The Swat Valley is easily accessible from both Peshawar and Islamabad. From Islamabad you can follow GT Road to Nowshehra and then drive north to Mardan. The road over the Malakand Pass passes the extraordinary Buddhist remains in Takht-e-Bahi, 13 km from Mardan. The remains are the most amazing, exciting, and imposing relics of Buddhism in Pakistan, dating from the 2nd to the 5th century AD. Best Lahore vacation packages by Hitch A Hike are announced for Travel Lovers. Our packages inclusive of all expenditures and facilities.
From Takht-e-Bahi, the road continues north through fertile landscapes. The nearest major city is Dargai. Then the road climbs steadily up to the Malakand Pass. On the way up there are good views south into the Peshawar valley. The road descends gently from the pass and reaches the market town of Bat Khela, which is spread over a large area. From Bat Khela the road follows the Swat River and the landscape is green and fertile. The road is lined with trees. In spring, the orchards are blooming and in summer the rice fields are ready for harvest. July is peach time and the farmers are setting up stalls along the roadside.
There is also a bridge over the Swat River to Chakdarra, which marks the border with the district of Dir, and the beginning of the route to Dir and Chitral via the Lowari Pass. The road continues through fertile fields and reaches Mingora, the largest city in Swat. It lies with its sister city Saidu Sharif, the administrative capital of Swat. The twin cities have now joined forces to form the largest urban center in Swat, and Mingora in particular is severely overburdened. Both are 300 meters above sea level and are very hot in summer.
At a distance of 13 km from Saidu Shaif, at the top of the Saidu Valley, is Marghzar, the former summer palace of the Wali of Swat. Swat’s entire administration was transferred to the Safed Mahal (White Palace) for the season. The White Palace is now a luxury hotel and is idyllically situated at the top of the valley.
From Mingora, the highway heads north and follows the river. In Manglaur, the first city north of Mingora, a paved road turned right to Malam Jabba. Malam Jabba is the most promising mountain resort of Swat with a height of over 800 m. It is a ski resort with an average of 6 to 10 feet of snow per year. There are excellent views of the main Swat valley and some pleasant walks in the area.
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