In the event you ever resolve to journey to Pakistan, I promise you that you’ll have the journey of your lifetime.
From hitchhiking on tractors and psychedelic vans to driving over extraordinarily slim mountain roads constructed on a cliff 1,500 meters excessive, troopers who voluntarily provide you with their AK-47 for taking a photograph, probably the most placing panorama and the truth that you may camp in the midst of a paradise fully by your self.
Touring to Pakistan is, undoubtedly, the last word expertise and journey.
Nevertheless, this isn’t notably a straightforward place to journey in.
Happening a visit to Pakistan requires somewhat little bit of preparation, in addition to numerous matters to know beforehand.
This Pakistan journey information accommodates the whole lot it is advisable know, together with all journey info relating to visas, transportation, cultural etiquette, cultural habits, prices and extra!
On this Pakistan journey information you will discover:
Journey Insurance coverage for Pakistan
Finest time to go to
get to Pakistan
Pakistan right now
Cultural habits and information
Books for touring in Pakistan
Safety & security
Paperwork and permits
Costs and cash
Web and calling
Meals, alcohol & chai
Have you learnt what a VPN is? A Digital Non-public Community means that you can entry blocked websites whenever you journey, in addition to it permits you to entry content material solely accessible in your house nation (like Netflix), plus it prevents hackers from stealing your private knowledge. Be taught right here why you need to at all times use a VPN whenever you journey
get a visa for visiting Pakistan
Right here you will have probably the most up to date info
Earlier than Could 2019 – Getting a visa on the street was not potential, however you can solely get it from your private home nation or nation of residence.
After Could 2019 – They’ve lastly launched an e-visa system and as much as 176 nationalities can now apply for a Pakistani visa on-line.
apply for a Pakistani e-visa
You’ll be able to apply by this portal.
Matters it is advisable know concerning the e-visa:
- Visa size – Formally, you may get a visa for as much as Three months. The appliance says which you could rise up to 12 months however to date, there aren’t any experiences from vacationers who’ve been capable of get one.
- Multi-entry – You may also apply for a multi-entry visa legitimate for as much as 1 12 months.
- Value – I imagine it is determined by nationality and the size of your journey, however I maintain a Spanish passport and a single entry 2-month visa value me 35USD. Then, I attempted to use for a multi-entry visa and it value 52USD.
- Timing – The appliance says the method could take as much as 7 days nevertheless it additionally could rely in your embassy. One traveler claimed that he acquired it in in the future, whereas others say it takes a number of days. It is suggested to use prematurely.
- Letter of Invitation – For many nationalities, an LOI isn’t required anymore. Alternatively, the system means that you can add a resort reserving affirmation (as an alternative of the LOI). They simply require a reserving for the primary few days after which you may cancel it instantly. Within the hypothetical case you want an LOI, contact a tour operator.
- It may be used to enter by any port of entry, each airport and land borders.
After submitting your software, your embassy has the appropriate to name you for an interview, which implies that you’d must be in your house nation. Nevertheless, this solely occurs in uncommon instances.
For extra info, Marco from Monkey Rock World has written a complete information/tutorial about the way to get a Pakistani e-visa.
make a visa extension
Would you prefer to spend extra time in Pakistan? No drawback.
Extending your visa whereas touring in Pakistan was a complicated course of, as all people has totally different experiences and guidelines had been continuously altering however, lastly, you may get your visa extension by the common e-visa portal, so long as you’re already in Pakistan and in possession of an e-visa.
In the event you traveled to Pakistan with an everyday visa, you may solely lengthen it on the passport workplace of any main metropolis, together with Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Chitral, Gilgit, and Skardu however, apparently, the simplest place is Lahore.
Journey insurance coverage for touring in Pakistan
Touring in Pakistan is a reasonably wild, adventurous expertise so getting correct journey insurance coverage is a should.
