A step-by-step guide to getting from Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad to Naran by public transport. Includes travel times, costs, and where to find transportation.
Naran is a popular outdoors getaway for Pakistanis from all over the country. The town is easily accessible, has plenty of tourist infrastructure, and the scenery is beautiful. Worth a trip if you’re looking for an escape from the sweltering cities of Pakistan!
Before you go from Islamabad to Naran
Before leaving, make sure the road between Mansehra and Naran is open for public transport. The road usually opens up for public transport in June. If traveling before June, you’ll likely have to take a Jeep from Mansehra, which is considerably more expensive. The Karakoram Club Facebook group is a great place to find information on openings and travel in northern Pakistan.
Getting to Naran from Islamabad
To get to Naran from Islamabad, you first have to go to Mansehra. There are two ways of getting there: taking a local bus from Pirwadhai bus station in Rawalpindi, or a Daewoo bus from the Daewoo terminal in Rawalpindi. We recommend using Daewoo, as it’s quite comfortable, has reclining seats… and it’s air conditioned! There used to be a direct link between Rawalpindi and Naran provided by PTDC, but at the time of writing it was not in operation.
Daewoo doesn’t go directly to Mansehra–you’ll have to take the bus to Abbottabad. This bus costs 390 Rs per person and takes three hours. There are several throughout the day, so make sure to check the Daewoo bus schedule online.
When you arrive at the Daewoo station in Abbottabad, a Daewoo minivan will likely be waiting to take you to Mansehra. A ticket costs 40 Rs per person, and the ride takes around half an hour. If you take a local bus from Rawalpindi to Manshera, there will be minibusses at the dropoff point there too. If not, just ask around and people will show you in the right direction.
Once in Mansehra, face the main road from the bus station, and walk about 500 meters down the road to your right. Here, you’ll find a minibus terminal. A ticket to Naran costs 300 Rs per person. Minibusses leave when full, and take around 3.5-4 hours.
Where to stay in Naran
Naran is a popular destination for local tourists. In peak season prices can skyrocket, and it’s recommended to book ahead. In the off-season and during Ramadan (when it falls in summer) there is no need to book ahead, and prices are more negotiable.
Naran itself is basically just a street with shops, restaurants, and hotels, so you can walk around to find a place that best suits your needs.
What to do in Naran
Naran is popular for a reason. There are several lakes that can be visited, and Naran is the base for several hikes too. The most famous lake near Naran is Lake Saif-ul-Malook. It’s possible to hike to the lake, but most people opt to take a Jeep there. There are talks of a cable car being built, but so far nothing has been finalized.
Other popular places in and near Naran include Ansoo Jheel, Lalazar, and Dudipatsar Lake. For more information on what to do in Naran, check here.
Onwards travel from Naran
In summer it’s possible to travel onwards from Naran to Chilas (useful for those traveling to Fairy Meadows), but only when Babusar Pass is open. In 2016, it opened on the 21st of June. The Karakoram Club on Facebook maintains a schedule of passes in the north and their status. If you’re interested in traveling this route, check out our article on how to get from Naran to Chilas and the Fairy Meadows.
So there you have it, a quick guide on how to get from Islamabad to Naran by public transport, including information on where to stay and what to do. Let us know in the comments if you have more questions.