6 DAY TOUR  IN
SWAT VALLEY
Trip done in May 2000
PROGRAMME
Day 1: Pindi-Mardan

Course on the road : + Pindi - Nowshera : minibus (20 persons), departs from Committee Chowk, possible from 6 o'clock in the morning, departs when the bus is completely full, 2 1/2 hours.
+ Nowshera - Mardan : Hi-Ace, 1/2 hour.

Mardan :  + Al Idrees hotel : a real disaster ;
+ try to avoid that town, because there are no good hotels.

Takht-i-Bahi: + the town can be reached by Hi-Ace from Mardan;
+ there are signs to the Buddhist site;
+ 45' on foot from the main road to the site.

Ashoka inscriptions and Mekka Sanda :
+ the places can be reached by Hi-Ace from Mardan;
+ there are signs to the Ashoka inscriptions;
+ Mekka Sanda is situated at 5 kilometer from Ashoka;
+ you can not find Mekka Sanda without the help from local people.

Remark : it is nearly impossible to combine the transport from Pindi with the visit of more than two sites.


Day 2: Mardan Mingora

Mardan - Mingora: Hi-Ace.

Mingora : + hotel Diamond : - 300 Rs a night;
- no singles available;
- clean rooms, hot water and shower during the whole day;
  - food and drinks available.

Udegram: + by rickshaw from Mingora (no Suzuki available as marked in the Lonely planet);
+ there are signs to the site;
+ the town Ora : not exciting, only some bricks to see ;
+ the mosque : worth;
+ the remains of the castle : nice view;
+ 'kanderat' is the local word for remains.


Day 3: Mingora and surroundings

Barikot: + by Hi-Ace;
+ Bazira excavations : nothing special;
+ Shahi-fort: - can be reached from the Bazira excavations;
    - very nice view of the valley (see picture Lonely planet page 417);
+ remark: the Shankardara stupa is clearly visible from the road between Mingora and Barikot.

Chakdara: + by bus ( to Nowshera ) from Barikot ( you have to go to     the bus stop in the center of Barikot; it does not stop along the road );
+ get off the bus at the crossing to Dir, then it is 1,5 km to the museum;
+ at the bridge over the Swat river you must register : a UN-ID or passport is needed;
+ Dir museum is good, according some other tourists Swat museum is more interesting.

Butkara 3 : + you need the help of locals to reach the site.

Between Mingora and Madyan, the Swat river passes very close to the road. It is a nice spot to see the sunset.

Also visited that day (combination by foot and by rickshaw): Butkara 2, Saidu stupa, Saidu baba (recommended), Royal palace hotel.


Day 4: Mingora - Jenahbad Madyan

Mingora - Jenahbad: + by pick-up;
+ the jeeps leaves from the 'bus station' on the main road to Madyan.

Jenahbad: + ask the driver to stop at the Buddha;
+ the Buddha was not visible for me from the road;
+ the help of locals is advised.

Jenahbad - Madyan: + hitch-hiked till the main road Mingora - Kalam;
+ rest by Hi-Ace.

Madyan : + Caravan's guesthouse
- very popular;
- very nice view;
- all meals available;
- dortoir (60 PKR) or double room (120 PKR);
- basic shower with hot water.

+ walk Madyan - Bahrain
    - two hours to reach Bahrain;
    - footpath on the left bank.


Day 5: Trekking direction Kalagai

A guide is not necessary, but going alone is not advised.

Information available in the guesthouse.

Duration of the complete trek: approximately 7 hours.

I did not visit Kalam because I was told that it was dangerous for tourists at that time.


Day 6 : Madyan Pindi

Course of the trip : + Madyan - Mingora : Hi-Ace;
+ Mingora - Pindi  : take a mini-bus (20 persons), because they don't stop in every village.
Courtesy Geert Debel