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> Pakistan Starter Kit, Top Tips and FAQ
uncle_davros
post Aug 14 2006, 04:36 PM
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The TravelPod Pakistan Starter Kit

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This starter kit isn’t meant to replace a guide book. It’s a collection of top tips and frequently asked questions about the region. If you are headed to India, make sure to have a glance.

Contribute if you can by replying to this post!


Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Dress Sense

As Pakistan in an Islamic country, it is better to dress sensibly and gain the respect of the people. Women should wear either long skirts or long trousers and shirts that go down to at least their elbows. A scarf to cover your head is not necessary but, always carry one as you will need to cover your head when entering a Mosque. Men should follow a similar guideline.

Blogging

Although it may not be the fastest, Internet is generally available just about everywhere in Pakistan.
Most computers at Internet café’s have USB ports which you can use to upload photos from your camera to your blog, but when I was there, only in Lahore did they have Windows 2000 as their operating system. If you encounter Windows 95/98, you will need your own drivers for your camera to view/burn the photos.
Some café’s can burn your photos onto CD for you, but this is few and far between.
Taking a laptop is a challenge due to security and rough roads.
Keep notes in your paper journal then write your entries when you get to a café.
If you would like to write your entries outside of a café, consider getting a small and sturdy PDA (handheld PC) or the like with a fold out keyboard.

Security

Generally speaking, it’s best not to wander around cities (especially big ones) at night.
Keep your passport and valuables in a hidden money belt and never take it out when outside.
Walk with assurance, don’t look lost, even if you are.
When arriving in a new city from your home country, try to book your first night’s stay before you arrive.
Don’t draw attention to yourself, hide all of your expensive goodies.
Remove or obscure big name labels on bags and cameras.
Pakistanis in general, are a very friendly bunch of people. You will feel safe.
If your day pack has a rain cover, use it when in cramped spaces to keep quick hands from opening zips.
Travel Insurance is a good idea and is generally cheap, make sure that it covers the types of activities you plan to do. TravelPod offers Adventure Travel Insurance.
Be very aware if someone touches you, bumps into you or even brushes nest to you. Contact is a common trick to distract you or it could be someone dipping into your pack.

Visas

You will need a visa to enter the country. Generally, they are for two months and they are single entry. One important thing to remember is, once your visa is stamped into your passport, you have six months from that day to use it. Outside of Pakistan, allow one week for it to be processed, however, in your own country, it could take as little as an hour.

Pakistani Sights

Lahore

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Lahore has numerous sites to see. The premier site being the largest Mosque in the Sub-Continent. The Badshahi
The Delhi Gate in the Old City will take you into the Bazaar.
Lahore Fort. Another Mughal fort

Quetta

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The melting pot of people. This is the first place to visit if you have come overland from Iran. The people are a mixture of Pakistanis and Baluchistanis. It can be overwhelming, but sit back and take it in

Peshawar

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This is the home of the Afridi’s. If you need to visit the Khyber Pass or Afghanistan, it is arranged from here. You will need an armed guard, and your hotel can do this for you. The bazaar is great and the people are friendly

Chitral

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This is the stepping off point for the Kalasha Valley. The only non-Muslim people left in Pakistan. There are also numerous treks that can be done from here, but there are better ones further North

Karakoram Highway

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The ultimate road trip. From Pakistan to China. Along the way, there are numerous valleys to trek. Including The Hunza Valley and Rakaposhi Mountain. The views are awesome

Waggah

It might only be a border between Pakistan and India, but this is a closing ceremony not to be missed, and it is only thirty Kilometres from Lahore. The guards yell at each other, they stamp their feet, flags come down and the border gates are closed. And whilst this is happening, crowds from both sides are cheering like there is no tomorrow

Health

Generally Malaria isn’t a problem malaria facts for more accurate info and if in doubt, take the meds.
Generally, it’s best to avoid drinking the local water.
It is a case of when you get sick, not if you get sick.
Info on high-altitude-sickness.
If you have bad diarrhea, avoid Imodium at all costs unless you absolutely need to travel somewhere that day. Imodium keeps your sickness trapped inside and can make you more sick.
If you do become sick, keep your fluids up

Travel

Trains


If traveling from Quetta to Lahore or visa-versa, the sleeper train is the way to go. They are comfortable and cheap. All trains can be booked, and they do not tend to fill up very quickly. From Lahore, they only go as far as Rawalpindi.

Rickshaws

Take care when choosing rickshaws. Always barter a price with them.
One way to get around this, is to ask your fellow travelers how much a trip was. Once in the rickshaw, pay the amount to the driver and walk away.
Tell your driver where you want to go by using a street corner instead of an address. For example, “drop me off at the corner of X and Y street”.
No matter what, they will try to rip you off, but this is different to India, if you don’t like the price, move into the next driver.

Buses

The buses here are old and colourful. If you are traveling long distance, you will have to sit next to another man, unless you are with your girlfriend/wife. In the cities, the buses are segregated .for Men and Women. There is nothing you can do, so go with the flow.

