Travel for me is synonymous with freedom, love, and a life-changing phenomenon which can only be experienced. It helps me to revive my energies while I’m away from work, and embark on a hassle-free journey. Visiting offbeat places, experiencing different cultures, meeting new people, and admiring the diversity is what I love, and that is exactly what I experienced on my trip to Kashmir with friends.
Being an independent girl with a busy schedule round the clock, traveling gives me a break from all the stress and leaves my mind fresh. For the love of travel and the curiosity of exploring new places, I began my search for a peaceful yet adventurous escape on Google and on all social networks.
Luckily, I found TravelTriangle on internet and post reading their reviews, I followed them on social platforms and installed their app. Apart from that, few of my friends also had planned their trips through TravelTriangle and gave excellent reviews about their planning, packages, and customization option.
Details Of Our Trip To Kashmir With Friends
Suggested Read: Here’s What Makes Kashmir A True Heaven On Earth
Trip Duration: 6 nights and 7 days
Trip Type: An adventurous escape to Kashmir with my best buds
Trip Cost: INR 35,000
Agent: Peacock Holidays
Inclusions: Accommodation at Peacock Houseboats in Srinagar, the Pahalgam retreat, the Gulmarg resort, and Royal arabia in Srinagar, Shikara ride, local sightseeing, buffet breakfast, dinner, airport transfers, local transfers, cab fare, GST, and taxes
Exclusions: Airfare, lunch, travel insurance, surcharges, personal expenses, and anything not included in the itinerary
As for me and my friends, we had always heard about Kashmir being famed as the heaven on Earth. And since we had always dreamed to visit the most heavenly place by created by God, we three girls thought of exploring this paradise during our summer break.
Despite the news of unrest and curfew, we decided that we should take a call not to lose the opportunity to visit this place and went ahead with the booking. All we had to do was to put in a request, choose one of the three quotes provided by the top agents, and that was it. Left with an excitement to get to Kashmir, we could barely wait to begin the journey.
Day 1: Houseboat Stay at Srinagar
On the first day, we landed in Srinagar, and you can witness the beauty of the most scenic capital city of Kashmir from the flight itself. Upon our arrival, the driver named Mushtaq was waiting for us and picked us from the airport.
We drove enroute the scenic landscapes of Kashmir and were dropped at the houseboat at Nigeen Lake. It was one of the most peaceful places one could ever visit and our stay at the Peacock houseboat made it worth the while.
Suggested Read: Incredible Lakes In Kashmir That Can Enchant Any Traveler
The best part about Kashmir are the people. They are very warm, welcoming, and smiling people who cooked some delicious homemade food for us on the houseboat. The whole experience on the houseboat was extremely charming and everything from the cleanliness to hygiene was on point.
After taking rest for sometime, we went for the most-awaited Shikara ride on the Nigeen Lake post which we also clicked a lot photographs in the traditional Kashmiri attire. And as a part of sightseeing, we visited many beautiful places which are a must for everyone on their trip to Kashmir with friends.
Best places to visit on a trip to Kashmir with friends
Shalimar Garden: The garden has a beautiful layout with 4-arms radiating from a central water source lined by fountains and walkways encircled by trees.
Government Emporium: Shop for paper crafts and kashmiri products here.
Tulip Garden: The garden is open only for 20 days in a year during the months from April to May, when the Tulips blossom. It turned out to be best experience for us to plan our trip during this time as we got to witness the beauty of Tulip Garden.
Route from Srinagar to Pahalgam
Day 2 & 3: Exploring The Heart Of Pahalgam
Next morning on the second day, we left for Pahalgam and the best way to reach this destination by road from Srinagar. The journey from Srinagar to Pahalgam will take you across the vast landscapes of saffron and mustard farms that are indeed a sight to behold.
On the way we stopped at the main saffron farming hub of Kashmir to click the pictures. For most part of the journey, we traveled along the Lidder river, passing through several villages and apple gardens. As you journey through the villages, you will see the beautiful Kashmiri architecture and wooden craft work on the houses.
On the way, we stopped to shop for dry fruits and to have kahwa which a a brew of spices that keeps your taste buds tingling for more. Post that, it took around 1 hour to reach Pahalgam and upon arrival, we checked-in at the Pahalgam Retreat situated at very scenic bank of Lidder river.
On the same day we also went for the exciting pony ride to see the beauty of Baisaran covering the Kashmir valley view point. While going for pony ride, do not miss out on enjoying the scenic beauty around by worrying about falling down.
The vast expanse of meadow surrounded by pine trees overlooking the snow-capped peaks was truly breathtaking. On reaching atop Baisaran which is called as the Mini Switzerland, we were awe-struck by the beauty of this place.
Suggested Read: 15 Best Houseboats In Kashmir: A Treat For Nature Buffs
Before heading back to the hotel, we lied down for some time on the green grasslands and admired the breathtaking views to our eye’s content. On the next morning of the third day, the driver dropped us at the taxi stand from where we hired a cab to visit the four main attractions of Pahalgam.
Best places to visit in Pahalgam
Kashmir Valley: Eye-catching meadows, refreshing greens, cascading rivers, and snow-capped mountains is what Kashmir Valley is all about. It is a must for a picture-perfect postcard like captures.
Aru Valley: Aru is less crowded and away from the crowd of Pahalgam. The valley is so beautiful that you wouldn’t want to leave it ever.
Chandanwari: The scenic drive through hills and curved roads was pretty exciting. Chandanwari is mainly famous for being the starting point of the great Amarnath Yatra but for us, it was a great time playing in the snow at this point.
