Pakistan is a large country located in South-Central Asia and is also a part of the Greater Middle East Region. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea, and its neighbors are Afghanistan to the west and northwest, Iran to the southwest, The Republic of India to the east, and China to the northeast. Geographically, Pakistan is extremely diverse. It’s actually a country where you can find all kinds of geological structures.
It has something for all kinds of tourists: the sea, desert areas (Sindh & Punjab), mountains covered with vegetation (North West Province), bare mountains (Balochistan), icy and snowy mountains, rivers, waterfalls, forests etc. What attracts most tourists is the fact that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan contain the mountain ranges of the Himalayas, the Karakoram, and the Hindu Kush which are world-known. A special treat for travelers is seeing the Pakistan’s highest point, K2, at 8,611m – the second highest peak in the world.
Warnings & Dangers in Pakistan
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
With extreme poverty crushing the country, it is no wonder that Pakistan isn't safe for travelers, as both petty and violent crimes took over the streets of the country. Be extremely careful if you're planning on visiting Pakistan.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
No form of transportation is safe in Pakistan. Tourists are advised to take be extra careful at the airport itself. Avoid all forms of public transportation including taxis and buses: if at all possible, arrange with the people you're staying with to pick you up from the airport.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Petty street crime is a serious issue in Pakistan and tourists are strongly advised against carrying valuables with them while on the streets: passports, bankcards, bags, jewelry, laptops, mobile phones, iPads and anything else you can think of is of extreme value to any pickpocket in Pakistan, since there is a large black market for all of these items, especially for passports whether forged or stolen.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
As for the natural disasters, Pakistan is susceptible to a couple of them that have hit in the past, like earthquakes, floods and tsunamis. Monitor the situation and follow the advice from the authorities.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Violent crime rates are also high in Pakistan, and this includes armed robbery, robbery, carjacking, kidnappings, home invasion and even murder. These are all common, especially in major urban areas.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorists are very likely to try and carry out attacks in Pakistan. The biggest threat comes from Tehrik-e Taleban Pakistan, which is an umbrella organization of groups based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. TTP carry out attacks throughout Pakistan, and the attacks are usually carried out using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), including suicide attacks.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
There are scammers in Pakistan trying to take advantage of tourists, and the situation with scams is similar as in any other country. Be wary when handling money and of anyone trying to distract you. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Women shouldn't let their guard down in Pakistan. This isn't a safe country for anyone to be alone in, and this applies to women too. Apply all precaution measures at all times and avoid dark and empty streets and locations.
So... How Safe Is Pakistan Really?
The biggest issue for foreigners in Pakistan, when it comes to safety, is that this country has suffered from several bomb attacks during the last couple of years, and they were aimed against security forces, so called western institutions. Apart from that, its former prime minister Benazir Bhutto has been publically assassinated upon her return from exile, and all of this has brough great turmoil to this country. There is a great risk from attacks that usually occur after military actions against the Talibans. Before travelling to Sudan, check the situation in the state with your embassy, and consult them about the forbidden and dangerous areas.
For example, one of the off-limits areas for foreigners is the line of control between Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. You should also avoid the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and all regions near the sensitive Afghan border since the Pakistan government has almost no authority there and they can’t help you if you end up in an emergency.
As for crime, you should avoid going out at night altogether as you might get mugged, robbed or scammed, especially in Karachi, a city known for its high crime rates. Tourists are also strongly advised against visiting political gatherings, as – though it’s a country filled with friendly people – these gatherings might escalate into protest that can turn violent and in some cases deadly.
- Visas - Most countries do need a visa in order to enter Pakistan. Some travelers can get a visa on arrival if traveling as part of a group tour, or for business. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your stay in Pakistan. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Pakistani rupee is the official currency in Pakistan. There are ATMs in Lahore and Islamabad and they accept foreign credit cards. Top end establishments accept credit cards, but you are advised to bring cash with you.
- Weather - Weather in Pakistan can be divided into three seasons: winter, that lasts from November to March, which is warm and affected by sea breezes on the coast, summer that lasts from April to July, with extreme temperatures and the monsoon season that lasts from July to September, with plenty of precipitation up on the hills.
- Airports - Jinnah International Airport is the largest and busiest international airport in Pakistan. It is located in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to Pakistan, because it would cover not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.