5 serious dangers of traveling in Pakistan

5 of the most serious dangers of traveling in Pakistan. Beware, the country is not for those weak of heart… or stomach.

 

Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. All sensible governments have strongly advised against travel there, and for good reason: as a foreign traveler, you’ll be in constant danger from a variety of causes the second you set foot in the country.

Terrorism

As with many things in life, everything you’ve heard on Fox News is completely true: Pakistanis are terrorists. We’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill, AK-touting, Jihadi Joe kind of terrorists, but something much more sinister… culinary terrorists.

Often disguised as a plump, loving Pakistani mother or grandmother, culinary terrorists are everywhere. They can be found lurking behind every door to every home, ladles at the ready, waiting for their chance to stuff you so full of food that you burst like the human bomb they think you are.

There’s no way to escape it–they will find you, they will sit you down, and they will feed you until you pop. Once you’ve been assaulted, there’s no getting away until they decide that you’re done. You’d be safer staying at home, far away from the sinister cells of feeders and their delicious delectables.

Dangers of traveling in Pakistan: culinary terrorists

You can see the calculating look in her eyes, pondering how best to stuff some more food into our bellies before we depart.

Kidnappings

Kidnappings are a daily occurrence in Pakistan. Foreigners wander aimlessly through the streets, and are often accosted by random Pakistanis along the way. Before they can call out “embassy!”, they are whisked away to the closest stand or apartment for many a cup of chai and conversation. It doesn’t stop there: many foreigners have reported being transported to their captors homes, where they are held hostage in comfy beds while being tortured with food, chai, and love.

Resistance is futile, and refusing chai is dangerous: it will only encourage your captors to torture you with more. Beware, captors do not accept ransom, and will refuse all offers to pay from their victims.

DSC_7382

We were held hostage by the family behind Let’s Go to Pakistan, and forced to eat a delicious iftar and many a dessert with them. We’re not sure our bellies will ever recover.

Violence

Violence runs rampant on the streets of Pakistan. No matter where you go, throngs of people will swarm you, seeking a warm handshake or a selfie. They will assault your eardrums with questions about your travels, and your opinion of their country. Things can escalate quickly, especially when food is involved–many will assault you with food and hospitality until your body can take no more.

Be particularly cautious of those wanting to become Facebook friends. It is not uncommon for these aggressors to stalk your travels online, in hopes of being able to provide you with more help and hospitality in the future.

Making friends on the train in Pakistan

Forcibly assaulted and forced to pose for photos on the train to Lahore. To make things worse, our assailants helped us carry our heavy backpacks off of the train. Suspicious.

Scams

The rumors are true: Pakistanis are scam artists.

Some will deceive you into thinking you can treat them for their hospitality, only to sneak away and grab the bill while you’re not looking. Others will conspire with waiters to ensure they ignore your attempts to snag the bill at the end of a meal. Pakistanis use every trick in the book to ensure that you pay for absolutely nothing.

Many will tell you that a hotel is full, or that there is no public transportation, so that they can drive you and host you themselves. Unless you’re prepared to be bathed in love and affection for several days, be on full alert if forced to interact with local people.

Looking out at the view of Moenjodaro in Pakistan

Despite our greatest attempts at cunning, our host in Larkhana managed to pay for everything during our stay there. We tried to outsmart him at Moenjo-daro, to no avail.

 

Theft

Pakistanis are the greatest thieves in the world. We’re not sure how they do it, but they have mastered the art to perfection: there’s no way to travel through the country without your heart being stolen by the people of Pakistan.

Smiling faces on the streets of Karachi, Pakistan

Terrorists? Thieves? Kidnappers? What do you think?

 

Because of all these “dangers”, most travel insurance providers don’t cover Pakistan. That’s why we recommend First Allied Travel Insurance. First Allied specializes in high risk areas such as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Pakistan is a dangerous country to travel in. From terrorists to thieves, travelers are subject to all kinds of danger... though not exactly the dangers one might expect.

 

Want to know more about traveling in Pakistan? Check out our Pakistan travel guide!

