Traveling From Islamabad To Lahore – A Complete Guide

Different modes of transportation in Pakistan are very extensive serving a population of 212.2 million people. With changing governments, highways and motorways get introduced regularly since they are a sure vote attracter. After every a few years, we see an extension in the highway system.

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The roads are of top quality and built on European standards. Similarly, new train lines have also been introduced at more affordable rates and frequent trips. For passengers and freight. New airports and seaports are in the pipeline too.

Travelling from Islamabad to Lahore is very easy and convenient nowadays with multiple options to travel from. You can enjoy a road trip or take a train for a much more fun-filled experience. Let’s take a look at all the details of travelling between the two cities. 

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Islamabad to Lahore by GT Road

Grand Trunk Road is the oldest and longest road in South Asia which connects Bengal in India to Peshawar in Pakistan. It is almost 2400 kilometers long, running through Central Asia and India. In the past, GT Road was used for trading between the coinciding regions and for communications. Even today, it is the most commonly used route for traveling from one place to another. In some countries, it has been improved and included in their national highway systems. 

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Travelling from Islamabad to Lahore via GT Road comes under National Highway 5. The driving distance between the two points is approximately 260 kilometres which take around 5 hours to reach your destination.

Photo by Google Maps

Travel Advisory

Here are the complete guide and up-to-date, authentic, and complete information you need before going to Lahore from Islamabad via GT Road.

Islamabad to Lahore Routes

There are different roads on both sides to enter and exit GT Road. If you start from Islamabad, Islamabad Expressway is the smoothest road to enter GT Road. However, it gets congested over DHA Bridges. These bridges are under construction and by now one side is open for traffic and the other is still under the process of expanding. Another route could be taken using Kashmir Highway. It depends on your exact starting point, which route would suit you the best.

Cities on The way

After getting on GT Road, there will be many toll plazas on your way to Lahore. There are three toll plazas you’ll see in the first 100 Kilometers. Starting with Islamabad Toll Plaza, then Mandra, and then Taraki Toll Plaza. After crossing Rawat and Gujar Khan, you’ll enter Jhelum.

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Throughout this patch, you’ll see small markets on both sides. It will be crowded as well because many shops are on this main road. Till here, you can follow the green hills of Islamabad. Jhelum has two important tourist attractions that you can visit. One is Rohtas For, read more here, and the other is Mangla Dam. 

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While crossing Jhelum, you can see the wide River Jhelum and then Chenab River. Now the driver needs to be careful as you will enter into the Salt Range. Please keep your speed low as there are sharp turns on the salt mine mountains. The crossing on the roads is busy. The second-largest mine is situated here called khewra Salt Mines; another tourist attraction. After crossing this patch, you’ll gradually enter into the plain, barren area. 

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On your way from Islamabad to Lahore, the next station is Kharian, famous for Army Cantt. There will be big markets, branded outlets, and restaurants on both sides of the road. Roads are smooth till Gujrat. Then from Gujranwala to Shahdara, the roads are bumpy. After crossing the region, you can decide from where to exit Lahore. For people living or visiting DHA, take the exit from GT Road from the Kala Shah Kaku interchange and get to the Lahore Ring Road. By taking this route, You’ll be able to cross a big chunk of the traffic-congested area in no time. 

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Toll Plaza

If you travel through Ring Road, there is a total of 8 toll plazas from Islamabad to Lahore. Following are their names and toll fee;

  1. Islamabad Toll Plaza: Free
  2. Mandara Toll Plaza: Rs 30
  3. Taraki Toll Plaza: Rs 30
  4. Jhelum Toll Plaza: Rs 30
  5. Chenab Toll Plaza: Rs 30
  6. Gujranwala Toll Plaza: Rs 30
  7. Shahdara Toll Plaza: Rs 30
  8. Ring Road Lahore Toll Plaza: Rs 35

Above mentioned rates are applicable if you are traveling by car. For vans, busses the charges may vary.

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Fuel Cost

For traveling from Islamabad to Lahore via GT Road the fuel estimation is as follows;

For a 1000 cc car, the average mileage is 12-14 kilometers per liter. Around 17-19 liters are consumed, costing almost 2500 for covering 260 kilometers. For cars, more than 1000 cc, the fuel is consumed more than those of 1000 cc. Similarly costing more!

Petrol Pumps & Car Maintenance

Kharian is halfway through your journey. It is populated with big petrol pumps and CNG stations. Since most of the markets and restaurants are on the main market, these petrol pumps with essential services like oil change, tire change everything is available here. It’s the best stop to refuel the tanks. You’ll find petrol pumps after every interval but they might not be having everything in one place. The stations in Jhelum are not very up-to-date. The washrooms are not clean here but you can definitely check the air in your tires if needed. 

