Surprisingly Safe and Amazing Pakistan
Traveling to Pakistan is the most exciting thing to do, if you are crazy enough to travel on narrow roads built on sharp cliffs 1,500 meters high. In Pakistan you will meet a lot of warm-hearted, kind people who are always there for hospitality and literally can do anything to make you feel comfortable and happy. A beautiful landscape, which are amazingly stunning and leaves one breathless and makes you feel like you are in the middle of some part of paradise. Gigantic mountains, lush green valleys, clear blue water and open-armed welcome by locals gives you one of an ultimate lifetime experience.
The local tourists usually travel across Pakistan from May to August, when there is summer’s break and people want to go to northern side of the country. Pakistan tourism has attracted many foreigner tourists in past few years. In 2018, British Backpacker Society classify Pakistan as the world’s top Adventure Travel Destination, reporting Pakistan as “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.”
Now and then Pakistan has been promoting its tourism culture to attract tourists, in 2007 “Visit Pakistan” campaign was launched. UK has been very helpful to Pakistan in order to maintain its tourist’s attractions. In 2005, after a massive earthquake hit Pakistan, a UK newspaper The Guardian release “The Top Five Tourist Sites in Pakistan” in 2006 to help Pakistan’s tourism industry. Likewise in Belgium, recently the very first Pakistan International Tourist Information Corner in Brussels has been opened. This initiative was took by Embassy of Pakistan and Tribes (Dutch company in Brussels) to promote Pakistan Tourism in Belgium. It was inaugurated by Paul Hegge, a Belgian mountaineer who climbed world’s second highest peak K2 in 2018. Hegge told the guests that all the mountain lovers who would visit Pakistan will definitely going to have a chance to climb unique yet glorious mountains.
Moreover Benoit Sneessens, a Belgian photographer also shared his experience while travelling in northern area of Pakistan, telling the guests about how he is inspired by the true hospitality from the people of Pakistan.
To experience this stunning experience of travelling, one must prepare a lot of things beforehand. We are going to discuss what preparations a foreigner requires, to travel in the land of Beauty and Hospitality.
When you are applying for visa of Pakistan, it has to be applied from your homeland or to be more specific from your residence. As of 14th March, 2019 Pakistan has opened its new Visa Policy in which 5 countries are declared to obtain their visa on arrival. Only citizens of UK, Turkey, Malaysia, China and UAE are eligible, tourists have to submit their trip plan to Pakistan at the notice of 48-72 hours minimum to receive an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).
More than 100 countries can apply through the official website of NADRA. The required documents to apply for visa are Passport, Photograph, LOI (Letter of Invitation), Duration and Validity of tourists. Tourist Visa on Arrival is valid up to 3 months. There is 30 days multiple-entry visa upon arrival for the Nationals of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia Turkey and UAE.
Visa Extensions are in major cities of Pakistan like Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Gilgit, Skardu and Chitral. Other than the embassies, airports also offer visa extensions. If any tourist stayed up to 2 weeks after the visa expiration then there is no fee charged from the tourist but if a tourist overstay from 2 weeks up to 1 month then there are charges.
If there is no direct contact of foreigner tourists in Pakistan, there is no need to get worried, tourists can apply through tour guides in Pakistan. The tour guides can provide LOI (Letter of invitation) to the tourists so that they can arrive and enter Pakistan sound and safe.
Vaccination for Foreign Tourists
The most important aspect to prepare for travelling is immunization. Immunization is the process where a person develops immune or to be more specific resistance against infectious diseases, and it is basically managed by vaccinations. It is very important to take medical history of a person in order to do vaccination.
There are three kinds of vaccination for foreign travelers. First category of immunization is regular one which is the primary vaccination, either a person is traveling or not. It is used to boost immune system against measles, mumps, tetanus-diphtheria, influenza, pneumonia etc. Second category of immunization is compulsory for the traveling purpose, it might be requisite of the country to let a tourists enter in the country. It basically used against cholera and fever. Third and last category of immunization is recommended to protect against the diseases while traveling; for example hepatitis, typhoid fever, rabies are some of the examples.
Pregnant travelers or the immunodeficiency traveler requires the special attention. Taking appropriate vaccinations for foreign travelers is the most important way to eliminate risk of illness while traveling.
Vaccination in Pakistan
It is a requirement from Pakistan Government to show your polio certificate that has spent more than “four weeks” in the country. In order to exit Pakistan, travelers must receive a dose of OPV – Oral Polio Vaccine or IPV – Inactivated Polio Vaccine. For the ease of tourists and travelers, Pakistani Government has set up the medical booths outside of International Departure Terminals in all of four International Airports of Pakistan – Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. Oral Vaccine is free of cost.
