Pakistan holidays

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Experience Pakistan

Introduction to Pakistan

Holidays in Pakistan will introduce you to an exciting country packed with culture, mouth-watering food and historic architecture. You might also find your preconceptions challenged. Not many people associate Pakistan holidays with sun-kissed beaches, but its sprawling 1,046-kilometre coastline is one of the best in the world.

Glittering lakes, swooping valleys and snow-capped mountains tend not to be synonymous with Pakistan, but you will find them all here, waiting to be explored. This makes it one of the most enriching and surprising destinations in the world.

Best Places to Visit

Shopping is something of a national pastime in Pakistan. As such, your holiday ought to feature a visit to the vibrant and intoxicating Anarkali Bazaar, in Lahore. The oldest market in the entire country, it offers a superb example of ancient architecture; not to mention delicious, spicy food, local handicrafts and sparkling jewellery.

For another spectacular example of Pakistan’s past, head southeast to Sindh. Here, you will find the ruins of Mohenjo-daro, one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation. Thought to be over 3,000 years old, the site draws scholars and archaeologists in their droves. The ruins of Mohenjo-daro are now little more than dust, however, its stories give visitors a fascinating insight into the region’s history.

Top Landmarks

The Pakistan Monument, in Islamabad, is one of the country’s most famous landmarks, despite only being 10 years old. Designed by Arif Masood, the monument is intricately inscribed with poetry by one of Pakistan’s most famous poets, Muhammad Iqbal, and is a symbol of the country’s national unity.

Alternatively, a visit to the Derawar Fort, deep in the Cholistan Desert, will give you a fascinating insight into Pakistan’s military past. Although it’s not always possible to access the fort, the imposing ramparts are well worth the trip on their own. For natural wonders, the Hunza Valley is hard to beat. Surrounded by mountains, it arguably holds the best of the country’s landscape. You will find plenty of Pakistan holiday packages that include a visit to this amazing destination.

Entertainment in Pakistan

Manghopir has some of the oldest Sufi shrines in Karachi. For the courageous, however, the Mangophir Lake also offers the chance to join the locals in hand-feeding hundreds of Mugger crocodiles, which have made their home on the banks of the river!

Foodies should find Pakistan deals that involve a trip to Lahore. This is widely hailed as the food capital of the country and the place to sample everything from traditional, spicy street food to the elegant, delicate flavours found in fine-dining restaurants.

 

If you happen to be travelling with little ones, then you might like to let them cool off from the heat at the Sozo Water Park. Located in Lahore, it’s packed with water slides, pools and an abundance of exciting rides. Alternatively, for something a bit out of the ordinary, take a trip to Khewra. The Khewra Salt Mines are the second largest in the world and offer a subterranean adventure for the whole family. With so much to see and do in this astounding country, you can rest assured that your package holidays to Pakistan will create some memorable experiences.

Our best deals in Pakistan

Need to know

Currency

The sole currency used in Pakistan is the Pakistani rupee. For the best rates, it’s worth changing up your sterling before flying to Pakistan. You will find that cash is king in Pakistan, and thus, few places take credit cards. Likewise, many places will not accept travellers’ cheques, so it’s worth taking a good amount of money with you.

If you happen to run short of money, there are plenty of ATMs in the big cities and smaller towns. You will also find money-changers located near the markets. While these are great if you need emergency money, they do charge higher rates of interest.

Currency

The sole currency used in Pakistan is the Pakistani rupee. For the best rates, it’s worth changing up your sterling before flying to Pakistan. You will find that cash is king in Pakistan, and thus, few places take credit cards. Likewise, many places will not accept travellers’ cheques, so it’s worth taking a good amount of money with you.

If you happen to run short of money, there are plenty of ATMs in the big cities and smaller towns. You will also find money-changers located near the markets. While these are great if you need emergency money, they do charge higher rates of interest.

Visas

If you are flying to Pakistan for a holiday, you will need a UK passport and a valid visa. If your visa has expired and you’re using a British passport, you may be refused entry onto your flight; so it’s worth checking that your documentation is in order long before you fly.

Climate

Pakistan is a vast country with regional differences in temperature: from the consistent warmth along the Arabian Sea to the sub-zero snow-caps of the mountains in the Karakoram Range. Typically, though, Pakistan has four distinct seasons: cool, dry winters which last from December to February; blisteringly-hot springs, from March to May; the rainy season from June to September; and high humidity between October and November.

Main Airports

Fly to Pakistan and you will probably arrive at Jinnah Airport, which is the biggest and the busiest, drawing in more than 12million visitors each year. Regional airports are scattered across the country.

Jinnah Airport is the main airport for anyone flying to Pakistan. There is one terminal, divided into two concourses. The Jinnah East Satellite Concourse processes international flights, while the Jinnah West Satellite Concourse is used by those who need domestic flights.

The airport has an impressive range of restaurants and duty-free shops, and there are dedicated prayer rooms for those who want to make use of them.

Flight Options

Flights to Pakistan are available from many of the UK’s major airports. The length of your journey will depend on where in the country you depart and arrive. A flight from London to Karachi, for example, will take just under eight and a half hours, while a flight to Lahore will take around 11 hours. From Pakistan’s major airports, you can catch domestic flights to smaller airports.

Other Advice

Getting to Karachi from Jinnah International Airport should take just under 40 minutes. You will find plenty of affordable taxis at the airport or, if you want to make your own way, there are car-hire companies offering reasonable deals for tourists.

If you are flying internationally, the airport recommends that you check in at least four hours before your scheduled flight departs. For those taking domestic flights, the recommended check-in time is two to three hours before take-off. However, it’s worth checking with your chosen airline before you fly.

Bus

Buses and coaches are plentiful in Pakistan, serving extensive routes across the country. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes: from basic buses, which can be uncomfortable for long journeys, to luxurious vehicles with air-conditioning and reclining seats. Buses on the upper end of the spectrum can be booked online, saving you time and money.

Keep an eye out for the vibrantly-decorated ‘jingle trucks’. These are privately-owned buses that have been elaborately decorated both inside and out. They’re so-named because of the noise the chains that adorn the bumpers make, as the truck drives. Many jingle trucks are used as public transport.

Taxi

You will find taxis virtually everywhere you go and, as with buses, they vary in quality. For the best vehicles, book through larger companies either online or over the phone. If you do have to hail a roadside cab, be sure to agree the fee before travelling.

In Karachi, you may see fleets of pink taxis. These are women-only taxis, operated by female drivers.

Tram

Currently, there are no trams operating in Pakistan. However, new routes are being constructed in Karachi and Gwadar.

Rail Services

Trains are an important part of life in Pakistan, providing inhabitants with cost-effective and quick transport services. The major train stations can be found in Lahore and Karachi.

MAP

FACTS

  1. In Urdu, ‘Pakistan’ means ‘the land of the pure’.
  2. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad.
  3. Gwadar is the site of the world’s biggest deep-sea port.
  4. More than 50 per cent of the world’s supply of hand-sewn footballs are made in Pakistan.
  5. Pakistan’s national drink, ‘roh’, is made from the juice of sugarcane.

FACTS

  1. In Urdu, ‘Pakistan’ means ‘the land of the pure’.
  2. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad.
  3. Gwadar is the site of the world’s biggest deep-sea port.
  4. More than 50 per cent of the world’s supply of hand-sewn footballs are made in Pakistan.
  5. Pakistan’s national drink, ‘roh’, is made from the juice of sugarcane.

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