Lahore - colourful capital of the Punjab
One of the most densely populated urban areas in the world, in whose teeming streets over 30 languages and dialects are spoken, Lahore is a city that sums up the vibrant energy of modern Pakistan. At the same time it's rich in architectural reminders of its thousand years of history, from the monumental Lahore Fort dating from the time of the British Raj to the fountains and terraces of the 17th century Shalimar Gardens.
When to go
Lahore is best visited during the milder, cooler weather that lasts from November through to March. May to September is the hottest time of the year, with the four-month monsoon season starting in June.
Preparing for a trip to Lahore
British citizens require a visa to enter Pakistan. Vaccinations for polio, hepatitis A, tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid and malaria are strongly recommended. Visitors should be mindful of the country's rules and customs: it's against the law to consume alcohol in public places, and adultery, drug possession and blasphemy against the Muslim faith can all incur severe penalties. In Pakistan, the cost of living is much lower than in Great Britain - restaurant meals start from around 200 PKR, and expect to pay roughly 50 PKR for a non-alcoholic beverage or bottled water.
Getting around Lahore
From the airport it takes around 20-30 minutes to get into the centre of Lahore by cab. A taxi to the Gulberg district of Lahore costs around ca. 600 PKR, and it's about 800-1,000 PKR for a trip to the old city. Alternatively, the B-08 bus to the main bus station is priced at roughly 35 PKR. Some hotels provide a private shuttle service for guests.
Bus tickets in Lahore start at around 18 PKR, with the fast track Lahore Metrobus service costing about 20 PKR for a one way trip. Passengers can acquire a rechargeable travel card for a deposit of ca. 130 PKR. When travelling by public transport, it's a good idea to use the larger buses only and avoid the smaller, minivan-style ones as these can become extremely crowded. Tourists wishing to explore the walled city can do so on foot or by rickshaw, negotiating the fare beforehand. A new metro system for the city is currently under construction.
The price of accommodation in Lahore ranges from around 500 PKR for a bed in a hostel up to ca. 4,500 PKR for a 3 star hotel.