Wanna travel to Pakistan with Against the Compass?
We have one scheduled expedition this summer to North Pakistan. 14 days driving the Karakoram Highway, and exploring offbeat valleys of Shimshal and Astore.
August 13th to 26th
If you ever decide to travel to Pakistan, I promise you that you will have the adventure of your lifetime.
From hitchhiking on tractors and psychedelic trucks to driving over extremely narrow mountain roads built on a cliff 1,500 meters high, soldiers who voluntarily give you their AK-47 for taking a photo, the most striking landscape and the fact that you can camp in the middle of a paradise completely by yourself.
Traveling to Pakistan is, definitely, the ultimate experience and adventure.
However, this isn’t particularly an easy place to travel in.
Going on a trip to Pakistan requires a little bit of preparation, as well as quite a lot of things to know beforehand.
This Pakistan travel guide contains everything you need to know, including all travel information regarding visas, transportation, cultural etiquette, cultural behavior, costs and more!
Best time to visit
How to get in
Cultural behavior and facts
Security & safety
Solo female travel
Bureaucracy and permits
Prices and money
Food, alcohol & chai
As of today, travelers wanting to visit Pakistan must be fully vaccinated or present a negative PCR.
To be honest, Pakistani authorities don’t check it anymore but your airline may require it so.
IATI Insurance is one of the few providers that offers full Coronavirus coverage, not only when it comes to treatment, but also cancellation costs in case you tested positive before departure.
Readers of Against the Compass can get an exclusive 5% discount.
Here you have the most updated information
Before May 2019 – Getting a visa on the road was not possible, but you could only get it from your home country or country of residence.
After May 2019 – They have finally introduced an e-visa system and up to 176 nationalities can now apply for a Pakistani visa online.
You can apply through this portal.
Things you need to know about the e-visa:
Visa length – Officially, you can get a visa for up to 3 months. The application says that you can get up to 12 months but so far, there aren’t any reports from tourists who have been able to get one.
Multi-entry – You can also apply for a multi-entry visa valid for up to 1 year.
Price – I believe it depends on nationality and the length of your trip, but I hold a Spanish passport and a single entry 2-month visa cost me 35USD. Then, I tried to apply for a multi-entry visa and it cost 52USD.
Timing – The application says the process may take up to 7 days but it also may depend on your embassy. One traveler claimed that he got it in one day, while others say it takes several days. It is recommended to apply in advance.
Letter of Invitation – For most nationalities, an LOI is required for the visa application. Alternatively, the system also allows you to upload a hotel booking confirmation (instead of the LOI) but usually, they will reject it and tell you to upload an LOI, which you should get through a local tour operator.
Join our Pakistan expedition
By joining our group expedition into the Northern Areas, you’ll instantly get our LOI needed for the visa.
August 13th to 26th
After submitting your application, your embassy has the right to call you for an interview, which means that you would need to be in your home country. However, this only happens in rare cases.
For more information, Marco from Monkey Rock World has written a comprehensive guide/tutorial about how to get a Pakistani e-visa.
Would you like to spend more time in Pakistan? No problem.
Extending your visa while traveling in Pakistan used to be a confusing process, as everybody has different experiences and rules were constantly changing but, finally, you can get your visa extension through the regular e-visa portal, as long as you are already in Pakistan and in possession of an e-visa.
If you traveled to Pakistan with a regular visa, you can only extend it at the passport office of any major city, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Chitral, Gilgit, and Skardu but, apparently, the easiest place is Lahore.
Traveling with a group and an expert local guide will make things much easier, and more fun!
Against the Compass has the following scheduled Pakistan expedition:
August 13th to 26th (2023)
14 days exploring the Northern Areas, including driving through the Karakoram Highway, as well as exploring the barely visited valleys of Shimshal and Astore.
DO GET proper travel insurance.
For Pakistan, IATI is the best because:
Pakistan has many different regions, ranging from sea-level, flat deserts to 8,000-meter peaks, so each season will present its own peculiarities.
The best time to visit the south part of the country, especially Sindh province. Those lands may not have the mountains Pakistan is famous for but this is the most religiously diverse region in Pakistan.
On the other hand, most mountains in northern Pakistan remain totally inaccessible in the wintertime. You can still get to the Northern Areas through the Karakoram Highway, but you won’t be able to visit any side valley.
The best season for visiting the Northern Areas, especially if you like trekking in high altitude mountains.
I personally traveled to Pakistan in April and May and the mountains were at their best, as the weather was gorgeous (most days), plus they weren’t busy with domestic tourism. However, if you travel to Pakistan in early spring, late autumn, the mountains may not be that accessible.
A topic by itself, with its pros & cons. Lost with Purpose traveled in Pakistan during Ramadan and wrote this insightful post.
Travel insurance for Pakistan
I recommend IATI Insurance because it covers many adventure activities such as high-altitude trekking
Get a 5% exclusive discount when purchasing via this link.
Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad have international airports connecting with many Middle Eastern cities, especially Doha and Dubai.
Pakistan shares a border with Iran, Afghanistan, India, and China. You can’t use the Afghan border to cross but the rest are open:
Before 9/11, Pakistan used to be a tourist country.
Well, not that touristic, but its breathtaking mountains were a popular stopover for backpackers going along the famous Hippie Trail.
In fact, in the Northern Areas, you can find a few backpacker hostels which somehow, are the remains of what used to be a popular destination for intrepid backpackers.
