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Swat is a stunning valley and a famous tourist destination located in the upper north region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. Swat district is situated at a distance of 247 Km (153 Miles) from the capital city of Islamabad at an approximate travel time of a little over 3 hours via the M1 and M16 Swat Motorway.



Swat is best known as the Switzerland of the east and is commonly known as “Paradise on the Earth” for its spectacular natural beauty spread across its area of 5,337 km2 (2,061 sq. mi.).

The upper Swat is specifically famous for its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Swat is renowned for its lush green scenic landscapes, alpine snow-peaked mountains, clear water springs & streams, and picturesque meadows. In addition, the pollution-free atmosphere, inviting weather, charming & hospitable people, winter sports activities, and its well-known ski resort are also among the prominent captivating features of Swat.

Until 1969 Swat remained an affluent and independent sovereign state known as “The Yusafzai State of Swat”. During the British empire’s invasion and rule of the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947, Swat remained free and independent. The proud local Yusafzai Pashtuns kept Swat in their total control.

The State of Swat willingly merged with Pakistan on 14 October 1969. This unification occurred after 22 years when Pakistan eventually achieved independence from British rule in 1947.

About Swat

Official Name: SWATOfficial Status: Swat District
Tourism Name: Swat ValleyAncient Name: Udyana / Oddiyana
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PakistanCoordinates: 35°12′N 72°29′E
State Era Name: State of SwatAlias: The Yousafzai State of Swat
Independent Ruling: Until 1969Merger with Pakistan: July 1969
Nickname (1): Switzerland of the EastNickname (2): Paradise on the earth
Total Area: 5,337 km2 (2,061 sq mi)Population: (2017 Census): 2,309,570

The Geography of Swat

In history and modern days, Swat has been an important central location for business and tourism. Because of its central position in the northern areas of Pakistan, Swat also serves as a corridor and base station for the other tourist locations in the north.

Swat shares its borders with Chitral in the northwest, Dir in the west, Malakand in the south, and Buner in the southeast. Also, Shangla in the east, Kohistan in the northeast, and Gilgit-Baltistan in the north.

The History of Swat

Despite being geographically isolated by mountains in the past, this beautiful valley remained a dominant interacting place for the important civilizations of the world. Throughout the history of Swat, the valley linked China with Central Asia and Europe. Alexander the Great, Mahmood of Ghazni, and Mughal king Babar entered India via the lower part of this region.

Buddhism in Swat

Swat remained a favourite place the many Chinese Buddhist travellers. Fa-hsien (403 AD), Sung Yun (519 AD), Hsuan.-tsang (630 AD), and Wu-kung (752 AD) visited Swat through the present Shangla pass after crossing the Hindukush mountains.

The 7th century buddha in Swat

The 7th-century buddha in Swat

These Buddhist travellers in the past described Swat as scenic and fertile land. Because of the beautiful landscape, the abundance of produce, and the inviting climate, several Buddhists stayed in this rejoin for an extended period.

Many Buddhists built stupas, temples, and monasteries here and called it home, others Buddhist travellers used it as transit from the Hindukush mountains to the Indian subcontinent.

In Butkara Swat, near the present Mmgora, under the strata of the Buddhist period, Italian archaeologists found tombs also showing a long occupation of the site. Thus, the scientific analysis of a skull, probably one of the most ancient inhabitants of the valley, indicates a Torwali human type similar to the present inhabitants of Swat Kohistan.

Asoka issued a large number of edicts inscribed on rock surfaces and converted to the Buddhist religion. During his reign and under his patronage, some of the greatest Buddhist art was produced. Asoka is said to have started the tradition of setting up Stupas to enshrine the relics upon the Buddha and his disciples.

The Archaeology of Swat

The Swat’s archaeology consists of spectacular ancient remains of the valley such as stupas, monasteries, viharas, forts, castles, petroglyphs, carvings, rock inscriptions, painted shelters, and, stele scattered across the swat. The archaeological materials excavated from several hundred archaeological sites bear testimony of Swat’s cultural relations with the East and West spanning over the 5000 years of its history.

Swat the Switzerland of Asia

In 1961 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited The Yousafzai State of Swat. They were hosted by Wali of Swat Major-General Miangul Jahanzeb (The King of Swat State) among the sunlit, snow-covered mountains at Saidu Sharif the capital of Swat State.

During her visit to Swat, Queen Elizabeth expressed her thoughts on the similarities between the snow-capped mountains and the scenic beauty of Swat and Switzerland. The Queen found a great resemblance between Swat and Switzerland and therefore, she called Swat the “Switzerland of the East”

1961 - From left Miangul Jahanzeb (Wali/ King of Swat State), Prince Philip, and Queen Elizabeth II

1961 – From left Miangul Jahanzeb (Wali/ King of Swat State), Prince Philip, and Queen Elizabeth II

The royal couple had come for a two-day stay, during which the Duke joined in two shooting expeditions. While the Duke was hunting, the Queen visited Swat Museum to inspect relics of the Buddhist period excavated by an Italian expedition.

Later, dressed in slacks, she drove out to join the shooting party. During her visit, the Queen sent Winston Churchill a telegram saying: “Greetings from Malakand”. A young Churchill saw his first war at Malakand Pass in 1897 but couldn’t succeed to conquer Swat.

