi palace is one of the best History Museum in the world. You would have a chance to see lot personal things of many Prophets and companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) such as

  • Hair of Prophet Muhammad PBUH
  • Foot print of Prophet Muhammad PBUH
  • Sword of Prophet Muhammad PBUH (Azab)
  • Miraculous Stick of Prophet Musa (A.S)
  • Turban of Prophet Yousaf (A.S)
  • Dresses of Hazrat Imam Hussain R.A and Hazrat Fatima R.A

Don’t forget to visit the backside of Topkapi where you would see amazing scenic view of River Marmara

 

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Useful Info

Topkapi Palace Timings:   9:00 AM to 04:30 PM
Topkapi Entrance: 40 TL (Turkish Lira)
Hagia Sofia (Aya Sofia) Entrance: 40 TL
 

 

Evening  should be spent in Istiklal Street/ Taksim Square , one of the most happening and lively street in the world. You would love walking, shopping, eating and specially THE ISTIKLAL TRAM. I would always love to spend evening in Istiklal street.

 

 

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Day-2 | I S T A N B U L

 

Morning: Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar (constructed in 1455 AD) in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world with 04 Gates, 60 streets and 5,000 shops. In Turkish it is named as Kapalıçarşı, meaning ‘Covered Market’

Useful Info

Opening Times: Monday to Saturday  9:00 – 19:00 hrs
The Grand Bazaar is around 15 minutes walk from the Aya Sofya/Blue Mosque area.
 
 

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Afternoon: Spice Bazaar

I could not visit Spice bazar during my first visit to Istanbul. However lot of people recommend it and I would definitely visit spice bazar during my next visit.

 

Evening: Bosphorus Cruise and Dance Dinner

This is must to experience! You can book this tour through any tour operator in Istanbul however if you want it cheap, directly go to KABATASH PIER and book your tour from ticket window. It includes dinner, Turkish girls dance, Sufi Dance at bottom deck and then Turkish Belly dance at the Top Deck of cruise.

Useful Info

Timing: 7.30 PM to 10.30 PM

Dinner Cruise Ticket:  120 TL (You will get expensive rates if you book it through tour agents)

 

 

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Day-3 | I S T A N B U L

 

Morning: Buyuk Ada – Prince’s Island

Lets relax today and have a visit to famous Prince’s Island. You can take the Ferry from KABATASH PIER that will drop you at Buyuk Ada island. Don’t forget to taste delicious 5-Scoops ice cream there. You must know that no fuel car/ motorbike is allowed in Buyuk Ada. You can only roam around beautiful streets either renting a Horse Carriage or Riding on a bicycle. If you are young and have enough time then Cycling is recommended.

Useful Info

Ferry Fare (one side) = 7.5 TL
Bicycle Rent = 10 TL for one hour and 20 TL for full day
 

 

 

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Late Afternoon: Asian side of Istanbul

Take the Marmara Metro Train (which travel under the sea) from EMINONU station and travel from Europe to Asian side of Istanbul. You would love walking along Marmara and beautiful view of Bosphorus Bridge that is connecting Europe and Asia in air.

 

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(Standing at Asian side, lookiking towards Europian side)

 

 

Kapadoky Capaducia turkey beingatraveler BILAL AZAM

 



IMPORTANT! Everything related to your Kapadokya tour should be “pre-booked” from Istanbul.  Otherwise you will waste your time in managing things after arrival.

Travelling to Kapadokya

  1. BY AIR: If you have less time in turkey (and also you can afford it) then you should take flight from Istanbul to NEVSEHIR or KAYSERIA Airports (as Kapadokya has no airport). From there your hotel van will pick you and take you to Goreme town in Kapadokya
  2. BY BUS: If you are on budget travel then you should take a night bus from Istanbul main Bus station. As i was traveling solo so i chose this option.

Useful Info

Bus Starte at: 9:00 PM and reach at: 07:45 AM (Nevsehir Main Bus station)
Then further 1 hour travel to your hotel in  Goreme Caves Valley
Bus Fare: 65 TL
 
 

Where to stay in Kapadokya

Kapadokya is a valley of Fairy chimney having caves. Make sure you experience your stay in a Cave Hotel. However you should always pre-book your hotel before leaving for Kapadokya because you need their pickup service at Airport or Bus station which is 1 hour away from Goreme Valley of Kapadokya.

