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The capital of Pakistan, Islamabad is a relatively quiet city that mainly revolves around the Federal Government. While Pakistan as a whole is not a major international tourist destination, Islamabad is a popular local holiday spot with plenty of attractions and activities for everyone.
No visit to Islamabad is complete without visiting at least one of its stunning mosques; the Shah Faisal Mosque is one of the largest in the world, and set against the stunning backdrop of the Margalla Hills. Other important shrines include the Golra Sharif and Bari Imam, both located just outside the city.
Visitors wishing to know more about local culture and history can visit one of Islamabad's museums, such as the Pakistan Museum of Natural History, the Lok Virsa Museum, or the National Art Gallery. The Potohari Arts and Craft Village is also worth a visit.
There are also many parks and lovely green spaces, perfect for relaxing on a nice day. The Rose and Jasmine Garden and Rawal Lake make great picnic spots, while Daman-e-Koh and Pir Sohawa offer stunning views. Travellers with children will enjoy the facilities at the Japanese Park located near Islamabad Zoo.
Islamabad has a humid subtropical climate with dry winters and very hot summers. June is the hottest month, with temperatures ranging between 74°F (23°C) and 110°F (43°C). This is followed by the wettest month of July, when monsoon rains and thunderstorms are common; flooding is also possible during this time, which can hinder travel in the city. December and January can get quite cool, with temperatures ranging between 36°F (2°C) and 67°F (19°C). The best time to visit Islamabad is in February and March and October and November, when temperatures are cooler and the weather is more pleasant.
Although fairly safe, travel around Islamabad should be carefully planned. Taxis are plentiful, and generally safe; they can usually be found outside the airport and near major hotels. They are not always metered so it's best to negotiate a fare before getting in the vehicle.
Car hire is available from the airport and through most hotels. The safest option would be to arrange a vehicle with a driver. Security checkpoints are common, so travellers should ensure that they have all the relevant travel documents on hand at all times. Metro Bus is the most convenient and cheap way to get around. The buses have air conditioning and free wifi, and tickets are a flat rate of PKR 20 for all distances.
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