Kaghan, located in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is a hidden gem that attracts nature lovers, adventure seekers, and cultural explorers. Naran guarantees an amazing experience with its breathtaking views, rich culture, and multitude of activities. I will go into the numerous facets of creating your vacation to this enchanting region in this comprehensive travel guide.
Kaghan is nestled in the Kaghan Valley. Reaching this destination requires some effort. But I swear, this journey is full of the adventure.
The most common way to reach Naran is by road. From Islamabad, you can embark on an approximately 8-10 hour drive. The direction however depends on road condition and stopovers along the way. The route takes you through picturesque towns like Balakot and Kaghan. It offers stunning views of the Kaghan River.
The nearest airport to Naran is in Islamabad. From there, you can either hire a private car for the road trip or take a local bus.
Best Time to Visit
Naran’s climate varies significantly throughout the year. So the best time to visit depends on your preferences.
Summer (June to September)
This is the peak tourist season when the weather is pleasantly cool and all trekking routes are accessible. The landscapes are lush and green during this time.
Autumn (October to November)
The fall foliage transforms Naran into a golden wonderland. It is the time for photography and hiking.
Winter (December to March)
If you love snowfall and want to experience a serene, snow-covered Naran, visit during these months. However, be prepared for cold temperatures and road closures.
Naran offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets.
There are a lot of hotels and resorts in Naran, ranging from budget to luxury. Many of these offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
For a more intimate experience, consider staying in a guesthouse run by locals. They provide a chance to immerse yourself in the culture.
If you are an adventurous soul, camping is a fantastic option. You can rent camping gear locally or bring your own.
Naran is a treasure trove of natural beauty. Here are some must-see attractions.
Naran is a medium-sized valley popular for its enchanting natural beauty, bordering by glaciers, rivers, lakes and forests. It is 119 kilometres (74 miles) from Mansehra. It’s on an elevation of 2,409 metres (7,904 feet). Babusar Top is around 65 kilometres (40 miles) away. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations.
Jalkhad is a small town roughly two hours drive from Naran. The village is located at an use elevation of 3,140 metres (10,300 feet) above sea level. It is a pleasant destination for travellers. Pyala lake also lies in Jhalkhad. Shepherds move to Jalkhad in summer. High mountain is on it’s one side while Kunhar river, with its clean fresh water is flowing on the other side. It is an ideal location for a peaceful tour in the valley. A route from Jalkhad leads to Noori Top, a trail to open in Neelum Valley. While the other route leads to Baisar, a base camp for trips to Lulusar lake, Dudipatsar lake, and Babusar Top.
Shogran is 7,749 feet above sea level. It provides an amazing perspective of numerous local mountains. Shogran is famous for its lush green landscape, pine trees and panoramic views. Shogran Meadows is a must-see while visiting the natural beauty of the Kaghan valley. It is a popular tourist destination because of its stunning scenery and pleasant environment. Tourists prefer to relax there with a cup of hot tea. There are also a plethora of eateries and motels that can accommodate thousands of visitors each year.
Siri Paye Meadows
The Siri Paye meadows are in the Shogran valley. Tourists can hire a jeep from Kewai to this gorgeous attraction. Jeep takes you through the dense alpine woodlands. You may see the incredible and magnificent natural beauty. After the adventurous journey of jeep, you must hike for around 15 minutes to reach the plains in the foothills of Makra Peak. The beautiful green plateau lies on 3,060 metres above sea level. Nature enthusiasts who want to observe the Milkyway, can stay at the top for a night. The will surely enjoy the best camping experience.
Sharan is accessible through a 14 kilometer long jeep trail on the way from Balakot to Naran. The famous forest is also known as the Darshi wilderness. Darshi is a local folktale of love and tragedy. The forest is home to a variety of species, including deodar, cedar, biyar and partal.
The area is densely forested with fir trees, pines and a lush meadow. Tourists can see a deep valley on one side of the region, near the Kunhar River. On the other side, there is a beautiful view of the hills covered in deep alpine forests. People travel from all over the world to admire its splendour. In addition, “Falak-Sar peak is visible from here. You may reach this remarkable location by an adventurous jeep track. During the rainy season, this route becomes very slippery.
Babusar Top (Pass) connects Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Gilgit-Baltistan. This Top is easily accessible by car or jeep. The location is wonderful and mesmerising. But be cautious while travelling because it’s an high altitude place and gets colder as you ascend. The altitude of the pass is 4,173 metres (13,700 feet) above sea level.
