Tag Archives: pakistan travel

Traveling to PAKISTAN: Everything You Need to Know

Hi guys I’m Ava and I’m a travel blogger
and I love Pakistan I am currently in
Islamabad on my second visit to this
amazing country and I thought I’d make a
little vlog to tell you a bit more about
traveling here it’s not one of the
easiest countries in the world to travel
to and if like me you have a foreign
passport there’s a few things that you
need to know before coming here and if
like me you have traveled in Asia before
but never to this particular region
there’s also a few things that you
should probably know about the local
culture and customs just to enjoy your
stay 100 percent now just before I get
started with all my tips I want to
preface this by saying that Pakistan is
not at all what you expect it to be at
the end of the video I will make one
really important point that every single
traveler coming to Pakistan absolutely
needs to know about so make sure you
hang around right until then alright
let’s get started the number one thing
that you need to know about traveling to
Pakistan is your visa conditions every
single country has slightly different
set of visa requirements so make sure
you check those before booking your trip
I have an EU passport so what I needed
to provide before coming here was a
letter of invitation also known as the
LOI this is a letter provided by someone
in Pakistan a tour company or a friend
if you have one here attesting that you
have been invited to come here that they
will be taking care of you at all times
yes it seems a little bit strict and it
is a piece of formality that you may
need so make sure you check beforehand
with your local embassy the LOI I had to
provide has to be a physical original
copy of the letter which had to be
mailed to me from Pakistan to Europe via
DHL so that took a little while make
sure you give yourself enough time
to plan you will also probably find
yourself filling out extremely long visa
forms mine had 11 pages and it included
all my personal details as well as the
details of all the countries I traveled
to in the last two years as a travel
blogger I’ve traveled to a lot of places
once you have your LOI and once you’ve
submitted your documents to the Embassy
it really just depends on that
organisation how long it’s going to take
to process your visa mine took 2 weeks
and from what I heard that’s pretty
standard anywhere in the EU number two
once you’re over the hurdle of the visa
application you will also need to check
which areas in Pakistan you can travel
to you should know that some areas in
Pakistan are restricted which means that
you might not be able to go there at all
or you might need to apply for special
permits in order to go there
for example as at Kashmir also known as
occupy Kashmir I mean it’s an area of
very high tensions here in India and
Pakistan azad kashmir is one such area
before going there you may need to apply
for an NOC which is basically a noncom
NOC non non Objection Certificate excuse
my ignorance for the bureaucratic lingo
you may need to apply for an NAC from
one of the ministries here before going
that note that this could take a week or
more to process a lot of the most
popular tourist areas however don’t
require you to have an NOC for example
if you go to gilgit-baltistan where
holmes’s and Skardu probably you won’t
require an OC but this could change so
make sure you check before going places
like Lahore or Karachi or some about of
course you don’t need an NSC however as
I said these things change so make sure
you check before coming just so you have
all the right permits to go to the areas
you may want to check out related to
NoCs and restricted areas sometimes in
some places you might be assigned a god
if you’re not traveling with a local
what does that actually mean I’ve
actually never personally been assigned
to guard because I’ve always travelled
people from here from Pakistan but I
have heard stories of travelers who got
on buses from Islamabad to
gilgit-baltistan up in the mountains of
Pakistan and on the bus they were signed
to God or in their private car they had
to provide a space for the God
now these gods I usually assign that
military checkbox so you don’t need to
do anything before coming here the God
will just be given to you it may not be
the best travel experience but
unfortunately that’s how it still is in
some areas of Pakistan however if you’re
in the city is like laho like Islamabad
or Karachi you won’t be assigned to God
so you can travel freely in those areas
of course number 4 this is something I
struggled with when I came here for the
first time and I still sometimes
struggle with as well it’s what to wear
any Pakistan now guys you don’t you
listening to this part the girls this is
probably for you what I am wearing right
now for example is a relatively edgy
kind of t-shirt for much of the
Pakistani population now the thing is
you can technically wear anything you
want in Pakistan however you might get
