Pakistan – the cost of living

A typical day in backpacka-stan.



Dorm Bed – 195 PKR – p/night

BREAKFAST
Porridge – 66 PKR (enough for 3 days)

The closest thing to coffee – 15 PKR (2 p/day)

Bananas – 40 PKR (enough for 3 days)

LUNCH
Dahl, Rice, Salad, Lentil Patties – 70 PKR

DINNER
Chicken Shwarma – 80 PKR

Mixed Salad – 80 PKR (better than it looks)

Dessert
the BEST Ice-Cream – 25 PKR

OPTIONAL EXTRAS
Rickshaw ride to other side of town, 60-150 PKR one way

1.5 Litre Bottle of Water – 30 PKR (Tap water is typically fine)

Beer – 150 PKR (bought on the black market)

Summary
195 – Dorm Bed
66 – Porridge
40 – Bananas
30 – Coffee
70 – Lunch
80 – Chicken Shwarma
80 – Mixed Salad
25 – Ice Cream
586 PKR – TOTAL, therefore, $7.67 Australian p/day..

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44 Responses to “Pakistan – the cost of living”


  1. 1 thelocalguide December 10, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Interesting article. I don’t think i’d be brave enough to visit a country like Pakistan.

    Is that Pepsi water? O.o

  2. 2 magdalena December 10, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Best wishes and blessings on your trip. Looks interesting – we have friends in Pakistan for whom we are praying.

  3. 3 SallyK December 10, 2009 at 1:46 am

    Whoa, that salad does look scary – glad it tasted better than it looks!

  4. 4 Yura December 10, 2009 at 2:43 am

    this is more like “cost of food”…
    but what about housing/transportation/other daily activities?
    It’d be interesting to see it all combined.

    • 5 leavemehere December 10, 2009 at 3:51 am

      Are you saying I don’t eat during a typical day?
      Housing? – I’m pretty sure that’s covered under – Dorm Bed, 195 PKR
      Transport – Optional, not required on a typical day, but I added for your interest.
      Other – Please let me know what I and the other handful of backpackers here are doing during a typical day that I haven’t mentioned. OK, toilet paper 10 PKR.

  5. 6 vodkabeforenoon December 10, 2009 at 2:51 am

    nom nom nom I love middle eastern food. >_>

  6. 7 lovebug25 December 10, 2009 at 4:57 am

    interesting info and pics on Pakistan.. I have been to India but never Pakistan

    • 8 axrafkhan March 23, 2010 at 8:41 am

      Do visit when things improve. You will love that place. Though it is similar but a lot different as life in India in general is a struggle. Its not that bad and it is small so you can visit North and Central Pakistan. Kaghan valley is a must.

  7. 9 felicia December 10, 2009 at 5:18 am

    That is craaaaaaaaaazy cheap!

    My grandma taught me how to make dahl. (The jamaican/west indies style dahl, pretty similar)

  8. 10 vagrantjack December 10, 2009 at 5:57 am

    I really like the set-up design for your blog. What are you guys doing backpacking in Pakistan, Climbers? Reporters? I will never go back to Pakistan unless someone paid me a lot of money! ;-)

  9. 11 Alt December 10, 2009 at 7:19 am

    vodkabeforenoon — Pakistan is part of SOUTH ASIA, dimwit.

  10. 12 Yooch December 10, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I love dahl, i could live off that stuff all day. what does 7.67 australian equate to in U.S. dollars? haha

  11. 13 tinaandyuji December 10, 2009 at 10:13 am

    can you please tell me how you created this template for your wordpress site? really looks great!! thanks, T

  12. 14 slamdunk December 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the perspective–I would have never guessed 7.

  13. 15 sadiesynonymous December 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Wow, these are some really beautiful photos. I can’t wait to travel more!
    -Sadie

  14. 17 Namie December 10, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Is their economy really good? Even if you are really not enjoying a high standard of living in America, it is still impossible to find a rent of $70 a month (unless you have 4 roommates, which you seem to have, so that works out). $2.00 dinners in the US are not that big!

