Visiting Khewra Salt mines | Himalayan Salt Mine in Pakistan

Located between Lahore & Islamabad are the Khewra Salt Mines. The largest in Pakistan and second largest in the world, the mines are now a popular tourist attraction. The discovery of rock salt dates back to the days of Alexander the Great, with initial mining properly starting in 1500 AD with salt production crossing 50,000 tonnes at the turn of the last century.

khewra salt mine pink Himalayan salt

Location and how to get to Khewra Salt Mines.

The mine itself is located in the salt range which is an outer range of the Himalayas. It is situated in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District. Located about 180 km from Islamabad and 250km from Lahore, it is about 30 kilometres (20 miles) off the Lilla interchange while going towards Pind Dadan Khan on the Lilla road.

There is currently no public transport going to the mines so the only way to get there is either by hiring a private car or by going through an agency or travel portal. Travel Portal Find My Adventure can arrange transportation and guides.

What to expect in Khewra Salt Mines

To get inside the mines you can either take the free train which leaves at random intervals when it’s full, or it’s possible to walk which takes around 15 mins.

Once inside you can walk a circular route starting on the right hand side tunnel. You’ll be able to see the bricks made from the pink, red & white Himalayan rock salt. There are 17 levels of the mine which the tourist area on the 5th level. The mix of salts can appear at any level however.

khewra salt mine pink Himalayan salt

khewra salt mine pink Himalayan salt

khewra salt mine pink Himalayan salt

One of the first sights you’ll arrive at is the mosque made entirely out of salt. Built in the 1950s it is fully functional as a prayer area for the miners but is also undeniably beautiful to look at! There is a replica of the Minar e Pakistan, the famous monument of Lahore, a spectacular red and orange glowing structure.

 

minar e pakistan made from salt

The air in the salt mine is said to be good for health and there’s a salt clinic/hospital inside. Visitors with asthma and other respiratory illnesses can visit the Khrewra Salt Mines and actually spend up to 10 days there which is said to improve breathing ability.

There’s a small shop inside the mine selling salt lamps to improve the air in rooms back home, salt letter shapes and a variety of seemingly random non salt related objects.

It’s worth noting that there are no toilets/restrooms inside Khewra Salt Mines. The only available facilities are outside the mine.

khewra salt mine pink Himalayan salt

khewra salt mine pink Himalayan salt, inside khewra salt mine

khewra salt mine pink Himalayan salt, inside khewra salt mine

Khewra Salt Mines  Opening hours – Daily 9am to 6pm

Cost of entry to Khewra Salt Mines
Foreingers 2900 rupees
Locals 220 rupees

The Khewra Salt mines make an excellent day trip from Islamabad or day trip from Lahore and the scenery on the way is beautiful too. It’s definitely a top thing to do in Pakistan.

What to wear in Pakistan as a tourist | Pakistan clothing guide

Finding a balance between being comfortable in the clothing you’re wearing for travel and being conscious of local customs and traditions is important. Pakistan is a country of diversity in terms of terrain and temperature, with a great variation between the cities and the more rural areas, as well the mountains and the plains.

I’ve put together a guide as to how to dress in Pakistan with some tips on what to wear to be respectful as well as comfortable.

what to wear in pakistan as a tourist, dressing in pakistan, how to dress in pakistan, clothing in pakistan

How women should dress in Pakistan

The title is perhaps slightly misleading as there isn’t necessarily a ‘should’ in terms of what to wear in Pakistan. I asked many of my local friends what to wear in Pakistan, and the response was usually that I could wear what I wanted, and that jeans and a t shirt would be fine. Whilst I’m sure this was true, and in cities such as Karachi where it’s more liberal would probably be fine, the reality is that outside of malls and higher end restaurants then most women did seem to dress for more traditionally or at least more conservatively.

Once I was out of the major cities and particularly in the North then most women covered their heads, and whilst this wasn’t a requirement at all except inside mosques, most tourists would perhaps feel more comfortable dressing a little more conservatively. I actually had many people come up to me and say they appreciated that I was wearing a kurta and they were happy that I was being respectful in this way. I’d like to point out again that nobody asked me to wear a kurta, it was my choice; just a choice that seemed to be appreciated.

The traditional Pakistani clothing for women is made up of the Shalwar Kameez, a sort of long sleeved shirt worn with a shawl for modesty alongside loose trousers tapered at the ankles.  Often these items are colourful and sometimes even adorned with designs and jewels. The Shalwar Kameez serves two purposes; one it’s modest as it covers the shoulders, chest and usually arms and secondly the lightweight material is helpful for hot weather. It’s actually a delight to wear as European fashions aren’t usually so colourful.

