Heading to Pakistan as a single female...any suggestions, warnings or tips? Any places to avoid or must sees?
I am heading to Pakistan in early April and hope to stay or a couple of weeks. Is there anything I should know or do before I go? Are there any travelers who have had either good or bad experiences there which could help me out? I am currently traveling in India and have had few problems, however, I have had a couple of uncomfortable experiences (not luxury comfort, but safety comfort) and am looking to avoid that in Pakistan. Thanks........Sarah
Hello Sarah 😊
Pakistan is generally a rough place for women travellers but plenty still go there. There is a lot of sexual harassment and I have heard from both male and female travellers that there is negativity towards non muslim travellers. One woman told me that kids in a village were even throwing stones at her and shouting American. She is not American.
More than the women safety issues in Pakistan I would pay close attention to the polical situation in Pakistan at the moment. A male European friend of mine who has friends in Pakistan canceled his trip to Pakistan which he was supposed to make in Feburary.
Given to the recent turmoil and political instability in Pakistan, I wouldnt recommend anyone going there for the time being. A Muslim family friend cancelled his family trip to pakistan shortly after Bhutto's assassination, and his host (another muslim bloke) discouraged him to come.
maybe you can consider sri lanka instead?
Don't go there alone. I have been a number of times and once alone for a few days and I do not recommend it.
Why would u not recommend it CosmicTreehouse?
Mel: Because even though the majority of the people there are wonderful, some men hold a very low opinion of western women and think we have low morals and are game... I have been harassed by phone in my hotel room for days. Not that I am not a brave girl and can't deal with it but still. I don't recommend it unless you are local looking (I am a blonde!) and very accustomed to the 3rd world.
If you go alone, I say you should stay in a very safe hotel. I stayed at about 1/2 a dozen places in Pakistan and am planning on reviewing all of them to share with other brave souls :-). I only got this far:
Thanks for the info CosmicTreeHouse. 😊 Pakistan is a county I have been avoiding so far for the reasons u mentioned.
Are there many hostels there? Those are generally safer than hotels because they are used to foreigners. I stayed in a hostel in Iran and had none of the problems that some women have when they stay at cheap hotels there even though the hostel bed only cost a few Euros per night.
It is a pity my boyfriend does not want to go to Pakistan. I would like to go there if he would come with me. When the political situation calms down that is.
Pakistan is my favourite country. I met plenty of women travelling solo there - mainly Japanese and Korean, but also some British and even one American. None of them had a bad word to say about the place, bar the usual kind of stuff that women have to put up with travelling anywhere in the region.
Obviously right now there are other considerations to think about if heading to Pakistan - personally, I would go there tomorrow if I could, but that's just my personal feelings about it.
It should also be noted that the best parts of Pakistan - the northern mountains - are comparatively liberal and relaxed, particularly regarding women. Often you'll see unveiled Ismaili women working in the fields, etc.
The Pakistani people are quite simply the most hospitable and friendly people I've come across.
ConMel: I love that country to pieces too. Love the people there, too. Korean, Japanese (Asian looking) women might be better tolerated. There are areas in the country that are safe and some that are not. I hate to scare people but a bomb exploded outside a hotel I just checked out of. Another one at a mosque next door to the school I was working in. Sure, it's not because I was or wasn't alone. I am not saying women shouldn't go (I went many times myself), I am saying they should be informed and decide for themselves.
Out of curiosity, what is the usual stuff women have to put up with?
I wouldn't really know, not being a woman 😉
There are plenty of other threads on that topic, all over the internet. It's been done to death.
What u said about the bombs sounds so scary CosmicTreehouse. When did this happen? Was it when Benazair Bhutto was there?
No it was a couple of years ago. I don't want to scare anyone, I just think people should be informed and careful that's all.
Do u know who set off the bombs and why CosmicTreeHouse?
Suicide bombers I guess. But in no way am I trying to say that people should be afraid. But I think they should be careful.
Yeah, I know what u mean about giving people all the information so they can be careful.
It is only sensible to be well informed when travelling. 😊
Don't get scared of going to Pakistan by the stories and rumours you hear about the place, especially when they come from people who haven't been there. I got a lot of warnings before I went there on my own from India some years ago and was pretty worried when I entered the country, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trips in Asia. I was there for a month and never once felt threatened or scared about being on my own. In fact I felt safer and more respected as a woman in Pakistan than in India.
Just use common sense and be a bit more guarded than normal, and you'll be fine. Dress up (longsleeved baggy shalwar kameez and a big scarf), keep a low profile (don't discuss politics) and show respect for their culture and religion, and most pakistanis, both men and women, will welcome you and take extra care of you if they see that you're on your own. That was my experience anyway. Of course it's not all rosy, travelling on your own in that region can be tough and sometimes lonely, and you might meet a few people who dislike you or try to disrespect you just for being a western woman, but there are idiots in every country and they get their fair share of propaganda aswell.
You should definately check out the security situation and know exactly what's going on before you go, and avoid all areas with troubles.
The mountains in the north east might be a good idea if you only have a couple of weeks, it's relatively easy to travel and more relaxed (more centralasian than pakistani) and at least there used to be some nice backpacker hostels in Gilgit and Hunza Valley - I was there just before the earthquake.
I'll also really recommend the Regal Inn (I think thats what it's called, its also recommended in Lonely Planet) in Lahore, a good place to meet other backpackers going to or from other parts of Pakistan, to get information about the travel situation and maybe hook up with someone going the same way. It is nicer and safer to travel there with someone else, after all. I met some really great travellers to go part of the way with there, in fact all the travellers I met were cool, more open and hardcore than normal.
Well, I hope you decide to go if the situation allows, and you are welcome to PM me if you have more questions😊
Great post Ditte, that says it all really. I'll just finish by saying that before I went to Pakistan, I knew I liked
travelling - but I never knew travelling could be that
good. Pakistan is a really special place.
No one post says it all ConMel.
People talk from their own prespective, their own interpretation, their own experience and from the information sources they deem reliable.