Alex

American by birth, citizen of nowhere in particular by nature. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

More about Alex

103 thoughts on “5 serious dangers of traveling in Pakistan

    Ali Usman says:

    I am glad to read your reviews about our Pakistan..
    Its actually not like that media shows on TV..
    Pakistan is a beautiful & peaceful country..
    & im a traveller too i travel across the Pakistan..
    If you need any kind of help or want to know about beautiful places so you can contact me..
    Here is my e-mail & mobile number.
    [email protected]
    +92-321-8481040

    True that! We’re trying to share the positive side of Pakistan with the world 🙂 Thank you very much for your offer for help, you are too kind!

    hello hello says:

    I don’t agree with report. I am from Cananda and have been to Pakistan a few time mountaineering in northern areas and to Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi and had no problems. There is lot of misconception and negative reports being produced by people who have never been there. I really enjoyed, people are very hospitable, food is great and lots natural beauty. Mike Hudson

    cockscomb says:

    I think you should perhaps read beyond the title if the article…

    Snap son, J to the rescue!

    You are correct, there are a lot of misconceptions and negative opinions regarding Pakistan. We recommend you actually read the post so you can see that we are combatting said misconceptions.

    MsPututoy says:

    Did you… did you actually read the article?

    Asher Bilal says:

    You have not read it properly……they are saying the same…….but way of expression is different

    Saveta Cartwright says:

    Awesome post guys!!

    Reading the first paragraph, my heart sank. I was like ‘oh no, I was really hoping they would have had a better experience in Pakistan than this. We don’t need more people thinking horrible things of such a misunderstood country’.

    Thank goodness I kept reading! I’m elated to find that you folks had a great time in Pakistan. Pakistani hospitality strikes again! 🙂

    Love your clever writing and wonderful post.

    Best of luck in your travels. <3

    Heh, almost got you!

    Thanks for taking the time to read it, and not judge based on titles alone 😉 We’re having the time of our lives in Pakistan, and we’ll be very sad when we have to go. We’re doing our best to plan a return trip in winter!

    Megan says:

    I thought the exact same thing!! Lol

    Saleha Tariq says:

    Its good to know that you guys had a great time in Pakistan !! Thankyou for all the love and appreciation and for highlighting the positive aspects of Pakistan and Pakistanis ?
    Hope you guys come again very soon…stay blessed …Wish u all the Best…Love from Pakistan ❤

    It’s the least we can do in exchange for all of the love and hospitality people showed to us while we were in Pakistan! Thank you for taking the time to read the article and leave us this lovely comment 🙂

    We’re doing our best to plan a return visit sometime in the coming winter. Fingers crossed!

    Saleha Tariq says:

    You’ll always be warmly welcomed here in Pakistan whenever u want to come…its ur love which earned u great respect ?? wish u a great time here…I just wish I could personally serve you guys.. ❤❤

    We’ll have to meet up the next time we’re back in Pakistan 🙂 We’d love to hang out!

    Saleha Tariq says:

    That’s for sure InShaaAllah ? next time you are in Lahore do tell ??

    Syed Motasim Ali says:

    The time I saw you people I was just like hypnotized ! You guys are just REMARKABLE ! Your work must be appreciated by the government or by the people ! Please come again to Pakistan and especially Hyderabad and make sure that Alex remains alright !

    Thanks for the kind words, but we’re just regular people 😉 Hopefully we can come back in winter, it all depends on getting a visa.

    P.s. we’ll make sure Alex is alright 🙂

    Blue says:

    This is a warm story – will stalk you guys 😉

    Safe travels.

    Thanks! We love stalkers….the not creepy kind that is 😉

    Seemly Uzma says:

    Love your efforts to break media biased preconceptions. Great work. Great journey. Good luck in all your destinations and throughout all the journey of your lives. 🙂

    Thank you for your kind words. We do what little we can 🙂

    Morpheus says:

    beautifully written

    Don Winchester says:

    Nice click bait title there. While I’m glad you were safe in your travels you are discrediting the victims of the 2013 Nanga Parbat massacre, where a group of militants killed a multinational group of 10 hikers and their guide. You are also discrediting the every day victims who are attacked by Pakistani Taliban and other terrorist groups. Your liberal narrative pitch of “multiculturalism” and love and acceptance is running a little thin on this one, mate.