Day-4 | K A P A D O K Y A

Red Tour: After your arrival, you would be taken to Red tour which includes visiting ancient times  Cave City. The reason of calling this tour “Red” because chimney rocks gives reddish shades.

Useful Info

Tour Avg Booking Price: 100 ~ 120 TL
Tour Timings: 9.30 AM to 04:00 PM
 

 

 

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Day-5 | K A P A D O K Y A

Hot Air Baloon: Next day you will be picked early morning before sunrise and will taken for amazing Hot Air Baloon ride.

Useful Info

Balloon ride cost = 75 ~ 100 Euro
Pickup time from Hotel: 04:00 AM
Flight time: 1 hour (5:00 AM to 6:00 AM)
Drop off back to Hotel: 07:00 am
 

 

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hot air baloon turkey capaducia kapadokya beingatraveler bilal azam
hot air baloon turkey capaducia kapadokya beingatraveler bilal azam
hot air baloon turkey capaducia kapadokya beingatraveler bilal azam
hot air baloon turkey capaducia kapadokya beingatraveler bilal azam
hot air baloon turkey capaducia kapadokya beingatraveler bilal azam
hot air baloon turkey capaducia kapadokya beingatraveler bilal azam
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Green Tour: After coming back from Hot Air balloon , you will be taken to Green Tour at 0930 hrs. This includes visiting under ground city and Ihlara Valley and Selime Cathedrale. This tour is called “Green” because you would see more greenery and trees in this tour as compared to Red Tour

Useful Info

 Green Tour Cost = 100 ~ 120 TL
Timing: 09:30 AM to 06:30 PM
 

 

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NOTE: Red and Green are the most famous tours in Kapadokya however it has another tour named as BLUE TOUR. If you are staying another day in Goreme valley then you must take this tour aswel

 

Fethiye turkey beingatraveler bilalazam

 

 


Day-6 | F E T H I Y E

Getting there: You can travel from Kapadokya to Fethiye using Night Bus. These buses starts in the evening at center of Goreme Valley nearby all hotels and arrives at Fethiye in the early morning.

 

Useful Info

Bus Fare = 70 TL
Bus starts from Kapadokya : 07:00 PM and arrives Fethiye next day at 06:30 AM
 

 

Paragliding: Although Fethiye is a beach city but I recommend visiting this place to experience adventurous Para-gliding flight over an amazing landscape. You can book it from your Hotel reception. The tour includes Pick/ drop , Paragliding jump, official Pictures and Videos (they do not allow to take your personal camera)

 

fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
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fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
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fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
fethiye paragliding turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
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Useful Info

Price = 250 ~ 340 TL (depends on season to season)

Pickup time from Hotel: 04:30 PM

Arrival at Jump location: 05:45 PM

Total Para-gliding time: 30 ~ 40 min

Drop off back to your hotel: 07:30 PM

 

 

OPTIONAL Day: Visiting Saklikent Gorge

If you have an extra day or time other than para-gliding then you must visit this place. You have to walk through knee high cold rushing water stream and then you walk along the gorge.

saklikent fethiye beingatraveler bilal azam

Useful Info

Getting there: Using local van from Fethiye bus stop to Saklikent

Van fare: 11 TL (one side)

Travel time: 1 hour (one side)

Entrance ticket for Saklikent = 6 TL

 

pamukkale turkey beingatraveler.com bilal azam

 

Day-7 | P A M U K K A L E

 

Getting There: Take evening bus from Fethiye at 1800 hours and you will arrive Pamukkale at 10:30 PM in 55 TL. Make sure your next day tour is already booked which should cover visiting Hierapolis and Thermal Pools

Morning: Visit Hierapolis

Hierapolis (Holy City in Greek) ruins are UNESCO World Heritage site, adjacent to Pamukkale Thermal pools. You must read its details HERE before visiting.

 

hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
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hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
hierapolis pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
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Afternoon: Visit Thermal Pools

Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site having hot springs (natural hot water due to underground volcanic activity) and terraces of white colored carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. There are 17 hot water springs in which the temperature ranges from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F)

 

pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
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pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
pamukkale turkey beingatraveler bilalazam
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Useful Info

Tour Cost = 100 TL (Includes Pick and Drop + Hierapolis and Thermal Pools entry tickets and a Guide)

Tour timing : 0930 AM to 4:00 PM

Shoes are not allowed while entering in Thermal Pools

(You can go to both places on your own too however it will waste lot of your time in managing transport etc)

 

ephesus izmir turkey beingatraveler bilalazam

 


Getting There: You should book your travel from Pamukkale to Izmir through tour agent (within 40 ~ 50 TL). The van will pick you in the evening and will drop at your Izmir hotel in the night. Izmir is 4 hours away from Pamukkale.