The popularity of Swat

Swat is famous for its natural wonders which include its breathtaking diverse landscape and natural wildlife. Swat has numerous scenic countryside, lush forests, and impressive high-peak mountains. This all provides a suitable natural habitat for wildlife as well as attracts tourists.

Other popular features of swat are; its spectacular freshwater lakes, rivers, springs, waterfalls, and its pleasant weather. This collectively makes it a safe haven for tourism in Pakistan.

Tourist activities in summer and winter are also well-known features of swat. Swat in summer is popular for hiking, trekking, camping, ziplining, chairlift/cable car riding, general holiday making, and honeymoon trips.

In winter sports activities in swat make it the most famous and enjoyable tour destination in Pakistan. National and international tourists visit swat in winter [2,804 meters (9,199 ft)] to enjoy skiing, ice skating, sledging, ice hockey, bandy, snowboarding, speed skating, curling, etc.

Virtual Tour of Swat

The swat virtual tour is an illustration of information intended for the prospective tourist audience. The purpose of the virtual tour is to provide you with information about swat including weather, accommodation, hospitality, and famous tourist locations. This guide aims to provide you with free and accurate information so that you enjoy your travel and stay safe.

A beautiful landscape of Swat

The beautiful landscape of Swat

Let’s enjoy a free virtual tour of the breathtaking swat valley. We will explore its history, heritage, culture, people, food, and tourist attractions.

Saidu Sharif (The Capital)

Saidu Sharif served as the political headquarter and administrative capital of the Swat district since the inception of the State and maintained that status till the merger of the State. Being the capital city, Saidu Sharif hosts the swat central government offices, professional educational institutes, healthcare facilities, etc.

The Saidu Sharif Stupa (excavations in 1963 – 1982) is a reminder of Buddhist presence in swat. This is evidence of Buddhists in the swat between 25 BCE and the end of the 1st century. Another important tourist attraction in Saidu Sharif is the Swat Museum which displays thousands of objects from the Buddha era as well as historic artefacts of the pre-Buddhist era.

Mingora Bazar (The Business Centre)

Mingora Bazar is the central business hub of swat which is adjacent to Saidu Sharif at a 2.6 km (1.6 miles) distance. People around the valley come to the downtown Mingora bazaar (Market) for shopping and other business activities.

Mingora city in Swat

Mingora city in Swat

The hustle and bustle of the Mingora market continue until late at night. In the city centre, the locals alongside the tourists enjoy shopping and dining until late at night. Mingora Bazar is a convenient place for tourists to say or get prepared and do last-minute shopping while they are on the move to the more adventurous areas of swat. There are thousands of shops in Mingora city that day long offer merchandise for sale.

Mingora has a variety of hotels, restaurants, takeaways, cafes, and western food outlets offering both local as well as fast food.

The District of Swat 

Swat District is one of the seven administrative districts of the Malakand Division. The district and its administrative management fall under the territory of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan.

The administration of the Swat District governs its territory and serves as a capital for the Malakand Division overall. Thus administratively governs all seven districts of Malakand Division i.e. Buner District, Chitral District, Lower Dir District, Upper Dir District, Malakand District, Shangla District, and Swat District.

Swat District has a total of seven subdivisions (aka Tehsils) i.e. Babuzai, Matta, Khwaza Khela, Barikot, Kabal, Charbagh, and Bahrain. Each Tehsil comprises a certain number of Union councils. There are 65 Union councils in District Swat i.e. 56 rural and 9 urban. Under the new local government system, the District Swat manages 67 wards. This further subdivides 170 village councils and 44 neighbourhood councils.

The Mountain of Swat

Swat is also famous for its majestic mountains located among the foothills of the Hindukush mountain range where you can go hiking, trekking, walking, and even meditating. The elevation of the Swat river valley, at the southern boundaries of the district, is over 600 m and rises rapidly towards the north.

There are several mountain peaks ranging from 4500 to over 6000 m above sea level. The Swat region, containing the meandering Swat River, is also home to lush green valleys, snow-covered glaciers, forests, meadows, and plains. The district has varying geology.

The Lakes of Swat

Swat is blessed with nature’s beautiful lakes. Its mesmerizing lakes not only add to the scenic beauty but are also popular attractions among visitors and locals for fishing, hiking, water sports or simply relaxing in the beauty of nature. Lakes in Swat carry a rich history with them, and great tales of myths add to the magic of their landscapes.

The breathtaking views of the beauty of lakes in Swat and it’s freshwaters make them a perfect stop. The swat has numerous ponds and many majestic large freshwater lakes. The valley has nearly 35 famous lakes, each of them being unique with its lure and sparkling landscapes. These lakes are home to numerous species of plants and wildlife.

The Yousafzai Tribe of Swat

The people of swat are mostly of Pashtun (Pashtun) ethnic group native to Afghanistan. They are the Afghan Yusafzai tribe (Yousafzai tribe), which migrated from Afghanistan five hundred years ago and settled in Swat. For this very reason, the people of Swat have retained their particular tribal culture and characteristics to this day.

The local people of Swat are very friendly, they take great interest in the tourists. You will often find local people holding friendly conversations with tourists. Their love for swat is usually a great topic for the locals to discuss, especially the glory days of the swat state and related stories told by their grandparents.