stared at or looked at in the wrong way
so in order to feel comfortable here is
a few tips I’ve picked up along the way
number one wear trousers that are loose
so no leggings and jeans should be okay
shorts are a no-go for women again it’s
not illegal to wear them per se but you
will get a lot of strange looks so long
trousers number to wear a shirt that’s a
little bit longer maybe covers your bum
three sleeves I walk around in a t-shirt
a lot of the time but if you want to
feel really comfortable if you’re
traveling in more remote areas I would
suggest something that’s a 3/4 sleeve
however having said that in places like
Islamabad I feel perfectly comfortable
walking around in jeans and a t-shirt so
it’s really up to you and it really
depends on the situation and
location basically like a tunic style
outfit with loose trousers should do the
trick do you need to wear a headscarf in
Pakistan no you absolutely don’t it’s
not like Iran which I know is quite
strict about those things in Pakistan
you don’t need to wear headscarf and
many women especially in cities choose
not to wear one number 5 nightlife and
alcohol if you’ve done a bit of research
about Pakistan you will know that it’s
an Islamic Republic which means that
alcohol is illegal for the most part
here no bars no clubs no parties as you
may know them in the West and definitely
no alcohol in shops so try and enjoy
juices chai the local cuisine and have
fun without the parties actually my
question before coming here was so is it
really impossible to get alcohol in
Pakistan the honest answer is no it’s
not impossible in fact it is quite
possible especially if you’re not a
Muslim if you’re a foreigner it is
possible to obtain alcohol here but as I
said just come here to enjoy the culture
without necessarily subscribing to some
of the things that you might know from
back home in the West number 6
food one of my absolute top favourite
topics to talk about here in Pakistan so
Pakistani food culture is absolutely
incredible and there are so many
different subtypes of local cuisines
sweets and those I see things now get
ready there’s a few things that you need
to know about Pakistani cuisine before
you try it first of all it’s spice
see a lot of it is really quite fragrant
aromatic and actually quite hot so if
you’re not into hot boozy make sure you
tell your hosts or your chefs that you
need it a little bit milder now I love
my food a really really spicy so I can
just gobble it all up but it really just
depends on your personal preferences
another thing you should know is that
Pakistani cuisine is very rich and

hearty so one serving is usually going
to be enough if you have it with a roti
or chapati which is the local type Fred
it’s gonna fill you up for a good few
hours as opposed to India which has a
lot of options for veggies Pakistan is a
meat lover’s paradise really so while
you can’t get things like pork here
because it’s considered Haram which
means sinful in Islam there is so many
other types of meat that are very
popular here in Pakistan chicken mutton
lamb beef really pretty much anything
you want cities like Lahore and Karachi
are really famous for their Street food
scenes so go and check those out if your
true foodie in terms of the way you eat
and watch eat there’s a couple of
different schools I subscribe to the
first which is I’ll try anything at
least once even Street food restaurant
food home-cooked food anything I’ll give
it a go however I appreciate that not
everybody is blessed with a very strong
stomach or a very strong God so a lot of
people say that if when you come to
Pakistan you should be a little bit more
careful with the food that you consume
and make sure that all of the fresh
fruit or fresh vegetables you’re eating
are washed with Nestle water and by the
way Nestle water is more or less a
generic term to refer to mineral or
filtered water that’s definitely saved
in Pakistan the food is just insane it’s
so good it’s too good actually that
reminds me where is lunch let’s keep
going with this list of things that you
need to know before coming to Pakistan
getting to point number seven now
sightseeing there’s a few museums here
they can visit a lot of beautiful
mosques some old forts there’s so much
history here
you’ll be spoiled for choice and most
places are absolutely fine for you to
visit no matter where you’re from who
you are female or male but there’s a
couple of rules that you should probably
follow in visiting places of worship
like mosques for example women should
out of respect put on a headscarf when
visiting a mosque usually you also take
off your shoes for both men and women if
you’re not sure about any of these rules
just ask a passerby or the person in
charge of the place you’re visiting and
ask them they’ll give you all the tips
that you need number eight getting a
record Pakistan is not as developed in
terms of its public transport
infrastructure as many countries in
Southeast Asia for example or in Europe
