If you have time and a car then travel to kashmir.
Himachal pardesh lies in lower range of Himalayas (highest elevation point is above 6000m, but road after manali is risky) where as kashmir lies in zanskar range and greater himalayan range.
Following are the points that makes it reasonable to travel to kashmir
1) if you are going by road.
You love driving ?
This is the road for you.
From jammu to srinagar it will take straight 9 to 10 hrs.
The road is in excellent condition NH1 (GT road) road becomes narrow after Banihal.
Might get a little traffic jam in patni top
Still the road is not broken till batote village
Where it gets little bumpy for 500 m .
view will be mesmerizing might fall in love with it.
Srinagar is valley surrounded by peaks ( from a point you can even see patni top)
If you ask somebody "where should a tourist go"
Answer will be - Pahalgam,gulmarg, sonemarg,Dal lake, these are some common tourist destinations.
A) So if you are going to Pahalgam the road again is in very well condition ( a stream will be following the road !
B) If you are going to gulmarg it is also very nice road ! Dont be in shock if you see some autorikshaw going there.
C) if you are going to sonemarg ! The road is nice but will face traffic jam consuming 2-3 hours (only if you travel in amarnath yatra's time). The road then becomes dangourous when you travel a bit more higher to zojila pass the road is quiet scary actually there is no road just pebbles you are driving on with heavy traffic and army convoys makes it terrible.
Nevertheless when you reach zojila pass you'll forget everything !
2) places to hide away from stubborn crowd !
If you love peace and want to alone
These are some places and advice
A) Pahalgam- As soon as you enter Pahalgam pony wala's will be following you offering the most crowded destination.
Advice- ignore them, book a hotel online (if travelling in peak season) for convince.
Roam in the markets the day you reach. Dont just start trekking the same day.
Wake up early in morning like 7 am. Go to any pony wala ! Ask them to take you to #tulian valley. If they try to manipulate your decision for tulian and say they'll take to baisaran dont ever say "ohky" ( baisaran or mini Switzerland are most crowded place in Pahalgam).
Go to tulian no where else. (15km trek)
( see my next blog to find more about pahlgam and place where peace prevails)
B) if you are going to gulmarg -
Gulmarg is place where every tourist will Definetly go. There is no hide away from crowd actually ! But if you are high on budget you can go to hotel Khyber ! From where you can have a pleasant view of gulmarg's peaks
( a blog will be published about gulmarg soon )
C) if you are going to sonamarg
- sonamarg can give you instant chills but its crowded there too ! Sonemarg is place where tourists prefer to go less than pahalgam and gulmarg as it is far from srinagar and is the only highway that connects srinagar to leh !
The traffic is main problem there.
If you dont want to stuck there. Go even higher to zojila pass ! Where crowd is little less !
The main thing about sonamarg is change in terrains one hand you can see green mountains with vegetation and on the other hand the peaks straight up, sky touching greyish peaks that represent the ladakhi mountains !
( a blog about region between srinagar and kargil will be published soon)
3) dont go with MMT or others
If you really want to enjoy this trip go solo
Go with friends or family not in packages
These packages will bound you in time and the trip will become miserable !
- travelling to kashmir is far better than travelling to himachal pardesh as long as you are not planing it to leh !
Stay away from crowded places and overrated places in himchal pardesh !