The way I like to put it, Lahore is an explosion of colours, sounds, smells and more. For someone living in Europe, North America, or perhaps even most of the world’s countries, coming to Lahore is overwhelming. Bypassing the chaotic (but somehow moving?!) traffic can be challenging. As a noticeably foreign face, you’ll get a lot of locals wanting to talk/take selfies – this may also be overwhelming to those who haven’t experienced it. But don’t let any of this put you off an adventure to one of the Indian subcontinents most vibrant cities, and the hub of Punjabi culture. Also, you can check out my Lahore travel vlog where I go into the top sites in detail.
1) The Wagah Border
If seeing only one site in the Lahore area, this should be it. The daily joint border ceremony with India provides a climatic nationalistic experience to those on both sides of the border. The must see flag ceremony starts just before sunset in the summer (earlier throughout the rest of the year), requires no ticket, and truly is a fantastic experience.
2) Strolling Through Lahore’s Old City
Coming here in the morning is quite a dull experience. There is little activity, shops are closed, and there isn’t much to do. Come late afternoon/evening, the entire walled city become bustling, and strolling through here at this time you’ll realise what an explosion of activity Lahore is. The multiple marketplaces, thin alleyways and street-food make this a fantastic place to people-watch, and to get an idea of Punjabi life.
3) The Faqir Khana Museum
A fantastic collection of Mughal, as well as other, antiques, portraits and artworks are at display in this beautiful old building. Entry is free (but there is a donation box), and you’ll get a guided tour around, but you’ll have to book beforehand. It is truly one of the most impressive little museums I have visited. Location is in the old town.
4) Data Darbar Shrine
One of Lahore’s best locations to experience Sufi culture, this Sufi shrine has a wonderful sense of devotion around it. Outside is a market selling religious artwork, handicrafts and other items, which is also worth a visit. For those unaware of Sufism, think mysticism and Islam joined together, and you’ll have a basic understanding. The Shah Jamal shrine is also famous for its Sufi gatherings every Thursday night – however, as of June 2018, the time of our visit, the government had forced their cancellation due to security concerns.
5) The Two Famous Mosques – Badshahi and Wazir Khan
Some of Lahore’s most famous landmarks, they are both a must-visit if you are in Lahore. Splendid Mughal architecture awaits you. The Badshahi mosque was the world’s largest mosque for more than 300 years, and its architectural style is awe-inspiring. Visit a rooftop cafe/restaurant on Lahore’s “Food Street” during sunset for a wonderful view of the Badshahi.
On top of these wonderful places, here are a few others worthy of a visit:
- Jahangir’s Tomb
- Hiran Minar (In Sheikhpura, outside Lahore)
- Shalimar Gardens
- Bagh-e-Jinnah: a wonderful park with colonial architecture – great for people watching
- Lahore museum: famous for its “Fasting Buddha”
- Lahore Zoo (expect a lot of picture taking)
- Qabail Restaurant
- Ichra Bazaar and Anarkali Bazaar: both great for souvenir shopping or just experiencing local life. Very bustling.