Have you been thinking about travelling to Turkey from Pakistan but don’t know where to begin? If so, this comprehensive guide is meant just for you.
There’s a reason why Turkey has always been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Straddling Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia, this culturally-rich nation has seen numerous empires rise and fall. In fact, the history of this region can be traced back to the prehistoric era, some 5 million years ago.
From the Hellenistic period to the modern-day Republic of Turkey, this region has been built and destroyed and then built again throughout centuries – the remnants of which can be seen across the country in the form of various landmarks. Apart from architectural marvels such as Hagia Sophia and millennium-old ruins such as the monasteries in the Goreme Open Air Museum, Turkey also boasts a stunning landscape and the most incredible beaches.
There is no shortage of reasons why you should include travelling to Turkey in your bucket list. However, if you are having a hard time figuring out how to apply for a visa or create an itinerary, here’s all that you need to know in order to plan a trip to Turkey from Pakistan.
How to Get a Visa for Turkey from Pakistan
The visa application process is not as daunting as some make it out to be. Here are some things to know when applying for a Turkey visa.
Turkey visa requirements for Pakistani citizens
Here are the documents required to apply for a Turkey visit visa for Pakistani passport holders.
- An accurately filled out visa application form
- Two 5×5 biometric photographs with white background
- A request letter filled by the applicant
- Passport, which must be valid for at least 6 months after you land in Turkey
- Copies of every stamped page of the recent and old passports
- Travel health insurance certificate
- Polio vaccination certificate
- Copy of the flight reservations
- Copy of hotel bookings OR an invitation letter if you are planning to stay at someone’s home
- NADRA family registration certificate if you are visiting Turkey from Pakistan with your family members
- Bank account maintenance certificate
- Bank statements for the last three months
- NTN number
- Signed and stamped salary slips
- Employment letter on company letterhead
Instead of visiting the Turkish Embassy in Islamabad or the Turkish Consulate General in Karachi, you can apply for the visa via Gerry’s – a visa facilitation service.
Most tourists from Pakistan are granted a 10-day visa to take a trip to Turkey with the validity (travel time) of six months.
Visa fee for Turkey from Pakistan
If you hold Pakistani citizenship, you’ll have to pay PKR 9,000 for a single entry visit visa and PKR 36,000 for a multiple entry visa. However, if you opt for the latter, you will be required to produce an official invitation letter from a company or relatives living in Turkey. As for work visa, applicants have to pay an additional fee to the Turkish Embassy once their application has been approved.
Moreover, people with a valid US, UK, Ireland or Schengen visa are eligible to get an e-visa for Turkey from Pakistan. People travelling to the US, UK, Ireland or any of the Schengen countries via Turkish Airlines are also eligible for a free 7-day transit visa.
The service fee at Gerry’s is PKR 3,450 for a single application. Meanwhile, you can enjoy their Premium Lounge for PKR 4830, where a representative will assist you in arranging your documents and filling out the required paperwork.
If you’re wondering how to get travel insurance for Turkey, you can simply fill out an insurance form at Gerry’s and get it done at the same time while applying for a visa.
For more information about the visa fee and charges, you can directly contact Gerry’s as well.
Landline callers: 0900-07860
Mobile callers: 9999
Visa Processing Time
The application processing time generally varies between 10 days and 4 weeks. However, in some instances, it can take a little bit longer. In any case, you should apply at least 1.5 months before the departure date.
Best Time to Visit Turkey
Although it varies with each region, the best time to travel to Turkey from Pakistan is from April to May and from September to October if you want to avoid extreme humidity, rain, heat and cold.
Furthermore, Turkey, specifically Istanbul, gets very crowded during June, July, December and January as most people prefer travelling during summer and winter vacations. However, make sure to check the weather in Turkey before making any reservations or booking your flights.
Currency in Turkey
The Turkish lira, denoted at TL and TRY, is the official currency of Turkey. As of writing this, TL 1 equals PKR 26. However, some hotels and shops may also accept euros.
For those travelling to Turkey, it is recommended to carry only a few lira for transportation and tipping. You can carry the rest of your money in euros or US dollars and exchange it from a reliable shop in the city. If you own a debit or a credit card, contact your respective bank to inquire about international transactions.