The 9/11 attacks, however, along with a big bunch of unfortunate events, usually involving Taliban activity and loads of violence, put an end to the emerging tourism industry.
Fortunately, things have changed.
In the last couple of years, the security situation in Pakistan has dramatically improved and the Northern Areas of Pakistan are, once again, filled with intrepid backpackers who want to visit some of the most jaw-dropping mountain scenery you will ever see, and experience the hospitality Pakistan is famous for.
Nevertheless, despite this massive tourism increase, Pakistan still remains raw, authentic, and genuine, and it will stay like that for a very long time, especially because it is not an easy country to travel to: tourist infrastructure is in an embryonic stage, it is difficult to move around and you won’t meet many foreigners, so that’s why I personally believe that only experienced travelers should go to Pakistan.
However, traveling in Pakistan is one of the most rewarding traveling experiences one can ever have.
However, each region has its own (or several) local languages, so different from each other. English is widely spoken among educated people, like in India.
From the South Asian-looking people of Punjab and Sindh; to the people of the Pashtun areas, closer to Iran or Afghanistan; the pagan culture of Kalash; the Shias from Gilgit and Nagar; the Ismailis of lower Hunza and the Wakhis (and also Ismailis) of upper Hunza. Traveling in Pakistan is like traveling in several, different tiny countries. It’s fascinating.
People tend to say that, in Iran, Sudan and Iraqi Kurdistan, you find the most hospitable people in the world. Well, clearly, they haven’t visited Pakistan. Whereas it’s true that these countries are very hospitable, Pakistanis bring it to the next level. In this country, you are the guest, which means that the locals strive for you to have the best possible time in their country or region.
During your trip to Pakistan, you’ll be invited for lunch, dinner and even to stay at people’s houses so many times that, on many occasions, you will have to refuse.
After your refusal, they will insist once again, over and over. They will also insist on carrying your bag and offering you food one hundred times even if you say that you are full. These are their cultural rules and you are the guest.
One day, some random men who I had never seen before came to my hotel at 7:30 am in the morning, knocking at the door of my room, waking me up from a very good sleep.
Apparently, they heard that there was a foreigner in the village, so they just wanted to hang out with me. I got a little bit angry, continued sleeping but then I kind of felt bad, as all they wanted was to show me around the village.
For some reason, Pakistanis always want to pay for your meals to the extent that it gets awkward. I personally didn’t like it, especially when I could see that the local people didn’t have much money. If possible, try to back them up.
The traditional Pakistani dress, which 80% or 90% of Pakistanis wear, is called shalwar kameez. Should you wear it? It’s not compulsory but, if you do, the locals will really appreciate it, especially in the Pashtun areas.
Pakistan is the most conservative country I’ve ever been to. You should be careful and always respect their rules. If you do, they will also respect you and you will have the best time in their country.
This is just a selection of the most useful travel books but, if you want to know all the options, remember to check this list:
The best books on Pakistan
(classified into history, politics, novels and travelogues)
This is the most up-to-date and ultimate guidebook about Pakistan. 256 pages full of maps and endless travel tips. The author, Tim, is an Australian man who has visited Pakistan 10 times since 2006. A must-have for anyone who visits Pakistan.
Culture Smart! is a well-known collection of books that provide deep introductions to the culture and customs of many countries. In this book, they give a great analysis of the complexity of the culture and sub-cultures in Pakistan, so you will have a great understanding of the cultural etiquette beforehand!
Pakistan, a hard country – This award-winning book will give you a deep understanding of the situation in Pakistan nowadays.
Wanna travel to Pakistan with Against the Compass?
We have one scheduled expedition this summer to North Pakistan. 14 days driving the Karakoram Highway, and exploring offbeat valleys of Shimshal and Astore.
August 13th to 26th
You might have read from other blogs that Pakistan is one of the safest countries in the world. Personally, I wouldn’t say that. Whereas I think that Pakistan is not a dangerous country, in some areas, it’s better to be cautious, especially in the region bordering Afghanistan.
Read: Is Afghanistan safe?
Seriously, safety in Pakistan has improved exponentially.
Throughout your Pakistan travels, you’ll be continuously interrogated by dozens of different policemen and people from the army. Who are you? Why are you here? Where are you going? Unlike in other countries, in Pakistan, the police and military are pretty cool and, for your own security, they are commanded to ask you these questions.
I am not kidding. During my 56-day trip to Pakistan, I had to register more than 100 times at different army and police check posts. Sometimes, to get from one destination to another, I had to register more than 10 times! At each check post, you have to get off the car or bus and write down all your personal information in a notebook. This will slow down your journey considerably.
It’s good to bring loads of photocopies because, at some check posts, if you have a passport copy, you don’t have to get out of the car. Otherwise, you are going to waste your time.
Again, not kidding. For security purposes, in some areas, you will get a personal armed guard. Sometimes, you might have to pay for his meals but, according to the police, you are not forced to. It’s up to you. For more information, read my post: Is Pakistan safe?
The first time you get an armed guard you get kind of excited. However, after half an hour, you might start hating him because he will put you under a lot of restrictions.
One of the reasons why Pakistan is not a dangerous country is thanks to the Pakistani intelligence, which is considered the best intelligence corps in the world, even better than the CIA.
Be aware that they are watching your steps and they will always know where you are. I remember that, while hiking around a remote area in the Astore Valley, a man wearing a salwar kameez (the traditional Pakistani clothes), came to me and said, ”You are the Spanish, right?” Yes, he was from Pakistani intelligence.
