I’m hopeful that you already have read my experience of Muzaffarabad by now. If not, please read it here, please please. At the end of the post I had promised to write a brief guide on how to travel within Muzaffarabad, what places to see and what stuff to do, so without further delay, here we go.
You can easily reach Muzaffarabad from Islamabad by car. The roads are pretty amazing, except for a few patches here and there which are bumpy. Otherwise, overall, perfect road trip type scene. But make sure you take the Islamabad-Murree Expressway and not GT Road.
Where to Stay
#1 – Pearl Continental Hotel
For accommodation, Pearl Continental is THE best place you can choose to stay at while in Muzaffarabad. It’s located uphill giving you the most gorgeous city views you can ever imagine! It gets a little pricey, but it is totally worth it. Especially if you are returning from deeper parts of Kashmir and would like to pamper yourself in a cosy five star hotel, then most definitely go for this one. Also very much honeymoon worthy.
#2 – Neelum View Hotel
My second favorite hotel in Muzaffarabad is Neelum View Hotel. Situated on the river bank, it’s a very scenic place to stay. They have a wonderful outdoor restaurant and a lush green huge lawn/garden for your early morning walks! I can’t comment further on this one as I did not see the rooms myself, however it was recommended by our guide, so taking his word on this one!
#3 – Sangam Hotel
The last and final hotel that I’d only recommend if you are very low on budget, it would be Sangam Hotel. This is a pretty basic hotel, also recommended by our guide on the trip. In fact, he mentioned that before PC Hotel opened up in Muzibaad, Neelum and Sangam were the top two places to stay there. Also, it is located in the Domail area of Muzaffarabad, which is the place where the two rivers (Neelum and Jhelum) join together. It’s truly a mesmerising sight to see.
Places Worth Seeing in Muzaffarabad
1) Pir Chanasi
Pir Chanasi is the highest point in Muzaffarabad, almost 9000 ft high. Whoopy! You can go here and enjoy beautiful views from up there. The temperature is pretty chilly up there so it is a treat for people who come from Karachi looking for thand. In summers, it is not that cold that you wear a sweater up there. It’s just the perfect kind of weather. In winters, however, be careful to go here as sometimes, due to snowfall, the roads are blocked. Besides, it would be slippery and dangerous.
There is a mazaar (shrine) of a Pir up there where people are generally found praying etc. Also has a tiny mosque where you can pray. There are small stalls from where you can get chips, biscuits, pakoray and juices etc, but no major food outlet as such. There was a lot of litter everywhere on Pir Chanais though, which was quite saddening.
While we were there, we were told to check out Shaheed Gali as well, which is opposite to Pir Chanasi, I think.
2) Kashmir Waterfall Dulai
This is, well, a waterfall. What else were you expecting? We checked out this place on our way to Muzaffarabad, it comes on the route. You can also do the same, or check it out on your way out of Muzaffarabad to Islamabad. It’s technically situated in KPK, you just cross a bridge and you enter AJK and on the other side is KPK where this waterfall is located. So it’s located on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, just where KPK starts, and is accessible from Muzaffarabad’s side. The intriguing part of going to this waterfall is that you have to sit in a chair lift/cable car which goes above the river across to the waterfall. And it is a manual/human powered cable car (freaks out!). Just beneath the waterfall, there is a small restaurant/dhaaba where you can enjoy chai and pakoras, all the time having your feet immersed in the water. It is a serene experience, but we were too freaked out to try it :p Of course, be vigilant if you’re taking kids along.
3) Village View Restaurant
Another cute place within Muzaffarabad, you can take kids over here and they would have a blast, as there is a small amusement park here as well. The restaurant is situated right on the river bank, so it’s definitely magical to sip your chai here. (Side note: Why am I such a huge chai fanatic?!) Sadly, we visited in off season so they didn’t have a full fledge kitchen up and running and all we could get was tea and pakoray (which is a good deal too btw).
4) Red Fort
For people who like museums, forts and other historic places, you should definitely go here. The architecture is really intriguing and it dates back to 1646 (I think?). Sadly, some parts of the fort were destroyed by the 2005 earthquake, but what survived is worth checking out.
5) Madina Market
No shopping from Kashmir? How is that even possible! This maze of a market has many interesting things you can check out, however, I did not come across too many handicraft shops over here. But we visited late at night so maybe that’s the reason. Eventually, found one cute shop that had gorgeous embroidered kotis, shawls, embroidered pouches and purses, and some imported handicrafts from Thailand as well *eye rolls*. Btw, I also mentioned this in my earlier post that there is also a shop near PC Muzaffarabad called “K. Creations Kashmir” which also sells amazing local stuff at very reasonable prices. You might want to check that out sometime. See their Facebook page here.
Some Final Recommendations
Hope you enjoyed reading the blog and hope it helps you out if you are planning to drop by in Muzaffarabad. Following are some of my personal recommendations that you can consider:
- Try the Kashmiri chai at Neelum View Hotel – it is wonderfully pink and tasty!
- Chicken Handi from Sangam Hotel is also bomb.
- If you go to Pir Chanasi, stop over on the way back at Ghousia Almehria Hotel which is a dhaaba like place to have your lunch. They serve the most scrumptious daal ever!
- Food at PC Hotel was just okay for the price they charge so better spend the day outdoors and return after having your food to save up money.
- Looking for some snacks? Rahat Bakery has some nice things in store for you. It’s on Madina Market Road.
- When in Kashmir, try their signature sweet yet salty, salty yet sweet bakarkhaani with chai.
- Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the chilled vibes of the city!
Header image is the magestic view you get to see from Pearl Continental Hotel, courtesy El Arte Doodles.