The largest city in Pakistan, Karachi is a cosmopolitan melting pot of eastern and western influences. The city is spread over a massive 1,350 square miles (3,500sq km) and is home to more than 15 million people.
Karachi is the heart of Pakistan's economy: its busy port is home to the financial and commercial centres for the country. The pace of life is generally quite frenetic, with terrifying traffic and frequent cuts in the city's overtaxed power infrastructure. However, the energy in Karachi is palpable, and visitors will find themselves caught up in the buzz of one of Asia's major cities.
Karachi is a huge city and can be difficult to navigate. Luckily for tourists, many of the popular attractions are concentrated in South Karachi; including Port Grand, a large food street and entertainment complex; Clifton Beach; Dolmen City, the largest shopping complex in Karachi; and Bagh-e-Ibn-e-Qasim, an attractive night-time park. South Karachi is also home to many of the city's museums and colonial buildings.
While Karachi's 62-mile (100km) coastline is mostly polluted and underdeveloped, there are several islands nearby worth visiting. Manora Island has ruins of a temple devoted to the Hindu god of oceans, while Charna Island has a marine park where visitors can spot dolphins, turtles, jellyfish, barracuda, parrot fish, and many other beautiful sea creatures on organised diving and snorkelling trips.
Outside of Karachi, several national parks have spectacular landscapes to explore, while lake resorts offer activities like boating, bird-watching, and fishing. One of the most popular excursions from Karachi is Thatta, which contains both UNESCO-recognised ancient structures and the Sunway Lagoon Waterpark.