Northwest Pakistan

WARNING: Travelling to FATA is strongly discouraged. In the southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the part bordering FATA, it is not safe to travel alone. In FATA, there's high threat of kidnap and an armed conflict is going on involving the military of Pakistan and armed militant groups such as the Taliban.

Eastern and northern parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are safe to travel as long you take precautionary measures. (Last updated March 2015)

Northwest Pakistan consists of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one of Pakistan's four provinces, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a semi-autonomous tribal region. It borders Afghanistan to the west and north, with populous areas on the west and the Wakhan Corridor to the north.

FATA is mostly off-limits to foreigners and does not have a Provincial Government; instead affairs are federally administered through the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. FATA is home to the legendary Khyber Pass, and the gun making city of Darra Adam Khel. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is known as a tourist hotspot for adventurers and explorers.

The region has a varied landscape including rugged mountains, valleys, hills and dense agricultural farms. There are a number of Buddhist archaeological sites from the Gandhara civilisation such as Takht Bhai and Pushkalavati. There are a number of other Buddhist and Hindu archaeological sites including Bala Hisar Fort, Butkara Stupa, Kanishka stupa, Chakdara, Panjkora Valley and Sehri Bahlol.


Saiful Muluk Lake

Other destinations

PTDC motel Miandam


Mankial Swat valley

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa offers invitation to a spectacular landscape and cultural diversity. Peshawar is the business and administrative hub of province though other cities have their places. Some of the tourist’s hotspots include Khyber pass, old interior city, industrial estate famous for smuggled goods, Islamia College, Peshawar fort, (KisaKhawani) story teller bazaar. Its food street is famous for barbecued mutton as well as karahi meat. The Khyber Pass leads into Afghanistan. There are very amenable people in this area, especially in the mountains in Shandoor, Kalash regions. The province has an area of 74,521km² (28,773 sq mi) - comparable in size to New England in the United States.


Pashto is the predominant local language of the region while Hindko is used in some areas of the northeast. Most of the educated people also speak English and Pakistan's national language Urdu.

Pashto is also one of Afghanistan's main languages. The other main Afghan language, Dari, is much less common in this area than further west but some people do speak it.

Get in

Prior permission from the Pakistani government is required before non-Pakistanis can travel to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa given the poor security situation in the region. Such permission, known as a No Objection Certificate (NOC), must be obtained from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. Failure to obtain an NOC and attempting to enter Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could result in arrest.

Malam Jabba Ski Resort

By plane

Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad are the main gateways to Pakistan by air.

Peshawar International Airport (PEW) is located about a 25 minute drive from the center of Peshawar, it is the 4th busiest airport in Pakistan. It is served by all Pakistan carriers including national flag carrier "PIA". Moreover, many Middle East airlines also serve this airport, such as Emirates, Etihad, Gulf, Kuwait and Qatar airlines.

Peshawar airport has international direct flights to Al Ain, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Jeddah, Kabul, Muscat, Kuwait and Riyadh. The connections to/from other Asian, European and American cities are available via Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad airports. The domestic flights to/from Peshawar Airport are Chitral, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

By train

You can reach Peshawar by train with Pak Rail from Karachi (36 hours) and Quetta (25 hours), both are via Lahore and Rawalpindi.

There are currently no passenger trains from Landi Kotal in the Khyber Pass.

By bus

Buses and minibuses run to many parts of the country from here.

Daewoo operates the most luxurious services to Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Abbottabad and Lahore (Rs 600, 6.5 hours).

By car

Peshawar is connected with Islamabad via Motorway M-1 and via national highway N-5.


Beautiful Swat valley


In the summertime hiking tours to the mountains are offered. Ask at Green Tours in front of the Greens Hotel, Peshawar Cantt, and Pearl Tours of the Pearl Continental Hotels. This can also be done by hiring a car, jeep or pickup from local 'Rent-a-Car' servicing private agencies at a very cheap rate ranging from USD20-60 per day, depending upon the condition of the vehicle. (prices correct 30 June 2006)



Stay safe

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is an exceptionally dangerous area. The locals have a long history of tribal warfare and banditry, both of which still go on, and they have been fighting off various invaders since Alexander the Great. The main fighting today is the Taliban versus the Pakistani military, but there are other dangers as well: al-Qaeda, various tribal forces, and US drones.

Terror attacks and political assassinations are a common occurrence in the region. Between 2007 and 2012, there were a recorded 186 suicide attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, more than the total number of suicide attacks in all other areas of Pakistan. Before going to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Swat, and Peshawar, check for travel advisories from your government.

The towns bordering tribal areas are not considered particularly safe, and nor are the Afghan-Pakistan border regions, as the Pakistan government has little to no authority in these areas and cannot aid you in an emergency. You should always seek information about off-limits areas before travelling to this region. Prior permission from the Pakistani government is required before non-Pakistanis can travel to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa given the poor security situation in the region. Such permission, known as a No Objection Certificate (NOC), must be obtained from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. Attempting to enter Khyber Pakhtunkhwa without an NOC could result in arrest.

Federally Administered Tribal Areas

The Pakistani Army is currently carrying out an offensive against TTP and other militants in this area. This activity has caused the displacement of over two million people. If you must travel here, please see war zone safety.

The tribal areas are generally not considered a tourist destination and for good reason. While there are many good people living in these areas, there are also a fair share of those willing to cause trouble to foreigners, and there's little than can be done to help you if you're in trouble – don't expect your embassy to come to your rescue either. Travellers to Landi Kotal and the Khyber Pass require an armed escort and a permit – you won't get through without these, so don't waste your time trying. Dara Adam Khel also attracts a handful of travellers to visit the gun manufacturing, but the same risks apply there: use caution.

The U.S. military is currently carrying out a bombing campaign in this area. American armed drones are highly active in this area. The robotic aircraft are heavily loaded with weapons and will open fire on anyone who they believe to be members of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Several tips:

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.