Are you planning a Neelum Valley tour of Azad Kashmir with your family? Are you thinking of accommodation and food there, are you planning to take little children with you but are not quite sure about their comfort?
Are you thinking of expenses and how’s the route going to be? Do you question yourself when you look at the spectacular pictures of Kashmir online and wonder are these really not Photoshopped? And finally do you think that will your efforts be worth it?
Well then let me assure you that all your questions have 100% positive answers and I recommend; you should visit and take the Neelum Valley tour of Kashmir the earliest possible.
Usually people in Karachi when talk about visiting the northern areas of Pakistan they mostly refer to Naran, Kaghan, Gilgit, Hunza, Baltistan and Shangrilla.
Hardly people quote Kashmir or a Neelum valley tour, and that’s due to two main reasons:-
1. Many people think its a war zone.
2. Many people think going there is nearly impossible.
Both these excuses are totally wrong!
And Neelum Valley Kashmir is one of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth. Its a hidden gem, its Paradise on Earth and it has one of the most hospitable locals of Pakistan.
We traveled with 4 adults and two children, the elder one 5 years old and the youngest member 22 months old.
Some Pre Planning Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Research on Neelum Valley and Kashmir thoroughly
Read other peoples experiences and in person ask people who have been there.
Get familiar with the temperature there and what kind of clothing to carry.
2.What kind of a tour will it be?
Is it more hikes, long road trips etc?
Yes, definitely you will have to sit in a van, or a jeep or a bus for 8- 10 hours or maybe more, and a Kashmir tour means lots of walking and hiking.
3. Its better to plan the trip with some tour guides or package
It’s more convenient as you wont have to face the hassle of renting cars, and looking for hotels (hotels are quite limited and if you go in the peak season the chances are almost zero that you will find a room) besides if you are willing to do the trip on your own you might miss some very beautiful scenic places.(unless you are an experienced traveler and know how to discover places).
4.Be prepared to survive without WiFi and telephone networks
From Muzaffarabad and onwards network signals are severed. Only some shops offer WiFi service on hourly charges. So if your work requires constant contact then make sure you inform your people about the nature of your tour.
5. Neelum Valley tour is an adventure tour….
Be prepared to survive in any kind of a situation meaning you won’t be guaranteed very clean and hygienic bathrooms, hot water for showers rarely available, very clean and hygienic comfortable accommodation not available all the time, food can be another problem because meals will take very long waiting hours to be served so snacks like chips and biscuits turn to be very handy especially with kids.
Once you are done with all your research and have finally made up your mind to visit Neelum Valley Kashmir its time to get in action.
Plan your trip from Karachi to Azad Kashmir
1. Essential Items you must carry from Karachi
- Rain coats
- Electric Kettle
- Traveling plug (mostly hotels in Kashmir have two pin sockets)
- Warm clothes
- Hand sanitizers and baby wipes
- Swiss knife
2. Advance booking at least 15 days prior is compulsory
If you are planning to travel with more than 3 members and you wish to go by Green Line Train then its recommended that you purchase your tickets 2 weeks because, the train is going full each day, so prior booking is must. To get the detailed review of Green Line Train read my blog.
3. Contact your Tour guide and Get Confirmation
There a few good tour guides in Azad Kahsmir and offer good services. You can easily find them on Facebook and Google.
Valley Trackers is among the notable ones.
4. Look for Accommodation in Islamabad
Its up to you, you can skip this step and if you have the energy then you can set off for Muzaffarabad as soon as you reach Islamabad, but I recommend spending a day in Islamabad not because the train journey is tiring but because your next journey can be tiring since its an 5 hour road trip from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad.
5.Rent a Hiace or a SUV
From Islamabad you can easily rent a hiace, or a SUV (renting a Pajero or a Land cruiser will save your cost of going to Taobat since only 4 wheelers can reach till there).
Even though we were 5 adults and two children we rented a hiace with driver, the hiace was very clean and comfortable, the AC was in perfect working condition and so was the music system.
Cost of Hiace: Rs. 4000 per day exclusive of fuel charges.