Restaurants/Dhabas

While traveling from Islamabad to Lahore vi GT Road, there are lots of small dhabas everywhere serving Karak Chai and breakfast. Many trucks and trolley drivers stop here so they are not very lavish with serious hygiene problems but the food is very delicious. The famous Mian Ji Ki Daal can be found in Lalamusa. They have various outlets across Pakistan. Other than small eateries, KFC and McDonald’s have been recently introduced as well. If you are looking for a proper place to eat, there will be multiple, good options in Kharian. While crossing river Jhelum and Chenab, fresh fish is served in restaurants that are opened on the river banks. 

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Safety Measures

GT Road is not considered very safe. People opt for this route usually because of low tax rates. The traffic rules are not properly followed here so the driver has to be attentive all the time. The reason is, anyone can come from any direction. Before starting your journey, make sure to check your vehicles

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Visibility In Fog

Traveling from Islamabad to Lahore can be very difficult in fog. Despite the route, motorway, or GT Road, the visibility on foggy days can get to even 50 meters. The chances of road accidents get very high. Reaching late to your destination is very common because of fog, the traveling time gets doubled. From Pindi Bhattian to Lahore, you’ll experience dense fog. In this weather, Motorway is usually closed so many people divert to GT Road. Don’t forget to use headlights while driving in such low visibility. 

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Islamabad to Lahore motorway

Another highway used for traveling from Islamabad to Lahore is Motorway 2 that connects North and South of Pakistan. It starts from Kashmir Highway Interchange Rawalpindi and ends at Thokar Niaz Beg Lahore. It is 375 kilometers long and located entirely in Punjab. M2 is the first motorway of South Asia that is built on European standards. With the highest bridge in Asia. as you pass by Khewra Mines Islamabad to Lahore Motorway is also the most expensive highway.

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Recently all the interchanges have been updated by new toll plazas and e-tag systems. Now you can get an e-tag, top it up and travel by any motorway without paying cash on the spot. You can also avoid the long queues on toll plazas and e-tag lines are separate and usually short. M2 has also been used by Pakistan AirForce as a runway for landing fighter planes and C-130 as emergency landings.

Travel Advisory

Here are the complete guide and up-to-date, authentic, and complete information you need before going to Lahore from Islamabad via Motorway (M2).

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Islamabad to Lahore Routes

For Going from Islamabad to Lahore via M2, there is a link road connecting M1 and M2. M1 leads to Peshawar while M2 ends at Thokar Niaz Beg Lahore. After continuing on M2, you will cross Chakri, Kallar Kahar, Lilla, Bhera, Salem, Kot Momin, Pindi Bhattiyan, Sheikhupura then finally Lahore. M2 is stretched on 6 lanes with multiple rest areas, service stations, and weighing stations on the way. While passing through the salt range, you’ll continue to see hills as the road is going up and down with beautiful landscape on the way. Drivers have to be careful in this area as there are lots of trucks turning with the road slowly. There is a strict speed limit with motorway police monitoring everywhere so be careful. Otherwise, you’ll be fined. On the way to Lahore, you will be able to cross some of the main rivers of Pakistan. 

Maintenance Activities

Before traveling through the Motorway from Islamabad to Lahore, it is better to check your vehicle thoroughly. Fuel, tires, battery, engine oil, and brakes are a few of the essential checkups before heading off on a long journey. However, if there is any problem regarding your car, Motorway car recovery and towing service are available 24/7. The helpline 130 is available all the time which creates a sense of security among the highway users. 

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Petrol Pumps And Service Areas

While using the Motorway, there are specific places allocated for petrol pumps and, restaurants and public rest areas. They are a total of 5 in number from Islamabad to Lahore;

  1. Chakri Service Area
  2. Kallar Kahar Service Area
  3. Bhera Service Area
  4. Sial Service Area
  5. Sukheki Service Area
Photo by rm.photography on Instagram

Among all these service areas, Bhera Service Area is the most common stop as people recommend it more than the other service areas. The reason is that the Bhera service area is in the middle of the whole trip. There are many popular chains of restaurants available here on both sides. KFC, McDonald’s, Hardees, Subway, and many other options are available for having tea. Drive-Thru and sitting areas are available too. There is almost 60-80 kilometers distance between the two service areas. 

You can avail the facility of public toilets. There is the facility of luxury washrooms as well which can be availed by paying Rs 30 per person. Moreover, the restaurants have restrooms as well which can be availed for free.

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Another reason for stopping at the Bhera service area is fuel refill and air check for tires. The biggest chains of petrol pumps are available on Motorway. Hascol, PSO, and Shell are reliable fuel stations. The Sial Service Area is the second most preferred stop for people traveling by cars and buses too.