Dudipatsar lake is in the North of Naran valley. This lake is 3,800 metres above sea level and surrounded by lovely green grasslands. Dudipatsar means “White Mountains Lake” since the mountains surrounding the lake are always covered in white snow. Because of its beauty, it also refers as “The Queen of Lakes” in Pakistan. You may get here by driving until you reach Jalkhad in Naran valley. You’ll have to hike for 4-5 hours in magnificent scenery. June and August are ideal months for visiting this natural wonder. After that, the journey becomes difficult because of heavy snowfall.
The Pyala lake is a circular lake in Jalkhand, Kaghan Valley, Mansehra District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Naran is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) away. Pyala lake is a bowl-shape lake at the top of a mountain. It is located along the road from Naran towards Lulusar lake. This lovely lake draws attention of a lot of visitors. Pyala lake was formed when a shooting star hit the region. Remember to visit there during the day. The area is prohibited to after darkness prevails.
According to research, Lake Saif-ul-Malook is the sixth finest tourist destination in the country. The lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery, hypnotic beauty and a friendly environment. Every year, it draws a great number of tourists from all around the world. The best time to visit is between May and September. The lake is covered in snow throughout the winter. The roads are unusable due to the heavy snowfall. It is home to brown trout. The lake reflects an iconic view of Malika Parbat, the highest peak of Kaghan valley.
Ansoo lake is a tear-like shape natural wonder. It is located 4,250 metres above sea level in the Himalayas. A hiking expedition takes you to this hidden splendour of natural beauty. The track consists of a difficult ride and two hour horse ride to reach the lake Saif-ul-Malook. From there upon a three to four hour of hiking can take you to the lake. Descending takes about two hours. It will be a lifelong recollection of memories of stunning scenery from the lake. The best months to visit there are June and August. During the winter, the route gets dangerous because of heavy snowfall.
Lulusar lake is another lovely attraction in Kaghan valley, Pakistan. It is a popular tourist destination due to the higher mountain peaks of the area. The upper mountains covered in snow, welcome tourists with a beautiful view. The best time to visit there is during the summer, when there is less snow and more foliage. The lake is located within the National Park, visitors can see foxes, hawks, Himalayan snowcocks, black bears, lynx and marmots. Hiking enthusiasts can even spend the night in the area.
Naran is a heaven for adventure seekers. Here’s how you can get your adrenaline pumping.
Hiking and Trekking
Choose from a variety of trekking routes, such as the trek to Ansoo lake or the serene hike to Shogran. Be sure to hire a local guide for safety.
Camping in wilderness of Naran is an adventure in itself. Some popular camping sites include Siri Paye Meadows and Sharan Forest.
Paragliding and Rafting
For those craving excitement, there are options for paragliding and white-water rafting on the Kunhar River.
Naran offers a delightful culinary experience. Don’t miss the local delicacies.
Try locally caught trout fish as grilled, fried, or in various traditional methods.
It is a marinated and roasted meat dish of goat or chicken. It is a local savoury specialty.
To visit local dhabas and try relish traditional dishes like chapli kebabs, tikka, and freshly baked bread (roti).
The people of Naran are warm and welcoming. You can interact with them to learn about their culture and traditions. They might invite you for a cup of tea.
Folklore and Legends
Explore the rich local folklore and legends that add depth to the cultural tapestry of Naran. Stories about Saif-ul-Malook lake are especially interesting.
Safety and Precautions
Before embarking on any adventurous activity, ensure getting ample information about local topography and safety guidelines. It’s advisable to hire experienced local guide for trekking and camping.
Weather and Clothing
Pack suitable clothing for the season of your visit. Layers are essential, as temperatures can vary widely throughout the day.
Cash and Connectivity
ATMs and mobile network coverage are limited in Naran. So be wise to carry sufficient cash. Keep informing your loved ones about your travel plans and locations.
Preserving the Environment
Pristine beauty of Naran is fragile. Respect the environment by following these guidelines.
Leave No Trace
Carry out all your trash and litter. Leave the natural beauty of Naran undisturbed.
Support Local Community
Purchase souvenirs and hire services from local businesses and artisans to contribute to the local economy.
Naran invites you to reconnect with nature, explore thrilling adventures, savoury delectable cuisines, and immerse yourself in a rich and welcoming culture. Whether you’re seeking serenity by a mountain lake or adrenaline on a challenging trek, Naran has it all.
Plan your trip carefully.
Prepare for a journey that will leave you with lifelong memories.
Enjoy your adventure in Naran. Good luck!