    Now the truth: Pakistan is a backwards country with 55% illiteracy where its illegal to have a girlfriend, or even live with a woman. Its a place where you will be imprisoned and tortured for blasphemy, making a joke about the president or being a homosexual.

    We’re not discrediting anything, we’re simply sharing our experience. Experience that you seem to be lacking, by the way. If you’ve ever been to Pakistan, you would know that the so called “truth” you talk about is pretty far from the truth.

    Are there backward areas? Sure, like there are in any country. Can things be better? Absolutely, like they can be in any country. Is Pakistan the hell hole you say it is? No way.

    Also, for future reference, you can only put something in quotation marks if someone actually said it. We never use the world “multiculturalism” so we’re not sure what you’re using those marks for.

    Syed Bushra says:

    Pakistan is a parliamentary system. The head of the state is Prime Minister and we call our Prime Minister “ganja”, an Urdu word for bald, because, you know, he is bald. So yea, we make all the jokes we want on whomever we want and no one in Pakistan has been jailed for making fun of the Prime Minister, or the President. In fact, Pakistani TV shows lampoon the Prime Minister and politicians relentlessly. You have us confused with someone else.

    Now by no means Pakistan is perfect. We have our conservatives, liberals and people who are moderates, like me. To me, homosexuality is a non-issue since Quran doesn’t condemn it. On the other hand, Pakistan legally recognizes transgender people including on passports and other official documents. Recently, transgender community were given marriage equality.

    Do we have issues on literacy front? Absolutely but we also have our heroes like Malala Yousafzai who has inspired so many to take action. And, Master Ayub, who has dedicated his life to teaching children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CBOUpqTNWk

    Agha says:

    ” homosexuality is a non-issue since Quran doesn’t condemn it.”
    is that the Quran U wrote ? cuz last time everyone checked homosexuality was strongly condemned in The Holy Quran. You didn’t red The Holy Quran that’s for sure. Even Google can tell U that, search “homosexuality in Quran or Islam”. i doubt U r even a Muslim. Syeds r not that ignorant. As far as i know they are the most knowledgeable when it come to religion. i doubt U r even a Syed. & if i am wrong then first clear Your fact then speak publicly next time.
    For the reference You can Read Quran 80-81, Quran 25:165-166, Quran 27:55, Quran 4:16, Tirmidhi Vol. 3, Book 15, Hadith 1456.

    Hello Agha,

    We are not a political or religious blog, and we are firmly against the condemning of homosexuality or any other group of people. Please refrain from doing so here.

    Agha says:

    i understand… just correcting Her false claim…BTW Thinks For Your Kind words 🙂 Blessing to Both of You…

    Syed Bushra says:

    Quran is not just holy book but its also a legal document so before you accuse me please try to understand the legal framework of Quran first.

    Quran, specifically, references male homosexuality which leaves the door open for lesbians, bisexual women and transsexuals who can be either male or female. As for male homosexuality, which is what the quotes you forwarded are referencing, Quran labels the act “immoral”, “ignorant” and a “transgression” (4:15-16, 25:165-166, 27:55) but doesn’t go prescribe a specific punishment for the act hence there is ambiguity. What further complicates the matter is the concept of abrogation when interpreting Quran as a legal document. The Madani part of the Quran is where specifics on Shariah and the civil code are discussed.

    Agha says:

    You are searching backdoors now…Punishment is there in Quran Qom-e-Loot were stoned and in Sharia its Death… anyone can google it easily and You are facing difficulties finding it… and in every islamic School of thought such action are prohibited and Punishable. There is no debate on authentication of such Hadiths.
    Islam only Allows relationship between married couple and all other doors are closed. end of story. Do Not Make lame excuses. You can do whatever You like. but what is wrong is wrong.

    I’m going stop this conversation right now. We condone, in the strongest terms, any insinuation that homosexuality, or any other lifestyle or sexual orientation, is wrong. We preach openness and tolerance on this blog, as the above article shows, and believe in the rights and equality of all humans on this planet. If you disagree with that, that’s fine, but this is not the place to discuss that, nor is it the place to suggest that any lifestyle of sexual orientation is wrong. We will not stand by it.

