Islamabad “The Beautiful”; The Capital of Pakistan is one of the most beautiful and green cities you will find in the country. Surrounded on one side by the lush green Margalla Hills, it gives a perfect blend of sightseeing and an urban lifestyle. Being the capital, it is the most developed city in the country, and the most organized one. Areas are easy to access as the roads are well developed and mostly straight and at right angles to each other.
The usual way to commute is via cream/uber service, or commute via radio or local cabs which are just a phone call away. Just adjacent to Islamabad lays the city of Rawalpindi. However, the boundaries between the cities aren’t discernible. Rawalpindi also offers its decent share of visiting sites and delicacies.
The capital houses some prominent attractions. A 1-2 hour hike, or a 45 minute drive, up the Margalla Hills takes you up Pir Sohawa, which offers a great view of the city, especially at night. The place houses some prominent restaurants which specialize in local cuisine. Another prominent attraction is the Lake View Park located along the Kashmir Highway towards the Muree Hills. The park is built alongside the city’s Rawal Dam. You can have a boating trip or jet ski in the reservoir. The Park also has the city’s only Go Karting track, a café, and a paintball arena.
In the foot of Margalla Hills lies the Islamabad Zoo, the Play Land (a children’s park), and the Saidpur Village. The Saidpur Village was made into a model village by the administration, and offers a decent exposure to Pakistani rural life. There are a few decent restaurants and cafés here which serve local cuisine.
The Lok Virsa Museum located to Shakar Parian Hills showcases cultures of different regions of the country, and is a decent place to shop for any souvenir items you may wish to take back. The road goes onto the Pakistan Monument which is a landmark worth seeing. The Pakistan Monument Museum also visually depicts the history of Pakistan through various times.
Pakistan is famous for its colorful and tasty food. You can find good restaurants in almost every sector. Any caffeine cravings can be satisfied with a visit to any of the Espresso Lounge, Coffee Planet, Coffee Republic, or Gloria Jean’s Coffees outlets, other than almost every other café which serve coffee. The choice of drink here is tea though, which is popularly available.
For shopping, the Centaurus Mall and the Safa Gold Mall are popular malls, and are host to most of the popular local as well as foreign brands. The F-6 (Super Market) and F-7 (Jinnah Super) Markaz are also popular shopping markets with almost all kinds of products available there.
A 1.5-hour drive along the Murree Road takes you to Murree, a hill station built in the days of the British rule here. You can enjoy the cool weather there, take a stroll along the mall road, or a further drive can take you to different Galiyaats each of which is a popular tourist resort. These places are crammed in both the hottest as well as the coldest days as people look to spend time in a cooler setting, or want to enjoy a snowfall. A 1 hour drive along the famous Grand Trunk road takes you to Taxila, an ancient city with ruins found dating as back as the 6th century BC. You can visit different sites of archaeological importance, the art and architecture from the days of Buddhist glory in the region. A 30-minute drive from Taxila takes you to the Khanpur Dam where you can enjoy archery, cliff diving, motor boating, fishing, and various other activities.
Overall, you will enjoy Islamabad’s cleanliness and greenery, and the serene environment. For any visitors, Islamabad will probably be their first stop in Pakistan. Due to its location, the beautiful valleys of Kashmir, Gilgit, Naran, Kaghan etc, and the gigantic mountains to the north are easily accessible from Islamabad than other places. Be sure to include visiting the north in your trip plans, because that’s where it gets the most beautiful. There are many negative perceptions about the country, and the country has its fair share of problems, but visiting the country yourself will clear most negative and media propogated opinions. The people are hospitable, the land beautiful, and the culture is unique.
Islamabad Weather in December:
The average maximum daytime temperature in Islamabad in December is a comfortable 18°C (64°F). The average night-time temperature is usually a cold 3°C (37°F). There are usually 6 hours of bright sunshine each day, which represents 62% of the 10 hours of daylight. Expect 46mm (1.8 inches) of rainfall across the whole of December with 5 days with some rain falling. Maximum UV levels will be moderate (3 UV index) at midday when the skies are clear.