For further information on safety, including which areas are the safest, read my post: Is Pakistan safe?
You may also be interested in which countries in the Middle East are safe?
Women tell wonderful things about their experiences during their journeys through Pakistan, but they also say that this is a particularly challenging destination, home to a very conservative, patriarchal society who don’t really know how to deal with foreign women.
I’m not the most qualified person to talk about this topic, however, but Spanish traveler Leti Lagarda backpacked in Pakistan solo for 2 months, and has written a compelling guide about it, which will tell you everything you need to know about solo female travel in Pakistan, including:
Read the ultimate guide to solo women travel in Pakistan
In Pakistan, rules are not written and things are constantly changing. Places that no longer require a permit, might require it overnight, by the next day it was changing it back again.
A military guy told me once that, when this happens, it’s because they are suspicious of some Taliban or terrorist activity.
This information doesn’t flow throughout the country, so you will see that everyone (including national police, local police, the Army, the locals, travelers, and blogs) will always have a different opinion. Don’t trust anyone. Check it yourself, once you’re on the ground.
If there is something valuable I learnt during my trip to Pakistan, it is that, as in any corrupt country, everything is possible and it all depends on your contacts. If you know the right people, you can do absolutely everything you want, including visiting forbidden areas without a permit.
Except in Gilgit-Baltistan, the internet works reasonably well throughout the country.
In the Northern Areas, the connectivity is awful or non-existent depending on where you go.
I got a SIM Card from a Chinese company called ZONG which is supposed to be the best for pretty much anywhere in the country. In the Northern Areas, however, it barely worked and, apparently, you need to get a company named SCOM, which you can find in Gilgit,
Pro-tip: Tell a local to get a SIM Card for you – The downside of ZONG is that, as a foreigner, you need to go to the central office and pay quite a lot of money to sign up for it (20 or 30USD). Tell a local to sign up for you, so you’ll just pay the local price and get it very quickly.
You should always use a VPN when you travel, especially when you connect to public Wi-Fi networks.
Your connection will be much safer.
Moreover, you will be able to access content which is typically censored in Pakistan.
I recommend ExpressVPN – Extremely easy to use, fast and cheap.
If you want to learn more about VPN, check: Why you need a VPN for traveling.
In Pakistan, they use the Pakistani Rupee (PKR) and approximately:
1USD = 262 PKR
Cash & ATMs – Pakistan is a cash economy, so better bring cash, especially in the Northern Areas, where. Of course, you can find ATMs in all big cities but not all of them will accept foreign cards.
But before, a few things you need to know:
In any case, this is a pretty cheap country and I think you can easily travel to Pakistan for less than 20 a day, sleeping in private rooms and eating 3 meals outside. These are the (approximate) prices of the most typical things:
You’ll get used to the mountain roads – Most mountain roads are very scary as they are extremely narrow and built on insanely high cliffs. Don’t panic. You’ll just get used to them!
You will learn to be patient – In absolutely almost every long bus journey I took, we had a breakdown. Sometimes, we were stopped for two hours! And one day, we stopped because the bus ran out of gas! Can you believe it?
Psychedelic trucks are a way of life – Everybody falls in love with the trucks in Pakistan, as they are so particularly decorated that they are a blessing to your lens.
Public buses & minivans go everywhere – Like in most developing countries where most people can’t afford to buy a car, buses and minivans travel to even the remotest areas in the country. In Sindh and Punjab provinces, Daewoo is the most luxury bus. For traveling to Gilgit from Islamabad, you should definitely take NATCO VIP Bus ( around 17USD). Don’t worry, is not that VIP.
Train – In Sindh, Punjab, and Peshawar, you can move around by train. There are different train companies but you should always take the private ones, as they are more punctual. Use AC standard, as it is the one used by the Pakistani middle class. It’s not expensive, not smelly and comfortable enough. For more information, check this train guide to Pakistan.
Hitchhiking is too easy – It’s so easy, that sometimes, it’s faster and easier than taking public transport, especially on the Karakoram Highway (from Gilgit to Khunjerab Pass). Everybody will want to pick you up! As a general rule, on the KKH, I didn’t hitchhike on motorbikes (there are so many accidents) and cars with women inside.
Plane is pretty convenient – Traveling by bus from Islamabad to the northern areas, including Chitral, Gilgit and Skardu takes ages (from 15 to 20 hours). There are flights connecting Islamabad with all these cities. Book your flights here. Please note that, for flying to and from Gilgit, you must book several days (even weeks) in advance. Also, bear in mind that many flights get canceled due to the weather condition.
Read: 80 Tips for traveling to Iran
Pakistanis love oil too much. They put tons of it in absolutely every meal, including in the steamed rice, which they will always fry afterwards. When you are in a restaurant, always ask for half fried.
In the Sindh province and Islamabad, you can find liquor stores. In the rest of the country, alcohol is only available on the black market, but most locals (who drink) can get it for you easily.
Chai, which is tea with milk, is a way of life in Pakistan and a sign of hospitality.
Don’t dare drink tap water. In the northern part of the country, the locals will tell you that the tap water is good, as it comes from the mountains and glaciers. This may be true, but I still got sick when I drank from a mountain fountain. Always use a water purifier.
I don’t know anyone who didn’t get sick in his stomach when traveling in Pakistan. Try to avoid salad, food stalls with flies (they are hard to find) and don’t drink tap water.
