Cultural shocks for international tourists in Pakistan

In Pakistan, international tourists experience lots and lots of cultural shocks which are positive and negative as well. For example, three people riding on a motorcycle, more smoking in the streets than usual, overloaded local buses, most of the times people do not speak other than the native language, tea (chai) being more usual than caffeine, group of transgenders dancing in the park or signals just to earn some money which they call their profession, street food in almost every corner, someone with a monkey on his shoulder walking down the way, beggars on the roads and signals, etc. those are the cultural shocks which do not make one feel uncomfortable or homesick, but they do surprise at once. Cultural shocks basically remind that you are on a different country for an adventure and experiencing something new here which may be surprising but that is the only thing which makes the trip worthwhile. Most of the people who love traveling want to experience how other people live.


Around one million tourists visit Pakistan on the average scale as Pakistan has improved its ranking by 2017. Pakistan is now at number 124 out of the list of 136 countries according to a survey index 2017 which was issued by the World Economic Forum. In 2015, Pakistan was graded a number 125 out of the list of 141. Per arrival average receipt has been guesstimated at $328.3 whereas, the total receipt amount was calculated $317 million, with tourism and travel competitiveness which has a portion of 2.8% of GDP.

What do international tourists experience in Pakistan?

Tourism is often depicted as a pleasure-seeking endeavor but according to a research shows that traveling is tiring and can be supplemented with negative health, frustration, high state of emotional labor, mental stress and much more but at the same time the tourism perform as a catalyst to modify the tourist stance, and their conduct while their time away from their home. Here is the list of the most uncomfortable and strange feeling that one face while exploring Pakistan:

The scorching sun

People from Lahore swimming in Lahore Canal

Excluding northern parts of Pakistan, the climate is extremely hot in most parts of Pakistan in the months of June- September. So, if your body has not exposed to the hot sunny climate before then probably you can get heat strokes and sunburn. To protect yourself from such a situation; carry sunscreens, umbrella, and lots of water with you

People use their hands to eat

In most of the countries, people use chopsticks or forks to eat but one of the most awkward thing one face while exploring Pakistan that people here use their bare hands to bite their meal. This doesn’t mean you will not get forks and spoon while having your food. In restaurants or even in roadside food places you will a fork or knife upon asking.

Squat Toilets

While traveling in Pakistan get your mind set on one thing that most of the places especially in northern or hilly areas, you will mostly see a squat toilet which is of many types. Sometimes, it is just a hole on a floor or ground. Others have preclean basins that are at floor level. Western toilets can also be seen but in the urban areas. In Pakistan, you will see a toilet paper in restaurants other just use water for cleaning. So, it is better to learn how to use a squat toilet as there can be an emergency situation you can face.

No greetings of strangers

In Pakistan, most of the time people avoid having eye contacts with strangers or even they try to maintain a distance from them. This is due to the language barrier so do not think them rude.

Feel yourself a celebrity

There are many spots like when you are exploring internal Lahore people will stare at you or will try to have a conversation with you and even ask you for a selfie which makes you think like a celebrity. Taxi drivers also try to approach you, and beggars will try to reach you which is annoying

Pakistan is gaining attention through social media which is appealing tourists from all over the world but to let tourists enjoy the trip with liberty, Pakistani folks need to change their mentality first if they want their country to become a hub of travel. Foreigners, as we all know don’t dress up like locals if they dress in a traditional Pakistani dress that just means they are comfortable in them or doing it just to put themselves upon the social media to gain public attention; tourists want dress liberty as well as the freedom to walk and talk. The instant the outfit compulsion becomes everyone’s business, you go off the list. Those who come to visit Pakistan or any other country, try to have the least interaction with their locals which by the way in Pakistan the most. The main reason is the language barrier; most of the times people who live here do not know other than their mother tongue which results in missing out the most experiencing, inspirational and incredible interactions with travelers and same thing’s been missed out by travelers who pass by the interesting and striking talks and let go of the experience of getting to know new people and the story behind their living. By networking with people, one learns the new story because every person has its story.

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