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Karachi Travel Guide – Complete Guide

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Timeline – Karachi

Prehistory and Alexander the Great:

The coast served as the harbor for local fishermen in early times. Alexander has camped at this port city called ‘Krokola’ by Greeks. It is believed that Alexander’s naval head sailed from present-day Manora Island called ‘Morontobara’ in the early days.

Muhammad Bin Qasim and Abdullah Shah Ghazi:

It was known as Debal by Arabs during the reign of Muhammad bin Qasim. This port was being used to defeat Raja Dahir in 712 AD by Umayyad General.

In 760 AD, Abdullah Shah Ghazi Arrived from Kufa (Iraq), he was a trader and known for his bravery. He is buried at the seaside, present Karachi’s Clifton Area and millions of worshipers visit his shrine to pay tribute.

Portuguese Threat:

To guard Debal, it was fortified by Mughals to diffuse threats by Portuguese ships but later it was attached by them to destroy ships by ottomans.

Talpur Dynasty:

Inhabitants of this harbor later become part of the Talpur dynasty of Sindh and village was formed which was named ‘Kolachi’. In the late 1720s, this becomes a gateway for trade with Muscat and the Persian Gulf.

The village was fortified with two passages called ‘Khaara Darwaza’ and ‘Meet’ ha Darwaza’, currently known as Kharadar and Mithadar. Former Faces Sea while later opens to river Liyari.

East India Company:

In 1972, Dutch East India Company for the first time used name ‘Karachee’ in their records, when one of their ships collapsed near this coast. This place was occupied by British East India Company in 1989 and later after the conquest of Sindh, Karachi becomes an important part of the British Indian Empire.

From Village to megalopolis:

Since the ships were frequently anchoring at Karachi and it was gained vital importance as a trade center, many developments took place during the British Colonial era. Modernization included the basis for municipal government, military cantonment, setting up ports for exports and etc.  And thus, a small village transformed into the big city with a population of little more than 1 lac in 1899.

The aerodrome was also built in Karachi in 1924 and was known as “Paris of Asia’ due to rising significance in the region. The city becomes a center for exports and grains were the biggest export during British reign.

After Independence:

It was home to people from diverse backgrounds such as Europeans, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Armenians, Malay Jews, Parsis, etc. but when the independence of Pakistan was announced communal riots broke out and Muslims from other parts of subcontinent starts coming to Pakistan and majority of Hindus and Sikhs migrated to present-day India. This lead to a large population increase of Karachi and also, Karachi was declared the first Capital of Pakistan.

The capital was later shifted to Islamabad but as Karachi remained the trade and business hub for many it holds a significant position in the Pakistani economy. Migrants from India, West Pakistan (Present-day Bangladesh), Afghan migrants after soviet invasion and American invasion of Afghanistan has seen large number of migrants coming to Karachi for earning livelihood and businesses.

Currently, it is the most populated city of Pakistan and a hub of business activities.

Karachi

Let’s explore Karachi;

