UrbanLegends: Ali the Explorer and Islamabad

“Ali the Explorer” or Ali Bin Rizwan is a Pakistani travel blogger. Ali maintains a travel blog in which he has documented some very cool experiences of his traveling abroad. Earlier this year he traveled across Australia by road, sea and air. His aim in life is to summit K2 and travel from Europe to Pakistan by road.

"Ali the Explorer" in Australia earlier this year

“Ali the Explorer” in Australia earlier this year

What is your favourite city in the world, and why?

Haha! Well, there are a lot of cities that I really like. But I think I’ll go for Islamabad! Its calm and quite scenic too. It presents a blend of natural beauty and excellent infrastructure. With the lush green Margalla hills, it’s just beautiful! I’ve traveled all around Pakistan and I’ve not seen a city as complete as Islamabad. It’s hardly 50 years old so it’s not historically gifted as much as other cities are but on the brighter side it’s a comparatively new city so it’s quite well designed and well maintained.

Looking towards the Margalla Hills and Shah Faisal Mosque, Islamabad

Looking towards the Margalla Hills and Shah Faisal Mosque, Islamabad (Image: supplied by author)

What is your idea of a perfect day in this city?

Just driving around and stopping by random coffee/chai places when it rains. This city looks absolutely beautiful after rain. Just couple of days back I saw this banner by CDA claiming Islamabad to be the second most beautiful capital of the World. Not sure about how authentic it was but it’s definitely one of the greenest and naturally most stunning cities.

What is your favourite place to go/thing to do in this city?

Hiking up to Monal is fun but not when you do it every week. The good thing is Islamabad’s geographic position. Many tourist hot spots are just a short drive from here. So you can drive to a lot of good places anytime you feel like it.

Looking over Islamabad from Monal (Image: supplied)

Looking over Islamabad from Monal (Image: supplied by author)

Do you have a special memory attached to this city, and what is it?

Sikandar! Haha yeah! This guy drove his black Toyota through a couple of police check points eventually stopping in the Blue Area! Afters hours of drama, police caught him in the end though.

What’s your favourite place to eat in this city, and what dish is your favourite?

Biryani or Karahi with tandoor ki rotian! Anywhere!

If this city was a person, what would he/she be like?

Ms. Universe!

Fireworks over central Islamabad (Image: supplied)

Fireworks over central Islamabad (Image: supplied by author)

Do you have any insiders tips for visitors to this city?

It’s a very well designed city. You can’t possibly be lost in this city if you know how the sector numbers work. Drive carefully! The Islamabad traffic police are quite strict so a fine means a fine, which is good of course!

Is there anything you don’t like about this city? (be honest!)

It could be a bit livelier. But if that means more pollution and deforestation and garbage then I’m fine with it being not lively! Islamabad is beautiful because of its greenery but in recent years there has been a lot of deforestation, which is not good!

Islamabad and the Margalla Hills

Islamabad and the Marcella Hills (Image: supplied by author)

Has this city been featured in any works of art, cinema or literature?

In a couple of Pakistani films. Yes! Perhaps in “Waar” the last fight was filmed in the Convention Centre.


If you want to follow Ali and his travels, or to read more about his journey in Australia, drop him a line on the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ali.b.rizwan

Instagram: https://instagram.com/alibinrizwan1/

Travel blog: https://aliexplorer.wordpress.com


Have you been to Islamabad? Did you like it?

Comments (2)

  • Andrew Reply

    Islamabad for me was a peculiar city hard to get into. I was , however staying in nearby Rawalpindi. It’s certainly different from the rest of Pakistan and a place the traveller should absolutely visit whilst there. good to hear someone loves it so much!

    August 12, 2015 at 3:06 pm
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Yes, Islamabad is certainly not your average city – it reminds me a lot of Canberra actually. You’re right when you say that a traveller should visit there while in Pakistan – if you’re staying in Rawalpindi, it’s the other side of the Pakistani coin!

      August 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm

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