A road trip to Gwadar has been on cards since a while. Exploring the scenic Makran Coastal Highway and scouting unexplored beached of Gwadar was one of my 2017 New Year’s Resolution. My initial plan was to visit in February-April window of the year when temperatures in the coastal region are on the lower side but couldn’t make it due to work commitments so I finally decided to go for it before weather worsens any further and took the plunge in 1st week of May.
This post covers my travel itinerary along with how to get there, what to do, what not to do in addition to estimated cost of the trip.
How To Get There:
While, one can travel to Gwadar by air. There’s a daily flight from Karachi to Gwadar and round trip air fare will cost you around Rs.25000. I travelled to Gwadar by road via the very well constructed Makran Coastal Highway and that’s what I would recommend everyone one to do if you plan on visiting Gwadar since half the fun lies in the ‘Getting There’ part. The road has two-way traffic but it’s in excellent shape and there’s little to no traffic so its a hassle free journey all the way.
But the reasons why I chose a road trip over an air trip are very simple:
– Unexplored Beaches: The road trip offers breathtaking views of the unexplored sandy beaches with green water and clear view.
–Hingol National Park: Another sight for adventure seekers is the Hingol National Park with majestic naturally made mountain carvings that includes ‘The Sphinx’ & ‘Princess of Hope’ to name a few. These carvings are so realistic that they look man-made but they are totally natural and definitely worth a close look.
–Buzzi Pass:Overlooking the natural Hingol National Park and natural mountain carvings is the scenic Buzzi Pass that provides scenic panoramic view of entire valley ranging from lush green water to Mud Mountain.
Now over to the modalities of the road trip, as I mentioned the journey’s around 632 km long and there are no petrol pumps on the highway. All you have available is smuggled Iranian petrol whose quality is questionable. So to counter that, we carried our fuel with us. We had two gallons of 20 L each for contingency. Furthermore, please ensure your car is in good shape and can travel the distance because if there’s no petrol on the highway, you cant expect to find any workshop. Caution and good preparation is very essential to ensure a smooth, hassle free trip.
The of law & order and security situation of the region was looking over our heads before we embarked on the journey but I found entire region from Makran Coastal Highway to Gwadar City to be absolutely safe and sound. The highway is quite deserted but there’s a Coastal Guards checkpost after every 50-100 km. But still, just to be on the safe side, we did all of our travelling in day light and didn’t travel on the highway in night time.
Gwadar – The City:
As I mentioned earlier, half the fun lies in the journey.
As far as Gwadar City itself is concerned, I am gonna be straight with you. Please bear in mind that Gwadar is a small, under-developed city lacking the razzmatazz and glamour of a bustling metropolitan. If you are going to Gwadar expecting to find a resort city with plenty of activities to do, you are in for a disappointment Gwadar is not Phuket. It’s beauty lies in its rawness and its unrefined rocky terrain and that’s the kind of beauty that only a true adventure traveller can enjoy. There are no quality lodging facilities (except for Pearl Continental) and no swanky eateries.
Where To Stay:
When it comes to accommodation, there’s either the very exclusive (and expensive) Pearl Continental or cheap hotels that lack in basic necessities. Unfortunately, there aren’t any mid-level hotels for budget travellers who want a decent accommodation without breaking bank.
As far as PC is concerned, a night stay will set you back by around Rs.20,000 but the good part is you can get one night discount if you pay by Visa Credit Card. [Please contact PC Gwadar if you require any further info.]
I dont want to discourage anyone from staying at other hotels in Gwadar but I cant really speak to their standard so you will have to find that on your own.
What To Do:
We spent 2 nights and 1 day in Gwadar and we spent our time by exploring vast Gwadar coast line and beaches. We also went to Jewani, a small town around 80 km away from Gwadar near Iran border. You can also witness the most beautiful sight of sun set from Gwadar’s West Bay area. The sight of sun setting into the sea is a visual delight that I cant describe here. There are plenty of spots in Gwadar where you can do catch the best view.
What To Eat:
There aren’t many noteworthy restaurants in Gwadar city however, there this place by the name of ‘Shinwari’ which apparently makes the best lamb, mutton and beef dishes in the world. For the sake of disclosure, I dont eat red meat at all but my friends ate a lot of Shinwari and they haven’t stopped raving about it ever since. They tried lamb karahi, mutton rosh and mutton sajji and they claim its unarguably the best they have ever had. So there’s that.
In addition to above travel tips, there are some pointers that I want everyone to keep in mind if they are planning a road trip to Gwadar:
– Firstly, there are numerous checkposts on Coastal Highway and security inside Gwadar is pretty tight due to frequent foreigners movement (due to under construction Gwadar Port), please fully cooperate with security personnel at every junction. Keep all your identification docs at hand (ID Card, Car Registration docs etc.) since you will have to show it at check posts repeatedly. Arguing with security personnel or resisting a through inspection of your car wont do you any good. It never does. If you travelling with a firearm, make sure you have a valid arms license with you.
– Avoid travelling in night since its a deserted region of the country with minimal population.
– Respect local culture, Makrani people are simple, uncomplicated people who will welcome you with open arms.
– If you go plan on going for a swim, please make sure the beach you have chosen is safe for the purpose since there are some beaches in Gwadar where water depth changes quite drastically.
– I want to reiterate that exercise extreme caution when it comes to dealing with the sea. Since the beaches are quite deserted, there are no lifeguards so you are completely on your own.
– Once again, please make sure your car is fit to travel over 1300 km since there are no maintenance workshops on the highway.
I have tried my best to paint a fairly thorough picture of Gwadar for you, I want to re-state that this road trip is more of an adventure than vacation so be prepared accordingly. I hope I have covered the basics and encouraged you to explore this beautiful and unmilled region of our country, my zillion cautions and warning not withstanding
A detailed guide might take forever to write and when it comes to travelling, there are some things that cant be thought or pre-planned, you only learn them by experience. You can find some pictures from my trip below. Please leave your comments if you need anymore info.
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