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A trip to the Khyber Pass needs a little preparation, and a whole lot of adventurous spirit. While not so visually stunning, it is fraught with history, and a solid read up before hand will make it worthwhile.
You will need a Permit first, obtainable at the Khyber Political Agents Office, that will cost around Rs200, which includes a Rs100 "speeding up" fee if you so wanted to offer it. What you get is a nice piece of paper giving you permission to drive out to the Pass all the way to the Afghan border. You also get an armed guard to accompany you for free.
If you have hired a taxi it will cost around Rs800, or you can have everything arranged for you by the PTDC.
Peshawar is nice and fairly warm during the day from November to March, averaging between 17 and 25 degrees Celsius and between 4 and 8 degrees at night. Much of the rest of the year has temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius with an absolute high of 50 degrees in July. Unlike other areas in the country, there is much less rainfall year round. March is the wettest month with around 60 mm of rain in about 5 days! Heavy showers are the norm.
There are two main stations in Peshawar. Peshawar Station and Peshawar Cantonment, both are only a short stop from each other and on the same route. Both are very close to the Grand Trunk Road and the center of the city.
Daewoo operate a good service. Air-conditioning works and plenty of leg room. Though it does cost a little more. Nearly all taxis and rickshaws know the name Daewoo.
Local non-air-conditioned buses leave from the southern end of Grand Trunk road. Their prices are quite low and they can be an adventure to take but not the most time effective.
At the time of writing it was not possible for a tourist to legally board a bus from Peshawar to Quetta due to tribal disputes in the NWFP areas.
Buses go everywhere and are very cheap, most rides costing about Rs5. The main problem is figuring out where they go to as there are no bus stands or stops. Just wave and they will stop.
Taxis and rickshaws are plentiful and quite cheap. A rickshaw across town will cost between Rs20 and Rs30. Have change ready otherwise you are likely to just get a smile and a shrug in return as few taxis have change, allegedly.
Peshawar is walkable in sections. But keep in mind it can get very hot during the daytime. The traffic is very heavy, and has little regard for pedestrians.
Cybercafes can be found on virtually every street corner and the rates are as low as Rs 15-20 per hour. They usually don't have a very fast operating system so don't be too impatient. They usually use 14 inch monitors with Windows 2000, Windows 98 or Windows XP usually installed. Most of the cafes have a decent speed internet connection.
Internet Access can be obtained easily on notebook computers with the help of GPRS enabled mobile connections, supported by almost all of the five mobile operators. Mobilink provides EDGE based connection in very limited areas of Karachi, but Telenor's coverage of EDGE is wider. The standard price of GPRS/EDGE usage is Rs 10-18 per MB of data transferred but Zong offers Rs 15/h. If you wish to download much more, you may want to use unlimited packages, provided only by Warid, Mobilink and Telenor at this time. World Call and Ufone also offers USB Modem.3G and 4G based connections are also available from all the mobile service providers, rates are nearly same as EDGE.
There are Wi-Fi hotspots all over Pakistan, in hotels, malls, and cafes/restaurants.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country code for Pakistan is +92 if you are calling from outside the country.
Major providers of mobile phone service (GSM) are Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, Warid and Zong - China Mobile. One very convenient feature is that all Pakistani cellular operators use the GSM platform, so that cellular handsets nationwide are freely interchangeable between providers.
There are various service providers offering a huge variety of plans. Among them are Mobilink, Warid Telecom, Telenor, Ufone & Zong (China Mobile). It's not a bad idea to buy a cell phone and use a prepaid plan to get yourself connected while you are in the country. The mobile phones and the prepaid plans are very cheap; you can usually get a new cheap cell phone just for Rs 2,000 and a prepaid connection for Rs 150-400.
Due to security threats, in order to purchase a SIM card you will need to provide formal identification such as Visas, resident permits, residing address in Pakistan along with a written declaration that you will not use the provided phone number for any illegal activity. Starting March 2015, possesion of unverified SIM will be considered a serious and punishable crime.
Public Call Offices can be found all over the country. You will find a PCO in nearly 50% of the general stores where there is usually someone who operates the phone and fax. Fees will be charged according to the time spent, and you will pay when you have finished your call.
The Pakistan postal service works well. But be aware you are not allowed to send CD's or DVD's out of the country. This includes your photo's on CD. This is due to the high number of software and media trafficking in Pakistan.
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