This travelling insurance varies from country to country. There are multiple travelling insurance in every country that provide the safety and give assurance that they will cover your charges if any incident happens. But here is a tip for foreigner tourists, you got to read every line of insurance policy. There are a lot of insurance companies who do not cover the insurance of those regions who are not advised by the governments to travel, meaning by tourist will not receive a single penny if any incident happens in danger-zone or high alert regions. Typically the regions which are under those main no-go areas are route from Islamabad (capital of Pakistan) to Tribal areas and region connecting with Afghanistan border.
The only point is to go with the travelling insurance who are high risk travel insurance and who are able to cover all the hazardous areas including all kind of incidents from accidents to natural disasters not only in safe areas but also in high-risk areas.
Gone are the days when one has to think about how to travel to the other part of the world. Now days, it is super convenient to travel from foreign country to Pakistan. Foreign tourists can easily travel through different and most convenient airlines as per their choice. There are few international sites which are very convenient to book your flight, one of them is Skyscanner. It not only helps you in booking your flight but also provide facilities like car rent and hotel reservations.
Here are few popular airlines enlisted through which tourists can travel from any part of world to Pakistan; it includes Pakistan International Airlines – PIA, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways, British Airways, Air China and Saudi Airlines.
Others are Thai Airways, China Southern Airlines, Hongkong Express, Asiana Airlines and etc. International flights lands in the main cities of Pakistan, that are Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Gilgit, Skardu, Turbat, Chitral and a few more.
Tourist Safety in Pakistan
The only and most valid question that comes into mind of every foreigner tourist “Is Pakistan a safe country to travel?”
From past few years, Pakistan is facing terrorism and the people of Pakistan have been paying the heavy price of terrorist attacks and Pakistan has suffered handsome amount of damage. Pakistan, which was constituted on the name “land of peace” has been declared and portrayed as “land of war” by international media. Instead of telling about the great Himalayas and lush green valleys of Kalash and Naltar, they always talk about how awful things are going in Pakistan and pathetic incidents caused by Terrorists. It is true and matter of fact Pakistan has been through agony of terrorism but those dark days are gone, many tourists are unaware of the potential of this remarkable land.
It’s true that you cannot declare the whole country as a land of peace, the matter of fact is it’s a huge country with different regions and cultures. There are areas which are completely safe and there are areas which are commonly known as Tribal Areas in which tourists are not advised to travel at all. But there are few areas which are open to travel freely but for the safety purposes tourists are assigned with armed escort to keep them sound and safe. Tourists also have to take special permission from the government to enter into this area which is commonly very hard to get. The armed escorts are free of charge – it’s like bonus facility given to the tourists. The escort is with the tourists all day and commonly tourists pay for their food as a friendly gesture.
High-Risk Areas in Pakistan
There are two main regions which are hazardous areas in Pakistan (i) Tribal Areas (ii) Baluchistan Region
(i) Tribal Area: Semi-autonomous region which is inhabited and governed by Pashtuns. This region is least developed of a country and this group of people are very famous and have fundamentalists ideas of Islam. Moreover because of the great impact of neighboring country Afghanistan, this area is prone to terrorist attacks. So tourists are not allowed to travel in this region and if any tourist wants to travel, even then the permission is very hard to get.
(ii) Baluchistan Region: Lying on neighboring border of Afghanistan and Iran, Baluchistan is vulnerable and unstable southwestern province of Pakistan. The utmost reason of being unsafe is that Afghanistan border is out of control and Taliban are free to cross the border anytime. Tourists are not allowed, or to be more specific should avoid this region but even then if anyone is interested to visit this area, like Tribal region one has to obtain the special permission which is again complicated to get. The only way to enter in this area is if a tourist wants to cross Pakistan-Iran border, which is open to cross but again tourists are escorted with armed men until they cross Baluchistan region.
Amazing and Safe Places to visit in Pakistan
There is an extensive list for foreigners to travel in Pakistan. Pakistan is the most spectacular land, from the breathtaking view of Northern sites to mesmerizing monuments and forts in Southern Punjab. There are numerous places to visit and admire the beauty and charm of sensational tourist spots. We are going to tell you about few hots-pot tourist places in Pakistan
Gilgit Baltistan: The first and foremost spot is Gilgit Baltistan- Shigar, Skardu, Gilgit, Gunza and Astore are most popular places of this region.
Naltar Valley is known for its beautiful lakes and it is the most visited area by the travelers of Silk Road.
