brown concrete building under blue sky during daytime

Pakistan Tourism: Explore the raw beauty

Like its neighbors, Pakistan has some decent tourist spots to show off. When we hear the word “Pakistan,” we think of some pretty intense scenes that the media shows us. But the reality is way too different. Some may think this is one of the most unsafe countries to visit, but the situation has changed. The country is going beyond the lengths to restore its image as a tourist-friendly country. Let’s know a little bit about Pakistan Tourism.

The country was part of Undivided India, also known as “Akhand Bharat.” Pakistan gained its independence from British Monarchy in 1947. It was divided into two parts, East and West Pakistan, divided by India. East Pakistan later became Bangladesh after the “Bangladesh Independence War” in 1971. 

Pakistan is situated in South Asia, neighboring India, Afghanistan, Iran, and China. The Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea have direct connections with Pakistan. It is the region’s second-largest country. Pakistan has a total land area of around 307,400 square miles. Pakistan is home to more than 30 rivers.  

  • Official Name: The Islamic Republic of Pakistan 
  • Spoken Languages: 70-80 languages spoken. Two official languages: Urdu and English. 
  • Official Unit of Currency: Pakistani Rupee (PKR) 
  • Capital City: Islamabad 
  • Population: 221 million 
  • Average International Tourist: 6.5 million per year. 
  • Parliament Type: Bicameral. 
  • UNESCO Heritage Sites: 6 sites, 21 proposed. 

Provinces of Pakistan 

Islamabad:  

Islamabad, also known as the “City of Peace“, is the capital territory of Pakistan. It is the 9th largest city in Pakistan and has an area of 350 square miles. Islamabad city is the capital of the province. The province shelters more than 20 universities and is the most secure province in Pakistan, monitored by 2000+ Security cameras. Islamabad is split into 50 union councils. 

4-post museum under golden hour
Photo by Syed Bilal Javaid on Unsplash

Punjab:  

Punjab, a province of Eastern Pakistan, is the 2nd largest province of Pakistan. The province has an area of 79,300 square miles and shares a border with Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and India. The province is famous for multiple UNESCO Heritage sites and some Hindu temples which feature Hindu Mythology. Lahore is the province’s capital and central administrative area. The province is divided into 36 districts. 

brown concrete tower during daytime
Photo by Syed Bilal Javaid on Unsplash

Baluchistan:  

The name Baluchistan translates to “The country of Baloch.” Baluchistan is the largest province in Pakistan, with an area of about 134,100 square miles. Afghanistan borders the province to the northwest, Iran to the west, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the northeast, Punjab to the east, Sindh to the southeast, and the Arabian Sea to the south.  

Baluchistan is recognized for its long coastline that stretches from Karachi to Iran, passing via Sonmiani, Kalmat, Pasni, Ormara, Gwadar, Jiwani, and other towns. It is also well-known for its hilltops and rocky alpine landscape. Baluchistan province has 35 districts. 

green grass on rocky mountain during daytime
Photo by Sajid Khan on Unsplash

Gilgit-Baltistan:  

Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas, is an autonomous territory in Pakistan. It is the 54h largest province of the country that features an area of 25,000 square miles. Gilgit-Baltistan is bordered by India, China, Afghanistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu, and Kashmir. 

Because of its topography and visual splendor, Gilgit is possibly Pakistan’s most beautiful region. Tourists from all over the world are drawn to this region by its picturesque valleys, plains, peaks, and heritage monuments. It boasts a diverse cultural mix, which adds to its significance. The province is split into 14 districts. 

snow covered mountains under blue sky during daytime pakistan tourism
Photo by shehary yar on Unsplash

Sindh:  

Sindh, also known as Bab-Ul-Islam or The Gateway of slam, is the 3rd largest province of Pakistan. The province is a part of Southeastern Pakistan and has an area of 54,400 square miles. The province shares borders with the Arabian sea to the south, Gujarat and Rajasthan, India to the east and Baluchistan and Punjab to the north. Karachi serves as the capital of the province. Sindh is divided into 29 districts. 

Sindh is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Mohenjodaro and Makli Necropolis. It is one of Pakistan’s most industrialized provinces. Sindh is well-known for its textiles, ceramics, leatherwork, and rugs, among other things. Sindhi artisans began their craft during the Moenjodaro civilization.  

brown concrete building under blue sky during daytime pakistan tourism
Photo by Noman Bukhari on Unsplash

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa:  

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, previously known as Northwest frontier province, is the 4th largest province in Pakistan. The province is bounded by Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Baluchistan, Punjab and Afghanistan. The province has an area of 39,300 square miles. Peshawar is the province’s capital. 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a region of hospitality, breathtaking scenery, rich culture, incredible history, legendary captors, and a tourism hotspot. The province has a remarkable history and archaeology. Voyagers, archaeologists, and travelers will find it appealing. The province is well-known for its deep historical origins. There are several archaeological sites in the area. There are 35 districts in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. 

white and blue concrete house surrounded by green trees during daytime pakistan tourism
Photo by Malik Naveed on Unsplash

Azad Jammu and Kashmir:  

Azad Jammu Kashmir, also known as “The Paradise on Earth”, is the smallest state in Pakistan.  Muzaffarabad is the state capital of AJ&K. The province is separated from Indian Occupied Kashmir by the LoC or Line of Control and is bounded by Pakistani states: Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan. The Northwestern part of the country has an area of 5,100 square miles. The province is divided into 10 districts. 

