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Karachi, Pakistan » City Info

Karachi is the financial capital of Pakistan and the capital city of Sindh Province. The city has been much admired since British colonial times for its location and economic potential. Today, Karachi is the most populous city in the world and also a major seaport to the otherwise landlocked country of Pakistan. The love and admiration by the people of Karachi to Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah is visible all over the city in different monuments, buildings and landmarks associated & named after this founding father of the nation. Karachi is also well known for its archaeological sites at Thatta, Mohenjo-Daro and Kot Diji. The city also knows how to bring together an immense historical past to the present and on to a bright, bright future by protecting its heritage for generations to come.

Top 10 Karachi Landmarks

  

Thatta ( Wikipedia )

A historical city which served as the capital of Sindh for four centuries, Thatta is located 61 miles east of Karachi. Listed on UNSECO's World Heritage Sites, Thatta instantly grabs attention with a vast old necropolis nearby the hills of Makli. All the monuments, shrines and mosques including Jama Mosque, built by Shah Jahan and the tomb of Jam Nizamuddin are grand in the true sense of the word.

  

Bhambore (Banbhore) ( Wikipedia )

The name Bhambore instantly rekindles the tragic love story of Sassi and Punnu whose eternal love was disowned by their families. An archaeological site, Bhambore is also thought to be the ancient port of Debal from the 8th century. Arab conqueror Mohammad Bin Qasim first landed on the land of Bhambore to save the kidnapped city from the pirates but later on was responsible for the invasion of Sindh. Located approximately 65 kms from Karachi, Bhambore was the residence of a primarily Hindu population and served as a major trading link between Asia and Arabia.

  

Wazir Mansion ( Wikipedia )

Wazir Mansion, a protected national monument is the birthplace of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan. Situated in Kharadar, thousands of devoted Pakistanis visit the mansion to pay homage to their leader on his birth and death anniversary. The mansion is now restored into a museum, displaying the life and work of the Pakistani leader.

Quaid-E-Azam's Mausoleum( Wikipedia )

Quaid-E-Azam's Mausoleum is a monumental tomb (Mazar-e-Quaid) of Pakistan's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Situated near the city of Karachi, the tomb was built in the 1960's by Pakistani architect Yahya Merchant with white marble set in the curved Moorish arches. Nearby the mausoleum are the graves of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah (sister of Mohammad Ali Jinnah) and Liaqat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Clifton Beach ( Wikipedia )

The popular Clifton Beach in Karachi with its golden sands, amusement park and a plethora of food stalls attracts tourists like bees to honey. Situated in Saddar Town, the beach is encircled by numerous handicraft shops selling local crafts and sea shell items. Many tourists and locals come here in the evenings to stroll down the sparkling sands or enjoy a small, cosy picnic with their loved ones. Nearby the beach is Funland amusement park with a bowling alley & aquarium, Shrine of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi and a vantage point to view the Oyster Island.

  

Masjid-e-Tooba ( Wikipedia )

Locally known as Gol Masjid or Tooba Mosque, Masjid-e-Tooba is situated in Defence Housing Society, Karachi. Built of pure white marble with a dome measuring 72 meters in diameter, the Tooba Mosque is the 18th largest mosque in the world. The mosque attracts a lot of tourists and locals alike who come to experience the unique echo when a person speaking from one end of the dome can be heard at the other end. Tooba Mosque was designed by Pakistani architect Dr Babar Hamid Chauhan in 1969.

  

Mohatta Palace ( Visit Site ) ( Wikipedia )

The Mohatta Palace located in Karachi was built by Shivratan Chandraratan Mohatta, a Marwari businessman as his summer residential palace. He could use the palace only for a couple of decades as he had to abandon Karachi for India, after the independence of Pakistan. The palace defining characteristic attributes of Rajasthani architecture, is made from pink Jodhpur stone and local yellow stone from Gizri. After Pakistan's independence, Fatima Jinnah & Shireen Jinnah, sisters of the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah subsequently occupied the palace until 1980, when it was converted into a museum after the death of Shireen Jinnah.

