• Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    Indonesia
    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Nepal!

    Nepal: Phewa Lake. Go Now!

    Nepal
    This landlocked country mixes the cultures of the Indian sub-continent with the high Himalayas. Explore Nepal!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    Mongolia
    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Qatar!

    Qatar: Dhows in Doha Bay. Go Now!

    Qatar
    Although little more than a deserted peninsula, Qatar has a thriving culture based on technology and immigration, with Doha (pictured) taking the lead. Explore Qatar!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    Kyrgyzstan
    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Social Life in Pakistan

WARNING: Terrorist threats continue in Pakistan, please read this travel warning before going!

Behavior

How most Pakistanis behave and the expectations for how foreigners must behave is deeply rooted in the people's Islamic faith. For women traveling to Pakistan, it is easiest (but not required) to travel with their husband, father, or brother. Single women travelers are looked at oddly and traveling with a man who is not related or married to you is widely considered inappropriate. Pretending you are married is not right, but most Pakistanis would consider it less offensive than a single man and women traveling together. It is also improper for a man to touch a woman, even holding your spouse's hand or offering to shake the hand of a person who is of the opposite sex can be considered inappropriate to a conservative Muslim.

In addition to this, the dress requirements (above) and dining restrictions (see our Pakistan Dining & Food Page for more information) are the most important behavioral factors to keep in mind. According to Islamic law, pork should not be consumed and alcohol is forbidden, however there is little worry about adhering to these rules since neither is available anywhere in Pakistan. You should note that attempting to take either into the country is also strictly forbidden.

Finally, avoid sensitive conversation topics, beginning with politics, finances, religion, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.

Dress

The traditional dress of Pakistan is called shalwar kameez; shalwar referring to loose-fitting pants and the kameez being a long shirt or tunic, generally with a collar. Both the shirts and pants reach to the wrists and ankles, respectively and are loose-fitting so nothing is revealed. For men this outfit is generally very simply designed and light colored, but for women it can be incredibly colorful with great detail. Over time, this has become more of a dress for women as it has taken on the shape and various styles of dresses found throughout the world.

Today the traditional shalwar kameez is still the most popular outfit in Pakistan, but there is a growing trend to wear western-styled clothing, which are generally conservative, much like the traditional clothing as it is considered inappropriate to show any of the arms or legs beyond the wrists and ankles. Many women also wear something to cover their hair, no matter what style of clothing they wear, but today more and more Pakistani women are not covering their hair.

As a foreigner in Pakistan, you should dress conservatively, covering your arms and legs completely and women should also be prepared to cover their hair; women should do what they feel most comfortable with in regards to covering one's hair. As western-styled clothing is common in Pakistan, visitors are welcomed to wear this so long as they cover up.

This page was last updated: November, 2013