AZAD JAMMU & KASHMIR
Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) or Azad Kashmir is a self-governing administrative division of Pakistan. Encompassing an area of approximately 650 square miles (1,680 km2), the arc-shaped territory borders the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to the east, the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the south and southwest, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, and the Gilgit-Baltistan region to the north.
The entire region is rich in natural beauty including snow-crowned peaks, splendid valleys, dense forests, velvet green plateaus, roaring rivers, transparent streams, majestic lakes, and four distinct seasons luring tourists from far and near to explore its splendour. Remote tourist attractions remain out of access due to snowfall and road conditions while Muzaffarabad remains open year-round. The Neelum Valley, which runs along the Neelum River, is the most fascinating tourist attraction situated to the north and northeast of Muzaffarabad, the gateway to the valley. The main tourist attractions in the valley are Athmuqam, Kutton, Keran, Changan, Sharda, Kel, Arang Kel and Taobat. Currently, foreigners still require NOC to visit Neelum Valley.
Azad Kashmir was accessible only for Pakistani nationals while foreigners were required to go through a cumbersome NOC process. However, the condition of obtaining NOC has been withheld and foreigners can now visit several areas of Kashmir including Muzaffarabad, the capital city of AJK, situated at the confluence of the Jehlum & Neelum Rivers. The city is a great tourist attraction accessible from Islamabad via Murree at 140 km while 76 km from Abbottabad city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). One can also travel to/from Balakot and Naran via Gari Habibullah which is considered a scenic and shorter route.