    Syed Bushra says:

    I’ve only given you the legal overview of homosexuality when it comes to Quran. If you feel I have misrepresented anything, feel free to quote the Quran and prove me wrong. I’m not interested in a mudslinging match.

    N Porshe says:

    Indian? you guys cant even tolerate a good article about Pakistan…You know the word ‘bait’ you used shows what? It shows that you were expecting this article to be negative and when it didn’t turned out how you were expecting it to be, so you are showing your frustration!

    But just some facts, read them if you can ever get rid of your hatred…’illegal to have a girlfriend’ dude, 50% of the population of Pakistan is youth and they have not only one but many gf/ boyfriends and each and every one of them has a full experience of that. ‘Imprisoned for making a joke about president’ man get real, on every tv show in Pakistan they are criticizing their president and PM and that is what a free media does! “imprisoned for being homosexual’ do you even know what are you talking about? Homosexuality is not legal in each and every country on this planet, including your India!

    N Porshe says:

    Oh i forgot to mention the truth about India….most intolerant country in the world? India, Rapist capital of the world? Delhi India, who feeds the cow dung to people just on the basis of religion? India, who is the most racist against Africans? India, most racist country in the world? India, caste system? India, who sentence people to jail because of freedom of expression? India! last but not the least and certainly the most important one, which country uses guns on people and fire them in the eyes making them blind just because they want freedom (Kashmiris)? yes INDIA!

    Faisal says:

    Thanks for not believing in the media and actually visit Pakistan! Glad you had a good time. I hope in the coming years infrastructure will keep on improving so you’ll be able to go more places.

    Thank you. The infrastructure is not really the problem, it’s more that foreigners are banned from some areas. Let’s hope that changes.

    Faisal says:

    Let’s hope so. Out of curosity, what areas were they?

    Baluchistan, Kashmir, and southern Punjab are very difficult to travel to/in.

    Faisal says:

    With the attention that Balochistan/Gwadar is receiving these days I hope the security situation will improve dramatically…I so much want to visit that area. Certain areas in Kashmir which are close to Indian side can be dangerous as sometimes there’s fire exchange but not sure why they don’t allow in other areas. Rcommended for your next time: Shogran (Kaghan valley), Thandiani, Taxila (5k years old with remains and a museum) and of course my city Lahore again! Anyway stay blessed!

    stay4smile says:

    As Concern to Kashmir yes there are some obligations/Requirements form federal govt, regarding documents but rest of the things are same like you mentioned in your blog. Welcome to Kashmir after getting a NOC (No Objection Certificate) from federal government. Lot of foreigners travel freely.

    Ammara Noor says:

    southern Punjab? I live there and in my opinion this part of Punjab is much more safe and secure than rest of the others. I’m from Bahawalpur, the city of palaces. It amazed me you were not allowed to visit this city. PS: visit in winter as its too hot in summer you might melt like an ice cream 😛

    We were in Bahwalpur. We didn’t think it was dangerous or anything, but apparently the government / army thinks so. We were only allowed to stay in 1 expensive hotel. And we weren’t allowed to see any of the palaces. It was like this in several places in Punjab. The government makes it difficult to travel there.

    Syed Bushra says:

    The two of you look amazing in shalwar kameez. May Allah keep you two together and happy. Wish you safe travels, Alex and Sebastiaan!

    The shalwar kameez might be one of our favorite types of clothing 🙂

    Abdul Moiz says:

    Brilliant piece of writing. I have been following you guys on Instagram and it’s nice to see that you had a great time touring Pakistan. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing your experiences with the world. Good luck with your current travels in China and hoping to see you guys back again in winter 🙂

    Thank you for all the kind words 🙂

    Asad says:

    Really pleasing to read this wonderfully positive article about Pakistan despite the cheeky title :p

    We’re glad to read beyond the title 🙂

    Yasser Shah says:

    JazakAllah Kher for saying so many good things about us…..thank you so much for visiting our beloved homeland. we aren’t perfect, we aren’t monsters either that we are usually portrayed….God bless you guys..Safe and more importantly fun Travels

    You don’t have to thank us, this is just how we experienced the country 😉

    Sahir says:

    OMy God this made me crack up!!!! The first description of terrorism lmaoooo you have talent Alex, enjoy your world tour 🙂 Love from Pakistan

    We’re glad we could make you laugh 😉

    No One says:

    Thanks for lovely piece of work 🙂

    Waqas says:

    I bumped on to your blog accidentally and immediately fall in love with it. I also had the pleasure of meeting you during Ramadan at Fairy Meadows in Pakistan where you had your camp set.

