1. Surprisingly pleasant
“I really love this city. It’s so very beautiful. It’s so multidimensional.” Umair Naeem
A thriving seaport, Karachi is both the financial powerhouse of Pakistan and its largest city. While it can be disconcerting at first, you’ll quickly discover that Karachi is surprisingly pleasant. Once you’ve landed, check in and it’s time to explore!
Sights you’ll want to keep in mind for a city tour include:
- Mohatta Palace – Check out this supposedly haunted palance, built by a rich businessman and dating from the time of the British Raj. It’s now a museum and houses exhibitions.
- Empress Market – A chief attraction and, honestly, not to be missed. Located in the Saddar Town locality, its a unique flea market with local spices, seafood, crafts and pretty much anything else you could imagine.
- National Museum of Pakistan – We’ll say no more. Everything you’d expect from a national museum and recommended.
- Frere Hall – Frere Hall was built in the British period and is worth a visit. It serves as an art gallery for traditional and contemporary pieces.
- Pakistan Maritime Museum – A naval museum, which has exhibits on Pakistan’s maritime history, including a full-scale mock up submarine and operational deck.
- Clifton Beach – While still affected by an oil spill a decade ago, Clifton Beach is great for a stroll and is an iconic, wide beach. Fancy a camel ride?
- Minora Island – OK not really an island, but well worth checking out for Manora beach, the lighthouse and the Sandspit.
- WWF Wetland Centre – A bit of a drive (30 mins) from Karachi, this centre is a fascinating look at the ecology of the region. Really a nature reserve joined to an information centre, you can explore mangroves and even spot a turtle.
2. Really nice people
It’s often said the people make the place. The people of Karachi are among the friendliest you’ll find and go out of their way to welcome visitors.
While the linga franca is Urdu, most people have some English and will be keen to learn about you, so indulge them. The warmth of conversation and spirit of service of the locals are renowned. You’ll be humbled.
3. Good restaurants
There are many hidden gems in Karachi. First, there’s loads of great street food and cute local restaurants, all happily serving up a taste of the region. All best discovered with a wander of your own. Rest assured, amazing chicken curries come standard here. A few tips:
- For local fare, you can’t beat Red Apple Grill.
- If you’re thinking upmarket, try Okra.
- Cafe Flo, a French restaurant and a “Karachi institution” offers an exquisite outdoor dining experience.
After dinner, you might consider one of the many cigar lounges that the city has to offer. Club Genova or Castro’s Cigar Lounge are good choices.
4. You can drink
While Pakistan is an Islamic country, for sure, you can get a drink at your top end hotel. No problem. You might try Murree, a lager, and Pakistan’s (only) local beer. The main hotels in Karachi with full service bars are the Marriott, Pearl Continental and the Movenpick.
5. It’s safer than you think
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Often folks are put off by the reputation Pakistan has abroad for terrorism. In reality, the Taliban is not on every street corner and you feel pretty safe on the street. Karachi is somewhat insulated from the happenings of the capital and there are lots of foreigners here, given the financial district. Take the usual precautions, stay up to date with travel advisories from your home country and rely on trusted local advice. Be sensible, and you should have no difficulties.
What are your friendly tips? Don’t be shy. Let us know by leaving a comment below.