Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city, it’s economic and trading hub, and a focal point for business. This enormous metropolis sprawls out in all directions, but despite its size, has little in the way of tourist attractions; in fact most foreign travellers skip the city altogether, forsaking it for more-interesting Lahore or the more peaceful northern mountains. In many ways, Karachi doesn’t even feel like Pakistan at all; it’s much more cosmopolitan, liberal, secular and fast-paced than the traditional ethos of most of the rest of the country. The local Urdu-speaking population are a much more multicultural bunch than you’ll find in any other city, and it’s not unusual to see Hindus, Christians or “Parsis” (Zoroastrians) practicing their faiths or celebrating their festivals relatively openly. There’s also a palpable Arabic influence here, reflected in the names of hotels, aiming to attract traders from the Gulf.
Around Karachi lie a handful of attractions; Hyderabad and Thatta (although both considered “Interior Sindh”) are logical choices for day trips from the provincial capital. One of Karachi’s defining feature is the coastline, something of a treat in Pakistan where the majority of the population lives hundreds of kilometres inland. The beaches immediately around Karachi are not beautiful, but further afield there are options to swim, snorkel and even scuba-dive in the clear waters of the Arabian Sea.