Pakistan Visitors Information


Strategically situated between India, China, Afghanistan and Iran, Pakistan follows the Indus River down from the spectacular mountain ranges in the north (which include the world’s second highest peak, K2) to the Arabian Sea. The river passes through the fertile provinces of Punjab and Sindh in the east and south. The southwest of Pakistan consists of the arid plateau of Baluchistan. The major cities of Karachi, the capital Islamabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi are all situated in the lowlands of the Indus valley.
 The nation of Pakistan itself may be relatively new, but the Indus region has hosted civilization for thousands of years and the country has a rich culture and fascinating history from Alexander the Great to the heyday of the Silk Route, with the lucrative trade between China, India and the Roman empire; and rivalries between Hindu and Islamic dynasties and later the British Empire.
 Life in the bustling southern cities is a mix of ancient tradition and modern technology, where shoppers haggle in colorful bazaars and craftsmen ply their trade, while others tuck into hot and spicy treats at street restaurants, or take their ease at teahouses. Lahore, in particular, boasts some wonderful historic architecture with its pink and white marble buildings, and the beautiful Moghul-style Badshahi Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world – almost as magnificent as the Taj Mahal in India.

 

Climate in Pakistan

Pakistan’s climate is varied because of the difference in elevation from one end of the country to another. During the summer months from April to September the mountainous north is pleasant and temperate, but the Indus Valley swelters in temperatures of 100ºF (40ºC) or more. In late summer the southern region experiences monsoons, particularly along the coast. In winter the low-lying areas cool down appreciably to average temperatures of between 50ºF and 70ºF (10ºC to 25ºC), while the northern mountains ice up with the air well below freezing.

 

Languages in Pakistan

Urdu is the official language, but English is widely spoken and understood. There are also several regional languages and local dialects.

 

Money in Paksitan

The Pakistani Rupee (PKR) is divided into 100 paisa. Travellers cheques are accepted at most banks, four and five star hotels and major shops. Larger shops and hotels accept credit cards, mostly American Express. Bargaining is expected in street markets and small stores.

 

Pakistan Time

Local time is GMT +5.

 

Communications in Paksitan

The International Direct Dialling code for Pakistan is +92. The outgoing international code is 00. There are several GSM 900 and 1800 mobile networks in operation, providing fair coverage, concentrated in urban areas. Internet cafes also exist in the main towns and cities.

 

Tipping

The larger hotels and restaurants add a service charge of 10% to their bills otherwise tipping is not customary in Pakistan. Baksheesh, however, helps get things done more quickly.

 

Health in Pakistan

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry to Pakistan by travellers coming from an infected area. Malaria exists in parts of Pakistan, and travellers should seek medical advice before travelling. Typhoid, Hepatitis A and polio are also a risk. There is a risk of diarrhoeal diseases; visitors should only drink bottled or otherwise sterilised water, and avoid dairy products, uncooked meat, salads and unpeeled fruit. Outside the major cities there are few hospitals of a high standard. Medical insurance is strongly advised.

 

Pakistan's Customs

Pakistan is a strict Muslim state and therefore alcohol and pork products are forbidden by law. Homosexuality is illegal. Women in particular are expected to dress and behave decorously in public; even in the large cities shoulders and legs should be covered, and men should not wear shorts. Westerners should expect to be stared at - this is not considered rude in Pakistan, and is purely because you are new and different. Religious customs should be respected, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture.

 

Electricity

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round two- or three-pin plugs are used.

 


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