SKARDU ROAD TRIP ON BIKE – A Complete Guide

I had my first North trip on motorbike SUZUKI GS-150 SE from Lahore to Skardu Valley in fall season of 2020. In order to keep every thing precise and short, mentioning the Tour Highlights first:

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Dates: 30 Sep 2020 to 13-Oct-2020
  • Total Days = 14
  • Total Kilometer traveled = 2500 km
  • Total Expense = 21,980 Rs
    • Bus Lahore to Mansehra = (Self 1200 Rs + Bike 1700 Rs) = 2900 Rs
    • Fuel + Oil =  7330 Rs
    • Accommodation = 5100 Rs
    • Food = 3610 Rs
    • Miscellaneous = 3040 Rs

ROUTE AND PLACES EXPLORED

  1. Route followed from Lahore > Babusar > Allah Wali Lake > Astore > Deosai > Skardu is here on Google Maps
  2. Route followed from Skardu city > Manthoka > Khaplu > Shigar > Kachura lake and return via Skardu-Gilgit Road is here on Google Maps

ACCOMMODATION BREAKUP:

  • 1st Night: In a mosque at Danna Meadows = Free
  • 2nd Night: At Roomy Mountain Top resort – Battakundi = Free (complimentary)
  • 3rd Night: Camping at At Raikot = Free initially, but later the owner insisted to pay 500 Rs at night
  • 4th Night: Kamran Hotel Astore = 1000 Rs (500 Rs per head)
  • 5th Night: Royal Gashu resort at Chillam Das = 1500 Rs (750 Rs per head)
  • 6th Night: Hilton Hotel Skardu = 1000 Rs (500 Rs per head)
  • 7th Night: Hilton Hotel Skardu (700 Rs) + Madina Hotel Khaplu (500 Rs) because my luggage was in Skardu and i could not come back from Khaplu to Skardu that night.
  • 8th Night: Hilton Hotel Skardu = 700 Rs
  • 9th Night: Hilton Hotel Skardu = 700 Rs
  • 10th Night: Naran Hotel = 500 Rs
  • 11th Night: At relatives in Islamabad = Free
  • 12th Night: At relatives in Islamabad = Free
  • Total Expense of Accommodation = 5100 Rs

FUEL AVAILABILITY AND LOCATIONS DURING THE JOURNEY

There is no issue of fuel availability on Lahore to Skardu route map. It is not abundantly available but you will definitely get petrol pumps after half of your tank will be consumed. so always remember three things about fuel:

  1. Keep atleast 2 liter fuel in a bottle with you for emergency purpose
  2. Always consult people before going on any route about refueling pump locations
  3. Always keep your tank full wherever you find a fuel pump (even after few kilo meters of driving)

Below are details of Fuel pump location and how much expense was occurred during my trip

  • 1st Fueling at Mansehra Bus terminal (1st Oct): 1680 Rs Bike tank filled full +  2 litre filled in extra bottle to keep for emergency purpose
  • 2nd Fueling at Naran Bypass Road (2nd Oct): 400 Rs tank filled full (3.7 lit added @109.10 Rs/liter)
  • 3rd Fueling at Chilas Zero Point (3rd Oct): 260 Rs tank filled full (2.5 lit)
  • 4th Fueling at Astore valley entrance (4th Oct): 500 Rs tank filled full  (4.76 lit)
  • 5th Fueling at Asore valley (5th Oct): 120 Rs filled full
  • NOTE: There is no fuel option from Chillam to Deosai upto Skardu city
  • 6th Fueling at Skardu (7th Oct): 690 Rs filled full (6.6 lit)
  • NOTE: From Skardu to Khaplu there is only one fuel station at GHAWARI
  • 7th Fueling at Ghawari (8th Oct): 210 Rs (2.1lit)
  • 8th Fueling at Skardu (9th Oct): 450 Rs (4.3lit)
  • 9th Fueling at Jaglot (10th Oct): 410 Rs (3.95lit)
  • 10th Fueling at Balakot (11th Oct): 700 Rs
  • 11th Fueling at Rawalpindi (11th Oct): 410 Rs (3.93 lit)
  • 12th Fueling at Lahore (13th Oct): 750 Rs  (7.2lit)
  • 13th Oil Change after arrival in Lahore: 750 Rs
  • Total Expense of Fuel = 7330 Rs

MOBILE SIGNALS AND INTERNET

From Lahore to Babusar your owned mobile sims of Telenor, Jazz and Ufone will work fine however after you enter Gilgit Baltistan region at Babusar Top you need to have SCOM network sim which gives good 4G internet speed wherever their tower exist.

