These Breathtaking Places Are Not in Switzerland — They’re in Pakistan

What the media won’t show you about Pakistan’s Northern areas

Sharika Hafeez
Globetrotters

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Me, the author, sitting on some steps in Naltar Valley, Hunza (Photographed by Haala Marikar)

When I first came to Pakistan for my undergraduate degree, I knew nothing about how breathtaking its landscapes were. I, like most people, was fed the usual propaganda from the media — that Pakistan was a war-torn state, unsafe for foreigners, riddled with political instability and poor living conditions.

And then I came here — and I was blown away. You don’t see this side of Pakistan on travel magazines, and the media is conveniently blind to it.

You must have seen plenty of videos of Switzerland — well, the Northern areas of Pakistan are no different. From serene meadows to gushing rivers to dangerous mountain passes to snow-capped hills, the landscapes would kindle a lifelong wanderlust and a yearning for the mountains.

I made it my mission to explore every place I possibly can, as my student’s budget would allow, during semester breaks — from the Northern areas of Pakistan, snuggled between iconic snow-capped mountain ranges and rugged peaks, to the Southern parts, home to historic monuments and ancient civilisations.

The Valleys of Hunza

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Sharika Hafeez
Globetrotters

Writer. Physics student. Under the inky-black sky, with a steaming cup of chai in my hands, I watch the stars and I write.