I never knew that this small little paradise called Kashmir exist. Situated between India, Pakistan, and China, Kashmir is known as mini Switzerland with the impeccable views of the mountain range and greenery. No doubt that the dispute between India and Pakistan has been going on since decades ago until now.
Is it safe to visit Kashmir? the answer is YES. Before you plan your trip to Kashmir, please be aware of the latest news. In 2019, the internet connection was cut and affected the connections to the outside world. What about a phone line? A local sim card can only be bought by the locals. Foreigners are not allowed to have one. It was a safety measure for the local people in Kashmir. Although, you can borrow your guide’s phone to make a phone call if there’s an emergency. As of now, in March 2020, the internet connection is back on but at a slower speed.
Noticed that I separated Kashmir and India in my previous post? It was because the local people asked me to not define Kashmir as India. So, in my blog post, I will define Kashmir as Kashmir and Delhi-Agra-Jaipur as India.
My costing summary for 5 days 4 nights with a total of sharing cost for 10 people as per below:
In my previous post, I have listed out the tips on how to plan for your trip to Kashmir and India which includes the visa application, flights and more. Be sure to read HERE. So, let’s begin!
When it comes to any planning for my trip overseas, I will always start with booking my flight tickets first. For Kashmir, you will need to take 2 different flights which are from your hometown to New Delhi and from New Delhi to Jammu or Srinagar, Kashmir. The flights’ cost can be from RM1000 +/- to RM1800 depends on your preferred airlines. I would prefer Malindo Airlines for a flight from Kuala Lumpur to New Delhi (RM800) and Air India from New Delhi to Srinagar (RM320). Both flights are inclusive of meals and baggage (25kg & 32kg each). If you would like to travel light and under budget, I would recommend you to choose AirAsia as it offers the cheapest flights for both International and Domestic flights. The cheapest I’ve seen so far was RM1000 for both return flights (Kuala Lumpur – New Delhi – Srinagar).
There are 4 seasons in Kashmir which are spring from March to May, summer from May to September, autumn from September to November, and winter from November to March. I have visited Kashmir during winter and summer and I MUST warn you that summer in Kashmir will not be warm. The temperature during my visit was as low as ZERO degrees Celcius and colder at night (I barely able to feel my feet). So, please bring at least ONE winter coat during your visit. My activities during summer visits as per below:
1) Horse riding
3) Betaab & Aru Valley visits
4) Zoji La Pass
5) Gondola ride
6) Shikara ride
My full itinerary as per below:
To visit Kashmir, it is a MUST for you to hire their local tour guide for safety measures. If you want only the local guide, you can try Faisal and Shani and contact them through their Instagram @faisal_dharma and @shani1414. Their local packages for 5 days can range from RM500 to RM 800 per person, depending on your preferred itineraries and the total number of pax for the trip. I hired my friend when I first visit Kashmir. A guide from Malaysia that has been going in and out Kashmir for countless times. Since I have no idea what to expect by visiting Kashmir, I would prefer my friend to arrange everything for me as he knows better. If you are interested in hiring him, you can find him on Instagram @fakhrulaizat for further inquiries. There are also some other packages offers by @kiwionearth @azreenomar and @projecvacation that you can find on Instagram.
A houseboat is a MUST stay place in Kashmir. It was intricately designed and built with wood that cost over a million ringgit for ONE houseboat. If you have seen my video on youtube HERE, you will get the idea of how beautiful the houseboat is. The hotels are also available in the city if you opt to choose to stay in a hotel. The range can be between RM150 – RM1200 per night for the hotels depends on the location. The cheapest accommodations you can get is at Srinagar. Srinagar is the center point to get to all of the attractions. BUT if you are searching for tranquility and relaxation, I would suggest you stay in Gulmarg, especially during winter.
Cashmere products are so famous around the world for warm clothes, scarves and more. You will get to see how everything was handmade in Kashmir and of course! you can shop until you drop. A scarf can cost you as low as 500 rupees, so as the 6-meter saree. The softer the quality of the fabric, the expensive it will be. The lowest price for the softer saree can cost around 1500 rupees. There are also other products such as saffron (RM50/small packet), Kehwa Tea (RM30/tin), handicraft, table runner/ cloth, leather bags (expensive but high quality), Kashmir poncho (RM35) and more. I did not shop much when I was in Kashmir, so my cash was safe.
Please be aware, in Kashmir, tips are compulsory. You need to give tips to the driver, the guide, the houseboat owner, the one that brings you up the hill for horse riding, the one that takes pictures for you and MORE. YES, almost EVERYTHING. Usually, a local guide will advise you for the preferred amount but just prepare 3000 rupees for the 5-days total tips. You can divide among your friends if you are traveling in a group.
I think that’s pretty much about it. I will write about my experience in Kashmir in my different posts. There’s a lot to share from the activities, being admitted to the hospital and MORE. I hope to see you soon! bye!