World Nomads covers Pakistan and I like to recommend it for the next causes:
- It covers trekking as much as 6,000 meters (notice that, in Gilgit-Baltistan, it is vitally straightforward to achieve 4,000-meter base camps.
- They supply with limitless medical bills (and Pakistan may be wild)
Finest time to go to Pakistan
Pakistan has many various areas, starting from sea-level, flat deserts to eight,000-meter peaks, so every season will current its personal peculiarities.
Winter (mid-November to February) – The perfect time to go to the south a part of the nation, particularly Sindh province. These lands could not have the mountains Pakistan is known for however that is probably the most religiously various area in Pakistan. Alternatively, most mountains in northern Pakistan stay completely inaccessible within the wintertime. You’ll be able to nonetheless get to the Northern Areas by the Karakoram Freeway, however you gained’t have the ability to go to any aspect valley.
Summer season (June to September) – The perfect season for visiting the Northern Areas, particularly when you like trekking in excessive altitude mountains.
Spring & Autumn – I personally traveled to Pakistan in April and Could and the mountains had been at their greatest, because the climate was beautiful (most days), plus they weren’t busy with home tourism. Nevertheless, when you journey to Pakistan in early spring, late autumn, the mountains might not be that accessible.
Touring in Pakistan throughout Ramadan – A subject by itself, with its professionals & cons. Misplaced with Objective traveled in Pakistan throughout Ramadan and wrote this insightful put up.
go to Pakistan
By air – Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad have worldwide airports connecting with many Center Japanese cities, particularly Doha and Dubai.
By land – Pakistan shares a border with Iran, Afghanistan, India, and China. You’ll be able to’t use the Afghan border to cross however the remaining are open:
- China – The very best border crossing on the earth. Learn my report.
- India – A simple one, regardless of the diplomatic relationship between each international locations. Learn this report
- Iran – It goes by Baluchistan and it’s fairly an journey. Learn this report
What’s prefer to journey in Pakistan right now
Earlier than 9/11, Pakistan was a touristic nation.
Nicely, not that touristic, however its breathtaking mountains had been a preferred stopover for backpackers going alongside the well-known Hippie Path.
In truth, within the Northern Areas, you could find just a few backpacker hostels which by some means, are the stays of what was a preferred vacation spot for intrepid backpackers.
The 9/11 assaults, nonetheless, together with an enormous bunch of unlucky occasions, often involving Taliban exercise and a great deal of violence, put an finish to the rising tourism business.
Thankfully, matters have modified.
Within the final couple of years, the safety state of affairs in Pakistan has dramatically improved and the Northern Areas of Pakistan are, as soon as once more, crammed with intrepid backpackers who wish to go to a number of the most jaw-dropping mountain surroundings you’ll ever see, and expertise the hospitality Pakistan is known for.
Nonetheless, regardless of this large tourism improve, Pakistan nonetheless stays uncooked, genuine, and real, and it’ll keep like that for a really very long time, particularly as a result of it’s not a straightforward nation to journey to: vacationer infrastructure is in an embryonic stage, it’s tough to maneuver round and also you gained’t meet many foreigners, in order that’s why I personally imagine that solely skilled vacationers ought to go to Pakistan.
Nevertheless, touring in Pakistan is likely one of the most rewarding touring experiences one can ever have.
Cultural habits and information when touring in Pakistan
Urdu, which is like Hindi, is the official language – Nevertheless, every area has its personal (or a number of) native languages, so totally different from one another. English is extensively spoken amongst educated folks, like in India.
Pakistan is likely one of the most ethnically and culturally various international locations – From the South Asian trying folks of Punjab and Sindh; to the folks of the Pashtun areas, nearer to Iran or Afghanistan; the pagan tradition of Kalash; the Shias from Gilgit and Nagar; the Ismailis of decrease Hunza and the Wakhis (and likewise Ismailis) of higher Hunza. Touring in Pakistan is like touring in a number of, totally different tiny international locations. It’s fascinating.
