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A Road Trip to Gwadar: Pakistan’s Wonders

August 21, 2023

Have you been in a family that plans road trips but never goes? We made a plan and followed it this time. Our long-awaited trip to Gwadar finally happened. After exploring northern territories and Azad Jammu and Kashmir last year, my family and I decided to take this short journey. The fundamental reason was that everyone could only take two days off work.

The other reason was curiosity, as many had never heard of or visited southern Pakistan due to security concerns. We started our adventure in Hub, an industrial centre outside Balochistan. The smooth Makran Coastal Highway was a revelation for Karachiites who have only experienced uneven, gravel roads.

We saw Hingol National Park, a wildlife, plant, religious, and rock statue park, from the highway. We were wondering about the rarely seen ‘Princess of Hope’ statue, named by Angelina Jolie during a visit to Pakistan, as we drove through the park.

I was awestruck and horrified when I saw the monument. I was pleased we didn’t stop at the place, but I’ll never forget the odd sense. We wondered why the large rocky cliffs, some of which resembled castles, were there while driving along the shore.

My sisters-in-law suggested a past civilization gave it a human essence.

For instance, the north has snow-capped mountains, forests, and streams. In the south, Pakistan is different.

Mountains of many colors and sizes, a huge open sky with one end dark and one brilliant. The highway has many checkpoints and bunkers.

One automatically thinks of security upon hearing Balochistan.

We were repeatedly stopped for IDs.

The largest Hindu pilgrimage in Pakistan, Hinglaj Yatra, visited the oldest temple despite this feat. Outside the temple and nearby Kund Malir Beach, they were seen in big numbers touring and celebrating. Reports suggest 250,000 pilgrims travel each spring.

Gwadar’s famous shoreline. I had heard about its beauty, but seeing it was breathtaking.

If only the government would fund coastal resorts. I can’t help but think of the tourism boost.

Road Trip Tips

Stopping anytime you want is the best part of road traveling. My husband or someone else would spot something and we would stop and take pictures. It was easy because the highway was empty.

It made me realize few people wanted to drive here. We were driving along the tranquil highway when it started to rain.

I had only seen this weather in Kashmir, so seeing it in Balochistan, known for its dry and scorching temperature, made me proud.

We reached Ormara and looked at the beach, but we focused on locating facilities. One would expect Pakistan’s largest park and highway to include basic visitor facilities. However, we were dissatisfied because Gwadar had few restrooms and restaurants during my visit.

Luckily, we had enough water and food to reach Gwadar. Thus, bring snacks and water. Remember that most of the trip will be without mobile or internet access. Importantly, bring a nice drive playlist.

Karachi’s beaches are nothing compared to Ormara’s blue-green waters. After leaving the gorgeous beach, we went to Gwadar. Heavy rain woke me up when we crossed Pasni while I was dozing. Due to the high twisty roads, we would turn back if it poured this much in the north.

However, we continued our journey through sandy plains and mountains. The barren lands and unreachable grounds made us unhappy that we have so much land yet have left it alone. We dumped our belongings at Sadaf Hotel in Gwadar in the evening and rushed to the sea to catch the sunset. We departed since we couldn’t find a spot.

Entering and driving through Gwadar felt like being monitored. Maybe because of the absence of people and infrastructure, there was a real sense of loneliness. There were many men and boys but few women. We went across the highways and stopped at the Gwadar port gates. The port requires permission to access. A website will offer approval in two hours.

However, we foodies needed a big dinner before bed. Khyber Restaurant was our choice. We forgot our weariness and disappointment after eating the greatest Karahi and Chinese food. Gwadar has few options, yet it’s worth seeing at least once. Despite certain misgivings, our trip made me ponder why Balochistan gets so little attention.

Our government seems to be focusing solely on our northern areas, which have potential and we’ve been benefiting from. But we should also focus on the south.

It might revive our economy and tourism. It has already been advertised as the center of the CPEC, a vital aspect of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Security is again the issue. To attract more tourists to this attractive region, safety precautions should be taken.

If the government developed highway links, fisheries, power, education, and health facilities, more people might visit the city. Shehbaz Sharif launched a large Balochistan development plan last year after becoming government.

According to sources, some Gwadar projects have made significant development. As expected, 20 new projects will be completed this year and later. I am hopeful that these efforts will yield results, although I did not see much action during my stay.

Many governments have promoted tourism in northern Pakistan. Balochistan may not be appealing to tourists because of this. But if the city is given the correct care, it might have equal potential.

Our Featured Article:

Read More: Boosting Tourism in Pakistan

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