There are a lot of wonderful waterfalls near Kalam. Most of them are in the forests that surrround Kalam and seeing them is a must! The source of these waterfalls are mostly glaciers on mountains nearby.
The city of Bahrain is about 40-50 km south of Kalam. This city could become a major tourist stay spot if they ever develop it! The town of Bahrain is situated 66 km from Saidu Sharif and is 10km from Madyan. It is another popular riverside resort, with bazaars worth exploring for their handicrafts. The surrounding area has beautiful valleys and is suitable for hiking. The mosques and buildings are worth seeing for wooden carved pillars and other fixtures.
Not too many good hotels (none looked like). Stay at the Marina Hotel or the hotel just opposite it. They are good especially the Marina Hotel which had great food and a wonderful balcony which was right OVER the Swat River. This is the point where the real beauty of the area begins especially of the Swat River itself which is really moving at a swift pace through the rocky basin. Lots of interesting hanging bridges in Bahrain and some wonderful photo stops. There is a small town which has basic neccessities and this is the last town open to the travellers in the winter as the road to Kalam in winters is full of snow at that time which can only be crossed by jeeps. You can cross the river at a bridge (solid concrete bridge) just at the end of the town. There are some wonderful waterfalls just next to the town on the Kalam Road. A nice place to stop for a traveller from Lahore or some other place.
Miandam is a calm and peaceful hill resort in the Swat Valley. The altitude above sea level is about 7000 feet. This place is very beautiful and can be a bit cold. Several mountains springs in the region with lovely trees makes this area almost PERFECT for walks. You can see snow-capped mountains from this place. There are several good hotels in the region. The sunsets of this region are one of the best in the world. Also, the honey made by bees in this region is also some of the best in the world.
** Have snacks at the "Charpoy Restaurants" while dipping your feet in the Swat river.
** Buy fruit (mangoes, cherries, plums, apples). Find a nice spot by the river. Dip fruit in river for 15 min. Enjoy!
** Ride up to Utrot, Ushu, Dhamaka Lake, Mahodand Lake. Most of the tracks are jeep tracks. Jeeps are available for hire at around PKR 750 per trip.
The trek to the Ellum valley is 6 hours both way from Hotel White palace. It is lush green and high steps with sparkling streams and waterfalls. Very nice view and picnic spot at the top, nearby the Pir baba's Ziarat( Grave yards).
The rivers of Kalam are formed by snow melting on the mountains. This water is magnificent...and the local folk lore claims it to have healing properties (don't know about that really)...
You can only truly understand the significance of this tip, if you were boiling in 40C plus heat in the major cities in Pakistan, and then you go for a trip to Kalam, and have a wonderful climate and ice cold water :)
This is a wonderful lake surrounded by mountains. It can only be reached by trekking about 3 hours from Kalam. It is highly advisable to take a guide. You have to follow a branch of the Swat River. The trekking route can be quite scary to the normal tourist with rocks and well you have to almost cling on to the rock wall to hang on. Anyway, the lake is beautiful and there are several small glaciers on the way. They were making boats at the lake for the tourist season. Coming down is a bit quicker about 2 hours. There are biscuits available at the lake but VERY expensive so take your own supply. There is water from a fresh water spring along the route. By the way, the people at the lake told us that there are 3 more lakes ahead and if you keep on trekking you can directly reach Bahrain. Cool huh? Anyway this is a very good place to visit. The people say this lake changes colour during the hours of the day and days of the week. Only saw 2 colours though.
Kandol Lake is one of the most beautiful lake in SWAT district. One can reach there by hikking a moderate level track starting from "Laddu" in two hours. You can reach "Laddu Valley" by jeep from KALAM in 1.5 hours. You can hire a guide from KALAM to help you in reaching that beautiful lake. You will find nothing to buy after Laddu valley, even in Laddu you can find only Biscuts and cold drinks. You can camp at the lake to fully enjoy the mysterious silence at the lake. A local guide will be a definate source of your security.
The Ushu and Utrot areas about 5-10 km north of Kalam are one of the most scenic places in Pakistan. The lovely Swat River following next to you, this area is dominated by high peaks and lovely forests. Unfortunately, the road could use a lot of improvement!
About 30 km north of Kalam on an unbelievebly bad road lies a beauty, Lake Mahodand. Maho means "fish" in the local language and the lake is trully brimming with fish! The lake is very large and is the headquarters of the Swat River. It is located in a huge green field which is surrounded by very high mountains and has a small forest right in the middle which can be accessed by a bridge over the lake (it was closed when I went there). There are stunning trees on the right side of the road (on the left side is Lake Mahodand) through which lots of natural springs are flowing. There is a campround in the meadow in which the lake is located. Fishing permits can be taken for a small fee from the PTDC resort in Kalam. Boating is also possible in the lake. You can also see some glaciers in the mountains near the lake. The water of the lake is freezing cold. A boat ride in the lake is an absolute must and it takes about 30 minutes. I saw some sheeps with a shepherd high up in the mountain while boating (there are motor-boats). I just wonder how they got up there. Another strange sight was a large bird standing on the lake!!!!! I don't think it was a flamingo. I think it was standing on something floating on the lake as the lake is very deep. Anyhow, the area is absolutely stunning. They take 300 Rs for the boat ride. There is also a "Spring of Healing" about 20 minutes drive from the lake towards Kalam. According to the locals, the water has healing powers. No harm to try. The water is clean and fresh (and freezing too).