Azad Kashmir is well-known for its unrivalledโ€ฏmajestic beauty, earning it the moniker “Heaven on Earth.” Azad Kashmir offers several lovely spots that draw tourists all year by displaying Pakistan’s stunning features and panoramic views. 

flower fields photo across mountain pakistan tourism
Photo by Arif Khan on Unsplash

How to get Visa 

Pakistan has 67 Embassies and 60 Consulates spread all over the world. Everyone is eligible for a Pakistani Visa except Israeli passport holders. But Pakistan does allow Israelis who are permanent residents of other countries to apply for visas. Pakistan offers visa exemption for up to three months to residents of 48 countries if they have a diplomatic or official passport. Citizens of 65 countries can get visas on their arrival in the country. Residents of 191 countries are eligible to apply for an e-Visa. For more information on Pakistani visas, please visit the Ministry of Interior, Pakistan

Entering Pakistan 

There are 47 airports in Pakistan, including 14 international airports. International airports also operate as domestic airports. Currently, 9 local and 20 international airlines are operating in Pakistan. 

There are 13 land ports in Pakistan. The country shares 6 ports with Afghanistan, 3 with Iran, 3 with India, and 1 with China. Although there are 3 land ports between India and Pakistan, Only the Wagah-Attari border is fully operational. The other 2 ports have been closed since 2019. There are also active rail crossings between Pakistan-Iran and Pakistan-India; A railway crossing with China has also been proposed. Here is a list of all the international airports in Pakistan: 

  • Islamabad International Airport 
  • Karachi International Airport 
  • Lahore International Airport 
  • Dera Ghazi Khan International Airport 
  • Faisalabad International Airport 
  • Gwadar International Airport 
  • Multan International Airport 
  • Peshawar Bacha Khan International Airport 
  • Quetta International Airport 
  • Shaikh Zayed International Airport 
  • Sialkot International Airport 
  • Begum Nusrat Bhutto International Airport 
  • Turbat International Airport 
  • Skardu International Airport 

When to visit Pakistan 

South Asian countries show a temperate climate throughout the year in general. Pakistan is no different. The weather stays dry and is relatively livable in winter. You can visit Pakistan the whole year if you want. But, if you’re going to enjoy the beauty of this country while also relishing the best weather, you should consider visiting between May to October. 

Although the weather in Pakistan is bearable throughout the year, you should avoid visiting the country in January if you can’t bear the excessive cold. The average temperature in Pakistan is 25.5 โ„ƒ which can be considered livable according to any standard. 

Pakistani Cuisine 

South Asian Countries have earned quite a name for their delicate spicy cuisine. Pakistani food also features a wide variety of spices, with a generous amount of Ghee and cooking oil. The most popular combination in South Asia is called Hot spices or “Garam Masala” altogether. 

Most popular foods of Pakistan include Nihari, Kabli Pulao, Karahi, Halwa Puri, Lassi, Halim, Tikka Kebab etc. Roti and Rice are the staple food of Pakistan. Pakistan also has a diverse collection of mouthwatering sweets. Shahi Tukra, Suji ka Halwa, Sewaiyan, Golab Jamun, Sheer Khurma, and Rabri Dudh are some of Pakistan’s favorite dessert items. 

Photo by Sam Loyd on Unsplash

Culture and Tradition 

The subcontinental cultures have a significant influence on Pakistani culture. As Pakistan was part of Undivided India, Indian cultures and traditions are heavily linked with Pakistani culture. As a result, Pakistan has an ever-changing lifestyle, and its inhabitants have had to be resilient; the last 100 years have been volatile, requiring continual concession.  

Pakistan’s geography has been home to several colossal dynasties dating back to the Prehistoric and Bronze Ages of the Indus Civilization. This rich past has given rise to many ethnic cultures, each with its own identity and culture. 97% of Pakistani citizens are followers of Islam, followed by Christian, Sikhs, and Hindus.  

Local Transport 

There are 47 active domestic airports in Pakistan. So, if you are in a hurry, you can simply fly to the big cities. Buses and trains are available for almost every intercity transportation. There are Ride sharing apps like Uber and Carpoolyn in big cities. Here is a list of cities where you can use Uber: 

  • Islamabad 
  • Karachi 
  • Rawalpindi 
  • Lahore 
  • Faisalabad 
  • Multan 
  • Peshawar 
  • Hyderabad 
  • Gujranwala 

By Bus:

There are central bus stops in every city. You will also find some regional bus stops randomly. So, you can ride a bus from wherever you feel convenient. You can buy bus tickets instantly from the bus counter, or you can book tickets online beforehand. 

Non-Ac and Economy Class AC buses are available if you are from a South Asian country. However, if visiting from Europe or North America, you should take Business Class AC Buses to avoid any unpleasant road bumps. Faisal Movers, Road Master, Niazi Express, Skyways, and Q-connect are some of Pakistan’s most popular bus operators. 

By Train:

Railway travel is the most popular mode of transportation for the general public. People prefer to travel by rail since train tickets are reasonable and the ride is enjoyable. There are 633 railway stations in Pakistan. The availability of economy class railway tickets is deficient because of the enormous demand.  

Few tickets would be available for economy class compartments if not bought a week in advance. However, most of the time, luxurious cabin tickets remain available because of the high price. However, the Train journey is delightful if not booked on a public holiday. 

Conclusion 

There are nations where you may appreciate the picturesque vistas of high-altitude mountains or have a long sip from a coconut. However, you will get the locals’ love as a bonus in Pakistan. Pakistan is endowed with natural resources incomparable to any other nation. Pakistan is still not the best in terms of safety standards. But they are evolving as the days go by. We hope this small effort to show the world the inner beauty of Pakistan will definitely change people’s perspectives on this beautiful country. 

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