Your Full Guide for Places to Visit in Karachi, Pakistan

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On the southern coastal line of South Asia lies the largest city of Asia, the city of lights, Karachi. It encompasses a vast area of 3780 km². The city is considered a commercial hub and economic backbone of Pakistan and served as the capital from 1947 to 1963. The business and employment opportunities derive a large number of populations from different cities daily, due to which the real-time population of Karachi exceeds 30 million. However, the local population of the city is 22 million.

Karachi is an attraction for tourists because of its beaches, heritage buildings, a wide variety of food, and nightlife. But before exploring tourism in Karachi, let's get to know some facts about it.


Mohenjo Daro stupa. Remains and ruins of ancient city of indus valley civilisation

The known history of Karachi dates back to the ancient era of the Harappa Civilization. However, at the eastern part of today's Karachi, a team of archaeology students and professors at the University of Karachi discovered an ancient site in front of the University on Mulri Hills. The discovery revealed the marks of the ancient Greek era. Besides, Greek Documents referred to this city as Krokola, Morontobara, and Barbarikon.

The Chaukhandi tombs form an early Islamic cemetery situated 29 km (18 mi) east of Karachi

Before the arrival of Muslim Arabs in 712 CE, this land was controlled by Debal, a kingdom of Hindu Raja (King) Dahir. Debal was an ancient port city and encompassed a vast territory, including modern-day Karachi. After the arrival of Muslims, the city was influenced by Islam, and many Arabs migrated to the region. During the reign of the Mughal Empire, the city was fortified against Portuguese Colonists.

However, Karachi was originally founded as Kolachi in 1729 by the Tribes of Baloch fishermen from Makran who settled here. But it was no more than a village back then. The descendants of these early settlers still live on the island called Abdullah Goth.

Clock Tower of Empress Market (b.1889), Karachi Pakistan

Karachi acquired the actual status of the city by the British. When they realized the importance of this region and its ports, they shifted the Capital of Sindh from Hyderabad to Karachi. However, they only developed a part of the city today called the old city area. This area ranges from Kemari Port to Gurumandar. That's why you can only find the heritage buildings in this area. The city expanded much further in later years.


Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Pakistan

Jinnah International Airport is the only airport in Karachi. The local public transport, buses, taxis, rickshaws, and motorbikes taxi services. However, there are not enough local buses available for every route, so if you want to save your time, you should pick the taxi services of Uber or Careem. The prices vary depending on route and travel time, but comparatively cheaper.

There's also a recently inaugurated green line bus service on Numaish Chowrangi (South of Karachi) to Surjani Town route (North of Karachi). So if you're going somewhere close to that route, it's better to pick the green line bus.

Travel Insurance

Locals riding beach buggy illuminated with LED lights at Clifton Beach, Karachi

Travel insurance is not mandatory in Karachi. However, it's always best to have insurance because peace of mind while you enjoy your trip is invaluable. However, you should be vaccinated before applying for a tourist visa. You can check further details about vaccination requirements on Pakistan's official visa application website here. Furthermore, it's generally a good practice to check in with your local government travel advisories for the country you are going to.


When to Visit

Modern buildings near bay in karachi

The drier season of Karachi is between September and April, and it's the best time to visit this city. Of course, you can also visit during the rest of the months, but it could be troublesome due to monsoon rains and extreme heat.


Visitors wander gardens of Mohatta Palace Museum Karachi Sindh Pakistan

Hundreds of different casts and communities exist in Pakistan, such as Punjabi, Siraiki, Sindhi, Pashtoon, Baloch, Brohi, Memon, Kachi, etc. Each cast and community have its language and own culture. The specialty of Karachi is you can witness almost every culture that exists not only in Pakistan but in neighboring countries like India, Afghanistan, and Iran. Those cultures include different languages, lifestyles, outfits, dances, songs, foods, and beverages.


Pakistani money

The Pakistani Rupee (PKR) is an official and local currency of Pakistan that's functional in the whole country. We recommend you exchange some cash before your trip at your local bank for the best rates, or the airport is convenient but has higher rates, though. Because foreign currency is usually not acceptable in local markets, restaurants, and transports besides, you can use travel cards for online transactions, like hotel booking. Or you can open a digital Pakistani bank account and convert your currency online, but the usage will be limited. You can check the details on the websites of local banks.


High-class restaurant with Desi Pakistani ambiance in an international chain of hotel in Karachi Pakistan

Tipping is not common in local and cheap restaurants, but $0.3 to $0.5 would be a good tip if you want to give a tip anyway. In mid-range restaurants, the amount of tip increases up to $2. As far as luxury restaurants and hotels are concerned, the average tip in these restaurants is $3 to $6. But still, it all depends on your choice, how much you liked the service.

