Asia India Pakistan

How to Cross the Wagah Border on Foot | India to Pakistan!

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How do you cross the border from India and Pakistan? Well, there’s only one border you can cross and that’s the Wagah Border, also known as the Attari Border and it is located between the cities of Amritsar and Lahore, both in the state of Punjab but as of 1947, now in different countries.

India and Pakistan work well as countries to visit together due to their proximity and past brotherhood but due to the current political situation between the two countries, there are no direct flights between India and Pakistan, so you need to go over the only India Pakistan land border that there is – the Wagah Border!

VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

You can cross this border from both ways as a foreign traveller however it’s most likely that you’ll visit India first, and then Pakistan. I say this because it’s VERY IMPORTANT to note that, if you are arriving into India for the first time on an e-visa (which they now only issue, read this post on how to get your Indian tourist e-visa), the Indian Immigration at the Wagah Border do NOT issue e-visas through land borders, you have to fly into India in order to start your e-visa for India.

DO NOT visit Pakistan first, and then visit India without a visa for India already in your passport! You will be turned away at the border!

Based on this, let’s start in Amritsar.

Crossing the Wagah Border from India to Pakistan.

Amritsar

Amritsar is a good city to spend 1-2 days but no longer, you can visit the Golden Temple, the Partition Museum to learn more about the split of the two countries and visit the Wagah Border ceremony to see what happens on the Indian side.

Related Post: Tips for Visiting Amritsar’s Golden Temple and the Wagah Border Ceremony!

I stayed at GoStops Hostel Amritsar which I really recommend, it’s the highest-rated hostel in Amritsar with good dorms and private rooms, and it’s good place to stay before heading into Pakistan. They have a storage room and let me leave some things there too as I knew I would be crossing the Wagah Border to get back into India!

Getting from Amritsar to the Wagah Border

There are a few ways to get from Amritsar to the Wagah Border and the journey takes 40 minutes. I got a taxi and paid 1060 Indian Rupees. A tuk-tuk will cost you about 700 India Rupees. Or you can get the public bus which will be cheap but will probably take quite a while, so unless you are on a strict budget in India, I wouldn’t recommend this option.

I found a really nice taxi driver in Amritsar, he can take you to the Wagah Border, pick you up from the airport or drop you off, his name is Swaran Singh and his WhatsApp number is +91 98146 50454. I really recommend him and tell him Ellie gave you his details!

border sign Crossing Wagah Border India Pakistan on foot

To SEE my cross the border and what it’s like, have a watch of my YouTube video here!

Wagah Border Details

Wagah Border Opening Times.

The Wagah Border opening times are 10:00 am to 4:00 pm however I wouldn’t wait until 4:00 pm to cross the border as you need enough time to go through immigration (more on that below), plus the traffic will be getting heavy as people leave Amritsar at 3:00 pm in order to get to the ceremony at the Wagah Border that happens every evening where they do the Wagah Border flag hoisting and you don’t want to get stuck in that.

The Wagah Border ceremony times are 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm but the latest you can cross the border is 4:00 pm.

I recommend crossing the border in the morning.

Without too much traffic the drive from Amritsar to the border is 40 minutes and if you get there early like I did, there are a few small cafes on the road where you can get a chai and wait for the Wagah Border to open.

As your driver approached the Attar Border / Wagah Border ceremony building, about 1km before you reach it, you’ll turn left into a side road which takes you to the passenger terminal and Indian immigration.

You’ll need to get out of the car, your passport and your driver’s license will be checked. Then you’ll drive a few minutes to the passenger terminal where your driver will now leave you.

Going through Indian Immigration

Your bags will be checked a few times as you go through into the passenger room. The passenger terminal essentially feels like a very small and old airport terminal.

Go to immigration, get stamped out of India, have your bags checked again, have your passport checked again and then you need to get on a bus from the Indian passenger terminal to the Wagah Border ceremony building/stadium.