so you may need to do a little bit of
digging a little bit of research there
is a pretty decent bus Network running
across most of the country that can get
you to some of the most popular spots in
Pakistan especially the touristy places
it doesn’t cost that much to hire a
private driver either and it’s going to
cost you much much less than it would in
the West so don’t be afraid to ask for
prices the great thing about having a
driver of your own is that you really
have a lot of freedom of movement some
places in the mountains or in the Swat
Valley really require you to have a car
it’s very difficult to get around with
that one it remind me a bit of a pain
what about driving on your own
in short if you’re not used to Pakistani
traffic which you’re probably not if
you’re watching this video I just
wouldn’t recommend it just just get a
driver another obvious way to get around
in Pakistan is by flying there’s a bunch
of airlines here that operate flights
between all the major cities and even
some of them more mountainous regions
usually prices are quite elevated I’ve
seen upwards of $200 for a one-hour
flight
so consider whether going overland might
be a better option number 9 we’re
getting close to the end boys and girls
number 9 is all about hotels this is an
interesting one there’s a couple of
luxury hotel chains here in Pakistan
such as this arena or the Pearl
Continental or even the Marriott and
those hotels really give you the highest
levels of security while you’re in the
country then they’re usually quite
barred away from everything around them
with big fat walls and those hotels can
cost you 100 200 300 dollars a night
quite easily if like me you prefer more
of the local flavor and you want to
support the local economy then have a
Google search now a lot of these hotels
are not going to be on booking.com
or TripAdvisor especially if we’re
talking about more remote areas like
Windsor or Seurat you will probably find
a lot of hotels on those sides for
cities like a whore in Karachi
so go for that but it’s not the same for
the remote areas usually it’s better to
look through blog posts
or Facebook pages even recommendations
from locals in fact a lot of the time
you might be able to just drive up to a
hotel and inquire whether there’s room
available and usually there is
especially if you’re coming here out of
season in some of the more mountainous
regions you shouldn’t be paying more
than $20 per night for a simple hotel do
note that Pakistan’s tourism industry is
very much in the emerging stages right
now so there’s gonna be a lot of hotels
that are under development but that
perhaps don’t yet provide the best
service they could because they’re very
young and very fresh so you may need to
find yourself having to forgive a lot of
fools
but Pakistanis are so hospitable and so
welcoming that you will very quickly
forget about all the imperfections
number 10 and this is something I still
see every single day I haven’t Pakistan
every single time I leave the house
pretty much you have to get ready to be
the center of attention
not many tourists visit Pakistan of
course the industry is now increasing
and growing but still it’s not
necessarily an everyday occurrence to
see a foreign tourists especially in the
more remote areas of Pakistan whenever
you show your face in some of those
areas you will probably get quite a lot
of tender love and care and probably a
lot of requests for selfies in the past
I’ve also found myself receiving
invitations for tea for chai for coffee
for dinner people’s homes so it’s really
lovely makes you feel very very welcome
in this country but yes not everybody
loves attention so just get ready for an
onslaught of that when you’re here and
now I’m coming to the last point which
is actually the most important Pakistan
is not at all what you know it to be
it’s not at all how the Western media
portray it it is not a desert with
camels running around it is not a
horrible terrorist State with bombs
going off at every single corner
Pakistan is a beautiful
country with the most welcoming people I
have come across anywhere in the world
so before coming here make sure that you
just forget all of your stereotypes all
the biases that have been instilled in
you by Western media and just open your
heart to the love the kindness that
you’re gonna receive and the beauty that
you’ll see all around you I still find
myself astonished every single day at
the small gestures of kindness and
generosity that I receive here every day
I’m still baffled by all the natural
beauty in Pakistan and how it’s just not
known anywhere outside of the country
even if you have an idea of Pakistan
right now and you’ve never been here get
ready for that to be dashed and I hope
that you’ll be positively surprised by
your visit here just like I was the
first time around and that’s why I came
back for more thank you so much for
watching this video I hope you found it
informative and I hope that it’s helped
you make a decision whether to come to.

