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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Incredible City of Peshawar, Pakistan

Photo by Umair Mohsin

Peshawar is a well known City of Pakistan. Peshawar earned its reputation as one of the Oldest Living Cities in Asia. It brims with a rich and incredible Pakhtun culture that reflects the lifestyle and unique practices of the people of Pakistan.

VISA and Passports

You need a VISA, a passport and a return ticket to travel to Pakistan. The VISA and passport must be for 6 months, except in instances when you have a Pakistan Origin Card or POC and when you are just a transit visitor who is bound to move on within 24 hours. Have a copy of your VISA and passport whenever you are traveling around.

Language Spoken

Variety of dialects are spoken in Peshawar due to the influences of several cultures. Hindkowans and Pashtuns speak their language and there are some who speak Saraiki, Punjabi , Dari, Urdu and other native tongues. Since the British had a certain influence on the country, you can expect learned people to speak English, and some locals know basic English.

Mode of Transportation

Rail services are the main national means of transportation, with train stops in major cities like Peshawar. Within the city, autorickshaws, cabs and buses are the means of transportation. The most inexpensive means of traveling is through the metro rail system.

Peshawar Currency

The currency is Pakistan Rupee or PKR. One dollar is 85.53 PKR. Conversion is higher in the block market but you would be safer when you exchange your currency in legitimate Currency Exchange Shops. You must count your money before leaving the shop’s counter. You may also opt to do so in the hotel where you are billeted or in the airport itself. ATMs are available but because of constant power shortage, it is not a recommended method for travelers.

Safety Concerns

Just like in any other foreign city, Peshawar is a beautiful, exotic city, but you have to stay street smart by going with groups. Avoid traveling alone especially during the night. Avoid places where there are very few people unless you are with a trusted company. There were past terrorists attacks, so stay only in places where policemen are on guard or where locals feel safe. Recent visitors testified that Peshawar’s terrorists activities have declined because of the ban on illegal guns, but still it is better to plan for such contingencies and be ready at all times.