I got to the border for 10:00 am, I thought I was being clever and would get through faster earlier on with fewer people there but that backfired on me because I had to wait in the waiting area for about 40 minutes whilst more people came through so they could fill the bus! But eventually the small bus with little fans and curtains covering all the windows did fill and we did leave make the 5-minute journey to the border!

bus for Crossing Wagah Border India Pakistan on foot

I will say that I had such a nice experience with the men that worked in passport control and immigration. All of them were friendly, a smile went a long way and we even had a few laughs. They were interested in where I was going to visit in Pakistan which was nice as although they are close and brothers, there is a lot of rivalry politically between the countries as I mentioned.

Wagah Border Crossing by Foot

Now comes the fun! The part where you actually get to cross the Wagah Border on foot!

After being dropped off by the bus at the entrance to the Indian side you’ll have your passport checked.. again, and then walk into the stadium. This was a totally surreal experience for me because I had been to see the ceremony on the Indian side twice in the last year and I couldn’t believe I was now walking down the track that the guards walk (and kick) down.

There were a few families passing through here both ways with their luggage and what I loved is that there was no rush to walk through. I took my time, taking a few photos and soaking up the experience.

Ellie Quinn Crossing Wagah Border India Pakistan on foot

Stadium Crossing Wagah Border India Pakistan on foot

I got to the border and an Indian official looked at my passport. I stepped over the borderline and a Pakistani official looked at my passport.

This is also where I was a bit worried because I knew some questions would come my way to ask where I was going in Pakistan, and although I didn’t do anything really wrong in my visa application, I did pay a tour company for a letter of invitation to say I would be travelling Pakistan with them but actually, I was travelling Pakistan independently and with a friend.

The Pakistani guard asked where I was going and I said Lahore, Islamabad, Hunza, Lahore, which was true and he didn’t question this further, phew!

I then walked through the Pakistan stadium area (which is much smaller than the Indian side), got my passport checked, yes, again and walked up the road out of the stadium with me saying to the guards ‘ok where do I go now??’

If you need ideas of where to visit in Pakistan, have a read of my 2 week Pakistan itinerary to give you some suggestions!

Going through Pakistan Immigration

A few meters up the road and on the right is the sign for the Pakistan immigration and customs at the Wagah Border.

Once inside I nearly missed passport control and went towards customs until a man said ‘have you been through passport control’ I said ‘no, I didn’t see the desks because no one is there’, his reply- ‘ok wait 2 minutes’.

This pretty much sums up the Pakistani side. Things are a lot more chilled/unorganised this side, and that’s saying something as it’s not like the Indian side wasn’t chilled.

I got an e-visa for Pakistan which is still a fairly new thing for foreigners so it took a little longer to process it and for them to stamp my passport than it would have been had I had the visa already in my passport but there were no problems.

Remember that you CANNOT travel into India on an e-visa as they cannot process it their side! But you can travel into Pakistan across the Wagah Border with an e-visa.

I had my bags checked by customs, my passport checked, you guessed it, again. At this stage, just before I was about to leave, I was actually questioned the most about what I was doing in Pakistan and where I was going. I kind of forget that I was meant to be on a tour and said I was meeting a friend in Lahore to go to Lahore, Islamabad and Hunza.

From what I gather, on both sides, saying that you’re ‘meeting a friend’ raises suspicion of who, I think because they think you are meeting someone in Pakistan and to be fair my situation of meeting a friend from Holland who flew in on his own separately, and me travelling alone as a female to see him from India, may have been hard to understand for them.

But these guys didn’t actually care that much about the finer details and I had a feeling they were asking me more so they personally knew what I was doing as when I said I was meeting a guy friend, not from Pakistan, things stopped and I was allowed to go.

I left Pakistani Immigration at 11:20 am so the whole process took just over an hour. The distance between the passport controls is short but there is some waiting about, even with not many other travellers passing through as the whole situation is pretty chilled out, which is good for us.

The other great thing is that the 4G on my Indian sim card worked all the way up until Pakistan immigration so I could pass time on my phone.

Related Post: Make sure you read my 10 Pakistan Travel Tips to know BEFORE going to Pakistan!

border sign Crossing Wagah Border India Pakistan on foot

Getting from the Wagah Border to Lahore

The final stint after crossing the Wagah Border from India to Pakistan as a foreigner is to get into Lahore. Lahore is actually closer to the border than Amritsar at just 24KM.

