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Latest Travel Updates: Thai Airways starting two weekly flights to Lahore from July. Public Transport is fully operational. Gilgit Baltistan Region is completely open. Deosai Plains are open and accessible

Latest Travel Updates: Thai Airways starting two weekly flights to Lahore from August. Tourists dont need to be quarantine anymore. Wagah border ceremony is open for tourists.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, also known as KPK, is one of the most iconic provinces of Pakistan with Pakhtun referring to the locals’ ethnicity and Khwa translating to “heart”. It’s truly a melting pot of culture that is perfect for travelers wanting to indulge in the most enthralling combination of unique traditions and mesmerizing sceneries. Witness all kinds of spellbinding backdrops when traveling to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ranging from rocky terrains in the South to dense forests and boundless, lush green pastures in the North.

 

Bordering Afghanistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir, KPK is the northernmost province of Pakistan. It is commonly known that the further up north you go, the more fascinating the country gets. The Kunar River runs right through the picturesque Hindu Kush mountains, with the rocky basins of the Swat River and Panjkora River lying beneath it. The Indus River borders on the East.

 

The Vale of Peshawar runs northward along the Kabul River and, taking up less than a tenth of the entire province, the region makes up half of the entire population of KPK. Just under 70% of the population are Pashtuns that speak Pashto, the regional language, though Urdu is widely understood by many. The people of KPK are well known for their hospitality and smiling nature which comes with the spectacularly remarkable sights they have to offer.

 

The province is rich in history with several Buddhist archaeological excavation sites to offer from the Gandhara Civilization as well as Ancient Hindu tribes and villages that can still be found and visited. We’ll talk all about some of them and how you can visit them ahead.

 

Before we move on, you may ask, is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa safe for tourists? It’s important that tourists stay safe when visiting any place, and we’d happily like to let you know that the KPK law enforcement is one of the best in the country with citizens who like to abide by the law. It’s one of the safest provinces to visit with great safety systems put in place for tourists.

 

So, what are the best places to visit in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa? We’ll give you all the know-how on what you need to know before visiting KPK destinations and some great tips for a hands-down unforgettable experience of a lifetime in KPK’s most worth-it places. Just read on ahead.

Best Places to visit in KPK – The Ultimate Guide

Swat Valley

Best enjoyed in the summers, this scenic valley offers incredible views, gushing waterfalls, and clear rivers that will take your breath away. The area is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and within the valleys, you will find a multitude of rivers all linking to the Swat River. The Swat Valley is often described as the fertile land where there’s a plethora of produce amidst its lush green fields. The climate is very pleasant. There is a rich history of Buddhism just waiting to be discovered. Within the valley, you will find many ancient remains such as monasteries, carvings, inscriptions, forts, and petroglyphs. Locals and tourists call Swat Valley a paradise on earth.

 

Malam Jabba

Malam Jabba, the only and most incredible Ski Resort in Pakistan, is one to remember for decades after visiting and guaranteed to take your breath away. It is annually open to all visitors every winter. It’s shadowed by the Hindu Kush Mountains and is by far one of the best family getaways full of nature, fun, and adventure. Malam Jabba offers family-friendly ski slopes, including classes for beginners, and thrilling slopes for the more experienced. You’ll be able to get all your gear on-site, so no need to worry about packing any equipment, just bring yourself! The best time to visit for skiing is from January to March, but that doesn’t mean that summers are any less special. Get your adrenaline pumping with zip-lines and trekking down beautiful trails surrounded by greenery in the summers. There are so many wonders and unimaginable sceneries to take in. If all this wasn’t enough, prepare yourself to witness and explore ancient Buddhist Stupas that are over 2,000 years old, and ancient Monasteries scattered around them.

 

 

 

Kalam Valley

Located in Upper Swat, 99km from Mingora, Kalam Valley has so much to offer. The fertile valleys boast gushing streams and lakes where the Swat River gives birth to the Gabral and Ushu Rivers. Though the valley starts at 6600ft elevation, some of its most beautiful tourist attractions go up to 20,000ft high. Be prepared to experience huge glaciers and dense forests on top of Matiltan from where the highest snow-capped peak of Mount Falaksair can be observed. Utror hill station is another serene location surrounded by colorful mountain peaks and Kundol Lake. Gabral is the perfect place to experience medicinal springs and the local Brown Swati Trout Fish. Mahodand Lake, one of the largest and most scenic lakes at 40km from Kalam, is worth a visit and perfect for boating, fishing, and staying overnight. Kandol Lake is another great option at 20km from Kalam. The best option is to stay overnight in Kalam Valley where the hotels are open for you all year long. This way you’ll have enough time to explore these beautiful spots. Scrumptious BBQs, bonfires, and social gatherings are something you can look forward to on your stay there. 

 

Ayubia National Park

For the wildlife lovers out there, you may get very lucky whilst visiting the Ayubia National Park. The protected forest homes many migratory birds such as the Himalayan Cuckoo, Kashmir Nuthatch, and a handful of very special species that are nearly extinct such as the Kalij and Koklass Pheasants. It’s truly a magical experience to camp and indulge in some wildlife watching spotting animals such as the Red Fox, Kashmir Flying Squirrel, or Golden Jackal. If it’s your day, you may just spot the Indian Leopard too. Apart from the wildlife, the park gives home to 104 species of plants including Horse Chestnut, Silver Fir, and Oak. Many of these plants are known to have anti-carcinogenic effects and botanical properties. The trek to the park is kind and easily maneuvered even by children. It’s incredibly rewarding to visit this place on your trip to KPK. To further the experience, you can hike along the pipeline which leads to Dungagali, and from there it’s straight to Muskhpuri.

