Are you a mountain person or a beach bum? If you are in a moral dilemma to choose one over the other, perhaps you love both mountains and oceans equally. I am one of those people who fall into the latter category and I have found a perfect solution. Imagine travelling to a place where you can enjoy a gorgeous hike on a mountain during the day and a nice drink by the beach in the evening? Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Pakistan is blessed with a long range of mountains that are an attraction for geologists and mountain climbers from all over the world. Pakistan has more than a hundred peaks that are above 7,000 meters. Out of the world’s 14 highest peaks, four are in Pakistan. These highest peaks are situated mainly in the Karakoram range.
Pakistan has also got a number of untouched beaches with an enormous potential for tourist attraction. You can hit on the Makran Coastal Highway to visit each of these beaches across the Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan.
Karachi’s Sea View is probably the most visited beach in the country but if you tend to travel a bit more, you’d get to see some untouched beauties lying along the coastal line.
To the south of Balochistan, there lies an endless series of mesmerizing beaches that you can visit. Better yet, you can travel to most of them through the Makran Coastal Highway.
1. K2 Mountain Range
K2 is a magnificent snow-covered mountain that reflects the powerful might of nature in all of its glory, making it marvellous and terrifying at the same time. It is the second-highest mountain in the entire world reaching an unfathomable height of 28,253 feet (8,612 metres). K2 is often referred to as the ‘Savage Mountain’ because it is an excruciatingly difficult ascent with one of the highest prevailing fatality rates for all climbers who dare to climb it. Despite its unconquerable terrain and unpredictable weather patterns, it appeals to climbers from all over the world. Even though it is located on the Pakistan-China border, climbers prefer to climb it from Pakistan’s side as it is more conducive to the activity. Even if you don’t aspire to join its summit, just the mere spectacle of this mighty mountain is a perspective-altering experience that allows you to completely become immersed in the all-encompassing magnificence of mother nature.
2. Nanga Parbat
Nanga Parbat is located at the western side of the Himalayas. It is situated in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, south of the Indus River in the Astore District. It is Pakistan’s second highest mountain at 8126m. It is also called as the ‘Killer mountain’.
Gasherbrum is a remote group of peaks located at the northeastern end of the Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram range of the Himalaya on the border of the Chinese- Xinjiang province and the Gilgit-Baltistan territory of Pakistan. The massif contains three of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks. Gasherbrum 1 is the 3rd biggest mountain of Pakistan with the peak at 8080 meters.
4. Trango Tower
The Trango tower, located in the Baltoro Glacier region present in the Gilgit-Baltistan territory, is the most spectacular vertical alpine climb in the entire world. It has intrigued and inspired alpine climbers from all over the world to achieve its nearly impossible ascent to the top. Against the backdrop of the mighty mountain ranges of the Karakorum, the Trango Tower stands erect with all the unfaltering pride and greatness of a Greek God. It is a mesmerizing sight and an arduous climb as it is completely vertical and its sheer magnificence makes it stand out amidst the entire range of peaks that surround it.
5. Broad Peak
Broad Peak is the 12th highest mountain in the world at 8,047 metres above sea level. The English name was introduced in 1892 by the British explorer Martin Conway, in reference to the similarly named Breithorn in the Alps. It is Pakistan’s 4th highest mountain. It is situated in Baltoro Karakoram range.
6. Safed Koh
The Safed Koh or White Mountain range lies at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. It ranges up to 4,761 metres (15,620 ft) above sea-level.
Kirthar Mountains are located in Sindh and Balochistan. The range extends southward for nearly 300km from the Mula River (Balochistan) to Cape Muari (west of Karachi) on the Arabian Sea. The maximum altitude of the Kirthar range that is present in Sindh is almost 7,056 feet above sea-level, which makes it Sindh’s highest peak. This range is present a few miles north-west of the Gorakh Hill Station (5,688 feet.)
8. Salt Range
In Punjab there is a hill system called ‘The Salt Range’. It gets its name from the extensive rock salt deposits that are present in the area. This range lies across the northern province of Punjab, from the Jhelum River to the Indus. The famous salt mines of Khewra, Mayo, Warcha and Kalabagh are present in ‘The Salt Range’.
The Sulaiman Mountains are located in northern Balochistan and Zabul province of Afghanistan. It is present at the border of the Indian Subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau and west of the Indus River. Takht-e-Sulaiman, meaning Solomon’s Throne with a height of 3,487 m (11,437 feet) in Balochistan is the highest peak of Sulaiman Mountains.
10. Princess Of Hope
Along the Makran Coastal Highway, there is a dazzling sculpture carved out of natural rock and mud that has been marvelously sculpted out of the skilled hands of nature itself. Due to the strong winds emanating from the Arabian Sea in the Balochistan region, this masterpiece stands as tall and proud as a princess of a great kingdom. The name ‘Princess of Hope’ was given to this magnificent natural sculpture by Angelina Jolie on her visit to Pakistan.
11. Baltoro Glacier
Pakistan is famous for its monumental glaciers made purely out of ice located at the core of some of the most extreme mountain ranges in the country These white castles of nature are inspiring as well as extremely difficult to reach even though the magnificent view is worth every hardship you may encounter to get there. The Baltoro Glacier is located in the Karakorum Range at an elevation of 13,895 feet and is 63 kilometres long, making it the second-longest non-polar glacier in the entire world. Trekking through it is like experiencing an ice age – you’ll be completely overwhelmed by every aspect of the glacier on a physical, mental and emotional level. Pakistan coastal line is (approximately) 1100 kilometer long. About 770 km is untouched, clean and mostly unexplored and uncrowded. The water in summer is pleasantly warm. Visit these beaches and you will be amazed.
12. Somiani Beach
Somiani beach is the perfect place to practice yoga.
13. Buji Koh Sapat Beach, Hingol Park, Balochistan
It is only accessible with a 4×4 vehicle. You can find dolphins here too. The beautiful rocky hills and caves along the coastline give it the perfect photo finish that a vlogger can imagine.
14. Gwadar Beach
Gwadar is fishing heaven
15. ‘Do Darya’ (Twin brooks)
‘Do Darya’ is to Karachi what Monal is to Islamabad.
16. Sunehri Beach
Skip that trip to the Maldives. Visit Sunehri Beach instead of “Cape Mount”.
17. Cape Mount
Combine a low-lying mountain range with the sea and you have picture-perfect “Cape Mount”.
If you haven’t visited Hawksbay, you haven’t done Karachi beaches justice.
Sea View might not be the best beach around but this picture had us believing otherwise “Nathiagali Beach”
19. Nathiagali Beach
Nathiagali beach is among the hardest to access, but that’s exactly what makes it so perfect but this picture had us believing otherwise!
20. Tushan Beach
Kick back and relax at serene Tushan Beach
21. Kund Malir Beach
Kund Malir beach – just one of the many reasons to visit Balochistan.
22. Jiwani Beach
Jiwani is known to have the best sunset.
Then there are Ormara and Pasni beaches as well. Mubarak Village Beach is also included in the list. One of the finest and cleanest bit of Karachi coastline along with a refreshing spot for fishing. The view of Charna Island from there is just perfect.