Pro tip: The crime rate in Turkey may be low, but tourists should be extra careful to keep their belongings safe during their trip. Take a look at some tips on how to protect your money while travelling.
Tipping in Turkey
As far as tipping in Turkey is concerned, tourists are expected to tip between TL 4 and TL 5 to a porter per bag, whereas housekeeping staff at the hotel should be tipped between TL 5 and TL 7 per day.
Furthermore, the servers at restaurants and cafes must be tipped 5% to 10% of the total tip. If you go to a Turkish bath aka hammam, you are expected to tip 15% of the total price.
Buying a Sim Card in Turkey
Being connected to your friends and family back home is extremely important during travelling. Since most service providers in Pakistan charge exorbitant amounts of money in the name of international roaming, you may be better off buying a local sim card during your trip to Turkey.
For those travelling first time to Turkey, there are two major operators in the country offering good coverage and affordable 4G packages. The most popular among tourists is Turkcell followed by Vodafone.
You can easily find kiosks for both of these operators inside the airport. These facilities make things easier for the arriving tourists.
How to Travel to Turkey from Pakistan
Most tourists prefer arriving in Turkey via Istanbul, which has two active international airports: Ataturk International Airport and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport.
While most air carriers offer flights to Turkey from Pakistan, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Emirates, Qatar and Fly Dubai are some of the most popular options with one to two stopovers. Meanwhile, Turkish Airline offers direct flights to Istanbul.
If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, a round trip to Istanbul may cost you somewhere between PKR 75,000 and PKR 95,000 for the economy class on average. The travel time from Turkey to Pakistan is around six hours for direct flights.
Since hunting for cheap tickets isn’t exactly easy, you may want to book a flight a couple of months in advance to save some money on travel.
How Much Does It Cost To Travel To Turkey From Pakistan?
Most companies charge somewhere around PKR 1.6 lac to PKR 2 lac for their regular travel packages from Pakistan to Turkey. Mostly, these tours include flight bookings, accommodation, intra-city and inter-city travel to three to four major cities along with entrance fee of popular tourist attractions.
Even if you do everything on your own, you can easily plan a similar itinerary and travel to Turkey from Pakistan for the cost of PKR 1.8 lac per person – including visa fee and some shopping in addition to the ones mentioned above.
How to travel within Turkey
There are three most popular ways to get around Turkey: by an aeroplane, by a bus or a car. Not a lot of people use trains in the country. However, you’ll have to take a ferry if you plan on visiting any of the beautiful islands in the country.
A number of local carriers offer domestic flights at very affordable rates. Meanwhile, for those who love road trips or want to enjoy the scenery, hiring a driver and renting a car appear to be more feasible options. However, if you’re travelling to Turkey on a tight budget, you can always travel intercity via bus. Most of these buses are quite luxurious and even provide passengers with WiFi, tea, coffee and snacks along the way.
As for intra-city travel, public buses and trams are much more budget-friendly than taxis and private ride-hailing services.
Food in Turkey
Although it varies across the country, Turkish cuisine can only be described as extremely rich as it is somewhat of a combination of Mediterranean, Central Asian and Arabic influences.
While this list could be really long, here a few popular dishes you shouldn’t miss out on while visiting Turkey.
- Mezze Platters
- Turkish Delight
- İskender Kebab
Not to mention, the best thing about travelling to Turkey is that you won’t have to roam around looking for halal food.
Most Popular Places to Visit in Turkey
These are some of the best cities in Turkey when it comes to both historical attractions and natural beauty.
Take a look at the most popular landmarks and tourist destinations you can in each of these cities during your trip to Turkey.
Top Tourist Attractions in Istanbul
There is no shortage of places to visit in Istanbul, the cultural capital of Turkey. Moreover, it is considered one of the safest cities in the world for female travellers, which means women can enjoy their trip to Istanbul without the fear of being harassed.
These are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul.
Hagia Sophia Museum
Dating back to 537 AD, Hagia Sophia is one of the most stunning examples of Byzantine architecture in the entire country. Although it was built as a church, the Ottoman Turk converted it into an imperial mosque and built four tall minarets around its magnificent 100 feet wide dome.
Today, this historical monument that inspired the architecture of the Blue Mosque has been turned into a museum, boasting artwork and symbols of both Islam and Christianity. Moreover, Hagia Sophia is considered one of the must-visit historical places around the world.