Electric Current

Electric pole in Karachi streets

The standard voltage of the whole country, including Karachi, is 220V. You can hardly find 110V sockets here. So please use chargers for phones and other devices accordingly. You can easily find chargers at any electronic market, such as Saddar Market, Denso Hall Market, or Star City Mall Mobile Market. Further, there are no charging facilities available in local buses except for the green line bus.


Beautiful View Of Bahadurabad Chorangi, Karachi, Pakistan

Internet service is poor to moderate depending on the ISP. The cellular data is comparatively better than a common cable internet in Karachi. The wi-fi in most of the restaurants and hotels is moderate speed. However, bus stops and public spots don't have free wi-fi service.

Drinking Water

Bun Kebab seller with push cart at Clifton Beach, Karachi

It's always better to use bottled water while staying in Karachi. Nestle or Aquafina are readily available waters. The tap water isn't safe to drink. However, if you are going to drink it, be sure to boil it first.

Public Bathrooms

You can find public bathrooms in hospitals, big restaurants, and public places like parks, beaches, etc. Although the condition of bathrooms depends on the location, the bathrooms in restaurants and hospitals are usually cleaner than others. Most of the bathrooms have squat toilets.


Sea View Beach a.k.a Clifton Beach

Decorated Camels for Camel rides at Sea View Beach also known as Clifton Beach, Karachi

The ocean covers the whole southern border of Karachi. Sea View Beach is one of the most visited public spots on this coastal line. Thousands of local and a few foreign tourists visit it daily. Horse riding, camel riding, and beach car riding are the most popular activities. However, the best time to visit Sea View Beach is in the evening. We found a local tour guide that will take you to many of the places mentioned below and it stops at Sea View Beach before returning you to your hotel. You can find more information about the tour by clicking on the link below.

Mazar-E-Quaid (Jinnah's Mausoleum)

Jinnah Mausoleum or the National Mausoleum refers to the tomb of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

At the eastern end of the M.A. Jinnah Road lies the tomb of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The tomb is surrounded by a park that covers an area of about 3100 sq m. The tomb was built as a tribute to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and it's covered by a magnificent dome that's undoubtedly a piece of architectural art. There are also a few other tombs of influential people, including his sister Fatima Jinnah and the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaheed-e-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan.

Manora Island & Beach

Manora Island and Beach, Pakistan interesting tourist attraction with rich history.

Manora Island is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Karachi as well as historically significant. Mughal Emperors used this island to fortify the kingdom's borders against the Portuguese. One of the best things about Manora Island is you have to get there by ferry. You can buy a ferry ticket at the Kemari Port. The price of the ferry is variable depending upon the occasion, but it's not more than $1. You can go horse riding and camel riding, swimming, and surfing. After working up an appetite, you can sit down and enjoy food from the many local restaurants available in the area.

Hawks-Bay Beach

Hawks-Bay beach Karachi

During summer, the Hawks-Bay Beach remains crowded. You can easily get there by hiring a local guide for $10-$15, or grab a local taxi service, notably Uber or Careem. Cliffs and hills cover some parts of the beach, and the water in those spots is hazardous for swimming. However, the rest of the beach is excellent for swimming and surfing.

Mubarak Village & Charnah Island

Boats at Mubarak Village in Karachi, Pakistan

Located a 2-hour drive from the main city, Mubarak Village is one of the top tourist sites in Karachi. There are so many activities to do here, including cliff jumping, snorkeling, jet-skiing, and boat rides. The best way to get there is the same as Hawks-Bay, hire a local guide or book a taxi for the whole day because this trip will take at least half of your day.

I.I. Chundrigar Road Tour

II Chundrigar Road, Karachi, Pakistan

If you want to see the commercial hub of Pakistan, then you may find it interesting. I. I. Chundrigar Road is a commercial street of Karachi, just like wall street in New York. Many commercial buildings, including the Pakistan Stock Exchange, the State Bank of Pakistan, and the headquarters of other business industries, are situated here. You can also visit those buildings for free. The road ranges from Pakistan Chowk in the East to Tower Kemari, covering 2.2 km.

