10 things I wish I knew before going to Pakistan
Pakistan is a land of beautiful landscapes, mountains, hills, deserts, forests, and much more. It is blessed with all four seasons, so you can witness the brightest sunny day and snowfall within the borders of this country. The rocky treks, mountains, and peaks have always attracted climbers throughout the year, but tourists are afraid of exploring Pakistan with the previous political and security situations. However, is it safe to travel to Pakistan? My response will be that it depends upon how you travel to Pakistan and which part of the country you travel to. Also, if you plan to travel to Pakistan, knowing certain things, as well as Pakistan visa requirements, will help you a lot to have a safe journey. So, we will share some information knowing which will make your stay in Pakistan much better.
1. Is it safe to travel to Pakistan?
Pakistan faced many terrorist activities for the past few years, and then some of the clips from Pakistan news got so much highlighted that it was considered the birthplace of terrorism. People boycotted traveling to this beautiful land for recreation and exploration, but the situation is currently under control. The people here are so peaceful, and the authorities are successful in eradicating terror from this state.
It's safe to travel within Pakistan until and unless you plan to head towards the tribal and remote areas. You can also explore by taking permission from authorities to provide you with proper security throughout your visit.
2. Visa processing is much easier now
Before May 2019, the visitors had to apply for a regular 30 days visa through their local embassy, which was not an easy process and was very much time in Pakistan. In April 2019, Pakistan launched the E-visa system's service to comfort the tourists who want to visit Pakistan. The authorities have facilitated traveling for tourists worldwide by offering E-Visa services for about 176 countries, and even travelers from around 50 different countries can get a visa on arrival. Most travelers claim the visa processing time in Pakistan to be 7-10 days, a month's long process before.
If you are wondering is it safe to travel to Pakistan, then this information is for you. Visa extension was also a very cumbersome process in the past, but there is a positive change in the visa extension policy.
3. Don't forget to take your essential documents
The authorities have gone through a lot in maintaining peace and fighting against terrorism in Pakistan. They also have an open border with China and Afghanistan, and there are chances of any illegal immigrant roaming around in the country. To stop any security breach, maintain law and order situation, you have to go through certain security checkpoints at the entrance and exit of almost all the cities. And if you are a foreigner and fail to prove your identity, you will surely be in hot waters. Therefore, to avoid any unforeseen situation, especially while traveling through local transportation systems, you need to keep all your necessary documents, passport, and multiple photocopies in your backpack. So, make this rule a part of your guide for traveling to Pakistan without getting into any trouble.
4. Heaven on Earth
What is the motivation of most people traveling across the world? The most common answer is the idea of having fun, and we all have different ways to do so. People should know how to travel to Pakistan to find places for skiing, boating, hiking, or exploring nature's beauty. You will be amazed to know that Pakistan has it all. You will find here:
• Rivers, streams, waterfalls, sea, and various small landlocked traveling resorts.
• Among the 14 highest peaks, five of them are found here, so it's a heaven for climbers and hikers.
• Beautiful valleys, forests, and glaciers of Pakistan and naturally occurring tourism spots.
Travelers claim to get the most diversified exploration experience while traveling within Pakistan. Due to the lack of resources, this country cannot contribute as much to tourism as it has the potential to do.
5. What amazing things you will find here
Is it safe to travel to Pakistan? Yes, as it was a part of the subcontinent that was very rich in different road routes and architectures. Different emperors ruled it during different eras, and each one left a mark on it in the shape of some constructions. Traveling across the territory of Pakistan, you will find a lot of historical and ancient places.
• You can get a chance to visit the Mughal Architectures and have a closer look at their masterpieces in the form of Mosques and Forts. You will also cross many bridges, churches, and road routes constructed during the British Raj and operational to date.
• Travel through the Silk route, one of the ancient trade routes, was also once walked upon by Marco Polo.
• Ride on the road with the highest altitude, the Karakoram Highway, which connects Pakistan with China, on which you can witness rows of trucks importing and exporting goods among these two countries.
Visiting these will take you back in time and tell you much about the rulers and ruled ones.
6. Everything is so cheap here
Pakistan is such an affordable place that you can enjoy your tourism activities here just at the cost of $100/week, including accommodation, food, and local traveling. Traveling across the country, you will come across multiple handicrafts, local goods, traditional food items, and souvenirs that you can buy at low prices. You can travel by train, bus, or even the international cab services like Careem and Uber, having a very reasonable fare with info by Pakistan news.
Although you will get almost all the staff at very reasonable rates yet take an additional tip and don't forget to bargain while buying anything here. Nearly all types of vendors are open to bargaining, and you can save money by spending some time talking about more discounts they can offer you.
7. You have to respect cultures no matter what
There is so much diversity in Pakistan culture that you cannot generalize on how to travel to Pakistan. You will find here the extremist followers of Islam on one side and Pakistan people from many other religions on the other side. Although the big cities have started westernizing themselves, what language is spoken in Pakistan, have you wondered? Overall, it is a country with the majority of people having a conservative mindset, and you have to be careful while dealing with them. There is a complex set of cultures and sub-cultures in Pakistan, so you have to stay out of their business while staying there.
8. Hospitality is their way of life
If you get a chance to be hosted by a Pakistani family, you will start feeling like a descendent of a royal family. They will prepare 2-3 local dishes for you; make you sit in the most beautiful room of their house, and try out everything to comfort you because they consider guests a blessing from God. And this doesn't end here if you revisit them even after years, they will greet you the same way and honor you even more for remembering them. Thus, it would not be wrong to say that hospitality is their way of life and a part of their religion.
9. Weather prediction and traveling
One of the most important factors while traveling within Pakistan is that you have to keep a check on the weather condition of the area you are going to explore next. Yes, not only the Pakistan culture but the temperature and weather here are also very much diversified. As during summers, the Northern area is still very cold, and you have to wear a jacket while staying there, also apart from northern areas, you can get heavy rain after a very sunny day. So, you have to be prepared while traveling, whether you need shorts, a raincoat, or a warm jacket for your next stop. What language is spoken in Pakistan should you learn? Urdu, Pashto, Punjabi, etc.
10. Money can buy anything here
Pakistan is a land of possibilities, and sometimes you can see the most unusual things happening here. It's an Islamic state and strongly prohibits alcohol, drugs, prostitution, and strict laws against them. But if you get into any legal issues, you can also get the process completed within no time in Pakistan by spending some generous amount of money.
Traveling to Pakistan and spending time there is a lifetime memorable experience and believe me. You would love to tell stories of your visit to even your grandkids. You will be amazed at the hospitality and friendly welcome of the Pakistan people. Getting everything at very cheap rates will bulk your luggage as you will not be able to resist your shopping temptation. So, for having maximum fun out of minimum spending, make Pakistan your next travel destination.
Mahnoor is a freelance writer, foodie, engineer and travel freak. These words describe her the best! Her time gets split pretty evenly between dreaming about travelling and travelling itself. Being a freelance writer has allowed her to write on a vast array of subjects and other disciplines (such as food, technical writing and many more). With each blog piece, she aims to bring well-balanced stories from around the world to entertain and inspire.