You would not find any signals while crossing Deosai plains or any other remote places.

It is better to buy SCOM sim before leaving on your trip and you can buy from Lahore from below contact:

KASHMIR PCO BY RIZWAN: 0355-7115003 , Google location Here

PREPARATIONS OF TOUR

Although i have traveled a lot on motorbike within the country and Internationally but in almost all the trips I had returned to home at night. But this trip was very long and in remote mountains area where there is no support of mechanic so i had to prepare myself very carefully.

 

For this i developed a detail checklist to prepare myself. You can also take help from this:

motor bike trip checklist preparation BILAL AZAM BEING A TRAVELER

 

THANKS TO THE BRANDS WHO SPONSORED MY TRIP:

WALIMALL.PK: For Rider Jacket, Gloves, Camping Stove and Pans

(You will definitely get special discount from WaliMall if you mention reference of Being A Traveler)

DOMINANCE.PK: For Tent, Sleeping bag and hiking stick (5% DOSCOUNT CODE: BBT05)

AD-GEARS: For high quality air inflated Sleeping mat

ROOMY.PK: For a Luxurious night stay at Mountain Top Resort Batakundi

FANSTORE.PK : For Travel theme T-shirts and Sweatshirts

WHATS IN MY BACKPACK?

You can also check all my Gears and Gadgets used for Trekking, Camping and Vlogging in below link

trekking camping checklist beingatraveler bilal azam vlogs

DAY WISE JOURNEY DETAILS

DAY-00: 30-SEP-2020 | LEFT FROM LAHORE 

– 2130 hrs Left from home
– 2200 hrs Reached Lorry adda Lahore
– Removed saddle boxes, battery and side mirrors and emptied the petrol tank
– Shifted my Bike in Trunk of bus (Geo Madina Bus – Lahore to Mansehra 03014160600)
– 1200 Rs bus Ticket Lahore to Mansehra
– 1500 Rs bike rent
– 200 Rs Shifting fees of bike in Bus trunk
– 60 Rs coke
– 2330 hrs bus left on right time. The bus was luxury YUTONG made and had good seats and good leg space

DAY-01: 1-OCT-2020 | MANSEHRA > BALAKOT > DANNA MEADOWS

– 0600hrs The bus reached at Mansehra terminal and i brought all my things battery, Saddle boxes and bags at one side for Installation.

– 1680 Rs Filled petrol in tank from Fuel station just opposite to Bus terminal and also 2 filled litre petrol in can for emergency purpose.
– 0730 hrs finally assembled bike and left from Mansehra
– Had several stops along the way as i was enjoying the view and ride along with drone footages

– 1000 hrs crossed Balakot city
– 50 Rs  Chapal kabab near Kiwai
– 1400 hrs reached KHANIAN and covered 4km steep road upward on bike then park my Bike and held my 2nd bag at army checkpost
– 1500hrs started trekking towards DANNA MEADOWS
– Trekking was very tough. Met Ch Mahmood on the way who suggested to stay in a Mosque at Medaan village. A kid named. Khizar, took my bag and helped me reaching at Medaan village
– 1715hrs reached Medaan village and planned to stay night there in Mosque
(There are no mobile signals at Medaan Village and Danna Meadows)
– 55 Rs bought some snacks
– 2000 hrs Had roti and saag with tea served by locals in the mosque and then slept after Isha

 

DAY-02: 2-OCT-2020 | DANNA MEADOWS > NARAN > BATTA KUNDI

– 0420 hrs wokeup with alarm

– 0630 hrs Molvi sahab gave me Paratha and tea in breakfast

– 0730hrs left from MEDAAN to DANNA MEADOWS with Waqar shaukat (waqar contact # 03418233402)

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– 0815 hrs reached DANNA MEADOWS. At the top there is one Rest house which remains open during summer season but it was closed due to start of winters when I visited that day. Also their are lot of local houses in surrounding areas at top but they were also shifted in lower region of mountains because of extreme cold during night at the Top.

