When to fly
Karachi generally experiences little rainfall and mild temperatures, making it a comfortable destination for visitors to explore. The cooler months of November, December, January and February make for prime exploring time in Karachi and allow visitors to experience Jashan-e-Baharan, The Spring Festival, in mid-February. Those booking flights to Karachi during this time and witness tens of thousands participating in the colourful Spring Festival that is brimming with Pakistani culture. The festival features an array of entertainment for all such as music, children’s activities, bridal shows, stunt shows, Pashtoon dancers and Kashmiri marching bands. The spectacular day closes with an epic firework display which lasts around 25 minutes. Karachi also features a calendar of religious festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Shab-e-Bara and many more throughout the year.
There are high temperatures during the months of May through September which are best avoided by tourists. Cheap flights to Karachi can be found outside of peak season, which runs from November through February.
The heart of Pakistan lies on the Arabian Sea in the mega metropolis of Karachi, the country’s original capital and the de facto capital of Pakistani commerce and politics to this day. Karachi’s evolution from fishing village to trading post to urban city centre is evident throughout the city, where old colonial structures, dome-topped mosques and urban skyscrapers create a stunning skyline against the sandy beaches of the Arabian Sea. Today, Pakistan’s melting pot welcomes visitors to soak up the country’s history, immerse themselves in a microcosm of modern Pakistani culture and indulge in the perks of an increasingly international city.
The amount of attractions and neighbourhoods that compete for a tourist’s attention is almost overwhelming. Beaches surround the city and offer opportunities for watersports like diving and fishing. Green spaces like Bagh Ibne Qasim park are an idyllic retreat in the heart of this urban metropolis, while amusement parks, modern shopping malls and movie theatres keep everyone entertained in Karachi. Add to that a seemingly endless array of local and international restaurants and one could easily fill a few days with modern luxuries.
Such an itinerary might not offer the best reflection of true Pakistan, though and it’s worth seeking out one that shines light on Pakistan’s past and present. A host of colonial and Anglo-Indian architecture remains throughout Karachi, with must-see specimens including Empress Market, the Mohatta Palace Museum and Frere Hall. The National Museum of Pakistan offers insight into the country’s tumultuous history, while Wazir Mansion – the family home of the country’s founder – displays the clothing and possessions of Muhammid Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Meanwhile, traditional bazaars live on in the shopping district of Saddar, where you can haggle for bargains on everything from clothing and jewellery to rugs and electronics.
Getting around Karachi
City buses and minibuses offer transportation throughout Karachi, but the local public transportation system can be difficult to navigate for a visitor – especially if you aren’t planning on staying long in the city. Walking is also a less than desirable option, due to traffic, pollution and long distances between destinations. Many visitors find it best to travel by taxi when it comes to getting around. Hiring a private car with chauffeur is also a convenient option, as are the numerous rickshaws thorough the city.
Getting downtown from the airport
Travellers to Karachi fly into Jinnah International Airport (KHI), the largest airport in Pakistan. It is located about 12 miles (20 km) east of the city. Car rentals and taxis can be arranged upon arrival at the airport. Taxis are available 24 hours a day, and travellers should look for metered taxis when arranging for a ride into Karachi.