Pakistan: Islamabad advice needed:
Hi I'm Heather and I'm an American who spent three years in Lahore. Although I can't answer your specific questions about places to eat/shop etc. in Islamabad, I do have about 200 articles about expat life in Pakistan on my website here:
The articles cover issues like security and safety tips, culture and travel info. There is a section on Islamabad, but it's focused on travel and transportation since I didn't spend time living there.
Facebook is not *usually* restricted, but it has been blocked at certain times. YouTube was also blocked once during my time there. For a while I couldn't see any Blogger sites, but then they came back. It's quite erratic. Sometimes you'll find you can't access certain news articles online.
Hope this helps! Most of my articles have been inspired by questions about Pakistan from other expats.
Pakistan: Moving to Lahore soon. Need info please:
I'm an American who spent three years in Lahore from 2006-2009. Unfortunately I've only heard bad things about shipping things to Pakistan.
I shipped a few things from Thailand via Thai Airways straight to the airport. With a clearing agent, it took me two days and more money than the stuff was worth to get it "cleared." It was an extremely stressful process. The problem was not with the shipping company, but with the customs process. This will be similar whether you ship it by air or by sea.
One of our acquaintances also attempted to ship a vehicle by cargo ship from Karachi. It cost him over $2000 just to get the vehicle on the boat (through customs) and that was WITH a Pakistani agent and a Pakistani friend.
You can buy most things in Pakistan. It's probably a lot less stressful to just buy what you need or get it made (custom made furniture is typical, although not always the best quality) in Pakistan.
Pakistan: Safety in Lahore?:
Hi jeddahg. I'm an American (with very white skin) and have just returned to the US after three years in Pakistan. I've written a lot about expat life there, which you can find here:
Ultimate Guide to Life & Travel in Pakistan
These articles may be of help to you.
Frustrations for Foreigners in Pakistan
Benefits of Living in Lahore as an Expatriate
10 Disadvantages of Living in Lahore as an Expatriate
Tips for Solo Women Travelers in Pakistan
Tips for Solo Women Travelers in Pakistan Part 2
Most Pakistani ladies don't wear burka or hijab. The majority prefer to wear shalwar kameez with a dupatta (scarf). This is the same type of clothing you find in the Indian Punjab as well. I always wore shalwar kameez or jeans a a kurti (shorter shirt that still covered the bum) and a scarf when going out. Every foreign woman I met under 50 wore local dress in public. You just get too much unwanted attention if you were western clothes.
I recently published an article about being 'white' in Lahore. This should give you a good idea about what to expect.
More on my website: expatheather.com
Pakistan: Moving to Lahore - furniture available?:
It's often cheaper to buy custom made furniture than ready-made furniture, although getting what you want can be hit and miss. I'm not sure what area you'll be living in, but you an get affordable rates in Cantonment in the area under the Jinnah Flyover, near the railroad tracks.
Read more advice about expat life in Pakistan on my blog - I've listed over 100 articles that I've written about life and travel in Lahore. Also, feel free to email me with any questions not covered!
Pakistan: women in Pakistan:
Hi! I'm an American (age 26) and have been living in Pakistan for the last three and a half years.
To start you can read some articles I've written on safety tips for women. There is a lot about what to wear included here. In Lahore, I don't feel comfortable wearing Western clothes outside the house unless I am in the Defence area. Even then I wear a shirt that comes below my hips and a scarf (dupatta). In Islamabad you can wear Western clothes more.
Tips for Women Travelers in Pakistan Part 1
Tips for Women Travelers in Pakistan Part 2
Tips for Women Travelers in Pakistan Part 3
To see more article links (over 100) about expatriate life in Pakistan, go here:
The Ultimate Guide to Life and Travel in Pakistan
Pakistan: Getting Work:
The best way to get a job would be to come here and try to find one!
Geo, a large media company, is launching an English channel. You could try them. Wateen is also a company to try.
I'm an expat living here in Pakistan and have been here for over three years. To read more about getting work visa (can take 6 months to more than a year), check out these articles on my blog:
The Ultimate Guide to Life and Travel in Pakistan
Pakistan: Furniture and Appliances for Sale in Lahore Dec 2008:
One of my good American friends is moving to India and had been planning to ship her furniture and household items, but with an estimate of over $4000 for shipping, not even including customs, she's decided she needs to sell. Her date to leave Lahore is December 15th, and before then everything must go. She had all of her furniture custom made in 2007, and it is still in great shape. All items were maintained well and many look like new. At the prices she's offering them for, they're really a steal, as she paid way more when she bought them. The apartment is also available for rent, so if you'd like to rent the apartment and buy the furniture we could discuss that option with the landlord.
See photos and price lists here. So far one bed set has sold, the white one pictured.
Email me at email@example.com if interested.
Hi I'm an American and I've been here for three years.
I've written a lot about life and work here which you can see at the following site:
There is one article dealing with safety for foreigners and three about safety tips for women that can give you a good overview of the security situation here.
