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A Complete Kalam valley Travel Guide to Plan an Ultimate Trip

Kalam Valley Travel Guide

Representing the northern upper section of scenic Swat Valley, Kalam is something straight out of a fairy tale. It has lush green forest, picturesque villages, crystal clear lakes, rivers boasting shades of blue, beautiful waterfalls, and some of the craziest scenery you’ve ever seen.

Being one of the most beautiful places to visit in Pakistan and KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), it has friendly locals and great weather. This stunning valley offers plenty of things to do, lots of gorgeous nature outside, several things to see, and much more. With this Kalam Valley travel guide, we will give an overview of this valley and everything you need to know before traveling here — when to visit at its most magnificent, what to pack, best places to visit, where to stay, what to do, and how to get there. Let’s get into it!

About Kalam Valley

Located in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Kalam is one of the most picturesque valleys of Pakistan, which is at a distance of 62 miles from Mingora city. It is included in the list of most visited places in Pakistan for nature lovers and tourists due to its mountains, lakes, rich flora and fauna, forests, and more. 

Its climate is comparatively warm, so you can explore it in all seasons, even in colder months, without facing the frigid temperatures that most northern areas experience in winter. The forest in Kalam Valley, like very few other mountainous places in the world, is especially the Ushu forest along the Kalam River. From the blue water lakes and beautiful Boyun Village, lush green hills to Desan Meadows, bustling Kalam Bazar, to Ushu Forest, this valley has a lot to offer. It is surrounded by Bahrain Valley in the South, Utror in the west, and Matiltan in the northeast. Kalam also shares boundaries with Chitral and District Dir. It takes roughly 7 hours to get there by road from the capital city, Islamabad, depending on road conditions and traffic. 

History of Kalam valley

History, Language, and Culture

Kalam is located in the upper Swat district, and the history of Swat Valley dates back to 2000 years. It had a rough past when the Pakistan Taliban took control of the Swat district. This affected the tourism industry in the area, which supported many jobs for locals. The predominant language spoken in Kalm Valley is Gawari, an Indo-Aryan language that is spoken in the mountain areas of north Pakistan. Pashu is also spoken in this area, adding linguistic diversity to the cultural landscape. Kalam Valley is home to various ethnic groups, including Swatis, Khowar, and Gujars. Each group contributes to the cultural diversity of the region, preserving unique traditions and customs. Shalwar kameez is worn by both men and women, often adorned with intricate embroidery.

Weather and climate

Kalam Valley has a mild and generally warm, humid subtropical climate. The average temperature hovers around 13.4 °C, with an annual rainfall of approximately 639 mm.

November is the driest month, while April is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of 93 mm. July records the highest average temperature at 24.1 °C, making it the hottest month. January endures the colder temperatures, although you will find many tourists in the area during that season. The average temperature in January is 1.5 °C. It’s accessible in all seasons due to its warm, humid, and mild climate.

The best time to visit

Kalam valley is frequented by local tourists from the southern part of the country to get away from the city without going too far north because it is accessible in any season.

You can visit this picturesque valley the whole year around. However, visiting it from June to September and November to December is recommended. Most tourists visit this place in the summer months. If you want to avoid huge crowds of tourists, plan your trip in autumn. During the peak summer season, the hotel rate and fare are unreasonably expensive. 

Required clothing

The clothing required for Kalam Valley depends on the season and weather conditions. Here are general recommendations:

During Winter:

The coldest average temperatures of the season are typically experienced in January in Kalam Valley. If you make the trip in the colder season, here are the items you need to pack:

  • Fleece jackets
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Warm pants
  • Winter Jacket or coat
  • Sturdy and waterproof boots suitable for snow.
  • Snow goggle

During Summer:

Summer in Kalam is pleasant, making it a great time to head to this beautiful place to explore its beauty. Here is what you need:

  • Lightweight and breathable clothing.
  • T-shirts, and comfortable trousers.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat 
  • Walking shoes
  • Breathable footwear or sandals
  • Rain jacket, as occasional rainfall can occur.

During Spring:

 In spring, Kalam Valley experiences mild temperatures. Make sure you pack these on your trip:

  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • A light jacket or a fleece jacket
  • Socks
  • Walking shoes
  • Rain jacket

Kalam Valley Location and Geography

As mentioned earlier, Kalam Valley is located in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province’s upper Swat district. It is bordered by Utror to the west, Bahrain to the south, Matiltan to the northeast, and Kalam Swat Valley to the east.

The valley is surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Hindu-Kush ranges, offering breathtaking panoramic views. It is known for its rich biodiversity. Dense forests of pine and cedar trees cover the hillsides, contributing to the valley’s vibrant and green environment. North of Bahrain, it widens into an area surrounded by mountain peaks, which are covered with a variety of wildflowers and forests of deodar, pine, and fir. 

