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We're Andre & Lisa, adventurers and experienced budget travelers.

We have over two decades of travel experience and since 2018 have led a full-time nomadic lifestyle.

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PAKISTAN TRAVEL GUIDE

A journey through Pakistan is a fascinating encounter with a country that has withstood countless invasions, absorbed the culture and ethos of its conquerors and preserved their essence in monuments and archaeological heritage.

 

Pakistan fosters a five-thousand-year-old civilisation, remnants of which can still be seen in the ruins of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. The land was an important stop on the trade route from Central Asia into India and across to China. Over the Khyber Pass, Kurram Pass, Bolan Pass and the Khunjerab Pass, caravans laden with dried fruits, silk, wool and precious stones laboured to their final destinations. If you are seeking adventure, want to lose yourself in nature's wonders, looking for some cultural stimulation or just want to intermingle with the incredibly warm and hospitable people, visit Pakistan and take back lingering memories of a country of diverse landscapes and people.

 

Certain areas in the tribal regions and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border are considered active war zones by the Pakistani military and therefore will not be accessible to both locals and foreigners. Do not try to illegally get into these areas as this could turn out to be fatal or may result in kidnapping for ransom. Make sure to obtain up to date information before you leave.

COUNTRY PAGE
  • Capital: Islamabad
  • Government: Islamic Federal Republic
  • Currency: Rs. Pakistani rupee (PKR)
  • Area: 881,913 km²
  • Population: 212,2 million (2018)
  • Religion:Muslim 97%, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Sikhs and others 3%
  • Electricity: 230V, 50Hz (Europlug & old British Plug)

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SEASONS AT A GLANCE

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Peak Season

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Climate Chart with avergae monthly temperatues and rainfall

BEST TIME TO VISIT PAKISTAN

Pakistan has four distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall.

  • Winter: December to February. The weather is cool and dry, with temperatures ranging from mild to cold, depending on the region. The northern mountain regions can be quite cold, with heavy snowfall in some areas.
  • Spring: March to May. The weather starts to warm up and becomes more pleasant. The temperature can range from cool to warm, and the countryside starts to become green as the plants begin to bloom.
  • Summer: June to September. The weather is hot and dry, with temperatures reaching as high as 40°C (104°F) in some regions. The monsoon season starts in July and brings heavy rains to many parts of the country.
  • Fall: October to November. The weather starts to cool down, and the monsoon season ends. The temperature is mild and pleasant, making it a great time to visit many parts of the country.

It's also worth noting that in Pakistan, the monsoon season can vary from year to year, and it's not uncommon for certain areas to receive less or more rain than usual.

 

The best time to visit Pakistan varies depending on the specific location and the type of activity you plan to do. Generally, the best time to visit Pakistan is between October and April when the weather is cooler and more pleasant.

 

The mountain regions, such as the Northern Areas, are best visited during the summer months of June to September when the snow has melted and the passes are open. The coastal areas, such as Gwadar and Karachi, are best visited during the winter months of November to February when the weather is mild and the sea is calm.

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PAKISTAN TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Pakistan can vary greatly depending on your itinerary, mode of transportation, and the level of comfort you desire. Some estimates for budget-friendly travel in Pakistan are:

  • Accommodation: $5-$20 per night for a budget hotel or guesthouse.
  • Food: $2-$5 per meal at local restaurants.
  • Transportation: $1-$5 per hour for a local bus or train, or $30-$50 per day for a private car and driver.

However, it's worth noting that for more luxurious travel, prices for accommodation and transportation may be significantly higher.

Other costs to consider include:

  • Visa fee: Typically, a visa for Pakistan costs around $50-$100, depending on your country of origin and the type of visa you require.
  • Flights: Prices vary depending on your departure location and the time of year you travel. Typically, a round-trip ticket from the United States to Pakistan can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,500.
  • Insurance: It's recommended to have travel insurance when visiting Pakistan, costs can vary depending on your travel itinerary and the length of your stay.

It's also worth noting that some activities such as trekking and climbing in the Northern Areas will require additional permits and guide fees.

In summary, it is possible to travel in Pakistan on a budget, but it's also possible to spend a lot more depending on your preferences. It's recommended to do research and plan ahead to get the best value for your money.

 

Here are some sample costs for various expenses you may incur when visiting Pakistan:

  • Accommodation: $10 per night for a budget hotel or guesthouse in a city like Lahore or Islamabad. $20-30 per night for a mid-range hotel.
  • Food: $3-5 for a meal at a local restaurant. $10-15 for a meal at a mid-range restaurant.
  • Transportation: $1-2 for a local bus or train ride within a city. $40-50 for a full-day private car and driver.
  • Entrance fees: $5-10 for entry to major tourist attractions such as the Lahore Fort or the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore.
  • Excursions: $50-100 for a full-day guided tour to places like Taxila, Hunza or Swat.
  • Visa fee: $50-100, depending on your country of origin and the type of visa you require.
  • Flights: $800-1,200 for a round-trip ticket from the United States to Pakistan.
  • Travel insurance: $50-100 for a basic travel insurance policy for a one-week stay in Pakistan.

