Worldly Wanderlust - Pakistan

Three public service officers share their tales of holidays off the beaten track, and reaffirm that the road less travelled usually comes packed with adventures of a lifetime.

Liyana Low

Assistant Director
South East Asia Division, Ministry of Trade and Industry


After an internship in Karachi, Ms Low decided to backpack around Pakistan. So while her mother back home worried about her sometimes solo journeys, the plucky lass with a thirst for adventure was having a ball of a time rolling in the dunes of the Thar Desert, celebrating ceremonial pomp at the Wagah border, before falling deeply in awe at the vast mountain range where the spectacular Gilgit-Baltistan and Hunza Valley sit – all while on a shoestring budget.

She recalls travelling 20 hours by bus along the Karakoram Highway (the world’s highest paved road), alighting in the middle of nowhere, and trekking three hours up to the Fairy Meadows to stay in a log cabin, with 360-degree unobstructed views of Nanga Parbat – the world’s ninth tallest mountain – as one of the more surreal moments of her trip. Ms Low was especially charmed by how friendly the locals were, as they invited her into their modest homes and readily traded life stories over a cup of chai.

Getting there and around: Emirates, Qatar Airways, SriLankan Airlines or Thai Airways fly to Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad, with at least one transit stop before respective destinations. Minibuses and trains connect most cities in Pakistan.


  • Major cities like Karachi may be noisy and polluted, but go with an open mind to experience and explore this very diverse country.
  • Learn a few simple Urdu phrases – these will make getting around a lot easier.
  • Don’t pass on a local’s invitation to a cup of chai – these come hand-in-hand with their colourful stories.
Read about other public officers' experience in Iran and Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefacture, China
    Nov 27, 2013
    Randall Lim
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