There are all types of hotels across the country, from budget rooms to a few hostels and luxury hotels.
Booking sites such as Hostelworld and Booking.com are increasing in popularity but, depending on the destination you travel to, you may not find a lot of options or, at least, no budget hotels.
If you want to stay in a budget hotel or local guesthouse, you may have to read blogs or ask anyone online. In my Pakistan Itinerary, I give some options.
Anyway, there are a few things you need to know about accommodation in Pakistan:
Whenever they tell you the price, ask if they have a cheaper room. Seriously, on many occasions, I managed to get half of the initial price.
Surprisingly, many hotels have dorms and they don’t tell you until the end of the negotiation. The good thing is that, since there are not many backpackers, you are most likely to get the dorm just for yourself!
In Pakistan, there is a lot of domestic tourism, so most touristic areas are filled with hotels for absolutely every budget, from hostel to mid-range and luxury rooms.
In cities like Peshawar, Karachi, Multan, and basically anywhere outside of Swat Valley, Chitral, Northern areas, Islamabad and Lahore, finding decent (budget) accommodation may be challenging.
There are loads of profiles, especially in big cities.
If you want to know all my hotel recommendation per city, read my Pakistan Itinerary
Travel insurance for Pakistan
I recommend IATI Insurance because it covers many adventure activities such as high altitude trekking
Get a 5% exclusive discount when purchasing via this link.
That’s everything you need to know! If you think I forgot something, please let me know! Ah, and remember that, in Pakistan, you shouldn’t plan too much! Welcome to the country of unexpected events.
From endless bus breakdowns to time-consuming check posts, new local friends and paradises where you want to spend ages, during your Pakistan travels, you will realize that nothing will go according to your plan.
You might also like our Iran travel guide.
Thank you so much for blogging about Pakistan! It’s the country that I most want to visit (to the dismay of my sheltered family). This kind of information will make things so much easier when I graduate and finally get my loans paid down enough to do extensive travel.
I only recently found your blog, and I have to say that I really love both your content and what you’re doing out there. It’s truly inspirational.
Hello, thanks for your comment!
I am glad that you want to travel to Pakistan. Tourism is increasing day by day (that’s what the local say) and i am sure you will have an awesome time there. Hope you get your loan paid down and you can go there soon! cheers mate
You are most welcome to visit Pakistan.. Hope you find your trip the best ever and awesome.. Feel free to contact me if you need any help..
thank you, man! maybe next time! Next year inshallah!
You said INSHAA ALLAH. well nd good but can i ask ?are you muslim or you love to this word?
Hello. I am not Muslim but I have been traveling in Muslim countries for quite a while, so I use it when I write about Muslim countries.
After watching and read some articles of your country now am planning to visit your country but I don’t know anyone there. “In Shaa Allah”
Please give me some idea!
Have you visited Pakistan or still looking to visit our country. If you are looking to visit our country, warmly welcome to Pakistan. You can contact me you need any help. Shahzad from Lahore.
you can be guest without money,because i believe that every thing is possible by sharing, caring, and HUMANITY
Hey, I am an Indian , planning to travel Pakistan, especially rural and mountainous regions and looking for a Pakistani friend who has similar plans. Travel could be a month longer or more.
Well Dude you are welcome here.
Will have great time
Wanna visit your country after ramadhan or maybe celebrate the Ed’l Fitr there. Any suggestions and advice you can give?
I agree. Wonderful and informative blog! Thanks
Hello and thanks for a great summary, Joan!
May I please know the basis of this statement? “Some embassies (like the one Beirut) may tell you to apply via the traditional way, which sucks a lot, especially because you can only apply at the embassy from your country of residence and they always require an LOI. ”
I’m based in Beirut and about to submit my e-visa application, but need to know if it’ll be a waste of my time and money. Thanks!
Hi there, I was told by a Lebanese person that the staff of the embassy in Beirut had no idea about the e-visa process yet, but that was a few months ago, so maybe things have changed. I suggest you contact them first
Congratulations and thank you for all the valuable information, Joan! In my opinion the way you write goes beyond than just being a guidebook, you really inspire us all!! I’ve been to several exotic destinations (for a Brazilian at least) such as Lebanon, Iran, India, Palestine, Jordan and now I’ve put Pakistan on my list as well. By the way, your tips about Lebanon helped me quite a lot, it made the trip easier and really enjoyable.
Hi Jefferson, glad that you found my posts about Lebanon useful! It really encourages me to keep writing! Yeah, if you liked Lebanon (and didn’t feel any danger there) you really should put Pakistan to the bucket list! Anyways, hope to meet you on the road one day 😀 Cheers mate!
Interesting use of the word “best” to describe the secret service – if backing the Taliban, supporting terrorist groups and sheltering Bin Laden makes them the best, I’d hate see what the worst were like
Hey man! hahaha, Let’s change ”best” by ”effective” if that makes things better 🙂 If it was not for the PK Intelligence, PK would have become a failed state, like Afghanistan. If, occasionally, they back up the Talibans, is always for their self-interest (for negotiations for example) not for supporting a terrorist group. All the country is pretty proud of this corp and I met a few agents who were always looking after me! But I am not an expert, so can’t say much more about it 😀 !
