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Pakistan is a beautiful and diverse country to explore and enjoy. Blessed with an abundance of historical and natural riches, it has a number of fascinating destinations for adventurous travellers.
Lahore, an inimitable city, is a potent artistic, intellectual and cultural hub. The evocative Mughal monuments feature prominently in most guide books, displaying the faded legacy of the British Raj. A stroll around the spectacular Old City also reveals a host of architectural treasures. It's also a significant spiritual site, with the intricacies of qawwali (devotional singing) and Sufism (Islamic mysticism) worth exploring during your stay. Karachi, a fast growing mega city, is known as Pakistan's enigmatic economic capital. Ethnically and culturally diverse, it's an enticing melting pot for those brave enough to venture into the heart of historic tensions.
Pakistan's number one tourist attraction remains the vast Karakoram - one of the world's most epic highways. Stretching from Pakistan's northernmost frontiers to the Chinese border at Kashgar, it represents an astonishing feat of engineering through the hauntingly beautiful Karakoram mountain range. Perhaps because of the current political tensions, direct flights from the UK to Pakistan remain surprisingly affordable, giving courageous tourists the chance to experience a hidden treasure in Asia's glittering crown.
International airports in Pakistan include Sialkot Intl. (SKT), Benazir Bhutto Intl. (ISB - for Islamabad), Jinnah Intl. (KHI - for Karachi), Allam Iqbal Intl. (LHE - for Lahore), Multan Intl. (MUX), Gilgit (GIL), Pasni (PSI), Peshawar Intl. (PEW), Skardu (KDU), Turbat Intl. (TUK), Dera Ismail Khan (DSK), and Shaikh Zayed Intl. (RYK). Pakistan is also well-served by international airlines, including Qatar Airways, British Airways, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, Gulf Air, Emirates, and Kuwait Airways. Direct flights to Pakistan from the UK are operated by Shaheen Air and PIA (Pakistan's own Pakistan International Air).
Cheap flights to Pakistan from the UK depart from London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds Bradford airports, flying direct to Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore in as little as eight hours. Connecting flights are then available to take you onto popular destinations such as Hyderabad and Peshawars
Language: The official spoken languages are Urdu and English, but there is also a significant proportion of Punjabi speakers (almost half the population of 200 million).
Capital: Islamabad is the official capital city, but Karachi is bigger.
Currency: The currency is the Pakistani rupee (RPS or Rs).
Popular Airports: Islamabads Benazir Bhutto International Airport; Karachi and Lahore International Airports
Time Zone: The time zone is PKT (Pakistan Time) - five hours ahead of Greenwich Meantime.
Flight Time: Direct flights to Lahore or Karachi from Birmingham and London Heathrow can take as little as eight hours; flights with stopovers in Oman, Kuwait, Dubai or Sri Lanka can take significantly longer.
Visa: British passport holders will need to obtain a visa to enter Pakistan before travelling
Covered largely in thick snow during the winter months, Pakistan comes alive in the spring. The best time to visit is between May and October when temperatures reach their peak and the snow has long since melted away. Cities can easily reach 40°C in the height of summer, yet the mountain ranges and the Humza Valley may see dips of under 20°C at the same time. As most trips cover these vast distances, it's important to pack suitable clothes for a range of temperatures. The country comes alive with the Kalash Winter Solstice Festival in December, out of season where few visitors venture.
At the time of writing, flights on Travel Trolley for the Winter Solstice Festival in December are available for as little as £598.67 return departing from London Heathrow to Lahore with PIA. For the best of the weather, cheap flights are available on Travel Trolley flying from Birmingham to Karachi in May for just £377.13 (at the time of writing) flying with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.
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For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. If you have booked a flight only where the ticket is not issued immediately, your flight will be protected under our ATOL. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go : www.caa.co.uk/ATOL-protection/Consumers/ATOL-certificate/
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