It's important to note that these costs are approximate and can vary depending on the time of year, location, and exchange rate. Also, these are basic prices, you may end up paying more if you're looking for luxury or more comfort.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR PAKISTAN

Here are some travel tips for Pakistan that can help make your trip more enjoyable:

  • Dress modestly: Pakistan is a conservative country, and it's important to dress modestly out of respect for local customs. Women should cover their heads and avoid wearing revealing clothing. Men should also avoid wearing shorts and tank tops.
  • Learn a few basic phrases in Urdu: Knowing a few basic phrases in Urdu, such as "hello", "thank you" and "goodbye", can go a long way in helping you communicate with locals.
  • Be prepared for power outages: Power outages are common in Pakistan, so it's a good idea to bring a flashlight or portable charger.
  • Be aware of the security situation: Pakistan has experienced some security issues in the past, so it's important to stay informed about the current situation before you travel. Avoid traveling to areas that are known to be dangerous, and follow the advice of local authorities.
  • Be respectful of local customs: Pakistan is a culturally rich country, and it's important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. This includes things like removing your shoes before entering a mosque or temple, and avoiding public displays of affection.
  • Haggle for goods and services: Haggling is a common practice in Pakistan and is expected in markets and shops. Don't be afraid to negotiate for goods and services, but be respectful and friendly.
  • Bring a photocopy of your passport: Keep a photocopy of your passport with you at all times in case of loss or theft.
  • Be aware of the heat and bring sunscreen: In Pakistan, temperatures can reach over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) during summer. It's important to stay hydrated, wear appropriate clothing and use sunscreen.
  • Be prepared for the altitude: If you're planning to visit the northern mountain regions of Pakistan, be prepared for the altitude. Make sure to acclimatize properly and take precautions to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Be open-minded and enjoy the experience: Pakistan is a fascinating country with a rich culture, beautiful landscapes and friendly people. Be open-minded, try new things and enjoy the experience!

REGIONS & HIGHLIGHTS OF PAKISTAN

Pakistan is a large and diverse country, with a variety of different regions to explore. Here are some of the main regions of Pakistan and the highlights of each region:

  • The Northern Areas: This region includes the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and is home to some of the world's highest peaks, including K2, the second highest mountain in the world. The Northern Areas also offer excellent trekking and climbing opportunities, as well as beautiful valleys such as Hunza and Skardu.
  • Punjab: The most populous province of Pakistan, Punjab is home to the country's cultural capital, Lahore, known for its rich history, stunning Mughal architecture, and delicious food. It also have historical sites such as the Minar-e-Pakistan and the Lahore Fort.
  • Sindh: This region is known for its rich history, particularly the Indus Valley Civilization, which was one of the world's earliest urban civilizations. Highlights in Sindh include the ancient ruins of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, as well as the colorful city of Karachi.
  • Balochistan: This is Pakistan's largest province and is known for its rugged terrain and beautiful landscapes. Highlights include the coastal town of Gwadar, the Makran Coastal Highway and the Hingol National Park.
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: This region is known for its stunning landscapes, including the Hindu Kush mountain range and the Swat Valley. It's also home to the ancient city of Taxila, which was an important center of Buddhist learning.
  • Azad Jammu and Kashmir: This region is located in the north of Pakistan and it's known for its beautiful valleys such as Neelum, Jhelum, and Leepa, as well as for its natural beauty, including the Kaghan Valley and the Ratti Gali Lake.
  • Gilgit Baltistan: This region is located in the northernmost part of Pakistan and it's known for its mountain landscapes, glaciers, and trekking opportunities. The region is home to many famous peaks, including Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world.

These are just a few of the highlights of the main regions in Pakistan, each region has its own unique culture, history and natural beauty. There are many other places to visit and explore in Pakistan, each with its own special charm.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN PAKISTAN

Pakistan is a country with a rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes and many interesting things to see and do. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Pakistan:

  • Visit Lahore: Lahore is the cultural capital of Pakistan and is known for its rich history, stunning Mughal architecture, and delicious food. Highlights include the Minar-e-Pakistan, the Lahore Fort, and the Badshahi Mosque.
  • Explore the Northern Areas: The Northern Areas of Pakistan offer some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, including the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges. Visitors can go trekking, climbing, and explore beautiful valleys such as Hunza and Skardu.
  • Visit the ancient Indus Valley Civilization sites: Sindh is home to the ancient ruins of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, which were part of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world's earliest urban civilizations.
  • Explore the Makran Coastal Highway: The Makran Coastal Highway is a beautiful road that runs along the coast of Balochistan and offers stunning views of the Arabian Sea.
  • Visit Taxila: Taxila is an ancient city located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, which was an important center of Buddhist learning. Visitors can explore the ruins of the city and learn about its rich history.
  • Explore the valleys of Azad Jammu and Kashmir: This region is known for its beautiful valleys such as Neelum, Jhelum, and Leepa, as well as for its natural beauty, including the Kaghan Valley and the Ratti Gali Lake.
  • Visit the beautiful city of Karachi: Karachi is Pakistan's largest city and is known for its colorful bazaars, delicious street food, and beautiful beaches.
  • Visit the Rama Valley: Rama valley is a beautiful valley located in Astore, Pakistan. It is a perfect place for those who love nature, peace and tranquility.
  • Explore the culture and history: Pakistan is rich in culture and history, visitors can explore the traditional crafts and bazaars, and learn about the country's rich heritage by visiting museums and historical sites.
  • Try delicious Pakistani food: Pakistani cuisine is known for its delicious flavors and spices. Visitors should try traditional dishes such as biryani, kebabs, and curries.

