Sheltered in the northernmost region of Pakistan, near the Indian border, lies the magnificent Neelum Valley. The valley is named after the Neelum River, which flows through its heart, and is a place of stunning organic beauty that is perfect for landscape lovers and quest hunters. The Neelum Valley has opportunities for everyone, including hiking, fishing, white-water rafting, and kayaking.
In this blog, we’ll dive into the top sites to visit in the Neelum valley, provide necessary information on how to get there from different locations, and discuss some of the best activities to enjoy during your trip.
Location of Neelum Valley
The Neelum Valley is in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir region around 2,000 meters above sea level and is bordered by soaring mountain ranges. If you are seeking to escape the heat of the plains, you will find the valley to be a suitable hideaway because of its reputation for having a cold, sensible atmosphere.
Top places to go
Kutton Jagran Lake:
This stunning mountain lake is beside the Neelum Valley road and is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain vistas. The lake is a well-liked location for family outings, photo sessions, and fishing. The lake is a short hike away from the Kel.
The Neelum River is in the center of the Neelum valley and is home to a variety of fish, including the famous Himalayan trout. The river is a trendy location for kayaking and white-water rafting, and it has some exciting rapids for skilled paddlers. Multiple tour operators in the valley offer guided rafting and kayaking trips on the river.
Rati Gali Lake:
Ratti Gali Lake is a high-altitude glacial lake in Neelum Valley popular for its crystal-clear waters. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is a popular tourist spot for outdoor activities.
Hiking trails in Neelum Valley:
There are multiple hiking trails in Neelum valley that range from peaceful walks to more demanding treks into the hilltops. Most of the popular trails lead to picturesque viewpoints and mountain lakes, such as Kutton Jagran Lake. The valley is also home to one of the world’s highest mountain passes, the Babusar Pass, which offers incredible views of the adjacent peaks and is a popular spot for trekkers and wildlife photographers.
I have mentioned some other places worth visiting around Neelum Valley:
- Dhani waterfall
- Toli Pir
- Taobat village
How to get a Pakistani Visa
To visit Neelum valley, you will need to have a Pakistani visa. Follow the steps below to get a Pakistani Visa:
- Figure out what type of visa you need: Pakistan offers several types of visas, including tourist visas, business visas, and student visas. The visa fee varies depending on the requirements.
- Check if you need a visa: Many Asian and western countries have visa-free access to Pakistan, so citizens of those countries do not need to apply for a visa to visit Pakistan. You can check if your country is on the list of countries with visa-free access to Pakistan by visiting the Pakistani Ministry of Interior.
- Find the nearest Pakistani consulate or embassy: Pakistani consulates and embassies oversee issuing visas to foreigners. You can find the nearest Pakistani mission or embassy by visiting the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Submit your visa application: You can apply for Pakistan Visa online by visiting Pakistan Visa Portal. Simply create an account and follow the instruction and complete your visa application. You may also need the required visa fee.
As of now, Israeli passport holders can’t visit Pakistan. If you want to visit, you have to apply with your second passport if you have any. Pakistan along with some other Asian and Arab countries does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and does not issue visas to Israeli passport holders.
Indian citizens can visit Pakistan with a proper visa. The visa requirements and fees for Indian citizens may vary, so please contact the Pakistani Embassy or visit their website to be sure.
How to go to Neelum Valley from the US and India
To visit the Neelum Valley from the United States, you will have to fly to Pakistan’s Islamabad. Various international airlines operate on this route. Then, you can either take a domestic flight to Muzaffarabad or take a bus or private car to the valley. The Neelum Valley is only a 5 hours drive away from the Muzaffarabad airport.
And if you are from India, you will need to fly to Lahore or Karachi. You can take a domestic flight to Muzaffarabad or take a bus or private car to the valley. The journey from Muzaffarabad to the Neelum Valley takes around 4-5 hours by car.
Things to do
Go Angling in Neelum Valley:
The Neelum river and its streams are home to a variety of fish, including the famous Himalayan trout, making it a popular spot for angling. Whether you’re a veteran angler or a learner, you’ll find plenty of chances to cast your way in the valley.
Hike to scenic viewpoints:
The Neelum Valley is close to multiple trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints and mountain lakes. The Kutton Jagran Lake trail and the Babusar Pass trail are two of the most popular trails. The trails offer panoramic views of the nearby peaks and mountains.
Go rafting or kayaking:
The Neelum River is a very popular spot for rafting and kayaking. You will find several challenging waterfalls that provide an exhilarating ride for experienced canoeists. Some of the tour operators in the valley offer guided rafting and kayaking trips on the river.
Explore the villages in Neelum Valley:
The Neelum Valley hosts a few small villages, each with its own distinctive culture and rituals. Dowarian, Sharda, and Kel are some of the most popular villages here. You can visit these villages to learn about the local way of life and meet the welcoming locals who call the Neelum valley home.
The Neelum Valley is a must-visit tourist spot for anyone traveling to Pakistan. Whether you’re looking for adventure, recreation, or a chance to feel the charisma of nature, you’ll find it all in the Neelum Valley.
NB: Remember to always dispose of your trash properly while traveling, because leaving it behind just makes you a garbage person.