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Karachi

Getting there & away

Contents

Land

Bus

There are plentiful long-distance bus companies, mostly clustered in and around the Blue Lines Bus Station (Dr Daud Pota Rd) near Cantonment Railway Station. These include Blue Lines (5660821) and Green Lines (5652665). Buses run out at all times from here to Lahore (Rs 900, 22 hours), Larkana (Rs 400, seven hours) and Multan (Rs 450, 13 hours), among other destinations. For Quetta (Rs 650, 13 hours) go to Lea Market, from where you’ll also find cheaper buses to destinations across Sindh.

The comfortable Daewoo service popular in the north was due to commence operating from Karachi with services to Punjab via Hyderabad as we went to press.

Train

Karachi has two main train stations – City Railway Station and Cantonment Railway Station. About the same number of trains originate from each, but all trains from City also stop at Cantonment soon after. To be sure of a seat, get on at the departure terminus. Train seats fill up quickly so book as far in advance as possible (particularly important for fast trains and the more ­expensive classes).

Reservations can be made at either the City booking office (9213540, 9213537; 9am-2pm) or the Cantonment booking office (9213565; 9am-2pm) but the foreigner/student concessions can only be given at the former ­ (irrespective of which station the train departs from). Go to the superintendent’s office at the Commercial Branch on the 1st floor. You can double-check at the station or direct with Pakistan Railways (117; www.pakrail.com), or with the Time & Fare Table (Rs 25), which is updated twice yearly and is often sold at stations.

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Air

Karachi’s international and domestic air terminals are both located at the Jinnah International Airport (4572011, 9248792), about 10km east of the city centre. You can buy onward domestic air tickets here 24 hours a day outside the arrival terminal. There are money-exchange counters and ATMs in the arrival hall and before you clear customs upon departure. The international departure terminal (after customs) has some overpriced handicraft shops, while the domestic terminal has a good bookshop.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA; www.piac.com.pk) operates the most comprehensive domestic service. The busiest routes are to Islamabad (Rs 3680, 1¾ hours, five daily) and Lahore (Rs 4280, 1¾ hours, seven daily), along with daily flights to Peshawar (Rs 7920, two hours), Quetta (Rs 6250, one hour), Faisalabad (Rs 3720, 90 minutes), Multan (Rs 4280, 90 minutes) and Gwadar. All major cities are served, with other useful flights including to Moenjodaro (Rs 3300, four times weekly). Where there are multiple daily departures, the night services at unsociable hours are slightly cheaper. Check online for full timetables.

Air Blue runs three times a day to Islamabad and Lahore and daily to Quetta. Shaheen Air flies to Lahore (daily except Saturday) and three times weekly to Quetta and Peshawar. Aero Asia has services to Islamabad (up to five daily), Lahore (three daily), and three times weekly to Peshawar, Faisalabad and Multan. Fares are all within touching distance of each other and PIA.

Airline offices

The four domestic airlines:

Aero Asia (2783033; IEP Bldg, Shahrah-e-Faisal Rd)

Air Blue (2247258; Strachen Rd)

PIA office (9206721; Strachen Rd; 9am-9pm) Has separate departments for international and domestic flights.

Shaheen Air (5685590; Strachen Rd)

Various international airlines have offices in central Karachi, including the following:

Air Arabia (5693817; Lotia Bldg, Abdullah Haroon Rd)

British Airways (5686076; Marriott Hotel, 9 Abdullah Haroon Rd)

Cathay Pacific (5660406; Metropole Hotel, Club Rd)

Emirates (5683377; 265A RA Lines Sarwar Rd)

Gulf Air (5675231; Kashif Centre, Shahrah-e-Faisal Rd)

Indian Airlines (2625023; 1st fl, Shaheen Complex, Dr Ziauddin Ahmad Rd)

Iran Air (5216293; Hotel Mehran, Shahrah-e-Faisal Rd)

KLM (5689071; Club Rd)

Singapore Airlines (5683078; 2-3 Services Club Bldg, Mereweather Rd)

Thai Airways (5660160; Metropole Hotel, Club Rd)

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