Why Did I Travel to Karachi?

Karachi may not be a popular tourist destination, but I wish I would have extended my stay. When you see the good side of Karachi, you will be able to paint a picture of a cosmopolitan and urban city different from other major Pakistani cities.

And you probably be asking why.....

Being in a geographical location on a bay, you too will enjoy its prominent position that made Karachi the financial capital of Pakistan. In spite of violence in certain parts of Karachi, the Karachiites are determined to carry on with their lives.  

Karachi is not the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad is.

I will tell you a bit about Karachi before I go on with my short escapade of the city. It is located on the coast of Arabian Sea, north west of the River Delta. The way I see, it is practically large and really busy of a city.

You have no idea how I feel when I set foot at the Jinnah International Airport early morning at 5:00 o'clock. Just in time to catch the locals getting ready for the morning prayers. I am used to this, as I always hear them due to the fact that I was coming from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I did not see many foreign guests when I arrived. Lined up with three in front of me, the officer checked my passport, granted a visa as I was staying only for 24 hours in the city, a short one day and one night journey.

The moment I passed the immigration formalities, I had the first breath of this muggy air, complete with peculiar blend of enticing and not-so-enticing scents.

A brief travel time from the airport to my hotel did not last long. Though it is still dark, You will never feel any fear. The taxi driver will talk to you in a pleasant manner. His attitude comes with respect, enough for me to decide and arrange a whole day tour of the city using his taxi.

Use a taxi. It is inexpensive and the drivers are quite courteous and used to the Karachi roads. I did not have any problem. No complain. I love the city and the people.

My journey is in the summer season. It is hot in the city. Being in the proximity of the sea, it is constantly of high humidity. Like today.

Travelling around Karachi can be done by bus, by train, taxi and by boat. Buses are normally used by majority of the Karachites. A tourists might be put off by the cramped condition, and might prefer travelling in taxis. I highly recommend you not to use the public bus.

Meeting people and make friends is one of the reasons why I travel. Interacting with residents broaden my knowledge of the people and their culture. Although I meet and work with a couple of Pakistanis in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I had the interest of observing and learning their tradition first hand. And I found some on the seashore.

The people of Karachi are hospitable. I know, because I have Pakistani friends in most part of the country like this city of Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore. They tend to welcome any foreigner very warmly and most of them speaks English especially in the tourist-friendly places like Clifton and Bahadurabad. It is generally safe at all times in these districts located along the harbour of the city.

Crossing roads in Karachi is not that easy. Be warned! 

Karachi is one of the most populated and fastest growing cities. You will see many people on the road. The worst thing is that no zebra crossing in major intersections. If there is one, you will find motorbikes and cars blocking the path. A lot of them.

Heavy traffic is a major problem in Karachi, Most drivers do not follow traffic regulations. If you are a tourist and thinking of driving in the city, do not even think about it. Don't!

The other side of Karachi is more appealing. Places of interest can be found in the city. I spent most of the time on the seashore...and the sunset.

Clifton Beach - the beach is for beach lovers. Many attractions are now in the area which is good for people of all ages. An amusement park and a cinema can be a part of a day-long relaxation. Picnic are available if you are coming with the family.

Come to the Clifton beach on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, the place can be very crowded and more often you will not be able to find a spot to relax.

Port Fountain - situated in the Arabian Sea near Oyster Rock. It is illuminated at night so the best time to watch this amazing creation is at sunset on weekend. This landmark is open and can be enjoyed between 6PM and midnight. Check it out!

The Pakistani currency is rupee. It is advisable to have this local currency before buying stuff. Stop by and exchange some dollars to rupees in banks. A number of licensed currency exchange companies operates in various parts of the cities. I did not use them, so just be very careful. A passport might be required as an identification to exchange currency, but it is often ignored.

Big shopping establishments accept major credit cards but small shops prefer cash. ATMs exist in most areas and also accept major credit cards

From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send a message @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail(dot)com.

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