Five ways to get to Kabul, Afghanistan

Does your definition of “adventure travel” involve a safety briefing and equipment to keep you safe? If so, there’s a hard-core version of the concept that you’ve been missing. Chase the ultimate thrill in Afghanistan, and your world will never be the same. In case you haven’t heard, there’s a war going on, not to mention plenty of corruption. You will have an adventure to talk about when if you get home.

So, how do you get there?

Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a lot of demand for travel to Afghanistan. It looks like your best (and sometimes only) bet is to fly into Kabul and branch out from there. Flight availability varies with the fighting and willingness of air carriers to assume the attendant risk, so you may need to hunt around a bit and be flexible. The good news, though, is that the flights appear to be relatively inexpensive.

Below, you’ll find five ways to get to Kabul. The rest is up to you.

%Gallery-9128%1. Air Arabia: though it seems this airline used to offer flights directly to Kabul, this destination is no longer listed. But, you can always get close: fly to Peshawar, Pakistan, and take your chances with a local guide or solo trek.

Bonus: Air Arabia isn’t flying into a war zone any more. Take the hint.

2. Ariana Afghan Airlines: this regional carrier offers flights to Kabul from more than a dozen cities, including some that are recognizable and easily accessible, like Frankfurt and Moscow. A quick look at the website shows you that Ariana specializes in Kabul, as every flight available either starts or ends there. If you’re looking to save a few bucks on your little adventure, you could do worse: roundtrip tickets are only around $1,000 and kids’ fares are even cheaper (bring the whole family!). There are additional discounts for long-term stays of six months or a year. Unsettlingly, one-way fares are listed on the website.

Bonus: There is a customer loyalty program, but details have yet to be published.

3. Pakistan International: There aren’t any direct flights to Kabul, unless you fly from Dubai, make that your first stop from the United States. Flights from Islamabad are available only four days a week (Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday). If you prefer to leave from Peshawar, you’re limited to Saturdays. Build this into your itinerary.

Bonus: Business class seats are available!

4. Kam Air: Do you want choices? You’ll get them with Kam Air! Among the cities that will get you to Kabul are Dubai, New Delhi and Islamabad. Tehran and Mashad require layovers in Mazar, which you probably don’t want. When planning your travel, pay attention to which cities have flights to Kabul on which days (your best bet is Dubai).

Bonus: You have choices … what more could you want?

5. Get a job: if you really are committed to visiting Afghanistan, consider finding employment there. I’ve heard that there are plenty of U.S. government jobs that offer no end of opportunity to go to Afghanistan. You’ll even get free clothing and be surrounded by some well-trained security folks (hint, hint).

Bonus: You’ll get money for college.

[photo by isafmedia via Flickr]

Get out and go: Events around the world (October 15-18)

Happy Hump Day, Gadling’ers! It’s time to look at the festivals and events happening around the world, and this week has a particularly international selection of happenings. If you’re close and have time, then you have no excuse to get out and go!

  • Islamabad – The Hot Air Ballooning Competition in Pakistan begins this Thursday, October 15 and ends on the 18th.
  • MalawiLake of Stars: This special music festival takes place on the shores of Lake Malawi. The festival begins on Thursday, October 15 and lasts through the 18th.
  • New ZealandWanakafest 2009: The Wanakafest, a fun festival that includes urban downhill biking, bike back flips, snowboard rail jam, music, waterfront events, a fashion show, a food and wine fair and a street parade among other things begins this Thursday, October 15 and ends on the 18th.
  • PittsburghInternational Gay and Lesbian Film Festival: Pittsburgh’s an annual celebration of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered writers, directors, actors and their work begins this Friday, October 16, and continues until October 25th.
  • Delhi – Diwalli, the Festival of Lights, will be held this Saturday, October 17. It is a colorful celebration of the victory of the good within people over evil. Traditionally people give gifts to family, friends and employees, making Delhi a bustling marketplace.
  • Shanghai – The 10th Annual China Shanghai International Arts Festival begins this Sunday, October 18 and runs until the 23rd. The performing arts fair, a major sector of the festival, is the largest and most effective performing arts market of its kind in China.
  • Sao PaoloGrande Premio do Brasil: Brazil’s featured Formula 1 car race will be held this Sunday, October 18 at 2 p.m.

If you make it to one of these events, let us know how it was, or if you know of an even that’s coming up, please let us here at Gadling know and we’ll be sure to include it in the next “Get out and go” round-up.

‘Til next week, have a great weekend — the first of October!

“Check” Flag Welcomes Czech Prime Minister to Pakistan

What’s wrong with this picture?

Adil Najam, founding editor of the All Things Pakistan blog, was driving back from the airport in Islamabad when he noticed a banner welcoming Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek to the capital city. A kind notion, for sure, but there’s one problem: whoever created the banner used a “check” flag instead of a Czech flag.

“I rushed back to see if I would figure out who was responsible for this little gaffe and maybe alert them to the mistake before the Czech PM arrived,” writes Adil. “Unfortunately, it turned out that the Czech PM was already here.”

Adil’s theory — and I tend to agree with him — is the person responsible for designing the banner mistakenly Google’d “check flag” instead of “Czech flag”.

See what I mean? [via]

Photo of the Day (12/18/06)

This is a recent photo of a resort area called Nathiagali, in northern Pakistan. The picture reveals the reality: lush evergreen forests, high mountains (8200 ft, where this photo was taken). While the photo may not be like some of the super artsy items we’ve thrown on these pages, I got this from a friend who is an embassy worker in Pakistan. The photo is here because it’s a glimpse of a world that we hear a lot about (mostly bad, unfortunately), but about which we, as Westerners, know almost nothing. (To plan your trip, start here. For more photos, try here.) Thanks, Suzi!