Pakistan has a well developed network of
airports, most of which correspond to the international standards, located
in all major cities and satellite cities of Pakistan. Almost all major
airlines of the world have Pakistan as their destination. However most of
these land at Karachi, but few airlines like PIA, British Airways, Saudia
and China Xinjiang Airlines also land at Islamabad. PIA, Indian Airlines,
Saudia and Thai Airways fly direct to Lahore.
Pakistan International (PIA) has direct flights from the main Mediterranean
and European cities, as well as New York, Toronto and Nairobi. It also runs
a Far East Network from Tokyo, Beijing, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and
Bangkok. PIA have also flights to Tashkent and Almaty from Islamabad,
Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi while another Pakistani airlines, Aero Asia has
a weekly flight between Karachi and Bishkek.
Pakistan shares its borders with Afghanistan,
China, India and Iran. Therefore Pakistan can be accessed by the land route
from these countries.
Tourists visiting Pakistan from Afghanistan can either enter from Chaman in
Balochistan and reach Quetta or enter from Kabul-Jalalabad route to Torkham
and following the famous Khyber Pass reach Peshawar.
From the Xingjian province of China, one can follow the Silk Route or the
Karakoram Highway, the eighth wonder of the world, crossing the highest
border between any two countries of the world at Kunjrab Pass (located 4,800
meters) and reach Gilgit, by passing through Hunza - the paradise on earth,
and onwards to Islamabad through Manshera and Abbot Abad. PTDC (Pakistan
Tourism Development Corporation and NATCO (Northern Areas Transport
Corporation) run buses from Sost to Taxkurgan (Chinese border post). The
Khunjerab Pass is open from 1st May to 31st October for groups and to 15
November for individual tourists. Customs, Immigration post remains open
daily from 08:30 to 11:00 for outgoing travellers and up to 16:00 (Pakistan
Standard Time) for incoming tourists. Travel time from Sost to Taxkurgan is
5 hours (220 kms). The Chinese border post Taxkurgan is open 12:00 noon to
14:00 (Beijing Time) for outgoing tourists and up to 19:00 for incoming
From India one has many choices of entry and mode of travel; by road or by
rail. Two border posts at Wahgha near Lahore and Kokhrapar in Sind are the
entry points. Bus service exists between Dehli and Amritsar to Lahore.
Air-conditioned buses leave from Faletti's Hotel, Egerton Road, Lahore every
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 06:00hours. One-way fare is
equivalent to US$ 19 per person. The fare also includes cost of breakfast,
lunch and evening tea. Total travel time is 11 hours.
Iran has land and rail links with Pakistan. Several buses and coaches daily
leave from Taftan (Pakistan-Iran border post) to Quetta (634 km - 16 - 18
hours). Approximate fare is around US$ 08 per person on coach and US$ 07 per
person on bus. There is a weekly express train from Zahidan to Quetta (via
Taftan - 27 hours). Economy Class fare with berth is approximately around
US$ 10 and First Class Sleeper is US$ 13 per person. Another Passenger
(slower) train leaves Taftan every Thursday for Quetta.
Karachi, the port city of Pakistan has an
international sea port which is mostly used for cargo handling. Presently,
no passenger boats or ships for the general public sail to or from Pakistan.
However, some private small boats do ply between Pakistan and the Gulf
countries. A ferry service with India and the Gulf states is in the planning
In-Land Travel Facilities:
All major cities are connected by land and air link.
- Road Link:
From Karachi, the road link up country and along the coast line of Sind
and Balochistan has been facilitated by roads of various standards. The
500 kilometres long Makran Coastal Highway has recently been completed
linking Karachi with the emerging port city of Gwader. Moving up country,
the N-5 and the Indus Highway connect Karachi with Lahore, Islamabad,
Peshawar and Quetta. Super Highway - a dual carriage way connects Karachi
to Hyderabad. A network of motorways connects Lahore with Peshawar and
Islamabad and Faisalabad.
- Rail Link:
Pakistan Railways has the monopoly of providing rail link between all
major and minor cities / towns of Pakistan from Karachi to Quetta/Taftan
(Iran-Pakistan border) and Karachi to Lahore-Islamabad and Peshawar.
