LONDON: The founders of British Backpacker Society said that they declared Pakistan to be the world’s leading adventure travel destination because Pakistan’s mountainous scenery is the most stunningly beautiful and has no comparison in this world.
In an exclusive interview here, Samuel Joynson, 26, and Adam Sloper, 25, told Geo News that their own experience of visiting Pakistan’s northern areas changed their views completely about the country – based on their group’s experience of visiting around 100 countries.
The two said that Pakistan offers the “real, genuine travel experience” and Pakistan’s northern areas, its peaks and mountains are amongst “the most beautiful places on this earth”.
Last week, the British Backpacker Society announced Pakistan as the best travel destination for visitors and announced its results online after having counted down the top 20 adventure travel countries throughout the course of the year and implored travellers to visit Pakistan.
Joynson and Sloper, who visited Pakistan in the summer of 2016, came to London for interview with Geo News to share their experience of visiting Pakistan’s northern areas.
They shared that the aim of backpack travellers is unique in the sense because they don’t want to stay in five star hotels but live amongst ordinary people, eat with them and enjoy the country – walking, hiking and living it. “We travel all around the world and live with local people. We don’t rely on five star hotels we plan everything on our own.”
The two said that they consider Pakistan as the world’s leading adventure travel destination because no other part of the world offers the mountainous scenery and the hospitality and the kindness of the local people that Pakistan does. “It’s a real adventure. Very few people visit Pakistan at the moment and there are people interested in real and genuine travel experience there are very few destination like Pakistan right now.”
The duo said that they were struck by the hospitality of Pakistanis as people shook their hands, offered them food, invited them to their homes and made selfies with them. “Everyone we met was incredibly kind. The country is beautiful and has the amazing natural beauty but the main natural beauty of Pakistan is in its people.
“The mountains of Pakistan are particularly dramatic, right in the north its where the Karakorum meets the Himalayas, peaks and snowy caps, nothing we have seen on this earth that’s like this and so wonderful. We crossed from Wagah border to Lahore and met some friends and moved to Pindi by a public bus. Then we moved to Karakoram Highway. We went down the Naran-Kaghan Valley, moved up to Chillas, then Gilgit Beltsitan, and finished in Hunza. We found the area to be one of the most beautiful places on this earth. The mountainous scenery that we saw in the northern areas was definitely the greatest mountainous scenery that we have ever seen in or lives life. We recommend travel to this area to all backpackers of the world,” they said.
The duo said they climbed the Hon Pass in Hunza Valley in the memory of famous British mountaineer who described it as the ultimate manifestation of mountainous glory “we wanted to see for ourselves, it was approximately 4500 meters tall, it was one of the most impressive sites that we have ever seen”.
The journey to Pakistan was not easy for the members of the British Backpacker Society on two counts. Getting visa to travel to Pakistan was most arduous and then there was very little information available on the ground to guide them where to go and how. Visa requirements ask visitors for lots of details, including invitation letters from the local hosts, and bureaucratic logjams delay visa processing. “We were helped by the local people who kindly guided us and gave us tips on where to go. We had to rely on the knowledge of the local people.”
The group didn’t face any security issue and felt completely safe and at home. “People were extremely welcoming, warming and friendly to us and we didn’t encounter any street crimes. We will recommend to anyone to take this adventure trip and get to know the real stunning beauty. The British Backpacker Society does, however, recommend all travellers to conduct independent research on all travel destinations, and to take account of relevant government travel advisories.”
The group aims to travel to Pakistan again at the end of this year with new friends. “We want to go back to the north of the country and be able to experience the sceneries that we enjoyed so much for the first time around. We are planning to go to Skardu and some of the areas around the Hindu Kush that we didn’t visit before.”