A group of friends would like to go camping in Northern Pakistan on their own. The only problem is to know some locals who can help us with food and a place to find where we can put up our camps. How can we do that (we don't want to pay thousands of Rupees to tourist companies)!
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In the spring of 2004 I went trekking in the Dolpa district of northern Nepal. We did a lot of camping, and also stayed in people's houses. We didn't always have to pay to put up our tents, and when we did it was usually for a very reasonable amount.
We were traveling with a Nepali guide/translator, who was an invaluable help to us in arranging the purchase of food and lodging. I don't remember if we found him through a Nepali tourist company or not, but we employed him independently- it was not a "package" trip. Altogether, we were six tourists, employing three Nepalis, over the course of about a month. Although we paid a lot less than we would have if it was a "package" trip, it still ended up running into the thousands of rupees- but a month is a long time. I don't regret this, and would highly recommend traveling with someone who speaks Nepali.
Along the way we met a French couple who were traveling alone. They didn't encounter any particular problems, as far as I know, so it isn't impossible to travel without a guide/translator.
All this, of course, is true for Nepal, not Pakistan. And it's true for a relatively less-traveled part of Nepal, not the popular routes of Everest, Anapurna and Gosaikund. It could be that the owners of the guest houses there don't allow camping in the vicinity of their guest houses.