Islamabad to Lahore Toll rates

For traveling From Islamabad to Lahore through the Motorway has toll plazas on the entrance and exit of the highway. The entrance card keeps a record of each car for the interchange and time of entering M2. For a car, the toll plaza cost is between Rs 800-900. For buses, wagons, and trucks these charges vary. However, if the exit is from Sialkot Link Road, there are additional charges of Rs 45 for using the link road.

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Rest Areas

Other than Service Areas, FWO has given permission to private investors to manage rest areas on both sides of the M2 Highway. These rest areas are used for short breaks for using following facilities;

  1. Mosque
  2. Restrooms
  3. Aircheck for tires
  4. Tuckshops
  5. Workshops 

Road Safety

As responsible citizens, we should follow all the traffic rules for our own safety and for others too. The Motorway police keep a close check on all the drivers and take action against those who don’t follow. The speed limit for cars in most of the area is 120 kilometers per hour. At the Salt Range, this limit is reduced by the authorities due to sharp curves. At regular intervals, you’ll notice security cameras and Motorway police cars to keep a check on everyone. During rain, slow speed is preferable as roads might be slippery. Drivers should remain very attentive while driving on Motorway because other cars are coming in high speed too. A little mistake can result in a big accident so stay safe and follow the rules!

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Weather

Driving on the Motorway from Islamabad to Lahore is very convenient because of its wide 6 lane roads on both sides. Driving gets difficult in rain due to slippery roads. Secondly, during fog weather, from Pindi Bhattian to Sheikhupura to Lahore are heavily dense in fog. The visibility can get to even 50 meters. Driving through such fog gets extremely difficult, tiring, and dangerous. On such days, Motorway is either closed or opened for a specific time duration based on the fog prediction.

Islamabad to Lahore Flights

Another option for traveling from Islamabad to Lahore or vice versa could be by air. The distance between the two points by air is 183.4 miles which can be covered in one hour without a stop. There are flights that take directly to Lahore and some are connecting flights with Karachi.

Islamabad to Lahore Airlines

There are multiple domestic airlines operating in Islamabad. These are;

  1. Pakistan International Airline (PIA)
  2. Serene Air
  3. Air Blue
  4. AirSial

However, currently only PIA is taking flights from Islamabad to Lahore and other way around. 

Airport Guidelines

For domestic flights the required documents are CNIC and your air ticket. Before taking the flight make sure you get your Covid test results under the current pandemic situation. After completing heath requirements, send your luggage for screening. Make sure the luggage doesn’t have expensive things. Be careful with flight timings and flight number. Reach the airport on time.

Islamabad to Lahore Flights Schedules

To know about schedules of flights from Lahore to Islamabad, you can simply visit the official website of the airline. Enter your locations of starting and ending the trip with additional information like dates, number of seats, adults or children and one way or a roundtrip. Once all the details are entered, you will get a complete schedule of flights with day, dates, and time. Book the flight that suits the best.

From Islamabad to Lahore PIA flights are on Friday, Monday, and Wednesday at 7:00 PM. for Lahore to Islamabad, flights are at 7:30 AM on Friday and Wednesday and at 8:30 AM on Monday. 

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Islamabad to Lahore Rates

For checking rates of flights from Islamabad to Lahore, the official airline website is the best source. There are other websites too with calculators. Currently, only PIA is taking flights for ISB-LHR. There is an option for one way and round trip. The economy one way trip costs Rs 20,000-22,000 and for a roundtrip it costs Rs 40,000-42,000.There are few amenities offered on the flight which are light snacks and drinks, Free Wifi and entertainment.

Airport Guidelines

For domestic flights the required documents are CNIC and your air ticket. Before taking the flight make sure you get your Covid test results under the current pandemic situation. After completing heath requirements, send your luggage for screening. Make sure the luggage doesn’t have expensive things. Be careful with flight timings and flight number. Reach the airport on time.

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Islamabad to Lahore bus

Are you planning to travel from Islamabad to Lahore and don’t want to drive yourself? Or you don’t have a conveyance of yourself? There are outstanding, luxurious bus services available that are serving its customers by offering unforgettable experiences. Traveling by bus is very easy and not tiring at all. These bus services provide door to door service too. The total distance is covered in around 5 hours including the tea break at a service area on Motorway. Comfortable journey is what everyone wants. Let’s take a look at which bus services are loved the most and what they offer.

Islamabad to Lahore Top Bus Services

Some of the top bus services from Islamabad to Lahore are;

  1. Faisal Movers

It is the leading bus service with 4 terminals each in Islamabad and Lahore. Terminals in Islamabad are in Faizabad, Karachi Company G9, Islamabad Terminal and New city terminal. While in Lahore, the terminals are thokar terminal, Faisal Movers terminal, City district and Kalma Chowk.

