"I love it and suggest to tourists that they must visit."
Rawalpindi, also referred to as Pindi by locals, is a vibrant cultural hub.
Pakistan’s 4th largest city, Rawalpindi, is brim-full with great food, attractions, history, and heritage.
Pakistan is filled with a rich culture, amazing architecture, and some breath-taking natural beauty that is a must for everyone’s bucket list.
When it comes to visiting Pakistan, modern popular cities like Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi or the more scenic northern areas tend to steal the limelight as tourist hotspots.
Those spots are all well-loved by locals and tourists alike.
Rawalpindi is located in Punjab and is adjacent to the country’s capital, Islamabad. The two are often referred to as the ‘twin cities’, due to the economic and social links between them.
Islamabad is considered to be the second most beautiful capital city in the world. The city is blessed with gorgeous manmade architecture and monuments, as well as some amazing hiking spots.
Every city in Pakistan has its own charm and allure and Islamabad’s twin, Rawalpindi is no different. It stands equally in wonder and awe.
From quirky food trucks to breath-taking lakes to bustling bazaars there is something in Rawalpindi that would appeal to everyone.
DESIblitz presents the 12 best places you should visit if you ever get the chance to visit Rawalpindi.
The Grand Truck
If you have ever visited Pakistan, you will know one of the things you see everywhere is vibrantly coloured and elaborately decorated trucks.
Truck art is a popular cultural tradition in Pakistan. The trucks are always handmade and include intricate designs and calligraphy, that hold a deeper meaning beyond their aesthetic qualities.
It is very popular in Pakistan and a much-loved aspect of Pakistani culture, to the extent the designs have been reproduced in fashion and homeware.
This well-loved Pakistani tradition of truck art has also been seen in the food industry.
If seeing these magnificent trucks on the roads isn’t enough, you can also go and visit Pakistan’s very first truck art food truck in Rawalpindi.
The Grand Truck is located in Rawalpindi’s Bahria Town.
It looks just like the beautifully decorated trucks you see on the roads, but it sells food.
They sell a range of Pakistani street food such as pakoras, samosas, chaat, as well as burgers, wraps, and pasta. Their menu is reasonably priced between Rs. 35 (15p) and Rs. 565 (£2.48).
The Grand Truck opened in 2020 and has quickly become popular amongst the locals.
It has a very chilled vibe and is a perfect spot to visit in the late evening with friends. It has seating outside the truck, along with fairy lights, which add to the chilled vibes of the place.
The Grand Truck is a must to visit if you are a fan of unique food spots, Pakistani street food, and the vibrancy of Pakistani truck art.
Visit their Instagram page here.
Pakistan has some amazing modern shopping malls that sell designer Pakistani brands. However, you visiting an authentic bazaar is a must.
Raja Bazar is Rawalpindi’s most crowded and busiest shopping market. There is a real charm to visiting this Bazar, as you really get to witness the true hustle and bustle of the real Pindi.
Raja Bazar sells pretty much everything and that too at reasonable prices.
From clothing and furniture to souvenirs and jewellery, you can discover a whole range of items.
There are also some amazing street food vendors and chai stalls to check out at the Bazar. Their channa chaat and dahi bhalla are snacks particularly well-loved by locals.
It is recommended that you explore the market on foot, due to the crowdedness, or grab a joyful rickshaw ride.
The vibe of Raja Bazar’s bustling and narrow streets is incomparable to shopping markets in other countries.
Even if you are not a keen shopper, it’s a great place to go and soak up the enchanting atmosphere. It provides a great opportunity to explore another culture.
A local excitingly states:
“You can’t deny that it is crowded and quite an experience if you are not a native.
However, it is worth visiting to find some utter bargains and great food, while experiencing the real Pakistan.”
If you love Pakistani street food and bagging yourself a great bargain, Raja Bazar is the place to be.
Rawalpindi is a very versatile city. Moving an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Raja Bazar to the natural beauty, there is Neela Sandh.
Neela Sandh is a breathtaking waterfall in Mouri Syedan, Rawalpindi, which is roughly 40 kilometres away from Islamabad. It is one of Rawalpindi’s hidden gems.
