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Exploring the Enchanted Landscapes: Traveling in Pakistan’s Northern Regions

In this day and age where urbanization is at its peak, we all have to admit this fact: we all need a break from the urban concrete jungles in which we are all living. It is true that right now most of us are living in dystopian hellscapes with the likes of Karachi and Lahore. Poor air quality, a high crime rate, toxic city culture, and what not the kinds of things that we used to see in movies have now become our new normal. Luckily, we live in a nation that is also full of untouched natural wonders—the kind of wonders that can even put European natural wonders to shame at times. No, I am not talking about Murree, which is now a mess equally comparable to Lahore and Karachi when it comes to toxic urban culture and crime. I am talking about the true northern areas of Pakistan, a region of stunning natural beauty and diverse landscapes, especially Nathiagalli and Swat Valley.

The Swat Valley, also referred to as the “Switzerland of Pakistan,” is truly a stunning destination located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is known for its lush valleys, rivers, and snow-capped mountains. The valley is an ideal location for a wide range of activities, including trekking, fishing, and skiing in the winter months. Some iconic places to visit in Swat include Malam Jabba, Mingora, Miandam, and Ushu Forest. The Swat Valley is known for its rich cultural heritage with a blend of Pashtun traditions and is also known for its historical Buddhist sites, including “Butkara Stupa”, “Apsidal Temple” the Statue of “Buddha Ghaligay, etc. Some of the guest houses reviewed by various local travelers with positive reviews include “PC Malam Jabba”, “Swat Sukoon” guest house, “Shah Family” guest house, and “Mingora Bypass Hotel”. It is important to understand that before booking any guest house, it is necessary to do a quick Google search of the guest houses located within Swat Valley, where the overall general ratings and reviews of each guest house are provided. This helps others identify the most compatible guest house according to their requirements.

Nathiagalli is another destination that is essential to visit when you decide to spend your holidays in the northern areas. This charming hill station is located in the Abbottabad district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Nathiagalli is also known for its lush green forests, cool climate, and beautiful walking trails. Nathiagalli is also famous for the Church of St. Matthew, which is also a historic church. The church is also known for its scenic viewpoints. Tourists can also travel to nearby areas such as Ayubia, Donga Gali, and Mukshpuri, which are all part of the Galyat Range and offer breathtaking natural beauty.  A quick Google search will reveal a plethora of guest houses in Nathiagalli, along with information on rates and visitor reviews that can aid in selecting the ideal lodging. It is important to understand that there are many tourist destinations within Pakistan, and spending considerable finances to travel to some foreign country is not viable in this current day and age considering the current global financial crises and the rising trend of foreign nations adopting isolationist and having their own internal social disturbances.

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