Credit to :
Eva zu Beck

What Western Media WON’T Tell You About ISLAMABAD

Hi guys I’m Ava over the last few weeks
I’ve been traveling all around Pakistan
but I’ve been spending most of my time
in Islamabad now before I came to
Pakistan I kind of imagined Islamabad to
be kind of like sandy-colored with a lot
of sand with a lot of animals walking
down the streets and not much going on
otherwise basically I kind of believed
the same image that most people out in
the West believe Islamabad to be but of
course having spent time here I realized
just how wrong I was
so today in this vlog I want to show you
my style but this offer that I know and
that I have come to really really really
like so yeah let me take you on a tour
of my Islamabad chalo let’s go
before we actually begin I want to take
you out on a coffee with me because it’s
morning and I am NOT had my fix of
caffeine yet which is very bad I cannot
function without it so I’ll take you to
one of my favorite coffee spots in town
this is key he’s not an actual husky and
a little coffee run I just want to
preface this by saying that Islamabad is
really surprising I think the thing that
surprises people the most when they
first arrive in Islamabad it’s just how
green it is everywhere I mean there’s
trees there’s hedges s plants it’s it’s
extremely lush in that way and it’s
actually one of my favorite things about
the city that feels like you’re living
in a village or in the countryside and
the city itself alright we’re just about
to arrive ourselves a parking spot
this part of town is called cruiser
market and is this tiny cute little
oasis in the middle of f6 or m7 in a
flower and most of the people that I
know here in the city pretty much
through a favorite hangout spot and also
a mine that we’re here to get coffee and
not wax lyrical about kusa market so
let’s go into that
yep I’m a high functioning individual
but I’m a little actually I need to
go to the shop very quickly sir so let
me just take you guys along and we’ll be
on our way
versus of course most places in Pakistan
are not like this but in this vlog I
want to show you just how Western it can
get and that’s why I’m taking you to the
most Western shop in town there’s a lot
of coffee here ladies and gents actually
probably more than in my local Tesco is
back home in London in fact I shamefully
admit that I don’t recognize most of
these American products anyway armed
with my Fairtrade coffee I had to keep
going because this next place I’m just
about to show you is really cool and
hides a key to the history of Islamabad

  • this is sad poor village one of the
    most historic and probably Instagram
    abilities in all of this Lama bar and
    there’s a couple of places in here that
    I really want to show you first of all
    the little Museum here is where you can
    come to learn about the history of
    Islamabad just in case you can’t make it
    though let me give you a rundown super
    quick lesson in the history of the
    starboard basically this city doesn’t
    have
    hi as rich and centuries-old as that of
    Lahore Multan Slava didn’t actually
    exist about a century ago following the
    partition between India and Pakistan
    Pakistan was looking to have a new
    capital that was a bit more central than
    Karachi the previous one so they picked
    a piece of land in the middle of the
    country they hired Greek architects and
    urban planners and they decided to build
    a city the new capital it’s called the
    stahma but coming from Islam which is of
    course the dominant faith here and Abad
    which kind of means City I think in
    Persian so in the 60s this beautiful
    capital was created pretty much from
    scratch and here we are now for a
    culture vulture like me the newness of
    Islamabad means that I don’t really get
    my history fix here but as with
    everything he can find it if you know it
    look but that’s not all another thing I love
    about sad poor village is that it’s very
    diverse at least historically so this
    here is the Sikh temple and that over
    there is a Hindu temple one of the very
    few remaining in Pakistan if you’re in
    is new I’d then you probably think that
    sad poor is a bit touristy that’ll be
    cute but touristy as a tourist I’m
    pretty sure that you will absolutely
    love it so yeah that’s sad poor kind of
    for me the last remaining historical
    part of the city as for the rest well
    this is where the really western part of
    the vlog begins and I want to show you
    all of this because this is the side of
