Northern Pakistan: Part 1 Days 1 and 2


I’m just going to start with pictures because… I’ll probably get over my writer’s block that way? Enjoy! 


the boys’ bags: mus-haf to revise their memorization, a cap, hand sanitizer, extra pair of socks and a change of clothes, Geronimo Stilton & The Kingdom of Fantasy, a punchy thingy, glasses, toothbrush, glasses case plus their goody bags!


giant marshmallows that could double up as pillows, Reese’s, mini M&Ms, Kinder surprise egg, Kiri cheese snack, gummy bears, mint gum, watermelon gum, Cola lollipops



my not-so-practical carry-on, although it all turned out to be important and comforting in the end, especially the Juicy Couture perfume. toothbrush, The Body Shop’s Vitamin E face moisturiser, Bath & Body Works Pink Chiffon hand sanitizer, extra hair accessories, extra niqab, gloves and socks, Dettol wipes, St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea butter travel size body lotion, Quality Street chocolates for emergencies, glasses, stationery of course and some A4 paper for sketching or notes.


finally done


to read and annotate on the way


bulging open



fast forward to Rawalpindi’s Benazir Bhutto International airport , out and Waseem’s Shehzadi



Each of us packed as little as possible, and it was very different because we haven’t ever travelled so light. Usually we pack the entire house in almost 12-14 suitcases, mostly because we haven’t exactly travelled for vacation or holiday per say. For the past few years we’ve only been travelling for weddings or trips to Toronto, which can hardly be called a break. But this time each of us had a carry-on with essentials for the trip and then smaller bags like duffel bags for warm clothes in case we are in the colder regions and wheelie bags. Compartments are important for those tiny things that get lost.


1- 3 pairs of pants, plus 2 pairs of black tights/leggings

2- 2 shirts to go with each pair, so you have 6 outfits there

3- 2 dresses or something a bit dressier than your casual clothing

4- 6 pairs of ankle socks and 4 pairs of sport socks (’cause you can’t have enough socks and they don’t even take up so much space)

5- a light sweater or cardigan

6- extra scarf, extra niqab and extra pair of gloves

7- extra ‘abaya

Roll your clothes or flatten them with an iron while packing, that’ll create more space in your bag and I feel it makes the bag lighter as well. 


1- travel size shampoo

2- travel size shower gel

3- travel size toothpaste

4- toothbrush

5- sanitary stuff 

6- face moisturizer

7- travel size body lotion

8- perfume

9- basic make-up like a BB cream, eye-liner, mascara and a lip-gloss or lipstick

10- face wash AND AN EXFOLIATER! 

11- loofah (I must)

12- safety pins and hijab pins 

We bought mostly travel-size stuff for every carry-on, so that we wouldn’t all be scrambling for one huge toiletries bag. Plus its more hygienic. I used a compartmentalized Revlon cosmetics bag. 


1- cough syrup

2- something for pain and headaches 

3- something for stomach aches (we really had to use these)

4- supplements 

5- eye drops for allergies


Although it seems a bit silly to take snacks with you on a tour, it was extremely worth it. I have these crazy hunger pangs after walking for even just 10 minutes and I always carried dates, crackers, chocolate and some mixed nuts in my bag. The worst thing ever is nausea from an empty stomach and lactic acid build up in your burning muscles.


We wore our running shoes and took a pair of flip-flops/flats each, didn’t pack any snow/rain boots because we weren’t going through any of that.


1- National ID cards

2- Passports

3- Itinerary

4- Maps 


A smaller handbag for dinner or going out, small travel towels in case, inflatable pillows, pocket prayer mats (I packed one in each carry-on), an extra notebook to press flowers and leaves into, portable internet, plastic bags to throw in dirty shoes or laundry to separate it from the clean stuff. Then there’s the electronics, chargers and a multi-country adapter. We had a local SIM and bought another one when we got there, so there would be two parties if we ever had to split up. 


At Dubai International Airport



To Murree


Chilling under the coffee table at Dubai Airport’s Marhaba lounge


On the way to the Crown Plaza,



On the way to Murree from Islamabad, we had to come back half way because it was raining cats and dogs which means blocked roads. Although there were persistent people dancing on the rooftop of their cars and having a good time (just watching them stressed us out though :D)












And that was about it for the first two days of the trip. The next morning we set out again from the Crown Plaza onwards to Abbotabad and Mansehra, more on that in the next post!

 – Umm Saifullah 







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