WHAT TO EAT IN PAKISTAN

Pakistani cuisine is known for its delicious flavors and spices. Here are some traditional dishes that you should try when visiting Pakistan:

  • Biryani: A popular dish made with rice, meat (usually chicken, beef or lamb), and a variety of spices. It is often garnished with fried onions, tomatoes, and coriander.
  • Kebabs: A variety of meat skewers, usually made with beef or mutton, and often served with naan bread and chutney.
  • Curry: There are many different types of curry dishes in Pakistani cuisine, including chicken, beef, lamb, and fish curries. They are usually made with a variety of spices and served with rice.
  • Tandoori Chicken: A dish made by marinating chicken in yogurt, spices, and lemon juice, and then cooking it in a clay oven called a tandoor.
  • Chapli Kebab: A traditional kebab dish from the Pashtun regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, made with ground meat, spices and served with naan bread.
  • Karahi: A type of curry dish that is cooked in a wok-like container called a karahi. It can be made with chicken, beef, lamb, or vegetables.
  • Nihari: A traditional stew made with slow-cooked beef or mutton, which is often served for breakfast.
  • Dosa: A popular street food which is a type of savory pancake made from fermented batter and served with chutney or sambar.
  • Lassi: A popular yogurt-based drink, which can be sweet or savory and is often served as a refreshment.
  • Kulfi: A popular Indian and Pakistani ice cream, it comes in various flavors such as mango, cardamom, pistachio, and rose.

It's worth noting that Pakistani cuisine has a lot of regional variation. So, depending on the area you're visiting, you might find different dishes and flavors. Also, due to the Muslim majority in Pakistan, most of the dishes are halal, but it's always good to ask if you're unsure.

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WHERE TO STAY IN PAKISTAN

For your first visit to Pakistan, it's important to choose a base that offers a mix of cultural experiences, historical sites, and natural beauty. Here's a breakdown of top areas and accommodations:


Where To Stay In Islamabad:

Islamabad, the capital city, provides a blend of modernity and tranquility, with attractions like Faisal Mosque, Pakistan Monument, and Margalla Hills National Park.

  • Budget Accommodation: Stay at Hill View Hotel for affordable rooms and a central location near markets and eateries.

  • Mid-range Accommodation: Islamabad Serena Hotel offers comfortable accommodations with elegant decor and easy access to key landmarks.

  • Luxury Accommodation: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of Islamabad Marriott Hotel, featuring upscale rooms, multiple dining options, and leisure facilities.

Best Value Tip: Visit during the shoulder seasons (March-April, October-November) for pleasant weather and better accommodation rates.


Where To Stay In Lahore:

Lahore is a vibrant city known for its rich history, Mughal-era architecture, and mouthwatering cuisine, with attractions like Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, and Food Street.

  • Budget Accommodation: Consider staying at Hotel One Downtown for affordable rooms and a central location near Lahore's cultural landmarks.

  • Mid-range Accommodation: Pearl Continental Lahore offers comfortable accommodations with modern amenities and easy access to the city center.

  • Luxury Accommodation: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of Avari Lahore, featuring upscale rooms, a swimming pool, and gourmet dining options.

Best Value Tip: Book accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons (October-November, March-April) and major festivals like Eid and Basant.


Where To Stay In Karachi:

Karachi is Pakistan's largest city, offering a dynamic mix of culture, commerce, and seaside charm, with attractions like Clifton Beach, Mohatta Palace, and Karachi Zoo.

  • Budget Accommodation: Stay at Mehran Hotel for affordable rooms and a central location near Karachi's major landmarks and shopping districts.

  • Mid-range Accommodation: Karachi Marriott Hotel offers comfortable accommodations with modern amenities and stunning views of the Arabian Sea.

  • Luxury Accommodation: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of Pearl Continental Karachi, featuring upscale rooms, multiple dining options, and leisure facilities.

Best Value Tip: Visit during the winter months (December-February) for pleasant weather and better accommodation deals.


By choosing a base in Islamabad, Lahore, or Karachi, you'll have access to Pakistan's diverse attractions while enjoying a range of accommodation options to suit your budget and preferences. Consider visiting during the optimal seasons for each location to maximize your travel experience while getting the best value for your stay.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

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Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. These are our favorite flight search engines. They index other travel websites and airlines across the globe to easily find you the best deal.

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Booking.com is our number one resource for researching and booking accommodation. In addition to Booking.com, we have found Agoda.com to consistently returns the cheapest rates in Southeast Asia. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

TRANSPORT

DiscoverCars.com is a leader in online car rental bookings; we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. 12Go connects the world door-to-door, from transfers to flights, under the same user-friendly ticket.

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