– 1000 hrs Left from DANNA and reached back to MEDAAN at 1115 hrs. Took my luggage from the mosque and left from MEDAAN at 1130hrs downhill trekking towards checkpost where my bike was parked at BHOORI

– 1300 hrs reached at Bhoori at Bike location and took my 2nd bag from army checkpost (which I submitted them 1 days before). Again tied everything on bike.

– 1440 hrs left from Bhoori Army Checkpost and Reached KHANIAN on main Naran Highway

– 1500 hrs reached Kaghan Bazar and had lunch of Chapal Kabab

– 1535 hrs left from Kaghan

– 1700 hrs reached Naran Valley

– 400 Rs petrol filled at Naran Bypass road

– 1715 hrs left from Naran Valley

– 1845 hrs reached Batta Kundi and stayed night at “Mountain Top Resort” sponsored by ROOMY.PK 

Since it was a complimentary stay with ROOMY so i did not pay any thing however below are the accommodation and meals cost of ROOMY at Batta Kundi.

Location on MAP is here

Roomy rates and properties in North Pakistan

bilal azam roomy mountain top resort

Roomy restaurant Menu

DAY-03: 3-OCT-2020 | BATTA KUNDI > BABUSAR > CHILLAS > RAIKOT

– 0430 hrs woke up and packed our bags

– 0700 hrs Had breakfast at ROOMY restaurant

– 0800 hrs Left from ROOMY Mountain Top Resort – BATTA KUNDI

– 0845 Crossed Jalkhad

– 0852 Entered gate of “Lulusar-Dodipatsar National park gate

DODIPATSAR lulusar national park bilal azam being a traveler

– 0900 hrs Crossed Besar Moon restaurant (which is also starting point of Dodipatsar Lake trekking)

– 0910 hrs reached Lulu sar lake and made coffee at Lake

– 1035 hrs left from Lulusar lake

– 1145 hrs reached Babusar top and had crispy Pakoray and Hot Coffee

– 1230 hrs left from Babusar

– 1430 hrs reached Chillas Zero Point and had Biryani

– 1515 hrs left from Chillas

 

– 1540 hrs Filled petrol at Chillas

– 1645 hrs Stopped at GONAR FARM at and purchased SCOM mobile sims because other sims of Telenor, Jazz, Ufone do not work in Gilgit and Kashmir

– 1745hrs reached RAIKOT BRIDGE and stayed a night in our tent in the lawn of a Hotel because Rooms were expensive (2500 ~ 3500 Rs per night)

– RAIKOT is the starting point of FAIRY MEADOWS jeep track but it was not in our plan this time. I will explore Fairy Meadows next time.

NOTE: There are only 2 or 3 hotel options at Raikot. Shangrila Hotel is expensive and high end accommodation. However other hotels nearby has 2500 ~ 3500 Rs per nite

 

DAY-04: 4-OCT-2020 | RAIKOT > ALLAH WALI LAKE > ASTORE

– 0430 hrs wokeup, washed my clothes and then had breakfast of self cooked noodles on my camping stove

– 0745 hrs hrs Left from Raikot Sari Hotel (Contact # 05811-484807)

– Raikot bridge is the point from where the beautiful, carpeted and scenic Karakoram Highway (KKH) starts

– After driving almost 30min the diversion of Astore Valley comes at your right hand. Astore is 44km from this point of Karakoram Highway (KKH)

– 1100 hrs reached ASTORE checkpost

– On the checkpost, the guard suggested us to visit ALLAH WALI LAKE first and then come to Astore in the evening and hence we took a U-turn and went on that road.

