The Pakistani way of life is leisurely, and
old-fashioned politeness is essential. Warm hospitality is the norm. The
country has a deeply individual national character, although each province
has its own traditions and folklore.
Smoking is prohibited in some public places and it is polite to ask
permission before lighting a cigarette. It is common for visiting
businesspeople to be entertained in hotels and restaurants. If invited to a
private home, a gift or national
souvenir is welcome. Informal dress is acceptable
for most occasions. Women should avoid wearing tight clothing and should
ensure that their arms and legs are covered. Pakistani society is divided
into classes and within each group there is a subtle social grading.
The right hand is used both for shaking hands (the usual form of greeting)
and for passing or receiving things. Mutual hospitality and courtesy are of
great importance at all levels, whatever the social standing of the host.
Visitors must remember that most Pakistanis are Muslim and should respect
their customs and beliefs.
When to Where
In winter, November to March, Southern Pakistan ( Sind, Baluchistan,
Punjab and southern NWFP) is best visited because temperature is pleasantly
cooler. In summer temperature is extremely hot in most parts of southern
plain of Pakistan and traveling around is hard work. While Northern Pakistan ( Northern Area, Northern NWFP, Kashmir and
northern Part of Punjab is best visited in summer( April to October).
During winter mountainous North is mostly snow bound and accessibility is
Trekking season in Northern Areas and NWFP is June to September.
Most high-class hotels and restaurants add a 10 per cent service charge.
Other tipping is discretionary.
All travel to Waziristan is advised against. It is advised that nationals
only undertake essential travel to northern and western Baluchistan and the
Sui area, western North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the
Federally-Administered Tribal Areas and Agencies (FATA), and border areas
except for official crossing points.
Pakistan International Airline covers 33 International and 21 domestic stations.
More than 25 airlines fly to Pakistan from over 40 countries. Most of the
flights arrive at Karachi, but PIA, British Airways, Saudia Air line and China Xinjiang Airlines fly direct to the twin cities of Rawalpindi/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's Major Airports:
Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi are the main gateways to Pakistan by
air. However, there are many other airports in Pakistan that have
international flights as well to the Gulf and Far East. Two other
international airports are in Peshawar and Quetta.
Quaid-e-Azam International Airport in Karachi is served by many
international airlines, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Swiss,
Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and PIA. It is 15km (10
miles) northeast of the city (travel time – 30-45 minutes). Coaches to the
city run every 25 minutes. A bus runs from dusk to dawn every 15 minutes.
Taxi services to the city are available. Good airport facilities exist 24
hours, including duty free shops, restaurant, post office, bank and shops.
Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore has been
completely renovated with a new terminal for international arrivals and
departures. Many airlines are currently operating to the airport including
Emirates, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Singapore Airlines, Pakistan
International (PIA), Saudi Arabian Airlines, Thai Airways, Kuwait Airways
and over four private airlines from Pakistan. It is 18km (5 miles) southeast of the city (travel
time – 20 minutes). Coaches and buses leave regularly for the city. Taxi
services to the city are also available. Airport facilities include car
hire, bank, restaurant and shops.
Islamabad International Airport is currently in review to be expanded
and modernized to meet the needs of the future passenger numbers as demand
for air travel has increased dramatically. There are many airlines operating
into Islamabad including many of the above with British Airways as well. It is 8km (5 miles) southeast
of the city (travel time – 20 minutes). Coach and taxi services to the city
are available. There are full duty free facilities.
Skardu, Gilgit, Mingora, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Gowadar
Approximate flight times:
From Karachi to London is seven hours 40 minutes, to Los Angeles
is 22 hours 30 minutes, to New York is 21 hours 40 minutes, to
Riyadh is three hours 35 minutes and to Singapore is seven hours
PRs800 for international passengers traveling first class, PRs600 for
business class and PRs400 for economy class. Transit passengers and children
under two years of age are exempt.
Domestic: Minora, Gwadar and Pasni.
International: Karachi and Bin Qasim.
The major port is Karachi (Kemari). It is both Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s
port for goods, together with Port Qasim.
