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Introducing Dir Town

Founded in the 17th century, this slightly wild town on the Dir River (tributary to the Panjkora) was the seat of the old nawab. The former palace, occasionally occupied by royal offspring, sits high on a hill outside the town. The bazaar is fascinating and rough-edged – a local handicraft speciality is pocketknives. Afghanistan is only 20km away in a straight line, or about 45km by road. Dir is a very conservative town, and political and religious strife on the border or elsewhere in NWFP has frequently been reflected on its streets in recent years, so check the local situation before travelling. Although the local hills look ripe for hiking, you shouldn’t head out on your own.

There’s a National Bank next to Hotel al-Manzer and a few ad hoc moneychangers near the bus station.