If you are planning to visit Nathiagali, then you must read this blog to read which eight things you should not do there.
Don’t drive there during rush hours. The 3 hours’ drive from Rawalpindi is heavenly early in the morning, before bazaars’ open along the road. After that, it’s a nightmare. Get to Nathiagali early and set off on the picturesque pipeline trail to Ayubia or hike to the Miranjani top (2900m). You will feel nature’s healing touch the moment you leave the metalled road.
Don’t leave without a booking to stay at night. It might snow or you might not be able to navigate across a sea of vehicles returning, so have contingency plans to stay the night there.
Don’t forget your Parka (weatherproof jacket). Nathiagali was designed as old England, and that’s what they got— Unpredictable weather. The cool breeze, low clouds, sporadic rain, and fog greets you while walking along the old England road in Nathiagali. This road starts from the Victorian Governor house and ends at the all-wood Saint Mathew’s church. Even the pulpit of the church is made of wood. Behind the church is a fantastic view of Kashmir Valley.
Don’t sit inside the vehicle. Try getting a 4×4 and sit in the daala ‘cabin’. The real views between Muree and Nathiagali are high over your head and can only be seen when you have an open-air transport. You will definitely see the pesky monkeys, pheasants, and the intelligent hi-altitude raven. Rows and rows of pine, oat and maple trees.
Don’t forget to visit Green spot, Kalabagh which has the thickest untouched pine forest anywhere I’ve seen. The usually tiny monkeys have grown twice the size shaking down unsuspecting tourists of their edibles. There you can rope climb and amateur-ski at its slopes. This was a mountain artillery training center of the British Raj and they sure knew where to pitch the tent.
Don’t come down to eat if you plan to go back the same day. Do your thing. Go see Ayubia chairlift, Mukhshpuri hike (2800m), Nathiagali waterfall. Take your food with you to save the time. Preferably do one activity each day to savor it. You can come back the next weekend for the next.
Don’t ever stop at Muree. Muree is an urban jungle now. The Goras would be twisting in their graves to know what we have done to their precious getaway. That’s how we desis show passive aggression. There is almost no water in the taps anyways. Just go straight to Nathiagali and stay at one of the several motels there. Do stop at the now-defunct second Murree Brewery factory short of the city.
Don’t take a lady friend there in your private car. The police there are called anti-lady friend squad. Their job is to wave-by terrorists and empty the pockets of unmarried couples. Mixed tourist groups are fine. In fact, the trails around Nathiagali are packed with tourists on weekends.
If you want a little more adventure then make a loop on the way back through Abbottabad and stop over at Thandiani that is chilly year-round. It’s a 5 hours’ drive from Nathiagali to Rawalpindi, but it is fun.