As a tourist, you will find it very easy to exchange information with the local people, they are perhaps as curious about you and your foreign culture as much as you are about swat or its inhabitants. Pashtun people overall are very honest, straightforward, and outspoken which is why you will mostly find them direct in tone.

The population of swat is roughly 2,309,570 according to the most recent census held in 2017, with 90.28% Pashtun and 8.67% Kohistani inhabitants. Based on these numbers population-wise Swat is the 15th biggest district of Pakistan.

Languages Spoken in Swat

The Mother Tongue of Swat is Pashto which is widely spoken across the valley. Other languages that are widely understood in Swat are Urdu, English, and Persian. As an English-speaking tourist, you will always easily find someone local who will communicate with you in the English Language.

Weather & Climate of Swat

Snowfall in Swat

Snowfall in Swat

The Swat weather actually tends to be quite moderate and changeable but is rarely extremely hot. Despite being a relatively small valley, one of the most surprising things about the Swat climate is just how much it varies from one region to another. You might experience ‘four seasons in one day, but travel 20-30 minutes in any direction, and the weather is generally completely different! When it is Spring season in Swat, you can expect average maximum temperatures to range from approximately 7°C (45°F) to 13 °C (55°F) during the months of March, April, and May.

Summer months in Swat i.e. June, July, and August are normally the warmest months, with average maximum temperatures ranging from approximately 15°C (59°F) to 17°C (63 °F). In the Autumn (or Fall), Swat is likely to experience temperatures ranging from around 8°C (46°F) to 14°C (57°F) from September to November.

December, January, and February are generally the coldest months in Swat, with the average maximum temperature usually around 5°C (41°F).

Swat’s Climate Data for Mingora City (Lower SWAT)swat climate data for Mingora city lower SWAT

Swat’s Climate Data for Kalam Valley (Upper SWAT)swat climate data for kalam valley in upper SWATSwat’s Climate Data for Saidu Sharif (Lower SWAT)swat climate data for Saidu Sharif lower SWAT

When is the Best Time to Visit Swat

Considering the 365 days a year, from the mid of March till the end of May is the best time to visit Swat when the weather is mostly mild. June till the end of August is generally a more suitable time to visit swat when the lower regions of Pakistan are under intense heat waves and shelter in this refreshingly cool valley is needed the most. The best time for skiing and other winter sports is from December till the end of February when especially the upper regions of swat are under a good snow cover which makes it ideal for skiing and winter sports activities.

In conclusion, March to November is a more ideal time to visit swat for family tours with children, school holidays, city breaks, shot & weekend breaks, etc. December till February is the best time to visit Swat for winter sports or for winter holidays and adventures.

Customs and Traditions in Swat

Mailmastia (Hospitality) is one of the stronger traditions and is considered a sign of dignity and honour in Swat and across the board in the Pashtun society. Selfishness and misers are greatly disliked in the Pashtun traditions.

Apart from providing food and shelter, hospitality also includes the protection of the life, property, and honour of the guest. The people of Swat have a very warm and welcoming attitude towards their personal guests and general visitors to the valley. Whether you are a special invited guest or visiting swat on your own, you will be obligatorily welcomed, feel safe, and be honoured by the locals.

The Pashtunwali (Hospitality) is one of the core components of the Pashtun Code. There are many characteristics of Pashtun culture in Swat and a hujra is one of them. From the northwestern mountainous terrains of Pakistan to the heart of Afghanistan to anywhere in the world where Pakhtuns live, there exists the hujra.

Exclusively for the male population, a hujra plays host to various aspects of the social life of Pakhtun society from resolving community disputes to hosting wedding ceremonies. A hujra can be loosely translated as a social club for the locals and can be a place of free accommodation for a stranger visitor. Hospitality is considered the pride of a Pakhtun and this is why everyone in the tribe tries to serve the guests in the hujra.

Hotels in Swat

The options for accommodation in Swat are endless ranging from apartments, lodges, holiday parks, cottages, hostels, hotels, and even paying guest options available to choose from. You’ll find both luxury and budget hotels in Swat, all perfect for putting your feet up and enjoying a good night’s sleep. Grand country houses, sleek penthouse suites, authentic family-run inns, and pleasant hill resorts are just a few of the hotel types you’ll find in Swat.

If you’re looking for a home away from home where you can relax in your own space, then self-catering is the way to go! Choosing a bed and breakfast (B&B) is a surefire way to meet hosts who are passionate about Swat and willing to go the extra mile to make your break fantastic.

Wake up to a homemade breakfast, get local tips on the best places to go, and enjoy a relaxed stay. Pack a tent, bring your caravan, book a yurt, or hire a campervan and head to a campsite, caravan site, or even into the wild for a Swat adventure.

The Cuisine of Swat

Swat’s famous cuisine

Swat’s famous cuisine

Swat offers a great variety of local traditional food to its inhabitants and visitors. Swat cuisine is covered under Pashtun cuisine which is commonly known as Afghan cuisine. Although swat food remarkably resembles the Afghani, Persian, and Turkish cuisines however it has its own unique taste, aroma, and texture. The food is not spicy hot like Pakistani and Indian food but is rather mild in hotness and intensely enriched using locally grown herbs and mild spices. Bread and rice being the staple food, swat cuisine is largely based on meat dishes that include lamb, beef, chicken, and freshwater fish as well as locally grown fresh vegetables and fruits. Other food items in swat include dairy products (yoghurt, whey, cheeses), swat honey, various nuts, as well as dried fruits.

