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Visit Pakistan

Brimming with fascinating history of past empires, natural wonders, and friendly locals, Pakistan, though often overlooked by all but the most audacious travellers, will be sure to reward with unforgettably unique experiences.

Find yourself astonished by the glittering modern cosmopolitan that is Lahore but be reminded of the old saying that in every Lahori there is a Moghul prince, so expect to be welcomed with time honoured hospitality.


Regional Highlights

  • Go back in time with a visit to the UNESCO Heritage listed Lahore Fort, a 16th century Moghul citadel.
  • The magnificent Badshahi Mosque opposite the main gateway to the Lahore Fort is one of the world's largest mosques. At night the mosque is beautifully illuminated, it's a great time to visit to avoid the crowds.
  • The Lahore Museum contains an incredible amount of artifacts and provides an interesting overview of this rich history.
  • History buffs will be in heaven uncovering the treasure trove of artifacts at the Fakir Khana Museum. This is a private museum, you will need to prearrange your visit - but you will not be disappointed by this hidden gem!
  • Climb the towering minaret of the breathtaking Wazir Khan Mosque and take in the panoramic views - amazing!
  • Get lost in Lahore's Walled City. Wander the maze of tight alleyways lined with restored havelis, with the delightful aromas of sizzling street food teasing your tastebuds.
  • Witness the pomp and ceremony at the Wagah Border, a display of cooperation or rivalry between the two nations. You can decide.

You'll be surprised by this refreshingly green and laid-back city, a gateway to the Himalayas. Then find yourself in “little Tibet”, a mecca of mountain climbers who come to conquer the tallest peaks in the world, including the infamous K2.


Regional Highlights

  • Islamabad's most recognisable landmark is the Shah Faisal Mosque gifted to the city by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Beautiful day or night.
  • Margalla Hills are essentially the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. The beautiful view across the city from Daman-e-Koh, makes a visit here a must. You can also find some delcious restaurants and of course amazing treks.
  • The massive and breathtaking Pakistan Monument symbolises the country's cultural diversity and national unity.
  • A great day trip from Islamabad is the ancient archaeological site of Taxila, situated on the Grand Trunk Road, now recognised by UNESCO.
  • Lok Virsa Museum - This fantastic ethnographic museum showcases a large collection of traditional Pakistani handicrafts, including wood carvings, jewellery and textiles.

Perched 2,438 metres above sea level Skardu is the gateway to the Karakoram mountains. Located on the Indus River explore the picturesque valleys before heading to bustling Gilgit, an important trading centre on the Silk Road with the tradition of exchange continuing today at the bazaar.

In the Hunza Valley continue one of the most epic road trips the world has to offer along the Karakoram Highway, an ancient link between the Indian Continent, the Far East, as well as the Middle East and Europe. Perhaps uncover the secrets of why some believe the people of Hunza valley experience exceptionally long lifespans, though it’s not hard to fathom when fresh fruit grows in abundance and the mountain air is clear and crisp.


Regional Highlights

  • Just outside of Skardu is the beautiful Satpara Lake surrounded by glacial mountains reflected in the crystal clear waters.
  • Marvel at the cold desert of the Shigar Valley, and explore the fruit ladden orchards meeting the people of these unique lands.
  • Wander the riot of colour at the local bazaar's and sample the delicious local produce.
  • Throughout spring witness the beauty of the apricot and cherry blossoms in bloom in the Hunza Valley with an unbeatable backdrop.
  • Enroute to Hunza Valley see the most dramatic views from the Karakoram Highway of snow-capped mountains including the imposing Rakaposhi at a massive 7788m.

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FAQs

Capital city: Islamabad

Population: 193.2million

Official Language: Urdu & English

Currency: Pakistani Rupee

Timezone: GMT +5

Electricity:Type C (European 2-pin) & Type D (Indian three round prongs that form a triangle)

International Dial Code: +92

Most travellers need a visa to enter Pakistan. You will need to apply at the Pakistan embassy in your home country or country of residence some will require an invitation letter.

You visa will be valid for 6 months from the date of issue for a stay of 90 days. Processing time can greatly vary from a few days to six weeks. Make sure you allow ample processing time.

Sundowners Overland will provide the necessary documentation including your Cover Letter and Proof of Travel Arrangements from our Local Partner in Pakistan, which are required to support your visa application. Please note that we can only include the travel arrangements that Sundowners Overland has booked on your behalf. If you have organized any independent travel outside of your Sundowners Overland arrangements, you will need to provide your own proof of these arrangements.

Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information on the cost and method of payment. Cash is generally not accepted and often payment will need to be arranged before you apply with the embassy/consulate. The actual application process will vary depending on your nationality and the consulate/embassy at which you will be applying. Please check the appropriate consulate website for specific information.

Travel Insurance is mandatory for all group journeys and Sundowners Overland strongly recommends travel insurance for all other journeys. You must ensure that your insurance policy covers you for the entire duration of your journey, for all activities you will be participating in and that you have purchased the highest level of cover available to you for medical emergencies (including repatriation/evacuation cover) which are relevant to ALL the destinations that you will be visiting. Contact us for further information and quotes.

If you are taking special medication, it is a good idea to carry a letter from your doctor to show authorities if necessary. Some medications and sleeping pills that contain codeine are restricted in Pakistan.

Since some medications can also be affected by changes in temperature or require special care, we recommend you discuss this with your doctor before departure.

May - October is generally considered the ideal time to visit Pakistan. As you will be travelling at varying altitudes you will encounter a range temperatures in each region. Cities can reach over 40 degrees Celsius at the height of summer while the Hunza Valley might dip below 20 degrees Celsius.

The official currency in Pakistan is the Rupee (PKR).

Pakistan is very much a cash based society credit cards are not widely accepted, however some hotels and high end shops may accept Visa, Mastercard and Amex in major cities.

US and Euros are the easiest and most reliable currencies to exchange. If you’re exchanging US Dollars, make sure they're recent notes. Dollar bills printed before 2005 won’t be accepted. You should also make sure both the notes you exchange and the Rupees you’re given are undamaged. Torn or marked notes cannot be used or exchanged in Pakistan.

ATM's are widely available in Pakistan, they will only accept cards that are chip-and-pin enabled. ATM's in more rural areas are notoriously unreliable. If you do intend to leave the city, make sure you get enough cash out before you go.

If you're staying for longer than four weeks, you'll need to carry documented evidence of having received a dose of polio vaccine within 12 months prior to departure from Pakistan. If you don't have this, you may be need to be vaccinated prior to leaving Pakistan.

Pakistan - China

Located at 4,600 meters above sea level, the China-Pakistan border crossing, which goes over the Khunjerab pass and the Karakoram Highway, is the highest and, consequently, one of the most beautiful borders in the world. The journey is quite easy and it only requires a little preparation, but you do need to pack your patience, it can easily take up to 10 hours to complete border formalities.

On the Pakistani side, the pass is 75 km from the customs and immigration post in Sost. On the Chinese side, the border post is located 3.5 km from the pass. The actual Chinese customs and immigration procedures are conducted at Tashkurgan, about 120 km from the Sino-Pakistan border. The border crossing is officially opened from April 1st until 30th of November, but closure can happen earlier due to weather conditions or landslides. It’s also closed on weekends.

The road from Sost to the Chinese border goes through Khunjerab National Park, at the entrance foreigners will be asked to pay a fee of 800PKR so keep some rupees handy.

The Chinese border guards will most likely ask for a proof of a recent polio vaccination for anyone who has spent more than 1 month in Pakistan. On the Pakistan side of the border, a “healthcare point” can give you an oral vaccination and a certificate to hand over to the Chinese for free.

Be sure to bring some snacks and water with you, there is nothing available en route.

  • Pakistani's are next level hospitable, you'll no doubt be invited to many meals in family homes. They are proud of the fact you are their guest. Be respectful and courteous at all times. Bring a small gift with you to show your gratitude for the invitation.
  • Finishing a meal involves a delicate balance…. cleaning your plate will invite more to be served, while leaving too much may be a sign you didn’t enjoy it. Aim for leaving just a little, announcing you can't fit another morsel in, and heavily praise the food.
  • Always remember to remove your shoes before entering the home of a Pakistani.
  • Men and women may not be allowed to eat together in more conservative families.
  • Whilst wearing a Shalwar Kameez (traditional Pakistani dress) in not required but the locals really do appreciate it.
  • Pakistan is an Islamic country it is respectful and adhere to certain aspects of Islam, such as dressing conservatively and observing holy days.
  • Eating is usually done with the right hand – the left hand is considered unclean, so to be seen eating or touching someone with it would be frowned upon.
  • Men should never shake hands or touch a women they don't know.

Except in Gilgit-Baltistan, the internet works reasonably well throughout the country.