Shangrila Resort in Skardu is highlighted by the famous aircraft restaurant. Skardu is blessed with number of beautiful lakes and one of the most amazing lakes of Skardu is Kachura Lake, which is situated in the deep dense forest and gigantic mountains of Himalayas
“Hub of Fruit” – Kalash Valley is famous for its rich soil, almost every kind of fruit is cultivated and available on its soil. Kalash Valley is not only famous because of its rich soil but the valley itself gives breathtaking views. The greenery is so amazing that eye cannot miss any spot where there is no green mountain.
Islamabad: Capital of Pakistan – Islamabad is not only safest place to visit but Margalla Hills adds immense beauty to this wonderful region. Pir Sohawa – The Monal is the most popular spot of Margalla Hills. Tourists who like to hike; it’s one of the best places to hike. The forestry department of Pakistan and the authorities has developed 6 Margalla Trails to visit the forests and explore the natural resorts in the forests. It is safest place for campaigning also. The other two trails are Saidpur Trail and Bari Imam Trail.
Lahore: Lahore capital of Punjab Province – popular for the most beautiful and ancient mosques; Badshahi Mosque and Khan Wazir Mosque. The iconic Minar-e-Pakistan is the attention seeker of many tourists. But most of all Lahore is renowned for the variety of delicious food they offer. Human jammed yet colorful and lively Food Street is situated in Fort Road, it was constructed in 21 January, 2012; to attract tourists by offering them typical mouthwatering Lahori Cuisines and the astonishing sites of Badshahi Mosque is worth visiting. Other than Fort Road Food Street, Lakshmi Chowk and Gulberg Mini Market are also popular for splendid Desi Cuisines.
Bahawalpur: Tourism is not all about Northern side of Pakistan. Let’s go to South of Punjab and let’s not forget that Pakistan has been blessed with amazing tourist spots nationwide.
“City of Nawabs” – Bahawalpur, a city which history goes back to 1802 and it offers so many places to visit and to make your trip more adventurous and full of excitement. Noor Mahal and Derawar Fort are the must visit place.
Ranikot Fort: To make the adventure more exciting tourists must visit Ranikot Fort. Ranikot Fort is “second largest wall” after The Great China Wall. The circumference of this wall is approximately 32 km. Ranikot Fort is basically Talpur fort near Sann, situated in Sindh.
Why Pakistan is a Wonderful country to Visit
- Incredible Humans – People are unbelievably sweet and simple. Pakistanis are always at the best of their hospitality to the extent that foreigners get amazed the way people treat them. They are always there to give you free rides, free meals, and invitation to their homes is always at the top of the list. Locals feel proud to introduce their hometown – homeland to the foreigners.
- Skeptical Views – Pakistan is the country with wonderful landscapes, mountains, forests, rivers, deserts and lush valleys. Pakistan has been blessed with “five famous peaks” out of the world’s fourteen highest peaks and K2 is at the top of the list. If tourists are fond of climbing trekking and campaigning, then definitely Pakistan is the country for you.
- Part of British Empire – Pakistan was part of British Empire. Although Urdu is the national language of Pakistan but English language is widely spoken and taught in the schools so foreigners does not face any language barrier when they visit Pakistan. A little tip for foreigners who want to travel Pakistan, try to learn some Urdu words and you will be amazed by the treatments of the locals. Try it!
- Momentous Silk Road – Marco Polo a European discoverer, explored the Silk Route; an ancient road that links Roman Empire between the Imperial Dynasties of China. This route lays at the very center of great Karakoram an important crossroad that links The Middle East, The Indian Subcontinent, and Central Asia. Silk Route is the path that opens to three faiths and cardinal directions; North is Buddhism, East is Islam, West is Traditional.
- Karakoram Adventure – Karakoram itself is an epic adventure for motorcycling tours. Today Karakoram runs at the length of the country giving spectacular views and stunning adventures for the motorcyclist. The road itself gives breathtaking views it goes straight at the heart of mountains and tourists are amazed with the lush Rakaposhi, The Khunjerab border and The Passu Cones. People who love to ride bike then you can have one of a lifetime motorbike adventure in Pakistan.
- Trekking Mania – You get the world’s best trekking in Pakistan. There are some amazing treks one can enjoy from one-day trip to multi-days treks. If you are trek lover then Fairy Meadows is one the most stunning place to go, where you can be amazed by the stunning views of Nanga Parbat. Nanga Parbat is the world’s ninth highest mountain. So if you want to treat yourself with special trekking, it’s a must visit spot.
- Mughal Architect – You can find some of the greatest art work of Mughal Empire in Lahore and Bahawalpur. Yes we are telling you about Badshahi Mosque in Lahore and Noor Mahal in Bahawalpur. These skeptical monuments leave you astonished by the way they are constructed so beautifully and careful handcrafts pattern have been done in the structures that looks like fairy tales.
