I just returned from several weeks in Pakistan. It's a wonderful country, with kind, v. respectful people.
Felt safe always, & eventually was eating outdoors (sometimes the best food !) and snaking my way through narrow alleys, w/ 0 serious difficulties.
Few people discussed politics w/ me (never unless I asked), & altho people would be curious, no one reacted poorly to my nationality (or anything else, for that matter). Please don't be influenced by movies or The News: Pakistanis appear to be most welcoming people, by nature.
(To be sure, rough things can happen anywhere--& everywhere a traveler wants to be aware, mindful, cautious, etc.)
1] People of Pakistan are generally very firendly but literacy rate is around 46 % . Its not difficult to communicate.
2] English is widely understood but Urdu language brings out warmth and immediate help.
3] Don't try to entangle with religion. Better accept what you see with a smile.
4] Bending the rules is common.Be flexible.
5] Visitor should look for local guidance and help.
6] Actual address is very difficult to locate. Please get local map and help.
7] Women should have a scarf on sholder . Avoid nudity and undue attraction or exposer.
8] Women will look more beautiful in local clothes . Which are cheap, colorful and comfortable.
9] One should NOT hesitate to bargain which is normal and expected. You can buy the item sometimes at 25-50 % of asking price
10] Negotiate thourghly before any any commitment ,taxi,hotel , trip etc.
11] Drink only bottled water, soft drink ,tea/coffee.
12] Eat only hygenic food.
Good Luck and Enjoy Pakistan.
If you live in the USA or many places in the EU the visions you see of Pakistan are horrible. According to many media sources Pakistan is nothing but a hot-bed of militants hungry for Westerners to feast on.
The truth is that there are regions in Pakistan that are not smart to travel to unaccompanied by a regional guide. Please don't let your fears keep you away from this country, it is amazing, but don't go into the ghetto at night, either.
There were two areas I went through where I knew I was not in friendly territory, but we didn't stay for long... Chitral is trying to open up and has a nice western-friendly hotel, despite it's rather closed home-grown style... There were few women out on the streets. Dir is also a city where I wasn't comfortable moving around. The women were out, but fully covered... Dir has a history of being a strong-hold for a more fundamentalist way of life. Be careful.
Driving conditions in Pakistan are no where close to what you have in the UK, Europe, the UAE or the USA. The honking cars and no adherence to traffic regulations reminds one of Egypt though.
Although Islamabad, the capital is good traffic wise, old portion of Lahore and most of Karachi is a driver's nightmare. In Pakistan, cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, wagons, buses, camel, oxen and donkey driven carts also ply on the same roads, as does the normal traffic.
To foreign tourists, I will not suggest driving a car. Rented out cars with a driver is the best bet. If the group is 6 to 10 strong, I would suggest hiring an airconditioned wagon / coaster.
However, driving on national highways is strictly regulated.
Another wise thing to do in Pakistan is to hire the services of professional tour operators of repute, who will be able to take care of all these details for you. Due to low value of Pak rupees vis-a-vis US$, the deal may turn out to be extremely economical. Again, the package may be negotiated / haggled, as is everything else in Pakistan. More on haggling under shopping tip.
A guided tour can let one observe such off the beaten path marvels as the Kotri Barrage near Hyderabad, constructed by the British in the 19th Century. My elder brother from the USA (picture) took several hours to observe gigantic water distribution system on the upstream side of the barrage and the environmental degradation due water shortage in the estuaries on the downstream side.
Travel would be much more easier if you can arrange a guide or someone to show you around before you land in Pakistan. Language would be one of the biggest problems depending on which city you are planning to go to. There are certain traps for foreigners so it is best to arrange for a guide or tour operator before you leave.
its islamic and partly very fundamental place.I warn about letting people know if you are from any of those countries who bombed Iraq or belong to NATO,NO army-clothes(wear local style).one beautiful and grazy lady travelled alone.please dont go girl alone,find some dude to come along and wear a ring ,its much easier.northern tribes are totally other friendly story!
Punjabi's are hardy race, strong on tradition and dignity. Do and don't in this country, please see at my ASIA page. A few tips regards on WoD as an extra enlist here :-
1) Don't photograph military installations, bridges or airports.
2) Photograph women, except readily agree.
3) Don't travel during the night camp in remote and secluded areas.
4) Don't swim or bathe in the fast flowing streams and river of the northern valley.
PHOTO : THE CITY OF ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN,
Pakistan has a very volitile, wild feel to it. There are many lawless parts and much corruption, violence etc. Guns are a normal sight on the streets and most people own them. It can be very intimidating for men and women, but worse for women. As a woman, I would not recommend you travel in Pakistan on your own. You will attract a lot of attention as generally, you see very few women out in the streets. As a western woman, you may be seen as someone with 'loose morals' and expect to be touched and grabbed. I stayed veiled in Pakistan, but still had unwanted attention.
Just be careful, and never let anyone become over friendly with you. Pakistani people are very friendly though, and if you are with a 'partner', they will be very respectful and go out of their way to help you. Sorry to give you a horror story, but a friend of mine was befriended by a Pakistani man in islamabad, who showed him round the city all day, then drugged him through some tea and robbed him !! Please don't be put off Pakistan though, just be wary.
Don't accept drinks from people on buses or trains, as this drugging thing has happened on them aswell !!
Don't let anyone into your hotel room, they may try and plant drugs on you. The police are also corrupt and have tried in the past, to obtain money from travellers by planting drugs, this way you pay the 'backsheesh' (bribe) to get out of trouble (even though you didn't have drugs on you). If this does happen to you, pay the backsheesh and get out of there quickly, you don't want to even get as far as the police station. !!
However, after all the negativity above don't get too paranoid, just be sensible and wary and you'll be fine, Pakistan really is a rewarding place to visit.
I wondered why they could work at this factory?
This is Charas Factory in Dalla near the boarder of Afghanistan.