The road to Allah-Wali-Lake was under construction and had very rough and tough patches where our bikes were stucked many times and locals helped us to cross those steep and scary points

– 1300 hrs Reached ALLAH WALI LAKE and enjoyed the moments with coffee while sitting at the edge of a rock

– 1430 hrs left from ALLAH WALI LAKE

– 1610 hrs reached back Astore checkpost

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– 1620 hrs reached Astore city

– Filled petrol at Astore

– 1000 Rs booked Kamran Hotel for one night (located at Rama Road)

– 1900 hrs Dinner at local hotel in Astore Bazar and slept at 2100 hrs

DAY-05: 5-OCT-2020 | ASTORE > RAMA MEADOWS LAKE > CHILAM DAS

– 0430 hrs wokeup and we had breakfast of noodles in our room as .

– The owner of the hotel installed a lock on the gate and went outside and gate was locked so our 2 hours got wasted in waiting.

– 0820 hrs left from Astore towards Rama Meadows

– The road condition upto Rama Meadows is good with few bad patches only

– 1015 hrs reached Rama meadows and had a Tea-break there

– The road further from Rama Meadows to Rama lake was quiet difficult, steep, narrow and full of stones

– 1045 hrs reached Rama lake

– 1140 hrs left from Rama lake

– 1240 hrs reached back Astore Kamran Hotel and had Biryani in Lunch

– 1435 hrs Checked out and left from Astore hotel

– 1445 hrs Filled petrol at Astore

– While going towards Chillam Das, we had a mouth watering mutton shorba whose taste was out of this world and highly recommended to give a try.

Hotel Name:  “Chashma Hotel”

Hotel location on Google Map: AYEGAH

– 1820 hrs reached CHILAM and took hotel at 1500rs per nite

(Hotel Name: ROYAL GASHO RESORT, Owner: Yawar, Contact: 03555084625, 03554478979, 03555098974)

– 1900 hrs had a cup of tea at hotel

– 2200 hrs Slept

DAY-06: 6-OCT-2020 | CHILLAM CHOWKI > DEAOSAI PLAINS > SKARDU

– 0430 Hrs wokeup and had breakfast of Paratha Omelet at Royal Gasho hotel at Chilam Das.

– It was extreme cold temperature at Chilas in the morning

– 0730 hrs left from Chilam Das and after 5 min drive you reach at Entrance checkpost of DEOSAI PLAINS

– 100 Rs Deosai National park entry ticket

– 0830 hrs reached SHEOSAR LAKE

– 0945 hrs reached KALA PANI (Black Water)

– 50rs had Tea at Kala pani

– 1045 hrs reached BARA PANI

– 1145 hrs CHHOTA PANI (Shatung bridge)

– 1215 hrs reached end of Deosai National park and had snacks break for 15min

– 1330 hrs reached SADPARA LAKE checkpost

– 1430 hrs reached SKARDU VALLEY

– 1500 hrs had Biryani in Lunch

– Selected Hilton International hotel (A backpacker type budget hotel) at Hussaini chowk in 1000 Rs per nite (for 2 persons)

– Contact number of HILTON hotel: 03401557574, 058-15455581, 03475383628 or 03555288937

– 1700 hrs started Hiking to KHARPOCHO FORT and reached at the top at 1730hrs

– 70 Rs entry ticket of Kharpocho fort

– 1830 hrs came back to Hotel

DAY-07: 7-OCT-2020 | SKARDU > MANTHOKA WATERFALL > KHAPLU

– 0430 Hrs wokeup

– 0745 hrs had breakfast Paratha, egg and tea

– 0900 hrs left from Hilton hotel Skardu

– 1230 hrs reached Manthoka waterfall

– 1330 hrs left from Manthoka waterfall

– 1430 reached bridge intersection of Manthoka n Khaplu road

– 690 Rs petrol filled at 1530 hrs (at Ghawari)

– 1700 hrs reached KHAPLU

– 1730 hrs visited Khaplu fort

– 500 Rs/nite night stay in Almadina hotel and restaurant in Khaplu Bazar

– 180 Rs biriyani at Almadina hotel

– 1900 hrs slept

ROUTE MAP:

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DAY-08: 8-OCT-2020 | KHAPLU > SARFARANGA COLD DESERT > SHIGAR VALLEY

