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Quetta

Travel Guide Asia Pakistan Balochistan Quetta

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Introduction

Quetta, Pakistan

Quetta, Pakistan

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Quetta is located in the state of Balochistan on the western side of Pakistan. It is western Pakistan's largest and most substantial city with a population of about 1 million.

It is home to many diverse cultures. Peoples from around Pakistan, and neighbouring Iran and Afghanistan have all settled here making it quite the melting pot. Yet because of its geographical location, it remains fairly isolated from the other main cities.

It is a common stopover for over land travellers.

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Weather

Quetta is at an altitude of about 1700m, making it quite cool compared to the rest of eastern and southern Pakistan. It can get quite dusty during the dry season.

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Getting There

By Train

As of 2007/08 there is only a cargo train linking Quetta with Iran or Taftan at the border.

While Quetta is linked to all areas of Pakistan through the rail network. The main train route heads due south through the Bolan pass to Jacobabad before continuing south or heading back up north.

Direct trains to all major cities are available, but you might have to sit in a carriage for quite some time due to the route.

By Car

Driving to Quetta is possible from the border town of Taftan, but the road dissapears for large sections and is very rough in parts.

By Bus

Bus routes are readily available to every destination in Pakistan.

IMPORTANT: As of 2007 it is not possible for a tourist to take a bus legally through the North-West Frontier Province (NFWP), meaning the link from Quetta to Peshawar is not feasible.

A bus company will still sell you a ticket. But at the many police checkpoints you will be asked to leave the bus and go back.

This is due to terrorist activities in the NWFP area.

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Getting Around

By Car

Driving is possible but it becomes quite congested in the city centre.

By Public Transport

Buses are everywhere and cheap, but often times very crowded.

There are many taxis serving the city.

By Foot

From the city centre it's possible to walk most of Quetta.

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Eat

Usmania Tandoori Restaurant, mid way along Jinnah, off Jinnah Road by a turning near a pink bakery. Wide ranging menu at a reasonable cost. Great mutton leg. Air conditioning and good service.

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Sleep

Budget

  • Hotel Bloomstar, 8 Stewart Road. Wide range of rooms at different qualities and prices. Rs400 for a double ensuite with heater. Nice Courtyard Restaurant with good food. Walkable from the railway station.
  • Azad Muslin Hotel, Jinnah road. Looks a bit rundown, with a reception full of locals. Close to railway. Rs300 for a single.
  • Hotel Al-Naheem, Jinnah Road. Similar to the above. Rs250 for a single.

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Learn

Contact the PTDC on Jinnah Road near the Railway for plenty of information, maps, brochures and a cup of chai.

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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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This is version 14. Last edited at 9:56 on Aug 5, 15 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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