When you visit swat we recommend you try the taste of mouth-watering Chapli kebab, Kabuli pulao, Tikka kebab, Tikka skewers, Grilled on charcoal, Dum Pukht, and of course the very delicious swat trout fish. Another recommended food is the signature dish of Swat that you probably can’t find elsewhere in the world is called Chukand or Warjalay.

Outdoor Recreation in Swat

Swat has countless suitable places for outdoor recreation such as hiking, camping, road biking, mountain biking, rock climbing, winter sports, fly fishing, hunting, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting, road and trail running, and more. Having both plane and extreme mountainous landscapes swat offers a versatile range of outdoor activities for all group ages.

Whether you want to enjoy your time in the comfort of downtown in Saidu Sharif or in the surroundings of Mingora city, or you want to experience the utmost recreations of upper swat in its great mountains, lush green jungle, waterfalls, and freshwater lakes you will realize that you have chosen the right place.

Camping in Swat

A camp view in Swat

A camp view in Swat

The wide array of free caravans and campsites in swat makes it a perfect fun place for both family breaks and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re looking for somewhere packed with on-site activities, an off-the-grid site with a little more peace and quiet, or a camping pod in swat where you can have campfires in the woods – Swat is a safe place to pitch and accommodate your tent in harmony with both people and nature. Wild camping is a great way to discover the most remote parts of Swat, whilst helping you get away from it all. Although wild camping is legal in Swat, it’s important to keep in mind this simple formula:

Respect the countryside + be safe = happy wild camping!

Hiking in Swat

As more and more people embrace hiking, Swat continues to receive an influx of tourists looking to hike its beautiful mountain trails. Swat’s long-distance routes provide superb opportunities to get out there on foot to discover and explore some of the best of Swat’s landscapes and wildlife.

Hiking and Walking routes in Swat vary greatly in character, from sections of footpaths and walking tracks around the centre of the Mingora and Saidu Sharif cities to the rough terrain through the rugged mountains that provide challenging opportunities for the hikers and backpackers.

Backpacking in Swat

Backpacking in swat is a great adventure activity that blends hiking very well with camping in the valley. It lets you broaden your horizons beyond the car campground to enjoy a richer, more immersive outdoor experience. Backpacking Swat is an unforgettable experience, It enables you to visit swat on a low budget although many people will tell you otherwise!

Backpacking is a great exercise for travellers. Combining long hikes with a bit of weight strapped to your back is sure to make you a little faster, stronger, and better than the average traveller. Depending on the environment you are exploring, backpacking in Swat can range from a light trek through the forest to a gruelling mountain climb.

Is Swat Safe for Tourists?

Swat is a peaceful safe place for both domestic and foreign tourists. The locals are keen to see foreign visitors as their local economy is mostly dependent on tourism. The people of swat are humble and historically they have a great tendency toward hospitality whether you are a domestic or international tourist.

The local government has invested millions to initiate a new tourism project and to maintain the safety and security situation in swat for both residents and tourists.

How to Visit Swat by Road?

Swat Motorway

Swat Motorway

These days getting to swat is easier than ever. Visitors can reach swat mainly by road and by air. Swat Motorway also known as swat expressway is the easiest option when travelling by road. Swat Motorway links the Valley to Islamabad and Peshawar City.

Islamabad to Swat Travel Distance

The distance between Islamabad and Swat (Mingora) is around 230 km (143 miles). The route between Islamabad and Swat is mostly covered by M1 and M16 motorways with a travel time of roughly 3 hours. Starting from Islamabad via Srinagar Hwy for 22 min (20.7 km). Then follow AH1/M-1 and M-16 to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for 1 hr 52 min (171 km), and finally follow the Bahrain Rd/N-95 to GT Rd in Mingora, Swat for 1 hr 2 min (38.9 km).

An alternative option when travelling to Swat from Peshawar by road is the National Highway (45). The travel distance between Swat and Peshawar is around 157 Km (97 Miles) which takes between 4 to 5 hours.

Swat Distance

Swat Distance Summary Table
City or Place nameDistanceTravel TimeTransportationMotorway/ Route
Islamabad to Swat230 km (143 miles)3 hours +Car/ Public TransportAH1/M-1 and M-16
Peshawar to Swat292 km (120 miles)2 hr 50 minCar/ Public TransportM-1 and M-16
Lahore to Swat564 km (350 miles)6 hr 50 minCar/ Public TransportM-2, M1, and M-16
Karachi to Swat1,598 km (993 miles)18 hr 45 minCar/ Public TransportM9, N55, M5, M4, M2, M16

How to Visit Swat By Air?

When visiting the Swat by air, visitors are informed that the swat airport also known as Saidu Sharif Airport is currently closed for refurbishing work. Swat airport will be reopened for visitors in 2021. When reopened, Saidu Sharif Airport will cater flights from Swat to Islamabad, Peshawar, and, Chitral Valley airports.

Bahrain, Swat

Bahrain is a beautiful town and a famous tourist attraction located on the bank of the swat river. The charming town of Bahrain which is also called Bahrain Valley is 59 km (36 miles) away north of N95 from the main city centre Mingora. Bahrain itself is a great destination to visit yet, many of the tourists tend to stop for short and long stays in this town when they are travelling towards upper swat i.e. Kalam, Gabral, and beyond.

