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Language: Urdu | Currency: Pakistan rupee | Local time: GMT+5 hrs | Avg. Flight time: 11 hrs 50m
The country’s biggest cities all have thriving accommodation scenes. There are options to suit every budget in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, which is well worth the visit for its stunning Faisal Masjid mosque and the mouth-watering collection of dhabbas (tiny restaurants) that line its streets.
Karachi in the south is larger and more geared towards tourism – the allure of its sandy beaches draws visitors from all of the world and many of the hotels here overlook the sea.
Hospitable Lahore in the Punjab province is the cultural centre of Pakistan, thanks to historic highlights such as the Badshahi Mosque, the ancient Walled City and Jehangir’s Tomb. Accommodation here leans towards the luxury end of the scale, but there are cheap Pakistani chains and backpacker-friendly hostels to choose from as well.
Home to the world’s second-highest mountain and one of the longest glaciers outside the polar regions, the northern territory of Gilgit-Baltistan should be on every traveller’s bucket list. Stay here to drink in the beauties of the Hindukush, visit the welcoming villages of the Hunza valley and discover endless unclimbed mountains and secret lakes.
There are few chains in this remote region, but you’ll find some of the cosiest and cheapest Pakistan accommodation in the north – think traditional guesthouses, scenic mountain lodges and hilltop hotels perched above pretty villages. Head south-west out of the mountains to explore the frontier town of Peshawar and the incredible trekking routes around the Khyber Pass.
South of Lahore is the Southern Punjab with its smattering of ancient forts, shrines and tombs. This is the gateway to the 27,000-square-kilometres Cholistan Desert, which sprawls across the border of India and Pakistan. Riding camels to desert villages, meeting nomadic tribes and visiting the spectacular 18th-century Derawar Fort are among the highlights here.
There’s a small selection of Pakistan hotels in nearby Bahawalpur, but head two hours north to bustling Multan for a greater choice. This attractive riverside city is most famous for its ancient fort and impressive collection of 11th-century Sufi shrines.
Looking for a beach holiday with a difference? Make a beeline for the Sindh province, where luxury Pakistan hotel resorts are springing up along a swathe of South Asia’s most beautiful beaches. Some of the poshest options overlook Karachi’s Clifton beach, but if you head west or east out of the city then the prices drop while the scenery gets wilder.
The ‘huts’ en-route to Manora Island’s butterscotch sands offer some of the cheapest accommodation out there – although facilities are as basic as they come. There are more luxurious family huts on offer around Karachi Beach and a few more mid-range options out towards remote Nathiagali beach as well.
Looking to visit Pakistan? Make sure to check out our Tips and Advice first.