This article is written by HHWT Explorer Norul Aswin Norzain.
If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of your daily life, you should travel to Kashmir, India. Prepare to be captivated by the breathtaking landscape and scenic views that Kashmir is renowned for.
One of our HHWT Explorers, Norul Aswin Norzain, went on a trip with her husband to Kashmir in July this year, and shared her itinerary! So if you are planning to travel to Kashmir - especially for a summer holiday, this itinerary is just for you!
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Before Your Trip To Kashmir
Kashmir Travel Essentials
- You need a visa to travel to India. Please make sure you apply on the official website if you are applying for an e-visa
- To get around, it is best to either take local transport or a ground tour as the journey from one place to another is quite far.
- For us, we took a ground tour from Zuhaib Tour and Travels, and they provided us a Sedan car and a driver.
Day 1: Travelling from Malaysia to Kashmir
- There is no direct flight from Malaysia to Kashmir. You must take a flight from KL to New Delhi and then take a domestic flight from New Delhi to Srinagar.
- Normally, the flight from KL is in the evening and you will arrive in New Delhi at night, around 10-11 pm depending on the airlines.
- The domestic flight from New Delhi to Srinagar departs early in the morning, so you can either opt to stay overnight at the airport or stay at a hotel near the airport.
Day 2: Srinagar Airport
- After arriving at Srinagar Airport, we continued our journey to Sonamarg.
Lunch: Chinar View Restaurant
- On the way to Sonamarg, we had lunch at Chinar View Restaurant. The Mutton Biryani here is so tasty and the price is only 160 rupees (RM9).
Address: Shadipora Bridge, Tehsil, Sumbal, Jammu and Kashmir 193501
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours (Mon - Sat), 9am - 10pm (Sun)
Accommodation: Tranquil Retreat Hotel
- We arrived and checked into Tranquil Retreat Hotel in the afternoon after enjoying 2.5 hours of breathtaking scenery on the drive here.
- After dropping off our luggages, getting some rest and freshening up, we took a stroll around the hotel.
- Sonamarg is a small town, but it is full of magnificent sights. Even though it was summer, you still could see mountains with snow and glaciers that the hotel were facing. It was truly so amazing!
Address: Srinagar - Ladakh Hwy, Ganderbal, Sonamarg, Jammu and Kashmir 191203
Day 3: Pony Ride
- After having breakfast at the hotel, we started off our day with a pony ride to Thajiwas Glacier.
- It was a 12km journey to the glacier! Don’t worry if you don't know how to ride a pony, because there will be an expert who will stay with you throughout the journey.
- The experience of riding a pony to the glacier is indescribable. It’s something that you have to experience yourself, it’s like being in another world!
- When you arrive at the glacier, take a break and try the chai tea and Maggie curry while enjoying the view of the glacier in front of you.
- If you’ve watched the Bajrangi Bhaijaan movie before, you might recognise this location! This is where the last scene of the movie was shot. Very exciting!
Accommodation: Gurcoo Residency Hotel
- After we returned to our hotel, we checked out and headed to Sniragar City and checked in at Gurcoo Residency Hotel!
Address: Hurriyat Rd, Rajbagh, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190008
Day 4: Gulmarg
- After having breakfast at the hotel, we embarked on a day-trip to Gulmarg. The journey takes about an hour from Srinagar city.
- Gulmarg is famous for its Gondola, aka cable car.
- Do take note: the Gondola ticket must be purchased online, so please make sure to purchase the ticket before coming to Kashmir!
- The Gondola has different Phases where you can get off at!
- If you come during Winter, it is best to ride the Gondola to Phase 1 as there would be plenty of snow there. Here you can ski, sled and even snowmobile.
- However, since it was summer when we went, we took the Gondola to Phase 2.
- Even though it was summer, there was still snow!
Address: District Baramulla, Alambal Road, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir 193403
Opening Hours: 10am - 4pm daily
Lunch: Payam Restaurant
- We had our lunch at Payam Restaurant. Don’t forget to try their mutton curry and kebab, the food is delicious and full of spices!
