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flag Pakistan Pakistan: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
To get more information on visa and entry requirements, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan
Diplomatic Representations
List of Pakistani embassies
 
IATA Travel Center
 

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Taxi is the readily available mode of transport in most of the cities and towns of Pakistan. The fares are quite reasonable. However for security reasons it is recommended to rent a chauffeur driven car preferably from the hotel where you are staying or from a well known rental agency.
Radio cab service is now available in three major cities of Pakistan: Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Maps of Urban Networks
Maporama
Mapblast
UT Library on line

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Lahore - Allama Iqbal Intl (LHE) 8km / 5 miles 20 min + Available - Available
Islamabad (ISB) 10 km / 6 miles 300 R / 25 min RS 6 / 50 min - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
Air transport is the safest and efficient mode of travel in Pakistan, especially for foreigners. There are many daily flights between Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Sukkur, Faisalabad and Quetta.

Though varies cities and towns in Pakistan are well connected through rail and bus services, but these modes of transport are not recommended, mainly because they are time consuming and uncomfortable.

Rail Companies
Pakistan Railway

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Pakistan International Airlines Major Yes Yes
Shaheen Airlines Major Yes Yes
Aero Asia Major Yes Yes
Air Blue Major Yes Yes
JS Air Major and Charter services Yes Yes
Princely Jets Major and Charter services Yes Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

Recommendation
One must be very cautious when self-driving in the country because of the bad condition of the roads and chaotic character of the traffic. There is also high risk of a hostile reaction, especially threats from Islamic terrorists.

Therefore self driving around Pakistan is not recommended. Moreover self-drive cars are not generally available in the country. It is recommended to have a licensed and experienced local driver who has a "feel" for local roads and driving conditions.

Road Maps
Pakistan road maps
Map of Pakistan
Find an Itinerary
Multimap

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
Mohenjodaro, a settlement dating back 5,000 years, exist in the Sindh region of Pakistan.

The two excavated sites near Taxila i.e. Jaulian and Sirkap, date back to the Buddhist Gandhara period.

Cultural
The northern parts of Pakistan have many old fortresses, towers and other architecture. The Chitral valley is home to the small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha community which claims to be descendents of the army of Alexander the Great.

In the Punjab is the site of Alexander's battle on the Jhelum River.

Lahore is the cultural capital of Pakistan with many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort.

Nature
The Karakoram Highway, which follows the ancient Silk Road, offers breathtaking beauty of Himalayan mountain range including Hindukush Pamir. The trail runs along the Indus River and to the beautiful Gilgit and Hunza valleys. and Margalla Hills located in Islamabad is an important tourist place. In the midst of these hills lies Daman-e-Koh, a terraced garden with an excellent view over the city.
Religious
Many mosques and Islamic tombs exist across the country. Some of the famous ones are: Badshahi Mosque in Lahore (one of the largest mosques in the world, and an example of Moghul architecture rivaled only by the Taj Mahal),  Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, and so on.

The city of Thatta in Sindh region is well known for its mausoleums and mosques.

Thermal
The beautiful area of Chitral in the Hindu Kush Mountains north of Peshawar is noted for its hot springs and trout-filled rivers. 
Beach
Clifton beach of Karachi is one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. However Pakistan has not been able to develop beach tourism because the Western concept of beach luxury somehow is not in consonance with country’s Islamic cultural traditions.
Winter Sports
Pakistan has 5 highest mountain peaks in the world and several large glaciers. The northern areas like Gilgit and Skardu are very popular for trekking. Malam Jabba resort in the Karakoram range has good skiing facilities.
Outdoor Activities
Water rafting and Pakistan canoeing are very popular on the rivers of the Northern part of Rawal Lake, situated at a distance of about 8km

Cricket is the popular game of the country. You could watch cricket matches. Polo is also popular, particularly in the northern towns of Gilgit and Chitral.