The town has sufficient amenities including shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc. Tourists usually find it a comfortable place to take a break or stay in Bahrain for a few days to enjoy its pleasing landscape and lovely weather.

Bahrain town is the exact confluence of the Daral and Swat rivers which makes it an attractive place to enjoy your meal, cup of coffee, or tea. The surrounding villages in Bahrain provide a perfect opportunity for tourists to see and experience human life in an ideal natural world. Bahrain is within commutable distance from other tourist destinations in Swat such as Madyan, Daral & Saidgai lakes, therefore, it also serves as a base camp for the trail that leads to these locations.

The temperate and climate of Bahrain are generally considered mild. The average temperature in Bahrain is 16.6 °C (61.88 °F) where July is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 27.0 °C (80.6 °F). The coldest month of January has an average temperature of 4.8 °C (40.64 °F). Snowfall in Bahrain usually occurs a couple of times in the year, the most expected months are December, January, and February.

Tourism in Bahrain continues throughout the year, yet the hottest months i.e. May, Jun, July, and August bring more traction. The annual precipitation averages 866 mm (34.1 in), November is the driest month with 21 mm (0.8 in) of precipitation, while March, the wettest month, has an average precipitation of 120 mm (4.7 in).

Madyan, Swat

Madyan is another beautiful hill station and tourist destination in the upper region of Swat. Madyan is around 51 km (31miles) away from Mingora city and about 45 km (27miles) from Kalam valley. The Madyan Valley stands high at the elevation of 1,320 m (4,330 ft) on the bank of the swat river with attractive surroundings and humble people. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Madyan every year to enjoy its inviting natural beauty and to spend some joyful time in its modest weather.

Being a middle spot between Mingora and Kalam, Madyan makes it a perfect place for a break when you are travelling upwards in swat. The breathtaking views of this place are surrounded by the lush green mountains which in winter fill up with snow completely bringing a completely different experience. The downtown of Madyan is not as big as Bahrain yet it offers sufficient amenities including shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc.

Kalam, Swat

Kalam is often known as Kalam Valley is a sub-valley of Swat located at an elevation of about 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level. Kalam is on a distance of 96km (59 miles) of distance from Mingora city which is accessible through route N95 upwards north. Kalam is one of the major tourist locations in Swat which has plenty of attractions and activities for tourists to get engaged and enjoy their time.

The spectacular downtown of Kalam Valley is situated on the bank of the swat river which serves as a marketplace where goods and services are exchanged or sold. As a tourist, you get good benefits from Kalam’s downtown as it offers sufficient amenities including shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc.

A quick point to remember here is that in the high season in swat when tourism is at its peak in Swat, especially in the summer month of i.e. June, July, and August Kalam gets crowded and all hotels are completely occupied. Therefore the best thing to do before you come and intend to stay in Kalam in the busy season is to book your hotel in advance otherwise you will end up in a tent or a camp unless you are willing to travel back to the mainland of Swat.

When you visit Kalam soon you will find out that your day gets busy even if you are in a calm haven. Your excitement of seeing natural wonders will take you to many places in Kalam. If you like rivers, springs, gladiolus, big beautiful lakes, and waterfalls, or you just like to be surrounded by freshwater then you will easily settle down in Kalam. If you are into lush green forests, have a love for beautiful and unique trees and plants and have a desire to see high-peak mountains, and enjoy going hiking then the land of Kalam Valley is all yours.

Many tourists go to Kalam to experience a memorable time in a camp or a private tent with friends and family. In summer the bank of the swat river in Kalam becomes a tent and camping ground for tourists. It might sound crowded but you get the opportunity to meet locals and other tourists and enjoy local food with others, also the camping ground in Kalam becomes a place of bonfire, BBQ, music, and dance as the night falls.

One special activity that happens in Kalam every year is the Kalam festival. This activity is also known as kalam Mela or Swat Summer festival which is a cultural and recreational event, held every year in the month of July or August. This event, in particular, attracts a large number of tourists to Kalam to enjoy both the Meala and the pleasant weather of Kalam when the weather in other parts of Pakistan is hot.

In addition to the National Park of Kalam (The Greate Forest of Kalam) and the famous Kalam Forest PlayGround, other popular places and tourist destinations near Kalam in Swat are Matiltan, Utror, Gabral, etc which we will also visit in this virtual guide. Remarkable Lakes in Kalam are Mahodand Lake, Kundol Lake, and Izmis Lake.

Malam Jabba, Swat

Malam Jabba is located 45 km (28 miles) to the northeast of Mingora in Swat at an elevation of 2,804 meters (9,199 ft). Malam Jabba is a beautiful hill station, an attractive tourist destination, and home to the very popular Malam Jabba ski resort in Swat. In summer hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Malam Jabba to enjoy and take an elevated fun ride on the chairlift/cable car to see places that otherwise would be difficult to go to.

Also, tourists in summer come to Malam Jabba to get an escape from the city heat waves and enjoy time with family and friends. Many visitors are simply interested in enjoying the natural beauty of this place which includes gigantic mountains, large thick glaciers, dense forests, wonderful landscapes, and pleasant weather.