    • 18 Fayyaz December 30, 2009 at 7:42 am

      Pakistan’s economy is bad on papers but quite OK in real life. Majority of Pakistani people are well off but they don’t pay lot of taxes, reason being that government does not give benefits. People help each other (billions of dollars worth of charity/alms is reported annualy).

      You can be unemployed still easily survive because of joint family system where one person’s earning is usually enough to provide for the whole family. There is no VAT etc so prices are cheap. Giving money to the government is considered wasting money because it doesn’t seem to be spent on public.

      People have developed an inexpensive answer to an effective government. There are reasonably affordable private medical care, private schools, private transport (buses/wagons/rickshaws) and everything a western government provides after collecting taxes. Pakistanis provide it to each other.

      To summarise Pakistan’s economy, let me tell you a joke. A man tells other ‘My earning is $350 dollars a month. I pay $250 as rent. $100 are paid on various bills. Food costs me $100 dollar and I save $200 dollars every month’.

      There is no concept of mortgage, yet even the apparently poor pay money in cash. There are NO SLUMS in Pakistan and despite vast differences in life style, no one sleeps on roads (exceptions are some travelling labours who might spend a ninght in a park – not on permanent basis though). Free food is available to ANYONE at all times at tombs of various saints.

      As they say in Pakistan, the government is poor and the people are rich. On papers, the economy is as bad. Hence, the government sells its soul to the developed nations to pay for a big size of cabinets and bureucracy.

    • 23 axrafkhan March 23, 2010 at 8:32 am

      Namie, food in South Asia is amazing. I you really want to treat yourself, you can have a five-star restaurant dinner with hundreds of varieties to choose from for $ 10. But $1 can buy you best of local food. I myself will not stay in a place like that, so for a bit more, like 20 buck a night you can have air-conditioned room, King size bed, cable TV, toiled barrooms, fancy furniture and breakfast included. This rate is for 2 persons. It is better than Holiday in or best western and most of these $100 hotels. So you can stay in a very good place for very cheap. You will find it hard to go back from Pakistan :)

  15. 24 Rhyan December 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    This is amazing. Reminds me of Guatemala, in terms of beer prices, beautiful feasts, and decent and very cheap accommodations. I have a friend from Pakistan who told me to come check it out when he visits in the summer.

    • 25 Fayyaz December 30, 2009 at 7:46 am

      I think your comparison is quite accurate. I have seen some package holidays where u stay with families and prices seem quite close to those in Pakistan.

      Would love to visit Guatemala in near future.

  16. 26 Muqeem December 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    In Pakistan people ( a family of husband wife, two kids) by earning one thousand Dollar per month can enjoy standard of living equal to five thousands dollar per month in EU or US. You can enjoy more variety of fruits and meals than EU and US. An Average family consume more on fruits(Raw) . But in US/EU branding is killing peoples money. Rich culture , strong family norms, stable marriages, family supporting system in any individual economic or emotional crises are strength of society. Most of the time you can get free meal if you tell any nearby household that you are hungry even you have money in pockets. They love/ respect foreigner till the person is not conspirator against their country , culture and religion.

    People has more contentment than any where else. Like social happiness, cousins gathring, expanded family system, happiness and meal, . The situation is bad because Pakistani Political/Government has sold its own people’ interest for the interest of USA Political elit and CIA maneuverer. It became proxy battle ground for US

    Love to All from Pakistan

  17. 28 the faltese malcon December 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Hmmm everything looks nice! Is that mixed salad spicy?

  18. 29 sourgrapes December 10, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Interesting choice of food. Although being a resident, I know about and would have gone for some more hygienic options, at a slightly higher cost. However, for anybody with a low budget who is visiting, it is cheap.

    If you live in Pakistan though, the cost of living is much higher, because a large proportion of the budget is allocated to unplanned expenditures.

