The capital and only place of any size in the parched, barren province of Baluchistan may be light on ancient
monuments but it's fit to bursting with a vigorous blend of peoples, wide tree-lined boulevards and sterling British architecture.
Even more compelling, Pakistan's fruitbowl has a dramatic setting, with a mountainous backdrop on all sides. And unlike Karachi,
most sights can be easily walked in a day. Don't miss the impressive Archaeological Museum of Baluchistan, the fort or the
city's many colourful bazaars - great places to pick up marble, onyx and some of the finest carpets in Pakistan.
Just outside Quetta are the postcard-perfect Hanna Lake, plenty of picnic spots in Urak Valley, and the protected
Hazarganji Chiltan National Park. Also near Quetta is the refreshingly cool hill station of Ziarat, which is both a restful
destination and a good base for trekking or mountaineering.
Quetta is a hefty distance from any other major town and a whopping 1000km (620mi) from Islamabad. The geographic
obstacles, however, are not as worrying as the frontier mentality that thrives in the isolated conditions: general lawlessness,
intertribal frictions and guns make for a volatile mixture. Theoretically tourists are allowed to travel anywhere, but in
practice local authorities cannot guarantee your safety. You can avoid some of the problems by flying into Quetta on a domestic
flight. Failing that, air-conditioned buses and trains can be taken for the long hauls, and minibuses for the shorter trips.