– 0430 Hrs wokeup

– 0630 to 0715 time wasted in setting saddle boxes of bike

– 0715 hrs left from KHAPLU and forgot to visit ancient Chinqchan Mosque

– 0900 hrs reached Ghawari, filled petrol and had breakfast

– 210 Rs petrol at ghawari 2.1liter

– 90 Rs breakfast paratha egg and tea

– 0930 hrs left from GHAWARI

– 1100 hrs reached intersection point of SHIGAR VALLEY road

– 1330 hrs left from Shigar

– 1350 hrs took BLIND LAKE TRACK

– 1420 hrs reached blind lake

– 1455 hrs left from Blind Lake

– 1530 hrs reached Sarfaranga desert entrance point

– 1600 hrs on shiger road

– 110 icecream near agha hadi chowk

– Remained stuck in Imam Hussain (R.A) chehlum jaloos till 7.30pm then Traffic warden helped me to drop at my hotel

DAY-09: 9-OCT-2020 | SKARDU > SHANGRILA RESORT > KACHURA LAKE > SOQ VALLEY

– 0630 hrs wokeup

– 0800 hrs had breakfast of Paratha, egg and tea in Skardu

– 0845 hrs left from hotel

– On the way stopped at Bike brake setting workshop and pictures stop at yellow trees

– 1000 hrs reached Shangrila resort, also known as Lower Kachura lake (which is artificial lake)

– 1100 hrs reached Upper kachura lake

– 1300 hrs left from Upper kachura lake

– 1330 hrs reached SOQ VALLEY (3km from Kachura Lake)

– Had tea with XOOQ RESTAURANT AND HOTEL Ali Ahmad

– SOQ VALLEY has a good camping facility and food availabilty including trout fish however no mobile signals are there.

– 1500 hrs left from SOQ VALLEY

– 450 Rs petrol at Skardu 4.3lit at 1630 hrs

– 120 Rs chicken burger – Tandoori cafe at 1645 hrs

– 1715 hrs reached Hilton hotel

– 2100 hrs slept

ROUTE MAP:

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DAY-10: 10-OCT-2020 | LEFT FROM SKARDU > JAGLOT > NARAN

– 0330 hrs wokeup

– Bags packed and tide on bike

– 0430 hrs left from Hilton hotel skardu towards KKH- Gilgit road

NOTE: This road was under construction and almost 50% have carpet road and 50% is still under construction. Govt is hopeful to complete the road by the end of 2021

– 1130 hrs reached Jaglot

– 410 Rs petrol 3.95lit

– 150 Rs Kabuli pulao n coke at Jaglot

– 1245 hrs left from Jaglot

ROUTE MAP:

– 1315 hrs crossed Nanga parbat view point

– 1340 hrs crossed Raikot bridge

– 1500 hrs reached CHILLAS ZERO POINT and had a Namaz break

– 1530 hrs left from CHILLAS

– 1715 hrs reached Babusar top

– 50 Rs had boil egg at Babusar Top

– 1915 hrs reached Naran bazar

– 170 Rs chappal kabab dinner

– 500rs night stay in Naran

– 2130 hrs slept

DAY-11: 11-OCT-2020 | NARAN > MUZAFFARABAD > MURREE > ISLAMABAD

– 0530 hrs wokeup

– 0630 hrs left from Naran

– 0845 hrs reached Kiwai

– 160 rs nashta at kiwai

– 0900 hrs left Balakot

– 0945 hrs reached Balakot

– 700 rs Petrol at balakot and 15min break

– 1000 hrs left from balakot

– From Balakot instead of going straight from Abbotabad, I took another scenic root via Muzafarabad and Murree

– 1140 hrs crossed Muzafarabad rope Neelum bridge

– 1250 hrs crossed KOHALA BRIDGE

– 1400 hrs reached Murree express way

– 1630 hrs reached Faizabad

– 1715 hrs reached at relatives home

ROUTE MAP:

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DAY-12: 12-OCT-2020 | REST IN ISLAMABAD

Had a full day rest and editing of videos in Islamabad

DAY-13: 13-OCT-2020 | ISLAMABAD TO LAHORE

– 0400 hrs wokeup and had breakfast

– 0515 left from Pindi

– 410 rs petrol full 3.93lit at chaklala 0520hrs

– 0615 hrs crossed Gujar Khan and suddenly my bike got switched off

– 0700 hrs took bike at Gujjar khan Bus adda and called an electrician who came at 0740am