Visiting Ephesus

Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient Greek city built in the 10th century BC, three kilometers southwest of present-day Selçuk in Izmir.

 

izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
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izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
izmir ephesus turkey beingatraveler bilal azam
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Useful Info

Ephesus Tour cost = 100 ~ 120 TL

Tour Timing: 09:30 AM to 0:30 PM

OPTIONAL CITIES

You can always customise your tour and can include cities/places like Antalya, Konya, Bodrum etc

 

 

Turkey Travel Video Highlights

 

 

 

Plan your Tour with Ibrahim

 

If you want your customize tour then do contact my friend Ibrahim in Istanbul. He provides Travel, Tours and accommodation services throughout Turkey.

Ibrahim rocktown travel turkey beingatraveler bilalazam

Ibrahim Whatsapp: +905316548393

Email: sarikuzuibrahim@gmail.com

Note: Do not forget to mention my reference while contacting him so that he can give you special discount

 

Disclaimer: All images used in this blog are my personal and subject to copyright

 

PICTURES THAT WILL INSPIRE YOU TO TRAVEL SRI LANKA

 

I visited Sri lanka in July 2016 and found that this country has lot of Tourism potential as it has History, Culture, Strong religious following, Mountains, Beaches, Hikes and the cool monsoon weather. What i like most in Sri lanka was its untouched Natural Landscapes, the hospitable people and the Greenry all around.

Whenever i recommend people in my circle to visit Sri Lanka then they usually ask: What is there in Sri Lanka ? Is there any thing special? Is it really worth going?

Well ! to answer those friends and to inspire them to travel this beautiful yet very cheap part of the world,  i am sharing few of the best pictures taken during my Travelography in Sri Lanka

 

Sitting at Galle Fort Edge - beingatraveler.com - bilal azamSitting at Galle Fort Edge

Nuwara Eliya Tea Garden - beingatraveler.com - bilal azamPlucking Tea leaves in Nuwara Eliya Tea Mountains

Nuwara Eliya Tea GardensNuwara Eliya Tea Gardens

 

Lover's Leap Water Fall - Nuwara Eliya - beingatraveler.com - bilalazam
Lover’s Leap Water Fall – Nuwara Eliya

 

Sigiriya Lion rock Sri lanka - beingatraveler
Visiting Sigiriya Lion Rock – Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Lion Rock - At the Top - beingatraveler.com
Sigiriya Lion Rock – At the Top

 

Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka - Views beingatraveler.com
Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka – Views

 

Ramboda Water Fall - Nuwara Eliya - beingatraveler.com - bilal azam
Ramboda Water Fall – Nuwara Eliya

Moon Plains - Nuwara Eliya - beingatraveler.com - bilal azam
Walking at the top of Moon Plains – Nuwara Eliya

Gregory lake - Nuwara Eliya - beinga traveler.com
Gregory lake – Nuwara Eliya

Lover's Leap Water Fall - Nuwara Eliya - beingatraveler.com - bilalazam
Lover’s Leap Water Fall – Nuwara Eliya

Gregory lake - Nuwara Eliya - beinga traveler.com
Gregory Lake – Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya - beingatraveler.com - bilalazam
Early Morning Sun Rise – Nuwara Eliya

 
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HOW TO VISIT SIGIRIYA LION ROCK USING LOCAL TRANSPORT (BY BUS)

 

Traveling to new and exciting destinations is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It allows us to immerse ourselves in new cultures, try delicious food, and explore breathtaking landscapes. For those who have a thirst for adventure, Sri Lanka is a must-visit destination, and Sigiriya Lion Rock is an experience that should not be missed. I recently stumbled upon a nice blog that chronicled one traveler’s journey to the top of Sigiriya Lion Rock and was inspired to add it to my own bucket list.

Visiting lesser-known destinations and uncovering hidden gems can truly enrich your travel experiences. If you too wish to explore hidden treasures of Sri Lanka that you won’t find on other websites, make sure to visit this page and embark on a journey of discovery. Sri Lanka, with its diverse landscapes, historical wonders, and warm hospitality, offers a plethora of opportunities for such discoveries. While popular attractions are worth a visit, it’s often the off-the-beaten-path places that leave the most lasting impressions. Whether it’s a secluded beach, a tranquil temple, or a charming village, these hidden treasures hold the potential to transform your trip into an extraordinary adventure.