Shopping
Shopping in Pakistan is interesting and quite unique. Well-known for exquisite handicrafts, Pakistan is home to gorgeous hand-woven carpets, marble pieces, copper and brassware, woodwork, and embroidered kurtas and khussas. Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad have some excellent traditional market places (called Bazars) as well as modern shopping centers.
Tourism Organizations
Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
No specific vaccination is required. However a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if traveling from an infected area.
         - Foreign travelers should drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages.
         - Milk should be boiled incase unpasteurized or otherwise also.
         - Incase food products like poultry, eggs, meat and dairy products are have been un-refrigerated for more than 2 hours, these should be avoided.
         - Eat meat and fish only if well-cooked. 
You should get medical insurance (including against medical repatriation costs) and seek medical advice before traveling to Pakistan.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
The World Health Organization webpages devoted to Pakistan.
The American government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ministry of Health of Pakistan
 

Emergency Numbers

Police 15
Ambulance 115
Fire Brigade Center 16
Telephone enquiry 17
Railway enquiry 117
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Islamabad (GMT+5 )
Summer Time Period
None
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
There are normally three seasons in Pakistan:
Winter (November to March): is warm and cooled by sea breezes on the coast;
Summer (April to July): has extreme temperatures,
Monsoon (July to September): has the highest rainfall on the hills.
The maximum temperature in Karachi goes to around 35 degree C in May/June.

The best time to visit Southern part of Pakistan is between November and March, when the days are cool and clear. On the other hand, the best time to visit Northern part of Pakistan is from April to October.

For Further Information
Yahoo weather
Pakistan Meteorological Department
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties

Pakistani cuisine is based on curry or masala (hot and spicy) sauces accompanying chicken, lamb, prawns and a wide choice of vegetables. Its flavours are drawn from its Afghani, Turkish and Iranian roots.

Some of the national dishes are:
      1. Biryani: seasoned rice with mutton, chicken and yoghurt
      2. Sag gosht: spinach and lamb curry
      3. Dal chawal: brown lentils and rice
      4. Shish kebabs: charcoal-grilled meat on skewers
      5. Patties of chopped meat fried in ghee or butter
      6. Halwa: sweetmeat made with eggs, carrots, maize cream, sooji and nuts
Drinks
Tea (with milk and often very sweet) is the national drink.
There are no bars because of strict Islamic laws concerning alcohol. However alcohol may be bought at large hotels. Wine is expensive and only available in upscale restaurants. But it is illegal to drink in public.

Pakistani-brewed beer is widely available, and so are canned carbonated drinks.

Dietary Restrictions
Islam prohibits the use of pork and meats should be prepared ‘Halal’. Drinking alcohol is forbidden too. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours. Buffalo milk is believed to make people physically strong but mentally weak.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Pakistani Rupee
ISO Code
PKR
To Obtain Domestic Currency
Traveler’s checks can be cashed at various banks and other authorized foreign-exchange outlets across the country. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveler’s checks in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling, though traveler's checks in Pakistan Rupees can be negotiated.

You can also get local currency by using your international credit/debit card at ATMs which operate in all major cities of Pakistan.

Possible Means of Payment
Payment is usually in cash. But credit cards are also accepted. American Express is the most widely accepted card. Moreover traveler checks are also accepted at banks, 4- & 5- star hotels and big shops. ATMs operate in all major cities.

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Speaking

Official Language
Urdu, English
Other Languages Spoken
Punjabi (spoken by 48% of country’s population), Sindhi (12%), Siraiki [a Punjabi variant] (10%), Pashtu (8%), Balochi (3%), Hindko (2%), Brahui (1%), Burushaski and Other (8%)
Business Language

Practically all business correspondence is made in English, though Urdu is also sometimes used by local companies.

In Pakistani cities and urban areas, majority of the people can speak and understand English. However in case of rural areas, one may need the services of an interpreter.
Getting Some Knowledge
Visit: Urdu-English Dictionary
Free Translation Tools
Urduword : English-Urdu-English Dictionary

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Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
Apartments in Pakistan

Pakistan Apartments
To Find a Job
Jobs in Pakistan
Bayrozgar
Alahad Group
Mustakbil: Jobs in Pakistan

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Last Updates: October 2014