M.A. Jinnah Road Tour

Historic Karachi Municipal Corporation building clock tower Pakistan

The busiest road of Karachi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah Road, starts from Jinnah's Mausoleum and ends at Kemari Clock Tower, measuring 6.1 km. If you're seeking leftovers of East India Company, you will find a tour of M.A. Jinnah Road fascinating. You can see British and Mughal architecture's mixture in those heritage buildings. The most famous heritage buildings are NJV School, Radio Pakistan, Khaliq Dina Hall, KMC Building, City High Court, Denso Hall Market, Kemari Clock Tower, and Old Customs Building.

Local Famous Markets

Dry Fruit Shop in Empress Market, Karachi Pakistan

Apart from the commercial street of I.I. Chundrigarh Road, you can find hundreds of local markets around the city. However, if you want to see the authentic trading culture of Karachi, you should pay a visit to one of those markets. The most famous markets include Empress Market, Saddar, Ranchorline, Jama Cloth, Tariq Road, Liaquatabad, Joriya Bazar, and Lea Markets. Empress and Lea Markets are situated in heritage buildings.

Indian Red Chilli Powder at Spice Shops, Karachi Empress Market

If you must pick one market, definitely stop at Empress Market, built in the 1880s to commemorate Queen Victoria, then Empress of India. The location carries with it so much historical weight, once being the spot where native sepoys (Indian soldiers) were executed after a failed uprising against British rule. After fears that the locals would construct monuments in honor of the fallen, they commissioned Empress Market to be built instead. Go for a walk through this market and try to take in all of the impacts of this Colonial era and how its history has shaped the current region.

Karachi Food and Restaurants

Doner/Shawarma stall in Karachi

When it comes to food, you can have no better and no more varieties of food than Karachi. We're not talking about a few restaurants but entire food streets that provide hundreds of different foods and beverages.

Burns Road Food Street

Old cities of Pakistan - Burns Road Karachi

This food street is the oldest in Pakistan, located in the old city area between I.I. Chundrigar Road and M.A. Jinnah Road. There are more than 30 restaurants that offer different variety of local food, including BBQ, fast food, seafood, dessert items, bakery items, the famous local Biryani much more. As far as prices are concerned, you can have the best feast at no more than $20. This street remains open from early morning to late night.

Hussainabad Food Street

Beef shishkabobs with vegetable

Hussainabad food street is similar to Burns Road provides hundreds of varieties and tastes of different foods. However, it's not that old. This food street gradually started to expand between 2010 and 2012. It's located in the northeastern part of Karachi. You can easily get there by local bus from M.A. Jinnah Road to Shahrah-e-Pakistan or taxi. Furthermore, the prices are also similar to Burns Road. The best time to visit this street is from evening to late at night.

Superhighway Restaurant Series

Cooking adana kebabs on bbq grill

Head to the north from Hussainabad following Shahrah-e-Pakistan Road, and you'll reach the Superhighway Restaurant Series. These restaurants are situated out of the main city in a better environment. Every restaurant has its specialty, and you'll find more than ten restaurants in this series. Apart from local food, you can have some Turkish food here too. For example, "Khan Saab," offers tremendous Turkish Kebabs.

Do Darya Restaurants

Spicy chicken seekh kabab

Follow the Sea View Beach Road to the East until you reach the end. Here you'll find some luxurious and expensive restaurants with a breathtaking view of the ocean and fresh air. The atmosphere of these restaurants is more elegant than Highway Restaurants, and so too are some of the prices. However, anyone looking to have an exquisite dining experience that will stay with them for all time must visit Kababjees at Do Darya. The restaurant is located at Abdul Sattar Edhi Avenue in the Defence area and boasts of an outdoor dining experience right by the seaside. The splashing waves and accompanying winds create an ambiance unparalleled by any other eatery option in the metropolitan. Especially at night, when the sea breeze accentuates the aroma and taste of the freshly prepared food, the experience is not to be missed.

As far as the restaurant's menu is concerned, it is specially designed to cater to the taste buds of local people and visitors from across the globe. From strictly desi platters to pan-Asian, Italian, and fast food, Kababjees has something for everyone. Some of its must-haves are Dhaka Fish, Rango Kabab, Spicy Shrimp Fettuccine, Pesto Chicken Pasta, and Spicy Mexican Wings. The cherry on the top is that all these specialties are set at a very economical price, with an average food price per person, not more than $10, including the taxes. Thus, Kababjees provides a complete package of food quality, price, and ambiance and never fails to amaze its visitors.


Karachi City traffic at KPT Interchange

The megacity of Karachi cannot be described in only a few words. There are many more things to see and do. This list is by no means exhaustive. We hope this guide can help you plan your trip and give you the ultimate Karachi experience. We wish you an incredible journey, and remember to take lots of pictures!

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