Historical places in Karachi
  • Mohatta Palace
  • Quaid-e-Azam House Museum
  • The Chaukhandi Tombs
  • Quaid’s Mausoleum
  • The ruins of Bhambore
  • Frere Hall
  • Hindu Gymkhana
Best Places in Karachi (City of Light) for Family Outing and Recreation
  • PAF Museum
  • The National Museum of Pakistan
  • Pakistan Maritime Museum
  • Port Grand
  • Do Darya
  • Arabian Sea Country Club
  • Defence Authority Marina Club
  • Karachi Zoo
Parks and Beaches
  • Paradise Point
  • Hawks bay
  • Sandspit beach
  • Gadani
  • French Beach
  • Manora Island Beach
  • Clifton Beach
  • Haleji Lake
  • Safari Park
  • Nisar Shaheed Park
  • Sea View
  • Cape Monze Beach (Cape Mount Beach)
  • Ibn-e-Qasim Park
  • Turtle Beach
  • Churna Island
Best Places in Karachi for Biryani lovers/Haleem/Nihari
  • Meerath Kabab House
  • Allah wala Biryani Center
  • Fish by Yadgar
  • Katakat and Brain Masala from Noorani
  • Beef Fry Kabab by Waheed
  • Haleem from Mazedar Haleem (Burns Road)
  • Javed Nihari (Dastagir, F.B.Area)
  • Nihari by Ghaffar Kabab House (DMS & Port Grand)
  • Afghani Boti at Al-Asif (Sohrab Goth)
  • Namkeen Boti And Afghani Pulao by Al-harmain (Al-Asif square)
  • Chullu Kebabs from Chullu Subhani Cafe (Saddar)
  • Balochi Tikka from Madina 2 
  • Karhai by Anwar Baloch 
  • Kali Mirch Chargha by Café Laziz
  • Murgh Cholay by Ghousia near City Court
  • Goan Crab Curry From Biryani of The Seas (Clifton)
  • Jheenga Masala From Biryani of The Seas (Clifton)
  • Yuan Tung Chinese Restaurant (Tariq Road)
  • Singaporean Rice by Kashif Foods (Near Rab Medical, Gulshan)
  • Hunter Beef Burger from Hanifia (multiple locations)
  • Super Bun Kabab at Pakistan Chowk
  • Cheese Loader by Bon Bistro (Maskan, Gulshan)
  • Broast by Kundan (Naseerabad)
  • Lachaydaar Parathay from Quetta Alamgir Hotel (Alamgir Road)
  • Passport Office Kachori with Alo ki Tarkari 
  • Bombay Chaat House
  • Regular and Cream Fruit Chat at Nursery (Shara-e-Faisal)
  • Gola Ganda at Dhoraji
  • Rabri by Dehli Rabri House (Burns Road)
Best Places in Karachi for Desi and Continental Foods
  • Pompei
  • Cafe Flo
  • Asia Live
  • Kolachi
  • Fuchsia
  • Okra
  • Oishi Sushi
  • Zaoq
  • Sky BBQ
  • Red Emperor China Bistro
  • Chandni Lounge
  • BBQ Tonight
  • La Mamma
  • Rakaposhi
  • Mirage
  • Desi Cuisine
  • Lal Qila Restaurant Karachi
  • China Kitchen
  • Café Koel
  • Evergreen
  • Cocochan 
  • Famous O’s
  • Marcel’s 
  • Coco 9   
  • Easy
  • Jucy Lucy 
  • Moos ‘n’ Clucks
  • 2 Guys 1 Grill
  • Steak by CFU
  • BabaMoo
  • Meat the Cheese
  • Slamvich
  • Kudu
  • Newbury 
  • Swensen’s 
  • Baskin Robbins
  • The Crave Bar
  • Casbah
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Dynasty Chinese Restaurant
  • Charcoal BBQ & Grill
  • Sakura
  • The Patio
  • Café Flo
  • Big thick burgers
  • Ginsoy
  • Suzie Wong
  • Rajdhani delights
Best places in Karachi for Deserts and Confectionaries
  • Baituti
  • Loco
  • Arizona grill
  • Jason’s steakhouse 
  • The verge 
  • Nando’s Chocolate Malt Cake
  • Xander’s
  • Bella Vita
  • Lals Patisserie
  • Chaiwala
  • Waffle Cart:
  • Auntie Munaver
  • Okra
  • Scream
  • Arbor Café and Patisserie
  • Deshire
  • Soi
  • D’OH
  • Del Frio’s
  • Mews Café’s
  • Mocca’s
  • Espresso’s
  • Côte-Rôtie’s
  • NY Coffee’s
  • Scream
  • Sugar Momma
  • Bakes N Bites by Amna
  • Whoops
Best Universities in Karachi
  • Iqra University
  • Agha Khan University
  • University of Karachi
  • Ziauddin University
  • Indus valley school of art and architecture
  • Karachi Institute of Economics and Technology
  • Jinnah University for Women
  • Karachi School for Business and Leadership
  • Institute of Business Management
Karachi
Religious sites and shrines
  • Tooba Masjid
  • Abdullah Shah Ghazi
  • Hazrat Syed Noor Ali Shah
  • Hazrat Pir Hasan Shah Ghazi
  • Hazrat Mewa Shah
  • St Patrick’s cathedral
  • Shri Shivibai Shivalaya Mandir
  • Bhagnari Shiv Mandir, near Kakri ground

If you want to learn more about religious sites in Karachi, please review the article by Arif Hasan. He has briefed all the sites in detail with pictorial illustration, along with locations.

