Travel Guide Asia Pakistan Islamabad





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Islamabad (Urdu: اسلام آباد) is the capital of Pakistan and has an estimated population of just over 1 million. It is located in the central northern parts of the country on the Potohar Plateau at an altitude between 500 and 600 metres above sea level. Together with Rawalpindi it forms one urban area, but Islamabad itself was only built during the 1960's to replace the former capital of Karachi.



Sights and Activities

  • Faisal Masjid - Islamabad's most recognizable landmark, a very large mosque gifted by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Beautiful in the day or night, definitely worth the short taxi ride. Dress and act respectfully, this is much more a place of serious worship than a tourist site. Is open to non-Muslims outside of prayer times, but is sometimes shut altogether. edit
  • National Monument - near Shakarparian, represents Pakistan's four provinces and three territories. From air the monument looks like a star (center) and a crescent moon (formed by walls forming the petals), these represent the star and crescent on Pakistan's flag. Also a small museum and a nice view of the city. edit




Islamabad has a pleasant climate in general from September to March when it is usually dry and warm or even hot but with relatively low humidity. May and June however are very hot with temperatures regularly exceeding 40 °C, followed by the monsoon months of July and August when around 300 mm of rain falls in each month, combined with still high temperatures. Winter nights bring occasional snowfall but not always and not much either as daytime temperatures still are just below 20 °C.



Getting There

By Plane

Islamabad International Airport (ISB) has a number of connections abroad, among which are those with the national carrier Pakistan International Airlines to Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kabul, London, Manchester, Milan, Muscat, New York, Oslo, Paris, Riyadh, Tokyo and Toronto. Several other airlines serve mainly neighbouring countries.

Domestic services with Pakistan International Airlines include Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Gilgit, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta, Rahim Yar Khan, Skardu and Sukkur.

By Train

Despite Islamabad having its railway station, majority travel through the railway station in the neighbouring city Rawalipindi, which is a major railway station and has good railway connections with various major cities including Karachi, Lahore & Peshawar.

Recently, Pakistan Railways launched new train service named "Green Line" service between Islamabad and Karachi which offers free WiFi, breakfast, newspapper among other basic facilities to its passengers. The train is only airconditioned, has few major stops along the route such as Lahore, Hyderabad, Khanewal, Rawalpindi and cost Rs 5,500 for one way trip.

By Bus

Niazi Express, Skyways and Daewoo Sammi are some of the nicer long-haul operators. Skyways offer some direct services to/from Islamabad and Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. Daewoo has its own terminal on the road from Islamabad just outside Rawalpindi. The majority of buses arrive and depart from Rawalpindi, a few kilometers and a 45 minute taxi ride from Islamabad. It's best to book Daewoo by phone in advance if possible. At the moment they serve Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, Murree, Sialkot, Abottabad, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Multan.



Getting Around

By Car

Taxis in Islamabad are abundant, popular and generally safe. Cost is around Rs 50-60 per sector travelled, depending on your bargaining skills. Prices will be higher at night, especially departing from places like Jinnah Super (F-7). It is always advisable to agree the fare before travelling.

Car Hire is also a good way of getting around. Although road signs and directions are only available on main roads, the city's grid and numbering system make it relatively easy to find your way around. There are various car hire companies in Blue Area F-6 and also in G-8 Markaz where cars can be hired with drivers. Most major hotels have their own car hire services and are relatively cheap. A tip to the driver at the end of the booking period is always appreciated but not mandatory.




At first glance the visitor may feel that Islamabad offers little to excite the taste-buds, however beneath the surface there is a thriving restaurant scene. There are many typical dhabbas (small restaurants) which offer traditional food. Many of the better restaurants are away from the main markets of F6 and F7. Most do not serve alcohol, but some allow you to bring your own. Call ahead to ask.




Drinking alcohol in public is nominally banned although most of the top end hotels have their own bars, as do some of the larger embassies if you befriend a diplomat. The windowless basement sports bar in the Marriott is probably the most frequented of the hotel bars.
Most Pakistanis though would find it extremely rude and offensive if you show or drink alcohol in public.





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Keep Connected


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.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 33.6751
  • Longitude: 73.0946

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This is version 22. Last edited at 3:17 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 15 articles link to this page.

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