Full of life and bustle, Karachi is the hub of all of the country’s commercial activities, with colonial history and a large ethnic population that has also taken part in shaping its current setting and vibe. While the city may be large, it is possible to draw a fair picture of what it feels like to live in Karachi, even in 48 hours. Follow our guide to find out exactly how.
Take an early morning stroll at Clifton Beach, also called sea view, to start your day rejuvenated with a fresh breeze. The Arabian Sea is the heart of life and leisure in Karachi with scores of people visiting it daily for relaxation. If you walk over towards the Village Restaurant, which is a little ahead of Clifton Beach, you’ll come near a mostly empty patch of beach where you could take a quick dip if you’re staying nearby, as there are no showers or bathrooms on these shores.
From the Tooba Masjid, head over to the National Museum of Pakistan on Burns Road. This museum contains an extensive record of the cultural history of Pakistan in forms of art, artifacts, relics, coin, documents and Quranic scriptures in its 11 different galleries. Art pieces showcased in the museum come from the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, the Gandhara Civilization and the Islamic Golden Age, which include miniature paintings.
Next, head to the State Bank Museum, which the most prominent money museum in the country with seven galleries displaying various ancient and contemporary currencies, coins, stamps and art. The building that holds the museum is a work of art with its colonial era design constructed in the 1920s in pink stone. From bartering to our current economic system, there is information available on all things money. You’ll also find some beautiful works of art by Pakistan’s most celebrated and incredible artist, Sadequain.
If you are in the mood, you can enjoy a cup of refreshing chai on the way to your next destination at one of the many roadside dhabas, which you will encounter on the way. Alternatively, you might be hungry after all those museum visits. Stop by at Chai Wala‘s Clifton branch for some delicious Pakistani snacks, like paratha, with various stuffings, chai and finger food. The dhaba is colourfully decorated and is definitely a vibrant place to witness an important element of Pakistani culture.
A short drive away is the beautiful Mohatta Palace, which is a monument, an art gallery and a spectacle of majestic Rajasthani architecture. It was built in 1927 for a Hindu Prince and has now been transformed into an art gallery whose sections hold different sculptures and exhibitions that showcase the culture of Pakistan and its socio-political history. The beautiful building is accompanied by luscious green lawns and age-old trees, which are the perfect place to unwind after a busy day and watch the day turn to night.
Start your morning with a hearty Pakistani-style breakfast with aloo, chana, halwa, poori and chai, also known simply as halwa puri, at Boat Basin’s Dera Dhaba. Once you’re done, hop over to Frere Hall to step into the 1860s when the building, which was supposed to serve as a Town Hall, was first created. Gaze at the facade’s Victorian-Gothic style of design and then, head indoors to admire Sadequain’s mesmerizing rooftop mural. The abstract yet clearly symbolic work of this painter is recognized world over and is not to be missed.