Lately, Pakistan has been on the news most of the times for all the wrong reasons. It’s a pity that the tourism is not promoted and a big majority of the tourists around the world know nothing about the splendid scenic beauty of this part of the world. Places like Murree, Hunza Valley, Gilgit, Skardu, Kaghan, Naran, Mansehra are a treat to watch. Not to forget the spectacular mountain peaks like K2, Nanga Parbat and Khapalu Biafo Glacier. Apart from the tourism, Pakistan keeps getting all sorts of visitors, from entrepreneurs to professionals, from students to diplomats.
When traveling in Pakistan, you need to follow the general guidelines set for other countries. Contrary to the popular belief, there’s no specific threat (at least the threats are not that alarming and the situation will soon get better hopefully). Many countries issue travel warnings to their citizens; you can check with the concerned department, if there’s no warning, there’s really nothing to worry about. Before traveling get proper details of your local embassies to get the assistance if you need any. People are extremely welcoming; you should familiarize yourself with the local conditions and security situation. Always carry a valid passport and visa with you. There’s no need to carry excessive amount or credit cards (the place is not expensive at all for foreigners and you may not need to spend that much in most cases). Also, to avoid any unwanted situation, dress in a more local manner; however that doesn’t mean that you need to camouflage or must look like a local.
Avoid high risk areas, you can ask for your hosts or local embassies to get the list of these areas or places. It’s good to inquire before taking photos in sensitive areas or government offices. Talking about the food, you should try to drink mineral water always, which is easily available at almost all of general stores, it’s not that you don’t get clean water in the cities, but usually foreigners (especially children) go through some digestion problems in the start, mineral water is supposed to be relatively easier to your stomachs. Similarly, eat out at proper restaurants, even when you are lured by some small shop at roadside, because the hygienic conditions are not good enough at those food-carts or shops around the corner. In most cases, you can converse around in English; however learning some routine words in local language (which happens to be Urdu) is not a bad idea.