Famous Landmarks/Government Buildings of Karachi
  • KMC building
  • Karachi Port Trust (KPT) office
  • Flagstaff Hall/Quaid-e-Azam Museum
  • Hindu Gymkhana/NAPA building
  • Supreme Court of Pakistan
  • Income Tax Building
  • Chief Minister Sindh’s Secretariat
  • Governor House Karachi
  • KMC Building
  • Sindh Assembly
  • Civic Centre
  • Sindh High Court
  • State Bank of Pakistan
  • Karachi Stock Exchange
Mega Shopping Malls and Markets in Karachi
  • Empress Market
  • Doleman Mall
  • Park tower
  • Ocean Mall
  • Zainab Market
  • Lucky One
  • Atrium Mall
  • The Forum
  • Gulfway Shopping Mall
  • Millennium Mall
  • Tariq Road
  • Bahadurabad
  • Hyderi Market
  • Gul Plaza
  • Uzma Shopping Center
  • Boulton Market
  • Co-operative Market
  • Jama Cloth Market
  • Emerald towers

For details, you may visit the KMC website

Best places for Accommodation in Karachi
  • Movenpick Hotel Karachi
  • Avari Towers Karachi
  • Karachi Marriott Hotel
  • Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Karachi Airport Hotel
  • Beach Luxury Hotel
  • Seashell Inn Hotel
  • Pearl Continental Hotel Karachi
  • Hotel Step inn Karachi 
  • Hillside Homes 
  • Sunset Suites 
  • The Reserve Boutique Hotel 
  • Hotel Seaview 
  • Orchards Cottage Hotel 
  • Seaview Guest House 
  • Hotel Crown Inn 
  • Al Mustafa Hotel
  • Second Home
  • New Grace Inn
Best Places for kids Entertainment in Karachi
  • Arena
  • Sindbad Wonderland
  • Eat-A-Boo
  • Go Aish
  • Kidz Club
  • The owl’s nest
  • Chunky monkey
  • Bounce Karachi
  • Atlantis
  •  Aladdin amusement parks
  • Play pod
  • Dino adventure park
  • Chotu Motu
  • Artel Winter Camp
  • Pi-Social
Best Housing Societies in Karachi
  • DHA
  • Bahria
  • Naval Housing Scheme
  • Malir Cantt
  • Askari Housing Scheme
  • Fazaia housing scheme

For details about housing societies in Karachi please click here.

One day and weekend trips from Karachi
  • Makli
  • Kirthar National Park
  • Manora
  • Mubarak Village/Beach
  • Churna Island
  • Haleji Lake/Thatta
  • Ranikot Fort
  • Moola Chotok, Kuzdar
  • Keenjar Lake
  • Hala
  • Gorakh Hills
  • Bhit Shah
  • Hingol National Park/Kund Malir Beach
  • Astola Island
  • Beaches in Gawadar
Karachi to Northern Areas
  • If you want to travel northern Pakistan please click here for details.
Karachi’s Culture

Karachi is the most happening city in Pakistan. With crowded markets and a range of brands including local and international adorning the large glossy outlets. The nightlife stuns the newcomer with hotels serving mouthwatering dishes and dozens of places offering a variety of entertainments for families.

People in the city of lights as it is called is among the most populated cities in the world. People here belong to different ethnic backgrounds and you will find many foreigners in Karachi for carrying out business activities. Also, it has the largest airport which caters to many international flights but the recent inauguration of Islamabad International Airport has attracted some traffic from Karachi Airport.

Languages mostly spoken in Karachi include Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto, Gujrati, Balochi, Makrani, Serayki and Bangali. English is also widely spoken and understood in Karachi.

Karachi

The clothes normally worn by karachiites is Shalwar Kameez the traditional dress of Pakistan but they also wear casually kurta-shalwar, kurta-jeans, and females wear shalwar kameez normally.

For those who not yet visited Karachi, it is recommended to visit this city of lights. You can find here markets for everything. Wholesalers, retailers, distributors of all items can be found here with lots of varieties.

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