The following items may be imported into Pakistan without incurring customs
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 8oz of tobacco; 250ml of perfume
and eau de toilette (opened); gifts up to a value of PRs2000.*
Note: * Residents under 18 years old are not allowed any free import.
The import of alcohol, matches, plants, fruit and vegetables is prohibited.
The export of antiques is prohibited.
Most domestic services are operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PK).
Other airlines are Aero Asia, Air Blue,Shaheen and Bhoja Air. There are many
daily flights between Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and
Quetta. Air transport is the quickest and most efficient means of travel.
Traffic along the Indus River is almost exclusively commercial. Many goods
are carried to Punjab and the north from the main port at Karachi.
Much of Pakistan’s extensive rail network is a legacy of British rule. The
main line, from Karachi to Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar, has several
daytime and overnight trains. Most other routes have several daily trains.
Even first-class compartments can be hot and crowded. Travel in air
conditioned coaches is advised, as are reservations on long-distance
journeys and overnight service. Children under three years of age travel
free. Children aged three to 11 years pay half fare. Pakistan Railways
offer concessions for tourists (on presentation of a certificate issued
by PTDC), excluding Indian nationals traveling by rail. A discount of 25 per
cent is offered to individuals and groups, and 50 per cent for students.
Details are available from railway offices in Pakistan. For more information
contact Pakistan Railways
Approximate rail times:
Karachi to Lahore is 16 hours, to Rawalpindi is 28 hours and to
Peshawar is 32 hours; and Lahore to Rawalpindi is five hours.
Traffic drives on the left. The highway network between cities is
well-maintained. Bus: Regular services run between most towns and
villages. Lahore–Rawalpindi–Peshawar has an hourly service. Air-conditioned
coaches/buses are recommended for long distances. Advance booking is
advised. Car hire: Available in major cities, as well as at Karachi,
Lahore and Rawalpindi airports. Most hotels can book cars for guests.
Documentation: An International Driving Permit or own national license
Extensive bus and minibus services operate in Lahore, Karachi
and other towns, although services can be crowded. Taxi: Reasonably
priced and widely available, they are by far the most efficient means of
urban travel. Note that they may not operate after sunset during Ramadan.
Auto-rickshaws are also available.
ROAD : From China :
Pass is open between 1 May - 31 October for groups and until 15 November for
individual tourists. Customs and Immigration posts are open daily from
0830-1100 for outgoing tourists and until 1600 for incoming tourists.
Transport includes buses, vans and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Travel time
from Sost to Taxkurgan (China) is 05 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 travelers. Daily PTDC (Pakistan
Tourism Dev. Corp.) and NATCO (Northern Areas Transport Corp.) run buses,
vans, and jeeps from Sost to Taxkurgan and one-way fare is fixed at US$ 23
per person or equivalent in Pak. rupees.
From India : Wagha is the only land border open between Pakistan and
India (Lahore - Amritsar route). The border post is open daily 0830-1430
from 16 April to 15 October, and 0900-1500 from 16 April to 15 October. A
minibus runs from Lahore railway station to Wagha and there are also taxis
available (travel time - 30 minutes). Minibus No.12 leaves from
outside Lahore Railway Station for Wagha every 15 minutes, costs approx US$
0.20 per person. Taxi shall charge around US$ 8 for this half an hour
The Lahore-Delhi (Samjhota Express) train
leaves Lahore at 11:00 hrs on Mondays and Thursdays. Check-in time at Lahore
Railway Station is 08:00 hrs. First Class fare to Delhi is approx. US$ 10,
Economy Class is US$ 3 whereas Lahore Amritsar First Class is US$ 2 and
Economy Class is US$ 1 per person.
From Afghanistan: travel is possible via the Quetta - Chaman - Kandhar
route and Peshawar - Torkham - Jalalabad route. The border is open from 0900-1300 and 1400-1700. Several buses and
coaches leave daily from Peshawar to Jalalabad (travel time - 10 hours).
From Iran : Travel is only possible via the Quetta - Taftan - Zahedan
route. The border is open from 0900-1300 and 1400-1700. Several buses and
coaches leave daily from Quetta to Taftan (travel time - 18 hours). There is
also a road from Kabul, Afghanistan to Peshawar. 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.