    There is a treasure of so much interesting information available on your blog and is kind of inspiring too for people like my self who wanted to become wanderer and get lost in travelling but couldn’t really figure out how to go about it for an extended period of time or without becoming bankrupt while travelling 🙂

    Kudos! to you both:)

    Hello Waqas,

    Hope you’re doing well. Your words are too kind. Hopefully we could help you a little bit on your wandering way. Hope to see you again next time we’re in Pakistan.

    Mubashir Ahmad says:

    Thank you for breaking the stereotype! Keep up the good work! ♥

    Gulrais says:

    Dear Brother, I have no word to express my feeling for both of you… we are countless thanks both of you…. this is all your obliged on us … finger crossing

    you know i read 3 to 4 time again n again your this piece of 1000000 billion dollars

    Dear Brother, i have hotel chain in Lahore with the name of Rose Palace Hotel and Lahore Palace Hotel
    whenever again travel to Pakistan … Luxury room and Car will be give complimentary with awesome driver to visit complete Lahore from me… i hope you will accept for your next tour if we are alive 😉

    Gul Rais
    CEO
    Lahore Palace Hotel
    Rose Palace Hotel
    0321 433 7172

    Hello Gul,

    So nice to hear from you. Your words mean a lot, and we’re just happy we can show the side of Pakistan that not many people get to see.

    Your offer is too kind, we really appreciate it. Thank you for the kind words.

    Magdalena says:

    Your blog is so refreshing! You are breaking barriers built on stereotypes. And after reading your blog, I have some new suggestions as to where to travel next. 🙂

    Always happy to provide some inspiration ☺

    Brigitte says:

    I love love love love this article!!! <3

    Thanks for the love! Just trying to break up some negative stereotypes about Pakistan’s people.

    This made me smile so much!!! I absolutely love the deceptively genius writing of this post!

    dany2306 says:

    I love your style of writing! It`s not pointlessly optimistic, like some other blogs.
    Basically a rebel travel blog, with a cause!

    RJSS says:

    At first I thought, what these “Dangers” will really be? And after reading through what a humorous relief it has been. A true positive side presented by you and it is really a welcome sight in today’s all negativity about Pakistan in the news and media. Well done and all the best.

    Your outlook on life is so inspiring. Keep doing exactly what you are doing. There should be more bloggers like you in the world.

    Akbota Sutbekova says:

    Oh, what an amazing and humorous article! Great work!

    Yes yes yes!!! Pakistan!! Love it! I’m so glad to have found your blog here – I’m in love with Pakistan, and I’ve decided to settle there, and it’s so great to see someone else who has similar happy stories to tell from this incredible country 🙂 Love it <3

    That’s so cool. Where will you be settling?

    I settled in Lahore a couple of years ago, but getting the paperwork done is still a nightmare, shuttling back and forth between Australia and Pakistan…

    Ismail Hussain says:

    I wish to visit Pakistan someday
    with love from India
    P.s Please come over to India and Do not forget to bring the Multani Halwa along 🙂 <3

    It’s a shame that politics make this so difficult. Let’s hope it changes one day.

    We’re actually in India right now, traveling in Gujarat. Couldn’t bring any food, unfortunately 😉

    zainab afzal khan says:

    Salam I am a Pakistani architecture student, My thesis topic is “how to expand tourism in KPK through properly designed transient spaces”. Your blog is helping me a lot and surely I will give credits to your blog in my project. Inshahallah I will soon mail you people my questions related to traveling in Pakistan as foreigner.

    Salaam. That’s really cool to hear. Hope things are going well. We’ll be looking forward to your questions.