    Islamabad that most people in the West
    don’t realize exists let me show you
    what I’m about to share with you now is
    actually one of my biggest sources of
    anxiety before coming here longer-term
    basically you know other european go and
    I like my European food and from the
    kind of image of Pakistan and asada that
    was sold to me by Western media I assume
    that you know I would be sitting here
    bathing in nihari and chicken karahi and
    samosas well it’s actually turned out to
    be one of my biggest sources of surprise
    and delight in the end and here’s what
    example it turns out that Islamabad has
    a European
    that’s run by a Polish babe honestly
    most of these can compete with what you
    get in Europe I swear no exaggeration
    there’s even a Belgian restaurant and in
    English teahouse serving scones andHardee’s serving burgers and the
    dominoes serving well anyway you get the
    gist all of the big food brands from the
    West and for the Wizards out there
    there’s even a Harry Potter cafe
    so it turns out that it’s not about has
    all these Western and American brands
    that you probably don’t even see in most
    European capitals so that really caught
    me by surprise you know I just had
    completely not see it coming and
    actually most of my Pakistani friends
    complained that in Islamabad there isn’t
    enough choice of authentic Pakistani
    sort of desi food but I find a pretty
    good cup of chai if you know where to
    look or if you can handle it Kashmiri
    chai and there as my which is a
    ridiculously sweet please don’t judge me
    for making really irresponsible food
    choices and stuffing myself with sweets
    it’s just how I am so you know some of
    that is a pretty modern new cities of
    course it doesn’t have the same cute
    linaria traditions that Karachi Orlando
    might have because if you want the set
    of desi touch in a sour bud you can also
    find it and I get it all the time with
    things like food shopping for example
    when I go to little tiny stores to get
    my fruit just like this I used to think
    it was super annoying to have to drive
    halfway across town just to get some
    fruit from a shop where before I would
    just go downstairs to my local
    supermarket and get it from there in
    London but actually I realized then that
    nothing compares to the personal
    attention that you get while shopping
    here you know the great thing about
    shopping for free
    Pakistan is that it is mostly hyper
    seasonal so anything that you get like
    pomegranate which are currently in
    season is gonna be fresh as an
    absolutely lovely and actually something
    that I don’t miss about back home and
    yeah or you know all that processed food
    have you ever seen pomegranate this red
    anyway as soon as I stop obsessing over
    this pomegranate let me show you
    something else
    it’s a hands-down the best thing about
    Islamabad is the weather and the nature
    it’s easily the greenest capital city I
    have ever been to in my life and that
    means that every morning when I wake up
    and I go out onto my balcony I get to
    see this those hills they are
    technically called the mug galas but
    actually they are the foothills of the
    Himalayas which means that if you live
    in a sauna bar then technically you get
    to see the Himalayas every day I guess
    that’s a fact right but you can get even
    closer to the Margalla Hills actually
    you know you could hike up on one of the
    many trails here in a Sabha or like you
    can take the easy option and drive all
    the way up there having seen so much of
    Pakistan I of course realized that many
    cities here have a problem with
    pollution and they have very limited
    green spaces but Islamabad is not like
    that Islamabad enjoys all of this
    pristine nature that really surrounds it
    from all sides and this is probably the
    most beautiful drive in the city I mean
    just look at these vistas isn’t it pure
    magic so that’s it guys that’s my
    version of Islamabad thank you so much
    for watching this vlog and if you’ve
    enjoyed it
    it would mean the world to me if you
    subscribe to my youtube channel or any
    of my other social media channels
    did in the description box but thank you
    again and I’ll see you next time
    the best thing about Islamabad it’s that
    it’s it’s that it yeah wasn’t it
    particularly but Islamabad is.
  • Credit to : Eva zu Beck