Haleji Lake Wildlife Sanctuary ( Wikipedia )

Haleji Lake in Thatta District, Sindh, Pakistan holds up a roof to Asia's largest bird sanctuary. Thousands of migrating birds flock to this wintering centre, especially the migratory waterfowl. The Haleji Lake was originally a small depression collecting seasonal water. But during the British regime, the capacity of the canal was increased by introducing a feeder canal from the River Sindh. While the waterfowl is the main highlight of the Haleji Lake, the sanctuary boasts of many other attractions too, such as the marsh crocodiles, osprey, Buzzards, Wigeon, coot, shoveller, pintail, Jacana, flamingos and sometimes Bewick's swan.

  

National Museum of Pakistan ( Wikipedia )

Established in 1950, the National Museum of Pakistan collects preserves and studies various artefacts associated with Pakistani cultural heritage. The museum was relocated to its present address at Burnes Garden in 1970 with four galleries. Today there are eleven galleries including the Quran gallery which exhibits 300 identical copies Quran. Other galleries showcase, collections sourced from the Indus & Gandhar civilization, Islamic Art and Pakistan's political history.

  

The Tombs of Chaukundi ( Wikipedia )

The Tombs of Chaukundi located near Landhi town, east of Karachi are renowned for their intricately carved sandstone tombs. Built by the Baluchi and Burpat tribes between the 15th and 19th century, these unique pyramid shaped tombs are embellished with geometrical patterns, symbols, flowers, crosses, swastikas and diamonds. The architecture of these tombs is exclusive to the Sindh region and found nowhere around the world.

Top 5 Bars

Café Vintage Sports Bar

A café for food and sports lovers who want to hangout with friends at a place they would love to call their own. Good food, a cool ambience and a LCD screen entertaining with a variety of sports games are the high points of The Sports Bar. Catch a movie on Monday at 3 and 10 pm with popcorn and ice cream in tow. On Thursdays, ladies receive a discount while Saturday is the day when you can gorge away till eternity on a delicious array of sandwiches, steaks, popcorn shrimp, burgers, pasta and salads.

  

Purple Haze

The name suggests the ambience; purple lighting with smoke emitting as shisha lovers' puff their favourite addiction. Live band on weekends and Karaoke sessions every Friday and Monday from 9 pm to 1:30 am is every music lovers' delight. Jam packed with the young crowd of Pakistan, the club features a Wi-Fi connection to stay connected to the outside world.

  

The Elbow Room

One of the famous restaurants in Pakistan, serving traditional Pakistani and Continental cuisine, The Elbow Room is also famous for one more thing – its wide variety of cocktails unavailable anywhere in the country. One of the premier dining places in Karachi, the restaurants squeezes its way to the top with its top-quality cocktail- Garden Mint.

  

Café Mist at Arena

Café Mist at the Arena Entertainment Centre whips up cocktails, drinks and desserts to suit every taste bud. After a day of energetic activities at Arena, replenish at Café Mist from its overwhelming menu of sandwiches, drinks and snacks.

Ole

Located in the upscale shopping area of Zamzama, Ole is a swanky restaurant and lounge serving a wide variety of cuisines from Italian to Mexican, Texmex, and Japanese. Although the restaurant doesn't serve alcohol, its assortment of cocktails tingle the taste buds to a great extent. Try their pina coladas, and coffee drinks.

Top Activities

Turtle Spotting

Tourists can engage in turtle spotting activity if they arrive in Karachi between the months of September and November. They will be amazed to see giant Olive Ridley and green turtles dotting the Karachi spot line, eager to blend with the sea waters. Hire a boat from Keamari Harbour to spot turtles at Hawkes Bay and Sandspit, where these endangered species breed.

Boating at Keamari Harbour

Experience the thrill of boating in Karachi, through various mediums such as bunder boating. Take a medium size boat and leap into the waters to catch the escaping crabs. Not only will you cook and serve your own catch, but also get to mingle with the locals to understand their traditions and admire the scenic beauty. A perfect place to do this is at the Keamari (or Kiamari) Harbour where the crew will arrange for fishing gear and other equipments. You can also boat to the nearby Manora Island whose beaches and sandpits are famous all over Pakistan.

  

Tour to Kirthar National Park

The Kirthar National Park situated in the south-western part of Sindh province was established in 1974 to protect imperilled species like leopards, striped hyenas, wolves, ratels, urials, chinkara gazelles and rare Sindh wild goats. Tourists will encounter a varied array of flora and fauna in the pristine surroundings of the region which is a suitable habitat for birds and animals.

