Transportation - Get In
- Benazir Bhutto International Airport situated in the middle of Rawalpindi receives flights from a variety of international destinations, including from Europe with Turkish Airlines (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, Istanbul), the middle east with Emirates, Pakistan International Airlines - PIA and Shaheen Air(Dubai), AirBlue (Sharjah, Muscat and Doha), Iraqi Airways (Baghdad) and other Asian cities such as Urumqi with China Southern Airlines and Bangkok with Thai Airways. Other international destinations are served direct from Karachi and Lahore, including the only link to central Asia (Uzbekistan Airways fly from Lahore to Tashkent). A taxi from the airport to Islamabad is around Rs 400 (in a yellow non air-con cab). You can easily walk out of the airport and hail a taxi to get a cheaper price. The white Toyota Corolla air-con radio cabs will set you back Rs 800.
Islamabad airport can get busy and groan under the weight of departing passengers, meaning giving yourself a couple of hours prior to departure is a good idea. As with most places in Pakistan, queuing is an optional concept and hence checking-in can involve getting those elbows out and pushing to the front. Recent surveys have labelled Islamabad's airport as one of the world's worst with pervasive filth, rudeness, corruption and chaos so you might like to consider Lahore as your entry point if flying from abroad.
Despite Islamabad have its railway station in sector I-9, majority travel through the railway station in the neighbouring city Rawalipindi, which is a major railway station and has good railway connections with various major cities including Karachi, Lahore & Peshawar.
Recently, Pakistan Railways launched new train service named "Green Line" service between Islamabad and Karachi which offers free WiFi, breakfast, newspapper among other basic facilities to its passengers. The train is only airconditioned, has few major stops along the route such as Lahore, Hyderabad, Khanewal, Rawalpindi and cost Rs 5,500 for one way trip.
- Niazi Express, Skyways and Daewoo Sammi (+92 51 111 007 008) are some of the nicer long-haul operators. Skyways offer some direct services to/from Islamabad and Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. Daewoo has its own terminal on the road from Islamabad just outside Rawalpindi. The majority of buses arrive and depart from Rawalpindi, a few kilometers and a 45 minute taxi ride from Islamabad. It's best to book Daewoo by phone in advance if possible. At the moment they serve Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, Murree, Sialkot, Abottabad, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Multan.
Transportation - Get Around
Taxis in Islamabad are abundant, popular and generally safe. Cost is around Rs 50-60 per sector travelled, depending on your bargaining skills. Prices will be higher at night, especially departing from places like Jinnah Super (F-7). It is always advisable to agree the fare before travelling.
Car Hire is also a good way of getting around. Although road signs and directions are only available on main roads, the city's grid and numbering system make it relatively easy to find your way around. There are various car hire companies in Blue Area F-6 and also in G-8 Markaz where cars can be hired with drivers. Most major hotels have their own car hire services and are relatively cheap. A tip to the driver at the end of the booking period is always appreciated but not mandatory.