Road Conditions of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The Northern areas of Pakistan have become a great hit among people in recent times. As roads have been reconstructed and developed and the law and order situation in some of the areas reaching stability, the Northern areas of Pakistan have open doors for tourism during summer period. Many people now visit the most beautiful places that are no less in comparison to the majestic places we see at the international front. Here is a list and description of the road conditions of few places that one should pay a visit.
The Roads Taken- Road Conditions of the Northern Areas of Pakistan
Naran-Kaghan Road Condition
Naran is located at about 8,202 feet above Islamabad and Khaghan also lies close by. It is one of the most attractive town in Pakistan becoming the base location to destinations like Lake Saif-ul-Malook, Lalazar Babusar, Noori Valley, Shogran, Batakundi and Purbi Valley. You can travel to Naran, from Punjab side via two routes. First one is via Muzaffarabad and second one via Abbottabad and Mansehra. The route from Islamabad to Naran via Muzaffarabad provides the traveler with scenery that melts the heart. You have to reach Murree and then head towards Kohala via Bhurban.
If you take the route from Islamabad via Abottabad, Mansehra, then you have to reach Hassan Abdal from Islamabad, passing Taxila and Wah Cantt on GT road (N5). Roads are very much curvy and dangerous. You can travel by cars but off road vehicles are much better but if and only you are a professional driver. Road via Muzaffarabad is neat and carpeted till Muzaffarabad. Then from Muzaffarabad to Garhi Habibullah the road has been under construction for some time and becomes a little nuisance. After that road is normal.Via Mansehra, road condition is normal, but only when the water from the waterfalls pass the road, condition there is a bit bumpy. However cars can pass through.
Shogran Road Condition
A Visit to Kaghan Valley includes Naran, Kaghan, Shogran and its surrounding areas. The way to Kaghan valley starts with two hour drive to Abbottabad driving to Mansehra, Balakot and onwards to Kawai. Kawai onwards, it is a steep climb to the Shogran plateau which offers a splended view of a fabulous array of mountains, amid pine trees and lush green meadows. The preferred route to Kaghan Valley is via Motorway and exit on the Burhan Interchange.
The road is in good condition but is very narrow and the traffic load is very high.Lots and lots of trucks and buses and cars and everything specially between Abbotabad and Mansehra. You need to be an expert over taker on this road.
Which Vehicle to Take to Shogran?
For most of the road trip to Khaghan valley any four wheel car will be good to go but for Shugran- Siri Paye a 4WD track for local jeeps is required. People with long 4WD drive vehicles like (Vigo, Hilux, Surf, Prado) etc. should not try this track. There are a few points where the bends are quite narrow and longer jeeps need to forward/reverse a few times.
Naran to Chilas Road Condition
Of all the hill stations and tourist destinations in northern Pakistan, Naran Valley is the most conveniently reachable destination. From Islamabad, it only takes eight to nine hours of comfortable drive to reach Naran. Hotels and other facilities are only second to Murree and of course the greatest attraction is the magnificent Lake Saif ul Malook. Babusar Pass, which is the final point of Naran-Kaghan Valley, is not just an unbelievably beautiful spot with its panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys but also perhaps the most fortunate short cut in the entire country. It gives access to Gilgit Baltistan through a journey of just a few hours in beautiful and green Upper Naran Valley as compared to a day long journey on the most rugged, difficult and God forsaken patch of Karakorum Highway between Besham and Chilas.
Babusar Top Road Condition
Babusar Top is one amazing place to visit. The view of the glaciers along the road not only brings coolness in the weather but also a treat for the eyes. It is basically a mountain pass that connects Gilgit Baltistan with Khaber Pakhtunkhwa. Because of the uphill ride only four wheel vehicles are used for the journey which is why it usually take about 4-5hours of traveling time to reach Babusar Top from Naran. From mid-July up to the end of September the road beyond Naran is open right up to Babusar Pass. However, movement is restricted during the monsoon and winter seasons due to weather conditions creating hurdles that may become dangerous for the travelers.
Condition of Road from Islamabad to Gilgit
Islamabad is located nearly south side to Gilgit. By road journey from Islamabad or Rawalpindi to Gilgit is one of the most adventurous and enjoyable journeys to take because the traveler passes through many scenic wonderland and panoramic valleys: covering almost all of the beautiful KPK. Starting off from Islamabad or Rawalpindi takes about 4 hours before you reach Mansehra in any vehicle that you have chosen.
For Gilgit it takes about 16-18 hours of drive that one makes stopping over from time to time. Travel time from Chilas to Gilgit has been reduced in comparison to earlier times but the condition of Karakoram Highway from Chilas city to Bisham City is not satisfactory. Also the Gilgit-Skardu road is in a depleating condition and although there has been construction work going on, the travel time does become hectic.
Islamabad to Swat Road Condition
Swat Valley is situated in the north eastern tip of the Khyber Pukhtunkhawa province surrounded by the scenic valleys of Dir, Chitral and Gilgit with good road conditions. People travelling from down country on their own vehicles can take Motorway (M-1). They can reach Mardan interchange from Islamabad in about one and half hours after covering a distance of 131 km. From Mardan onward they can travel via Takh-e-Bai, Dargai, Malakand Pass, Batkhella, Chakdara and finally reach Mingora/Saidu Sharif after covering a distance of 112 km in two and half more hours.
The total distance from Islamabad to Mingora/Saidu Sharif is 247Km and it takes around 5 hours. It is 171 km from Peshawar to Mingora/Saidu Sharif using the above mentioned route from Mardan onward. Total driving time from Peshawar is around 4 hours. For those preferring public transport, travel in air conditioned bus service is an option.
There are several bus companies with regular direct service to Mingora from Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Mardan. Daewoo Bus Company operates most comfortable and reliable air conditioned bus service to Mingora from Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Which also provide connecting bus services to the passengers of other major cities. Such as Karachi, Hyderabad, Bahawalpur, Multan, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Abbottabad, Mianwali etc. Swat Valley remains opened 12 months in a year upto Keran. If you want to explore Swat Valley till Kalam. Then best time to visit Swat Valley is between April and October.
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