Winter Sports in Swat

Winter sports and skiing in Swat

Winter sports and skiing in Swat

Swat’s passion for snow sports makes it a superb winter holiday destination. The Malam Jabba Ski Resort in the Hindu Kush mountain range has all that a sportsperson would like to climb or travel at the elevation of 2,804 meters (9,199 ft) for perfect winter sports. The beautiful Malam Jabba Ski Resort is nearly 48 Km (29 miles) to the east of Saidu Sharif Swat and about 275 km (170 miles) to the northwest of Islamabad. The Ski Resort has two 800-meter ski runs, an Ice skating rink, and adequate accommodation facilities for visitors.

Did you know Swat’s ski resort at Malam Jabba is the largest and second to none in Pakistan offering the best outdoor skiing and snowboarding? If you have not tried skiing before, it will be your lifetime experience at a high altitude here at Malam Jabba resort.

If you are new to skiing, don’t worry here at Malam Jabba ski resort you will find yourself among other beginners taking practical classes on how to ski. Soon you will realize that it doesn’t take long to learn skiing, the catch is to be in Malam Jabba resort at the right time of the year so that the professional instructors can help you learn to ski in the most favorable weather conditions.

Not to mention your ski learning experience at Malam Jabba resort will be full of character, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, and connected to some of the world’s most famous mountains.

Right in the backyard of the Malam Jabba Ski Resort, tourists also enjoy ice skating, sledding, ice hockey, bandy, snowboarding, speed skating, and curling, which you might consider when you visit swat. All health and safety gears and the equipment that is necessary for playing skiing and other winter sports are available there at a minimum price.

Tourists can bring their own skis, ski boots, ski bindings, ski poles, ski wear, ski helmets, and snowboard and ski goggles, or they can just rent them there and focus on their game and tour.

Ice hockey in swat

Ice hockey in swat

Gabin Jabba, Swat

Gabin Jabba is another fantastic place and a great tourist destination in Swat which is located approximately 58 km (36 miles) of travel to the north direction from Mingora. Gabin Jabba is a Pashto word and its literal meaning in the English language is “Honey Marshes”.

Although the beauty and sweetness of this tourist spot attract tourists like a beehive attracts honey bees in wild yet don’t confuse this place with swat honey. Another trick about Gabin Jabba that you need to understand is if you are thinking of visiting it, is that Gabin Jabba and Malam Jabba are two different tourist places in Swat. Both tourist havens are 74 km (45 Miles) of travel from each other.

Tourists travel to Gabin Jabba at an elevation is 2582m (8471ft) from sea level to see and get closer to nature. the green meadows, thick forests, snow-clad mountains, mineral springs, and high peaks are amount few things that tourists love to experience in Gabin Jabba.

In addition to natural beautiful wonders and soothing weather in summer, Gabin Jabba is also famous as the garden of medicinal plants in this region. Having said that, the locally grown products of Gabin Jabba and its freshwater trout fish farm attracts visitors for its great taste and health-related benefits. Not to mention the wild pure and natural honey is a great gift from Gabin Jabba that you might consider tasting and taking it for loved ones.

Instead of staying in a hotel, the beautiful Camping Pod in Swat Gabin Jabba provides an ideal economical accommodation option for tourists. Gabin Jabba is also a safe place for camps and tents as long as the weather is favorable and you have brought your own camping gear with you. Another option of more convenient, contemporary, or formal hotel-style accommodation in Malam Jabba is to stay at the Gabin Jabba Hotel and Resort.

The Marghazar White Palace in Swat

Marghazar is located in the south of Swat at an approximate distance of 12 km (7.5 miles) from Mingora. Marghazar is home to the iconic White Palace of Swat, which was built by the royal family during 1935 – 1941 to serve as a summer resort here for the King and his family.

The White Palace of Swat at Marghazar

The White Palace of Swat at Marghazar

During the Swat State era, it hosted many important and royal personalities from around the world, for example, Queen Elizabeth II of the UK 1961 stayed here as a royal guest. The White Palace of Swat is now open to the general public and serves as a luxury hotel at about 2175 m (7,136 ft) above sea level.

18 thoughts on “SWAT

  1. Thanks a lot for this great exploration of the Valley of Beauty in our Country.
    Being a Pakistani, from the very near area to SWAT and as staying abroad for almost 2 Decades from now; I even didn’t get such visits and Infos as much as you did. Very appreciable information you have shared.

    I wish I will be back home and will host some of you Guys (if you will like to be) in DIR (Lower) as my home District and can lead you to Dir upper, Chitral Etc areas.


  2. I love SWAT, the beauty and diversity in the landscape are fantastic. I heard a lot of fantastic stories about this valley but it was only in 2020 that I witness these my self. I couldn’t believe I could have such a great experience there. The entire time was an eyeful event like a lovely movie scene.

    I wish I’d discovered this beauty queen earlier but I’m glad I did it now. I’m already thinking about another trip in the summer season in 20201 with my friends. This will be my 2nd episode of SWAT, hoping to explore its treasures in more detail that are hidden in nature and its majestic mountains.

  3. This is excellent information on SWAT, thank you very much for sharing. Actually I will travel there in the mid of May in 2021 when schools in the United States are closed for summer break. I am planning to travel with my husband and 3 young children. Any particular requirements or recommendations for traveling with children under 12 will be highly appreciated.