I wouldn’t doubt that they treated you well in Pakistan but you really need to do some homework on the subject: Pakistan, through the intelligence agency is one of, if not the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world; it’s actions in Afghanistan have been one of the leading causes of making it a failed state and also the source of the blow back, causing terrorism in Pakistan, so they have done the complete opposite of making the country safer. I am still looking forward to visiting in the near future, so thanks for all the useful information
Pretty sure the CIA is the biggest sponsor of terrorist groups around the world.
Good point. I’d add that its US and UK support for Pakistan that has allowed them to get away with supporting terrorists, the CIA and the Pakistani intelligence have certainly colluded in plenty of dodgy stuff
Only Indians call Pakistan the failed state, I have never met a single American or Western calling it a failed state. ISi is pain in the ass for Indians only and not many Americans even buy Osama drama so keep ranting like other cyber indian trolls that PK is a failed state, ISI sponsor terrorism and Osama story…I am sure people are quite smart spotting you guys out with same rants and fake western names.
Ok Graham, I can see you are not Indian but having totally Indian narrative in your comment made me to believe there is another indian with a fake ID. Nevertheless, Afhhanistan is not a failed state because of PK rather because of USA and NATO. PK interest in sponsoring so called Afghan Taliban whom you guys once called Mujahideen and now “Taliban the terrorists” is for its their interest. The only mistake ISI had done that brought today terrorist attacks in PK is that it bowed to USA and attacked tribal areas with USA drones and kill their kids and women. For this Pakistanis are paying the price. And yes Pakistanis know well that PK has a shit reputation but let me correct you here that we know well that it is due to both internal issues ie corrupt leaders and politicians and also we know well where and why other powers are playing to sponsor the terrorism. Anyway, people there are always hospitable even before sept 11 or even in golden era of PK in 60s they were as hospitable as today you witnessed. They are not nice to you as PK has bad reputation in the world due to MSM etc
A hearty LOL on soldiers giving you AK-47s for selfie shots hahaha. Sounds like somewhere that is not the USA, or any Western nation. Amazing. In some ways this is nuts but in other ways I admire the detachment, the trust and yes, some may say outright recklessness. Just another country with a different culture, laws, way of doing things. I’d love to see it someday.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
haha, yeah, you said it very well. This country is nuts, mad, wild and surreal. That’s what all backpackers are continuously saying when you are in Pakistan!
Pakistan can be rock concert loud. Highly amplified mosque speakers blare out the call to prayers five times a day from every which way-the first one being at crack of dawn. This can disturb your sleep pattern. Then there are cars and trucks one-upping each other with incessant honking. Some commercial vehicles have bone jarring air horns. Celebratory gun fire can erupt at any hour for as simple a reason as a kid passing his exams. Imagine that AK47 going off at 2:00 AM!
Super update on Pakistan ! I was there in 84/5 and many things have / have not changed. All power to you !
Wow – awesome tips and it’s obvious you spent a lot of time on this! Pakistan sounds like an amazing place!
Thank you! I hope it makes you wanna go 😉
I thing which I want to add is you traveled in the month of Ramdan (an Islamic month). In this month local tourist do not travel that is way you got cheap hotels. Otherwise expect 3 time more expensive hotels than you mentioned above.
Hi Numan. I traveled in Pakistan for 2 whole months and only 10 days of Ramadan
Incredible tips and really gives a good perspective into what it might be like to visit Pakistan! Pakistan never actually used to be on my list but after seeing pictures and reading about it it’s definitely appealing more and more! Thanks for sharing your tips! They will definitely come in useful if/when I make it there!
Pakistan is such a misunderstood country but then, people look at the pictures and gets truly amazed! Thanks for your comment. Hope you make it one day
That’s really impressive overview about the country. Pakistan is my homeland. I born in Lahore. Pakistan is improving for the tourist industry. Furthermore i would like to add the TDCP. Please tourist use this department to get more information about the country.
It must be exciting to visit Pakistan, but that said, if you live there I don’t think you will think it’s so safe and exciting, especially if your a Minority, and not Muslim, your chances of being killed increase a thousand fold, even the local Muslims are not spared, your chances of being killed are at an extreme level, people live in fear. Pakistan is notorious for Terrorist activity. But that said life goes on. Did you know about the Majority Punjabi’s are suppressing the Baluchistan’s, do you know what the Pakistan Army and Government are doing to the Baluchistan’s, find out seriously before you say Pakistan is a very safe nation? True everyone will give you their spin, but the Pakistan Military is notorious for carrying out all the terrorist funding and operations, they are the ones who set up the Taliban in Afghanistan to destabilize the nation, safe and peaceful, are they? Pakistani Military is known to fund terrorist organizations like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) that carry out a proxy war with India, and the famous Mumbai Terror attacks.
Not less than 45 terrorist groups operate freely in Pakistan with the blessing of the Military and Police, this is how safe Pakistan is.
As a tourist, you see the superficial skin and not the real vermin that lays beneath.
Link to Terrorist outfits that operate in Pakistan, see below, travel there I can’t stop you but be warned, you don’t want to be a victim of these Terrorist outfits who as I said earlier operate freely with the backing of the Police and Military.
Lool just another stinky cow dunk eater I can imagine ur frustration ☺
At least use correct spelling of a Muslima name if you indian use fake IDs. How easy it is to spot you guys. And again same rants PK army is sponsoring terrorists….blah blah blah. Why don’t you tell the author to simply not visit PK as you hate that land so much. Also advice her to hate PK and only love India…If it makes you happy then go for that please, and best of luck convincing her.
