Afghanistan Quick Guide

Afghanistan is a vast landlocked nation in the foothills of the Asia at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Middle East. Afghanistan is an Islamic republic and has been under different foreign control for more than a thousand years.

Located at the center of Asia, bordered by countries such as Iran, China, and Pakistan. The people of Afghanistan are predominately Muslim and speak Dari (a dialect of Persian) or Pashto (the language that originated in Pakistan). It has an area of 652,000 square miles that ranges from deserts to high mountains.

Afghanistan has a rich heritage, spanning millennia of empires and dynasties, trade routes and invasions. It is located at the crossroads of the ancient world, in the geographic center of Asia, between Central Asia and South Asia. The country's past can be seen in its present culture with much that is indigenous Afghan strongly influenced by nearby Delhi, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, China and India.

In the last few years, Afghanistan has been trying to rebuild it's economy and improve tourism. The country is rich in natural resources, but it's difficult for foreigners to enter the country. Afghanistan is also known for it's contributions to world literature and art which can be found throughout the country. Despite the war-torn past, Afghanistan has made great strides to improve tourism in recent years.

Afghanistan has many different regions and landscapes, such as the Hindu Kush Mountains and the Sulaiman Range. The country is also home to some spectacular sites such as the Buddhas of Bamiyan and The Citadel of Herat.

The Afghan National Museum, also known as the Kabul Museum, was opened in 1919 and features a variety of artifacts from the country's many archaeological sites. The National Gallery of Fine Arts in Kabul has been destroyed several times, most recently in 2010 by protestors. In 2018, the Kuwaiti Embassy donated 100 million US dollars to reconstruct Afghanistan's cultural landmarks. Mazar-e Sharif is home to one of Afghanistan's most famous historical sites: The Bala Hisar Fort.

What vaccinations do I need?

Up to date information for vaccinations before you travel to Afghanistan are available from the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Is it safe to travel?

Best time to visit?

The best time to visit Afghanistan is generally in April-May and September-October. You'll avoid the 40°C summers which can make sightseeing unbearable, and the winter snows which cut off more remote regions. December to April is the rainiest period, and in spring, northern Afghanistan in particular is lush and green.

Do I need a Visa?

British nationals must get a visa before travelling to Afghanistan. You can't get a visa on arrival.

See which forms you may need for entry into Afghanistan.

What currency do i need?

The official currency of Afghanistan is the Afghan Afghani (AFN). If you're looking to transfer or spend money in Afghanistan you can grab amazing Afghan Afghani deals via (GBP to AFN).

What about the wildlife?

These include the snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, Siberian musk deer, markhor, urial, and the Asiatic black bear. Other species of interest are the ibex, the gray wolf, and the brown bear, striped hyenas, and numerous bird of prey species.

What is the traditional food?

Pashto food? Kabuli Palau was created by the upper class families of Kabul who could afford to include caramalized carrots, plump raisins and coveted nuts in their rice. Over time as people in Afghanistan became wealthier this dish became more common. So, the name was changed from Kabuli Palau to Qabili Palau

What Languages are spoken?

Afghanistan is a multilingual country in which two languages – Dari and Pashto – are both official and most widely spoken. You can learn some basic Pashto before you travel to Afghanistan and really impress the locals!

How much do you tip?

The currency in Afghanistan is the Afghan Afghani (96% of the people in the Afghanistan average tipping percentage in restaurants is between 5% to 15%. The actual tipping percentage is determind according to the level of service given in the restaurant and the tipping percentage can go above 5% if service was suberb or go under 15% if the service was bad).).

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Useful Numbers

  • Police: 119
  • Ambulance: 112
  • Fire: 119
  • UK Embassy: +93 78 759 8880

Time Difference

The GMT time difference is 3.5 hours

Travel Apps

Grab a travel app or two

Learn Pashto

Learn some Pashto before your trip to Afghanistan

Afghanistan Guidebook

Stay informed before, during and after your trip to Afghanistan by buying a guidebook.