I am planning on trekking to K2 base camp from the Pakistan side this Summer 2016. I have had a look on our (UK) Foreign Office website and the advice is not to travel to Pakistan at all unless essential, which kinda makes me worried. Can anybody cast some light on a Westerner's safety in Pakistan these days please? Places I will be visiting are Islamabad, Skardu followed by the Karakoram National Park.
Thank you in advance.
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Only you can weigh the risk; and decide whether to go or not. If you're determined, consult with informed locals and expats before and after arrival to see if it's advisable to travel in the areas you're interested in. I do that when traveling in places where the U.S. State Department has issued travel warnings or alerts. It's not just the terrorists that you have to be concerned about. There are bandits and others that potentially could injure or kill you. I've been robbed before, including once in the no man's land between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I see a lot of people on the Travellerspoint forums thinking they can travel solo in places such as the jungle, the mountains, or the desert, without an experienced guide. Having been to many such places myself, I know firsthand of the dangers and pitfalls. I've been with guides who got lost temporarily when the landmarks they relied on no longer were there.
So carefully weigh the risks.
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jan-2016, at 12:12 by berner256 ]
Thank you for the reply.
I have been talking to friends and family members for the last few days while gathering information and talking to some military friends and have decided against the trip. It is a shame that I am missing out on this trek but hopefully in the future the situation will get better.
Like you said, you have to be comfortable with the risk and I wasn't.
Anyway, I'm now looking at Bhutan and the Snowman trail sounds like a very good/tough challenge...but very expensive.
You might want to consider Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. I'm headed there this year.
Another alternative is to visit the China side of the Karakoram Highway; and elsewhere in western China.
I was in Bhutan in November 2014, going through that country from west to east, winding up in Assam. Bhutan is expensive. You won't find many young travelers there. Something to keep in mind: June, July and August is the monsoon season in Bhutan.
Take a look at YouTube videos of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. Check places such as Tso Moriri Lake, the Nubra Valley, etc. The Himalayan sights are amazing. YouTube is a rich resource for travel planning, giving you an idea of what to expect. Good luck!
P.S. I like using the Travellerspoint mapping feature in planning trips, including the one to Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. You might find it useful, too.
[ Edit: Edited on 10-Jan-2016, at 03:45 by berner256 ]
I looked into it recently and found that generally the area is quite safe and has started back with tourism after an incident involving some brits a few years ago. I would go for it. I booked mexico instead because i wanted companionship on my trip : ) but defo going to head there next year!! Lulusar Dupitar NP looks amazing! Hire a motorbike in ISB and drive from there. There is a facebook page for a motor bike club in ISB ask them for info on hiring bikes for long distance. Enjoy
When it comes to personal safety, rely on your instincts and your own research.
I did this trek in June 2014 and although I've done trekkings worldwide the K2 BC trek remains one of the best I've done so far.
Scenery wise it's absolutely incredible, hard to beat, even in the Andes or Himalayas.
I had a really good experience and have never felt unsafe. I travelled the KKH due to bad weather the flight from Islamabad into Skardu had been cancelled.
I am very aware of the fact that many government websites advice against traveling to Pakistan but this in unjustified. Sure there are suicide bombers and kidnappings do occur in some areas but how likely is it that this would actually happen with you? Right chances are very low. Especially in the north, the Skardu area is safe enough and very few crimes are heard of in the part of the country.
I wouldn't hesitate and go for it, it'll be one of those experiences you'll never forget again, in a good sense!
I am from Pakistan and i done this trek in 2012... And almost more than 100 tourists are there in this trek and all were other than Pakistanis.... There is no threat in Pakistan to travel. ... If you need any assistance regarding this trek or tour I can assist you for this....
I swear there is no threat for foreigners in Pakistan.... And we are very glad full to u... If you will travel to Pakistan...
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]