Keep in mind, you’re the visitor – Individuals are likely to say that, in Iran, Sudan and Iraqi Kurdistan, you discover probably the most hospitable folks on the earth. Nicely, clearly, they haven’t visited Pakistan. Whereas it’s true that these international locations are very hospitable, Pakistanis convey it to the following stage. On this nation, you’re the visitor, which implies that the locals try so that you can have the absolute best time of their nation or area.
The hospitality may even be overwhelming – Throughout your journey to Pakistan, you’ll be invited for lunch, dinner and even to remain at folks’s homes so many instances that, on many events, you’ll have to refuse.
After your refusal, they may insist as soon as once more, time and again. They may also insist on carrying your bag and providing you meals 100 instances even when you say that you’re full. These are their cultural guidelines and you’re the visitor.
So overwhelming however simply don’t get offended – Sooner or later, some random males who I had by no means seen earlier than got here to my resort at 7:30 am within the morning, knocking on the door of my room, waking me up from an excellent sleep.
Apparently, they heard that there was a foreigner within the village, so they only wished to hang around with me. I acquired somewhat bit offended, continued sleeping however then I type of felt dangerous, as all they wished was to indicate me across the village.
Paying for meals – For some motive, Pakistanis at all times wish to pay on your meals to the extent that it will get awkward. I personally didn’t prefer it, particularly after I might see that the native folks didn’t have a lot cash. If potential, attempt to again them up.
Carrying a Shalwar Kameez – The normal Pakistani gown, which 80% or 90% of Pakistanis put on, known as shalwar kameez. Must you put on it? It’s not obligatory however, when you do, the locals will actually admire it, particularly within the Pashtun areas.
Islam – Pakistan is probably the most conservative nation I’ve ever been to. Try to be cautious and at all times respect their guidelines. In the event you do, they may also respect you and you’ll have one of the best time of their nation.
Helpful books for touring to Pakistan
That is only a choice of one of the best Three books however, if you wish to know all of the choices, bear in mind to test this checklist containing one of the best books on Pakistan, categorized into historical past, politics, novels and travelogues.
Pakistan journey information
Pakistan Traveller – That is probably the most up-to-date and supreme guidebook about Pakistan. 256 pages stuffed with maps and countless journey suggestions. The creator, Tim, is an Australian man who has visited Pakistan 10 instances since 2006. Essential for anybody who visits Pakistan.
To know concerning the tradition
Pakistan – Tradition Good!: The Important Information to Customs & Tradition – Tradition Good! is a widely known assortment of books that present deep introductions to the tradition and customs of many international locations. On this e-book, they offer a terrific evaluation of the complexity of the tradition and sub-cultures in Pakistan, so you’ll have a terrific understanding of the cultural etiquette beforehand!
For extra political background
Pakistan, a tough nation – This award-winning e-book provides you with a deep understanding of the state of affairs in Pakistan these days.
Safety and security whenever you journey in Pakistan
Pakistan isn’t harmful however you need to be cautious. You might need learn from different blogs that Pakistan is likely one of the most secure international locations on the earth. Personally, I wouldn’t say that. Whereas I feel that Pakistan isn’t a harmful nation, in some areas, it’s higher to be cautious, particularly within the area bordering Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, the state of affairs is simply getting higher and higher – Severely, security in Pakistan has improved exponentially.
Police are there that can assist you. All through your Pakistan travels, you’ll be repeatedly interrogated by dozens of various policemen and folks from the military. Who’re you? Why are you right here? The place are you going? In contrast to in different international locations, in Pakistan, the police and army are fairly cool and, on your personal safety, they’re commanded to ask you these questions.
You’ll have to register at greater than 100 safety test posts. I’m not kidding. Throughout my 56-day journey to Pakistan, I needed to register greater than 100 instances at totally different military and police test posts. Typically, to get from one vacation spot to a different, I needed to register greater than 10 instances! At every test put up, you must get off the automotive or bus and write down all of your private info in a pocket book. This may decelerate your journey significantly.
