Pakistan Travel

Pakistan is very much linked with overland route between Europe and Southeast Asia and beyond. Iranian visas are becoming increasingly easy to obtain, and the options for continuing on from Pakistan are wide ranging (subject to security clearance). Karakoram Highway provides onward access to China and Central Asia, whilst travelling on to India is another good option. For those arriving with their own vehicle, it is essential to have the correct Carnet de Passage.

 

To and from India
Despite the long frontier, there is only one recognized border crossing between India and Pakistan, located between Lahore and Amritsar. The border towns are Wahgah for (23 kilometers from Lahore) on the Pakistan side and Attari (39 km from Amritsar) on the Indian side. The border should be open on every day from 9 – 3 pm. Though the relation between two countries isnow improving better and better, nevertheless it is advised to get visas in advance from your home country (they are nigh on impossible to get on the border). Indian visas are only available in Islamabad (most nationalities are required to present a letter of recommendation from their embassy) and the same is with Pakistan visa from New Delhi.

 

To and from China
For those travelling on to China, it is necessary to obtain visas in advance since as they are not obtainable on the border. The Chinese embassy at Islamabad issues visas in 4-5 working days (normally require a recommendation letter from your embassy. It is not permitted to take private vehicles into China unless prior permission has been obtained (this process may be long process). In theory a special permit is required even for bicycles but in practice this rule is rarely enforced, and those cycling from Pakistan to Kashgar are unlikely to be challenged or encouraged to load their bike onto a bus. Pakistani border formalities are completed at Sust on the Pakistan side, whilst Chinese formalities are completed at Tshkurgan.

 

To and from Iran
The only official border crossing point between Pakistan and Iran is at Taftan, 84 kilometers from the Iranian city of Zahedan and over 600 kilometers from Quetta in Pakistan. Trains run between Zahedan and Quetta, although they are as slow as 20 kms per hour or you can make the journey through bus which is rather quicker (around 15 hours) but not comfortable one.  There is an embassy of Iran at Islamabad and consulates at Peshawar and Quetta. There is massive improvement in issuing transit visas but it is advised to get visa before setting off from your home country.

 

To and from Afghanistan
Despite the bad political situation in Afghansitan, it has opened some regions of the country for tourism and tourists have started pouring in. Main gateway to get into Afghanistan is via Khyber Pass and to travel through this pass for a foreigner is subject to permission. The two main border crossings are at Torkham, on the Khyber Pass between Peshawar and Jalalabad at Afghanistan side, and at Chamanbetween Quetta and Kandahar. Should the situation improve sufficiently, this beautiful country would once again form part of the overland route between Europe and Asia.