Mini Buses

Mini buses, or Toyota Hiaces, travel vast distances over this country. And as there is no segregation on these buses, be prepared to play musical chairs so that you are either sitting next to another Man, or if you are a Woman, next to another Woman

Food

Pakistani food in general, is spicy. It is also very meaty. However, vegetarians have plenty of options as well. Most meals are served with tandoori rotis. Flat round bread that is cooked in a wood fired oven in front of you. Also, if you don’t understand the menu, enter the kitchen, and the guy out the front who is cooking the food, will gladly show you his wares. If this does not help, there is always fruit. There is a never ending supply of dates and at every mini bus station, you will find copious amounts of pears and bananas. For desert, there is nothing like Pakistani ice cream. In fact, in Lahore, there is a little street devoted to this delicacy. So, become part of the population and get amongst it yourself. During Ramazan/Ramadan, between breakfast and dinner, it can be hard finding food. However, most hotels that cater for Westerners, will provide breakfast for you. As the sun goes down, the locals will start sharing dates and you will meet plenty of people this way

Dahl Fry – Curried yellow lentils cooked into a thick mass
Aloo Gobi – Potatoes and Cauliflower
Aloo Palak – Potato and Spinach
Qorma – Mutton/chicken, cooked in a yoghurt sauce
Kheema – Minced lamb cooked in a curry sauce
Roti – Round bread, normally cooked in the tandoori oven in front of you. Also known as chapattis

Drinks

Chai, chai, chai. Have I mentioned chai! Pakistanis drink Chai like there is no tomorrow. Chai is for every occasion. On trains, at bus stops, on the side of the road. There are chai wallahs everywhere. And just to be sure, always drink bottled water.

Money

The official currency is the Pakistani Rupee. Changing money is easy. There are black market money changers but their rate is not as good as the bank. You can change both cash and travelers cheques. Currently, The USD and the Pound are the two best currencies to take. In the future, there is a good chance that this will change as more people become use to the Euro. ATM machines are found in the bigger cities, but it always helps to have an emergency supply of cash that can be changes if there are no ATM’s to be found

Photography

As Pakistan is a Muslim country, if you want to take photos of the women, ask for permission. The men and children will happily pose. As for sites, the mountains up north are just begging for photos to be taken. Digital resources can be hard to find, but you can get conventional film developed in the bigger cities

Language

In Pakistan, the official language is Urdu. This is based on Punjab.

Here are the basics:
Hello - Assalām ‘alaikum
Goodbye - Khuda hafiz
Thank you - Shukriya
Where is – Kahaa hai
How much is it? - Kitne?
Yes – Jee haa
No – Jee nahee
1 - Ek
2 - Do
3 - Teen
4 - Chaar
5 - Panch
6 - Chai
7 - Saat
8 - Aat
9 - Nau
10 - Das

Religion

Pakistan is an Islamic country. The majority of the people are Sunnis. There are Shi ites and beneath the surface you will find Sikhs and Hindus who stayed behind after partition

If you found this useful, once you return from your trip please take the time to help by contributing to the FAQ and also by replying to posts.

And Finally

Over the years Pakistan has received some bad press, but inside this country, nothing is further from the truth. The local people love the fact that you are there as there are not many tourists. You will be asked many questions, but it is only because they are inquisitive.


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uncle_davros
post Oct 27 2006, 01:10 PM
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Spock

Next time, I will go to Karachi for the excitement


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uncle_davros
post Oct 27 2006, 01:23 PM
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I do want to go there, but with the uprising this year after the Danish cartoons, is it safe? I have met many Afghanis in Peshewar and I do like the Turkman that came out of there. If it is safe enough, I will go next time


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uncle_davros
post Oct 27 2006, 01:33 PM
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There are however meant to be some beautiful things to see. I have seen pictures of the lakes there. They look magical


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uncle_davros
post Nov 8 2006, 01:31 PM
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But being a dry country is not bad. It is a good thing as far as I am concerned. You do not need alcohol to have a good time


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uncle_davros
post Nov 8 2006, 03:14 PM
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But Pakistan has cricket and that is a good thing


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bgleixner
post Nov 9 2006, 03:14 AM
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Hey there ... nice starter kit for Pakistan ... you are right - it is a great place with a lot of color - and many friendly people. It can be intimidating for foreigners, especially women. One must be mindful of their surroundings. One comment I'd like to make is .... why didn't you add Islamabad/Rawalpindi in here? I know Lahore is "where its at" but ... come on! The moutainous region north of Islamabad is wonderful. Town called Murree is noteworthy ...
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uncle_davros
post Nov 9 2006, 01:04 PM
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Thanks for the compliment

If you have anymore ideas, go ahead and post them, we would all appreciate it


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lraleigh
post Nov 12 2007, 04:42 AM
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Hello all,

Just came from Pakistan and wanted to relate new info to you. As of this fall, you can get a visa at the Sost border station if coming from China and the Khunjerab Pass (for most US-Japan-Euro--check to verify your nationality can do this). The visa is valid for one month.

Lloyd
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wakingdream
post Nov 12 2007, 04:24 PM
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Thanks for the info Lloyd. We've been seeing plenty of Pakistan in the news. How were things for you? I'm still under the belief that traveling there is still safe though many seem to think otherwise. Can you shed some light on the topic? Thanks. smile.gif


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prince0094
post May 27 2009, 04:17 AM
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Hello Fnrd This is Prince Hafee from Dubai ..I like green country soo much I m going to plan for some travial ,,,,so which country will be bettar
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prince0094
post May 27 2009, 04:32 AM
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QUOTE(spock @ Nov 5 2006, 01:46 AM) *

And if you come to Lahore in the spring,two interesting things :
a.The annual Horse and Cattle Show in March at the Fortress Stadium if you want to see dancing cattle and horses.
b.The annual kite flying festival of "Basant" when the whole city goes crazy looting kites.


Yes my brother i like it ...and when you go to chatral an dyou can enjoy the polo game on the top of the hill....wery enjoybal place...[i]


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johnpeter90
post Jul 22 2010, 06:11 AM
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Thanks i had no knowledge about it, great job.

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- Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 1st September 2014 - 03:30 PM
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