When you hear about Pakistan in the media lately, you pretty much hear about one town, Peshawar.

A stones throw from Afghanistan, Peshawar is the victim of countless bombings, and is considered highly ‘dangerous’ and a complete ‘don’t’ on your travel itinerary.
(If you’ve seen the Vice Guide to travel – Pakistan, it also neighbors with “Darra Adam Khel”, the gun manufacturing town they visit)
Of all the other backpackers I’ve met here in Pakistan none were visiting Peshawar, most labeling it as ‘not worth the risk’ etc etc.
I decided to go anyway.

When you think about a town that is being bombed (as in suicide/terrorism bombed, not NATO air-strike bombed) you have to keep something in mind:
Life goes on after a bombing.
To put it into a local perspective, if a bomb went off West Melbourne, its not going to shut-down Pahran for the day, or if it went off in Bondi Sydney, its not going to shut-down Newtown.
And to be caught up in such a thing, you would have to be in that exact spot at that exact moment.
30 seconds either side and you could be completely fine.
Realistically there’s more chance of getting hit by a car/rickshaw/truck crossing the street.

The moral of the towns-people and the general feeling within the area is a completely different matter, but I’m only talking about personal safety.

What does a Bomb Site look like?

I spent 4 days in Peshawar, walked all around the Old City and Saddar Bazaar, including exploring/photographing many of the existing bomb sites, and the whole time I felt completely fine.
You could argue ‘what i felt’ and the actual statistical ‘danger’ of Peshawar are two completely different things, but if you want a ground information interpretation this is it.

I didn’t feel any more threatened than I have in any part of the country, and for that matter, I haven’t felt threatened anywhere.
Considering all that they have been through, the people of Peshawar couldn’t have been any more hospitable and kind. I was continually invited for Chai at every shop I stopped, people offering to help me with anything I needed, and everyone always with huge smiles on their faces.
(Though the curiosity as to why someone would be traveling here never stopped.)

If you have the chance to visit Peshawar think twice about it, but only for the reason if it’s logical in your itinerary.

12 Responses to “Peshawar”

  1. 1 Laughing Hard Crying Harder November 23, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Beautiful pictures. Stop giving me itchy feet!

  2. 2 fuhleeshuh November 23, 2009 at 6:00 am

    I feel like I say the same thing with every post..amazing.

    I commend you.

  3. 3 stokan November 23, 2009 at 8:44 am

    food looks awesome.

  4. 4 paula November 23, 2009 at 9:05 am

    sent you some lomos …

  5. 7 zahra January 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    thats not fair i wonder why you people think like that.i know the situation in pakistan especially peshawar is not good but then where is it???did the terrorist leave washington and london alone??no so how can you expect them to have piety on us.but we are working hard to fight terrorism.its wrong to lag us for should appaud us for our efforts we are the ones losing our loved ones,home,property etc.ive been serching on the net since one month now but all you people can say is express your bad experiences in that even fair???did you actually have such a terrible time here.No i bet you didnt.the pictures are very good especially the food ones but dont pass judgement on us.We are a war affected area.we are fighting terrorists.we are not the ones who are not issuing visas to innocent students cause they are from a country called PAKISTAN.which according to you people is a terrorist country.JUST FOR THE RECORD WE ARE NOT A TERRORIST COUNTRY.

    • 8 Usman February 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      Ummm… zahra… i dont think the writer was saying anything abt having any bad experiences in peshawar… i live in peshawar n i think it was actually a very nice article. good to see other ppl coming to my city an appreciating it. yeah bombings do happen… but like u said… they happen in london and washington as well. an i cant say anything abt the visa thing cuz even wat u say is true, i got a visa any way so…

      To all the foreigner reading this… plz plz do come to peshawar… we myt not have the sky scrapers or modern architecture riviling first world countries but i gurantee u an unforgetable exprience…
      Peshawar is a pathan city and we pathans are first and foremost famous for our hospitality…

  6. 9 Ehsen March 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Nice post 🙂 …

  7. 10 Yusra October 20, 2010 at 2:37 am

    You’re one of the few backpackers, adventurers, person-going-around-the-world that I know of that actually stepped into Pakistan. And went the whole mile. (well, miles, but that’s beside the point). For that, I have to thank you. But mostly, for your positive attitude for it and for showing the ‘ignorant’ ‘West’ that Pakistan is actually quite safe, pretty and well-worth the ‘risk’ to visit. 🙂

  8. 11 Nathan May 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Just curious… are you from an ethnic background that allowed you to fit in when you were traveling here? I’d really like to travel to Pakistan down KKH this summer… but I’m an American and will probably stick out like a swore thumb. Everywhere I’ve ever traveled, people have not fit the hype of any ‘dangerous’ rumors and have just always been people… curious to meet foreigners and hospitable because of it… and I’m reluctant to believe the hype the media puts on Pakistan as well. For example most studies say about 60% of Pakistani people are anti-american (hopefully this is directed at government and not people if true, which, if is the case, i guess I’m anti-american too. ha.) Every source I’ve researched ranges from ‘travel here isn’t recommended’ to ‘avoid going here at all costs’… but most of the posts I see from people say otherwise. I’m just wondering if these people saying its totally safe there are all from pakistani ancestry or if anyone has an opinion on the safety of an American who looks American :). Thanks.

    • 12 leavemehere May 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      To put it bluntly, I’m straight up white, and blend in alot better in a Russia than I do in Pakistan.
      Yes you will stick out like a sore thumb, but no it doesnt mean anything. 90% of people are super friendly and always go out of their way to help you. Travelling in Pakistan is one of the most rewarding places I have ever been, and I enjoyed ever week of it, 2 months in total.
      Most of what you hear is just hype, yes there are bombings, and blasts and tension and fighting, but none of it is aimed out tourists or foreigners, and realistically, you’ve got more chance of getting hit by a car crossing the street in your own town. Think of it like this, if a bomb goes off on the other side of your state, what happens? You hear about it, you go, ‘whoa’, worry about some people, and then keep going about your business. Your whole state and CBD doesn’t come to a stand-still, and thats exactly the same here. You just keep going about your business.
      If you’ve travelled a bit before, and your not too precious, do yourself a favour and go to Pakistan, it really is a great place to travel.

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