– 900 rs new battery charger

– 250 rs electrician fee

– 0900 hrs left from Gujar khan

– 1020 Hrs reached DINA and entered into ROHTAS FORT

– 1040 hrs reached Rohtas Fort (10km from highway)

– 1145 hrs left from Rohtas Fort

– 1315 hrs stopped at MCDONALDS Wazirabad Chinab river

– 1350 hrs left from mcdonalds wazirabad

– 1600 hrs reached Lahore Azadi chowk

– 300rs new meter wire replaced at suzuki workshop

– 850 rs petrol at 1750 hrs 7.2liter

– 1800 hrs reached home

– 700 rs Bike oil replacement

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How to plan your visit to Neelam Valley Kashmir | Pakistan

Neelam valley is situated in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir. I had a chance to visit this valley first time in May 2017 with a group tour company “Trekkers Club” Pakistan.

ABOUT KASHMIR

Kashmir is a disputed region between Pakistan and India. After India-Pakistan partition in 1947, half of the Kashmir was held by India and half of the Kashmir was held by Pakistan.

Whether it is Indian side or Pakistani, the land of Kashmir is called the “Paradise on Earth”.  The Neelam River stream acts as a border between India and Pakistan and no one is allowed to cross the river with proper visa. In the below Blog “Kashmir” will be meaning as “Pakistani Kashmir”.

Neelam valley kashmir pakistan beingatraveler

GOVERNMENT OF KASHMIR:

Kashmir has their independent Governance system. It is not controlled under Federal Law of Pakistan. They have their own National Assembly, Prime Minister and Laws. However its security is controlled by Pakistani Army.

ABOUT KASHMIRI PEOPLE:

People living in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir have their relatives in Indian side of Kashmir. One of local Kashmiri Khawaja Shabir (which later became my friend) told that if they have to visit their relatives in Indian side of Kashmir, they submit their papers to Indian Army and it takes normally 12 months for verification and then are allowed to cross the River.

neela kashmir beingatraveler.com bilal azam
A Local Kashmiri Guy cutting wood

PRE-PLANNING A TOUR TO NEELAM VALLEY – KASHMIR

Safety First! Before you are planning to visit Neelam Valley, make sure that border security situation is normal as round the year there have happened many firing incidents from Indian side to Pakistan side depending upon the political situation between the two countries. You don’t need this info for security purpose only but also because road to many beautiful parts of Kashmir gets closed during this tense period.



ROADS IN KASHMIR

While driving towards Neelam Valley some of the roads are in very good shape. However after passing 3 hours from Muzaffarabad many roads are single track having a giant mountain at your one side and Neelam River on the other side. If you will be driving in a sunny weather, make sure to install a uv protection in your car’s windows.

visit neelam valley kashmir roads
Kashmiri Girls taking woods to their home – Road in Neelam valley

At some places these roads are bumpy and rough with stones while at some places it has clean carpet road with sharp hair pin turns.

Roads neelam valley
Road to KEL – Neelam Valley

SHOULD YOU GO BY DRIVING YOUR OWN CAR?

Well ! Its a trade off between independence and risk of your car degradation. If you have Sedan shape cars (Like Toyota Corolla, Honda City etc) then you would end up with loss of shocks performance at the end of your trip, plus as these cars are meant to be driven on straight carpeted roads, so you should expect hitting of lot of stones at the bottom of your car.

how to visit neelam valley
Coasters on their way – Neelam Valley

The recommended drive is through Hiace Van, Coasters (through group tour companies) or SUVs (Vigo, Land Cruiser, Pajero, Fortuner etc)  which have good road clearance and great shocks absorption capacity.

IS KASHMIR SUITABLE FOR FAMILY TRIP PLACE?

Lot of people takes Kashmir similar to other Northern Areas of Pakistan like Murree, Nathia Galli, Naran, Swat etc but traveling to Kashmir is little different. There are no such good facilities of Hotels, Food etc as found in other places. There is no such central Place in Neelam Valley like Mall Road in Murree, Bazaar in Naran and Swat valley. Locals have identified beautiful spots at different parts of Neelam Valley and have built accommodations on their own. So where ever you will stay it will be you and few other travelers and tourists with limited resources of food around you. The reason of these limited resources is probably because no Pakistani is allowed to buy a land in Kashmir. You have to be a local Kashmiri to invest in Kashmir. If Pakistanis are allowed to invest directly in Kashmir regions then situation could be better.

visit neelam valley kashmir kutton
Balcony of a local Guest House in Kutton – Neelam Valley kashmir

So there is lot of hectic traveling involved to visit all places in Neelam Valley and if you are traveling with family having kids and elders then visiting this valley can put you in trouble. The journey includes restless travel, bumpy and single roads with sharp turns. And even when you reach any point then it will always involve little hiking (ascending or descending) on a rough track. Also there will be no Bazaar and shopping areas where ladies could spend there time. It will be only You and the Landscape. In short, “Kashmir is not a Family Picnic Spot”

kashmir neelam
A breakfast point at the bank of River Neelam




WHAT TYPE OF PEOPLE SHOULD TRAVEL TO NEELAM VALLEY – KASHMIR

Adventure Lovers ! Explorers ! Nature Lovers !

Yes, Kashmir is a place for those who love adventure. Who love to spend restless hours and hours to see a Landscape with a flowing stream of Neelam River, mountains around you just like you are sitting in bowl and experiencing a sunrise at the backside of the mountain. Kashmir is a place for Individuals, friends group, adventurous Honeymoon couples and adventure loving families.

arang kel kashmir neelam valley beingatraveler
Crossing Waterfall stream – Arang Kel Neelam Valley

I am referring the word “Adventure” again and again because you never know when there could be land sliding in the middle of the road and you have to wait hours to get the road clear. You never know that upon arrival, all accommodations are already full and you have to spend a night in a camp.

hike visit neelam valley kashmir beingatraveler
A tree fell on Hiking Trail to Arang Kel – Neelam Valley

It should be kept in mind that you are not visiting Kashmir to relax and chill, you are visiting Kashmir to explore the Nature and during exploration, there could be any unforeseen situation. Although I would not recommend newlywed couples to travel Kashmir for honeymoon but if you both are adventurous then its a must-to-go. You should spend at least 7 to 8 “effective days” excluding travel days.

COMMUNICATION IN KASHMIR

You must be knowing that Kashmir is not a Pakistan’s Province and hence due to security reasons no Pakistani mobile company works beyond Muzaffarabad. They have their own mobile network named SCOM which is controlled by Pakistan Army. You have to buy SCOM 4G-SIM from the only one franchise in Muzaffarbad city.

scom sim used in kashmir neelam valley muzaffarabad
Franchise of SCOM – 4G SIM | Muzaffarabad

Now you can also buy SCOM sim in Lahore. There is a Kashmir PCO in Lohari gate. Below mentioned his contact detail to get SCOM sim before departing for Kashmir Trip

Contact # of Rizwan – Kashmir PCO: 0355-7115003

SECURITY IN KASHMIR

All security in Kashmir is under Pakistan Army and there are multiple Check Posts where you have to show ID cards of your travel members. It takes a lot of time to stop the car, collect the ID cards and submit them to Army, who then write details of each traveler on a register. In order to avoid time wastage, it is recommended to write below details of all your travel members on a single page and take  atleast 20 photocopies with you.

  • Name
  • National ID Card Number
  • Address mentioned on ID Card
  • Mobile number

You will have to submit this page at all the security checkposts and the process will be much quicker.



PLACES TO VISIT IN KASHMIR

kashmir neelam valley
A View of Sharda | Neelam Valley Kashmir

Neelam Valley has scattered destination points where you can find “Hotels with a View”. You can spend minimum 3 days to visit famous Places however if you want to get a thorough experience of Kashmir Valley then you should plan atleast 7 days.

1.  MUZAFFARABAD CITY

Muzaffarabad is the Capitol City of Kashmir. It is 120 Km from Islamabad which will take around 4.5 hrs of travel on car. You can find normal grocery shops, hotels, and everything you need take along further in your travel.