Just like Shri Lanka, Connecticut is a state full of history, culture, and natural beauty. Connecticut may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of travel destinations, but it has a lot to offer, From the quaint coastal towns to the vibrant cities, there is something for everyone. You can learn more about all the amazing things Connecticut has to offer by visiting the website. If you’re planning a trip to Connecticut, be sure to explore the state’s rich history by visiting the Mark Twain House and Museum or the Mystic Seaport Museum. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are countless parks and trails to hike, bike, or kayak. And of course, no trip to Connecticut would be complete without trying some of the state’s famous seafood. 

Sigiriya Lion Rock: In July 2016 I traveled through Sri Lanka for one week, on my first ever Solo Backpack Adventure across the beautiful and untouched landscape. Of all the hikes and adventures, SIGIRIYA was highlight of my trip in Sri Lanka

History

Sigiriya (Lion Rock) is an ancient rock fortress located near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. According to the ancient Sri Lankans, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (in 4th Century) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colorful paintings.

He built a gateway in the form of an enormous LION. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.

Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.

VISITING SIGIRIYA BY LOCAL TRANSPORT FROM KANDY (BY BUS)

Travel Time: 4 hrs. (one side)

What to wear: T-Shirt, Shorts, Hat

Things to take: A Backpack, Enough water for hydration, Camera




1. Leaving from Kandy

Visiting Sigiriya Lion Rock by bus is cheap and easy. In order to avoid hike during peak hot time, you must take the earliest possible bus from Kandy Bus station which is at 5:30am. I missed that early morning bus and then had to wait for 2 hours to catch the next bus at 7.30am so better to wake-up as early as possible to catch 5.30am bus

2. Bus Journey from Kandy to Sigiriya

The bus fare is 120 Rs (1.0 USD) and it takes almost 4 hrs from Kandy to drop you at Sigiriya Bus stop. Below image is the exact location where the bus will drop you.

Sigiriya Lion Rock - Bus Drop Off Point - beingatraveler.com
Sigiriya Lion Rock – Bus Drop Off Point

 

3. From Bus-stop to the Ticket-Booth

After getting off the bus you have to walk about 1.5km to the parking area and then take left and walk along the water channel

Sigiriya Lion Rock
Sigiriya Lion Rock – Water Channel

 

After almost 15 min walk you will reach at ticket booth

Sigiriya Lion Rock - Ticket Booth - beingatraveler
Sigiriya Lion Rock – Ticket Booth 

 



4. Purchasing Entry tickets to hike Sigiriya Lion Rock

The entrance ticket to hike Sigiriya rock is of 30 USD (4260 Rs) for adults and 15 USD for kids. However if you are from a SAARC country (i.e; Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives) then you can get the 50% discount but it is not mentioned anywhere at the booth.

Sigiriya Lion Rock - Ticket Booth - beingatraveler.com
Sigiriya Lion Rock – Ticket Booth

 

Drama Scene:

I was not aware that Sigiriya has a “paid” hike so i reached there with only 3000 Rs in my pocket as i kept rest of my cash in Hostel Locker. If I wouldn’t from Pakistan, I could not have made this hike.I told the lady at counter that I have traveled about 4 hours all the way from Kandy and now have shortage of cash to purchase the ticket. The lady looked at my face and asked Are you Indian? . I said, No, Pakistani! Then she asked for the proof. Luckily I had my passport photocopy and original international license in my backpack at that time. After confirmation she told Sir! As you are from a SAARC country so you are allowed to enter by paying only half ticket. 🙂

Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka - Half Ticket for SAARC
Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka – Half Ticket for SAARC

 

5. Hiking Sigiriya Lion Rock

Going from Ticket booth to the top of the Lion rock takes almost 1 hour. It has straight path as well as rock constructed stairs which has almost 1200 steps. If one is hiking in the forest they usually prefer to buy 5.56 ammo online for safety.

Sigiriya Lion Rock - Hike - beingatraveler.com
Sigiriya Lion Rock – Going to the Top

 

Sigiriya Lion Rock - Beingatraveler - bilal azam
Sigiriya Lion Rock – HIking

As you ascend to the top you will see stunning views of greenry, cloudy sky, with high speed wind and a Bid Budha statue visible in the mid of the jungle.

Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka - Views beingatraveler.com
Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka – Views in the middle

 

After a hike of 30 min you will see the Mirror wall (which was used by King to see his reflection) and the paintings on the wall of the rock from the 4th century. It has a special spiral steel structure to climb and see those paintings.

Sigiriya Lion Rock - Mirror Wall and Paintings - beingatraveler.com
Sigiriya Lion Rock – Mirror Wall and Paintings

 

After climbing half of the rock, you will reach at that iconic LION PAWS which was the gateway to the King’s palace.

Sigiriya Lion Rock - Beingatraveler - bilal azam
Sigiriya Lion Rock

 

Climbing Lion Rock - beingatraveler bilal Azam
Climbing Lion Rock

Further going up through stair will take you at the top of the Lion Rock where once King Kasyapa had his Palace. All the way around 360 degrees you would love the stunning landscape. I had lot of photos at the top but here is my favorite one.

Sigiriya Lion Rock - At the Top - beingatraveler.com
Sigiriya Lion Rock – At the Top

 

6. Coming Back to Kandy

Coming back from Sigiriya to Kandy was not same. There was no direct bus as before and I had to exchange 2 buses. So come to the same bus stop where you were dropped in the morning. The bus comes every 30 min. The First bus will take you from Sigiriya to Dambulla Town Bus Stop in 40 minutes and will charge 40 Rupees (0.25 USD). From there you have to take a 2nd bus to Kandy which takes around 3 hrs to drop you at Kandy Bus station in 90 Rupees (0.60 USD)

WHY AIRBNB IS BETTER THAN STAYING IN HOTEL

7 REASONS WHY AIRBNB IS BETTER THAN STAYING IN HOTEL

While traveling abroad, one usually find Hotels with leisure facilities along with as cheap as possible rent but unfortunately both can’t go hand in hand. On the other hand there is a new way of staying abroad during your vacations or business trip i.e

“Staying at Local people own Homes”

Airbnb is a short name of “Air-bed and breakfast”. It is an online marketplace that enables people to list their personal homes/ apartments or Rooms on this website so that guests can find and rent vacation homes for a processing fee. The website has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 192 countries

I used to stay in Hotels during my earlier travels, but since when one of my friend introduced AIRBNB, I would always prefer to book my stay through AIRBNB instead of staying in Hotels.


Click here to get Free 20$ for your first stay through AIRBNB.    

being a traveler - beingatraveler.com


Here are the 7 reasons why i feel that AIRBNB is better than staying in Hotel

1. Feeling of a HOME

One of the best thing while staying through AIRBNB is that you get HOME feeling while staying away from home. The architecture, map and all the amenities gives you the relax and casual experience of a home. Be assure that you won’t get any housekeeping services like a hotel  

airbnb Beingatraveler.com

My Airbnb in Las Vegas

2. Free Extra facilities

You would get extra facilities while staying in someone’s home like if your Airbnb has Kitchen then you can make your own daily breakfast and meals which will be otherwise very costly if you eat from a Hotel or c café. Also if you are on a budget tour and traveling with minimum clothes then you must select an  Airbnb home which have Laundry facility so you can wash your clothes as required.

While i was Preparing Breakfast in my Airbnb

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3. You get inside culture of the city

Although with the success of Airbnb, people have also rent out their Hotel rooms, Hostels on Airbnb but I always prefer to live in someone house because it always situated away from touristy places. When you live in housing colonies of different cities then only you can get the closure look of their culture, how they live and how differently they live as compared with you.

4. You Make new friends abroad

This is my favorite one ! Right from booking your Airbnb space on internet you start making new friend and after arriving you develop a new relationships and new friends during your stay.

beingatraveler.com bilal azam

5. Locals can guide you better than tour operators

I booked through Airbnb for my parents 1st Holiday trip in Singapore. The Host was so helping that he not only helped to use local transport but also guided how they can see famous attractions by spending less. Sometimes locals also help you in buying cheap tickets because many attractions worldwide offer cheap rates for Locals and expensive for foreigners.  

6. Incredible and unique rentals

This is something that you can experience only through Airbnb. People with creative mind and having love with art have made some unique houses all over the world like Tree Houses, Abandoned Ship house, Boat House and you can find budget options like a camp on a roof

7. Meet other nationalities at Multi rooms AirBNB

Some hosts rent all of their rooms of house on Airbnb and thus running a full time business like a Hostel. So when after check-in, you get a warm welcome from other fellows of different countries. You make a group of friends and then explore the city along with them.