After witnessing the busy street life, one will never guess that this serene place can exist within the same city. It is a short waterfall, that has a clear blue water stream.
The area is honestly gorgeous, as it is surrounded by tall trees and mountains.
It is a popular spot amongst locals and many families visit on weekends. The drive to this spot also includes beautiful scenery.
At Neela Sandh you can have a picnic with friends or even some relaxing time with a book and great views.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous you can jump into the cool freshwater for a swim. Although, make sure you stay safe while swimming here, as the water is rather deep.
Therefore, it is recommended to wear a life jacket if you’re not that confident when it comes to swimming.
While in Pindi definitely make your way over to Neela Sandh, as it makes a great day trip with friends or family.
Ayub National Park
Ayub National Park is a great spot to visit as a family, especially if you have children.
This 300-acre park was named after Pakistani President Ayub Khan, who was the second President of Pakistan.
This lovely park is jampacked, with a range of activities and you can easily spend a few hours wandering around it.
You can go on lake rides, wander around the gardens, relax on the lawn, visit the garden restaurant or open-air theatre.
Mesbah S left a review of the park on TripAdvisor, where he mentions:
“Plenty of green space in the heart of the city. Come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of Pindi. Beautiful surroundings.”
It is also a great spot for kids, as there is a range of play areas, which include rides, slides, and swings.
The park also contains a zoo, where you can see exotic animals such as tigers, lions, zebras, monkeys, and llamas.
Ayub National Park is the biggest park in Rawalpindi and is great for a day trip or afternoon stroll.
This is another great spot for families with both young and older children. Jinnah Park, situated on Mushtaq Baig Shaheed Road in Rawalpindi, was opened in 2006.
It was named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. There is in fact a sculpture of him at the entrance of the park.
Jinnah Park is a marvellous amusement and public park containing a range of different activities for all ages, such as:
- A devoted child’s play area
- Pakistan’s first multiplex – “Cinepax”
- Basketball courts
- Cricket nets
- Football grounds
- Ten-pin bowling
- Skating area with a roller rink
- Jogging tracks
- Motion rides
Within the facility, there are many amazing restaurants, including an Italian restaurant, Pappasallis, and fast-food chains, including McDonald’s.
The park also has a peaceful natural atmosphere. It is a place to clear your mind and embrace your surroundings.
It includes flowerbeds, lawns, fountains, and sculptures, which are extremely peaceful.
Jinnah Park is the perfect all-rounder, especially if you have children who are keen to explore, have fun and let loose.
Rawalpindi is full of rich history and heritage. If you are a fan of history then you should visit Sangni Fort, which is located in the Takal village, in the Rawalpindi District.
It is situated about 25 kilometres away from the famous Grand Trunk Road also known as the GT Road.
GT Road is one of Asia’s longest and oldest roads running through parts of Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
The exact details about the year the fort was constructed are unknown.
However, it is thought to be constructed in the late Mughal era and used more extensively in the Sikh period for defence purposes.
Sangni Fort is perched on a hill and overlooks two rivulets. When visiting you can enjoy picturesque agricultural lands and free-flowing streams.
Taking in the rich tradition and presence that the fort exudes will leave one feeling culturally rich and taken back.
The Sangni Fort is a beautiful historical monument that is worth a visit.
Joyland is one of the largest amusement parks in Pakistan. It is located just opposite Ayub National Park.
Amusement parks are always great fun. Joyland is well-loved amongst both adults and children, as it is a great place to bring your inner child out.
The park contains a range of rides such as the big wheel, swing rides, and trains. There are also some more intense rides like the tornado, drop tower ride, and discovery for more daredevils.
Take a look at one of their rides here:
Joyland also has various arcade games such as roll a ball, air hockey, boxing, and bazooka blast.
Alongside the rides, they have a dedicated street with famous fast-food chains, as well as Chinese and Desi restaurants.
If you are wanting to get away from the hustle of Rawalpindi’s streets, Joyland is a great fun day out.
Rawat Fort is another great spot for history lovers. This early-16th century fort is located east of Rawalpindi in the Pothohar Plateau of Pakistan.
