Bahawalpur (Bhawalpur, Bhawulpore) is a city in Punjab, Pakistan.
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.
As of 6/2016, foreigners were not allowed into many of the tourist sights in the center of the city (ex. the Mahals) without "permission from High Command". It is unclear how one actually gets permission, so basically, foreigners are prohibited from seeing anything of interest in Bahwalpur.
- Nur Mahal - Nur Mahal is a very beautiful palace (mahal) build by Nawab Sadiq, the former ruler of Bahawalpur. It is used by the military and foreigners are not allowed to enter.
- The Replica of Fort Darawar - This is a beautiful replica of Fort Darawar, a private property of a local resident of Bahawalpur. It has a very beautiful surrounding with a small lake with fish. A must see.
- Mai Jindaan Da Mazaar - Tomb of Mai Jindan is one of the most famous landmarks of Pakistan.
- Lal Suhanra. The trip to Lal Suhanra National Park is intersting for naturalists. The park was developed in 1972, is the home of many animals and birds, including the rare chinkara gazelle and plentiful wild boar. There is a project here for re-introducing black buck into their former desert habitate; you can see about 30 of them in the fenced enclosure just inside the forest plantation. In winter there are abundant duck on the lake. Lal Suhanra is 36 km (22 miles) north-east of Bahawalpur; leave the town by the khairpur road and fork right after about 30 km (20 miles) on a dirt track to join the desert feeder canal. You hire a guide to enterance to the park . There is a rest house which you can book through the Park Office, 3-A Trust colony, Bahawalpur or you can camp.
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.
- Desert Grill, (Near Fountain Choak). This restaurant has really good local food, and Bar B.Q. Two really good and their specialities are Dum Kabab, and Chiken/Mutton Dhaba.
- 4 Seasons (""address="Muhammad), (near Railway station). Sister of Multan's Zanzibar restaurant. Plush modern decor and an ambitious menu covering steaks, pizza, pasta, Chinese and other cuisines, this is the most Western place in town. Food is acceptable and the service good - although not much English is spoken. mains around Rs 400.
- Lataska. Probably the second most popular place to eat in city.Its famous for chinese and itallian food.
- KFC. First international restaurant in city.Near satellite town.
- Pizza hut. Most famous place for pizza.
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.
Single room 350rs
- PTDC hotel, gulsan e iqbal karachi. checkin: 12 11 2013; checkout: 14 11 2013. A good place to stay in the city. Now showing its age the PTDC is in a quiet cul-de-sac near the museum and library. Rs 3,300 single, Rs 4,200 double.
- Luxury Hotel, Fawara Chowk, ☎ 062-2888401, . A good hotel on a busy junction - easily reachable from airport, railway station and any bus service - rooms have a/c and en suite - Attached is quite big restaurant with good food. Worth for Rs 1,800.
- Pak Continential. Aging hotel near the centre of town. Rooms OK but a/c doesn't work when the hotel is running on its generator. Ask for a room away from the street. Rs 2,000- 2,500.
Follow a conservative dress code and try to dress as locals. It is better to have someone from the city as a guide.
- Cholistan Desert of Bahawalpur - You can make an intersting and worthwile excursion from Bahawalpur, a half day trip (no four-wheel drive vehicle required) to Derawar Fort (Qila Derawar), through the semi-desert of Cholistan. Best to take a guide for Derawar fort - although with a GPS and a pre-planned route you could self drive.
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.
- Fort Darawar- Derawar Fort (Qila Derawar) is in good condition, its walls are intact and still guarded by soldiers in fezes. Its age is unknown. The tombs of the Amirs of Bahawalpur are also at Derawar, decorated with attractive blue glazed tiles contrasting with the ochre landscape. Some of the cannons which were used times ago by the Army of Bahawalpur are also kept in this fort.