Islamabad to Arang Kel
Arang Kel is a remote village located in the Neelam Valley. There is a long 11-12 hour drive from Islamabad to Arang Kel. We recommend taking Islamabad > Murree > Kohala > Muzaffarabad > Neelam route. Distance is around 300 Km.
Before starting your journey you must ensure that you have following things.
- Boots. Preferably hiking boots (unless you want guides to carry you up there)
- Warm cloths
- SCom SIM (can be bought from Muzaffarabad on working days)
- Cash (night stay varies between 700-4000 depending on location and season)
- Medicine if you have any problem
- ID Cards (there are at least eight check posts where you need to identify and register yourself and at Kel you can not enter Arang without giving your ID card which is returned to you on your way back)
- Vehicle diagnostics (It is a long and difficult journey, if you are planning to visit Kel on your own vehicle, it must be healthy in all aspects)
From Islamabad to Kohola, we suggest you go through Murree via Motorway (N75). However, at the end of motor way, where double road ends and single road starts, we suggest you go left on Muzaffarabad road and take Khakan Abbasi road through Bhurban, because express way is not in very good condition and we find Bhurban road very short and comfortable.
After crossing Kohala bridge, turn left towards Muzaffarabad and head straight till you reach Muzaffarabad city. After few villages your normal mobile networks will stop working, therefore if you want to remain in contact with outside world, buy an SCom SIM here.
From Muzaffarabad you can take Neelam Road straight to Neelam Valley.
Once you reach the dam pictured above, you are very close to LOC. Many of the next villages across the river are in Indian occupied Kashmir.
There are many places in the way where you would want to stop and relax. Just like this hotel with a beautiful view.
If you have your own vehicle, you can stop and visit all places on the way. If you want to take your own vehicle, we recommend a 4×4 but car work too.
Last 10-15 km is dirt road. It can take about 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on what type vehicle you are in and with whom.
After all this, you reach at Kel. Arang Kel is across the river.
You can either go on foot which is a long way, or you can take the 1km lift which will only take a minute.
At the other side of river, a 30-60 minute highly difficult steep hike awaits you. If you have any physical or medical conditions, you must keep medicine with you. If you have a problem of dropping sugar level suddenly, please keep something sweat with you. Water must be kept with you too.
It is recommended that you should have hiking shoes and sticks. If your shoes have low traction, wear socks outside them. For timing, choose early morning as later ice will melt and track will become more slippery and difficult to walk.
However all this difficulty is worth it. As soon as you end your journey, heaven awaits you. See the pics and decide for yourself.