Convey one thousand passport & visa photocopies. It’s good to convey a great deal of photocopies as a result of, at some test posts, when you’ve got a passport copy, you don’t need to get out of the automotive. In any other case, you’re going to waste your time.
Sometimes, you get a private guard, without cost – Once more, not kidding. For safety functions, in some areas, you’ll get a private armed guard. Typically, you might need to pay for his meals however, based on the police, you aren’t pressured to. It’s as much as you. For extra info, learn my put up: Is Pakistan protected?
Having a private armed guard appears type of cool however, to be sincere, it’s not that a lot – The primary time you get an armed guard you get type of excited. Nevertheless, after half an hour, you may begin hating him as a result of he’ll put you below loads of restrictions.
Girls touring solo is extra widespread and safer than you suppose – Girls inform great matters about their experiences throughout their journeys by Pakistan. I’m not probably the most certified individual to speak about this matter however watch this video:
Pakistani intelligence is likely one of the greatest secret companies on the earth – One of many the reason why Pakistan isn’t a harmful nation is because of the Pakistani intelligence, which is taken into account one of the best intelligence corps on the earth, even higher than the CIA.
Bear in mind that they’re watching your steps and they’ll at all times know the place you’re. I keep in mind that, whereas climbing round a distant space within the Astore Valley, a person sporting a salwar kameez (the normal Pakistani garments), got here to me and mentioned, ”You’re the Spanish, proper?” Sure, he was from Pakistani intelligence.
For additional info on security, together with which areas are the most secure, learn my put up: Is Pakistan protected?
Paperwork and permits on your journey in Pakistan
Don’t belief any supply of paperwork info, not even Towards the Compass – In Pakistan, guidelines usually are not written and matters are continuously altering. Locations that now not require a allow, may require it in a single day, by the following day it was altering it again once more.
A army man informed me as soon as that, when this occurs, it’s as a result of they’re suspicious of some Taliban or terrorist exercise.
This info doesn’t move all through the nation, so you will notice that everybody (together with nationwide police, native police, the Military, the locals, vacationers, and blogs) will at all times have a special opinion. Don’t belief anybody. Examine it your self, when you’re on the bottom.
In Pakistan the whole lot is feasible – If there’s something precious I learnt throughout my journey to Pakistan, it’s that, as in any corrupt nation, the whole lot is feasible and all of it is determined by your contacts. If you understand the appropriate folks, you are able to do completely the whole lot you need, together with visiting forbidden areas with out a allow.
What it is advisable learn about NOC
- What’s it? A No Objection Certificates, which is mainly, a allow required for sure restricted areas.
- get? – The easiest way to get it’s by an area with contacts. In the event you don’t know any native, contact your embassy, however it might probably take as much as Four or 5 working days to proceed.
- When do you want it? – As I mentioned earlier than, don’t belief any supply of paperwork info. Throughout my journey to Pakistan, a pal of mine was required to get an NOC to make use of the street between Timargara and Chitral. Sooner or later later, I attempted to make use of that street however the NOC was not required anymore. Nevertheless, formally, you would want an NOC to go to Balochistan, the Khyber Move, Tribal Areas and Kashmir (some areas of Kashmir).
Cash in Pakistan
In Pakistan, they use the Pakistani Rupee (PKR) and, roughly, 1USD = 160PKR
Money & ATMs – Pakistan is a money economic system, so higher convey money, particularly within the Northern Areas, the place. In fact, you could find ATMs in all massive cities however not all of them will settle for overseas playing cards.
How a lot does it value to journey to Pakistan
However earlier than, just a few matters it is advisable know:
- In Pakistan, the whole lot is negotiable: All the things may be bargained for, particularly the resort rooms. Anticipate to pay totally different quantities from different visitors.