The fort is located on the GT Road. Originally, the Rawat Fort was used as a caravanserai, which means a roadside inn. During this period there used to be many roadside inns along the GT Road.
However, later it was fortified and was used to defend the Pothohar Plateau from Pashtun King Sher Shah Suri forces.
The fort saw many battles, but most famously it witnessed the clash between the Gakhar chief Sultan Sarang and Afghan King Sher Shah Suri in 1546.
During this battle, Sultan Sarang was captured, executed, and then buried at the fort.
Rawat Fort is not that big. Along the wall of the fort are small rooms, which were most likely rented out to travellers.
The fort also has a mosque with three domes. The central courtyard of the fort houses the graves of Sultan Sarang Khan and his 16 sons who died in battles.
In 2021, the fort is protected as a Cultural Heritage Site of Punjab and is visited by many tourists.
One TripAdvisor review states it is worth visiting Rawat Fort, revealing:
“It’s an amazing historical fort near Islamabad, it has a beautiful landscape and a huge boundary, including old wells and mosques.”
Watch a Video of Rawat Fort here:
Pindi Food Street
This spot is a food lover’s paradise. The Pindi food street is located outside the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. The street contains many restaurants offering different high-quality cuisines.
One TripAdvisor user believes this is ideal for food lovers:
“Best place for foodies, all kinds of food are available, a must-visit. From murgh pulao rice, chicken karahi to pizza and fast food. All lit up till late night.”
One restaurant on the street, which is reviewed positively, is Habibi. The restaurant sells high-quality Pakistani food, that is well-loved by locals.
A TripAdvisor user who paid a visit to this place said:
“I visited a couple of months ago, the food was fresh and really tasty.”
“I’d recommend it for Desi food over many other local restaurants. Do try their mutton cuisines, they’re amazingly tasty.”
The delightful spice of Pakistani cuisine can be felt throughout Pindi Food Street, giving locals and tourists a feel of the deliciousness that cannot be ignored.
Statue of Liberty
‘Statue of Liberty’ are probably the three words you did not expect to relate to Rawalpindi.
Bahria Town is a popular and posh gated community within Rawalpindi. It has many beautiful houses, shops and an influx of restaurants and cafes.
In the middle of Bahria Town Phase 8, there is something that you would not expect to see, a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Who needs to go all the way to New York to visit the Statue of Liberty? While it is a bit of an unusual thing to come across in Pindi, it is worth checking out, with it looking quite realistic.
The grounds around the replica are quite nice. It is perfect for taking some scenic pictures or relaxing with some chai, soaking up the gorgeous weather.
Watch this video to see the replica in more detail here:
Just a 5-minute drive from the Statue of Liberty replica you can transport yourself to Paris.
This Eiffel Tower replica in Bahria Town is a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. In fact, you can even walk up the tower, just like the real one.
At 80m high, excited tourists and intrigued locals can take in unexpected heights and overlook the glistening city below.
The monument also conducts spectacular light shows to mark certain occasions. A local tour guide mentions the replica is a:
“A mythical and audacious site, it has always inspired artists and challenges.”
It is unclear why the two replicas are in Bahria Town.
However, nevertheless, they are fun spots to visit for some amazing views and to get some great selfies for Instagram.
View video of the Eiffel Tower replica here:
Travelling and visiting tourist hotspots definitely works up your appetite. Hence, whilst in Rawalpindi, one must visit Tehzeeb Bakers at least once.
Pakistan is famous for its bakeries selling fresh cakes, pastries, and biscuits. Tehzeeb Bakers is a famous bakery branch in Pakistan’s twin cities, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The bakery sells freshly baked cakes, sweets, pastries, biscuits, and pizzas. It is renowned for its delicious and high-quality food items.
In particular, their pizza selections are very popular. The pizza menu includes beef pizza, cheese & tomato, grilled chicken, BBQ, sriracha pizza, and chicken chapli.
During Ramadan there are often long queues, going outside the shop, just for their scrumptious menu.
A TripAdvisor user praises Tehzeeb Bakers, writing:
“I and my family like only Tehzeeb Bakers, it has awesome pizza and others bakery items. No doubt there are no other Bakers like this in Rawalpindi.”
