Tour Guide to KUMRAT Valley
“Kumrat, the truly Adventurists’ Paradise”
Lush green meadows, crystal clear water streams, blue water lakes, mesmerizing waterfalls, big tall trees, thick deodar forests, snow clad mountains, serene & peaceful & all this complemented by pleasant weather & hospitable people; Isn’t it heavenly description? Yes it is. It is KUMRAT.
KUMRAT valley, an addition of a new jewel to the crown of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa magnificent tourist destinations, is in district Upper Dir. It is truly adventure tourists’ paradise. The valley is stunningly beautiful having river streams, waterfalls, lakes & lush green meadows and deodar forests. The environment is very peaceful and serene. The Kumrat valley provides ample opportunities for adventure tourists for camping and trekking activities.
KUMRAT is increasingly becoming a popular summer tourist’s destination. Although the tourism culture is a new phenomenon to the valley of Kumrat as compared to its neighboring district of Swat where the tourism has become part of culture and the infrastructure to support tourism is well developed. But still, Kumrat being Pakhtun society, tourists are treated as guests and are welcome by the people as long as you show respect to their way of life and culture.
KUMRAT is a valley in the Upper Dir District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. Located in the foothills of the Hindu Kush Mountains & is surrounded by Chitral to the north, Ayun Valley to the West, Kalam Swat Valley to the East, and Lower Dir to the South. It is situated at about 11500 feet above sea level.
Kumrat, at an elevation of 11500 feet, you can expect only one season and that is winter, October to May is extreme winter, average temperature ranging from -4°C to -10°C with heavy snow & June to September is mild winter, average temperature ranging from 18°C to 22°C with intermittent showers. So if you are planning to adventure Kumrat, get warm clothing with you even if you are visiting Kumrat in the month of July. This might sound weird to some but this is true.
Tourism Infrastructure in Kumrat
As a new tourist destination, tourism infrastructure is very basic at the moment. Basic to Standard level hotels are available in Thal town, which is the major town in Upper Dir & is approximately 400 kilometers & about 8 to 9 hours drive from Islamabad in a private transport. Roads are built upto the Thal town & from Thal onward to Kumrat & Jahaz Banda, the area is accessible through off-road track suitable for 4×4 vehicles. Beyond Thal, in Kumrat forest and in the Jahaz Banda, camping facilities are available on rent but only in June, July, August & September.
How to Get to Kumrat?
The Kumrat valley in itself is undoubtedly beautiful but the journey towards Kumrat is long but enjoyable. One has to travel through green, fertile fields, terraced landscape, river streams, and hilly road tracks to reach Thal & Kumrat.
The Routes to Kumrat:
You can get to Kumart by two routes:
- Kumrat via Chakdara-Taimargara, coming through M1 (Peshawar) motorway then get onto newly built Swat motorway all the way to Chakdara interchange, or if coming on N95, at chakdara follow the route to Taimergara, Thal.
- Kumrat via Kalam, passing through Utror, Badogai & Lamooti experiencing its spectacular views reaching Kumrat. It is off road track suitable for 4 wheel drive and journey can take up to 7 hours.
Traveling to Kumrat in Public Transport
There is no direct public transport service for Kumrat from other cities of Pakistan; one has to travel to Taimergara, which is the capital city of District Dir and then get on to local transport from Taimergara to Thal town. You will find regular bus/coach service for Taimergara from all the major cities of Pakistan although the comfort and luxury level of it may be basic to standard. At the moment, there is no luxury bus service like Daewoo, Faisal Movers etc for Taimergara and which may change in the near future due to the influx of tourists. Most of the tourists travel with group tours or use their own transport to reach Kumrat.
Traveling to Kumrat in Private Vehicle
Starting from Islamabad, on M1 (Peshawar) motorway then get onto newly built Swat motorway all the way to Chakdara interchange. From chukdara follow the route to Taimergara, Dir. From Taimergara follow road to Sheringle & Thal, journey from Taimergara to Thal can take upto 4 hours. The town of Thal can be considered as basecamp for Kumrat Valley.
Accommodation in Kumrat
Thal town has few basic to standard category hotels available but the price may be quite high for its standard in peak summer season.
At Kumrat & Jahaz Banda you will have to stay in cabins, huts & camps. These facilities are available for rent in Kumrat forest and in Jahaz Banda meadows. You can do your own camping also. It is recommended that plan your trip through tour operator to facilitate you. Rates for tents/camps are normally per persons and 4 to 6 people accommodated in one tent. You will not find many hotels or restaurants in Kumrat Valley. So it is highly recommended that you take your own food. You can either self-cook or acquire the services of cook to do the cooking and washing. Traveling in group with tour operator companies could be the best option. They will take care of transport, tent, food etc.
Who shall visit Kumrat
KUMRAT is MUST SEE & one of the best adventure tourism destinations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Everyone shall visit Kumrat. I will explain why; because the most charming places are just 4 to 6 hours hike/trekking only, you have deodar forest and meadows for camping, Lakes, Waterfalls, Rivers, snow covered peaks. Like all other adventures, going to Kumrat could be physically demanding and therefore recommended for those who are physically fit to embark on the Kumrat adventure. If you feel the urge to explore nature at its best, You MUST visit Kumrat.
For families, however, Jeep access up to Kumrat forest could be feasible option but the real beauty of Kumrat at its best can be experienced in Jahaz Banda which involves 3 to 4 hours trekking to reach and doing camping that requires physical stamina & some level of toughness which some families might find bit of a struggle. But for those who are used to with adventure, then go for it.
Best time to Visit Kumrat
To enjoy the beautiful landscape of Kumrat Valley featured by green meadows, hilly terrain, snow clad mountains, and amazing water streams then June, July, August & September are the best months to visit Kumrat. You will still need to get wrapped up in warm clothing though.
Getting Around in Kumrat
Kumrat is mainly a trekking/hiking destination and has variety of beautiful sites so you need your own muscle power to get around in Kumrat. Although some areas are accessible by off road track, only 4 wheel drive vehicle can reach there. You can hire 4 Wheel drive jeeps in Thal town with ease. It is recommended to not go exploring Kumrat on your own in your vehicle even if you have 4 wheel drive vehicle. The roads are best learnt by the local drivers, so get their services. They can be hired on per trip or on daily basis, daily rent range for jeep can be in the range of 6000 to 8000 rupees depending on the time of the year and number of tourists. By the way these drivers are very good tour guides also.