Attractions of Naran Kaghan – All you need to know!

Naran and Kaghan are the two beautiful towns located near the district of Mansehra in KPK. The Naran Kaghan valley is almost 240 kilometres away from Islamabad. The valley is enveloped with a belt of the Himalayan Mountain Range and the Kunhar river is flowing alongside. The crystal clear blue water goes further into lakes and streams. On your way to the highest peak, you might witness some waterfalls too. In winters, the mountains are capped with snow while in summer, the snow and gigantic glaciers melt flowing into the river. There are so many attractions of Naran Kaghan you must visit to make your trip complete and memorable. Some of them are listed in our article ‘Travelling To Naran? Roaming Pakistan Explores The Best Places To Visit‘.

kaghan valley
Photo by Jehanzeb Ghafoor on Flickr

Proper roads to Naran make it easy for the thousands of tourists that travel by road every year as they get to see outstanding landscape throughout their journey. Pleasant and mildly cold weather even in summers is the main reason for travelling towards the Northern areas of Pakistan. 

Naran Kaghan Tour

In terms of landscape, as mentioned above, Naran and Kaghan Valley have magnificent scenery, lush green lands, snowcapped mountains, and blue lakes. You can find hundreds of travel groups offering tour packages at amazing prices, a complete tour guide, and a fun trip! We are listing down a few landmarks that shouldn’t be missed if you visit Naran Kaghan Valley.

Shogran

Shogran, 34 kilometres away from Balakot, is located on the plateau of Kaghan Valley. The beauty of this place is in the rich and lush green grasslands where people enjoy relaxing in front of the scenic beauty. 

shogran naran
Photo by Jannino on Flickr

Visiting between June to August is the ideal time as the weather is pretty much pleasant. Shogran is accessible in summer and winters too but you must do your research before leaving as the hotels might not be functional in extreme weather. Temperature varies between the maximum of 28 and a minimum of 3 degrees at night. December and January often experience heavy snowfall so if you wish to see live snowfall then this is the time. However, travelling might be risky at this time due to the blockage of roads due to land sliding. 

Residents of Shogran are very peaceful. They welcome visitors every year with an open heart. Locals are great travel guides too as they know the area well. In Shogran, mobile network service is also available by Telenor and Zong so communication won’t be a problem.

Balakot

Balakot was destroyed by an earthquake and was later rebuilt in 2011. Residents were recommended to leave the town but they insisted on staying and building their homes again. The city was then named New Balakot City. The original Balakot is still considered a national heritage. The lower Balakot area is known as Nainkush Valley and the temperature here so cold that the whole area is frozen in winters while upper Balakot doesn’t get enough rain. The town is humid in summer and cool in winter. 

Balakot, Naran
Photo by Ikram on wikipedia Commons

Because it is a small town, visitors make a quick stop here for snacks and sightseeing. There are fewer options for hotels in Balakot so tourists mostly stay in neighbouring towns. Hotel Deminchi Balakot attracts tourists to stay here before going ahead. They offer luxurious rooms with a panoramic view from the hilltop. They offer very reasonable rates, start room starts from Rs 5000 per night including complimentary breakfast. So, if you plan to visit Balakot, Hotel Deminchi can be your resting stop. 

Kunhar River

Kunhar River originally knowns as NainSukh is an almost 166 kilometres long river in KPK. It originates from Dharamsar Lake. The emerald green waters run throughout the Kaghan valley. Glaciers of Nanga Parbat, Lake Saif ul Malook and Lake Dupidat are the feeders of Kunhar Rivers. 

The jewel of Kaghan Valley, the Kunhar river is famous for trout. People come here for fishing so if you want to enjoy trouting, come with full gear and be adventurous and try your luck at catching delicious trout. Don’t forget to try rafting and other water sports. Make sure you have warm clothes because cool winds will make you feel quite chilly! 

There are hotels on the bank of Kunhar River where you can stay for 2 or more days and explore the marvellous areas nearby including Jheel Saif ul Malook, Babusar Top, and Lulusar Lake. Another beautiful spot is Lulusar Lake which is surrounded by colourful wildflowers. 50 kilometres away from here is Chilas which is a gateway to Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu.

Lalazar

Lalazar is another beautiful tourist spot in Naran Kaghan Valley located at an elevation of 3123 meters above sea level. The road could be a challenge for most of the drivers. The deadliest Lalazar road is 4.2 kilometres long with a breathtaking landscape. Kunhar river flows along on one side. The road is built on a hilly mountain that is covered in pine forests and has amazingly pleasant weather even in Summers.

lalazar naran kaghan
Photo by Dr Shaggy on flickr

The tale of Lalazar’s beauty is heard around the globe but we as responsible tourists and citizens should take extra care of not polluting the area. Throwing garbage can totally eradicate the serenity of breathing fresh air. The government should be taking responsibility to keep the area clean and green.

Sharan Forest

A preserved thick green forest, Sharan is the most non-commercial area of Naran Kaghan Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. You can experience this place that is rich in vegetation, very less populated with travellers, and extremely peaceful. The Sharan forest has been saved from exploitation. Many flora and fauna species can be found here.

forest in naran kaghan

There are not many hotels and places to eat here so before planning to pay a visit here, make sure you have enough food and water supply. You can either take a bus or a private car to reach Naran Valley. Faisal Movers and Daewoo provide transportation service to Naran. Roads are a lot better on these routes now. One of the most adventurous things you can do here is camping in camping pods that are available at an amazing price ranging from Rs 3000 to Rs 5000. To book your night stay at a camping pod, you can visit the website of Tourism Corporation KP. Since these sights are not commercialized, the flux of visitors is very less and bookings are available easily. 

