Bahawalpur is one of the safest cities in Punjab. It has its own airport which connect all major cities in Pakistan. PIA operate in Bahawalpur to Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad. A new airport is also built near the old airport and it is expected that international flights will operate at the new airport.
Bahawalpur is connected with all major cities of Pakistan by train.
From Lahore you can travel on KLP road.
Bus services are available throughout Pakistan. Bahawalpur has a very beautiful Daewoo Bus Terminal. You can catch a daewoo bus, from any big city like Karachi, Rawalpindi or Lahore and come to Bahawalpur directly.
Renting a car with driver (for about 30$ per day) is the best way to move around though you can use local transport as well. But to see things around Bahawalpur you will need a car.
Visit the villages where they work on tie and dye work.
The main language is Seraiki/Punjabi and its best that you use the Seraiki phrasebook to help you get around.
You can buy local tie and dye clothes (Chunri) from the local markets. Silver jewelry is also very pretty. Handmade close sandals (with embroidery) called khussas are also available at affordable prices (about $5 for a pair).To shop for clothes you can visit Outfitters, crossroads, riverstone, Chinyere, Junaid Jamshed, Gul Ahmed, Nishat and the list is endless. The embroidered dresses are very economical inside the boundaries of old city.
Sohn Halwa: Sohn Halwa is the most special sweet dish of Bahawalpur. You can buy most delicious and fantastic Sohn Halwa mixed with dry fruits and nuts from certain old halwa maker shops.
As of 03/2015, although no NOC is required, foreigners are not allowed to stay in Budget Hotels and are requested to stay in PTDC Motel. Also, you will get questioned by ISI people and the local police, the police insisting that it is too dangerous for you to walk around unaccompanied. You will get a police escort and be limited in your movements. The police escort consisted of 3 armed guards, the English speaking police officer and the jeep driver - for one foreigner.
It is not advisable to stay overnight in Bahawalpur unless you are willing to spend a lot of money and get up at 6 AM to escape the officials (and leave the same evening).
Hotel oneThe 2 star hotel near airport is probably the best hotel in bahawalpur.
New Bahawalpur Hotel, Inside Ahmad Puri Gate, Shahzadi Chowk.
Follow a conservative dress code and try to dress as locals. It is better to have someone from the city as a guide.
As of 03/2015, you do not need permission from the present Amir of Bahawalpur to get inside the fort anymore. It is now open to tourists and heavily frequented by Pakistani tourists. Entrance fee is around 50 Rs for Locals, 100 Rs for foreigners - but you will not get a receipt for it and prices seemed arbitrary. There were no guards inside the fort. Be careful if you are a woman and walk alone into the old buildings, you may find yourself all of a sudden surrounded by 30 men staring at you and creating a menacing atmosphere.
The drive takes two hours on a sealed road through fasinating barren landscape. The Cholistan Desert covers 26,000 sq km (10,000 sq miles) and extends into the Thar desert to India. The whole area was once well watered by the river Ghaggar, now called the Hakara in Pakistan, and known in vedic times as the Sarasvati. All along the 500 km (300 miles) of the dried-up river are over 400 archaeological sites. Most of these date from the Indus civilisation, 45,00 years ago, and are clustered round Derawar Fort, the only perennial water hole in the desert.
There is very little to make out today. The desert has an average rainfall of 12 cm (5 inches) a year, and there is very little civilisation. The underground water is brackish. The few people of the desert dig artificial wells in the troughs between the sand hills and use camels to draw the water up.