Last year, I went on a short weekend trip to Malam Jabba. I had a single point agenda, enjoy the snowfall before the season ends. As the winter comes to an end, thought I might share pointers from that trip for anyone looking for a chance to bask in the winter glory before the summer is upon us.
For starters, Malam Jabba is a ski resort situated in the Swat Valley. It is one of the only two ski resorts located in the country, the other one’s located in Naltar, Gilgit Baltistan and is owned by the Pakistan Air Force.
This post covers my travel itinerary along with how to get there, where to stay and have a good time.
How to Get There:
There aren’t many resorts or good hotels in Malam Jabba. There were a few under construction when I visited last year but the best way to cover Malam Jabba is by staying in Mingora and visiting Malam Jabba in the day by a rental Jeep/Prado.
There are many good hotel options in Mingora, a bustling bazaar for shopping and the road from Mingora toMalam Jabba in in dilapidated condition so you can’t drive upto Malam Jabba by your own car.
Islamabad to Mingora:
Mingora is the main town of Swat Valley, it’s around 270 km away from Islamabad. The road from Islamabad to Mingora is in great condition and you can comfortably drive there via M-1 motorway in around 6 hour drive.
But the best and most convenient way to get to Mingora is via Daewoo. Hassle free and with free wifi onboard, I think the Daewoo Bus option is way better than driving there by your own car. I am not sure but I believe they have started cab service from Rawalpindi to Swat as well, you can check with Daewoo office for details. The fare is 700-800 PKR/person.
Mingora to Malam Jabba:
From Mingora, you can rent any car from a Hiace to a Jeep to reach Malam Jabba. It’s only a 45 km distance but the road’s in pretty bad shape so it takes around 2 hours to reach Malam Jabba from Mingora. The best way is to leave for Malam Jabba early morning, spend entire day at the ski resort and be back at the end of the day before sunset.
Jeep/Prado rent is around Rs. 4000-6000 for a full day trip depending upon your negotiation skills.
Where to Stay:
There are a lot of good hotels in Mingora. The best one is Swat Serena in Saidu Sharif (around 4km/10 mins drive from Mingora). There’s a PTDC motel as well in Saidu Sharif. As for Mingora, there is a large number of good hotels with varying price ranges to choose from.
When to Go:
Malam Jabba resort remains snow covered throughout winter and since its snows quite heavily over there, the snow stays in some form long after winters are done. For reference, I went in 1st week of March of 2017 and it was totally covered with snow. Can’t really speak for the situation this year but I am sure you have plenty of time before the thick snow layer vanishes.
Malam Jabba tour can be done over a weekend if you are willing to stretch yourself a bit. You can leave Islamabad on Friday after work and reach Mingora by the night time. Take an early morning jeep to Malam Jabba, spend the entire day there, return to Mingora for the night stay and leave for Islamabad on Sunday morning.
There are other sights in Mingora area as well that you can visit like the Swat Museum (5-10 min drive from Mingora Bazaar)and the White Palace (40 min drive from Mingora) etc. There are archaeological sites as well in the area that you can discover.
Leaving you with a few pictures from the trip to give you an idea as what’s in store for you if you choose to take this trip.