Sorry Joan, “her” for you was a mistyping. I know you are a male 😉
Pakistan is hard yet one of the most misunderstood country too! Pakistan has much to offer from astounding mountains to the shores of Gawadar , its a country u can easily fell in love with .
Btw thanks for writing a wonderful blog! Hope u visit here soon
I also visited Pakistan in 2017 and stayed there for 3 months. It’s a wonderful place in the world to visit. In my opinion everything is OK with piece, security, culture, respect and hospitality etc. The biggest misunderstanding about PK is that some anti-PK wants spread the roomers about terrorism through media etc. I thoroughly studied most of the aspects about PK and then practically realized by staying there. Dear @joantow thanks for explaining the reality about PK your blog confirms mine observations about Pk to be true.
Ah ok, so you were also there recently! Thanks for your kind words man! It seems that thanks to all travelers and backpackers who are going there, people are, slowly, realizing that this country has such a big potential. I hope that more and more people will come in 2018!
luv it <3 great details and yet so simple .. i m planing to go in 2018 with 2 kids ..little confuse to go or not …i love traveling its like m soul food .feeling so motivated after reading ur blog .
I want to say thank you to you for writing on this topic. Pakistan is such a great and peaceful place for tourist. Bad things happened anywhere.
Most welcome, cheers!
thank you for blogging about Pakistan. Very informative post
my pleasure, cheers!
I was in Pakistan this past year (December/January). It was lovely. The most friendly, hospitable, and beautiful country I’ve ever been too. I will say I wish I knew where the liquor stores were in Islamabad…everyone I knew said the only way to get liquor was the embassy clubs and bootleggers. We ended up meeting a bootlegger which was not too much of a hassle. Islamabad might be the greenest city in the world. It was stunning. I also gained 8 lbs the first week I was there from eating and luckily never got sick from water or food the entire month I was there. Every other one of our friends got sick though at some point.
Hi Matt, I also heard that there are liquor stores in Islamabad. In fact, my Couchsurfing host (local Pakistani) had plenty of beers in his fridge and said he bought them in a beer shop in the city! I don’t know, that is what he said and I actually never saw it! Yes, Islamabad is the greenest city ever, slightly different from the way Homeland TV show portraits it, right? Lucky you, that you didn’t get sick. I got sick on 4 occasions, within a 2-month period. However, since then, after 1 year, I have never ever got sick anymore of my stomach. I think I went through a very hard training and now I am immune! Cheers mate!
Hi I went to Pakistan in April for 5 weeks it is a beautiful country I love the atmosphere there foods lovely it was an amazing experience. I will love to go again soon inshallah I didn’t want to come back
Thanks for your positive comment! Yes, Pakistan is absolutely amazing 🙂 !
Thank you sir , for this amazing writeup . Love from Pakistan 🙂
My pleasure, cheers!
Hey, just want to let you know that for #7 it is confirmed, at least for Lahore. I had overstayed for 6 days and they let me extend it when I came to the immigration counter, for free.
Amazing info man! I just updated it 🙂
I’m going as a lady traveler in December. Luckily for me I have some friends there and I am going with a guy friend of mine. 🙂
Hi, thank you for this very useful post!!!! I appied to travel next month (I will have a local with me over there). I wanted to ask a simple question. IF I state on my visa application that I will stay at a specific hotel (I attached my reservation) and then I cancel and decide to book or stay somewhere else, could they deny me entry at custom or create problems during my stay?
thank you so much for your help
P.s. I’m Italian
You will definitely be fine, don’t worry. They don’t check anything of that
Karachi is not a tourist destination hence tourism never was developed properly here. That’s is why hotels which are budget friendly are hard to find.
However if you do travel there you must try crabbing on Karachi seaport with ‘Salem seafood crabbing’ he has the best boats and only $9 to $10 per person in a group of 10.
And definitely check out Kolachi restaurant at do darya or go scuba diving at islands like churna etc. You can even go buggy wheeler riding or camel riding on sea view beach best time is at sunset coz rides have amazing fun lights on them. Or book a hut on beaches like French beach or sand spit beach. Go shopping in zainab market for jackets and jeans which are usually factory rejects from brands like Zara or HnM lol or Gulf for cloth like silks, jamawar and fake ethnic jewellery. And then a shopping trip to dolmen mall for trinkets and souveniers. Quaids mazar, mohatta palace,lyari, frere hall and Danzo zoo are some touristy places for checking historical/recreational places. Also when in Karachi do not forget to try the cupcakes from Delizia Bakery, fishNchips from OPTP and some Tea with Parathas from Chaiwala.
thanks for the tips!
Hi Joan, thanks for sharing and showing the good and beautiful side of Pakistan, instead of what the media would have us believe. 70 tips – indeed very comprehensive!
If we may add some points regarding safety, the country is indeed safe in some parts and unsafe in others (borders with Afghanistan, China, Iran; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province; as well as certain parts of Balochistan, Islamabad and Karachi), so fellow travellers please do be careful.
Also, a new scam that surfaced in 2018 was that of spray painted fruits in Afzalpur, do be wary! Also, take care of your passport and valuables, and avoid “faith healers”. Other than that, enjoy your time Pakistan! 🙂
didn’t hear about it, thanks for letting us know!
