Karachi: Here's Why You Should Visit
Food & Wine
Karachi isn't one of those destinations at the top of your list as a tourist destination, but should you ever get to visit this sprawling metropolis of 26+ million (debatable) people, the food scene along with the peoples hospitality will make it 100% worth it.
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Where to stay in Karachi, Pakistan
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Things to do in Karachi, Pakistan
Head to the beach! Karachi has many beaches available to choose from, you'll likely end up at the Clifton Beach where you can hop on camel or horse (or ATV) for a ride. If you happen to know locals, they may offer to take you to their beach house at the French Beach, a little further from the city, but a private and probably the best beach.
Empress Market: A market in the heart of city, dating back to the 1800's where you can get almost anything you can think off.
Mohatta Palace: Built in the early 1900's as a home for a private businessman, then home to the sister of the founder of Pakistan, and now a museum. Architecturally beautiful on the outside with the inside running exhibitions throughout the year. Pro tip: If you walk around the grounds, you'll stumble upon artifacts hidden to the public dating back to when the British ruled the country.
Frere Hall: Once the office of the mayor, now an a museum. You can head here and picnic in the gardens, or marvel at the views from the 2nd floor. When inside, don't forget to look up, you'll see an unfinished ceiling mural from one of Pakistan's most famous artists— Sadequain.
Makli Necropolis: If you've got the will to sit through the traffic and venture out of the city, you can visit one of the largest funerary sites in the world. Over 1 million people (including Royals) are claimed to have been buried here. While your'e there, hop on over to Thatta, to check out the Shah Jahan Mosque. Yes, the same Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal!
Places to eat & drink in Karachi, Pakistan
Karachi is a foodie heaven. With over 26 million people living here at present from different cultures across the country and the world, you're bound to find some of the best food in the world. Make sure to carry some Immodium or you'll end up with 'Karachi Tummy' and be out of it for a few days.
Kolachi: Without a doubt the best restaurant in the city, if not the country. Half the restaurant is over the water so the views are fantastic. It's only open from 5pm onwards since it's open-air. But up until 2 a.m, you'll find them feeding a couple thousand people a day. You can't go wrong with the menu. Everything is good and if you don't like it, they'll tweak it, fix it, till you do.
Okra: Craving some non-Pakistani food, here's the spot to go for some gourmet food.
BBQ Tonite: Another Karachi staple, with a menu as big as the Cheesecake Factory, you'll find something that you like, and it'll be great.
Xanders: Want a sandwich or a pizza? This is the place to go.
Burns Road: This is a food street and everything here will without a doubt give you a stomach ache, but you'll be happy because you ate some fantastic food.
Indus Foods: Perhaps some of the best Biryani in the city. They make it Sindhi style, the best style of biryani. Sindhi Biryani in Karachi doesn't compare to anything else you get anywhere in the world.
Hot N' Spicy: Head here to get a roll. Think of it like a Kati Roll. It's the perfect snack, any time of day.
Ghaffar Kabab House: Been around for a long long time. Cheap and good.
After every meal, a good cup of chai is mandatory, so don't forget to get some 'Doodh Patti'.
Alcohol may be 'prohibited' for the locals, but if you're non-Muslim or a foreigner there's no restrictions, but you're limited to only what's made locally. Murree Brewery has been kicking out cans since the 1800s, so they know how to make a good brew. I'd recommend trying the 'Murree Wheat'. Unfortunately, you can't just get it anywhere, you can get it at some of the 5-star hotels in the city via room service or some of 'wine shops' scattered around the city.
Karachi might be the most liberal city in Pakistan, but do not be surprised if you see restaurants that seat families separately from the men. Some restaurants will have a dining room separate with air conditioning and some you'll be sitting outdoors or roadside. Regardless, you can't go wrong with the food. If you're scared of how spicy it may be, ask them to make it a little less spicy 'kam theeka'.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out my other guide, Pakistan: Where Continents Collide.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Pakistan.