  1. Daewoo Express

Daewoo Bus Service is the trend setter amongst the bus service industry. They are considered the pioneers of luxury bus travel. Tickets can be booked online as well as the terminal. They have introduced improved and better buses with advanced experience. There are two terminals in Islamabad; Faizabad and near Motorway while in Lahore their terminals are located at Thokar Niaz and Kalma Chowk.

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  1. Bilal Travels

Bilal Travels has maintained a great reputation in the market. It operates in major cities with Islamabad to Lahore as one of its main routes. They offer luxury bus service and the rates are very reasonable compared to other bus services with the same traveling experience. Many people prefer Bilal Travels over Daewoo Bus Service because of their consistency, good staff behavior, punctuality and hygiene.

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  1. Qconnect

Q connect offers a 5-star bus service which is the only bus company with Volvo buses. They have maintained a good reputation. Their terminal in Lahore is in DHA and Metro Cash and Carry while in Islamabad the terminal is on Srinagar Highway. The fares are higher than the others as they provide business class experience only.

Islamabad to Lahore Bus Rates

Bus rates for traveling from Islamabad to Lahore for the above mentioned bus services are;

  1. Daewoo

Luxury: Rs 1230            Super Luxury:  Rs 1230               Gold Class: Rs 1520

  1. Faisal Movers

Executive:  Rs 1800        Executive Plus: Rs 1800           Business Class: Rs 2400

  1. Bilal Travels

Luxury: Rs 1368                                      Premium Class: Rs 1700

  1. Qconnect                                                 Business Class: Rs 3150

Islamabad to Lahore Bus Schedule

To see the schedule of your required dates, visit the official websites of the bus service you wish to use. You can check the schedule for 2-3 bus services and book where the time matches to your schedule too.

Islamabad to Lahore Bus Stops

Most of the bus services take a 15 minutes break at the service station of Bhera or Sial. Because it comes in the midway of Islamabad to Lahore, these stops are the most running and famous with most of the restaurants on both sides.

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Amenities

On traveling from Islamabad to Lahore, the bus services provide some snacks, meals (optional), wifi in luxury class and entertainment. In business class, there is the facility of free wifi too.

Islamabad to Lahore train

Pakistan Railways is the backbone of Pakistan’s transportation system which supports the movement of passengers and freight. It is the most preferred mode of traveling even from Islamabad to Lahore because of its affordability. The railway system has brought tourism, education, and business very close. 

Passenger trains bring 50% of the revenue for Pakistan Railways. An average of 178,000 people travels by train daily. The train lines provide more trips on special occasions like Eid. For all the updates you can visit their official website. There you can check the schedule, fares and even book online.

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Islamabad to Lahore Railway Trains

Some of the famous trains operating in Pakistan from 28 stations are Awaam Express, Green Line, Islamabad Express, Hazara Express and Jaffar Express. However for traveling from Islamabad to Lahore are;

  1. Islamabad Express
  2. Rawal Express
  3. Subak Kharam
  4. Subak Raftar

Islamabad to Lahore Train Fares

There are different classes when it comes to booking a seat in a train. Based on your affordability and comfort, book a suitable cabin as fares for each vary. With luxurious service, the fare also increases. Following are the classes in a train;

  1. AC Sleeper

It is the most expensive cabin with a separate compartment that can be shared among 2-3 people, preferably family or friends. The windows are sealed as the cabin is centrally air conditioned. The seats can be converted into sleeping beds too.

  1. AC Parlor

This class has comfortable chairs that are designed on European standards but long journeys are not preferable as they can be leaned. However, the cabin is air conditioned.

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  1. AC Business

AC business is similar to AC sleeper. The only difference is the number of people sharing the compartment. Maximum 6 people can share it at the same time.

  1. AC Standard

AC Standard or AC lower is similar to traveling in an AC bus on short routes. However, for long routes they have sleeping bunks as well.

  1. First Class Sleeper

The first class sleeper has a standard type of compartment with open windows and six bunks in one section. There is no AC. there is a path in between the two ailes so one can move freely. 

  1. Economy Class

This is similar to first class but the seats can only be used for sitting and not sleeping.

  1. Second Class

There is no standard seating system in this abin. People can be sleeping or sitting on the floor as well. On stops, the local sellers can be found within the train selling snacks.

To check the fares for each compartment visit Pakistan Railways.

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Islamabad to Lahore Train Schedules

For traveling by train from Islamabad to Lahore, you can see the schedule on Pakistan Railways website. Simple add Start and End location with the date of traveling. The whole schedule of all the train lines will appear. 

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There are many modes of transportation in Pakistan with outstanding services. Based on affordability and preference, you can travel from Islamabad to Lahore by road, by train, by bus, or by air. Roaming Pakistan has wrapped up all the information you need before planning a trip.

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