Ideas as to what to wear in Pakistan for women

Asos has a great selection of modest clothing that look stylish. I chose a few maxi dresses with long sleeves and tapered at the waist to maintain some shape. Equally oversized shirts work well and the looseness means you’ll have a little bit more air.

what to wear in pakistan as a tourist, dressing in pakistan, how to dress in pakistan, clothing in pakistan

what to wear in pakistan as a tourist, dressing in pakistan, how to dress in pakistan, clothing in pakistan

Mix and match your own clothing with local items
Wearing a kurta with jeans is easy and comfortable. The kurta will of course go down below your hips to be a little more conservative but you’ve still got the comfort of jeans (and pockets) which you’re probably used to. 

Why not buy some local outfits during your travels in Pakistan? 
Some of the regional clothing from Pakistan is beautiful. I bought a few items during my travels that not only proved practical (and will be for future trips) but also colourful and enjoyable to wear. Furthermore, local people often seemed thrilled that I was wearing items of clothing from their country and region which is often met with happy gestures and smiles.

what to wear in pakistan as a tourist, dressing in pakistan, how to dress in pakistan, clothing in pakistan

What to wear in religious sites or mosques in Pakistan.

Outside many mosques there will be a sign that says that women must adhere to proper Islamic dress to enter. This means that your arms legs and shoulders must be covered and also your head. It’s always wise to carry a scarf with you but often they can be provided if you have forgotten to bring one.

To cover your head you can simply use the scarf to drape over your hair or so it doesn’t keep needing adjusting then consider tying it up in a top knot.

What to wear as a male tourist in Pakistan

There’s more flexibility for what to wear in Pakistan for men. In the cities then jeans and t-shirt are perfectly normal and acceptable, it’s worth noting though that during the particularly hot summers then heavy jeans might be a bit too hot. Shorts, whilst not offensive are not that commonly worn except in the more modern areas of Karachi etc.

Outside of the major cities then almost all men wear the matching traditional wear, this is made up a long shirt with a grandad style collar and a loose trouser. It’s lightweight and fairly smart to be honest. Even in the rural areas then most men seem to have their traditional wear in immaculate condition and usually pressed. Once again you’re definitely not expected to dress in a traditional fashion and it may not be practical for you but many people actually find that the cool materials are helpful in the Summer. Otherwise, wearing jeans and a t shirt even in the rural areas won’t really attract any more attention than you’d expect as a tourist anyway.

Does it get cold in Pakistan?
Pakistan does have seasonal weather and during my trip in September I could feel the temperature dropping day by day. As you travel further north it will certainly become cooler, particularly at night time, so it’s wise to travel with a scarf and light jacket. In terms of what to wear in Pakistan in winter however it’s a different story in the mountains, and be sure to check temperatures before you travel to decide what level of warm clothing to take. Waterproof boots for snow, gloves, hats and thermals are all necessities in the far North and Balochistan.

example of what to wear in pakistan women

 

 

First time to Pakistan tips | Pakistan Travel Guide

So you’ve decided to visit Pakistan! Voted as one of Forbes places to visit in 2019, Pakistan is truly one of the up and coming destinations for the more discerning traveller, particularly those keen to get a little off grid.

I’ve put together a Pakistan travel guide to questions I’ve been asked about first time travel to Pakistan, as well as some general tips for travel to Pakistan.


Is Pakistan safe?

In a word, yes, but let’s look a little deeper.

Pakistan has been in the media a lot over the past few years which has unfortunately given it somewhat a bad reputation in the eyes of many. When the Taliban insurgence in the mid 2000s took place a lot of the border areas with Afghanistan and some of the more Northern Areas became off limits and potentially dangerous to visit. Of course we are now 10 years past this and actually Swat and the North of Pakistan are becoming some of the highlights of the country for many people. Many countries find their previous reputation hard to shake and indeed the British government still has Swat on it’s ‘Do not travel’ list. For me however it was a highlight of my visit.

In any country it’s wise to travel with caution, but in Pakistan I actually experienced less general day to day trouble than in many places. Street harassment by shop keepers and other members of the public was very low and actually the people that did want to come and chat to me were pretty respectful and polite. Not once did I feel concerned for my safety in Pakistan.

what to wear in pakistan as a tourist, dressing in pakistan, how to dress in pakistan, clothing in pakistan


What are the people like in Pakistan? / Are people friendly in Pakistan?