    Are there any direct flights from Islamabad to Swat?
    We are planning to spend there 7 days, any suggestions on whether a 1-week trip will be enough to see the most famous tourist attraction there?

  4. Swat was wonderful, I hand a great tour with friends. We traveled in the group of 4 and after 3.5 hours of drive from Islamabad, we arrived at Mingora around 11:30. Our trip was in August 2020 so the weather there absolutely perfect.

    After spending one night in Mingora, we hit the road to the upper region to see the other famous tourist attractions. In total, we spent 6 days in this beautiful valley and visited dozens of great places. This was our first trip to swat and we were not expecting a lot but surprisingly at the end of our tour, we thought 6 days were not enough.

    I would say Swat is not dirt cheap but definitely is affordable. The prices of hotels, food, transport, etc. less than what you would normally pay in the big cities in Pakistan. Next hopefully in summer 2021, we’d like to visit this beautiful place again but this time for camping.

  5. I just got back from 2 fabulous weeks in Swat. We, 4 friends, traveled in a group and I am glad to report that we had a wonderful time. There was little to no disruption of any part of our trip due to the recent rough weather conditions and overflow of tourists due to the high season. We really enjoyed our time in particularly in Kalam Valley where some of the most beautiful locations we had ever been.

    The locals in all locations were helpful and friendly. Most of the tourist locations that we visited were buzzing with tourists. Despite the height of the tourism season we managed to discover many safe places that were completely calm and peaceful. With the locals’ recommendations, we had the best taste of the swat cuisine. We are definitely planning to visit swat in winter as well to experience it’s winter sports activities in Malam Jabba Ski resort.

  6. We had absolutely no problems traveling to Swat in August 2018. It was no surprise to find that the people from swat are so friendly, helpful, and hospitable. Even though we traveled from far (Karachi) and spent 12 days there, this fantastic tour refreshed us for it least one more year. Our trip was full of fun and we had a memorable time there.

    Our travel itinerary to Swat was simple and straightforward. We arrived at Mingora spent 2 days in Mingora and Saidu Sharif, 4 days in Kalam (visiting Bahrain, Madyan, Kalam Valley, Matiltan, Utror, Gabral, Mahodand Lake, and Kundol lake). We also visited the Malam Jabba ski resort and spend there 1 day. I would say this ski resort Swat is one of it’s kind in Pakistan. The chairlift ride was also fascinating.

    We spent 1 day in Gabin Jabba, 1 day in Swat’s historic White Palace at Marghazar, 1 day in Miandam, and the last 2 days in shopping in Mingora city and resting to prepare ourselves for travel back to Karachi. As a first time visit, this itinerary was perfect to get an overall feel for Swat and with the perfect amount of spent time on each place that we traveled to. Ideally, I would have spent more time there to discover the other beautiful hidden places.

  7. It is great to hear that tourism is once again booming in Swat. Recently, I heard in the news that both, the government and the local residents are pushing to promote tourism. Swat has of course great potential to cater millions of domestic and international tourists especially with the addition of Swat Motorway and overall improvements in the infrastructure.

    One important thing we all shall not forget is, that Swat is not only a great tourist destination but also a very significant historic place in Pakistan. Swat has a very distinctive landscape, culture, and lifestyle in Pakistan. Tourism in swat shall be treated as a controlled commodity otherwise there is a great threat to nature, wildlife, and the distinctive culture and lifestyle of Swat.

  8. I love Swat solely because of its spectacular landscape and hospitable people. I am a nature photographer and have seen many beautiful places in Pakistan and abroad due to my profession. Swat is perhaps the most picturesque place in Pakistan. The valley is so charming and colourful that I fall in love with Swat all over again when I visit it.

    You will love Swat if you are into nature, wildlife, or want to experience life in a peaceful and calm place. When you visit swat the first time you will fall in love with it straight away. In my view, everything is attractive whether it is the gigantic lush green mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, forests, freshwater lacks & rivers, meadows in summer, or snow in the winter.

  9. We had a great time Kalam Swat, our last minute travel plans were purely based on the recommendations so we could save time and money. As a matter of fact, I and my university friends had a tight budget for our trip. Before actually staring our journey, we collected a lot of information from Visit Swat and some other local guides. This helped us arrange our travel itinerary according to our budget. One other thing that I must say is to contact the hotel that you intend to stay in and ask them questions about the places, approximate expenses, and level of services. This way you can most probably reduce your efforts to searching the best places in swat and mostly reduce the expenditures of your trip by knowing your options in advance.

    We took a road trip from Islamabad through M1 and then through Swat Motorway. We reached our main destination Mingora in around 4 hours. The journey was most comfortable and was scenic, specially when we entered into Swat. Our of 12 days that we spend in Swat, we stayed the 1st two days downtown in a hotel in Mingora city. Where we explored Saidu Sharif (The capital of Swat), measure, archaeological sites, local food, culture, etc.

    The remaining 10 days we spent in different beautiful locations in tents, having the ultimate experience outdoor camping in Swat. During our stay, we visited Madyan, Bahrain, Kalam, Matiltan, Utror, Gabral, Gabin Jabba, Malam Jabba Ski Resort, and Marghazar. Our trip and selection of places were incredible. During our trip, we found out that there are other numbers of places in Swat that are safe and suitable for camping. This was the best trip of my life. Next year we have plan to visit swat again and to discover some of it’s more beauty hidden in its majestic mountains. I highly recommend visiting swat at least once if you can.

