Pakistan is a place steeped in travel lore. Traders have been moving through Pakistan’s stunning interior for generations, thanks to the Karakoram Highway (KKH), which is one of the world’s most important thoroughfares. Unfortunately, Pakistan is the subject of unfavorable news stories, as a result of dangerous neighbors (Afghanistan and Iran) and terrorist spillover. You should do your homework before visiting Pakistan (safety first), but if you do, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome, breathtaking scenery (the Himalaya, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush range all meet here), and world-class remnants of ancient Indus Valley civilizations (try those at Moenjodaro), all while rubbing shoulders with only a few other tourists.
Suggestions for Travelers
With your right hand, offer and take food. Be culturally aware — both sexes should cover their legs and shoulders at all times, and ladies should have a headscarf on hand to pull on if needed (eg in mosques). If you’re going to the mountains, acclimate slowly and keep hydrated.
When is the best time to visit Pakistan?
The best time to visit Pakistan’s north (North-West Frontier Province and Northern Areas) is from April to October, as snow can close roads and pass during the winter. In the summer, Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, is hot and humid; further south, in Karachi, it’s even hotter. The mountains, on the other hand, are significantly cooler at this time of year, making trekking much more enjoyable.
International airports in Pakistan
Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport (ISB) is 8 kilometers away. Lahore is 15 kilometers from Allama Iqbal International (LHE). Karachi is 16 kilometers from Jinnah International (KHI).
In Pakistan, getting around
Pakistan’s internal flights connect the country’s major cities with other off-the-beaten-path destinations. They can save a significant amount of time, as road trips can be long and exhausting. Domestic flights are cheaper in Pakistan, so book them before you arrive. Note that because the weather in the mountains is so unpredictable, flights are prone to cancellation; make sure you have a backup plan. In Pakistan, buses are inexpensive and plentiful, if not particularly luxurious. Hire a car and driver if you can form a more flexible and pleasurable choice. The Karakoram Highway (KKH) is a fantastic drive; the traveling is sluggish (potholes, traffic, landslides, etc. ), but the view is breathtaking. The brave set out on their trek by bicycle.
Accommodation in Pakistan
In Pakistan’s major towns, chain and five-star hotels are available; in the countryside, the selection is more limited, but frequently more charming. A squat toilet and a bucket instead of a shower are likely to be found in low-cost lodging. Homestays, resthouses, and lodges are available in the mid-range. Meals are frequently consumed at your lodging. A handful of hostels maintained by the Pakistan Youth Hostels Association have sex-segregated dorms. If you’re going trekking, you’ll need to bring or rent camping gear.
Pakistani cuisine and beverages
Expect a large buffet of rice, mutton or chicken curry, dhal (lentil curry), and roti or chapatis in Pakistan (flatbreads). Pork is prohibited. More roti, eggs, and honey will be served for breakfast. Apricots are a Northern Areas specialty, and you can see them drying on rooftops. Desserts such as kheer (rice pudding) and kulfi are extremely sweet (reduced milk and nuts). Although Pakistanis consume a lot of meat, there are always plenty of vegetarian-friendly vegetable side dishes (including okra, cauliflower, chickpeas, and spinach), and hosts will gladly cook more if asked. Pakistan is a dry country, with the exception of a few Western hotels in major cities. The preferred beverage is sweet milky tea.
Pakistan’s health and safety
Only drink cleaned water. Before leaving, check with your doctor or a travel health center about vaccinations and malaria treatment, which may not be essential if you’re merely going to the mountains. In Pakistan, dengue disease is also a problem. This is a turbulent region, with terrorists posing a serious threat across Pakistan. Avoid big meetings and demonstrations, and check with the Foreign Office before traveling.