Pakistan at a glance
As a tourist destination, Pakistan is probably one of the world's best kept secrets.
Not only does it offer some of the highest and most spectacular mountain ranges in the world, but also boasts architectural glories of the Mughal empire as well as the drama, and adventure of the Khyber Pass; moreover, it also holds the magical Karakoram Highway which travels 1300km through stunning scenery beside the Indus and Hunza rivers, and over high mountain passes into central Asia.
Although subject to several security issues, Pakistan offers a number of advantages: tourism is minimal and much of the country remains undiscovered by international travelers; Pakistanis are, by nature, welcoming people and meet travelers with genuine warmth and enthusiasm; the ancient bazaars offer unrivalled shopping; the cuisine is one of the most multi-facetted in the world, and the culture and music are some of the most colorful elements.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which means ‘Pure Land'
The Pakistani Rupee (PKR) is divided into 100 paisa.
Travelers’ cheques (best carried in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling) are accepted at most banks, four and five star hotels, and major shops. Larger shops and hotels accept credit cards, but mostly, American Express.
Credit Cards are accepted at all top-end hotels and the more up-market restaurants and shops. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted.
Where service charges have been added to your bill, tipping is optional. Most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge. However, where a fee has not been added to your cheque, a tip of 5-10% of your overall bill charge is the norm.
Pakistan is covered by a single time zone (GMT plus five hours).
The international dialing code for Pakistan is +92. The outgoing international code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g.0027 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)51 for Islamabad, and (0)21 for Karachi. There are several GSM 900 and 1800 mobile networks in operation, providing fair coverage, concentrated now in rural and urban areas, both. Internet cafes also exist in towns and cities.
Pakistan is a perfect tourism destination. Its main attractions include adventure tourism in the Northern Areas, cultural and archaeological tourism as found in Taxila, Moenjodaro, Harrappa, Multan, and Lahore. For centuries, the ancient Silk Road remained the main trading route between the South and Central Asia. After construction of the Karakoram Highway (KKH), which joins Pakistan with the Chinese Muslim - autonomous region of Xinjang, tourism on the ancient trade link has been revived. The KKH has provided a great opportunity for international travelers to explore the unspoiled natural beauty and the unique culture and traditions of Northern Pakistan, together with other Silk Route destinations, such as China, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Sport and activities
From the mighty stretches of the Karakoram's in the north to the vast alluvial delta of the Indus River in the south, Pakistan is a land of adventures. Trekking, mountaineering, white water rafting, wild boar hunting, mountain and desert jeep safaris, camel and yak safaris, trout fishing, and bird watching are all popular activities.
National Parks and reserves
Pakistan has 255 protected areas, including 14 national parks, 99 wildlife sanctuaries, and 96 game reserved parks equating approximately to 91,700 sq km or 10.5% of the country’s land. The most renowned parks include: Central Karakoram National Park, Chitral Gol National Park, Deosai Plains National Park, Khunjerab National Park, and Lal Suhanra National Park.
A visa must be obtained before arriving in Pakistan. The cost of Pakistani visa varies according to nationality. Nationals of most countries are issued a single-entry visa that enables entry into the country for up to six months from the date of issue. Tourist visas should be applied for at least 3 weeks in advance.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required ONLY if you are arriving in Pakistan from an infected area.
Travelers to Pakistan are recommended to obtain medical insurance prior to arrival
Visitors require a valid International Driving Permit and a carnet de passage