How can women travel solo in Pakistan?
Travelling as a woman in Pakistan can be an intense but unique experience. Never-ending stares, frequent questioning, old school minds, and other problems that evolve in a generally male-dominated society are going to be some of the common issues a female solo traveller will surely face along the way. If any person, man or a woman says that travelling in Pakistan is becoming easier with passing time, they are actually right.
However, women solo travellers are still facing some major issues that are not highlighted in the mainstream media and digital platforms. But with time and awareness, these issues are also going to fade as more and more international and local female travellers are creating awareness. In this article, I am going to present some amazing ways that can help a female solo traveller who wants to explore Pakistan.
Women in Pakistani culture and religion
There is always going to be a flip side to every place, country, or thing. In the case of Pakistan, there is never-ending assistance, irresistible hospitality, and admission to spaces even men can’t avail. This means that Pakistanis have all the potential to change things and perceptions about female travelling, and with time it can become a female traveller haven.
At certain things, being a woman is better than being a man due to their importance in Islam and society in general. But this doesn’t mean that travelling for a woman is easier right now, in fact, there are endless challenges that she will have to brave. It is also more about her own attitude towards problems and issues she is going to face on the road. For this reason, reading this article is a must as it discusses what to do in different situations and how to adapt to the culture and surroundings in order to dodge other problems.
My ultimate travel tips
Whenever you plan to travel to a new city or a country, you need to draw maximum information about the landscape, geography, culture, religion, and other useful details. Dream World Travel is a great platform that can help you find such information about any place. We can also help you book cheap flights, find suitable accommodation, learn about restaurants, plan an itinerary, find car rentals, and cover other essential travel details as well. Plan your trip to the last detail so that you don’t have to bother much later. If you want to book an all-inclusive holiday travel package for Pakistan, you can easily find one here as well.
How women can travel solo in Pakistan
Take every benefit that is up for grab
There are certain perks of being a female traveller in Pakistan and you need to capitalize on each and every one of them. People can go out of their way to accommodate you and sort out every issue. A woman will never have to stand in long lines or queues at railway stations, airports, banks, or bus stops. The respect they get just being a woman is unmatched.
You can also find extra care when travelling without men or even solo. Pakistanis are quite hospitable and their traditions have made them respect women no matter where they are. Female travellers are invited to the homes of the locals and they can enjoy the hospitality first hand. This contributes to their security, and in a continent where females, especially solo travellers can find themselves in all kinds of troubles, Pakistanis are setting a precedent. Respect is very hard to come by in this part of the world, but you can find it in ample quantity in Pakistan.
Try to get absorbed in the environment
You can easily become an eye candy for the local men to stare at. Although they will only gaze at you in a very annoying but harmless way, nobody actually feels comfortable being stared at. For this reason, always try to blend in with the culture and society by wearing the same clothes and covering your head as the locals do. In this way, people will think that you are just a local, which will then enhance their respect for you. Pakistanis also encourage people to adopt their ways, and if you do that then they will welcome you with the warmest of hearts.
Finding accommodation is the most important part of travelling. In Pakistan, finding one can be a bit tricky for women at times, especially when they are travelling alone. Generally, in an Islamic country such as Pakistan, women are not allowed to share a room with a male counterpart until they are married. If you are in a relationship, I recommend you to act like a married couple. However, things are tricky if you are travelling solo. Many experienced solo travellers have found it quite challenging to find cheap accommodation in Pakistan as they are turned down by guest houses or hotel management out of security concerns. Women can also not find any cheap accommodation at any truck stop, student hostel, or any local guest house. Many foreign women may even get assigned a security guard that can cause quite a lot of discomfort to them.
But there is always a way if you try a little harder. You can find luxury accommodation in any renowned hotel chain, but who wants to spend this much amount of money just to sleep? Try different applications or travel agency platforms, or even better, ask for help on social media platforms and you will find a suitable place to sleep and wash. One of the hottest tourist hotspots is the northern province of Gilgit Baltistan where all the tourists go. The best part about this region is that finding good accommodation at the cheapest rates is not a problem even for a woman. So, you are all sorted out here in the best possible way.
Learn to accept being constantly surrounded by men
Wherever you go in Pakistan, you need to accept that you will always be surrounded by men all time. Women of Pakistan are mostly working at their homes sorting out house chores in small towns and villages. So, you will always find men everywhere working in the fields, shops, banks, and hotels. Although they won’t bother you in any way, still you need to accept this fact in order to travel with an easy mind.
You can be escorted to places by men as they are overprotective
Pakistani men are overprotective of women, which is sometimes good for the general security of any female traveller. But it can also become annoying and you won’t be able to enjoy your travelling with a stranger accompanying you all the time. You can ask them politely to leave you and turn down their offers of accompanying or any other service in the best possible way. This is their custom that Pakistanis are always overprotective about their guests and women. But for your own good, you need to be bitter sometimes.
Apparel and clothing sense
Being an Islamic country, there are specific traditions related to the attire and clothing for both men and women. Although modernization of cities and different tourism sites may allow you to wear some moderate clothing items and men may get a pass for their clothing at most of the places, there are still some etiquettes for women to follow. Try to wear the local dress of shalwar kameez. This is a very comfortable two-piece of clothing that is worn throughout Pakistan. It is easily available in every cloth market and you can purchase it in readymade condition. If you are not wearing it, try any top that covers your shoulders, arms, and goes a little down your hips. I don’t recommend wearing tight-fitting clothes, so try finding some baggy shirts, trousers, and tops.
Carry a dupatta or a headscarf
It is always wise for a woman to carry a dupatta or a headscarf when she is travelling in Pakistan. Cover your head when you are amongst locals roaming in the markets, travelling in a bus, or on a local train. In this way, you can easily blend with the locals. However, the modern culture of cities like Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi can always allow you to roam without a scarf or a dupatta. Observe first and then dress accordingly.
No Smoking in public
Well to be very honest, women are not encouraged to smoke in the first place. However, you can smoke privately in your room, roof, or anywhere with other women. I will not recommend you to smoke publicly even if it is in the smoking zone of the airport or a shopping mall.
Don’t shake hands with men
It is against the social etiquettes for a woman to shake hand with men publicly. You can present your hand to be shaken with an unconscious state of mind, but try not to. Instead, greet others by sending your blessings and a smile. But it is also advisable not to smile too often at every person you see.