With the construction of certain highways and a rise in private aircraft, getting across Pakistan has gotten considerably simpler in recent years. While cities are adequately covered, rural regions are not, with many smaller roads missing. Google Maps, in particular, has a worrisome tendency of labeling dried up river beds as minor roads, so if you’re wandering out in the woods, it’s a good idea to double check your route using Google Earth.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is the sole airline that services the three airports in the north that are of importance to trekkers and climbers: Chitral, Gilgit, and Skardu. There are typically two flights each day from Islamabad to these locations, although they are often postponed due to inclement weather and are frequently over-booked – arrive early to ensure a seat.
Shaheen Air International and Airblue are two more domestic airlines.
Passenger train service is provided by Pakistan Railways. Although most stations do not offer English-language schedules, sales employees can generally explain everything to you. Depending on the facilities, there are many different levels of rates.
The Air-Conditioned Sleeper class is the most costly, with prices that are almost equal to air tickets. The price includes bedding, and this air-conditioned coach only runs on major routes between Karachi and Lahore. The carriages are carpeted, and the sleeping berths are very broad and roomy.
Buses transport a significant percentage of Pakistani citizens between cities. Bus travel is often the cheapest and most convenient option. Daewoo has a frequent bus service connecting many major cities, including air-conditioned buses and seats that may be reserved up to one day in advance. Even though they are relatively affordable, they are almost five times as costly as the cheap and simple trips provided by minibuses or bigger buses between the city’s main bus terminals. On normal bus routes, tickets are often (but not always) paid directly on the bus, there is no air conditioning, and there is sometimes very little knee room, but you still reach where you need to go. On many journeys, you’ll likely benefit from pleasant discussion and genuine curiosity. Buses depart nearly continuously from all of the main bus terminals for all of the major cities, as well as many smaller towns, thus booking ahead is not feasible nor required for the basic buses. Smaller buses should be favored over bigger buses when traveling between major cities, since larger buses are more likely to pick up passengers along the route and therefore move more slowly.
Local transportation is in a similar position. While local transportation may range in appearance from city to city, there is generally an active bus service operating throughout each city, with various degrees of government control.