Kumrat Valley is a majestic valley located in Upper Dir District in KPK. I travelled there recently with a few of my friends who registered for a group tour organised by Saraye Tours. It’s a wonderful retreat to visit for one to spend the weekend at, which we did. The journey was a long 10 hours from Islamabad and stopping over for breakfast and tea made the trip a bit longer. Although a good chunk of Friday and Sunday were spent travelling but if you plan accordingly and work around it, you can make the journey memorable as well. For us, it felt like many days had passed.
Considering the destination of our campsite and the beautiful nature around us, it felt nothing short of a dream. The forest of tall trees, the gushing river eager to reach its destination, the experience of living inside a camp away from the distractions of the world (you could choose a package of living in a pod if you like), bonfire, neon lights, bumpy jeep rides (we rode on the roof of a jeep as well) and last but not the least, a trip to the North is incomplete without drowning in chai (tea). Mmmmmmm………
I could tell more in detail but I hope the pictures give some clues of how the valley looks like. The rest is up to your imagination or your enthusiasm to visit this valley. The purpose of writing this post is to compare and contrast the pros and cons of travelling in a private tour versus a group tour. This was the first time I travelled in a group tour, otherwise I often travelled with family and friends only in private tours such as my trip to Turkey and Hunza, hence this was an additional experience for me which I’d like to share here.
Pros of Private Tours:
- You and your family/friends get to spend quality time together away from the hassle of college/work life.
- You get to choose the dates of travelling.
- You get to choose the package of your tour and can adjust further changes to the tour to your convenience.
- Prices are adjustable due to it being a customized tour.
- Your choice of vehicle makes the long journey comfortable, for e.g a private car or van.
- You are not always bound by a timeline and other people’s preferences to visit or spend more time at a certain place.
- If you’re not a very social person, its convenient to enjoy the trip with people you know.
- Adjustments to the duration and destination of travelling can be made on the spot.
Cons of Private Tours:
- Personalised trips can exclude some perks that group tours do, e.g a good tour guide, visiting the important popular sites, etc.
- You often need to decide the itinerary, book the hotel, be responsible for your meals, etc. which can be tiresome and stressful.
- You are often not in contact with fellow travellers who can guide you with their experiences and suggestions during your travels.
- It’s more costly than group tours
Pros of Group Tours:
- Your itinerary is predetermined hence you don’t have to spend time searching what sites are to be seen.
- Your accommodation, meal plan, transportation, everything is organized and handled by the tour organizer hence it saves you from the stress of organizing it yourself and making sure everything’s according to plan.
- You get to visit the major sites and have a proper tour guide who tells you about the location and who is responsible for your safety.
- You get to meet people from all over the country who often have similar interests as you as they love to travel as well, hence it helps in networking and adds to the memorable experience of travelling. Our trip was especially enjoyable because we became friends with a great group of travellers who we played games, trekked and enjoyed chai with aside from the itinerary and within the itinerary.
- It’s less costly than private tours as the more the travellers there are, the less the overall cost and discounts are often offered.
Cons of Group Tours:
- Your itinerary is predetermined hence not open to any suggestions of changes from your side (unless accepted by the tour organizer).
- You have less freedom of exploring some sites alone as the tour is responsible for your safety.
- The dates of travelling are predetermined.
- The price is predetermined.
- Group tours often travel in buses with people seated close together which can make the journey uncomfortable, especially if it’s a long one.
- If you’re not very social or you’re not comfortable with the travelers then the trip may not be as enjoyable as you wish it to be.
- Adjustments to the duration and destination of travelling cannot be made on the spot by you.
Nevertheless, the destination is the same in either case and is truly memorable. What sort of tour do you prefer? Or do you prefer solo trips instead? Let me know in the comment section.