K2 Travel Info
Getting a Pakistan visa was a real pain for a long time where you could only apply in your origin country and with lots of paperwork required. But recently it has become easier with the introduction of online visas. Be sure to have a copy of your passport, visa of any other countries, sponsor letter from the tour company, and any other travel document. The tourist visa fees differ from one country to another country.
Getting in Pakistan
It is easiest to get to Pakistan by flight to one of the twelve international airports in the county. Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad are the main entry points by air for most foreign travelers. Likewise, Pakistan has land borders from where you can enter the country with a valid visa.
Regular domestic flight has been operations from the different international airports to the major cities in Pakistan. You aren't required to use your passport since the flight doesn't leave the country, you are not subject to border and immigration controls. However, you will still need a valid photo ID. There are limited flights to Skardu during the peak season and are sold very fast so you need to book the flight to Skardu before your arrival.
Altitude Sickness is an effect of high-altitude atmospheric pressure that results in a quick change in oxygen level and air pressure of a human body. The symptoms will arise while walking at a high altitude without properly acclimatizing the body. It can happen to anyone even if they have great physical fitness if you climb faster at a higher altitude. It is smarter to descend gradually to prevent altitude sickness.
Getting Money from an ATM or finding a working ATM can be a real pain in Pakistan; even in the larger cities, this can be a real problem. There are ATMs in every town in the country, but in smaller places, they often run out of money. Carry some cash with you at all times. Pakistan is still catching up on paperless transactions and relies heavily on cash, so while you should have your bank cards, do keep a reasonable amount of cash handy at all times. Make sure that you get your currency exchanged before flying out or do some research on the best money changers to get good rates.
There is no significant rule about tipping your guide or porter yet it has been more common in Pakistan. It is on you to decide whether to thank the guide and porter with tips or not. But in most cases, guides and porters expect tips from you though they don’t request tips verbally because their salary is not enough to fulfill their basic needs.
For various reasons, some places in Pakistan are still considered unsafe or inaccessible for foreign travelers. When you plan your trip here, it is best to leave out these places from your itinerary because of border conflict and other reasons at the Khyber Pass, Waziristan, and adjacent areas to the Afghan border. It is best to listen to authority on this matter unless you have permission. Azad Kashmir is currently a disputed area between India and Pakistan.
Internet & SIM Card
WIFI and 3/4G connections are technically available everywhere, but they can be very unstable, and don´t expect them to be fast and reliable. About every hotel and guesthouse in the country, together with upscale coffee shops and restaurants, have WIFI. Getting a local sim card is your best bet if you require internet. If you are planning to travel to the two northern regions Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, you need to get the SCOM network since SCOM provides the largest network coverage in the area with an equal footprint in rural and urban terrain in major cities, towns and villages both in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. You can choose your service provider based on your needs: area coverage, data volume, and call frequency. As soon as you touch down, make your way to the nearest sales and service center of the company you’ve finalized and follow the procedure to acquire your local SIM card.
The vast country is home to 74 different languages spoken as first languages. With five of them have more than 10 million speakers each around the country – Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, and Urdu with other major languages such as Balochi, Hindko, Brahui, and Minor languages. But Urdu is the national language of Pakistan which is a mixture of Persian, Arabic, and various local languages. It is similar to Hindi but written in Arabic script.