Dude KPK is not a dangerous province now….and specially Peshawar (capital city of KPK).
what a great and depth post for travelers i love to visit Pakistan and believe me it’s one of the most safest place in the world with too many beautiful sights.
i will visit again and go to Kashmir this time <3
Difficult to get in Kashmir but if you go, do let us know 🙂
Hi Joan. you have experienced in traveling pakistan and you also give answers to those who have misunderstanding about Pakistan. thanks for your love.
HI Bella, No problem to visit Kashmir. you can easily go their.
Kashmir is currently closed to foreigners, so she cannot go there
Ok, so in a few years I will be planning a trip to Pakistan most likely on my own. I will be going to meet a local, but I am not sure I understand the process of getting a visa for Pakistan. Any tips? Obviously I’m not in any rush, so anything will be useful and anything might change. And is there anything else that might be vital to me? It will be my first trip to Pakistan and my first time leaving my home country on my own.
Come to visit Pakistan but be sure to have a proper guide as Pakistan is a big country with wonderful and amazing places to visit. Not to forget but many cultures and different races live within Pakistan. All the provinces in Pakistan have some kind of special places to visit like for example in Sindh you will find old traditional places and civilizations ruins, In Punjab side you will get to see rivers flowing and greenery, In northern side (KPK and Gilgit Baltistan) you’d find some great peeks like k2, Nanga parbat and other amazing places but make sure to have a proper guide of hire some company to do so. National level tourism is on peak now adays as now Pakistan is ranked among the top for adventure loving.
Can you provide information on immunizations necessary for Lahore in March. I’m not intrested in taking malaria pills that make you sick your entire trip…..
Hi, there is no malaria in Pakistan
Guys – let’s be grown ups. no more negativity!
Being born in Lahore and brought up in London I love going back and seeing the changes in Pakistan. Also to clarify i have been to India (mostly Delhi and touristy surrounding cities) and loved it too. The last few years social media and the internet it has really moved Pakistan and surrounding countries on, mostly for the better. In Pakistan I notice for instance that many more younger people speak English – I think it has become a necessity if you want to conduct your life on social media! There is also a better understanding and people over the borders are making friends with each other using these mediums and realising that the politicians are the puppeteers. Being in a privileged position of living in a third country (although London is home) I am so lucky to have friends from around the world and it is obvious that it is not the people who have problems with each other but the governments and those who buy the weapons and keep the armed forces in a strong position where so much of the GDP is used. Just enjoy the country and hopefully all your encounters will be positive ones. you can be in danger anywhere – just keep your wits about you and if you have any doubts then stay out of that situation. I am off to Pakistan on my now annual visitation in a few days and really looking forward to it.
pakistni visa is now available on arrival. kindly please update. its available on arrival for 175 countries effective from february 2019.
Pakistani visa is not available on arrival. They said that visa was available on arrival for those who booked a full tour, but apparently, not many people succeeded with that because they never published the list of authorised tour operators.
What they did is introducing an e-visa system but you still need a Letter of Invitation. Basically, the only difference versus before is that now you don’t need to apply in your home country but you can do it online, but requirements are pretty much the same. However, I don’t know anyone who has tried it yet and since in Pakistan they always talk about new visa policies which tend to be BS, I prefer update to update it until the info is verified
The evisa begins next month, in June. Till then no one really knows how it will work. But news reports so far say no LOI will be required
its such an amazing article about traveling in Pakistan. and its true Pakistan is a really beautiful country for visiting there are many natural places and many amusement parks.
I was actually reading instruction regarding my visit to China INSHALLAH which made me wonder what foreigners think of My country and I must say for an article listing “70 things” You did a great job making it sound interesting and easily understandable ! I am overwhelmed by everyone views on their visit to Pakistan. So, happy to hear You had a good time. Seriously the hospitality of Pakistan is on a different level for everyone who is “The Guest”. Even though Faisalabad is not re-known tourist destination in Pakistan but if I spotted a “Goora/foreigner” trying to pay for themselves Ill bring them home and ask mom to make all the dishes ! since I am good at only making Chai. 🙂 . But still You did a Noble Deed sharing Your honest thoughts against all those rumors.
Pakistan is the safe country. It has amazing things to visit. Also has thousands of eye caching seen.
Thanks for sharing information with detail and also with books reference and pictures.
As you enumerate months (mid-April to mid-October) to travel in Pakistan. Here I want to meddle for those who have aversion for summer season as allergic issues perturb them. More common symptoms are rashes, hives and itching on skin. Choose right clothes while travelling in hot and sunny weather. I suggest to purchase from local market rather than pack so much costumes because local market knows better the weather and design fabric accordingly.
thanks for the tip
Why did you clip my comment. That sucks
well, do you really think you can come to my page and advertise your product for free?
Hey im just curious why did u not prefer to hitchhike with females in car? Like i would always prefer females in car so its safer. ?
It’s not that I didn’t want to, it is just that cars with women inside won’t stop if you are a man.
Truly the northern areas of Pakistan are extremely wonderful and breathtaking.. a must visit for anyone who would like to see heaven on earth
Thanks a lot for such an insightful article about traveling to Pakistan. I would request you to update the section regarding the NOC requirement. The new government of Imran Khan has done away with the requirement of NOC for traveling to restricted areas, except for only a handful of places. Another thing i would like to mention is that the online visa platform, still in its infancy, is being improved with each day by incorporating feedback/suggestions from Pakistan embassies around the world as well as the local agencies.