Pakistan: Moving from US:
Hi, we've been in Lahore for three years and are moving this summer. We love the culture and the people but it's become too difficult to deal with the loadshedding (only 12 hours of electricity a day), gas shortages, water shortages, and security issues. I've talked to many from Karachi, local Pakistanis, who say they'd rather live in Lahore. The security situation in Karachi seems to be getting worse.
You can read the good and bad about living in Pakistan on my Associated Content page. There are many articles about life here as an expat that should help you prepare.
My suggestion is to make sure your husband's company provides safe furnished housing, with split ACs, paid electricity bills (prices just went up over 110%), and a generator for the daily power cuts.
All that said, we have enjoyed our time in Pakistan.
Pakistan: APARTMENT HUNTING IN LAHORE:
I'm an American expat currently living in Lahore. This is my third year here, and my husband and I plan to move between June and August 2009.
I've written several articles about living in Lahore here:
Just type "Lahore" or "Pakistan" in the search bar to get the relevant articles. I'm working on a guide for expat living in Lahore, and once it's done I'll post it.
Our apartment in Defence Phase 4 (3 bedroom, 3 bath, living, kitchen, 2 terraces) will be available for rent when we go. We furnished it last December and bought 2 new split AC units in April. Our landlords are great. If anyone wants to take a lease starting this summer, you could have our place which is a great location. You could even arrange to buy our furniture instead of spending weeks of frustration getting it made and furnishing your house. Email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org for photos and more info.
As far as the original post, it is very difficult to find short term accommodation for a single female in Lahore. You'd be best to try to meet some other single females via the online community who might have a spare room they can rent you.
Stay in Defence, Cantt, Model Town, or Gulberg.
For the family who has a job near Thoker, that is near the motorway entrance and quite far from Defence. It will be a one hour drive. Better for you to find housing along the Canal in a housing complex like Eden Canal Villas. Rents will be cheaper than Defence and the location will be much more convenient for you. You may even consider Bahria Town, which is a suburban area of Lahore. It is a 45 minute drive from the center, but much closer to Thoker.
Pakistan: What is Your Neighborhood Like?:
Despite Pakistan's current economic, political, and energy instability, I've seen several posts online from expats planning to move to Pakistan. Here's the first in a series describing foreigner friendly living areas in Lahore.
Defence Housing Authority, or DHA as it is commonly called, is a large suburban area of the city with 8 sections or "phases." Currently, phases 1 to 4 are well populated and houses are going up and getting settled in the other phases. The lower the phase number, the earlier the area was built and the closer it is the main section of the city. It is located next to Cantonment, the army area, and not far from Gulberg, Walton Road, or some parts of Ferozepur Road. It is quite far from the canal and Old Lahore. From Defence to Thoker Niaz Baig (the motorway entrance), it can take 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the traffic. Traffic in Defence itself is usually not too bad, and many people drive within the lanes.
DHA is certainly the upmarket sector of Lahore. Streets are wider than most in the city and there are new flash houses going up all the time, especially in the newer phases. Aside from commercial areas, streets are quiet and you can expect a nice break from the chaos of the city. Many times DHA seems like a different world from Central Lahore. Most houses have high walls and large metal gates. Windows are barred to prevent theft. Yards and gardens are mostly within the walls of the house. The bigger houses have spacious gardens and comfortable outdoor seating areas. Sometimes, children and servants play cricket in the streets. Other than that, there is not much happening outside the walls of the houses. You will usually know your landlord but not any of the other neighbors. People keep to themselves but are friendly if you do have need to greet them.
Continue Reading here:
Pakistan: Looking for Work ISB or LHE:
Work visas are currently taking about 6 months to be granted from the Ministry of Interior.
I live in Lahore, so if you want to teach I'd suggest trying:
Lahore American School, although you'd likely need a teacher's certification
Scarsdale International School in BB Defence
For more ideas you can see my recent article "Expatriate Guide to Teaching in Pakistan" here
Other articles about life in Pakistan, visa requirements etc. can be found here:
Hope this helps! I must warn you that you should find a place with a generator, as loadshedding n Defence, Lahore is about 12 hours a day right now. This summer is going to be unbearable!
Pakistan: Looking for a job in Pakistan:
I see this was posted in June, so I'm not sure if you have found a job yet.
Just know that for a work visa to Pakistan it can take more than 6 months to process. Here is an article detailing the visa process:
Most hiring is done in person, so you may find it hard to find a job through the internet. I'd suggest visiting (on a 3 month tourist visa), researching and contacting companies you're interesting in, and then getting the visa process in motion. You will need to return to your home country to get the work visa granted.
Junaid's post is right on compared with suit prices in Lahore. I had a suit made for my brother and paid less than $100 for medium quality material.
Pakistan has excellent tailors. Just ask around in the business community once you arrive in Karachi. There is a huge variety of textiles available for suiting materials.