Introducing Mingora & Saidu Sharif
In recent decades the two towns of Mingora and Saidu Sharif have merged into one another to form a sprawling unit. Mingora is the older market town with a heaving bazaar, long-distance transport and most of the hotels. Saidu Sharif is the traditional seat of Swat power and the administrative headquarters for the Malakand Division that also covers Dir and Chitral.
This area is the base from which to see Lower Swat’s wealth of Buddhist and other historical sites (there’s a good museum too), and to change buses for Upper Swat. Mingora’s noise, traffic and frenetic atmosphere may come as a shock if you’ve arrived from the north.