Betaab Valley: Betaab Valley is so mesmerizing that at first sight from the road above will leave you spellbound. We stopped the taxi driver to take some snaps of this place from the road itself. The whole valley is surrounded by snowy mountains, covered with green meadows, and the blue Lidder river runs through it.
Route from Pahalgam to Gulmarg
Day 4: Gondola Ride, Sledging & Sightseeing In Gulmarg
On the fourth day, we started our drive from Pahalgam to Gulmarg. It was the perfect day in snow and we witnessed why Gulmarg is considered synonymous with beauty. The surrounding environs were so stunning that we wondered if anyone could a place more beautiful than this.
On arriving at the prebooked hotel, we checked-in at the Gulmarg resort and three of us left for the thrilling Gondola ride. It turned out to be one of the best parts of our trip to Kashmir with friends. We had an awesome time enjoying winter sports like that of skiing, and sledging which was too much fun.
Later in the evening, we hired horses for local sightseeing in Gulmarg which was a visual treat to our eyes. However, the food at Gulmarg resort was also delicious.
Must experiences in Gulmarg
- Gondola ride
Route from Gulmarg to Srinagar
Day 5 & 6: Finding Solace In Srinagar
Next day our plan was to visit Sonmarg which we could not make it possible due to unrest and curfew situation in the valley so we left for Srinagar on the fifth day and checked-in at the Hotel Royal Arabia.
On the same day we thought of not wasting the time and exploring Srinagar as much as we can. We went on to relish a delicious lunch at Mughal Darbar which is one of the best known restaurants for Kashmiri food. We continued the day of local sightseeing and were thrilled at every spot.
Suggested Read: 10 Best Hotels In Kashmir For Both Luxury And Budget Vacationers
Tired from all the hopping around, we called it a night to wake up a bit early next morning. On the sixth day, we went to Badamwari Garden in the morning. It is a great place for those who’re looking for some peaceful time for enjoying the beauty of nature, and clicking loads of pictures.
We also visited a religious spot called Hazratbal wherein the backyard offers a stunning sight of the silent lake with Shikaras and beautiful willows alongside the bank. It is a must visit for all the travelers.
Best places to visit in Srinagar
Mughal Garden: It is one of the most beautiful gardens in India which is filled with endearing flowers and beautiful trees. It has a splendid central water channel that flaunts several serene fountains surrounded by tall Chinar trees.
Chashme Shahi: Later, the driver took us to visit Chashme Shahi which houses the natural springs. The water was so pure that we filled our bottles with the natural sweet and chilled spring water.
Pari Mahal: Set amidst the mountains and encircled by Deodar trees, Pari Mahal offers stunning views of Dal Lake from a distance as well. To watch the sunset across the beauty of Dal lake from the top was indeed one of the most wonderful experiences on our trip to Kashmir with friends.
Badamwari Garden: The famous almond garden that offers all the peace and quiet that the travelers seek on a getaway like Kashmir.
Hazratbal: A popular religious site that truly evokes a sense of calm in every visitor and offers breathtaking views of the lake.
Day 7: Bidding Adieu To The Surreal Srinagar
On the seventh day of our enticing trip to Kashmir with friends, we checked-out from the Hotel Royal Arabia and went to Dal Lake. We enjoyed a mesmerizing shikara ride for about 1.5 hours and it was an experience that cannot be put into words.
Later we shopped for some traditional wooden products during the ride. It was a peaceful time to experience the serenity of Kashmir on waters. Post that we went shopping in the local market at Lal Chowk which is famous for best Kashmiri crockery at a reasonable price.
In the end, it was finally time to kiss Kashmir a hearty goodbye. We left for airport with a heavy heart leaving Kashmir behind and taking some of the best memories of our life. Meeting such kind hearted people, we’re happy to have spent such wonderful days in Kashmiriyat.
Memorable Moments Of Our Trip To Kashmir With Friends
Overall, the whole trip was filled with WOW moments for all three of us. But if we had to pick, some of the best moments of our trip to Kashmir with friends would be:
- Houseboat stay at Srinagar
- Pony ride at Baisaran Valley in Pahalgam
- Gondola ride and winter sports at Gulmarg
- Lunch at Mughal Darbar in Srinagar
- Saved the best for the last – Shikara ride on Dal Lake
Low Points: On the last day of the trip when we went for shopping there was stone pelting in the middle of the road. Though it was a local issue, the driver assured our safety, took us to the market, and back to the airport safely.
Overall Experience With TravelTriangle
TravelTriangle turned out to be the best travel holiday planner for us. It becomes very easy when you get multiple options with different quotes as it helps in planning according your budget and still enjoying all the modern amenities along with some best experiences. Overall, it was a great trip with TravelTriangle. No hassles whatsoever!
Tips For Future Travelers
- First things first, I would suggest to go with TravelTriangle whether it’s a group, solo, honeymoon, or a family trip. They take care of things that you can not even think of.
- Being just three girls, we had a carefree and the best trip since everything including our safety was also taken care of.
- Do not forget to taste Kashmiri wazwan at Mughal Darbar in Srinagar.
- We missed visiting Sonmarg so make sure you plan accordingly and do not miss out on this beautiful place during your visit.
Blown away by the beauty of Kashmir? You too can have a similar experience by booking one of the customizable Kashmir tour packages with TravelTriangle, and embarking one of the best and hassle-free journeys of your life!