While you are there

travel guide to Places in Kalam

Representing the north side of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kalam is the most visited place in Swat. Lush green, serene, ever-expanding, and with scenery framed by towering mountains. 

Reaching this scenic valley is not hard; that’s why it is on every tourist’s bucket list. Unlike Skardu and Hunza, this region has a lot of tourist infrastructure to accommodate them. This verdant mountainous place has truly amazing places that must be seen. Here are some of the best places to visit in Kalam while you are there:

Shahi Bagh

Sahi Bagh is a scenic island amid the towering mountains, which is famous for its blue water lake, green trees, and milky streams. It is just 30km away from the Kalam. This mesmerizing place offers plenty of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and more. 

Jag Banal Meadows

Kalam Valley’s scenic beauty is enhanced by the majestic five-finger peaks, which create a captivating landscape. These peaks are surrounded by meandering mountain trails and green meadows, offering enchanting views. It is just 10 kilometers away from the main Kalam town, making it the most accessible tourist spot in Kalam Valley. 

Mahodand Lake

Mahogany Lake is an emerald green lake which is situated in Ushu, Matiltan Valley. It can be accessed via jeep. The road leading to this lake is well-developed. Perched between towering mountains, this lake is known for its serene environment and abundance of trout fish, particularly brown and rainbow trout. Yellow and pink followers around this lake enhance its beauty. Tourists can enjoy boat rides and horse riding.  

Kalam Bazaar

Kalam Bazaar is small, unlike Skardu Bazaar, which is famous for its gem and craft souvenir stores. You can find hotels, restaurants, and handicraft shops in this bazaar.

Boyun Village 

If you want to witness unspoiled nature, there is no better place than Boyun Village in Kalam, which is situated a 45-minute drive from Kalam town. You can plan a one-day trip to this village, which is famous for its friendly locals and stunning landscape.  

guide to Places in Kalam

Ushu Forest

 The well-preserved Ushu Forest, abundant with deodar trees, offers a delightful escape. The road leading through the forest extends to various villages along the Kalam River. This forest comes on the way to Pakistan’s most visited Mahodand Lake, which is located just 27 kilometers from it. You can camp in the forest or stay at its camping site.

Blue Water

Located at a distance of about 7 km from Kalam, Blue Water is located in Anakar Village and can be accessed via a bridge on the way to Utror. Known for its blue-color lake, Blue Water offers visitors many exciting activities like boating, camping near the lake, star gazing, and trekking. It’s best to plan your trip between July and August to avoid harsh winter conditions.

Utror:

Utror is a popular tourist attraction in Kalam Valley, which is just 15 km away from Kalam town. The convergence of Gabral and Utror streams adds to its charm. The valley boasts wooden bridges, walnut trees, and riverside hotels with stunning views. Mirror-like Izmis Lake and heart-stopping mountain vistas while trekking to Kundol Lake are its highlights. 

Matiltan Waterfall

Matiltan Waterfall originates from the upper Matiltan area, which is just 15km away from the main downtown Kalam. Surrounded by the Hindu Kush Mountains, this tourist spot is located on the route to the famous Mahudand Lake, which is just a half-hour drive away from this hidden cascade. It is a great place to unwind and admire its natural beauty. 

Some other best places to visit in Kalam Valley include Kundol Lake, Saifullah Lake, Spinkhor Lake, and Desan Meadows.  

Things to do in Kalam Valley

Kalam valley is one of the top tourist attractions of Swat that offers several things to do. Known for its lakes, this valley also lets you find lots of gorgeous nature outside, enjoy the rich flavors of trout fish, and admire the beauty of unspoiled nature. Here are some of the best things to do in Kalam Valley:

Eat fresh fish and enjoy boating into Mohodand Lake

Eat Fresh Fish in kalam valley

Mohodand Lake is the top attraction of this valley, thanks to its picturesque beauty and abundance of trout fish. It offers plenty of exciting activities, including horse riding, boating on the lake, fishing, and kayaking. The type of fish you will find here is trout fish, which offers rich flavors and tastes, especially when grilled and seasoned with local spices. If you want to visit more shimmering blue water lakes with expansive landscapes, you can visit Hunza Valley in Gilgit Baltistan.  

Camping at Kundol Lake

Kundol Lake is surrounded by the celestial and snow-capped mountains of Hindu Kush in Utror Valley. Visitors can indulge in various activities such as sailing, fishing and camping. Visitors can camp by the lake and spend a night under the stars. However, this lake is only accessible in summer as the road leading to it is closed during colder months due to heavy snow. 

Enjoy the serenity of Ushu Forest

If you want to explore the wilderness, observe wildlife, and engage in activities like hiking or simply relaxing amidst the natural surroundings, there is nothing like making a day trip to Ushu forest. It is just 8km away from Kalam town and can be accessed by jeep. Enjoy the serenity of this alpine forest, where the stress of the outside world fades away. Find solace in soltitude as you wander amidst the lush greenery and breathe in the crisp mountain air. Listen to the natural music created by the pine trees when a breeze comes and passes through them. 

