No, as of right now there are no direct flights to Quetta from the United Kingdom. British Airways has announced that it would be commencing direct flights to Islamabad from June 2019. From there, passengers can take a domestic-flight to Quetta. However, Emirates is also offering a great deal and a London to Quetta Emirates ticket costs around £500 to £800 only, depending on the season in which you travel.
The cheapest months in Quetta are September and October. Coincidently, these months are also the best months to come to the city as well. The fall might not have the charms and colours of the spring season, but the weather is pleasant enough to go out on an expedition. February is also an affordable month to visit Quetta, right when the winter snow has begun to recede to give way to new grass shoots.
The airport in the city and its namesake is the Quetta International Airport (UET). Every year half a million passengers are using this airport in Northern Balochistan. Quetta Airport is in the northwest of the main city centre, approximately 15 kilometres by road, which takes 40 minutes to travel due to traffic congestion, so plan accordingly.
As far as the weather goes, the ‘Goldilocks range’ of average temperature is from 20°C to 30°C, and Quetta experiences these temperatures twice in a year. The first good weather phase is from March to May and then the second is from September to November. Rain is never really a problem in Quetta. Tourists and Pakistanis settled abroad also tend to visit the city in these times as well as in the height summer season even though the temperatures in June sometime go beyond 40°C.
Quetta is strange in the sense that, while the mountains on all four sides of the city are dry and barren the town itself is surrounded by fruit gardens and fields. The karez system of underground channels supplies Quetta with water, making it an oasis full of nature’s bounty.
- Hanna Lake is about 20 kilometres northeast from the city centre of Quetta. Mountains and trees surround the lake. Since the lake is a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of makeshift hotels and stalls selling Baloch regional delicacies right on the edge of the lake. The Hanna Lake is a favourite for Kayaking when the waters from the snow melt replenish the reservoir in early spring. A lonely island floats in the middle of Hanna Lake, which turns white with the wildflowers in April.
- Not far from Hanna Lake is the Loe Nekan peak, which is the highest mountain in Balochistan. Not only does the mount catch a massive bulk of snow but when the snow melts the waters irrigated the fields and the wild vegetation at the base of the mountain. The wildlife and birds that call Loe Nekan a sanctuary attract birdwatchers and nature lovers to the area as well. Loe Nekan is at an altitude of 3575 meters from sea level.
With a predominantly Muslim population, the Eid-ul-Fitr and the Eid-ul Adha festivals are the two major festivals of the region. On both these festivals, people cook festive dishes and decorate their homes with lights. If you happen to be in the area during these festivals, the amazing barbeque aroma would be coming from a “Balochi Sajji” stall nearby, which is a traditional way of preparing meat. The Sibi festival is a cultural event that highlights Baloch roots and culture. There are folk dances, music and cattle show that brings many to the event. Buzkashi festival is a daring event that requires much skill. At the festival there are two teams on horseback, both try to snatch the prized goat at the centre of the arena.
The city centre, mainly, is flat and easy to traverse on foot. There are plenty of magnificent and historical buildings in that area that the tourist would enjoy exploring. Going beyond downtown Quetta would require you to have a car of your own. It is best to hire a driver and a vehicle from a company of good repute. The driver would demand around £2 per day for his services. The tri-wheel rickshaw can zigzag and zoom through the city’s congested roads, so opt for one if you are in a hurry.
There are not many luxury five star hotels in Quetta. However, many economical inns and motels give excellent services to foreign tourists.
- Quetta Serena Hotel
- Hotel Bloom Star
- Lourdes Hotel
- Ziarat Hotel
- Hotel Maryton