They go on to further state:
“Quality product and delicious bakery items. I love it and suggest to tourists that they must visit.”
While another customer refers to it as one of the top bakeries in Pakistan’s largest province:
“The best bakery in Punjab.”
Tehzeeb Bakers are well-loved and locals often gift their cakes on special occasions or dinner parties.
A visitor exclusively told DESIblitz:
“If you try anything from Tehzeeb’s try their Honey Almond cake, you will not regret it – it is to die for.”
Tehzeeb Bakers have 3 branches in Rawalpindi:
- 41-A, Hospital Rd, Saddar, Rawalpindi
- Chib Plaza, Chaklala Scheme III, Rawalpindi
- D-682-83 Altaf plaza 5th Road, Commercial Market, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi
Browse their website here and Instagram page here.
One of the most fascinating sights of Rawalpindi is the Moti Bazar which is just a four-minute walk from Raja Bazar.
Created as a haven for widows in the 1880s, the enriching history was developed from women tailoring and selling their handmade clothes.
Decades later, it is a thriving Bazar specifically for women. Tourists will find signboards around the Bazar, prohibiting men from entering, except those who are the shopkeepers.
During peak holidays such as Eid, the Bazar becomes a bustling centre for women to shop.
Intricate suits, elegant accessories, and vibrant shoes are all enticingly on display.
With over 1400 shops and stalls, it’s no wonder why Moti Bazar is so popular, especially for those coming to shop for wedding outfits and who need the freedom to explore.
With inexpensive but beautiful designs, the Bazar boasts a range of styles that suit everyone.
Even just absorbing the atmosphere from the Bazar entrance will leave you excited and captivated. It is definitely a place to check out.
Similar to Tehzeeb Bakers, Rahat Bakers is a delicious place to indulge in after working up an appetite walking around Rawalpindi.
With numerous chains across Pindi, it is a delightful delicacy for tourists and locals who can fill their stomachs no matter where they are.
The colourful and tasty selection includes pastries, biscuits, cakes, and even pizza.
The almond honey dry cake is moist and scrumptious. Or for something more decadent, enjoy their grilled chicken pizza.
Nauman Khan, left a Google review positively expressing:
“Rahat Bakers is one of the best bakeries in Rawalpindi and Islamabad…they provide quality things.”
Not only does the food leave you satisfied, but it also gives you an insight into Pakistani desserts.
Almond halwa, walnut coffee biscuits, and blueberry mousse pastry are all on offer to delight your cravings.
The best thing about the bakery is you can either dine in for a romantic date or take away to keep the kids entertained elsewhere.
Either way, the food will not disappoint you.
After seeing what Rawalpindi has to offer during the day, there’s nothing better to do than head to Monal Downtown restaurant.
A lively place that offers a range of dining experiences such as an a la carte dinner, Sunday brunch buffet, and individual platters.
With a lavish interior and scenic views overlooking the city, Monal is the perfect destination for a fun evening.
Not to mention some of the famous dishes on display that will introduce you to a world of flavour. These include mutton karahi, chicken reshami tikka, and daal chana makhni.
Monal also offers international dishes such as fajitas, Chinese platters, and even fish and chips.
A TripAdvisor review by AliZma gives a big thumbs up to this restaurant, expressing:
“The food is simply delicious and feels like the amount of ingredients are perfectly managed to give the food the taste what it has to be.”
With the addition of live folk singers belting out the classics and spectacular rooftop seating, this is an immersive hotspot that should be on everyone’s list when visiting Pindi.
- Monal Downtown, Murree Road, Saddar, Rawalpindi, Punjab 46000, Pakistan.
Visit their Instagram page here.
The Versatile Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi is an amazing city that everyone should visit in Pakistan. The city is known for the hustle and bustle of its vibrant street life.
However, if the hectic street life isn’t for you, the city has a lot more to offer from culture to fun family days out to scenic waterfalls.
The great thing about Rawalpindi is it offers numerous excursions, which allow you to enjoy but also absorb the culture.
Many tourists leave the city feeling so much closer to Pakistan.
With its amusement parks, historical sites, and intimate relaxing hotspots, there is no denying that Rawalpindi is a truly versatile city that caters to a variety of ages and interests.