Hours: 1st Apr – 31st Oct 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM | 1st Nov – 3st March 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Entrance fee: TL 60
The Blue Mosque
If you’re travelling to Turkey from Pakistan, you definitely can’t miss out on the majestic Blue Mosque. Although its original name is Sultanahmet Mosque after the Ottoman ruler who constructed it between 1609 and 1616, it got its nickname thanks to its intricate blue interior.
Standing next to the Byzantine Hippodrome, Blue Mosque is one of the most important tourist attractions in Turkey. Unlike most mosques in Turkey, this mosque has six minarets along with a magnificent dome that will leave you speechless.
Hours: Open 24 hours
Entrance fee: None
Topkapi Palace and Museum
What was once served as the primary residence of Ottoman Sultans for some 600 years, has now become a popular tourist attraction in Turkey.
The beautiful Topkapi Palace, also known as Seraglio, was built during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II – the man who conquered Constantinople. Apart from the lavish living quarters and administrative offices, the palace houses a number of exhibitions, including a display of scared Islamic relics featuring the belongings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For those travelling to Turkey from Pakistan, this palace is a must visit.
Hours: 2nd Oct – 1st Apr 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM | 1st Apr – 2nd Oct 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Closed on Tuesday)
Entrance fee: Museum Ticket TL 60 | Harem TL 35 | Hagia Irene TL 30
Forget visiting the Birmingham Palace, it’s this glamorous structure in Istanbul that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.
The first Ottoman palace to be built in the western style, Dolmabahce Palace served as the residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922. From handmade parquet floors to the world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier and from lavish hand-carved furniture to grand dining halls, this palace perfectly captures the opulence of the Turkish Empire.
Hours: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (Closed on Mondays)
Entrance Fee: Regular palace visit with guided tour TL 60 | Harem TL 40
Instead of waiting in long queues to buy tickets outside these historical places, you can save time by purchasing the Istanbul Museum Pass. It costs about TL 185 per person and provides one-time access to a number of important attractions. The card is valid for 5 days from the time you first use it.
Top Tourist Attractions in Antalya
If you love pristine beaches, waterfalls and historic architecture, you’ll instantly fall in love with Antalya. One of the best cities in the country in terms of tourist attractions and natural beauty, you must include Antalya in your itinerary while planning your trip to Turkey.
Here are some of the most visited tourist attractions in Antalya.
Old Town (Kaleiçi)
This old cobbled-street neighbourhood in Antalya, also known as Kaleici, gracefully tells the story of various conquests and destructions that shaped the city. The small lanes next to perfectly restored Ottoman structures and the ruins dating back to the Roman Empire are now filled with trendy boutiques, picturesque coffee shops, beautiful gift shops and restaurants, to name a few.
You can simply visit the Old Town in the evening and stroll through the streets, taking in the mesmerizing view.
Hours: Open 24 hours
Entrance Fee: None
The Duden Waterfalls are actually a group of waterfalls within Antalya. You can divide it into an upper and lower waterfall. While you’ll have to take a boat ride to see the spectacular Lower Duden Waterfall spilling into the sea, the Upper Duden Waterfall is split into a series of smaller waterfalls, cascading through a lush green municipal park.
While the entire park is serene and extremely beautiful, don’t forget to walk down the spiral stone staircase that leads to the cave behind the curtain of the waterfall for a captivating view.
Hours: Open 24 hours
Entrance fee: None
One of the most popular historical places to visit in Turkey, the Hadrian’s Gate is a ceremonial arch built to commemorate Roman Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the region in 130 AD. This monumental gate leading to the Old City and harbour is definitely one of the most impressive sights in Antalya.
The magnificent Hadrian’s Gate, which miraculously survived the wear and tear of times, has three archways and is about 26 feet tall.
Hours: Open 24 hours
Entrance fee: None
Top Tourist Attractions in Ankara
Being the capital city of Turkey, Ankara houses the most important government buildings in the country along with some of the best museums and art galleries.
Take a look at some of the places in Ankara you must visit while travelling to Turkey from Pakistan.
