Pakistan has been in the eye of several political storms lately, and visitors are advised to heed travel warnings before heading to Pakistan, especially to the northern borders with Afghanistan, and the FATA and Balochistan areas. That being said, the fact that most tourists avoid Pakistan means that you will encounter a country rich with culture, beauty, and traditions, and with very little of the touristy gloss or crowds.
Pakistan's landscapes traverse the ancient Silk Route in its new incarnation as the Karakoram Highway. Suspended between snow-capped mountains and gorges on either side, there is little else to interfere with the breathtaking scenery and there are some excellent mountain-climbing routes throughout the area. Further south, the ancient Indus Valley civilization of Mohenjo-daro in the Sindh province gives way to the indigenous Kalasha community in Chitral. Pakistan's cities each have a unique character that will enchant first time visitors — Lahore as a cultural capital, Quetta as an isolated but bustling frontier town, Islamabad for magnificent mosque architecture, and Karachi as an epicentre for the country's economy and diverse ethnic groups.
Pakistani cuisine is a joy for food lovers. Don't stuff yourself with only kebabs, delicious though they are. The biryani, haleem, nihari, paye, and wide variety of breads are well worth the sacrifice. Alcohol is available to foreigners but it is forbidden for local Pakistanis to drink, or even buy any.
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There are very few direct flights from Canada to Pakistan, averaging one a week to the main cities. Passengers who have time to spare can book a flight with a stop over in a Middle Eastern country or via London. International flights arrive at one of Pakistan's main airports in Islamabad (ISB), Lahore (LHE), or Karachi (KHI). Some Middle Eastern airlines fly directly to Peshawar (PWE) and Quetta (UET) as well. Airlines with codeshare agreements for flights from Canada to Pakistan include Pakistan International Airlines, American, United, Air Canada, Qatar Airways, and Emirates.
Pakistan's main seasons are summer from March to June, monsoons from July to September, and a cold season from October to February. Those wanting to trek through Pakistan's mountain areas should try and get there between April and September. The southern areas of the country are best to visit in the wintertime, although temperatures can drop quite low the further north you go. In the northern and eastern areas, May to October is pleasant, although there may be frequent showers. June through August command higher accommodation rates and flight fares so this time is best avoided along with the month of Ramadan, when most of the country fasts from sun-up to sun-down.