I asked the guys in the airport how much I should pay for a taxi, they said 1500 Pakistani Rupees. They said I should wait for the toy train which was approaching as we spoke, which would take me to the car park and I could get a taxi from there. After saying bye and before I could get to the train a guy quoted me 2500 because his taxi was right there next to us. ‘Umm no, I’ll wait, because a 5-minute ride up the road is not worth 1000 rupees!’

I was actually happy and fairly amused by the toy train but it seemed like it wasn’t leaving soon and it was hot outside, so when they requoted me 1500, after a bit of bargaining, I decided I should do it.

We got stuck in traffic on the way back and the guy didn’t actually know where my hotel was so I had to direct him.. good to know taxis are the same in every country hey. Plus, I asked to be dropped at an ATM before, which he forgot about, we detoured to some but none of them took my bank card – tip, go to Bank Al-Falah and you can get up to 40,000 Rupee out, but thankfully my friend was at the hotel already and I borrowed money from him. Had I been on my own it would have been a bit worrying.

I believe you can get a public bus from the Wagah Border to Lahore but again, just like from Amritsar, although this will be cheap it will take up time and may be confusing to work out.

 

Crossing the Wagah Border from Pakistan to India

I left Pakistan via the Wagah Border too and had a very similar experience as the way I crossed it 3 weeks before. 

I did get an Uber from Lahore to the Wagah Border but do be warned that it seems like Uber doesn’t connect well when the driver gets close to the border so they seem to get confused and some drivers don’t want to take you.

I had my taxi driver from Amritsar pick me up as he was a nice guy so I just got his number and sent him a message on WhatsApp a few days before to pick me up but there are plenty of taxis waiting to take you to Amritsar.

I found a really nice taxi driver in Amritsar, he can take you to the Wagah Border, pick you up from the airport or drop you off, his name is Swaran Singh and his WhatsApp number is +91 98146 50454. I really recommend him and tell him Ellie gave you his details!

Important Things To Note

The border opens at 10:00 am and closes at 4:00 pm but get there earlier than 4:00 pm to give yourself enough time to get through both immigrations and miss the crowds of the ceremony.

Be prepared for the guards in Pakistan to question where you are visiting in Pakistan. If you do not know, say Lahore, Islamabad, Hunza.

You will also be asked for what purpose you are in Pakistan for and you can say tourism.

Make sure you go to the border ceremony in the evening on both sides to experience the difference.

If you want to watch the Wagah Border Ceremony after crossing the border each side, technically you can, however, you are not allowed big bags into the ceremony, at least on the Indian side so you could ask one of the restaurants near the border to watch your bags for you. Pakistan is much less strict on the bag situation so I think it would be ok this side.

If you are crossing the Wagah Border from Pakistan into India, make sure you have your visa already in your passport with multiple entries. Do not assume they can process the e-visa at this border as right now their e-visa rules are that you can only enter on an e-visa by airport or seaport, not land.

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Being able to cross the Wagah Border as a foreigner is a huge privilege. 

Wagah Border India Pakistan Ceremony Flag

To SEE my cross the border and what it’s like, have a watch of my YouTube video here!

For more travel information and inspiration for both countries see:

ALL MY INDIA POSTS

ALL MY PAKISTAN POSTS

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sonia McCarthy
    December 12, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    This sounds awesome! I am planning on doing a similar trip at some point next year. How did you organize your visa for Pakistan?
    I note you said that you got the e-visa – was this online or in an embassy?
    Everything I’ve seen online says to get it in the embassy (in the UK for example), but I will be travelling long before I head to Pakistan!
    Love your articles!

    • Reply
      TheWanderingQuinn
      December 14, 2019 at 5:01 am

      Hello Sonia,
      Thank you for reading my post.
      The e-visa means you get it online. I have another post with 10 tips about Pakistan and the link is on there. The old way was to get it in the embassy office but now you can get it online easily I’m not sure if thats a possibility but happy to help you nearer the time so feel free to message me as I hope you do the trip! 🙂

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