Pakistan ought to be one of the most treasured destinations in the world with diverse culture, history and a fascinating landscape. Once on the historic hippie trail and crowded with tourists it is now a real off the beaten track destination (since the last two decades). Only the most hardened explorers & intrepid travelers are currently visiting the country in South Asia.
I am trying to make this post the most comprehensive guide for tourists and I will be continuously improving the content. Here is a sneak peak of what to expect in this post.
- Everything about Pakistan’s visa
- Getting in and out of the country
- Our recommended tourist attractions
- Our recommended hotels, hostels and home stays
- Is Pakistan Safe?
Pakistan’s Visa & LOI
Let’s start with Pakistan’s visa. Everyone needs a valid visa to enter Pakistan. To get a tourists’ visa, you should have at least a six months of expiry Passport from your date of departure from Pakistan. You can either apply for the visa by visiting your nearest consulate or via the online portal for an e-visa. In both cases you need a Letter of Invitation (LOI) from a registered tour operator from Pakistan. We recommend us (obviously) for the LOI. Just book at least a one day tour and have an LOI from us.
We recommend getting an LOI even if it isn’t stated by your embassy to avoid any mishaps later on. Also, the LOI is valid for only three months, which means apply within three months of getting a LOI. Attach the LOI with this visa form and submit it to the Pakistan’s embassy or consulate in your home country. The fees for a tourist visa are different for each nationality. You can find the fees here. We have some clients who got their visas within a day and some got it within two weeks. This all depends on your consulate or embassy and the application. Or you can apply here for an e-visa.
Getting in and out of the country
You can use this visa to enter Pakistan from any entry point including border crossings as well as the airports. Their are three major international airports:
- Islamabad International Airport at Islamabad
- Allama Iqbal International Airport at Lahore
- Jinnah International Airport at Karachi
Also, there are three major border crossings from Iran, China & India. You can use any of these six locations to get into Pakistan. Getting out of Pakistan is fairly easy unless you overstayed your visa duration. For an overstay, you have to visit the nearest visa office for an extension with a surcharge. The surcharge for visa extension are (as of June, 2019)
- For a duration up to two weeks – No surcharge
- From two weeks to one month – $50
- From one month to three months – $200
- Beyond three months – $400 per year
You can visit regional passport offices in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi & Peshawer for visa extensions. In some cases, they will ask you to visit the office of the Interior Ministry in Islamabad for visa complications. The easiest guys to deal with are at Lahore, where in most of the cases you get an extension immediately or in some cases up to three working days.
Our Recommended Tourist Attractions
Pakistan is rich in history, culture and landscape. You can find fascinating destinations from the length and breadth of the country. Here are the top (and completely safe) destinations for you to explore (in no particular order or preference):
- Fairy Meadows
- Naltar Valley
- Kumrat Valley
Our recommended Hotels, Hostels & Homestays
We are constantly updating this list. We only recommend people & places we personally know. This means we are sharing the information only on our personal connection with the owners or managers. So feel free to try any of these as all of these are already known among foreigners in Pakistan. As for now(September, 2019), we recommend these places:
- Naltar Valley
- Rehman’s Homestay, Ghulkin
- Passu Tourist Lodge
- Dream Island Camping Site, Phander Valley
- Yaseen View Hotel, Taos, Yaseen Valley
- Fairy Meadows
- Fairy Meadows Cottages
Is Pakistan Safe?
Pakistan is completely safe for travelers. Police is friendly mostly. Most of the security personals speaks English and would love to help foreigners out of our cultural tradition of respecting our guests.
Pakistan is one of the safest countries I have ever visited and is packed with friendly and inquisitive individuals who are always happy to meet somebody backpacking in Pakistan.@thebrokebackpacker
Pakistan is also safe for female travelers. Just try to cover your body out of respect to our culture across Pakistan and try to have a head scarf while traveling between Abbotabad & Chilas as these would be the most conservative areas on your trip to Norther areas. Otherwise, it is just fine to travel in the north.
Female travel in Pakistan for me, was safe. Men don’t leer at you like they do in India, instead most highly respect you and their actions prove it.Liz Norman from @karakorambikers
As said before, we will be constantly improving our content, kindly feel free to write us about any thing related to Pakistan.