- Incredibleness of Multicultural – It is true that Pakistan is the place where every culture, religion, faith is respected. From North to South you will find and meet tons of multicultural people. Every new place has its own culture, language, living style, food, sites and adventures.
- Low-budget Tour – Good news for the travelers who are low on budget, Pakistan is the most affordable place to visit. It’s actually possible to spend a whole week in U.S $100 including accommodations, transport, food and many activities.
- Food is Heaven – Amazing news for Foodies, you can get the most delicious, rich, spicy, sweet, heavy and yet most oily food. The most popular breakfast Nihari, Siri Paye, Cholay-Halwa with Naans and Puris. For main course from BBQ to skewered meat, Biryani, all kind of Karahis, Chapli Kabab and much more. The traditional sweets Gulab Jamun, Kheer and Falooda. You can find food in every corner of the country. Last but not the least Chayee – a traditional milk tea which is consumed all day long and it’s a gesture of friendliness and warm welcome.
Thoughts of Foreigners about Pakistan
Former German Ambassador Martin Kobler –
Martin Kobler declared Pakistan as a strong society because it serves the minorities and the people who need special care as equal citizens. He said in his last speech that Pakistani people are the strongest.
U.S Backpackers Alex and Sebastiaan –
The couple sold their each and every belonging, quit their jobs to go on a road trip of Asia. They travelled through Iran, Kazakhstan and in the end their personal favorite Pakistan. Both have the high regards for the Pakistani people, their journey started in the end of May and it lasted for six weeks. They enjoyed the holy month of Ramadan, they saw how people celebrate this month and when the holy month is over, as a reward they celebrate special religious occasion named as Eid. They were highly impressed by how people care and try to feed each and every person specially the needy and homeless ones.
BBC Journalists –
They traveled extensively from Iran to Pakistan and spent their time in urban cities Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. They said that Pakistani people are super friendly and they are the most hospitable humans in the region. Although they travelled in the holy month of Ramadan, the month in which people are bound to fast even then people did not hesitate to show them whole city all day and keep feeding them with food. They said they consumed that much amount of food in the entire trip than they have eaten their entire lives. They got to meet some great friends and they really hoped to visit Lahore again, pretty soon.
Australian Traveller Blogger Southall –
She shared some amazing experiences. She said they had the opportunity to relax in the beautiful Borith Lake and had the chance to meet with local villagers, which were extremely kind and gave them best experience of hospitality. They explore glaciers of gigantic size and the best part was to pluck fresh apricots every morning form the trees. It was absolute pleasure visiting Pakistan.
Polish Photographer –
She took breathtaking pictures of K2 through drone. Her travel advice for tourists is that visit to Pakistan is not only about spending holiday; it’s life-changing experience, an adventure that you will never forget. When you visit Pakistan you better be ready to get a lot of surprises, to face unique challenges and you are going to be inspired by the amazing people and stunning landscapes. He said start your journey with an open mind, big smile and a warm heart. He was assured that returning from Pakistan will leave you optimistic and kind.
U.S traveller Cynthia Ritchie –
U.S traveller found many similarities between her homeland and Pakistan. She said there so much common between U.S and Pakistan. Both Pakistani and people of United States value their faith, family and food. Both are known for the utmost hospitality and both love their tea.
Honestly, Pakistan got hit by Terrorist Attacks in past decade and it’s still fighting the war against terrorism but honestly right now every region of the world is not safe and seems to have terrorist attacks now and then. Pakistanis are extremely against terrorism and they are anti-Taliban. Pakistan Army is playing a key role to end terrorism promoted by Taliban’s.
If tourists or travelers get assigned by armed escorts in few particular areas it doesn’t truly mean that you are in danger-zone or you are going to hit by a terrorist attack, it’s just mean that Pakistan Government wants each and every person of this country to be safe and secure either they are locals or its guest.
In a nutshell, Pakistan is a land of amazing landscapes and adventure. The most amazing and biggest achievement of Pakistan is that its perception is changing in the eyes of world. Foreign tourists and travelers are now experiencing personally by paying a visit to Pakistan. They are not only stunned by the beauty of land but amazed to see that Pakistan is the safe place to visit. A trip to Pakistan not only show you mesmerizing sceneries but it’s a lifetime chance to connect with the locals and experience a country personally which nobody really knows about. A tour to stunning Pakistan, you will get to meet incredible and friendly people, breathtaking landscapes, stunning valleys and rivers, beautiful monuments, colorful life, food and culture.