  

Historical Tours to Mohenjo-Daro

One of the oldest civilizations on earth built the stunning archaeological structure of Mohenjo-Daro which is now located in Pakistan. The ancient Indus Valley civilization blesses everyone with sights to behold of complicated engineering and urban planning. Tourists on historical tours to Mohenjo-Daro will be awestruck by the lifestyle of the people who lived in this superbly planned city. The Great Bath and notable artefacts like the Dancing Girl and Priest King are also up for admiration.

Karachi City Tours

Karachi, the largest city and financial capital of Pakistan holds many surprises denoting the existence of British Empire and the archaeological Indus Valley civilization. Each corner you'll discover colonial masterpieces, traditional culture and religious monuments in the form of mosques and churches. Tourist attractions like Clifton beach, memorial of the Mohamed Ali Jinnah, Juna Market are just round the corner if you book a city tour of Karachi. There are a variety of them, each selecting a group of attractions depending on the theme.

  

Historical Tour to Kot Diji

The archaeological site of Kot Diji housed a civilization that existed prior to the Indus Valley civilization. It is located 22 kilometres south of Khairpur in the province of Sindh. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa civilizations were inspired by the urbanization of Kot Diji which had separate defined areas for the elite and common man. The historical tour unravels tourists back to the time when farming civilization had evolved and urban planning was taking shape.

Shopping in Karachi

A South Asian country like Pakistan boasts of many local traditional crafts. Shopping in Karachi is an enjoyable experience since the city holds a complex network malls and small flea markets. While branded – imported and local products are available at malls, the local bazaars enthral tourists with their bright and colourful shops selling jewellery, handicrafts, clothing, shoes, cosmetics and many more. Some of the well-known shopping malls in Karachi are Jumeirah Mall, The Forum, D-Mart, Millennium Mall, Dolmen Mall, Park Towers, and Naheed Super Market. On the other hand, tourists should get familiar with the charming market areas like Saddar Bazaar, Tariq Road Bazaar, Zainab Market, Gulf Area Market, and Liaqat Abad Bazaar.

Top Karachi FAQ's

Q.1) When is the best time to visit Karachi?

Ans: The best time to visit Karachi is during winter from December through February when the climate is pleasant and ideal to visit all the vantage points.

Q.2) Karachi is located in which region of the Asia?

Ans: Karachi is located in the south of Pakistan, on the coast of Arabian Sea.

Q.3) In which time zone is Karachi placed? Does it observe daylight saving?

Ans: The Standard time zone for Karachi is UTC/GMT +5 hours. No daylight saving is observed.

Q.4)What is the official language of Karachi? Will an English speaking tourist face any problems in the city?

Ans: Languages of Pakistan includes two official languages: Urdu which is its national language and English which is the working language. So, tourists won’t face any problems when communicating with locals as they are well versed in English.

Q.5) I am coming to Karachi with my laptop, do malls and public areas offer wireless internet access?

Ans: There are several Wi-Fi hotspot areas in Pakistan including malls, shopping centres, cafes & restaurants. Business districts & streets like Shahra-e-Faisal or I.I.Chundrigar Road have free Wi-Fi throughout the area.

Q.6) How efficient are the public pay booths in Karachi?

Ans: Public pay booths are found all over Karachi, most of them in general stores. The owner or attendant at the stores operates the booth, charging the call depending on the time spent.

Q.7) In restaurants, what tipping practices are followed?

Ans: Tipping is included in the bills of restaurants as a service charge therefore is not mandatory. However, if it is not included, expect to pay 5% to 10% tip which could vary from restaurant to restaurant. Bell porters who handle the luggage expect 100 Pakistani rupees as tip while a taxi hired for a couple of days could ask for anything from 200-300 Pakistani rupees. Tipping is known as ‘baksheesh’ in local language.

Q.8) What are the visa requirements for Pakistan?

Ans: Please visit our visa requirements page for more details.

Q.9) What is the electricity voltage in Karachi?

Ans: The electricity voltage in Karachi is 240V. Travellers from UK, North America, Central and South America, Middle East and Europe will need to bring along adapters / voltage transformers.

