‘Lahore Lahore Hay Tours’- playing tourists in our hometown


We are all familiar with the phrase ‘Lahore Lahore Hay’. The reason for Lahore being so different than other cities is the delicious food that leaves you with a pot belly to the rich heritage it entails, and sights that keep Lahoris connected to their roots.

A group of 5 Individuals belonging to different professions converged onto a single goal and have taken up the task of exposing people to Lahore’s rich culture, taking them on a journey through the entire city, with a route selected precisely to absorb the maximum out of one single trip.

Lahore Lahore hay Tours’ is being run by a bunch of Lahoris who share the same passion for History, Art and Architecture. Saloom Aslam, Nasir Khan and Omar Shahid are the 3 main tour guides accompanied by Noor Syed, who is the official photographer and Aniqa Haider, who takes care of the art and graphic designing.

The company was the brainchild of Mohammad Omar Shahid, who realised the need for tourism within the city of Lahore and its outskirts considering the myriad of undiscovered historical locations that hold cultural values.

Starting from scratch he took the idea to his most trusted friends who joined hands to come up with ‘Lahore Lahore Hay Tours’. LLHT is a project of a mother company by the name of ‘History Voyagers’.

Pakistan Today interviewed LLHT to find out how they embarked on this journey and their plans to revamp tourism in Lahore.

How did you promote the venture during the initial stages?

At the initial stages, it was mainly social media, word of mouth, SMS marketing and posters in universities and colleges where we had access. We still count on the same.

How successful have you been in bringing a new life to domestic tourism?

The response came with excited phone calls and pre-bookings which was not what we initially expected, so let’s just say the success was more than we imagined. The tourism industry, however, has always been a victim of the ongoing security situation and political instability in our country. Nonetheless, we took a successful round of tours last year, which was our maiden year.


Where do you get all the funding from?

We started from scratch. We invested our own money, spending a little each month from our salaries. But we managed to save enough funds in the first year to register ourselves as a Private Limited Company.

What is your target market?

Our target market is all those people who love art, architecture, history, travelling and cardio, but never get the time or motivation to go out and head for an adventure that incorporates all these interests and adjusts these activities in a single weekend.

What do you basically offer during the tour?

LLH tours are quintessential ‘Lahori’. We start off with visiting Chamman Icecream for refreshments followed by a brief intro about the city of Lahore. As we move on to our destinations, a detailed and informative tour that includes four to five designated venues is planned for the tourists. The tour comes to an end by indulging in a hearty Lahori meal at Butt Karahi, Lakshmi Chowk or Muhammadi Nehari, Muzzangh.

How has the metro line construction project affected your business?

The only problems we’ve ever faced so far are because of the metro line. Considering our routes through the old Lahore, traffic jams over the weekends have made it impossible for us to follow our previously followed time schedule. This year we have extended our tour timings in order to keep customer complaints to a minimum.


What challenges did you face during the initiation?

We faced multiple challenges in the beginning, from taking off from work once a week to abandoning our day jobs for a few months just to carry out the field research. That almost got us fired from our day jobs.

Another challenge was dealing with the authorities at historical monuments. There are multiple locations within these historical places that have been closed for public, however, since people are eager to see the unseen, guards and vendors at these locations charge a heavy sum in order to allow access.

These should be open for public as every citizen has the right to see a part of their cultural history. Moreover, authorities at these historical places pose a lot of resistance for private tourism companies.

However, our biggest challenge was getting our company registered. We came up with our name keeping in mind everything that was necessary to take our initiative forward. Unfortunately, after the Punjab Government came up with their double-decker bus venture (Lahore Lahore Hay), we were not allowed to register our name.

Even though this project started after ours and was not registered at the time when we applied for our registration, we were asked to change the name and register with some other title.

Hence, we came up with an overarching name of ‘History Voyagers’ and now plan to go beyond Lahore in the future.

How do you manage to ensure the security of all the tourists? (Any extra precautions for foreigners)

Most of the places we visit have their own security. In addition, we always take armed security with us whenever we have foreigners or a majority of ladies and children accompanying us on the trip.

What was one of the most interesting experiences you have had during one of the tours?

It was our third tour last year when we had a number of young and elderly people onboard. Since our trips involve a lot of exploration and walking, most of the people are extremely tired by the time we are done with having food and going back to our drop off destination.

There was a group of 3 elderly foreign ladies with us that time who just couldn’t seem to get over their excitement about what they had just seen that day. It was their first time ever visiting those historical monuments.

To our surprise, once we stopped and everybody was getting off to go back home, they excitedly came to us and requested us to arrange another tour for them the next day.

We had to arrange another tour just for these sweet ladies to show them all the other historical monuments that they had missed on the previous trip. By the time the most adventurous Sunday we’d ever spent came to an end, the ladies were regretting the fact that they had to take their flights back the next day, however, we on the other hand, almost died of exhaustion.

Playing tourist in your own city is an exciting adventure on its own and the LLHT team believes keeping in touch with our roots is one of the best ways to relieve stress while experiencing our hometown from a different perspective.

The LLHT team is also jumping on the bandwagon, following the latest social media craze by organising a ‘Mannequin Challenge’ on November 17th.

The theme of the challenge is Lahore vs. Islamabad and we can’t wait to see Lahoris uniting to prove once again why ‘Lahore Lahore Hay’.