Transport in Pakistan: Tips for Traveling Around Safely

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Public transport is not reliable or safe, and there is a serious risk of carjackings and armed robbery in Pakistan. Still with us? Here are our tips on how to get around the country safely.

A colorful bus on the street in Karachi, Pakistan Photo © Getty Images/Bashir Osman's Photography

Getting around in Pakistan is problematic. It's advised travelers do not use public transport of any form, and taxis in particular should be ruled out completely.

Not only is public transport fairly notorious for crimes against foreign travelers, they are also seriously at risk of terrorist and militant attack. The important word here is risk. When traveling in Pakistan, you have to be aware of the very serious threat to your safety, but many travelers have reported having a safe and incredible time in Pakistan. So, who's right and who's exaggerating?

Is it safe to travel by train in Pakistan?

Trains are considered more unsafe than bus travel (which is also not completely safe). Militants have planted bombs on various rail networks, and derailments and attempted derailments have occurred multiple times in Pakistan. Trains are not considered safe for any reason here, and the danger is enhanced on longer journeys.

Don't travel at night

Do not travel between urban areas outside of daylight hours. It is as simple as that. Night time travel presents an almost certain risk of carjacking, militant attack, or road accident due to the high levels of violent activity and poor road conditions respectively.

Bus travel

Buses are overcrowded and poorly maintained. Bus travel around cities is not safe for women who are traveling alone, and not really safe for men, either. If you must travel by bus, at all costs avoid carrying bags with you to avoid pickpocketing.

There are a number of long-distance bus companies in Pakistan, but travelers should do their research carefully online before booking. One reliable bus travel company for distances between cities is Daewoo Pakistan Express. They have reclining seats. But, traveling on Pakistan's roads is the real danger.

Safety when driving during the day

When driving during daylight hours, lock all doors and keep windows wound all the way up. Car jackings and other crimes such as kidnapping have occured within daylight hours in urban areas, and there is a risk of being dragged from your car if you leave either the door unlocked, or the windows wound down. So, be safe and keep your windows rolled up.

Don't buy anything from street vendors or acknowledge beggars while traveling by car.

A safer option to get around is Uber – you can track your journey, you can see ratings for Uber drivers, and if you keep an eye on the map you can ask if you think they are taking you the wrong way. Don't sit in the front – sit in the back seat. 

There is a safe method for women to get around in Karachi: a women's only Pink Taxi service. Unfortunately it's not available elsewhere, but super easy to spot the pink from the yellow and black taxis found elsewhere.

Is it safe to fly around Pakistan?

Air travel is somewhat safer, although on the 28th of July 2010, an Airblue flight carrying 152 passengers and crew crashed close to Daman e Koh in the Magara Hills with no survivors. You will also need one of the following forms of photo ID for domestic flights, national Identity card (computerised), passport, driving licence, photo credit card, or school ID card (for children under the age of 18). This must be an original document not a copy and obviously, must have the same name as is present on your ticket.

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  • Azhar said

    I live in Pakistan. Threats you mentioned are totally wrong.

  • Mahnoor Bokharee said

    Before sharing anything, kindly confirm it from multiple sources. There are no threats in public transport for foreign travelers. Many foreigners have been seen in Pakistan using public transport and private vehicles also. You have just shared what is shown on media. Get yourself corrected.

  • Ali said

    Absolutely Shocked to see all this Rubbish info.
    Strongly Disagree, I frequently travel by train and buses. (Still travelling in train while typing this msg).

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