Islamabad has been the capital of Pakistan since 1963. The name of the city is derived from two words, Islam and abaad, meaning “City of Islam” or “Abode of Islam”. Islam is an Arabic word which refers to the Faith of Islam with many forms of variations of the Abrahamic Religion and -abad is a Persian place name that means inhabited place or city.Although the majority of the population in Islamabad traditionally have been employees of the Federal Government, the wealth of the Musharraf years fuelled a boom and it is becoming an important financial and business city. In the last decade there have been vast changes in the city’s traditional reputation. From it being a typical 9 to 5 city, Islamabad has become more lively with many new restaurants and hotels springing up to service this new wealth. A lot of international food chains have opened, and generally a great improvement in nightlife with increasing shopping areas opening till late. However during winter season streets are considerably quiet after dark.Even now, Islamabad remains a city where people enjoy its peaceful, calm atmosphere with a lot of greenery and nice surrounding scenery, very different from any other big city in Pakistan. It also serves as a base camp for people from the south and coastal areas like Karachi visiting valleys like Swat Valley Islamabad’ Eastern end is dominated by mainly Federal Government offices, Parliament House, the official residences of the President and Prime Minister along with the Diplomatic Enclave, an area next to the Parliament House dedicated to foreign embassies. The population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.15 million as of 2011. You’ll soon notice that Islamabad is laid out on a grid system – with E7, F6, F7, G6, G7 being the oldest sectors, F8, F10, F11, G10, G11, I8 being where the ‘new money’ has been invested. E8, E9 are occupied by military housing complexes and are effectively out-of-bounds, G7, G8 and G9 are the heart of the city where many locals go for good bargain shopping, i.e. Karachi Company and Weekly Bazaars, and tasting the local cuisines, i.e. melody food park. The H and I sectors are a hotchpotch of mixed use residential, academic and industrial areas. E11, E12 and even now D12 are under construction, there is even a G13 being built up. F6 and F7 are where most of the action happens, but the number of embassies and powerful Pakistani’s dwelling in these areas means a lot of securit and concrete barriers that are largely absent elsewhere. Choosing your guesthouse F6 & F7 may be your best bet.Islamabad sits right next to Rawalpindi, the city that houses the Army headquarters. Also called the “twin cities”, the difference in terms of atmosphere is striking: the green, calm and spacious Islamabad on the one side, the dense and noisy Rawalpindi on the other hand.Islamabad features a very mild version of humid subtropical climate with abundant rainfall year-round. It features cool winters (mainly due to its altitude) and nighttime temperatures can drop below zero occasionally, but they usually stay between 1-3C (33-37 F). Sparse snowfalls can occur in the surrounding hills but very rarely on the city itself. The lowest recorded temperature is -4C (25 F). The area though does feature hot summers with the average temperature being 31.2C (88.2 F) in June, and in the afternoon 40C (104 F) can be reached. The arrival of the monsoon does decrease temperatures a bit, but it brings intense amounts of rainfall (586mm or 22.7 inches, fall in July and August alone).Islamabad International Airport (IATA: ISB) is a brand new terminal opened on 3rd May 2018 replacing the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Rawalpindi. Once notoriously bad, the new airport terminal is equipped with modern facilities for passengers. The new airport is situated in the west of Islamabad near Fateh Jhang and receives flights from a variety of international destinations, including in Europe via Turkish Airlines’ hub in Istanbul (from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Amsterdam, Geneva, Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, and many more), the middle east through Dubai (via Emirates, Pakistan International Airlines PIA ),Shaheen Air ), Sharjah (AirBlue ), Muscat, Doha, and Baghdad (Iraqi Airways)) and other Asian cities such as Urumqi (China Southern Airlines) and Bangkok (Thai Airways). Direct flights from London resumed in June 2019.Worth noting that other international destinations are served direct from Karachi and Lahore, including the only link to central Asia (Uzbekistan Airways fly from Lahore to Tashkent). A taxi from the airport to Islamabad is around Rs800 (in a yellow non a/c cab). You can easily walk out of the airport and hail a taxi to get a cheaper price. The white Toyota Corolla aircon radio cabs will set you back Rs800. Islamabad airport can get busy, meaning giving yourself 2-3 hours prior to departure is a good idea.Niazi Express , Skyways Faisal_Movers and