15 Things to Do in Pakistan During Winter Season
Pakistan, a land of breathtaking beauty, diverse cultures, and rich history, is often overlooked as a winter destination. However, those who venture into the country during the colder months are rewarded with a wonderland of snow-capped mountains, cozy retreats, and vibrant festivals. From exhilarating ski slopes to serene lakeside retreats, Pakistan offers a unique winter experience that enchants you.
What to Do in Pakistan During Winter Season
Here is the bucket list for doing things in Pakistan during the Winter Season.
1. Ski in the Swat Valley
Nestled in the Hindu Kush mountains, the Swat Valley, known as the "Mini Switzerland of Pakistan," is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. With its snow-covered slopes and world-class ski resorts, the valley offers an unforgettable skiing experience. Nalter Valley, Malam Jabba, and Kalash Valley are just a few of the many ski resorts that cater to all levels of skiers and snowboarders.
2. Explore the Hunza Valley
Located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, the Hunza Valley is a breathtaking destination known for its majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and warm hospitality. During the winter, the valley transforms into a winter wonderland, with snow-covered peaks and frozen lakes providing a picturesque backdrop for exploration. Hike to the breathtaking Attabad Lake, visit the ancient village of Karimabad, and indulge in the local cuisine known for its fresh fruits and hearty dishes.
3. A Winter Trek in Chitral
Chitral, a remote district in northwestern Pakistan, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its rugged mountains, lush valleys, and vibrant culture, Chitral offers various winter trekking routes ranging from strolls to challenging expeditions. Trek through the Kalash Valley, home to the Kalasha people, an indigenous tribe known for their unique festivals and rich traditions.
4. Experience the Kalash Winter Festival
Held annually in December or January, the Kalash Winter Festival, also known as Chilam Joshi, is a vibrant celebration of life and renewal. The festival features traditional music and dance performances, colorful attire, and a lively atmosphere that showcases the Kalasha people's rich cultural heritage.
5. Discover the Charm of Murree
Murree, a hill station just two hours from Islamabad, is a popular winter getaway for locals and tourists alike. With its colonial-era architecture, charming cafes, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains, Murree offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Stroll along Mall Road, the main thoroughfare, visit the Pindi Point viewpoint, or take a leisurely walk through the verdant Ayubia National Park.
6. Indulge in Winter Cuisine
Pakistani cuisine is known for its rich flavors and hearty dishes, perfect for the colder months. During the winter, indulge in traditional delicacies such as Siri paye, a spicy stew of trotters and chickpeas; nihari, a slow-cooked beef or mutton stew; and sajji, a roasted lamb or chicken dish. Warm up with a cup of kahwa, a traditional green tea infused with spices, or enjoy a steaming bowl of haleem, a savory porridge made from meat, lentils, and wheat.
7. Celebrate Winter Festivals
Pakistan hosts a variety of winter festivals throughout the country. The Lahore Literary Festival, held in February, celebrates literature and arts, while the Shandur Polo Festival, held in July, features traditional polo matches and cultural performances.
8. Explore the Cholistan Desert
The Cholistan Desert is a unique and often overlooked destination in southern Punjab. During the winter, the desert comes alive with vibrant colors and wildlife. Take a camel ride through the dunes, visit the ancient forts scattered throughout the desert, and experience the hospitality of the local communities.
9. Witness the Northern Lights in Khunjerab Pass
Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved border crossing between Pakistan and China, located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. During the winter, the clear skies and lack of light pollution provide the perfect conditions to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights, a celestial spectacle that dances across the night sky.
10. Journey to Fairy Meadows
Nestled in the heart of the Nanga Parbat National Park, Fairy Meadows is a breathtaking alpine meadow known for its lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and stunning views of the Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth-highest mountain. During the winter, the fields are blanketed in snow, creating a magical wonderland perfect for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and simply enjoying the tranquillity of the mountains.
11. Discover the Hidden Gem of Neelum Valley
In the Azad Kashmir region, Neelum Valley is a paradise of lush forests, gurgling streams, and snow-capped peaks. During the winter, the valley transforms into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for hiking, fishing, and simply enjoying the beauty of nature. Visit the Sharda Temple, an ancient Hindu temple dating back to the 8th century, or explore the Neelum Valley National Park, home to various flora and fauna.
12. Immerse Yourself in the Culture of Gilgit-Baltistan
Gilgit-Baltistan, a region in northern Pakistan, is a treasure trove of cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty. During the winter, explore the ancient forts and mosques that dot the landscape, visit the traditional villages, and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the local people. Attend a local polo match or participate in a traditional dance performance.
13. Experience the Thrill of Ice Climbing in Nagar Valley
Nagar Valley, a side valley of the Hunza Valley, is a paradise for ice climbers. With its frozen waterfalls and towering rock faces, the valley offers a variety of challenging ice-climbing routes. Experience the thrill of ascending a frozen waterfall or challenge yourself on a multi-pitch ice climb.
14. Go on a Wildlife Safari in Balochistan
Balochistan, a province in southwestern Pakistan, is home to diverse wildlife, including the endangered Houbara bustard, the Persian leopard, and the Balochistan markhor. During the winter, embark on a wildlife safari through the province's vast deserts and rugged mountains and spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
15. Witness the Majestic Migration of Birds in Kalat
Kalat, a town in Balochistan, is a renowned birdwatching destination. During the winter, witness the spectacular migration of thousands of birds, including the common cranes, the Indian white-backed vultures, and the more excellent spotted eagles, as they go from their breeding grounds in Siberia to their wintering feet in India.
Pakistan's winter season offers a unique blend of adventure, cultural immersion, and natural beauty, making it a destination that captivates your senses and leaves you with lasting memories. Embrace the chill, explore the hidden gems, and discover the enchanting beauty of Pakistan during the winter months.