About Pakistan (PK)
Situated at the crossroads of South, East, and Central Asia, Pakistan (PK) is home to a complete spectrum of geological features, from its Arabian Sea coastline to arid deserts to fertile grassland to snow-peaked mountains and just about everything in between.
Although blessed with a bounty of natural beauty and largesse, Pakistan is also known for an astonishingly rich cultural legacy that spans the duration of human existence. Since the dawn of civilization, people have been traveling to and through Pakistan via ancient trade routes, frequently leaving behind an outsider influence that created a social environment of extremes that match the landscape. Like its eastern neighbor, India, the country and people of Pakistan could hardly be contained or summarized in one paragraph, let alone marginalized by generalizations.
Perhaps it is best described as an idea contained within borders, and only truly appreciated with first-hand experience.
Given the scope of destinations within it’s borders, by far the most rewarding way to see the country is to rent a car in Pakistan. An ever-expanding and world-class network of highways links its major cities of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, and Faisalabad, while outlying attractions are accessible from national roads and rural routes.
There are a number of ways to evaluate driving in Pakistan, but none more important than by comparison to Western standards. For city driving, expect chaos. For long-distance driving, expect ample, well-marked and maintained highways with road services at wide intervals. However, there are a significant number of areas in Pakistan where it’s generally not safe for anybody to travel — at all. Therefore, one should hesitate to rent a car in Pakistan and drive off the lot without a strong knowledge and appreciation of dangers that may lie ahead.
Choosing your car
Cheap car rentals in Pakistan are available from Alamo, Sixt, Hertz, Dollar, Enterprise, and Thrifty. Choose from compact sedans, economy 3-door hatchbacks, standard and fullsize 4-door sedans, SUVs, and 7-12 seater minivans.
Tips and advice
The Karakoram Highway that links Pakistan to China is a remarkable feat of engineering that reaches altitudes at which most drivers may not be accustomed.
A significant number of roads are completely off-limits to foreigners, mainly the routes leading into Afghanistan and India. Fortunately, road signs are posted near these areas warning foreign travelers to turn around and head the other direction.
Most Pakistan car rentals are not allowed to cross international borders.
Unlike most Western countries, Pakistan is not a place to air your opinions about politics, religion, or ethnicity. Keep all discussions light and positive and avoid any subject that might even be slightly controversial.
Do not drive at night in Pakistan, and particularly in the major cities, it’s not wise to walk around at night. Karachi is especially dangerous after sundown.
Solo travel in Pakistan is strongly discouraged, but especially for women, who may not be allowed to register for a hotel room without a male chaperone.