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SIRI PAYEE NARAN PAKISTAN By Muhammad Naeem Ghauri

"Amaizing landscapes, lovely lakes and great weather"

Assalam u Alaikum,

I know there are many threads already here on Flickr. But I think most of them lack the detailed information that future visitors require. so this is why I have started a new thread. We had a trip to Naran from 10 to 16 July 2010.

 

Our Ride:

Toyota Vitz2003 Model.

 

Itinerary:

 

Day1:

Left Lahore at about 1245AM.

Our route was via GT road Hassanabdal-Haripur-Hevlian-Abbotabad-Mansehra

Then from Mansehra Bypass left KKH and turned towards Balakot-Kiwai-Shugran. Reached Shugran at about 3PM. Night stay in Shugran.

 

Day2:

Left early and went to Siri-Paye on rented jeeps.

Left for Naran from Shugran and reached Naran by 4PM.

Night stay in Hotel in Naran.

 

Day3:

Left early for Jalkhad and reached there at about 12 noon.

Hired a jeep for Lulusar lake and reached there in an hour.

Re-hired the same jeep and went to Babusar top.

Returned from Babusar top to Naran and reached Naran by 7PM.

  

Day4:

Hired jeeps for Lake Saifulmuluk and visited the lake.

Left Naran at about 10PM and reached back Lalore at 11:30 PM.

 

Distances and Road Conditions:

 

Islamabad-Hasan Abdal-Haripur:

Approximate Time: 1hour 15 min.

Three routes are possible.

 

1.The preferred one is via Motorway and exit on the Burhan Interchange. Then move a few KM's back towards Hassanabdal and turn on KKH. Excellent road condition but a few KM's more.

2.Other option is to take the G.T Road and reach Taxila and turn towards Hattar-Haripur road. Good road condition.

3.A third option is to turn towards the Khanpur-Haripur road before reaching Taxila. The shortest path but road condition is not so good.

Haripur-Havelian-Abbotabad-Mansehra:

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. In the evening crossing Abbotabad alone might take 30min.

Approximate Time: 2 hours.

Total Distance from Lahore-Islamabad 290KM

Total Distance from Islamabad-Abbotabad 122KM

Mansehra-Balakot-Kiwai:

Once you leave KKH and turn towards Balakot there is excellent road and lot less traffic. Very enjoyable road.

Mansehra-Balakot 48KM

Balakot-Kiwai 24KM

Approximate Time: 1 hour 45 min.

Kiwai-Shugran:

Steep ascend but any car can go there. Metaled road for most part.

Approximate Time: 30min.

Distance: 7KM

Shugran-Siri Paye:

Hardcore 4WD track for local jeeps. 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.

Kiwai-Paras-Mahandri-Kaghan-Naran:

Metaled road with a few bad spots due to land sliding. The main land sliding area is after crossing Paras where the complete road is washed away. The make shift track goes down to the river and is one way only.

Approximate Time: 2 hours.

Kiwai-Paras: 5KM

Paras-Mahandri: 18KM

Mahandri-Kaghan:15KM

Kaghan-Naran: 24KM

Naran-Batakundi-Jalkhad:

Metaled road suitable for all type of vehicles. There was just one glacier which was blocking the road where you need to be extra careful. Otherwise it is the best road of the whole Kaghan valley.

Approximate Time: 1 hour 30 min.

Naran-Batakundi: 16KM

Batakundi-Jalkhad: 20KM

Jalkhad-Lulusar Lake:

Unmetaled under construction road. Only suitable for high clearance vehicles. There was one particular water crossing near Besal where low ground clearance vehicles might get hit quite badly. Though we saw many Toyota Corolla's (2.0D and GLI) of 2011 and older models parked at the lake. Also we saw Suzuki Bolan's and Hiaces etc. there. But still my recommendation is to take a jeep from Jalkhad.

Approximate Time: 50min.

Distance: 26KM

Lulusar Lake-Gitidas-Babusar Top:

Under construction unmetaled road. Only suitable for 4WD vehicles. although we saw (I am not joking) a Suzuki Mehran coming down from Babusar top. Also there were Suzuki Bolan (Carry Dabba) coasters, Hiaces and motor bikes at the top. Still my recommendation is to get a jeep from Jalkhad. We should wait for 2-3 years for the road to be completed before taking our vehicles all the way upto Babusar Top.

 

Approximate Time: 1 hour

Distance: 18KM

Jeep Fares:

This was the peak season and the rates of jeeps were quite high. We rented the jeeps from Shogran to Siri-paye for Rs. 1400 each. Since we left on this trip at about 0700AM so this was the first trip of the jeeps and they charged us less. After 0800AM no jeep goes for less then Rs. 1800 because of the Jeep union and the tax that they receive from each jeep going up.

From Naran to Saiful-Muluk the rate the jeeps were asking was 2200-2000 but we manged to get jeeps for Rs. 1800 only. A couple of weeks earlier this was Rs. 1500 but at this particular weekend their rate was sky high.

For Naran-Lalazar-Jalkhad-Lulusar they were asking Rs. 4000

For Naran-Jalkhad-Lulusar-Babusar they were asking Rs. 5500-6500.

For Jalkhad-Lulusar they were asking Rs. 1500

For Jalkhad-Babusar they were asking Rs. 3500-4000

for Jalkhad-Noori Nar top they were asking Rs. 2500 (The jeeps couldnot cross a glacier which was some 2 hours of hiking away from the top)

 

Final Thoughts:

Last time I visited Kaghan valley in June 2004. The area has changed quite a bit in the last seven yeas. Naran is now just like Murree Mall road. Saiful-Muluk was the biggest disappointment. There were at least 250-300 jeeps at the top and thousands of people at the lake. The grass plains near the lake had converted to thick dirt plains due to parking of jeeps. Dirt was flying every where. The glaciers had already melted away and the sole remaining one was very dirty and covered in mud. On the way to the lake there were long ques of jeeps going up and down. Dirt was flying due to passing bye jeeps and by the time we reached back in Naran our heads and beards and clothes were all encapsulated with dirt.

On the positive side was the road from Naran to Jalkhad. Excellent scenery as well as big water streams and waterfalls. Really enjoyed this.

But the best part was visiting the Babusar top as well as the path going towards it. Really beautiful scenery all around and very cold weather as well as white and soft snow for snow fighting.

 

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Taken on July 15, 2007