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Pakistan - Traveling

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

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

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

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
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

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.

Find an itinerary: Multimap

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.

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.

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Islamabad (GMT+5)
Summer time period: None
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.

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 taboos: 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.

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: Visit: Urdu-English Dictionary
Free translation tools:
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