A step-by-step guide for Kaghan Valley, how to get there, finding transportation, travel times, costs, what to see & do and of course insights!
Kaghan Valley (Urdu: وادی کاغان ) is an alpine valley in district Mansehra of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The valley extends to 155 kilometres (96 mi), rising from an elevation of 2,134 feet (650 m) to its highest point, the Babusar Pass, at 13,690 feet (4,170 m).
Kaghan Valley attracts thousands of tourists from across the country and abroad, for its mesmerising sceneries, sky-high alps, lush green vales and cold majestic landscapes.
One of the famous tourists’ destinations, Naran is also situated in Kaghan Valley. Other popular tourists’ destinations residing in Kaghan Valley are Saiful Muluk Lake (Urdu: جھیل سیف الملوک), Lulusar Lake (Urdu: لالو سر), Dudipatsar Lake (Urdu: دودی پت سر جھیل), Ansoo Lake (Urdu: آنسو جھیل) etc.
Before you decide to go to Kaghan Valley
Kaghan Valley receives a lot of snowfall during winter. The Season, as the locals say, ends in October and starts in May. What does this mean?
Due to heavy snowfall, the road to Kaghan Valley closes during winter (probably in October or November) for public transport and opens up in summer (May or June). This doesn’t mean you can’t visit this snow-covered valley during winter! You can but you will have to take your own off-road vehicle. If that’s not possible, you can even take a private Jeep from Mansehra, but that’s going to be a little more expensive.
The Karakoram Club Facebook group is a great place to find information on openings and travel in northern Pakistan.
Unless you have your own transport (either your own or a privately rented/booked), you will have to go to Mansehra first.
There are many reasons you might not be going from Islamabad but let’s ignore them for instance. To get to Mansehra, you can either take a local public transport – from Pirwadhai bus station (a little cheap but not comfortable) or a Daewoo bus from the Daewoo terminal in Rawalpindi. The local transport will take you straight to Mansehra but … :/
To skip the not-recommended-to-experience part, Daewoo is recommended – it’s comfortable and air-conditioned! Daewoo will take you to Abbottabad Daewoo Bus Terminal, where you will ask for their shuttle services to take you to Mansehra.
Daewoo Terminal Rawalpindi – Daewoo Terminal Abbottabad [around 3 hours @ Rs 380]
Daewoo Terminal Abbottabad – Mansehra [around half an hour @ Rs40]
Once in Mansehra, ask for the Hiace / Flying Coach / Van terminal where you can get a ride to Kaghan. They will take some time to get full so in the meanwhile grab some snacks and enjoy the local culture.
Local Transport to Kaghan Valley Costs:
Mansehra – Kaghan [Rs 250 in around 3 – 4 hours]
I need accommodation in Kaghan!
Due to fear of a lengthy guidepost, I will only discuss the stay in Kaghan and not in the Kaghan Valley!
Kaghan is a small town, at the foothills of snowcapped Mountains with Kunhar river flowing through it. With a mile long bazaar, you will find pretty much anything; hotels, restaurants, shops etc.
In the off-season, a standard room can be rented for a few hundred rupees – I heard from a local that you can even live a month for only Rs 3000. While in the peak season, these prices skyrocket – a one night stay in the best hotel might cost you up to Rs 7000. There aren’t many hotels in Kaghan so it’s better to book ahead.
Kaghan is a basecamp for tourists, you stay here for the night and wander the captivating places of Kaghan Valley.
Things to See and Do in Kaghan Valley
Kaghan Valley is not your 12 square feet room, It’s a 96-mile long valley! Till then, I’m compiling the list, please stay tuned!
And come out of your fantasy plannings and start packing! I’m waitin! 😉