- All the time include a reference: If you journey in Pakistan, contacts are crucial and that’s why in both resorts or trekking tour firms when you come referenced by an area, you’ll get a greater worth.
In any case, this can be a fairly low-cost nation and I feel you may simply journey to Pakistan for lower than 20 a day, sleeping in personal rooms and consuming Three meals exterior. These are the (approximate) costs of the commonest matters:
- Native meal – 150PKR
- Native meal in a mid-range restaurant – 250-500PKR
- Meal in a elaborate restaurant of Lahore – from 1500PKR
- Non-public room in a funds resort – As much as 1500PKR
- Non-public room in a mid-range resort – Round 3,000PKR
- Lengthy bus rides (Islamabad to Gilgit) – Round 2,500PKR for a VIP ticket (you wish to get a VIP, belief me)
Web and calling
Besides in Gilgit-Baltistan, the web works fairly nicely all through the nation.
Within the Northern Areas, the connectivity is terrible or non-existent relying on the place you go.
I acquired a SIM Card from a Chinese language firm referred to as ZONG which is meant to be one of the best for just about anyplace within the nation. Within the Northern Areas, nonetheless, it barely labored and, apparently, it is advisable get an organization named SCOM, which you could find in Gilgit,
Professional-tip: Inform an area to get a SIM Card for you – The draw back of ZONG is that, as a foreigner, it is advisable go to the central workplace and pay fairly some huge cash to join it (20 or 30USD). Inform an area to join you, so that you’ll simply pay the native worth and get it in a short time.
Transportation for touring round Pakistan
You’ll get used to the mountain roads – Most mountain roads are very scary as they’re extraordinarily slim and constructed on insanely excessive cliffs. Don’t panic. You’ll simply get used to them!
You’ll study to be affected person – In completely nearly each lengthy bus journey I took, we had a breakdown. Typically, we had been stopped for 2 hours! And in the future, we stopped as a result of the bus ran out of gasoline! Are you able to imagine it?
Psychedelic vans are a lifestyle – All people falls in love with the vans in Pakistan, as they’re so notably embellished that they’re a blessing to your lens.
Methods of transferring round whenever you journey in Pakistan
Public buses & minivans go in all places – Like in most creating international locations the place most individuals can’t afford to purchase a automotive, buses and minivans journey to even the remotest areas within the nation. In Sindh and Punjab provinces, Daewoo is probably the most luxurious bus. For touring to Gilgit from Islamabad, you need to undoubtedly take NATCO VIP Bus ( round 17USD). Don’t fear, isn’t that VIP.
Prepare – In Sindh, Punjab, and Peshawar, you may transfer round by prepare. There are totally different prepare firms however you need to at all times take the personal ones, as they’re extra punctual. Use AC customary, as it’s the one utilized by the Pakistani center class. It’s not costly, not smelly and cozy sufficient. For extra info, test this prepare information to Pakistan.
Hitchhiking is simply too straightforward – It’s really easy, that generally, it’s sooner and simpler than taking public transport, particularly on the Karakoram Freeway (from Gilgit to Khunjerab Move). All people will wish to choose you up! As a common rule, on the KKH, I didn’t hitchhike on motorbikes (there are such a lot of accidents) and vehicles with ladies inside.
Airplane is fairly handy – Touring by bus from Islamabad to the northern areas, together with Chitral, Gilgit and Skardu takes ages (from 15 to 20 hours). There are flights connecting Islamabad with all these cities. E book your flights right here. Please notice that, for flying to and from Gilgit, you have to e-book a number of days (even weeks) prematurely. Additionally, keep in mind that many flights get canceled because of the climate situation.
Meals, drinks, and alcohol
Meals is extraordinarily oily – Pakistanis love oil an excessive amount of. They put tons of it in completely each meal, together with within the steamed rice, which they may at all times fry afterwards. When you find yourself in a restaurant, at all times ask for half fried.