    For example, because of the electricity issues, alot of appliances stop functioning properly, and need to be replaced quickly. If it rains too hard, since the construction is poor, there is alot of seepage and mini floods in all the houses.

  19. 30 sir craig russell bryant December 10, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    MMMMMM do they eat pizza over there!

    • 31 axrafkhan March 23, 2010 at 8:38 am

      ya, we have Pizza Hut and a lot more local brands- but honestly even the {Pizaa hut does not taste like pizza here. It is funny that Pizaa Hut sells Kabob Pizza there. I love there buffet salad though. You may like it because it has local flavor.

  20. 32 Rohit December 10, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    This is Rohit from accross the border.

    It is not too bad considering the value of Indian Rupee to Pak Rupee.

    I will contact you whenever I plan to visit Pakistan.

  21. 33 wheelyboy December 10, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Really cool blog. Looks like you had a ball
    Roly

  22. 34 sourgrapes December 10, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    of course they eat pizza.

  23. 35 Haroon December 11, 2009 at 12:06 am

    yes they do eat pizza there but mostly only on special occusions (like birthdays) :)

    nice to see you went there. the breakfast is usually typical speciality but porridge can be eaten as a replacement. Better try the tasty CHAI,coffe you can always have anywhere you want :)

    take care and have fun wandering around the world!!

  24. 36 Bagoffortune December 11, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Interesting post. Coming from India, I find everything exactly as I would find it in any city of India (of course except the languages), just that it’ll be slightly more expensive. Maybe approx. $10 Australian, per day. :)

  25. 37 gloriadelia December 11, 2009 at 1:33 am

    The food all looked pretty tasty. This kind of blog is an interesting way to learn “geography”. I homeschool and will have my son look it over and we’ll explore some of your other posts. Thanks.

  26. 38 mk December 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    fuck.. comments much?

  27. 39 Bilal Ahmed December 29, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    that’s great to see that you summed it up for others. So, are you still in Lahore and what about the overall experience of your traveling?
    what areas of Lahore, Pakistan did you covered during your trip. and what are you planning next.
    lemme know if I can help you with some thing ;)
    Good luck

  28. 40 Xulfi December 30, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Apart from things mentioned here…there are lot more things to see like:
    -Shundur Polo
    -Joshi (The hundred beats)
    -The Black Robed Kalash People
    -Blue Water Neelum Valley (Heaven on Earth)
    -Trek to K2 (world’s 2nd highest peak)
    -Saif-ul-Maluk, Dudipatsar and Tear Lake
    -Fairy meadows and Nanga Parbat (The Killer Mountain)
    -Enchanting Kamri Pass AJK and Lake Chitta Katha
    …and the list goes on!

  29. 41 Atif Masood Chaudhry February 23, 2011 at 7:58 am

    wonderful article and very specific. I congradulate the writter on having such an nice info with pics.

  30. 42 Schnettler September 5, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Wonderful post, I like your impressive blog, found you on FP.

  31. 43 marcus October 30, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I would love to visit pakistan….but somewhat concerned about safety….I’m an american..and would travel by muself, cause no friends has interest.

  32. 44 ashu November 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Marcus, True, Its not the right time- altough 99% of Pakistanis are common people on street, like yourself on can not and will not harm a fellow human being but its the 1% anti state anti human or whatever you call them who has bring this bad name to Pakistan. They will harm their fellow pakistani in same way as an american. Although there are anti-american sentiments, and rightly so becuase of US backing of Israel and US involvement in every other country ( by the way US has active military bases in more than 68 countries) but it does not mean that people will harm a tourist. I am US-Pakistani and living between Pakistan and Washington DC because of the nature of my work, I can tell its not as bad as you see it on Fox and CNN. Its a wonderful country with abundant ancient history archaological sites, K2, Himaliyasa, glaciers, thousand of miles of snow covered mountains and thousand of miles of sand deserts- Good luck and you must visit.


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