Traffic jams are a frustrating constant of Karachi life, so bear this in mind if you’ve got a connection or appointment to make.
It’s easier to hire a car with driver than try to navigate Karachi’s insane traffic yourself. Pearl Radio Cab (4604465) charges Rs 1500 per day including fuel, if you’re staying in the city limits and travel less than 100km. Travel Walji’s (5660248; 13 Services Mess, Mereweather Rd) is recommended for self-drive cars. Prices are around Rs 2400 per day (without fuel; unlimited mileage).
City bus and minibus routes crisscross Karachi but they’re a confusing bet for the short-term visitor, with numbers, destinations and stops poorly marked, and vehicles crowded to bursting. But they can be fun too if you’re that way inclined, with fares starting at Rs 4 and never topping Rs 20. Potentially useful routes from Empress Market include Clifton Beach (bus 20), Keamari Harbour via Mereweather Tower (buses 2K, W11, 6B and 8A), and the Quaid-i-Azam Mausoleum (bus 2K). Karachi City Guide has a full listing of routes. The most salubrious local buses are run by the Metro Bus Service and the Green Bus Service, which are a little more expensive than others but more comfortable and usually less crowded. They cover a limited area, predominantly between Saddar, Clifton and the city centre. You can catch them at Saddar’s Empress Market.