Pakistan railways also runs Smajhota Express between Lahore and Amritsar
(India). Recently a non-stop train service "Karakoram Express" has been
started between Karachi - Lahore and Lahore-Islamabad. The train service
provides air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned coaches.For more
information, consult website of
- Air Link:
Pakistan International Airlines - the national airliner, serves 38
domestic airports with scheduled connections, including multiple daily
flights between major cities of Karachi, Quetta, Multan, Lahore, Islamabad
and Peshawar. Many private airlines, like the Air Blue, Aero Asia and
Shaheen Airlines, also serve Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Islamabad.
PIA has daily flights linking the northern tourist regions of Gilgit,
Skardu and Saidu Sharif with Islamabad and Chitral with Peshawar. There is
a weekly Air Safari over the northern mountains, leaving every Saturday
from Islamabad. One should be careful when booking on the flights that
operate between Islamabad and Chitral, Gilgit and Skardu, since there are
unannounced delays and even cancellations due to unpredictable weather.
PIA offers discounted
air fares to foreign tourist groups visiting Pakistan from Europe,
Middle East, Japan and USA. A 30% discount on international flights
and 50% on domestic flights is available for students. For more
details, please contact any PIA office abroad or in Pakistan.
Pakistan Railways allow
a 25% concession to foreign tourists (both for groups and
individuals). This concession is allowed on production of a
recommendation certificate issued by any PTDC Tourist Information
Centre and original Passport, to the Divisional Superintendent of
Pakistan Railways (at Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, Sukkur, Multan,
Peshawar and Rawalpindi) or Station Master of other principal
Foreign students are
allowed 50% concession on Pakistan Railways on production of PTDC
certificate, Student card and their Passport.
Import / Export Facilities
A tourist may import a
motor vehicle without duty under a Carnet-de-passage en dounne for a
period of 3 months against an undertaking before the Customs Officer
at the entry point that he/she will not transfer the ownership of the
vehicle during his/her stay in Pakistan.
Import of liquor is not
allowed. However, if carrying any, it has to be declared to the
Customs Officer who shall detain the liquor against a receipt and
return it to the tourist on his/her departure from Pakistan,
Non-Muslim foreign tourists can purchase liquor from an authorized
vendor in Pakistan (usually a 5 or 4 star hotel) against a permit.
This permit can be obtained form the Excise and Taxation Officer of
the respective area. Hotels having a liquor vending license can also
sell liquor to non-Muslim foreign tourists staying in the hotel.
public places is strictly prohibited.
Foreign tourists can
export precious stones or jewellery (except gold jewellery) up to a value
of Rs.2,000 without any permission or duty (for tourists belonging to
Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Iran the limits is reduced to Rs. 1,000).
Exports of antiques (specially statues of Gandhara) and drugs is
Other Health related Restrictions
vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving form
Cholera. Hepatitis, Typhoid and Polio is recommended.
Malaria risk exists in
Pakistan through out the year in areas below 2,000 m. Chloroquine
resistant P. falciparum is also reported.
All foreigners coming
to stay in Pakistan for over one year require AIDS free certificate.
Boarding and Lodging
- All cities and towns provide boarding and lodging facilities ranging, that
suit every type of budget. Five / Four Star Hotels like the Sheraton and Avari (at Karachi & Lahore), Pearl Continental Hotels chain(at Lahore, Peshawar,
Rawalpindi, Bhurban), Marriott (Karachi & Islamabad), Holiday
Inn (Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Islamabad), Serena Hotels (Islamabad, Faisalabad,
Quetta, Gilgit, Hunza and Saidu Sharif).
- Other hotels include Pine Park
Hotels (Naran, Khannian & Shogran), Green Hotels (Nathiagali, Abbottabad,
Peshawar), Shangrila Resorts & Hotels (Naran, Chilas, Skardu) offer good
services and facilities. A government tax/duty up to o 17.5% is added to the
rent at most places. However, road side hotels may even cost less than a
dollar for a night stay - one may be careful selecting these though for
obvious reasons, however.
