The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a state in Central Asia. Its capital city is Islamabad. The country borders Iran, Afghanistan, China, and India. The south of the country is washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea.
The climate is tropical monsoon and on the north-west, the climate is subtropical with hot and wet weather throughout the year. The temperature depends on the region. In the lowland areas, the temperature in summer varies from +30 to +35°C, in January, it is +14°C. In the low lands, the weather can be freezing and in summer, the temperature can be as high as +42°C. From July to September is a rainy season in Pakistan. We recommend visiting the north regions of Pakistan from May to October. The period from June to the middle of October is a good time for climbing and extreme tourism. Those who are planning to visit the Sindh Province should come here from November to February.
The Pakistanis practice the Islam. The official language is Urdu. The second official language is English.
The lovers of out-of-town holidays should visit the Punjab Province. The tourists can see the Badshahi Mosque and the Shalimar Gardens, the ruins of the cities of Harappa and Taxila. The capital city of the province is Lahore with its famous Lahore Fortress.
In the Sindh Province, the tourists can visit the largest settlement in Southern Asia Mohenjodaro which is included on the UNESCO list.
The Baltistan Valley is a good place for excursions. In the city of Scud, the tourists will see the Buddha giant statue, the Kharpocho fort, and the unique Katchura Lake. In the Gilgit valley, anyone can see the largest suspension bridge in Asia and the Trango Towers.
If you prefer city entertainments, stay in Islamabad.
There are no direct flights between Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Pakistan. The tourists from these countries have to take a transit flight.
We recommend flying to Pakistan with a transfer in the countries of the Persian Gulf. Qatar Airways offers the flights with a stop in Doha, Pakistan International Airlines offers the flights with a transfer in Tashkent and Almaty.
The most convenient route for the European citizens is from Paris, Oslo, Milan, and some other large European cities. The flights are offered by the Pakistan International Airlines.
The planes arrive at the Benazir Bhutto airport near Islamabad and the Jinnah airport near Karachi.
One can get to Pakistan by land through Iran, Afghanistan, China, and India. We recommend choosing the checkpoints on the border with Afghanistan.
The CIS and EU tourists need a visa to travel to Pakistan.
It normally takes about 7 days to get the visa. One can apply for an urgent visa. The visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue. To get a visa to Pakistan, an international passport must be valid for, at least, 6 months.
The tourists are required to have poliomyelitis, typhoid, cholera, and yellow fever vaccination certificate.
The citizens of Israel are not allowed to come to Pakistan even for transit. The citizens of Afghanistan are not allowed to come to Pakistan if they have visited India before.
In Pakistan, there are no restrictions concerning the import and the export of foreign currency except the currency of Israel. All the imported money must be declared. The export of the national currency is prohibited and is punished by law.
The tourists are allowed to import the following goods duty-free:
- perfume without a package;
- gifts and personal belongings the total cost of which must not exceed 2.000 PKR.
It is not allowed to bring in:
- any fruits, vegetables or plants.
It is not allowed to export antiquities from Pakistan. If the tourists want to export the items having artistic value or handmade carpets, they must provide the document confirming the purchase is legal (a written statement or a sales receipt).
The authentic cuisine of Pakistan is a mix of cooking traditions of the whole region.
The cuisine of the northern regions is very simple. The Punjabi cuisine is considered to be festive and it includes many Indian dishes. The people in Balochistan prefer mutton and goat cheese.
We recommend trying the Pakistani kebabs Shami-kebab and Shish-kebab, meat curry Korma, lamb rack with spinach Sagh-Gosht and boiled mutton with spices and cottage cheese Dam-Paht. In Pakistan, anyone can try meat with peas Kima-Mattar, a lamb dish Kalia, and Handi-Sagh (meat stew with spices and cottage cheese prepared in pots).
On the streets, one can buy such snacks as Tikka and Samosa (poultry, mutton or beef patties roasted in a clay oven or over the charcoal).