The temperature ranges from 15 to 25 degrees. Few other attractions nearby are Manshi Top, Manor Valley, and Kaghan Valley. You can do trekking, fishing, and horse riding too.

Makra Peak

From Islamabad, at a distance of 200 kilometres on the Naran road comes a scenic peak known as Makra Peak. It is a track from Kiwai to Shogran, climbs to Siri Lake, and ends at Paye. Taking the trek of 9 hours, you reach the top of Makra Peak. Tourists come here mainly for hiking and trekking but as it is a dangerous and steep track many casualties occur. Because of snow and the gradient of these mountains, the climbing gets very difficult.

Makra Peak Naran

Despite the difficulty, tourists still want to reach the top to see the tremendous Hazara view. Makra peak is named after the shape it takes due to snow in winters.  

Activities in Naran

There are many adventurous things you can do on a trip to Naran. 

Hiking and Trekking in Naran Kaghan Valley

Hiking can be the best way to endure our mother nature. It can be the closest encounter to the beauty of the world. In Naran, you will find many opportunities to do so. There are a number of tracks in almost every town worth visiting. 

Lalazar has one of the most beautiful hiking tracks followed by blooming flowers and greenery throughout. It is sitting at an altitude of about 10,499 feet above sea level. The early and mid-summer season is the best time to take this track. Don’t forget to take warm clothes and a water bottle with you. To reach Lalazar, there are two tracks, one is for jeeps and the other is for walking. This could be a 6-7 hours long trail so keep yourself hydrated. While walking on this track, you’ll be in the vicinity of Jheel Saif ul Malook.

Another hiking track is reaching to Babusar top which is at an altitude of 13,900 feet. Make sure you have sticks to support you in walking as the track is rough, steep and stones are on way. Do keep clothes that can keep you warm because the cold breeze can be harsh sometimes.

There are two trekking routes to reach Ansoo Lake situated at an altitude of 13927 feet and is convenient in summers only. The first one is a steep track of about 6 hours from Saif ul Malook. The other route is from Mhandri which is 40 kilometres from Naran.

You can reach Saral Lake, known as the princess of mountains, by tacking the track to reach Noori Top. The lake is surrounded by the highest mountains. You need to take the trekking route to reach Sharda first and then take the jeep ahead.

Fishing at Lakes

One of the most favourite activities of tourists is fishing trout in lake Saif ul Malook. It is known for its delicious brown and rainbow trout. Crystal clear blue water makes it more interesting and beautiful to look at. You can take your own fishing gear or rent them from a nearby Bazar. 

rainbow trout
Photo by darrenquigley32 from Pixabay

Please note that some of the fishing nets, explosives, and gears are not allowed to use for catching fish as they are dangerous for the breeding of trout. Make sure you don’t do anything that is harmful to the sustainable growth of any wildlife.

Camping Sites in Naran

While visiting Naran Kaghan Valley, you might want to do camping as it is a soul-enriching experience. Trekkers love to stop on their way and build their own tents to sleep under the sky. There are many camping pods setup organized by the government to promote tourist spots. They have enough space to cater to the need in peak times. You can enjoy these camping sites at Lulusar Lake, Saif ul Malook, Dudipatsar Lake, Balakot, Babusar Top. The magnificent view of clear sky and starry nights could be breathtaking. 

Photo by asad_78 from Pixabay

Before you intend to go camping anywhere in Naran Kaghan valley, make sure you are prepared well for the trip, keep all the essentials with you. Your luggage must include tents, sleeping bag, food, water, medicines, toilet kit, emergency light, and everything that you think could be useful. 

Rafting in Kunhar River

In summers, rafting is an emerging yet breathtaking experience. At Kunhar river, rafting services are provided by many groups. Their experienced and trained staff make Kunhar river rafting adventure safe and fun for the tourists. They have permanent guides who love river rafting and also provide training programs. With every trip, there are trainers who come along to ensure the safety of the customer. 

Photo by Dr Shaggy on Flickr

Is Naran Kaghan open?

Yes, Naran Kaghan is open. However, due to heavy snowfall till the end of March, the road situation could be risky as road sliding is very normal due to melting glaciers. Most of the hotels are closed at this time of year. Conveyance will be difficult to find so walking would be the last option. The best time to travel in these areas is from May till October. 

What is the route to Kaghan Valley from Islamabad?

You can reach Kaghan Valley by road from Abottabad to Mansehra via Balakot when travelling from Islamabad. The distance from Islamabad to Kaghan Valley is almost 131 kilometres. In Balakot, tourists can travel by taking public buses or by their own conveyance. Kaghan Valley is a highly populated tourist attraction.

What should I bring to Naran Kaghan?

Before starting your trip to Naran Kaghan, you must have essentials including warm clothes, a sleeping bag, tent, snacks, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, pocket knife, emergency light, and first aid kit. Pack your luggage according to the weather forecast. Winters can be extremely cold whereas nights in summer are slightly cold as well.

Is Naran Kaghan safe?

Yes, Naran Kaghan is an absolutely safe place to plan your trip. The people of Naran are very welcoming, friendly, and peaceful. The valley has many sights that are beautiful and serene. One can make a trip to the northern areas of Pakistan every year to break the monotony of our hectic routines

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