    Asif Razzaq says:

    Hello…I love your thoughts…respect for your efforts…want to meet you..if you visit Pakistan…

    Thank you for the kind words. Hopefully we can come back to Pakistan one day to meet.

    Noriko says:

    Pakistan is one of the most difficult, if not impossible, countries to get a visa on the road for. I was turned away in Hong Kong, do you know a place where one can get a visa to visit there without applying from their home country? I’m in East Africa currently.

    We wish. We have the same problem, and even with the help of highly places officials we can’t get a visa on the road. Your only change, as far as we know, is sending your passport back home and have it done there.

    Noriko says:

    There is no way i can do that so Pakistan won’t happen for me unfortunately. Such a shame.

    Judith says:

    Hi Alex and Sebastiaan, I so loved reading your blog and reminiscing about the trips we’ve done. We are a couple from the Netherlands (Hallo Sebastiaan! Omdat Alex natuurlijk geen Engels praat doen we het in het Engels) and we’ve visited every country you blogged about, besides Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Afghanistan is high on our list, however it doesn’t feel like something we will do now. Pakistan on the other hand is on top of our list for years! We still feel a bit uneasy about our safety, but we know that a country can be very different from what the media and the government portrays. Besides your very helpful and useful blog are there other guidebooks, forums and website you read in advance? Love to hear from you, and look forward to your next travels.

    Hi Judith, thanks for reaching out. Glad our blog is helpful. For Pakistan you can find some info on The Broke Backpacker, too. And there’s a Facebook page, called backpacking Pakistan (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1211980632227404/), where you can ask questions and such. Besides that there’s hardly any reliable info available.

    Let us know if you have any more questions. Cheers!

    Κ@§ђ!ƒ @ђм@đ ♐ says:

    I am so thankful for writing such a beautiful & detailed description of dangers in Pakistan.

    Grzegorz says:

    Hello!!

    I am glad I found your blog. This year I am planning to cycle on a bike the Karakorum Highway from Islamabad to Kashgar and than to Bishkek. I must admit that I am a little bit concerned about my safety, do you think it safe enough to cycle north part of Pakistan? My plan is to fly to Islamabad and than leave my staff for 3 days in hotel and visit Lahore, after comming back Islamabad I am planning to take a jeep to Abottabad in which is going to be the beginnig of my trip. I am going to do that on my own but If anyone would be interested in that woudl be nice to have a companion.
    Could you give me some advise?

    Cheers from Poland

    Gregory

    Maimona Zafar says:

    I don’t believe in this it’s only a bad misconception about the Pakistan , We love to live in peace and spreads peace in the world we welcome foreigner to be here then you will see in your own eyes that hospitalize our culture is..

    Thanks for chiming in. We’ve removed the link in your comment, as we don’t see how it’s relevant.

    Anupriya Basu says:

    We need more posts like these! Though I have never been to Pakistan, I have read umpteen stories about how unsafe the place is. And, when you started the story, I was like “how can you write something like this?!” But, then I read further.
    People, in general, are nice everywhere. It’s the politics which is bad!

    Glad you kept on reading. Not everyone does, and we’ve had some angry reacts on this one, too 😉

    Ahmed Bashir says:

    Haha.. Pretty good read, full of sarcasm, Probably my kind, I just wrote an article similar to that. Give it a read people https://desiwanderlustsite.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/10-reasons-why-you-should-not-visit-pakistan-desiwanderlust/

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks for letting us know. One thing about your article, you’re showing a picture of Delhi in it.

    Epic post… I am literally speechless at the range of emotions running through my head right now.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Glad you liked it. It’s a shame how difficult it is for Indians to visit Pakistan and vice versa. We met some people who managed, and all of them had a great experience. Let’s hope things will one day change.

    AHMED IJAZ says:

    You got to be kidding me! Seriously?
    I’ve always wanted to go to Pakistan, but heard so much a dangerous country it is and is the main reason that’s stopping me.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Although there are undoubtedly dangers, we think that it’s very unlikely that something serious will happen to you as a tourist. We can only recommend the place!

    Victoria says:

    Hi,

    I loved the creative way this article was written! I was also wondering how you manage to get in contact with the host families you guys stay with in different countries.

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