by Ameer Hamza, Jan 1, 2005 | Destinations: Pakistan / Islamabad

Basic Introduction:

Quetta is a small city towards the border with Afghanistan. It is the capital of Baluchistan - largest province of Pakistan in terms of size and smallest in terms of population.


There is no special visa for Quetta. The tourist visa for Pakistan will do just fine. Ask Pakistan Embassy nearest to your city/town/village for further details, as Quetta has been in spot light since Afghan war began in 1979.

Travel by:

There are few International flights to and from Quetta, as it is not a major business hub of the country. But, you will always be able to find connecting flights from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

If you happen to be in Pakistan, Iran, or Afghanistan, I recommend that you use trains to bus service to reach Quetta. The landscape is dramatic and you will be amazed by the brown, still mountains and moving caravans - straight from Arabian Nights.

Please do not bother with 3rd class seats of trains. They can be nerve wrecking for you. And I don't recommend that you use train during high summer (April - August).

What to take:

1) Good winter clothes during Sep - Feb. As cold can be severe.

2) Just like cold season, hot season is too horrible for newcomers. So, wear cotton clothes known as shalwar kamiz and you shall feel certainly nice.

3) Medicines.

4) And whatever you prefer.

Most popular:

1) Quetta Museum

2) Hanna Lake (now, almost dry)

3) Anorak (half hour drive; charge Rs. 15 on al local wagon)

4) Park

5) Cantonment area

6) Liaqat Bazaar

Near-by Attractions:

Chaman - a border town situated some 110 Km from Quetta. You will need a permission to go there. And if caught, you are in serious trouble (Indians are not permitted to wander around Chaman or any other border towns of Pakistan).

Ziarat - I don't know the exact distance from Quetta. Go there and enjoy yourself. You will find people a bit too harsh and averse to bargains. Be careful, they can be nasty as well. Otherwise, if you have a local with you, rest assured that nothing can touch you. It is a place which has world's oldest Juniper forest. Don't miss it.

Bolan - An exceedingly stunning area full of caves and mountains and spring waters. This is a must see. Ensure that you are not alone; you will need a company of a local who can speak Pushto as Bolan is a tribal area.


There are two Eids that are celebrated by Muslims all over the world; and they form of the core festivals of Quetta. Both are determined by the sighting of the moon. You will probably get bored on Eid days, as everything is closed. And, nobody really knows when the shops open after Eid!

What to eat:

Sajji - a local made dish that is not available anywhere else in Pakistan in its true form. It is available in chicken and mutton variety. Both are worth tasting. Beware of the after shocks as it can be salty!

Transport system:

It is good and a bit stuffy if you want it cheap. There are buses and trains for most of the cities/towns of Pakistan. As always, get information from the locals.


The most expensive is Sereena hotel and may cost Rs. 3000/ night for double beds. Don't waste your money on such luxary. Stay near Liaqat Bazaar and you will get room for around Rs. 300/night. Bargaining forms the major part of Quetta life. Be prepared.


You can carry as much cash as you want. Nobody will touch you; carry a cycle and it will be gone. For these amusing things, Quetta is justly popular among Pakistanis. In fact, we have hundreds of jokes on them.

But if you get in brawl with a local Pathan, then it is advisable that you leave the city at that instant of time. The only revenge they know is to kill. That is why so many Pakistanis simply avoid having brawls with them.

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