Pakistan is home to some of the world’s most beautiful locations. Now that the overall security situation has improved over the past five years, tourism is thriving and visitors from across the globe are coming in droves to marvel at the natural scenery of the country. Speaking of mesmerizing landscapes and tourist destinations in Pakistan, have you ever been to Swat Valley?
Cocooned in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains, Swat Valley is famously known as “the Switzerland of the East” and rightfully so. People here enjoy cold weather almost throughout the year. Since the valley is located in the Malakand Division of KPK, locals mostly belong to the Gujjar, Pashtun and Kohistani communities. These people are famous for their friendly and hospitable nature. From food to culture; everything about the people of Swat is unique.
Remember, whenever you visit Swat, make sure you stock up on battery for your camera. Every corner of this heaven on earth is nothing short of picturesque; you wouldn’t want to put your camera down for a second.
Tourist Attractions near Swat Valley
If you’re planning a vacation, then give this place a chance. You will thank us. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of some of the most famous places to visit in Swat Valley.
- Malam Jabba
- Swat Museum
Now, let’s discuss all of these places in detail.
Malam Jabba, which is at a distance of around 50 km from Swat Valley in the Karakoram mountain range, is a hill station where you will find one of the largest ski resorts in the area. The scenic natural views of this tourist spot near Swat will surely leave you in awe.
Owned and managed by the Pakistani Tourism Development Corporation, Malam Jabba Ski Resort has an 800 metre long ski slope having the highest point 2804 m above sea level. The place is equipped with all the modern facilities. Plus, people visiting Malam Jabba Ski Resort can also enjoy riding a chairlift and looking down upon the gorgeous views of the valley.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Swat is Swat Museum. It showcases relics of the bygone era. Most of the items on display date back to 3,500 BC, which is something really fascinating for the history lovers visiting the museum. The place has nine galleries, each of which features ruins and relics, preserving untold stories of many different eras of history like Stone Age, Ghandhara and Buddhist Civilisation.
Six kilometres from Malam Jabba there’s a small summer resort known as Miandam, which is almost an hour drive from Swat Valley. It is one of the best places to visit in Swat. On your way to the resort, you will catch the most alluring views of rows of houses marching up the hillside. Hikers would love walking on the metaled road passing through those tiny terraced fields.
Pakistani Tourist Development Corporation (PTDC) has a motel in Miandam Valley where tourists can come and stay all year round. This motel is surrounded by the serene and beautiful lawns shrouded by the majestic Chinar Trees.
Following the scenic route 60 km from Mingora, Swat Valley, you reach a small town known as Madyan at a height of 1032 m. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth that significantly adds up to the popularity of Swat as a tourist spot. Mountaineers really enjoy visiting this place because of the adventurous hikes it has to offer and it would usually take up to two or three days for you to climb up the mountains.
One of the biggest attractions in Madyan is the central mosque. With mud-plastered west wall and elegantly crafted wooden pillars, the design and build of this mosque are truly captivating. In the bazaars and local markets of Madyan, you will come across many interesting traditional items to buy such as embroidered shawls, tribal jewellery and wood carvings. All of these products reflect the love of Swat people for decoration.
It will take you less than an hour to get to Behrain, which is only 10 kilometres away from Madyan. The breath-taking landscapes and scenic beauty of this place will surely leave you in awe. Upon your way you can make a pit stop at one of the local dhabbas to sip on some tea and get freshen up.
Once you get to this amazing destination, you will be greeted by the soothing sounds of fast flowing water stream as Behrain on a riverside at a whopping altitude of 1,400 metres. Upon looking around the area and catching glimpses of beautifully carved wooden doors and balconies, you will get a clear hint about the love for wood carvings in this region of Swat.
Often dubbed as the most attractive part of Swat Valley, Kalam is 29 kilometres away from Behrain and is at 2000 metres above sea level. You would come across dozens of hotels in Kalam Valley, out of which the most post popular ones are Hotel Walnut Heights, Hotel Al Khaleej and Hotel Marina Inn where you can comfortably stay. The area reflects some of the most scenic views overshadowed with lush green forests and vegetation. Kalam is widely known for the strawberries that are produced here.
With praiseworthy cultural values and hospitable traditions, the dwellers of Kalam Valley are very welcoming. It is one of the best places on earth to enjoy hiking and scenic views of glaciers. Well, before getting started with your journey, take a look at the modes of transportation that you can take while travelling to Swat.
How to get to Swat Valley? (Modes of Transportation Available)
- By Car
- By Bus
- By Plane
If you are travelling to Swat, then you can take the route of Mardan Interchange from Islamabad. After travelling for about one and a half hours, you can take the route of Malakand Pass then Batkhela and Chakdara that would finally lead you to Mingora in Swat Valley. In total, you need to travel a distance of around 247 km from Islamabad to Mingora and it will take you around 5 hours to get to your destination by car.
There are air-conditioned coach services as well that can take you to Swat. Many bus companies offer direct routes to Swat Valley from cities like Lahore, Rawalpindi, Mardan and Peshawar. However, if you are a Karachiite, then you can make use of Daewoo Bus Service to get to Swat conveniently in a matter of only 24 hours.
People travelling by plane would land at the Saidu Sharif airport. Pakistan International Airlines, the national flag carrier of Pakistan, offers three weekly flights to Swat Valley from Islamabad, the duration of which is around 30 minutes.
You can choose from the aforementioned modes of transportation as per your convenience to get to Swat Valley. Please share your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are plenty of off-the-beaten-path hidden gems in Pakistan that you must visit. Also, don’t forget to check out our travel piece on Gilgit Baltistan. For more information about popular tourist destinations in Pakistan, subscribe to Zameen Blog, Pakistan’s best travel and tourism blog.