Towards the middle and South of Pakistan in Lahore & Karachi, the weather is hot all year around, however in Peshawar, Islamabad and the Northern areas the weather does get cold in the months of October to March, so winter attire is needed. Some of the valleys beyond Nathia Gali are inaccessible in the winter months due to heavy snow.
Many established cities such as Lahore, Islamabad & Karachi are modern, with many locals wearing western clothes, however as a rule of thumb clothing with low necklines or short hemlines should be avoided as a mark of respect for the locals.
The type of tour you want, will determine which airport you fly into. Most of the tours for the Northern areas start from Islamabad.
The Government of Pakistan derives its economy of foreign currency revenues by requiring visas from almost all nationalities. These are usually easier to obtain in your home country, though recently the individual missions around the world have been given more authority to issue visas without checking with Islamabad, which should help in getting applications turned around quicker.
Nationals of Iceland and the Maldives may enter visa-free for stays of up to 3 months.
Nationals of Nepal and Samoa may enter visa-free for 1 month.
Nationals of Tonga and Trinidad and Tobago do not need a visa, and can stay for an unlimited amount of time.
Recently, a list of “Tourist Friendly Countries” (TFC) was announced that are eligible for one month visas on arrival if they travel through a designated/authorised tour operator who will assume responsibility for them while in the country. Any extensions of this type of visa must also be done through the tour operator. They include: Austria, Belgium, Canada, China (PRC), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States.
Nationals of Turkey with valid visa for the Schengen Area, United Kingdom or the United States can obtain a visa on arrival.
Nationals of most other countries (and those not wanting to travel with a tour operator and group) need to apply in advance for a visa, which is usually issued for 30-90 days depending on nationality and where you apply. Double-entries are sometimes given, but be clear and persistent that you need this when applying.
Indian nationals can apply for 30 day tourist visas but must travel in a group through an authorised tour operator. Visitor visas to meet relatives or friends are more easy to obtain, and come with some restrictions. Religious visas are granted for groups of 10 or more for 15 days.
Nationals of Afghanistan are refused entry if their passports or tickets show evidence of transit or boarding in India.
Holders of Taiwan passports are refused entry except in airport transit.
Business visas are now being issued for up to 5 years, multiple entry, as soon as 24 hours before arrival.
The Pakistan Consulate in Istanbul does not issue visas unless you are a resident of Turkey, although it may be possible in Ankara.
The consulate in Zahedan in Iran no longer issues visas, head for the embassy in Tehran.
The High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi issues visas with varying degrees of difficulty, taking at least 1 day (and sometimes several) to process the application. Applications are only accepted in the mornings c. 09:00-11:00. Arrive early and expect the process to take a few hours and possibly a few return visits. Window 5 is for foreign tourist and business visas (under the big white sign).
People of Pakistani origin living overseas are granted 5 year multiple entry visas (along with their spouses), good for single stays of up to 1 year. Visas aren’t required at all if they are holding a Pakistan Origin Card (POC) or a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP).
|British Pakistani / Dual Nationality||British Nationals|
|Multiple (1 Year)||£170||£332|
|Multiple (2 Years)||£170||£332|
|Multiple (3 Years)||£290||£482|
1. All above mentioned fees exclude visa facilitation charges by Gerry’s
2. All Fees mentioned above include £2.00 bank surcharge and £10 Delivery Charges for NADRA, per application being charged for consular services at Pakistan High Commission in London and its Consulates in other cities.
3. A fee concession is only available for dual nationals holding British passport with a valid / expired Pakistani passport. Concession is not available on CANCELLED or RESTRICTED passports unless reason for restriction removed.
The national currency of Pakistan is the rupee (PKR). Coins are issued in 1, 2, and 5 rupee denominations while banknotes come in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 rupee values.
ATMs exist in most areas and accept major credit cards.
The legal drinking/purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 21..
Tap water can be unsafe for drinking. However, some establishments have water filters/purifiers installed, in which case the water is safe to drink. Packed drinking water (normally called mineral water in Pakistan) is a better choice.
The taste of the water is said to be very good in the north-eastern side of Pakistan, especially in Swat, Kaghan and Gilgit. Ask for bottled water wherever possible, and avoid anything cold that might have water in it.
In the warmer southern region, sweet drinks are readily available throughout the day. Look for street vendors that have fruits (real or decorations) hanging from their roofs. Also, some milk/yogurt shops serve lassi. Ask for meethi lassi for a sweet yogurt drink and you can also get a salty lassi which tastes good and is similar to the Arabic Laban if you are having “bhindi” in food or some other rich dish. There is also a sweet drink called Mango Lassi which is very rich and thick, made with yogurt, mango pulp, and pieces of mango.
Being a Muslim country use of alcohol (both imported and local) is not allowed openly in the country. It is available to non-Muslim foreigners at licensed bars in most top end hotels. The local alcoholic beer is called ‘Murree Beer. It is illegal for Muslims to buy, possess or consume alcohol in Pakistan.
Mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north. Flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August). Fertile and sub humid heat in the Punjab region.
Lahore & Karachi tend to be hot all year around, however Peshawar, Islamabad and the Northern areas do get cold with winter attire needed. This tends to be from October – March. Some of valleys beyond Nathia Gali are inaccessible in the winter months due to heavy snow.
Before travelling to Pakistan it would be useful to ensure that you have had all of your routine UK Jabs, including:
All travel involves a degree of risk and ultimately your appetite (or lack of) for risk remains a personal choice. For us at Xperience Pakistan the safety and security of our clients, is of PARAMOUNT importance to us and from the experience of my partners operating tours in Pakistan, we strongly believe that it is possible, with the right measures in place, to travel safely yet contrary to the advice of your government.
In the UK, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office are expected to notify people of all possible dangers relating to travel in each region. We constantly check with the ground tour operators as well as independent security experts to make sure we are sensibly managing and minimising risks, while still being able to offer the types of trips that we would like to provide and that our clients demand and love.
If you are considering travelling contrary to the advice of your government you should first read the advice (for UK citizens – www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-
Moreover, as travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for all our trips – and as many policies may have a clause in their small print excluding cover for travel contrary to the advice of your government – you should also check that you are able to source adequate insurance. For UK residents clients aged 78 or below, Travel & General are able to offer such a policy.
All clients traveling contrary to the advice of their government will be required to sign a disclaimer acknowledging that they have read the pertinent advice and that they have sourced adequate travel insurance for their trip.