 

Mushkpuri

Nestled high up in the hills of Abbottabad, Mushkpuri is the epitome of nature at its best. Starting from Nathiagali, another MUST-visit location, it’s a three-hour, safe and easy trek to the top. The journey is just as beautiful as the destination, taking you through a spiral of tall pine trees and seasonal flowers carpeting the ground. Another track starts from Dungagali. This option is great for those who want to view Ayubia National Park from up top. The final destination rests approximately 9452 feet above sea level on the second-highest hill of Galyat. Upon arrival, you’re greeted with a beautiful lake that embodies the sky’s reflection within its clear waters. You’ll also be presented with a view of the infamous Kashmir Valley. Not only will you experience absolute serenity and beauty within Mushkpuri, but you’ll be viewing the surrounding locations too. Worth it.

 

Naran and Kaghan Valley

Though two different places, people visit them together as a two-in-one package. The best place to visit within the valleys is Siri Paye. The meadows are like out of a fairytale, with clouds hanging below your feet amidst the endless and truly magical plains. To make things even better, you can travel into the Siri Paye meadows on horseback. After every vibrant hill crossed there is an even more beautiful one appearing in sight. If you go far enough you can even start to see glaciers. The further you go the more magical and pristine the landscape becomes. The green mountains of Naran Kaghan are just incomparable to any other destination. The best time to visit is in the summer months as these mountains can get very cold. Shogran is an honorable mentionable here as it is in the same area and is truly a wonder on earth. Be sure to consider hiring professional drivers though that can be easily found in these areas when deciding to venture up the mountainous roads. 

 

Takht-i-Bahi

Translating to “throne of the water spring”, this surreal location is an Indo-Parthian archaeological site of a Buddhist Monastery in Mardan. The remarkably well-preserved monastery dates back to the 1st Century CE and was inhabited until the 7th Century. Within the Takht-i-Bahi you’ll find the Stupa Court where a collection of Stupas can be viewed. There are monastic chambers, individual cells settled around a courtyard and dining area. A later constructed temple complex also consists of Stupas and lastly, the Tantric Monastic Complex consists of small, dark cells that have low openings. They’ve been believed to have been used for spiritual, Tantric Meditation. The entire site had been constructed from local stone and then had been mortared with lime and mud. It’s truly an enriching journey to visit this mystical, historical site and to get to know more about the Buddhist heritage of Pakistan.

 

Kalash Valley

For those craving to delve deep into the culture of KPK, look no further than Kalash Valley located in Chitral. The only conundrum you’ll be facing here is deciding whether the place is more beautiful or the people and their hospitality. Descending from the oldest South Asian tribe, the locals of Kailash will be more than happy to shower you with their glorious culture, ancient language, unique art, and colorful festivals. There are three main valleys to visit. Bamburet being the largest and most populated one is reached by road from Ayun in Kunar Valley. Rimbir is North of Bumburet and lastly, Birir is adjacent to the Kunar Valley, south of Bumburet. The lush green valleys, stretches of tribal villages and colorfully divine fruit farms all await you in Kalash Valley. In plain words, it’s a promised land of dreams.

 

Katora Lake

Translating to “Bowl Lake”, the place is exactly what it claims to be, a lake in the shape of a bowl. The turquoise waters are truly mesmerizing from June till October, whilst being eerily frosted over from November till May. Both sceneries are worth it though summers may be easier in terms of climate and traveling safely. You’ll be blown away by the awe-inspiring backdrops here, surrounded by mountains either carpeted with luscious green or chilly white. The glacial water spills down from one point to create a mystical waterfall. The journey is quite a long one to this magical lake, about 10 hours from Islamabad. Once there, you can opt to stay overnight in the fertile Jahaz Banda Meadows to be well-rested for the journey back the next day.

 

So here we have some of the most incredible destinations to visit in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. There’s something for everyone in this truly magical province. Whether you’re a history geek, an adventure junkie, a wildlife lover, or just someone looking to discover a place that gives them the much-needed goosebumps and flutters after a long time, this is it. You can’t go wrong with any of these geographically and historically rich sites oozing with their welcoming and artsy culture. Imagination doesn’t do these sites justice, one has to witness them for themselves. We hope you loved reading through the best destinations to visit in KPK, now the only next step left is to get up and get going!

 

Ansoo Lake

Translating to “tear-drop lake”, the place is exactly what it claims to be, a lake in the shape of an eerie teardrop. Elevated at 13,927 feet above sea level, one of the highest lakes of the Himalaya Range, it’s a site worth visiting. The lake rests within Malika Parbat, “Queen of Mountains”, the highest mountain in the mystical Kaghan Valley. You’ll be blown away by the awe-inspiring backdrops here, surrounded by mountains either carpeted with luscious green or chilly white. The lake stays covered in snow during the whole year apart from July and August. You can reach this hidden gem through trekking via two routes. One option is to go from lake Saif-Ul-Malook, another spectacular site to visit. The other is from Mahandri through Manoor Village. The journey, no matter what route you take, is an experience on its own.

So here we have some of the most incredible destinations to visit in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. There’s something for everyone in this truly magical province. Whether you’re a history geek, an adventure junkie, a wildlife lover, or just someone looking to discover a place that gives them the much-needed goosebumps and flutters after a long time, this is it. You can’t go wrong with any of these geographically and historically rich sites oozing with their welcoming and artsy culture. Imagination doesn’t do these sites justice, one has to witness them for themselves. We hope you loved reading through the best destinations to visit in KPK, now the only next step left is to get up and get going!