Most people when they venture into Pakistan they are either trekkers set on the North, or want to experience the larger cities like Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Since I have spent most of my time in Peshawar, I have had the opportunity to venture in and around the area.
If you take GT Road outside of Peshawar heading eastbound, the city you reach right after you cross the toll plaza into the province of Punjab, is Attock. It is approximately 100km from Peshawar and mid-way between Peshawar and Rawalpindi.
The reason why I recommend going there is the fantastic dam that you can view from the west part of the city. You can ask any local, and they will point you in the right direction of the long, unmarked road you take to get there. It is well worth the trip, to drive and circle the dam viewing it from different angles. If you take the road to its end, you will come across the Indus River, where you can sit on the gravel beach and dip your feet.
This is one of the most historical and interesting train journey in the world today. As the train coaches are pulled and pushed by two 1920s model vintage oil fired steam engines to clim 1200 meters through 34 tunnels and 92 bridges and culvets. At one point the track climbs to 130 meters after a journey of 1.5 kilometers. A section of track is also shaped like a W and the train has to breathe hevily before changing directions. The tribes people travel free as part of the contract agreed upon whn they allowed the British to build the railway through their territory, and this rule is still honored.
Tourists are welcomed to brave the six-hour journey on the famous Khyber steam safari train from Peshawar, Pakistan to the border with Afghanistan. Seventy to Eighty people are appointed to take care of the railway track. There are a total of eighteen tunnels and dozens of bridges on the line.As part of the Safari trip, arrangements for music and the Khattak Dance are also made at different points.
Despite popular demand, the Safari Trip does not operate for many days or months at a time because of safety concerns. But there is a pull in the Tribal Areas and the Safari that attracts western tourists again and again.
For the Khyber Safari, the best time is during winters. Mellow sun shine, breath taking scenery, the rhythmic chugging of steam locomotive hauling a train up one of the steepest grades possible on 5'-6'' track, all make journey an unforgettable experience. The hospitable Pushtoons in their traditional dresses and following their centuries old customs add to the flavor.
As I walked further on in this street, I discovered a billboard painter, he invited me in, so I could admire his work, he really liked the attention.
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