- Pakistan Youth Hostels Association (PYHA) -
founded in 1951, run a chain of 6 Hostels all over Pakistan. Accommodation
in these Youth Hostels is available to the members of International Youth
Hostels Federation (IYHF) and its affiliated organizations. For more details
and reservation, PYHA Head Office located at Garden Road, G-6/4, Islamabad
can be contacted on Tel: 092-51-826899.
Trekking and Mountaineering:
The Northern Areas of Pakistan provide wonderful opportunities for the
trekkers and the mountaineers. The trekking season generally starts from May
till October. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of Pakistan, has defined
trekking as walking below 6000 m. It has designated three zones for
trekking; open, restricted and closed. Foreigners may trek anywhere in open
zone without a permit or services of a licensed mountain guide. For trekking
in restricted zone, foreigners must pay a fee of US$ 20 per person per trek
to obtain a trekking permit from the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of Pakistan
Islamabad. It also requires to hire a licensed mountain guide; buy a
personal accident insurance policy for the guide and the porters and to
attend mandatory briefing and de-briefing at the Ministry of Tourism, on the
beginning and end of the trekking trip. No trekking
is allowed in closed zones which are the areas near Pak-Afghan border and
near the Line of Control with Indian-held Kashmir.
All peaks/routes for mountaineering have been
designated as open zone or restricted zone. Permits for climbing peaks in
open zone, are issued by the Ministry of Tourism, within 24 hours of the
receipt of application. However, for peaks/routes in restricted zone, permit
is issued within 14 days form the date of receipt of the application in
Ministry of Tourism, Government of Pakistan (Operation Section) Pakistan
Sports Complex, Shahrah-e-Kashmir, Islamabad. Tel:+92-51-9203509 Fax:+92-51-9202347.
What to Buy and Eat:
Every tourist confronts two questions when
visiting any country, what to eat and what to take back?
- Pakistan is a country of hot spiced
meals, rich in oil and meat. Besides traditional and indigenous cousins,
once can find the Turk, Iranian and Chinese foods, found in abundance in
all major cities. The favourite indigenous dishes include Seekh-Kabab
(minced meat grilled on skewer), Tikka (barbecued mutton, beef or chicken)
and Sajji (barbecued leg of lamb - though found mainly in Balochistan).
Rice dishes include Pullao (rice cooked with meat or chicken) and Biryani
(rice cooked with spicy meat, beef or chicken). When in Lahore, don't
forget to visit the three Food Streets that serve traditional dishes and
are open throughout the night. For sweet lovers, Firni (minced rice cooked
in milk and sugar), kheer (rice cooked in milk and sugar) and a vase
variety of mithai (sweets rich in sugar and oil), besides zarda (a sweet
- Pakistan handicrafts are at display at all
major hotels and shops in cities. These include metal and brass works,
cotton and hand-knitted carpets. Silver and gold jewelry charms the women
from abroad. A lot of gems / precious stones can be found when visiting
the Northern Areas.
Currency and Exchange Rate
Basic unit of currency is Rupee which divided
into 100 Paisas. However, over the years the coins of sub divided rupee have
been withdrawn due to their deteriorated value and have been replaced with
coins of 1,2 and 5 Rupees. The paper currency notes of 5, 10, 50, 100, 500
and 1000 Rupees are in use. .
Pakistan observes floating exchange rate
system, Presently it is about US$1
= 60 Rupees (approximately).
- There are no restrictions on import of any
foreign currency in any quantity. Un-spent balance of Pakistani rupees can
be re-converted at the time of departure from the banks at exit points or
from any authorised money changer in any city.
WEIGHT & MEASURES
220 V, 50 Hz AC
All traffic in Pakistan
runs on the left side
- The state run Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) has its
offices in all major hotels and cities. Besides, the provincial Tourism
Developments organizations and many a privately owned Tour Operators can be
contacted both from within and without Pakistan through their websites.
also operates its own hotels and well furnished motels located through out
Pakistan. For bookings in PTDC Motels, contact PTDC Motels Head Office,
Block B-4, Markaz F-7, Bhitai Road, Islamabad 44000. UAN:+92-51-111555999/9203223
For more information about Pakistan, please contact the nearest
Travel Agencies of Pakistan
Pakistan Tourism |
Tourism Punjab |
Travel Web |
Tourist Helpline |
Hunza Guide |
Karakoram Explorers |