Escape to Paradise

Vastly varying landscapes, archeological sites and historical monuments make Pakistan an enticing tourist destination whose potential remains largely untapped and existing tourist flow marred by political upheavals and terrorism.

Ancient cultural history dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization of 3300 BC and the traditions and cuisine of Islamic culture offer a slice of history, while the Himalayan mountains and vast expanses of the Thar desert, with their modern tourist infrastructure, has a date with the young and the adventurous.

This seamless blend of the past and the present is the essence of Pakistani tourism, evidenced also in its modern bustling cities such as Islamabad, and in the cultural bastion of Lahore and the picturesque Swat Valley in the Hindu Kush mountains.

Frequent terror attacks, unfavourable political conditions, and lack of infrastructure have hit tourism badly. The 2005 earthquake and last year's floods, particularly in North Pakistan, a tourist hub, has maimed the tourism industry. Even domestic tourism has been hit, but the top destinations are still accessible to the tourist prepared to rough it out.

Here's a look at the 10 best tourist destinations of Pakistan