Pakistan Travel, Tours, Gap Year & Volunteering
Pakistan is an off the beaten track destination which is becoming more and more popular especially with travellers seeking adventure and trekking. Pakistan is a lot less touristy than other destinations in Asia, you could visit large cities or explore more remote regions of the country. Search gap year programs and travel ideas in Pakistan.
Adventure Tours, Gap Year Trips & Volunteer Programs in Pakistan
Travel Operators Offering Holidays in Pakistan
Pakistan Travel Guide
Find inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to go travelling, backpacking, take a gap year or volunteer in Pakistan.
- Capital: Islamabad
- Currency: Pakistani rupee (PKR)
- Country Size: 803,940 km²
- Population: 162,419,000 (approx)
- Language: Urdu + English + local languages
Top Reasons to Travel to Pakistan
If you would enjoy visiting a country with historical sites, spectacular scenery and are up for a challenge away from the tourist crowds then Pakistan is a must visit destination. Thousands of people choose to visit Pakistan every year for religious, cultural and historical reasons whilst there are so many incredible travel opportunities available. There are travel companies inside Pakistan and also based internationally which offer travel packages to Pakistan all year round.
Pakistan is somewhat a mystery since very few tourists come to visit eveyr year. But for all you might have heard about safety, this country is home to some of the most famous places on the planet. Not only is the most dangerous peak of the world lying on the northern icy borders of the country, but the world’s most demanded and most delicious mangos are grown in the country’s inner cities (a random but suprising fact). Pakistan is also a very inexpensive country to travel compared to the cost of other places in Asia. Sure, it has its reputation for being a dangerous country but if you are careful and book a structured tour, you shouldn't have any problems.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Pakistan is geographically ideal as it provides almost every type of weather. In the inner mid-country region, the climate is warm and hot due to being close to the sea level, but as you journey towards the North, you start to feel the terrain getting much colder and higher. The northern side of Pakistan, supposedly the side that’s most dangerous to traverse but it is most definitely its most visited location due to the amazing mountains. There really is no best time of the year to visit Pakistan.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Pakistan
Pakistan is a huge country and these are some places you need to add to your itinerary:
- Hunza Valley
- Swat Valley
- Kalash Valley
- Neelum Valley
- Kaghan Valley
- Murree Hills
- Shandur Pas
- Jehlum Valley
Itinerary & Attractions
Whether you begin your journey from the southern seaboard of Karachi or the mainland Lahore or the capital in the highlands, Islamabad, you will have a lot of choice for places to go. The most sought-after destination in summer as well as winter is the hill station.
The higher states of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan are for the adventure traveller. You can choose the routes towards Neelam Valley following the roads of Muzaffarabad. Although tourist buses are available too but if you wish to save the cost, try the locals. They’re faster. If you’re going towards the Himalayas, you should take the route towards Sri Nagar. The long journey will be tiring but the view will nevertheless be refreshing at every corner. You can take a detour towards Deosai National Park. After Deosai, you are closer to your destination than ever, so don’t stop. Head to Skardu. You can now be sure of the fact that you’ve been to the Himalayas because now you’ll be in sight of the famous mountain range that houses the most dangerous and the second highest peak in the world, the K-2. This is the border state between the countries of India, Pakistan, and China.
Alternative routes exist that go towards the border to Afghanistan, and all those who have been towards that destination have expressed a compulsive desire to go back again at least once more. The famous locations that are found along the way are Mansehra city and Sawat. These two are famous for their apple farms, dry fruits and gorgeous landscapes along with very affordable resorts and inns with rooms that can house a single tourist as well as several families. After crossing Sawat, you can visit the majestic sights available in Shandur National Park. Choose to stay at Kalaam or not, do not underestimate the significance of the city in the eyes of every Pakistani. A top spot for every traveller on their way towards the borders.
Pakistan Gap Year
Interested in spending your gap year in Pakistan? Search ideas and programs on our website today.
Pakistan Travel Tips
The currency of the Pakistan is even cheaper than the Indian rupee and money goes a long way in the country.