  10. Absolutely worth it to visit swat. What a fantastic drive up the hill from Mingora to Kalam. The views to either direction are stunning and the swat river along the road adds more beauty to the atmosphere. It is well worth the drive to see the incredible landscape.

    In Swat, we were recommended to visit Kalm, Malam Jabba, Gabin Jabba, and a few other great local tourist spots. Our travel to swat from Islamabad via motorway was very comfortable. The hotel we stayed in provided enough information so that we could save time and see more places in Swat. The food, hospitality, and people are awesome.

    I must recommend you visit swat but collect as much as information about the valley, places to visit in swat, and routes in swat so that you make the most of out of your trip. If you don’t have time for that then another easiest alternative would be to hire a local guide in swat. Mostly taxi drivers provide these services in Swat.

  11. I visited Swat in the summer with my family. As you can imagine summer is the busiest period for tourism in Swat as the tourists flow into the valley’s comforting climate to avoid heatwaves. One of our smartest decisions was to book a group tour. Our tour guide was a great communicator, very knowledgeable, understood our needs as first-time tourists, and was enjoying answering any questions about the swat history.

    From a tourist point of view, I found Swat a very beautiful valley with warm and welcoming people as well as delicious food, and amazing places to visit, with so much history. I would have never picked Swat to be honest with you, luckily my daughter did and I just fell in love with it, and plan on going back later this year.

  12. My wife and I had the most amazing time traveling around Swat, this was very easily the best trip we’ve ever taken. We got to see some amazing sights, untouched beauty and explored the Swat in a way that its meant to be. Through our entire journey, we hired a car with a local driver which gave us the opportunity to see some of the most stunning landscapes imaginable.

    We started off in Mingora and then traveled to visit some famous tourist places such as Kumrat Valley, Madyan, Bahrain, Marghazar, Saidu Sharif, Mahodand Lake, Malam Jabba, Fizaghat, and Kundol Lake, etc. In most of these places, our hotel room had the most amazing view of mountains, rivers or other pleasing sites which made our trip to Swat something I’ll never forget. We had the most adventurous time in the upper swat. I recommend visiting swat whether you are looking for an adventurous trip or just want to relax with your family in a peaceful place surrounded by natural beauty.

  13. It was our first time in Swat and I was not sure where to begin. We collected some information from and we received further guidance from the hotel where we were staying and from the local taxi drivers/ tourist guides. Have a personalized input from the locals to our itinerary, our list of places to visit in swat became as fantastic as one can imagine. We were extremely happy with all their choices and help throughout the trip!

    Swat is easy to navigate through. The landscape, weather, and food are amazing. The local residents are polite and have a positive attitude towards tourists as long as you don’t interface in their matters. Our trip was during the peak summer holiday season yet we enjoyed it a lot. I’m looking forward to visiting swat in winter as well to enjoy skiing in Malam Jabba ski resort as this would be the first experience in my life of this kind.

  14. Swat is a great tourist place in Pakistan. Based on my few tours to Swat, I can say that it is a great location for both solo and family trips. Everywhere in the valley, you will get a good photo opportunity too!

    In the peak touring season, the prices of hotels and accommodation in Swat go up but that is normal in anywhere in the world when you want to travel an attractive tourist location. The staff at the hotel was very kind and arranged for us an extra 3rd bed for free. My overall travel and holiday experience in Swat were great. Yes, I would recommend it as a peaceful and hospitable place to visit.

  15. The definition of Swat as the heaven on the earth is perfectly justified by its outstanding natural beauty. I live in Los Angeles United States, in summer 2019 I managed to visit this fantastic valley for 5 days. I was amazed by how beautiful the landscape and weather of this place were. Alongside discovering nature, I was also very interested to know more about the local people. My experience of interaction with locals and exploring the culture was great.

  16. Before finding a place called Swat on the internet, Swat was known to me as an American crime drama television series. In the USA if you talk to someone about Swat, they would think of swat team which is a group of elite police marksmen who specialize in high-risk tasks such as hostage rescue or they will certainly think of S.W.A.T as an American crime drama television series.

    Just for your information, the S.W.A.T American crime drama television series is based on the 1975 television series of the same name created by Robert Hamner and developed by Rick Husky. The new series was developed by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Shawn Ryan, and premiered on CBS on November 2, 2017.

  17. I went to Swat with my family last year and I am writing this to share my experience. This place is really just mind-blowing. The pace is so neat and clean and very beautiful, especially the upper swat is a complete pollution-free haven.

    Swat is one of the best places to visit if you are looking for natural beauty. The most peaceful and relaxing destination I have ever been to. This place is good for both family trips as well as adventure tours. Swat has tourism-related activities both in summer and winter.

    My trip was during the summertime and I had a great time with my family. Next year I am planning to visit swat in the wintertime to enjoy time at the ski resort in Malam Jabba.

  18. The scenery is beautiful, friendly people, the weather was kind. The city overall is very convenient to go around and get off as you please. Many eating places. Walking is easy. I will defiantly visit the swat again.

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