I would break the trek into 3 parts. The first part is from Moon restaurant Basel to a place where you see two Pakistani flags hoisted at a peak. I do not remember the name but It took us around 2.5 hours of trekking to reach that place. Once you see those 2 flags, have some confidence that you have covered 50% of distance till Mullah ki Basti. Also, cherish the fact that the difficult part of the trek is over now.
The second part is from here till Mullah ki Basti. This part is the most beautiful and easiest. No difficulty involved. You just have to walk through vast alpine heavenly meadows covered with lush green grass and infinite flowers. It took us approximately 2.5 hours from those 2 flags till Mullah ki Basti.
Beautiful view from the Dudipatsar Lake trek.
The third part is from Mullah ki Basti to Dudipatsar Lake. Its a 1.25 hours trek from Mullah ki Basti.
If you hire a horse for Mullah ki Basti, they will charge you 6000 for a round tour ( 2 days). The horse will carry your luggage. The person with the horse will guide you the way to the lake and Mullah ki Basti. If you want another horse for yourself to ride on, you will have to pay an extra 6000.
The trek involves crossing water streams 3 to 4 times. You can easily cross it on foot but you need to have a spare pair of shoes and socks otherwise you will end up with wet shoes and socks with no alternative. To avoid this, the person offers you to take the horse ride for crossing the flowing stream and charges RS: 50-100 / person.
There are huge rocks on the trek where we can sit and relax for some time. They can even serve as a place to pitch a tent beside them to avoid freezing winds at the night but no one dares to camp before Mullah-ki-Basti as it is not recommended; On the way to Mullah ki Basti.
Once you reach Mullah ki Basti, there are 5 to 6 camps but they are very spacious. Each camp can accommodate at least 6-8 persons. The cost per camp varies from 2000 to 4000. The rate for food was as below.
- Curry (Lobia or Daal Mash) @RS: 100 /plate
- Roti @ 40 Rs/roti
- Tea @ 50 Rs/cup
- Fried eggs @ 50 Rs/egg
- Paratha @ 50 Rs/paratha
The only secure place to camp, during this trek, is Mullah ki Basti. Why it is safe? Because the owner of the camps has an Ak47 and a Glock with him. At night, he guards the camps with a Glock on his waist and Ak47 in his hands. I have seen many tourists there who were carrying their own personal weapons with them. It is safe to have a (licensed) gun with you but even if you don't have it, no worries if you are staying at Mullah ki Basti.
Beautiful water stream on the Dudipatsar trek.
The trek is not difficult, it's like passing from one meadow to the other. Make sure you have sun cream because there are no trees or shadow during the trek.
||30th August 2019
||Started our journey from Islamabad at 10 pm.
||31st August 2019
||Reached Besar at 6 am & Took a break for 4 hours. Started the hike at 10:10 am.
Reached Mullah ki Basti at 3:35 pm. (Took Namaz break at 2 pm )
||1st September 2019
- Mullah ki Basti to Lake & back
- Started hike for Dudipatsar at 6 am & reached Dudipatsar at 7:15 am. Stayed on the lake for like 2 hours & hiked back from Dudipatsar at 9:15 am. Reach Mullah ki Basti at 10:05 am and ordered breakfast and did the packing.
- Mullah ki Basti to Basel
- Started hike back from Mullah ki Basti at 11:30 am reached Moon restaurant Basel at 3:30 pm. took our lunch and much-needed break for about 1.5 hours. Departed for Islamabad at 5 pm.
||2nd September 2019
||Reached Islamabad 2.30am
Dates: 31th Aug - 1st Sep
Q1: Kohistani people?
I think there is a lot of variety in them. Some are very humble but some of them are very greedy. There is a person named "Mushtaq Ashraf", DO NOT TRUST HIM. He owns a hotel near moon restaurant by the name of Dudipatsar Hotel. He offers porter and camping facilities for Dudipatsar Lake. We took a camp from him which he claimed to be enough for 6 people along with sleeping bags. But when we opened it at Mullah ki Basti, it was hardly spacious for even 3 people. So we had to buy another camp at Mullah ki Basti.
When you hire a porter. He is not the only person accompanying you on the journey. There are 3-4 more people along with their horses as well. Their only mission is to discourage you by saying words like "Baji app nhi kr paengi, bht mushkil hai upr tk jana. Ghoray pr baith jein. App thak jaengi."
Actually there are 2 points to start the hike. If you start your hike from point 1 which is 1.5 km away from moon restaurant, you will have to cross the water 3-4 times. But if you start your hike from point 2 which is hardly 400m from the Moon restaurant, you will have to cross the stream only once. Since these people want to make more money so they deliberately take you to point 1 and ask you to start the trek from there so that you have to cross the water stream 3-4 times and they can offer you horse assistance and earn more money. This was the most pathetic part of my experience.
Bad encounters aside, I also met a few good people. Two beautiful women to mention, who asked about my health, my education, my hike experience and they offered me tea as well. After the exchange of some good words, we parted on Goodluck notes.
Some grass was drying up, and soon the local people will harvest it for their cattle. It serves them all during their winters.
The sunset at Mullah ki Basti, Khyber Pakhtunkwha
Q2: Should one hire horse/porter?
My personal comments are if you are going for the first time, MUST HIRE A HORSE. You are there to enjoy the journey not to get fatigued. Put your luggage on the horse and just hike along.
We took a round trip to the lake early in the morning because people recommended not to camp at the lake.
Sun was shining hard and there was a little snow on the mountains as well and it was cozy cold at the lake.
Q3: Night Stay at Mullah ki Basti?
I have camped in Deosai plains as well which is very famous for the sky at night. This was the time, Deosai lost the first place from my list. When I stepped out of the camp at 9 pm in the night, I got numb with a single glance on the sky. The whole milky way was visible with the naked eye. I couldn't believe my eyes for some time. I was just admiring the art of Almighty. If someone asks me to go to Mullah ki Basti again. I would happily say yes for a brief glimpse of the richest sky with every jewel sewed in it.
Full view of the Dudipatsar Lake, Kpk
There is no sophisticated kind of washroom in this whole area.
Q5: Is lake worth all this trouble?
I have been to many lakes before. I have done many treks as well so I would say this is the BEST trek I ever did till date. It is like you are trekking Deosai plains. So I would rate the trek 11 of out 10 in terms of aesthetics. But if we talk about the lake, it is not that ravishing. If you are going just to see the lake then don't bother exertion for 7 hrs just for this lake but if you are a hiking lover like me. Go for it. You would never regret your decision.
My candid photo at Mullah Ki Basti, It was worth a trip.
- Content and Photos by Saira Akhter.