Go on trekking in Utror:

Go on trekking in Utror

You can find both short and long treks in and around Kalam, and Utror features some of the best trekking trails, ranging from easy to challenging. You can trek to the famous Kundol Lake, Gabral, and Matiltan. The trekking season in Kalam begins in June and ends in September. However, you can go on short trekking in May and October when the temperature feels colder.

Cool Off at Matiltan Waterfall:

Located on the way to Mahodand Lake, Matiltan or Ushu Waterfall is a popular place to visit outside of Kalam Valley. This mighty waterfall falling from the height surrounded by lush green mountains offers heart-stopping views, making it a good place to have a picnic. It is a great spot to unwind and enjoy nature. It is just situated a two-hour drive from Kalam.

Explore the Boyun Village

Boyun Village is a great place to go on a day trip, which offers a panoramic view of the valley below. It can be accessible by a 45-minute short drive from Kalam or an easy uphill walk from the main town.

Admire the beauty of Jag Banal & Desan Meadows

A short drive from Kalam is the picturesque jag Banal Meadows, which is a lovely place and famed for its majestic five peaks. Similarly, Desan Meadows is known for their wildlife and breathtaking views of mountains and valleys. If you are in need of greenery, explore these bucolic meadows are the thing to do near Kalam. Spring and summer are the best time to visit Jag Banal and Desan Meadows.

Kalam Valley Food

Kalam is a part of Swat Valley, where local cuisines are non-spicy compared to other regions of Pakistan like Punjab and Sindh. Local people love meat-based dishes like Lamb Karahi, Chicken Tikka, Mutton Ribs, Trout Fish, Dum Pukhat, and more. Similarly, rice dishes like Kabli Pulao, Chukanr or Green Rice, and Sajji are also quite popular dishes in Kalam. Some other savory dishes include lamb with spinach and Chamagil. 

Best Restaurants in Kalam Valley

1-Café De Janz2-Aroma Restaurant Kalam3-Yaseen Hotel & Restaurant4– Parbat Hotel & Restaurant
5-Kalam River view-Desi Food Point
Address: FHFR+M8M, Kalam, Swat, Khyber PakhtunkhwaAddress: The Mall Road Kalam district swat. Kalam, Pakistan.Address: FHMQ+322, Kalam, Swat, Khyber PakhtunkhwaAddress: FHFQ+W5M, Jalbanr Rd, Kalam, Swat, Khyber PakhtunkhwaAddress: FHFR+JCH, Kalam, Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Phone: 0333 5399939Phone: 0312 8672013Phone: 0311 8799800
Phone: 0348 0957232Phone: NA
Best Restaurants in Kalam Valley

Kalam Valley Shopping

Known for its handicraft shops, Kalam Bazar is a great place to buy tribal jewelry, shawls, and jackets with rich embroidery and local handcrafts that even a shopping freak will get satisfied to the fullest. You can buy one-of-a-kind home décor items and ethnic apparel from this bazaar. You can even buy souvenirs to remember your trip. Not only you can enjoy visiting these handicraft shops, but you will also get the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and drink tea to throw out your fatigue. 

Festivals in Kalam Valley

 The Kalam festival, usually held in July or August every year, lasts for a month. It draws tourists to the beautiful Kalam Valley, offering a vibrant celebration that highlights the region’s rich cultural heritage. 

All-night folk singing performances are the highlight of this festival, which showcases the musical heritage of this region. The participants don vivid traditional attire made from vibrant, colorful fabrics designed specifically for such festive occasions. 

How to travel to Kalam Valley

How to travel to Kalam Valley

You can get to this scenic valley by road or air. Roads leading to Kalam Valley are well developed, and the nearest airport is Saidu Sharif Airport, which resumed its flight operation after 17 years in 2021.   

Travel to Kalam Valley by Road

Let’s have a look at how to reach there by road from major cities: 

From Islamabad

Kalam Town is located at a distance of 350km from the capital city. The most efficient mode of travel is by taxi or coach. It takes around 4 hours from Islamabad to Kalam via Malakand and Mardan along the bank of the Swat River, passing through Charbagh, Madyan, and Bahrain to beautiful Kalam Valley. 

Distance from Islamabad to Kalam: 350km via Mardan on the bank of the Swat River

From Lahore

You can either ride in your own car or get to Kalam via coach. Various transportation services carry passengers to northern areas. You can book your tickets to Swat and then hire a taxi from Swat to Kalam. If you’re considering a road trip to this sub-valley of Swat from Lahore, you can opt to stay in Islamabad for a relaxing break before continuing your journey onward to Kalam.

