Outdoor Activities In Islamabad – If you are planning to travel to Pakistan, chances are you will pass through Islamabad, especially if you plan to travel to the north where adventure awaits. A city like Islamabad may not be as exciting as the northern part of Pakistan but with my ultimate guide to Islamabad in hand, you will surely enjoy your time there, seeing a different perspective of the country that you might not have seen otherwise. Visit tourist towns or mountains. Without further ado, here is a guide to the amazing things to do in Islamabad.
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Outdoor Activities In Islamabad
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Most Exciting Islamabad Day Trips In 2022
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First thing in the morning, take an Uber and go to the Pakistan Memorial. The memorial is built on top of a hill in a huge park and if you get there early in the morning, you’ll have the whole place to yourself to wander around at your leisure.
I was there at 9:30am and there were only 2 people walking around the park. When I left at 10:30am there were many vans dropping off local tourists. This place packs up fast so make sure you get there early.
A few minutes away from the Pakistan Memorial, you will find the Lok Virsa Heritage Museum, an outstanding modern museum of the history, art and culture of Pakistan and other Central Asian countries. The museum features outdoor and indoor exhibits ranging from a collection of exhibits showcasing Pakistan’s vibrant and diverse cultures from different regions to listening to recordings of traditional music and watching locally produced cultural documentaries. There is no better place to learn about Pakistan than the Folklore Museum.
Top 10 Places To Visit In Islamabad
I know, I know, you’re probably wondering why visiting the mall is on this list, but hear me out. Pakistan, from the outside, is a very conservative country and when you walk around a city like Lahore or Rawalpindi, you might forget that the country also has a modern side and this is best seen in places like Centaurus Mall. Also, they have a food court full of local and western food chains that will keep you entertained for days. I had the best naan sandwich here.
This is a great place to stock up on food and snacks before heading north into the mountains of Pakistan.
At 3pm, where the light is perfect, take an Uber to the Daman-e-Koh Viewpoint where you can see why Islamabad is known as the greenest city in the country. There is no better view of the city than this.
If you’re there on a Sunday, you’ll be greeted by a small carnival-like market full of snacks and small amusement rides (bouncing castles and spinning teacups) and lots and lots of locals enjoying themselves with their families. This is a great time to mingle with the locals in Islamabad. They are very welcoming, especially when they are happy!
Best Places To Visit In Islamabad In 2022
Up the hill from Daman-e-Koh view, you will find a great restaurant called Monal where you can eat local and western food with the high city of Islamabad surrounded by the hills of Margalla Hills. The food is very expensive and maybe not the tastiest but you can’t beat the view of Islamabad from above at sunset.
The Faisal Mosque is one of Islamabad’s most famous landmarks and for good reason. This is the largest mosque in the country which can hold 100,000 worshipers at a time and 200,000 more in the courtyard area. The design of the mosque is very unique as it is a Bedouin tent shaped structure instead of the usual dome shaped exterior you see in most mosques around the world.
The structure is impressive, but even more so after sunset when the natural light fades and artificial light takes over, the orange color illuminates the structure. I was there at 6:00pm and waited as the sky turned purple, the structure turned orange and the call to prayer echoed throughout the city. It was one of the most spiritual moments in Pakistan. If you can make it to the mosque, make sure you are there at sunset. You won’t regret it.
Islamabad is a model of what a modern Pakistani city should be. Clusters of buildings are divided into zones, laid out like a grid with a vast network of streets connecting them all like a spider’s web. Between the buildings, green vegetation is spread throughout the city, making it the greenest city in the country. Rickshaws are banned due to the loud noise and the roads are clear during the day. The government envisioned building a capital city and everything went into it.
Best Places To Visit In Islamabad 2022
Islamabad also has an ugly twin city called Rawalpindi located next to it. You may also have noticed while traveling from Lahore that the buses coming to Islamabad are labeled Rawalpindi instead of Islamabad (yes, I was confused at first too) so don’t panic.
Rawalpindi is an old city which is the polar opposite of Islamabad. It’s noisy, dirty, horribly trafficked and disorganized. If you want a quieter experience, I recommend avoiding accommodation in Rawalpindi. Also, make sure the accommodation you book is actually in Islamabad and not in Rawalpindi because it makes a big difference.
The best time to visit Islamabad is from September to October as the weather is very cold around the city, especially at night when the weather is most comfortable. September and October are also good times if you plan to head north and walk as the weather is usually calmer and the autumn colors are at their peak.
This place is cheaper than most countries but dirt ain’t cheap. Expect to pay around 30 – 50 USD per day per person including accommodation and food.
Top 20 Beautiful Places That You Must Visit In Islamabad
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my travel style, which leans more towards the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient means of transportation, which often means walking.
Update: If your phone supports eSIM, I recommend you check out Airalo, the global eSIM marketplace and get an eSIM so you can affordably stay connected while traveling in Islamabad, Pakistan without turning off your physical SIM card .
Gone are the days when you had to go on your way to find a local SIM card at the airport when you arrived. You can buy an eSIM before you arrive and you’re good to go. If your phone doesn’t support eSIM, here’s how you can get a local SIM card in Islamabad, Pakistan:
It’s not easy to find reliable wi-fi so I recommend you get a sim card. To get a SIM card in Islamabad, you need to find the franchise office of the carrier you want to issue SIM cards to foreigners. Do not take the SIM card at the airport. They are all scams! I personally used Jong when I was there and have signals most of the time in the north except for Fairy Meadows.
Closure Of Indoor Dining In Islamabad From 24th January
To get a Zong SIM card as a foreigner, you need to visit the Zong Customer Experience Center located on Jinnah Avenue between Zones G-7/3 and F-7/4. Make sure you have your passport with you. Once there, you can choose whether you want a data-only SIM card (1,500 PKR for 12GB) or one with calls (~2500 PKR). If you plan to go north I recommend going with the calls as the data connection there is unreliable and you may have to call some places to book. The whole process took me less than 5 minutes.
Tips: To stay in touch with loved ones back home, make sure you install a VPN service like NordVPN before traveling so you can avoid any local internet censorship while in Pakistan.
As you know, I am a light traveler and packing light for such a trip is an art in itself.