Hey! I’m planning to enter Pakistan in May 2020, entering from india and exiting to China. It looks like most of my time there will be during Ramadan. I was considering the idea of fasting with the locals. My only concern would be strenuous hiking without water. You were there during Ramadan, yeah? Any advice?
Hi Sean. Just curious but, why do you want to fast with the locals? I mean, you can do it if you want, but don’t think that the locals will expect you to do it. Also, Muslim people are allowed to stop fasting when they travel, for the simple reason that fasting & traveling is a real struggle.
Yes, I was there during Ramadan but only during the first week which I spent in Hunza area, and in that area, since they are Ismailis, they are pretty relaxed and most restaurants were open.
Really useful tips to consider. After spending 2 whole minutes to reading your blog its amazing thanks for the information I come to know about new places in Pakistan
Is there a place that sells anime merchandise? I would like to buy a hug pillow from Pakistan
Without any doubt, everything mentioned about Pakistan is true. Pakistanis are really a hospitable nation. Pakistan is literally a land of peace now. Do visit Pakistan, we welcome our guests wholeheartedly.
Hello again Joan,
You mentioned that you stayed 2 months in Pakistan. Is it possible to get a 2 or 3 months visa for Pakistan?
2 months for sure, but not sure about 3. In any case, you can make a visa extension very easily upon your arrival in Pakistan
Very informative and complete guide to visit Pakistan. But if you are coming to Pakistan and missed touring Karachi city it will be like you missed a roller coaster.
Wow I almost finished all of your topics. Thanks alot for exclusive informations. I’m going to visit Lahore, Islamabad and Gilgit in April 2020. As a solo female traveler, now I’m so excited to see Pakistan.
Great blog post! Pakistan is one of the best places for tourism. There are multiple foreigners and Youtubers who visited Pakistan in the past and shared positive feedback. I am going to recommend all travelers who want to visit Pakistan must visit in the spring season because you are going to feel the beauty of Pakistan’s forests and nature that provides a mesmerizing feeling and relaxation that makes the soul-refreshing and lively. From the China border to Gawader, you can go to enjoy every step. Each province offers unique food and places with famous sub-cultures and events to enjoy.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful post and keep sharing in the future!
I have been planning on travelling to Pakistan again next year once this global epidemic comes under control. I went there last October 2019 and was truly amazed by the country’s beauty, its people and the incredible amount of love/hospitality I was shown. Definitely recommend Lahore, Islamabad, Swat and the Northern Areas (Baltistan, Gilgit and Deosai). I sure felt a lot safer than many of the other surrounding countries and I felt the country was a lot more cleaner with better infrastructure than many of its neighbours I had previously visited. Thanks for the article as it offered some helpful pointers but luckily I didn’t have any issues with my stomach and I was there for around 2 weeks. Looking forward to travelling to this hidden gem of a country Pakistan again!
Assalam o Alikum,
I welcome you on the behalf of all Pakistanis. It will honor for us to welcome you again. I am from Lahore Pakistan. From which country you are?
“My office for a day”
Omg, tell me please where is this place exactly? I work in IT and want to work from there one day 🙂
hello, that is Fairy Meadows
Thanks, and one more question because I’ve found confusing info on the Internet: how long is the trip from Islamabad to Gilgit by bus?
Or, is it more suitable to rent a car in PK as a solo Traveller?
The bus takes 15 to 20 hours
Renting a car would be amazing, but it’s more expensive of course
Bus takes 16 to 18 hours and charges 15$ whereas renting a car costs you 40$ to 50$ per day (without fuel). And the fuel it takes for islamabad to gilgit is around 25 gallons costs 60$.
Regarding Kashmir – I’ve seen some youtube videos of a New Zealander (Karl Rocks) who’s blogged from the capital of Azad Kashmir, so the restrictions may have been removed. I’d definetly recommend adding AK (at least the northern parts) to your itentary – as it’s not too far from Islamabad.
Hi i am wajid from pakistan , if any body need any type of help. Any information , regarding distance from one place to another place , by car or by bus by air, where need to go by local , where to by bus and where to by air , or if some one need invitation letter just feel free to contact i will give you all information here is my whatsapp +923114428519 . .
Thanks for sharing the nice piece of content with us. I am also a big fond of traveling & now my aim is to travel dubai for different experiences i.e dirt biking offroadadventurefun.com/dirt-bike-tours/. Actually you can say its my passion to explore all the world & see the beauty of nature with my own eyes. The upcoming May holidays are a great occasion to take a good break from the working routine and allow yourself to plunge into a real adventure, with a lot of positive emotions and vivid impressions. An excellent option for a well-spent weekend will be a fascinating journey to the area rich in natural and historical sights. Once again thanks for sharing the nice piece of stuff with us.
Hello fellow travellers.
I have just applied for an e-visa through the Nadra site. After a simple but painstaking series of questions you arrive at the penultimate stage of uploading your photo , passport details and …. a Letter of Invitation. I am a UK citizen . I have purchased an LOI with an extra attested certification from Karakoram Bikers who were very helpful and who’s info I used in the Sponsor’s section of the application. I thought LOI’s were a thing of the past but either the website hasn’t been updated or LOI’s are needed for some nations. I await the outcome of my application. I hope this personal experience helps someone .
All the best out there . Allison
Gilgit is a city located in the northern region of Pakistan, and is considered one of the most famous cities in the country for several reasons.
Firstly, Gilgit is located at the crossroads of some of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges, including the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. This makes it a popular destination for trekkers, hikers, and mountaineers from all over the world.