10 reasons why you should travel to Islamabad instead of Karachi

Devraj Lahiri21 October 20201293 views8 min. read
10 reasons why you should travel to Islamabad instead of Karachi
Pakistan is a country of contradictions. It is a dichotomy of a nation. Most of what you will hear about the country is related to a failing economy, terrorism, religious intolerance and every evil that occurs to any society. But then international travellers returning from the country have only good things to say about their experiences.

Is it safe to travel to Pakistan?

pakistan flags Well, it depends on a few things: the purpose of your visit and the areas you intend to visit. Government visits are usually partnered with heavy security, while not all areas of the country are safe. Few areas of Pakistan can be deemed safe. There is always the fear of sectarian violence and kidnappings for a ransom as a daily occurrence. Karachi has earned quite a reputation for itself in this domain. Pakistan is also often plagued with political instability, and the violence borne out of this is quite frightening. The country has a fractured society with deep mistrust among the various sects and religious minorities. However, despite all this, the average citizen is quite a gem and loving the country's nature. The moment they come to know you are from a different land, the love and respect that pours are immense and pure. Most street vendors and food stalls refuse payment from international travellers as a mark of love. So is it safe to travel to Pakistan? There are a few safety protocols that should be followed diligently. But more on that in a different article. Here we are discussing the capital city, Islamabad. Are you wondering where is Islamabad? Well, Islamabad is located in the northwest of the country on Potohar Plateau. A journey to Pakistan is incomplete without a customary visit to this wonderful and quiet city. Built according to a master plan headed by legendary Greek City Planner Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis, Islamabad is geometric by nature, with residential, government and other areas restricted accordingly. The city also has a higher standard of living compared to the country average. Given the fact that it is the capital of the state, it is safe to travel to Islamabad. However, some yearn for Karachi and talk about the warmth of the port city exudes. For those, these are 10 Reasons why you should travel to Islamabad instead of Karachi.

1. Conspicuous by its absence

pakistan kid Karachi and Lahore are the big brothers when it comes to Pakistani cities. They are the ones who hog all the limelight by being the two largest urban conglomerates in the country. Also, most of the business and culture-related activities are shared by these two cities. In contrast, Islamabad is conspicuous by its absence. It isn't flashy and mostly remains in the background. By sheer size and population, Islamabad isn't even a patch on Karachi and Lahore, both of which boast of a larger urban area and population density. Islamabad is a laid back urban centre with perfectly trimmed boulevards and complete streets which do not see much traffic. The tranquillity one encounters here is nearly absent anywhere else in the entire country. 

2. Compact and warm

view of islamabad Given its smaller size and even smaller population, Islamabad is more of a commune rather than a city. Karachi is vast, and travelling from one end of the town to another is a nightmare if you do not have private conveyance. In Islamabad, the localities are all interlinked with wide alleys and travelling from one end of the city to another can take an instant. So if you want to travel to your friend's place, it can be done in minutes. Karachi does not provide any of such luxury.

3. The rolling mountains

beautiful view of margalla hills Islamabad is situated at the foot of the Margalla hills. The verdant landscape provides a stunning backdrop. One can even plan a quick getaway which may include some rock climbing and trekking. Karachi has a beach and a vast seafront, but that's all about it. Islamabad is famous for its outdoor activities, whilst Karachi, with its infamous pollution, restricts much outdoor movement. So if you are looking for some fresh air, the capital city of Pakistan is the place to be.

4. The best weather

aerial view of h roundabout One of the things that the world swoons for Islamabad is the weather. It has all four seasons. So if you are a lover of the rains, get drenched in the hills, and if winter is what you yearn for, Islamabad will not disappoint you. Winters are some of the best times to visit the city. This is when the populace comes alive. Spring r is another season that sees the city in full bloom.

5. Cosmopolitan art and culture

islamabad Whilst Karachi and Lahore has their fair share of the cosmopolitan feel, none beats Islamabad. The city is a beehive of cultural activity too and, like the Islamabad weather, is unpretentious and less boisterous. The town has well-staffed and well-stuffed libraries where you can find most titles. Also, if film studies and movies are what drives you, then this is the place to be. Being an international city makes it the junction of cultures seen with nationalities from a large number of nations travelling and living here, along with the local taste to be evolved. This is an advantage Karachi will not have. So the next time you plan to travel to Pakistan, Islamabad needs to be on your bucket list. You can start to plan your trip by applying for a Pakistan e-visa now.

6. Fresh and clean air

islamabad nature If for nothing else, travel to Islamabad for the oxygen. It is clean, and the lungs will not fight for survival. Being nestled among nature does have its advantages, and Islamabad takes full advantage of it. During the time in Islamabad, one can be sure that pollution will not be among the complaints. Breathing becomes easier, and the body gets rejuvenated once you are at the foothills of the marvellous Margalla. 

7. Different influx of people

shah faisal mosque Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan, and with capital, there is a constant influx of people. The thing with people is that they also travel with their customs and culture. Getting in touch with people of so many different geographies widens one's idea about the planet. There is always a new idea that may pop up after a chance meeting with a foreigner. Islamabad is a veritable melting pot for discussions and collaborations.

8. The most diverse city

islamabad night Because of its stature, Islamabad is far more diverse than all the other Pakistani cities. It has an international feel to it primarily because of the influence of foreigners who throng the various hotspots. Islamabad boasts of an active nightlife, and even though it is not as raucous as that of Karachi, there is indeed certain sophistry that drips through. The city is a mix of international travellers and internationally travelled Pakistanis. And when they mix, the flavour of the meet increases manifold.

9. Less stereotyped

aerial shots of rawal dam Islamabad is polished and intellectual, while Karachi is exuberant and rough at the edges. Islamabad is silent in its dealings, while Karachi is garrulous. The city is also home to around twenty universities and at times can be mistaken as a University town with teeming students and professors. Behind the curtain of a quaint city, Islamabad is a gentle giant holding its place among the behemoths. Materialism is not precisely its forte, and the simple things in life are what matters for this city. 

10. Is it safe to travel to Islamabad?

pakistan ranger Your time in Islamabad is bound to be spent with hardly any glitches. It is the safest city in all of Pakistan, with one of the densest surveillance systems in the world. Being the capital and hosting numerous international dignitaries, the security of the city is of paramount concern. Nowhere in Islamabad would you feel unsafe given the comprehensive coverage of the security blanket. Most of the Islamabad population who have lived here from the time the city came up in the 1960s will still fondly talk about the safety and security the city provides to its inhabitants. It is a sanctuary that has fulfilled the needs of its people in more than one way. Hence, is it safe to travel to Islamabad needs to be replied with a vehement? Yes, it is. My travel to Pakistan has taken me to most of the places the country is famous for. The street food of Karachi and Lahore, the literary festival, the seafront and the lower Himalayas force a traveller to fall in love with the country. However, I still have not been able to get over the pleasant shock I received when I entered Islamabad. This was a city any western country would be proud of. It was swanky, modern and yet never overbearing. Compared to the decaying edifices of modern society, Islamabad was a fresh breath of air. It stood at the foothills of the imposing Margalla and yet not for a moment was overawed by it. It simply blends in. And of course, who would forget the Faisal Mosque and the National Assembly building, which, along with the incredible Pakistan Monument, formed the holy trinity of must-visit sites.

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