Pakistan is known for its hospitality; on a superficial level I was warmly welcomed on social media, with many people offering help if I needed it. In reality these kind of offers were actually acted upon and wherever I went then locals seemed to go out of their way to offer me drinks and food. Equally whenever there was a queue then locals would insist that I went to the front so I didn’t have to wait, of course this almost made me feel rude but the people were so insistent and kind. Pakistani hospitality has rightfully gained a reputation for being excellent and I was made to feel so welcome during my time there.


What to wear in Pakistan

What to wear in Pakistan as a women – Most of my Pakistani friends said that I could wear jeans and a t-shirt, and whilst ‘could’ is probably true, then in reality outside of the major cities (particularly Karachi) then women dress more conservatively including looser pants, kurtas or Shalwar Kameez. In mosques or religious sites then it’s necessary to cover your head and observe ‘proper Islamic dress’, which generally means long sleeves and full length skirt or trousers. See my full article on what to wear in Pakistan as a woman here. 

What to wear in Pakistan as a man – In the cities many men wear jeans and t-shirts, but once you get into the countryside then generally men wear traditional clothing. Male tourists can get away with wearing jeans wherever they visit but shorts (whilst allowed) are not particularly common. See my full article on what to wear in Pakistan as a man here.

what to wear in pakistan as a tourist, dressing in pakistan, how to dress in pakistan, clothing in pakistan


Getting a visa for Pakistan
It’s easier than previously to apply for a Pakistani visa, however my advice would be to apply well in advance as particularly during busy periods then it may take a lot longer than stated online to receive your visa.

  • How to get a Pakistan visa as a British citizen – It’s possible to get an e-visa for Pakistan as British citizen, however don’t underestimate how long this will take. Online it states that it will take 7-10 working days, however it actually took 5 weeks for my visa to come through and I had to go into the high commission twice to speed this along! The staff were really nice but clearly a little snowed under with work. You’ll need details of any sponsor if you have one, approximate travel dates, and potentially even bank statements. Apply here. 
  • 30 countries can now apply for visa on arrival for Pakistan (which can take 48 hours to apply for.) This includes citizens of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand. Full list of countries can be found here.

How to get around in Pakistan? / Do you need to go with a tour group in Pakistan?

I may be a little biased as I never travel with tour groups but I did make use of Pakistan’s only online travel portal Find My Adventure They offer fully customisable itineraries including cars, guides and accommodation. This was particularly helpful for the places that I wanted to visit that didn’t have any public transport going to them, they can also offer Pakistan travel advice and tips.

Intercity buses in Pakistan go from the terminals in each city and are pretty cheap. For the smaller journeys then minibuses leave at unspecified intervals, usually for less than 50 rupees if you can avoid the foreigner tax! The minibuses often line up quite well with each other so you’ll be able to get off one when it finishes it’s route and probably not have to wait too long for the next to arrive.

what to wear in pakistan as a tourist, dressing in pakistan, how to dress in pakistan, clothing in pakistan


What is food like in Pakistan? / Pakistani cuisine
There are some similarities between Indian food & Pakistani food, but I also noticed a very distinct cuisine and style of cooking in Pakistan. I mentioned on Twitter that I felt Pakistani cuisine was quite meat heavy and received quite a lot of messages from people saying that they agreed. Note, that I’m not implying that all meals involved meat, just that if you are a vegan for example, you may find the cuisine in Pakistan a little more challenging than in a few other countries. Having said this, as I found the people to be so hospitable then they would go out of their way if you did have any special dietary requirements. A couple of times I was caught out ordering Dal in Pakistan when trying to find something without meat, despite asking if it was meat free it did end up coming with chicken in!

Pakistani food is rich and flavoursome, with a range of breads rather addictive for us carb lovers. The food is often quite oily, but with the benefit of being rather filling. Street food in Pakistan is also delicious and many simple snacks like grilled corn tossed in salt can be found cheaply and easily.

pakistan travel guide, pakistan travel tips, pakistan travel ideas, first time to pakistan tips

 

 


I hope you enjoyed this guide for first time travel to Pakistan and that you found some helpful tips for travel to Pakistan.

If you’ve been to Pakistan yourself or you’re from there and have your own tips for travel to Pakistan please leave a comment below.