The leading role in the local cuisine is given to Chawal (rice). The foodies will surely like the Biryani (roasted rice with meat, yoghurt Dahi, and saffron) and Hir (rice pudding with spices).
Those who have a sweet tooth can treat themselves to traditional Oriental sweets such as Burfi, local candies Mitai, cream pasta Raita, milk and rice pudding Firni and a lot of types of Pakistani khalva.
The national beverage in Pakistan is strong tea with herbs and spices. In summer, yogurt-based drinks Lassi and Nariyal ka Dud (diluted coconut water) are extremely popular.
The national currency in Pakistan is the Pakistani Rupee (PKR). In circulation are the banknotes from 5 to 5.000 rupees and coins (paisa). The National Bank of Pakistan issues special 100 and 10 rupee bank notes for the pilgrims who accomplish khadzh to Mecca.
In border zones, the tourists can pay with the money of the neighbouring countries.
The tourists can exchange the currency at banks, private exchange offices, hotels or shops. Ask to give you small denomination notes because the sellers tend not to give any change.
American Express, Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard are accepted in Pakistan except the provinces.
In all the large cities, there are ATMs.
Large banks, shops and elite hotels accept traveller’s checks. One can cash traveller’s check at banks (commission is 5%). We recommend having the checks in US dollars or sterling pounds.
Details of interest
Customs and traditions in Pakistan
Pakistan is a Muslim country and the tourists must respect the local way of life.
- Do not disturb people who are praying.
- Do not decline the invitation of a Pakistani to come to his home and share his meal.
- Always take off your shoes when you come into a mosque or a home.
- Do not give and take things with your left hand.
- Never touch the strangers and especially never touch the head of a child.
Sightseeing of Pakistan
- The Lake Saiful Maluk is situated in the north of Pakistan and is included on the list of the ten cleanest lakes in the world.
- Take a trip to the Sindh Province in the south of Pakistan and visit the Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro and see the former capital of the Republic, the city of Karachi. In Karachi, the tourists can have an excursion to the sacred place Mongho Pier, the Banbhor archaeological zone, the Chaukundi Tomb, and the Haledzhi lake. The lake is the largest birds reserve in the world. The archaeological monuments in Moenjodaro are inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- The Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta on the shore of the Indus River are also under UNESCO protection. Near Thatta, the Shah Jehani Mosque has been erected. It has 93 domes. Here, one can also see the artificial lakes Kindzhhar and Sunhen. Close to Thatta, there is a cemetery with 14th-century mausoleums.
- Hyderabad is the third largest city in Pakistan and the oldest city in Southern Asia. In Hyderabad, the tourists will enjoy the beauty of the largest lake in Asia, the Manchar Lake.
- Your journey to Pakistan will be incomplete without visiting Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Near the capital, the tourists can see a unique city of Taxila. It is more than 3.000 years old. This touristic attraction is under UNESCO protection. Visit the Taxila Museum with its archaeological findings, the Dzhaulian Monastery, the Bhir mound, see the Traces of Buddha in the Swat valley and take an excursion to the Bax Gardens.
- The Rohtas Fort in the Pendjab Province is under UNESCO protection.
- The city of Lahore, the capital of the Pendjab Province is the moist visited place in Pakistan. The Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- The Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi. This monastery complex was built in the 1st century. Together with the Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol, the monastery is recognised as the world archaeological heritage.
- The city of Multan in the very centre of Pendjab is considered to be one of the oldest populated cities on the sub-continent. It is 4.000 years old. In Multan, the tourists can see the sacred places of the Islam world and go shopping to the best Multan market.
- The tourists will be greatly impressed by the hiking route to the Khyber Pass in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Souvenirs in Pakistan
- Lamps made out of camel skin, bamboo crafts, and cashmere shawls are sold in Islamabad.
- In Karachi, the tourists can buy golden and silver jewellery.
- Tableware, delicious Oriental sweets, and exquisite jewellery are sold in Peshawar.
- Spices, carpets, Oriental clothes and pottery with national ornaments can be found in Lahore.