It’s nearly dry – Within the Sindh province and Islamabad, you could find liquor shops. In the remainder of the nation, alcohol is simply accessible on the black market, however most locals (who drink) can get it for you simply.
Anticipate to have ten cups of chai a day – Chai, which is tea with milk, is a lifestyle in Pakistan and an indication of hospitality.
Faucet water, be careful! – Don’t dare drink faucet water. Within the northern a part of the nation, the locals will let you know that the faucet water is nice, because it comes from the mountains and glaciers. This can be true, however I nonetheless acquired sick after I drank from a mountain fountain. All the time use a water air purifier.
You’ll get sick – I don’t know anybody who didn’t get sick in his abdomen when touring in Pakistan. Attempt to keep away from salad, meals stalls with flies (they’re exhausting to seek out) and don’t drink faucet water.
Lodging if you find yourself touring to Pakistan
There are all kinds of resorts throughout the nation, from funds rooms to some hostels and luxurious resorts.
Reserving websites similar to Hostelworld and Reserving.com are growing in recognition however, relying on the vacation spot you journey to, chances are you’ll not discover loads of choices or, no less than, no funds resorts.
If you wish to keep in a funds resort or native guesthouse, you could have to learn blogs or ask anybody on-line. In my Pakistan Itinerary, I give some choices.
Anyway, there are just a few matters it is advisable learn about lodging in Pakistan:
Costs may be negotiated to the acute – Each time they let you know the worth, ask if they’ve a less expensive room. Severely, on many events, I managed to get half of the preliminary worth.
In case you are on a funds, at all times ask if they’ve a dorm – Surprisingly, many resorts have dorms and so they don’t let you know till the top of the negotiation. The great matter is that, since there usually are not many backpackers, you’re most certainly to get the dorm only for your self!
In most of Pakistan, you’re lined – In Pakistan, there’s loads of home tourism, so most touristic areas are crammed with resorts for completely each funds, from hostel to mid-range and luxurious rooms.
However it might be more durable to seek out respectable lodging in the remainder of the nation – In cities like Peshawar, Karachi, Multan, and mainly anyplace exterior of Swat Valley, Chitral, Northern areas, Islamabad and Lahore, discovering respectable (funds) lodging could also be difficult.
Couchsurfing is kind of well-liked! – There are a great deal of profiles, particularly in massive cities.
Extra info for touring to Pakistan
Signal as much as the Backpacking Pakistan Fb Group– If you wish to get up-to-date touring info from vacationers who’ve been there not too long ago, this group is kind of helpful, plus it’s also a terrific place to satisfy different vacationers who’re touring in Pakistan similtaneously you.
Signal as much as The Karakoram Membership Fb Group – That is an superior discussion board to satisfy locals, who will offer you native suggestions, in addition to an opportunity to satisfy up with them. Due to this group, I’ve made a few superb native pals! One notice: ignore the folks from this group who desires to promote you garbage.
Do not forget that in Pakistan you want pals – Pakistan isn’t a straightforward place to journey round. From reserving buses to getting permits, pals are essential for a rustic the place guidelines usually are not written. The Karakoram Membership is a good place to make native pals. In massive cities, particularly in Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi, Couchsurfing can also be an enormous deal. Each websites helped me immensely.
Right here you may learn all my guides and articles about Pakistan
Examine right here the greatest books and novels on Pakistan!
Are you touring to Iran? Right here it’s also possible to see all my articles and guides to Iran
And if you’re touring to Central Asia, don’t overlook to test all my guides to the Stans
That’s the whole lot it is advisable know! In the event you suppose I forgot one thing, please let me know! Ah, Ah, and keep in mind that, in Pakistan, you shouldn’t plan an excessive amount of! Welcome to the nation of sudden occasions.
From countless bus breakdowns to time-consuming test posts, new native pals and paradises the place you wish to spend ages, throughout your Pakistan travels, you’ll notice that nothing will go based on your plan.