Skip to content

Kalash Valleys Travel Guide For Pakistan

The Kalash Valleys in the Chitral province of northern Pakistan are like another world.

The Kalasha people have lived their traditions for 1000’s of years that are culturally and religiously different from the rest of the region.

We travelled from the Hunza Valley across the Shandur Pass to Chitral (link to that article at the bottom of the post) to visit the Kalasha as we had heard so much about the place for years.

Note: All the photos of Kalasha people were with their permission. 

The Kalash Valleys

Bamborate Valley

The Bamborate valley is the main Kalasha valley that is where most people visit and stay.

It has the most guesthouses and places to eat and a lot of villages and history to explore. It also has the excellent Kalasha Dur Museum.

Part of Bamborate valley.

bumburet valley

Kalasha village.

bumburet koalas village

Beautiful scenery to walk around.

bumburet valley

If a couple die without having any children they make wooden sculptures of them like in the photo below.

Unfortunately due to cultural theft they have to be protected now by cages.

history in kalash

The burial houses are where they leave a dead body overnight beofre burial the next day.

Outside a burial house.

kalash house

The old graves in the Bamborate valley were washed up during a flood and some now lay strewn around in the open under a group of trees at the last Kalasha village in the valley.

Coffins from the graveyard.

graveyard kalash bumburet

There are a lot of guesthouse options to stay in Bamborate valley but for us the Kalash Guest House was the best place.

It’s a homestay where you stay with a local Kalasha family in a Kalash village.

The owner Bhutto is a very welcoming and friendly man and his family are so hospitable and will make you feel at home.

They have some of the best home-cooked traditional food and the owner gets some of the best Kalasha wine (see more about the wine later in the article).

guest house in kalash bumburet

The only thing with the Bamborate valley is that as it’s the busiest area some of the uniqueness of the Kalasha area is taken away.

Rumbur Valley

Rumbor valley is on a smaller scale that Bamborate and feels a little more traditional in some ways but Bomborate valley I still believe is the best one to base yourself in as mentioned before.

We hitch-hiked up the Rumbur valley and got a lift by a guy called Engineer, a Kalashi. He owns a traditional Kalasha family homestay and we had breakfast there.

Engineers house is very nice and his family are friendly and if we did ever stay in Rumbur valley we would definitely stay at his.

He’s also a friend of Bhutto at the Kalash Guesthouse in Bomborate.

Part of Rumbur valley.

Rumbur valley

Kalasha village in Rumbur valley.

rumbur valley

Old inscriptions on wood looking over the valley.

rumbur valley

Part of a Kalasha temple.

rumbur valley temple

Kalasha dance hall in Rumbur valley.

rumbur valley dancing

Rumbur valley.

rumbur valley

Kalasha Wine

What to say…

The Kalasha wine is out of this world.

I don’t even like wine that much and actually don’t drink that much alcohol but the Kalasha wine just tastes so good and is smooth.

It’s made from the local grapes in the area and the Kalash people enjoy it year round but on certain festivals, mainly in December and May, they drink a lot of it.

As mentioned earlier the owner of Kalash Guest House in Bamborate valley gets some of the best around.

Kalasha wine.

wine in the Kalash Valleys

Can’t resist a glass (or 3) in the evening.

kalasha wine

The Kalash People and Culture

The main reason to visit the Kalasha valleys is the Kalash people who are amongst the frienliest I have ever met, having explored cultures in over 90 countries.

The Kalash belief system is considered a form of ancient Hinduism and differs from all other ethnic groups in the region.

It’s unique.

Note again: all photos of people were taken with their permission. It’s considered rude and imolite in Kalash to take photos of people candidly. They don’t like it so be respectful of their wishes.

Also it’s way better to get to know the people first, drink tea with them, share stories, chat, and then if you want ask for photos together and they will appreciate that much more.

Use your energies to engage with the kalsh people and don’t think just of: “They look cool I want pics”!

I’m a photographer and love to photograph everything but sometimes you have to step back from it and enjoy the moments. The few pics I did take of some of the people were once we had become friends over the course of 4 nights staying there.

Woman from Kalash Guest House.

Kalasha woman

Our guide who took it upon herself to show us around her Kalash village.

kalasha village
kalasha village
koalas valleys traditional girl

A Kalash woman harvesting the field.

kalasha woman

A Kalash man laughs at a joke we said.

kalasha man

Kalash man organising corn after harvesting it.

kalasha corn produce

The owner of Kalash Guest House on the right relaxes with local man taking a break from work.

men in kalash

Family member from Kalash Guest House gives Sidra (my wife) a traditional Kalash head dress to wear for the day.

kalasha women

Sidra dressed in traditional Kalasha clothes.

kalasha women

Sidra wearing a different dress.

kalash clothing

I wore a local traditional hat.

Kalasha valley dress

Children from a Kalasha village related to the owner of where we stayed.

kalasha children bumburet valley

Getting to The Kalasha Valleys

The main way to the Kalasha Valleys is from Chitral and is around a 2-hour drive into either Bamborate or Rumbur Valleys.

Bamborate has more transport options and will be easier to get to.

You can take a shared taxi from Chitral for around 300 rupees per person for a full car of 6 people sharing.

Or if you want your own car pay around 2000 rupees for the trip.

If you have your own transport be aware that the road after Ayun gets rocky and dusty.

To get to Chitral itself depends where you are coming from. 

If you have been travelling along the Karakoram Highway area then the Gilgit to Chitral journey is the best way to reach there and is a highly recommended trip in its own right.

If you are coming from Islamabad there is a nightly bus service on the Hindukush Express Bus that costs around 2000 rupees.

Visit The Kalasha Valleys

Visiting the Kalasha Valleys is one of the best experiences you can have in Pakistan.

It’s such a unique culture and combined with the friendly people and beautiful scenery makes the perfect place to visit.

Take note though that the Kalash people live alongside Muslim villages in the valleys so don’t expect just to see Kalash people and their culture there.

As mentioned in the beginning we travelled from the Hunza Valley across the Shandur Pass to get to the Kalasha Valleys and that trip was an adventure in itself.

I recommend using SafetyWing Travel Insurance for your trip, just in case, it’s best to be prepared.

For a story about a somewhat disastrous journey in the Chitral region before we made it to the Kalasha valleys have a read of this hot springs nightmare in Garam Chasma.

For more reading on travel in Pakistan take a look at my Pakistan destinations page.

To learn more about the Kalash people Wikipedia has excellent information on the Kalash.

Pakistan travel to Kalasha Valleys

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get the occasional email with some awesome new travel articles to check out.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest