I recently visited Kalam Valley which is located in Swat district of Pakistan for the first time and what a visual treat it was. Thankfully there is an expressway to Swat and the new road from Bahrain to Kalam is also built, which makes your travel super easy. But the major highlight on this trip for me was extremely hospitable and friendly people, who will offer you tea, food and free stay. They are extremely helpful in guiding you and will even stop their vehicles for tourists. I was traveling with my family and had no issues whatsoever.
Since tourism is actually booming in Pakistan, i experienced some good hotels in Swat (Mingora) and Kalam. One can stop by at Mingora, a fully developed city, for a break if needed before heading towards Kalam. On your way, do not miss stopping by all river side chai (tea) dhaabas.
You can make a base at Kalam and then take jeep tours to places like Shahi Bagh and Kumrat. I will advise not to take your own car to such places even if its a 4×4 because the tracks are rocky, but worth it. You can easily get jeeps with drivers from Kalam. One important thing is to keep some cash because there is no ATM in Kalam. Last ATM you can get is at Madyen on your way. I hope the government or banks will work on it because i foresee a lot of tourism happening in this region. I would also like to request the authorities to place as many dustbins as they can to keep Kalam clean and ask the restaurants not to litter the rivers.
Over all, what a wonderful experience to explore these scenic places full of kind people, amazing food (don’t miss the river fresh trout) and breathtaking visuals. I hope you will enjoy the photographs that i took!
Long Live Pakistan!
Writing from Pakistan (Sept 2020)
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