Where to stay in Pakistan
Pakistan offers a wide range of accommodation. Modern well-equipped hotels can be found in most major towns and offer excellent facilities such as swimming pools and sports facilities. There are also cottages, Dak bungalows and rest houses in all principal hill stations and health resorts. A government room tax of up to 17.5% is added to the cost of accommodation. In all cases it is advisable to book well in advance and check reservations.
The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) manages two hotels, as well as 38 well-furnished and moderately priced motels throughout the country.
Homestays and guesthouses are popular throughout Asia and do exist in Pakistan also, although there isn’t much of a network as such. In the northern areas the PTDC has worked with several homeowners to turn rooms in family homes into guestrooms suitable for guests, at these you cannot expect any of the facilities of a good hotel, but the hospitality will be good, as will the home cooked food.
Camping is possible, mainly in the mountainous areas where hotels may not be possible. There is little risk of vandalism or theft.
Mountain Huts: Chitral has a range of mountain huts. These are known locally as ‘rest houses’ and while basic, usually will come with two to four double rooms, both bedding and someone who looks after the building and guests. The caretaker will normally do the cooking with what is locally available, so it can be an idea to bring your own food too. These exist mainly in Chitral town, Birir Valley, Buni and Mastuj.
Budget Hotels: Pakistan excels in budget rooms, there are far more budget options than five-stars. In the cities it pays to ask to see the room first as some options can be extremely basic and are not always clean. The very cheap options in towns will also not allow foreigners to stay - these are also not advisable for solo women. There are however plenty of gems too. The Regale Internet Inn in Lahore, beloved of many a backpacker is an example of somewhere that is more about the host than the rooms.
Guest Houses: In areas where it is best to take local advice on what to see and do, trekking areas in particular, it pays to stay with a knowledgeable local. Hunza valley has plenty of attractive mountain view guesthouses with many a congenial host, some of which have apricot orchards, sunny balconies, and great views. Elsewhere, in Gilgit, for example there is now even a Japanese-run guest house and many other choices with on-site tour companies that can arrange everything from trekking and visa extensions. These guesthouses are geared towards the independent traveller and cater to them best.
Youth Hostel: The Pakistan Youth Hostel Association has 16 hostels throughout the country affiliated to the International Youth Hostel Federation.