Address: Gulmarg, Road, Mangloora, Jammu and Kashmir 193403
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours daily
- We returned to Srinagar city in the evening and shopped for some Pashmina and Kashmir crafts in the city.
- We then ended the day off with dinner at our hotel!
Day 5: Pahalgam
- After having breakfast at the hotel and checking out, we embarked on our day to Pahalgam. The journey took about 2.5 hours from Srinagar city.
- Along the way we were able to see saffron, walnuts and apple farms! It was really interesting to see as they were in harvest at that moment.
- We stopped at Pahalgam Town to buy Kashmiri tea, which had saffron and mixed nuts - this tea was very tasty, I highly recommend buying it!
- There are 2 activities that tourists normally do here which is either a pony ride to Baisaran (Mini Swiss), which was another film location of Bajrangi Bhaijaan movie, or sightseeing in Aru Betaab Valley (ABC Valley).
- We wanted to go to ABC Valley but during that time it was Amarnath Yatra, a big festival for Hindus so ABC Valley was closed.
- So we decided to go on a pony ride again!
- The pony ride in Pahalgam was cheaper than the previous one we did in Sonamarg, but personally, the scenery of Sonamarg is better than Pahalgam.
- Do note, the last 30 minutes of the pony ride is quite scary due to the steep hills when riding up the mountain.
Accommodation: Lidder Spring Pahalgam Hotel
- After, we checked into our next hotel that we would be staying in for a night, Lidder Spring Pahalgam Hotel, which was facing the Lidder River.
Address: Rafting Point, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir 192126
Day 6: Houseboat at Srinagar
- After checking out, we started our journey back to Srinagar.
Lunch: Sifar Restaurant
- Along the way we ate pizza at Sifar Restaurant. The food is good and the price is affordable.
Address: Bomzoo, KP Rd, Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir 192125
Opening Hours: 11am - 10pm daily
Accommodation: Chicago Houseboat
- We checked into Chicago Houseboat. Some people say that it’s not worth staying on a houseboat but for me, it’s a new experience that I wanted to try!
- There are thousands of houseboats on the lake and you have to take a boat to go to the Houseboat that you are staying at.
- To me, staying on the houseboat feels like staying at your mom’s house. The decor, furniture and foods are very homely and cosy!
Address: Ghat No 9, Bouleward Road Road Dallake, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190001
- After dropping off our luggage and getting some rest, we rode for 2 hours on the Shikara ride on the lake.
- The boatman will bring you around Dal Lake and will take you to the shops around the lake.
- All the shops are floating on the lake (it feels similar to the Floating Market in Thailand) and if you want to buy something, you can tell him and he will make a stop!
- The shops sell various items - like food, keychains, magnets, coasters, Kashmir crafts and many more.
Day 7: Srinagar City
- After having breakfast at the houseboat and checking out, we went to see the Mughal Garden and mosques at Srinagar.
- We also went to a market near Srinagar.
- We then headed to the Srinagar Airport for our flight back.
- I recommend going to the airport at least 3 hours before departure because the security at Srinagar Airport is quite strict!
- Please note that once you arrive at Srinagar Airport, your SIM card or roaming cannot be used here. Internet can only be accessed thru hotel’s Wi-Fi as it is difficult for tourists to buy local SIM cards in Kashmir.
- 90% of Kashmiris are Muslim, so halal food is easy to find here. The price is affordable, the portion is quite big, so it is recommended to share the meal with your travel buddy!
- The weather in Sonamarg and Gulmarg during summer is quite cold and chilly, at around 10-16 Celsius, so don’t forget to pack your jacket!
- However, the weather in Pahalgam and Srinagar is 20-26 Celsius, so you can just wear normal clothes there!
- Don’t forget to bargain if you are shopping in the local market or while purchasing any activities in Kashmir. Bargaining in Kashmir is a common practice but remember to do it wisely and respectfully.
- Prepare some change to give tips as tipping is a culture in Kashmir.
- If you are staying on a houseboat during Winter, please make sure the houseboat has a heater before you book, as not all the houseboats have heaters available!
Kashmir is not just about the scenery, but the hospitality from Kashmiris people is exceptional. They are very welcoming, helpful and friendly. They truly have a big heart!