Hotels are very cheap! If you are looking to travel independently you can take local buses to get around most parts of the country on a very low budget.
Pakistan is home to some of the most delicious foods that are both, cultural and traditional and at the same time, historically not only recognized but demanded. The major foods available in that area of the country include fresh fish, fruits and dry fruits. Meat is preferred all around the country but especially in the northern areas, since cultivation is hard.
Health & Safety
Please check latest safety advice about travelling in this region, our website features organisations who can arrange experiences but trips have been limited in recent years.
If you only want to travel for a short period and want to see as much as possible or you are traveling solo you might want to join a group tour as everything will be arranged and also these trips are a lot safer. Trips can be booked in advance or arranged with travel agencies in country. One of the advantages of joining organised tours is safety and also learning more about the history, culture and local population.
We have a selection of tours for all budgets, so whether you are looking to explore on the cheap or you have a bit more money to spend you will be able to find a trip to match your interests. Our website features lots of cheap tours allowing you to discover the highlights of the country and not break the bank. Most people join tours for the mountains and adventure trips available, Pakistan has mountain ranges to rival India and Nepal and the prices are a lot cheaper than these destinations.
On most tours you will travel overland in a private small tour van. Sometimes you will use internal flights to allow you to see the highlights as quick as possible. Typical group sizes are around 8-14 travellers with an average of 10 but this can vary between the tour and operator. Usually travellers of the same sex will share a twin room, but there is also the option to pay a little extra and get a private room. Accommodation can vary depending on the tour and location.
Volunteer in Pakistan
Pakistan has one of the largest populations in the world with around 177 million people living here, many of which live in poverty and need help. There was also a devastating earthquake which hit Pakistan on the 24th September 2013, this left many people homeless with infrastructure badly damaged. If you would like to work and help in Pakistan arrange a volunteer placement through One World 365.
A lot of organisations are working in Pakistan to help alleviate poverty, some work in conjunction with the government whilst others work independently. Unfortunately the security and safety of international volunteers has meant a lot of operations have stopping running or are now just available in limited places. Programs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and surrounding areas were recently ended but you can still find placements in places like Punjab and the capital Islamabad.
There are general placements available and also more specific areas where you can work like helping with the prevention and spread of HIV and AIDS. Most NGO's and volunteer organisations hire international volunteers to help improve education, communities development, training of local people to learn new skills and also to help with refugees. Wildlife and environmental organisations like the WWF also run projects to help animals and nature.
Most organisations cater to gap year, career break and retired volunteers or whoever is taking a break from their normal day to day routine. As a volunteer in Pakistan you should firstly have a heart to serve as most projects will test and stretch your abilities (mentally and physically). The experience of working in Pakistan will be the most challenging, emotional and eye opening experience of your life. There are structured, free and paid volunteer placements available but please note just turning up in Pakistan and trying to seek placements locally isn't recommended especially if you do not speak the language.
Most organisations will require a long term commitment of at least 3 months. Casual and temporary short term volunteer opportunities for a few days or weeks in Pakistan will be difficult to find. If you haven't got the time to commit then why not consider booking a tour in Pakistan then try to visit local NGO's and good causes. Volunteers usually need to be aged 18 and over but anyone younger can request information or participate on special structured group programs or apply with an adult.
Charity Aid Volunteering in Pakistan
International volunteer organisations working in Parkistan include:
- The UN
- Red Cross
- Red Crescent
To get a volunteer job with these organisations you will need to be a skilled professional and go through an application.
Top Tips for Volunteering in Pakistan
- Learn local words and phrases
- Know the best times and places to go
- Research organisations and view past participant feedback
- Work out if you would prefer a safer destination
- Learn about local culture and etiquette
- Consider un-paid positions to boost your chances of helping
- Dress sensibly for the weather and culture
How to Book
You can search recommended organisations which place international volunteers in Pakistan above. Most companies offer structured packages which include placements, airport pick up, accommodation and in-country support. Due to the safety situation in Pakistan we recommend viewing our other Asia volunteer projects or searching India volunteer programs where there are a lot of more options.