Ralph Waldo Emerson has been quoted to say, ‘Life is a journey, not a destination’ and we believe he may have been in Kalam when he thought of this.
As one begins this journey, he finds himself in the lower-districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, cruising along the motorway from Hasan-Abdal right up till Swabi or Mardan. From there, one can catch the Swat expressway and ride along the river of Swat, which finds it’s birthplace in the valley of Kalam. It is important to remember that the people of this region are conservative in nature, and expect their customs to be reciprocated. Therefore, stay keen and show respect for local customs by adhering to their dress code and behavior in general.
The people may be conservative but they are accommodating beyond comparison so one can expect a reasonably comfortable journey.
The road begins to get a little rough after Bahrain, so a vehicle with four-wheel drive is preferable, although any car will make it through with a little wear and tear. However, the real journey begins once one reaches Kalam. After finding accommodation and enjoying a meal next to picturesque mountains, one can begin to map out the journey ahead with the help of a guide.
From Kalam, one can traverse in three different directions, all leading to glorious destinations. Ideally, a four-day trip could cover most locations, but such a task merits the physique and stamina for extreme sports athletes. The valley is rugged, and the locations distant. Disconnected from all roads, these places are accessible only through treks, with varying difficulties. The forest (Ushu) is a camping destination accessible through a jeep-ride.
For more destinations, near Kalam, check out our ‘Places to visit’ page.