As inspiring and sensational as Lahore is, it is still difficult to find many travel guides to the beautiful city in Pakistan. Situated in the Punjab province of the country, the city is a kaleidoscope of colonial architecture, strongly held traditions, and history.
Lahore is an excellent place for anyone to visit in Pakistan. As one of the less visited travel destinations in the world, you might feel a little out of place as you could go weeks without seeing any other tourist. However, as the country is opening up to invite travelers to experience the authentic culture and the stunning landscape, this Pakistan travel guide would help you cover all your basics for your trip.
Lahore is best to visit from September to October when the weather is pleasant between the summer and the cold days of winter. It is also the window with perfect weather when the hiring trails stay open in North Pakistan with the opportunity to visit the Gilgit Baltistan province.
Daily Expenses in Lahore
Lahore is a cheap destination to travel even compared to other Asian countries. On average, one can cover the daily expenses between $30 to $50 a day, that could include accommodation and meals. That is the bare minimum, and particularly for budget traveling. It could be costlier depending on the style of travel.
If you are looking for hostels, the Lahore Backpackers is the only choice for foreigners. It is close to the city center and takes half an hour walk to the fort. Another neighborhood to look for hotels is Gulberg, which is halfway between the modern part of the city and the old town area. From here, the city center is a Uber ride of about 200 PKR or under 5 USD. Enquire at the hotel desk for average prices before you hire a taxi or a rickshaw. This part has many mid-range to luxury hotels and is surrounded by excellent restaurants and cafes.
Wifi is not available everywhere, and even if available, the connectivity might not be reliable. The best option is to get a sim card. Foreigners are required to go to the carrier’s franchise in order to get a registered sim card. If you buy from airports or any other shops, whatever the seller says, it is a scam, and the sim will stop working within the first few days.
At the offices, it will only take you 5 minutes to get the sim activated. The carried ZONG has very good reception and has many franchise shops in Lahore. You can choose a data only plan or with calls option. Remember that even data might not be available in all parts of Pakistan, so you are better off with calls option.
Check with the local embassy whether you need a valid visa to enter Pakistan. Even if you don’t need, travel insurance is a must for the journey. Ensure that the plan covers everything necessary and complies with the rules for your trip.
Alternatively, you can also find cheap flights to Pakistan to other big cities like. From there, Pakistan International airlines fly domestically to Lahore, or there is Daewoo Express bus to Lahore from other cities.
Lahore is equipped with a good transportation system. However, if you choose a taxi or a rickshaw, you will also have to haggle. Always agree on a price before you get into any taxi or tuk-tuk you hail down the road. Never accept the first fare they offer, because it will definitely be much higher than the real one. The best bet is to go with Uber so that the prices would be reasonable and fixed.
So now that we have covered the basics on how to get around the city let us what are the most amazing things to do in Lahore.
The Badshahi Mosque is a true marvel of architecture> one can draw parallels between the Jama Masjid in New Delhi and the Badshahi museum, only the latter is of a much bigger scale. The mosque is also less crowded, and you can spend some time alone with the calming energy. Outside though, you can witness all kind of local activities including kids playing cricket in the parking lot.
Morning is the best time to visit when the light is the best, and there would be fewer people in the mosque. The building is made of red sandstone and white marble and was commissioned by Emperor Aurangzeb of Mughal dynasty. In the past, the mosque was even used for military purposes under the British era. The mosque has since undergone many refurbishments. The central courtyard can hold 100,000 people at once for prayer services in an area of 276,000 square feet.
The Lahore Fort is right next to the Badshahi Mosque. It was built during the Mughal era by the same emperor Aurangzeb who built the mosque. The citadel complex includes many stunning palaces, museums and beautiful gardens inside the fortress.
Te fort strongly held its ground through many rulers which you can infer from the many different architectural styles. From Persian to Mughal to the Hindu derivative columns brackets with elephants, the massive fort has many characters. It requires more than a couple of hours to see all the stunning facades, domes, and walkways even in the scorching heat.
Though inside the Lahore fort itself, the building is drop-dead gorgeous that it has to be emphasized as another point. Located in the northwest corner in the Shah Burj block of the fort, Sheesh Mahal is another masterpiece conceived in the head of the emperor Shah Jahan. It was built in the 16th century and is still maintained in impeccable shape today.
Sheesh Mahal translates to the Palace of Mirrors and is elaborately decorated with hundreds of reflective mirror tiles. There is another Sheesh Mahal in the Amber Fort of Jaipur in India built later.
From the Lahore Fort, the Wazir Khan Mosque is only a short rickshaw ride away. If you have time, then you can even cover the distance by walking. The mosque is one of the places in Lahore without too many local tourists and visitors. It is still one of the most magnificent mosques in the city with sumptuous decorations and intricate carvings. Every part is ornated with colorful geometrical patterns and motifs.
The market is flanked by markets, homes, small businesses all lined up on either side of the cobblestone streets, Amidst the turmoil, the mosque stands tall as a haven of tranquility.
Once you have got your dose of rest, it is time to get into chaos outside the mosque walls. You can walk through the market streets to reach your destination at the end, the Delhi Gate. The highlight is the market itself, with fantastic food shops, colorful textiles, and food markets.
It is the best spot to get the authentic feel of the area. Shopkeepers and street vendors are very kind and curious. You will not be ripped off and overcharged everywhere for every single thing. Take your time for the walk, to reach the Delhi gate, one of the six remaining gates of the walled city of Lahore. It was built in the Mughal era and was the main gate to the city.
The museum building itself is a sight to behold. Built by the British, the Lahore Museum building has impressions of both Mughal architecture and the Gothic and the colonial style during the era. The red brick building has the country’s most extensive collection of historical artifacts, manuscripts, and paintings. The museum showcases collections not only of Pakistan but from many parts of the world.
It is a great place to get away from the sun and enjoy a little bit of history in the process.
The Wagah border the border between Pakistan and India. There is a military practice daily occurring at the border, 24 km away from Lahore. Soldiers from both countries participate In the parade that symbolizes the brotherhood and cooperation the two countries share. At sunset, the iron gates are opened, and the flags are lowered simultaneously. The ceremony finished by a handshake by soldiers from both countries.
So that is almost everything you need to know about traveling to Lahore. It is a great city to start your trip to Pakistan and has the perfect culmination of the religious, and cultural elements of the country.
Do not hesitate to check our travel deals for Lahore before you continue browsing.