Exploring Pakistan with Kids: Part 2 – Bhurban, Nathiagali and Ayubia

DSCF3301Hope you all enjoyed Part 1 of the trip, where we explored Islamabad and the MUST do/see things there in 2 days. Here is a little recap of our itinerary and what we covered in part 1 was Day 2 and Day 6 of this itinerary, so let’s strike those off!


Our 10 Day itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Islamabad

Day 2: Explore Islamabad (Faisal Mosque, Monal)

Day 3: Drive to Bhurban and check in to hotel

Day 4: Day trip to Nathiagali and Ayubia

Day 5: Day trip to Neelum River and drive back to Islamabad

Day 6: Explore Islamabad (Lok Virsa Museum, Saidpur Village)

Day 7: Drive to Lahore via Khewra Salt Mines

Day 8: Explore Lahore (Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Wagah Border, Food Street)

Day 9: Explore Lahore (Walled City of Lahore, MM Alam Road and Liberty Market)

Day 10: Back home.


In part 2, we will cover Day 3 and 4, that includes Bhurban, Ayubia and Nathiagali, which are hill stations further north from Islamabad. Since we were travelling with kids, who had never been to this part of the country, we decided to stay in Bhurban, which has a 5 start hotel (PC Bhurban) and made a day trip to Nathiagali and Ayubia. We didn’t stay in Nathiagali due to the lack of luxury hotels there. There are a few guests houses there, but we weren’t sure of how they will turn out to be and so we decided not to risk it (if you know of any good hotels there, let me know for next time).


Things to Do/See in Bhurban, Ayubia and Nathiagali

Pearl Continental Bhurban

We booked a coaster that picked us from the Serena Islamabad and drove us all the way to PC Bhurban. It’s about a 2-hour drive and I was really pleased to see the new Murree Expressway which is a 4 lane divided expressway and made the ride a bit less scary than I remembered it to be ages ago.

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The gorgeous hotel!

The hotel is located at a premium location with divine views of the mountains but even though it’s a 5-star hotel, it didn’t match up to the Serena Islamabad standard at all (I guess Serena spoilt us!). However, it was still good and is the best option there with some decent facilities.

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Beautifully landscaped gardens
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The suite entrance
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The suite living area
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The bedroom
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with a balcony and the views!
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the view from our balcony

We had lunch at the Terrace Restaurant there, relaxed for a bit and then went for a hike on the trail around the hotel grounds. There is a playground, indoor arcade, swimming pool, horse riding and even a cinema for entertainment at the hotel. Basically, all there is to do in Bhurban is to simply enjoy the resort and its views…

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posing even during a serious case of breathlessness
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Horse ride anyone?

The food was delicious there, whether it was desi or non-desi. They even had a Chinese restaurant as well, which we quite enjoyed too.

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Nothing beats Nihari with this view. I couldn’t decide if I wanted Paratha or Naan with my Nihari, so I took both (and ate both too. lol!)
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A sunrise panorama I found in my husband’s phone 🙂

Ayubia

The next day, we booked a mini van from the hotel and left for our day drip to Ayubia and Nathiagali. We left after breakfast around 11:00 AM and returned back to the hotel just before it got dark.

On the way to Ayubia, we saw so many monkeys by the roadside. There as so many street vendors selling corn to feed these monkeys. My monkeys really enjoyed the interaction with the real monkeys.

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A local clinic in Ayubia

We went to the Ayubia National Park which has a walking trail with absolutely breathtaking views!

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The weather was just perfect – some unmelted snow along the trail telling the tales of the winter that just passed while some cherry blossoms marked the beginning of spring.

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Beautiful cherry blossom trees

 

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A beautiful bridge on the trail

 


Nathiagali

From Ayubia, we drove to Nathiagali which is a quite a scenic drive!

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Some unmelted snow along the curvy roads…

 

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The views along the drive…

Nathiagali is absolutely stunning! Beautiful mountains, with stunning cottages and gorgeous cherry blossom trees! It is definitely worth a visit! We stopped at Hotel Elites for lunch and had some finger licking good Chicken Jalfrezi there.

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Restaurant with a view!
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Spring in bloom
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view from the hotel
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gorgeous cherry blossoms everywhere…
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we had to pose 🙂

 

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Serenity…

 

Right next to Elites Hotel, there is a new coffee shop called PepTalk. It is a lovely cosy cafe, with excellent coffee – A MUST try!

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Coffee with the views

And on our drive back I also spotted a little church in Nathiagali, which is always a wonderful sight to the see – the diversity of this country.

I wish we could stay longer there but had to drive back to our hotel in Bhurbun before it got dark.

My daughter(who goes almost every year to see family in US/Canada) said to me,

“Mama, this looks like North America”


And that brings us to the end of Part 2!

Continue reading Part 3 here.


If you missed Part 1 of our Pakistan trip – read it here.

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3 thoughts on “Exploring Pakistan with Kids: Part 2 – Bhurban, Nathiagali and Ayubia

  1. Zeeshan

    Reading your Day 1 and Day 2 itinerary has made me thinking, that Desis living outside, need to have a set example which we can follow.
    Meaning, living here in Canada, every year or so, we decide to visit Northern Areas of Pakistan, or show them something other then Karachi. Then we hear the cries of our loved ones, saying to spend more time with them (+other issues) and we head south only.
    Plus, the thought of making a plan sitting here and making sure everything works clockwise also seems very daunting to myself.
    Thus, reading your itinerary, makes me think, IF ONLY, someone out there, has a travel agency (or a travel plan) we we just book and then they are already in talks with the best hotels/restaurants/museums/van drivers etc. to make sure our trips go smooth wouldn’t that be great.
    Or we could learn from your itinerary and follow the same route.

    All in all, a great article to read and share with the family, along with lovely scenic pictures of MY Pak Sarzameen.

    Liked by 1 person

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