Hope 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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
We went to the Ayubia National Park which has a walking trail with absolutely breathtaking views!
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.
From Ayubia, we drove to Nathiagali which is a quite a scenic 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.
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!
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.