Daewoo Sammi are some of the nicer long-haul operators. Skyways offer some direct services to/from Islamabad and Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. Daewoo has its own terminal on the road from Islamabad just outside Rawalpindi. The majority of buses arrive and depart from Rawalpindi, a few kilometers and a 45 minute taxi ride from Islamabad. Daewoo terminal can also be reached via Chamman Metrobus line, part of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus Corridor. It’s best to book Daewoo by phone in advance if possible. At the moment they serve Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, Murree, Sialkot, Abottabad, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Multan.The city is served by two major railway stations namely Islamabad Railway Station (also called Margala on Pakistan Railways Website) and Rawalpindi Railway Station, in the neighboring city of Rawalpindi. The First Class travel with Pakistan Railway is good and Rawalpindi has frequent railway connections with various major cities including Karachi, Lahore & Peshawar. The Islamabad Railway Station is located in Sector I-9 and can be reached by Khayaban-e-Johar Metrobus line whereas Rawalpindi Railway Station is located in Saddar and can be reached via Saddar Metrobus Station which is 20 mins (1.5 km) by walk.Metro Bus goes through the center of the city from one end to the other, covering whole of Blue Area and most of the 9th Avenue. Metro Buses have good air conditioning systems and free wi-fi. Cost is fixed at Rs.20 for all distances. One can travel via combination of Metro and Taxis for getting into the sectors.City Tour Bus is new hop-on hop-off style bus service recently launched by Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC). The bus take tourists to most of Islamabad’s top attractions including Saidpur Village, Faisal Mosque, Pakistan Monument, Lok Virsa Museum and Lake View Park (Bird Aviary). The tour starts at 9 am from Flashman Hotel in Rawalpindi and ends at around 3 pm. PKR 500 for Students/ 600 for others and include the entry fees for all attractions.Taxis in Islamabad are abundant, popular and generally safe. Cost is around Rs70 – Rs100 per sector traveled, depending on your bargaining skills. Prices will be higher at night, especially departing from places like Jinnah Super (F-7). It is always advisable to agree the fare before traveling. ‘Uber’, ‘Sawaary’ and the Dubai based ‘Careem’, are also both available at all times, at reasonable prices. Car Hire is also a good way of getting around. Although road signs and directions are only available on main roads, the city’s grid and numbering system make it relatively easy to find your way around. There are various car hire companies in Blue Area F-6 and also in G-8 Markaz where cars can be hired with drivers. Most major hotels have their own car hire services and are relatively cheap. A tip to the driver at the end of the booking period is appreciated but not mandatory.Museums & Art GalleriesParks, viewpoints and green spacesMosques, shrines & monumentsOtherRock ClimbingThere are many spots for rock climbing in Margalla Hills, Islamabad. Few crags have been developed but, still a lot of potential available to explore virgin lines.Jungle Rock (F 6a:8a), God Rock (F 6b+:7b), Legacy Wall (F 6a:7c+), Jasmin Corner (F 4b:5a), Belvedere (F 4c:6b+), Hidden Rock (F 6a:6c), Music Lounge (F 5c:6c) Beetle€™s Nest (F 5b:6c+, including multi-pitch route), Well Hidden Rock (F 5a:8a), Holiday Rock (F 5b:5b), Said Pur View (F 5c:8a) and Shaddarrah (F 5c:6a) have been excellently developed/ bolted.A guide to climb Margalla (updated in 2012) can be downloaded from the following link [Pakistan Alpine Institute]There is also an artificial climbing wall in Rawal Lake’s Lake View Park.Horseback RidingMs Orrick is a Canadian qualified riding instructor who has lived and taught horseback riding for 6 years in Islamabad. She is well known for her patience, providing a fun-oriented approach as well as her kindness to horses. She can be reached at 0300 850 4220 or [email protected]Cycling €“ Cycling is becoming a popular activity and also a mode of transport because of the suitable weather, scenic beauty and peace of Islamabad. As active in more than 300 cities around the world, the group called Critical Mass is also present in Islamabad. The group sets out at a set location and time (co-ordinated through its facebook page [49]), to pedal through set routes around and inside the city every Sunday. In addition, the Margalla Hills provide opportunities to do offroad Mountain Biking. MTB Islamabad [50] is a mountain biking club and a knowledge base for offroad trails in the Margallas. New and second hand bikes can both be purchased and rented in a few small shops in Islamabad and Rawalpindi as well. Good quality bikes are available from K2Riders – based in F8/2 [51] and Aerocycling, Shop 12

Airport: ISB Islamabad International Airport Cities in Pakistan

Country: Pakistan