Anitkabir, also known as the Atatürk Mausoleum, is a modern architectural marvel in the capital city of Ankara. It was built between 1944 and 1953 as the final resting place of the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The majestic structure sits atop a hilltop and houses an impressive museum, art gallery, various displays of the Turkish War of Independence, Ataturk’s belongings and a quaint café.
Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (an hour might be reduced during winters)
Entrance Fee: None
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara is a haven for those interested in archaeology.
Located within two Ottoman-era buildings near the famous Ankara Castle, the prestigious museum is divided into eight different sections in chronological order. While the first section displays artefacts from the Paleolithic Age (before 8000 BC), the last section features findings from the Late Hittites (1200-700 BC).
Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Entrance fee: TL 20
Top Tourist Attractions in Cappadocia
A mountainous region in Central Turkey, Cappadocia is fairly among tourists for its scenic hot air balloon rides that let you witness the extraordinary valley comprising countless rock formations.
These rock structures date back to the Bronze Age and were later used by the Christian refugees in the late 30s AD.
Goreme Open Air Museum
The awe-inspiring Goreme Open Air Museum used to be a vast monastic complex comprising churches and a nunnery. These perfect carved rock formations are easily one of the best places to visit in Turkey.
The churches in the Goreme Open Air Museum date back to the 11th century and house stunning wall paintings that have somehow retained their original colour throughout centuries. UNESCO added this monastic complex to its list of World Heritage Sites in 1984.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entrance Fee: TL 45
There are a total of 36 excavated underground cities in Cappadocia. However, experts believe there could be many more tunnels and room lying beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered. It is yet another place you must visit during your trip to Turkey – unless you have claustrophobia.
The widest underground city in the region is Kaymakli Underground City, which is up to 85 metres deep in some places. It was opened to visitors in 1964. Meanwhile, the Derinkuyu Underground City is considered the deepest.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Entrance Fee: Tour companies charge approx. TL 70 per person for a guided tour as you can’t visit the cities without an expert.
Uchisar Castle on the Nevsehir-Goreme road is one of the highest points in Cappadocia. Sitting atop a mountain, this hollowed out rock castle is essentially a network of stone carved rooms connected to each other by tunnels, stairs and passageways. Given its altitude, Uchisar Castle provides an extraordinary view of the entire valley.
To put it simply, Uchisar Castle is the most impressive sight in the entire region, which is saying a lot considering Cappadocia houses some of the most popular historic attractions in the world.
Hours: 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM
Entrance Fee: TL 8
*Please note that all entrance fee and timings are subject to change depending on weather and other conditions.
Where to Stay in Turkey
Here are some of the most popular neighbourhoods where you can stay during your trip to Turkey.
Two of the most tourist-friendly areas to stay in Istanbul are Beyoğlu on the European side of the river and Sultanahmet on the Asian side. Given their proximity to important attractions and markets, the hotels in these areas might charge a little more. However, you’ll save quite a lot of money on buses and cabs if you choose to stay here during your trip to Turkey from Pakistan.
Furthermore, Beyoğlu houses the popular Istiklal Street, a haven for shoppers, while Sultanahmet is close to the Grand Bazaar, the biggest covered market in the city.
Depending on your budget, you can either decide to book a hotel in Old Town or the Lara neighbourhood.
While the Old Town district boasts some of the most historic monuments in the city along with sprawling markets and bust streets, Lara is home to five and seven-star hotels close to the ocean. Moreover, it’s also pretty close to the Antalya Airport and Mall of Antalya.
The two most popular neighbourhoods in Ankara include Ulus and Kizilay.
While Ulus is the best choice for budget travellers who want to stay close to the commercial centre, Kizilay is a trendy and upscale neighbourhood housing a number of boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Regardless of which of these two areas you select, you won’t have a hard time finding a place to shop during your trip to Turkey.
Cappadocia has a large number of cave hotels that will transport you to the Stone Age – but with all the modern amenities, of course.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Cappadocia, browse through the hotels situated in Goreme and Urgup. Both of these towns offer beautiful views along with a range of hotels, market areas, boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes, to name a few. Furthermore, most of the tour companies are also based out in these areas.
So, there you go. Whenever you sit down to plan your trip to Turkey from Pakistan, don’t forget to take these suggestions into account. Moreover, make sure to visit at least some of the tourist attractions listed above during your time there.
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