Neelam Bridge | Muzaffarabad City
Neelam Bridge | Muzaffarabad City

Moreover don’t forget to buy the SCOM 4G-SIM from Muzafarabad because you mobile network will not work beyond here.

 2. DHANI WATERFALL

While going towards Kuttan, this is a beautiful stopover which is almost 1.5 hrs from Muzafarabad. I would suggest to take a long break here instead of Muzafarabad.

Dhani Water Fall - Neelam Valley
A closer look of Dhani Water Fall – Neelam Valley

Watch Dhani Waterfall video here:

https://www.facebook.com/beingatraveler/videos/2045016195725243/

Just in front of the waterfall, there is a Tuckshop, Tea bar and Toilet Facility aswel. And yes don’t forget to Enjoy Fresh mouthwatering Pakoray while sitting on Chaarpai  (Traditional Bed) and benches with your feet dipped in flowing water stream

Traditional Sitting at Dhani Waterfall stream
Traditional Sitting at Dhani Waterfall stream

3. KUTTON WATERFALL

After 1.5 hrs straight travel from Dhani Water fall, you will reach a point called KUNDAL SHAI. From this point, you would take left road which will take you towards Kuttan. On the way you will pass through Kutton Waterfall which is also called Mini Niagra Fall.

Kutton Waterfall | Neelam Valley

Source



4. KUTTON VALLEY

Kutton valley 20 min from Kundal Shai and almost 2 hours from Dhani Water Fall. The best place to stay in Kuttan with family is Jagran Resort or Trekker Valley. On the other hand if you want to stay in a budget hotel then you can find cheaper options at a walking distance after crossing the metal bridge. You can stay 1 or 2 nites here.

4. KERAN

Keran is 1 hour from Kutton and have beautiful sights with 4 to 5 good accommodation facilities around. Keran is a place where Indian occupied Kashmir is just in front of you and there is only a river stream between Pakistan and India

5. SHARDA

Sharda is one of the best point in Neelam Valley. It is 2.5 hrs further from KERAN. Although there are number of hotels in Sharda but you must select the one which is adjacent to the river.

Sharda Neelam Valley
Sharda | Neelam Valley

Sharda has a small Bazaar and a 9th century Hindu temple called SHARDA TEMPLE or SHARDA UNIVERSITY.

6. KEL

1.5 hour long drive on Sharda to Kel is rough, bumpy and adventurous. It is recommended to hire a jeep from Sharda and visit Kel. Although mostly people come to Kel to visit Arang Kel but this is a peaceful valley and you can consider one night stay in Kel.

KEL | Neelam Valley
KEL | Neelam Valley

7. ARANG KEL

Arang Kel is a beautiful plateau where you can go by hiking. At the top there are tuck shops, few accommodations and camping options. There are two options to reach Arang Kel from Kel:

Arang Kel | Neelam Valley
Arang Kel | Neelam Valley
  • OPTION-1: 10 min Hike + Electrical Lift + 30 min hike (one side)

If you are not a good hiker then you should choose this option however you have to stand in a long queue of Electrical lift because it has only one mini Gandola (called Dolly) which can take 5 persons only at time. This option is not hectic but on the other hand you will miss  beautiful views and spots which will come in Option-2

  • OPTION-2: Full time hike from Kel to Arang Kel :

It will take around 2.5 hours (one side) without using lift to reach at the top of Arang Kel. The hike is very hectic and you must come fully prepared for it. On the way you will pass through a beautiful bridge and two water falls



Things to take along on hike:

  • A Day Backpack
  • 2 water bottles
  • Hiking Joggers (must not be flast because surface is quite slippery)
  • Hiking Stick
  • Chewing Gum/ Choclate Bars (for energy boostup)
  • And obviously a Camera

8. TAOBUT and RATI GALLI

Taobut is almost last point in the valley where people usually go and stay in Kashmir. Rati gali is a 6 hours hike from Dawarian. Due to my short 3 days trip, i could not cover these places in my first visit, however i went again next year to explore Rati Gali and Tao Butt on Public transport. Read beow its separate blog:

visit TAOBUTT taobat rati gali lake kashmir bilal azam vlogs beingatraveler

HIGHLIGHTS OF MY 3 DAYS TRIP TO NEELAM VALLEY