Pakistan may not be the biggest tourist hotspot, but it makes this gorgeous and diverse country even more of a gem! Let’s get one thing straight, though: traveling Pakistan is not for beginners and may not fit you if you like to fully kick your feet up on holidays.
If you’re ready for an adventure and to be stunned by this stunning South Asian country, here are some tips that will help your travels go smoother!
Still the hottest question for international tourists: how can I even get in there? Well, here are the entry requirements related to COVID-19 currently in place in Pakistan:
- You’ll have to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result, taken no earlier than 48 hours prior to departure.
- You will also need to show your certificate of vaccination.
- You need to register on the Pakistani government’s Passtrack app, which aids in tracking people coming into Pakistan from other countries to control the spread of COVID.
Best time to visit
Pakistan is not only diverse culturally, but also meteorologically. The weather not only varies through seasons but also depends on where you are in the country.
If you’re going to visit the southern part of Pakistan, it’s best to visit in winter (mid-November to February), as the weather is quite comfortable around this time. This part of the country is the most diverse part of Pakistan, so in case it gets cooler, the people will warm you up!
If you want to go trekking in the north, though, we wouldn’t recommend winter as the paths become inaccessible and just plain dangerous. We’d recommend trekking in the summer instead.
You may choose to get the best of both worlds by visiting in fall or spring. These are the low seasons, tourism-wise. The weather is mostly pleasant during these seasons, and you can go trekking. However, during late fall or early spring, you might not be able to get in the mountains as in winter.
Expect the unexpected
We know this is a pretty cliche saying when it comes to traveling, and a bit paradoxical as well. But let us explain!
When traveling from town to town on buses, for example, be ready that your bus might break down. This is a totally normal occurrence. Be ready and try to enjoy the moment, even try to bond with your fellow passengers! Pakistanis are known for their hospitality, after all.
Then there’s the issue with bureaucracy and permits. The permits you need might change from time to time, and the information you get from one police officer may differ from another official. Just be quick on your feet and don’t get too beat up about it: it’ll just ruin your trip to be annoyed!
If bureaucracy inside the country makes you nervous, here’s some sugar to help the medicine go down: it’s generally easy to get a visa to enter Pakistan! Now, you can easily apply for a visa online.
Knowledge is power
As we mentioned above, Pakistan fits more experienced travelers better. Here, what you know and who you know really matter.
Take care to understand local cultures and respect them. Pakistan is a conservative Islamic country and there are some cultural nuances to keep in mind. This may present challenges, especially to women, but staying modest and using common sense will get you quite far. Make sure to read more from travel blogs and forums and learn from their experience.
In the case of bureaucratic processes, for example, knowing someone that can take care of your permits can get useful, as things can get difficult for a foreigner. You can even visit restricted areas without a permit if you know the right people. We admit that this can get into a grey area, but it’s how things are.
But even besides bureaucracy and possible corruption, it’s handy to know someone. For example, getting a SIM card from companies like ZONG is more expensive for foreigners. If you had a Pakistani pal who could get it for you, you’d save some money. You could spend the money you didn’t pay ZONG to chill out and drink chai with your friends instead.
Also, getting to know the Pakistani people is a delight! Sure, it’s practical to have someone help you and show you around, but as we said, they’re incredibly hospitable. What they lack in tourist infrastructure they make up with their big hearts. So go on and explore!