There are many outdoors, indoors, daytime , nighttime and fun activities to do in the Pakistani nation’s capital Islamabad.
Activities for foreigners in Islamabad
For my foreign tourists friends reading my post, yes, all these sites are safe and secure for foreign women as well; I recommend going these places at the times I have suggested, to avoid congestion.
Best Outdoor activities in Islamabad
Let’s dive straight into the best activities while travelling to beautiful Islamabad Pakistan and explain to you what makes them so special for visitors.
Watch Laosar Bauli Sunset in summers
Laosar Bauli is a heritage site above the Hindu mystic’s cave complex called Sadhu Ka Bagh in Shah Allah Ditta town, Islamabad. This water well once had a staircase with watering holes for man a beast, obviously separate.
This shallow pass was used for horse men to cross over into Haripur, in Mughal India’s time, when the travelers didn’t want to cross over from the more Margalla Pass further away.
Because of its height and perfect views of Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Khanpur cities it is an ideal spot to have your evening tea with your loved ones while watching the sunset into the horizon behind Khanpur and Taxila.
The white city lights of Islamabad and Rawalpindi is an awesome sight in itself, which is visible right up to the GT road in the distance.
Shower in Shumber water fall in Autumn
Shumber water falls spring to life in the summer season when all the university students of Quaid e Azam University Islamabad bunk classes with their female friends and hang out in the clear water ponds of this narrow gorge.
In winters, the place is usually deserted because Pakistanis don’t like getting wet in winters. So, September to February in winters is the ideal time to enjoy the clear blue waters of this minor water fall.
There was a time when there were mountains leopards roaming these woods and would eat up one odd local sheep, but that time is no more.The locals killed the cat and now man rules this last piece of jungle too.
There is a lovely tea stall and restaurant in Shahdara Islamabad that is close to Shumber waterfall where you can have tea and lunch while sitting inside the clear water stream flowing down from the mountains.
Rawal Dam Lake boat ride
Rawal Dam Lake and water reservoir when approached from Murree highway side has the best sights.
You get to see the Rawal Dam Hindu temple and the dilapidated Gurdwara that once stood there majestically. You’d also be able to see the Rawal Lake, formed from water flowing down from Murree hills, spread in front of you for several miles.
A boat ride in the evening is the best feeling ever.
Ancient archaeological site at Rawal Dam
There is evidence of an ancient settlement at this place as well. The best thing of this entrance to Rawal Lake is that it is peaceful at all times. So, take your picnic basket with you when you plan to go there and pay the WAPDA guard some Eidee to have him let you in.
The alternate entrance from the Kashmir Highway is a little crowded but then you have boat rides and an aviary there.
Margalla Ridge Hike at dawn
Margalla Ridge hike starts at Laosar Bauli, Shah Allah Ditta and ends at Talhar.
It is a moderately tough hike as you have to walk along the crest of the Margalla hills, going through rock formations, thickets and steep ascents. Also, there is no water to drink en route, except in the rain water pools.
Margalla Ridge trail takes 5 hours, that is if you stick to the left side of the ridge and keep a lookout for Talhar Village below
Margalla Ridge Hike warning
People have complained that they got lost on the way.
So, my advise for you is to get going early, as it gets dark pretty quick in the mountains.
Keep to the left side of the crest of the mountain and keep an eye for smoke rising from Talhar village.
The best time to get there would be a dawn time, when you get to see the Sun rise in the East and bath Islamabad in its soft light.
You can always cut short the hike by walking straight down to the next village that you see from up above in the mountains.
The Hindu Mandir in Saidpur Village at lunch time
Saidpur Village was the original Islamabad which had Hindu inhabitants too, then Ayub Khan came along and CDA happened.
Now the Hindus are gone, or that’s what we think, and Saidpur is a Hindu Punjabi culture themed restaurant.
The rehabilitation work on the remaining Hindu temple is wonderful.
The lunch with Lassi is icing on the cake.
Off road drive to Khanpur Lake from Shah Allah Ditta
Khanpur Lake is visible from various spots on the highest peaks of Margalla hills behind Islamabad.
There is a spot on Margalla hill where both Rawal Lake and Khanpur lakes are visible together in a cone of 30 0.
The off road track starts from Shah Allah Ditta caves, rises over the crest of the mountain and drops down into Khanpur lake Haripur.
Early morning walk to Nilan Bhotu Chilla Gah
A stroll along the dirt and gravel road from Sangada to Nilan Bhotu is 2 hours.
In the early hours, the Sun is shaded by the tall pine trees and the mountains, so the temperature is perfect on this route.
All along you would see a clear water stream flowing besides you.
You have to drive from Marghzaar Zoo to Sangada village for one hour before you can start walking
Mahseer Fish at Neela Bhotu Chilla Gah
At the end of the track is Nilan Bhotu Chilla Gah meditation site and its mahseer fish that nobody touches.
Mountain Bikers’ usually go there on the weekends.
other outdoor activities in Islamabad
- Eating out
- Horse riding
- Rock climbing
- Hiking on Margalla hills
- Visiting Marghzaar Zoo and bahria Enclave Zoo
- Visiting parks
- Watching Movies in Cinemas
- Watching Theater at PNCA
- Attending a concert
- Attending exhibitions
- Attending festivals
- Visiting libraries
- Playing sports
- Driving to Pir Sohawa
Indoor Activities in Islamabad
Any place worth visiting that has a roof is indoor activity in my eyes
Lok Virsa Museum Islamabad
Lok Virsa Museum has various Pakistan’s geographical entities, cultures and significant historical events showcased for visitors
Pakistan monument museum
The puppet themed Pakistan monument museum is very interesting to see, and how it explains the birth of Pakistan from its colonial past, after wrangling with Indian congress party.
All this and Pakistan’s regional culture is explained through puppets in showcases.
Lok Virsa Museum is very similar.
Also see, Museums of Rawalpindi
Shah Faisal mosque Chandelier at dusk time
Faisal mosque is not only the iconic landmark of Pakistan, but is also very aesthetically designed by its Turkish architect.
The chandelier inside the triangular, Bedouin tent like structure, hangs by another suspended structure at the very top.
This is probably the only mosque in Pakistan that has mixed gender prayers
The chandelier of Faisal mosque
When this chandelier lights up at dusk time, the sight of the setting sun with this rising one, makes it memorable.
Nazara Coffee lounge at the roof top of Serena hotel lounge
This secluded coffee lounge is my personal favorite because of its exclusivity and excellent views of Islamabad from the top
Serena Hotel has Nazara rooftop lounge that allows for breathtaking scenes of Islamabad, while sipping your Moccachino.
Then you also get to see people enjoying swimming in the pools down below.
It is an ideal place to sit down and chit chat with your BAE.
Bari Imam Shrine
An honorable mention would be Bari Iman Shrine mosque on Sunday mornings, when the usually packed crowd is deep in their beauty sleep
. On Sundays crowds don’t thronging the place to be blessed. Luckily, Sunday is a day off for the blessers and the blessed.
The place is gorgeous to say the least.
The arches and domes resemble the mosque of Cordoba, Spain. The place has a history too.
So, the next time you visit Islamabad, don’t forget to enjoy these hidden 10 best activities while travelling to beautiful Islamabad Pakistan