Distance From Lahore to Kalam: 671km via M2and it will take around 10 hours to reach there if you don’t want to stay in Islamabad.

From Swat

The N-95 route, starting from Mingora, is the most convenient road to get to Kalam from Swat. This road, along with the Swat River, leads to Kalam and will take one hour to reach your final destination. 

Distance from Swat to Kalam: 32km

By Air

Saidu Sharif Airport is the nearest airport to Kalam Valley, which is situated at a distance of 91km via Bahrain road from Kalam. Take a flight to Saidu Sharif Airport and then travel a distance of 91km to Kalam Valley, which will take around 3 hours. You can rent a car or use public transport to reach Kalam.

Where to stay in Kalam Valley

Kalam Valley offers various adventurous activities and lets you unwind in nature. There are many hotels in Kalam Valley that make your trip comfortable and memorable. Here is the list of the best hotels in Kalam Swat: 

Walnut Heights by Roomy

Walnut Heights by Roomy

This exclusive hotel is one of the luxury hotels in Kalam, which offers a homely atmosphere, peace, and privacy to its guests. Its Swiss-type chalet-inspired building is perched among pine trees. It is located 4.3 miles away from the hustle and bustle of Kalam bazaar. Guests can relish delicious food at its restaurant. A free-parking facility is also available in this hotel. Above all, it provides easy access to the most famous tourist spots like Kundol Lake and Ushu Forest. 
Address: FH8F+2V4, Kalam, Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Besham Hilton Hotel by LMC

Besham Hilton Hotel, by LMC, is a mid-budget hotel that offers all the facilities that travelers need. All rooms feature a flat-screen TV and seating area. Free Wi-Fi, car hire, and free parking services are also available for guests. This property has an on-site restaurant, family rooms and a garden. 
Address: Mall Road, Kalam, Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Besham Hilton Hotel by LMC

Lokal Rooms x Kalam Valley

Located at Demanchi Hotel Tahseel Road Kalam, this 3-star hotel offers various facilities, such as room service, free Wi-Fi, free parking, and housekeeping. All rooms feature flat TVs. The ambiance is cozy and comfortable. From panoramic rooms to one-bedroom cottages and deluxe rooms to suites, there are plenty of options for guests to choose from. 

Address:  Demanchi Hotel Tahseel Road Kalam near State Continental 

Hotel Kalam, Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,

Woodridge Cottages Kalam

If you want to stay in downtown Kalam, there is no better mid-budget hotel than Woodridge Cottages Kalam. It is located in the main bazaar of Kalam before the exit bridge. It features a wood interior and has 16 rooms. It comes with a restaurant, terrace, and garden.  

Address: Main Bazar just before the Exit Bridge Mall Road, Kalam

Woodridge Cottages Kalam

Other accommodations

The Glamping Spot Kalam

The Glamping Spot Kalam

Living in the mountains surrounded by pine trees is more than a dream for a traveler. The glamping spot Kalam offers all the peace you need on your gateway. It is located on Ushu Road, far from the madding crowd, and provides all the needed conveniences. All units are fitted with a dishwasher, a fridge, and a kettle. Guests can also enjoy scrumptious food at its restaurant.  
Address:  Utror road Ushu forest Kalam, 19011 Kalam, Pakistan

FAQs

What are the best activities to do in Kalam Valley?

From camping to boating and trekking to fishing, Kalam offers various activities for adventure seekers and nature lovers. 

 What are the top attractions in Kalam Valley?

Top attractions in Kalam Valley include Ushu Forest, Mahodand Lake, Kandol Lake, Matiltan Waterfall, Shahi Bagh, Utror, Desan and Jag Banal meadows. 

What is the best time to visit Kalam Valley?

Summer months witness the blooming flowers and lush greenery. So, visiting this place between May and September is the best time to enjoy pleasant weather and admire the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. 

How can one reach Kalam Valley from major cities in Pakistan?

Kalam Valley is easily accessible by road and by air. Tourists can reach Kalam by public transport or in their own cars from Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar. Saidu Sharif Airport is the nearest airport to get to Kalam by air.

What is Special in Kalam Valley?

Kalam Valley is famous for its lakes and forests. Swat River, Ushu Forest, and Mohodand Lake are some highlights of this mountainous region. 

How far is Kalam Valley from Swat?

There is a distance of 32km between Swat and Kalam town, which is around 1 hour drive time. 

What is the distance between Peshawar and Kalam Valley?

Kalam is at a distance of 290km from Peshawar city. If you are traveling to Kalam by road, it will take more than 6 hours to reach via M-16.

Which network works in Kalam Valley?

Telenor and Zong are the service providers in Kalam Valley.  

Can we go to Kalam by car?

Yes, you can go to Kalam in your own car as the roads leading to Kalam are well-developed and in good condition. 

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