Q.10) In case of emergency, whom should I call/contact?

Ans: Emergency numbers

Ambulance: 115

Hilal-e-Ahmar: +92 21 721359

Edhi Trust: +92 21 2310066

Edhi Blood Bank: +92 21 445105, +92 21 452815

Edhi Emerg. Centre: +92 21 2310066, +92 21 2310077

Edhi Head Office: +92 21 2413232, +92 21 2413158

Red Cresent: +92 21 7213259, +92 21 5833973, +92 21 5836281

St.John Ambulance: +92 21 7210600 / 500

Civil Hospital (Casualties): +92 21 7729719

Bomb Disposal: +92 21 2416626

Incharge Bomb Disposal Squad: +92 21 77226455

Fire Brigade Center: 16

Central Fire Station: +92 21 9215007, +92 21 9215008

Police Emergency: 15

Getting Around in Karachi

The cheapest way to get around in Karachi is to use the buses. But on the flip side, they are dangerous because of reckless driving and overflowing passengers. Rather than endangering your life, its better to hire a taxi or car in Karachi. If you are travelling alone, wave for an auto rickshaw that is comparatively cheaper to a taxi. Though noisy, these three wheelers can easily steer through traffic jams and narrow lanes to help you reach the destination quickly. If you intend to travel to other parts of Pakistan then Karachi is linked by rail to the rest of the country by the Pakistan Railways. The Karachi City Station and Karachi Cantonment Railway Station are the two main railway stations of departure/arrival.

Bus System

Local people in Karachi use minibuses, coaches, and large buses as means of transport to travel within the city. Tourists should be aware that these buses are often overflowing with people. Although not advisable, travelling in a bus could provide an insight into the daily lifestyle, tradition and culture of the locals. Travel at your own risk.

Taxis

The best way to traverse Karachi using public transport is to simply wave a taxi. However, before you start off with the taxi ride, make sure that the cab meter is working and if not, negotiate the fair for the destination beforehand. Yellow cabs are quite popular in Karachi but for slightly lower fares you can hire the bulky black & yellow taxis that have larger seating & luggage capacity.

Car Rental

Hiring a taxi in a busy town as Karachi can be quite frustrating. They are often expensive and inaccessible in crowds. Also, there is big chance of getting ripped off if you fail to notice the cab meter. However, if you own the confidence to navigate the roads of Karachi behind the steering wheel, then hiring a car is the right choice. Driving a car in Karachi is a dare devils job considering the roads and traffic sense. Essentials like stopping at signals and positioning your car for turns is not necessarily followed. But the safety and independence derived from rental car driving is one of its kind. Best is to hire a car with a driver.

Railways

Almost all parts of Pakistan are well-linked by rail operated by Pakistan Railways. Karachi is home to two important railway stations - Karachi City Station and Karachi Cantonment Railway Station. Tourists can travel to various Pakistani cities such as Multan, Quetta, Lahore, Peshawar, and Islamabad by rail.

Communication in Karachi

If you want to make an international call to Karachi, then the international code of Pakistan is +92 followed by area code of Karachi which is 21. Subsequently, enter the local number. Fixed line telephone numbers are eight digits long while mobile numbers are eleven digits long and start with 03. When dialling a mobile number from outside of Pakistan, enter +92 3 followed by the number.

Public pay booths are found in general stores where the shop owner or attendant operates the phone & fax. Calls are charged depending on the time of call.

Contacting people via internet is easily possible since every corner of Karachi’s streets is home to innumerable cyber cafes offering a decent internet speed at nominal charges. Internet access is also available on mobile phones with the help of GPRS enabled connection. Mobilink, Telenor and Zong are the main service providers who offer GPRS/EDGE.

There are main 5 mobile phone operators in Karachi: Mobilink, Warid Telecom, Telenor, Ufone & Zong (China Mobile). Mobile phones are widely used and are no more just a status symbol. If you plan to use a prepaid plan, the handsets come at a very cheap price.

Wireless internet is also available extensively in Pakistan at Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, malls and cafes/restaurants and in business districts.

Tourists can explore the latest news and events in print by browsing through Karachi newspaper archives. While Business Recorder, Dawn and News cover news in English, Jang and Jasarat are printed in Urdu.