I often get asked about how to travel in Kashmir by bus or a shared cab. So I thought to put together this page providing information on public transport in Kashmir. Reading the post below, you can find out how to travel from Srinagar to other parts of Kashmir without having to book a private cab.
The details below are actually already covered in other articles that I have written about places like Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam, Gurez Valley, etc. But this page can work as a quick reference without having to look at all those other posts.
For all other details like places to visit in Kashmir, things to do, where to stay, foods to try, shopping, etc, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Kashmir.
Public Transport in Kashmir
The first thing that you should know is that public transport in Kashmir is not really that organized and regular. It will be very hard to find a JKSRTC bus and you will have to mostly rely on the mini-buses operated by the locals.
The other option, if you could not find a bus, is the shared cabs. The frequency of the shared cabs is much better than the buses but it will be hard to find a cab that can take you all the way to your destination.
Let us take a look at the different places in Kashmir one by one.
I will talk about Srinagar because that will be your first destination for a trip to Kashmir. You will first reach Srinagar and from there, you can travel to any of the other tourist locations.
How to Reach Srinagar By Bus
You can try to find a direct bus to Srinagar if available from your city otherwise you will first have to reach Jammu by either train or Bus and then go to Srinagar from there.
J&K State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) operates fairly comfortable buses from Jammu. This bus completes the journey in about 11 hours.
How to reach Srinagar by Train
Srinagar has its own railway station but the problem is that it is not yet fully operational and connected. For now, you can only reach Udhampur by train.
From Udhampur, you will then have to board a bus or taxi for Ramban. After reaching Ramban, you will then board another train from Ramban to Srinagar.
An easier way thus would be to just board a bus or shared taxi directly from Udhampur to Srinagar. Alternatively, you can first reach Jammu by Train and then travel from Jammu to Srinagar by Bus.
There is no regular JKSRTC bus service in Srinagar and you will mostly have to rely on shared taxis or mini-buses operated by the locals.
The problem is that there are no set routes or places where you can board these shared cabs from. You will just have to stand by the road, wave at any passing shared cabs, and inquire if they were headed towards your destination.
Now that you are in Srinagar, let us take a look at possibly the most popular tourist destination of Kashmir, Gulmarg. Can you travel from Srinagar to Gulmarg by public transport? Yes, you can. Read on to find out how.
Srinagar to Gulmarg Bus
There is no direct bus between Srinagar and Gulmarg. Your journey will have to be broken into three parts.
First, from your hotel, you will have to board a bus for either Parimpora or Batmaloo in Srinagar. That is where the buses towards Gulmarg start from.
Once you get there, look for a bus going to Tangmarg. You will not find a bus for Gulmarg so do not waste your time and board the one going to Tangmarg.
Tangmarg has a small bus stand where you will get down and look for a bus going to Gulmarg.
Srinagar to Gulmarg Bus Timings
There is no set timetable for the buses between Srinagar and Gulmarg. There are all small buses operated by the locals and do not really follow a schedule. They start as soon as the bus is full of passengers.
From both Parimpora and Batmaloo in Srinagar, you will find buses going to Tangmarg all day long. You may have to wait a little bit but not for long. The same is the case with buses from Tangmarg.
Srinagar to Gulmarg Bus Fare
The total fare you will pay for a bus journey from Srinagar to Gulmarg will approximately be Rs. 200 per person.
Srinagar to Gulmarg Shared Taxi
For a shared cab, you will first have to reach Dal Gate in Srinagar and look for a shared cab to Parimpora or Batmaloo.
If you found one that was going directly to Tangmarg, board that. Otherwise, find one for Parimpora or Batmaloo.
From Parimpora / Batmaloo, you will again have to change cabs and look for a cab going to Tangmarg. Once you arrive at Tangmarg, you will board the third cab going towards Gulmarg.
An important thing to keep in mind is that the shared cabs here are known as ‘service gaadi’. If you asked anyone about shared cabs, they may just shrug their shoulders and say that they don’t know. If that happens, ask about service gaadi and they will know what you mean.
The total fare by shared cabs will be between Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per person.
Gulmarg to Srinagar
The reverse journey, for traveling from Gulmarg to Srinagar, will have to be followed in the same manner. Just take a look at everything the other way around.
For more details on traveling to Gulmarg, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Gulmarg from Srinagar.
Let us now take a look take a brief look at public transport in Kashmir for Sonamarg. Unlike Gulmarg, there is actually a direct bus for Sonamarg from Srinagar but there are no direct shared cabs.
Srinagar to Sonamarg Bus
The bus for Sonamarg starts from either Batmaloo or Parimpora in Srinagar. This is a daily bus service that remains available from May to September (or October, depending on the weather).
Srinagar to Sonamarg Bus Timings
This bus starts from Srinagar (Batlamaloo or Parimpora) at around 8 in the morning and reaches Sonamarg about 5-6 hours later. It takes a lot of breaks in between, stops at almost every village and that is why the travel time is higher.
Srinagar to Sonamarg Bus Fare
The bus fare for a journey from Srinagar to Sonamarg is Rs. 150 per person.
Srinagar to Sonmarg Shared Taxi
The frequency of the bus between the two places is not that great. There is mostly one bus in the day or at most two. Hence, a better way to travel will be by shared cabs. But for this, you will have to break the journey into two parts.
You will first board a shared cab for Kangan from Srinagar. The cabs are available from either Hazratbal or Jahangir Chowk in Srinagar.
Once you get to Kangan, you will then have to find another cab for Sonamarg. These cabs are easily available in both Srinagar and Kangan and travel throughout the day.
Sonamarg to Srinagar
The reverse journey, for traveling from Gulmarg to Srinagar, will have to be followed in the same manner. Ther is a daily morning bus from Sonamarg to Srinagar (Batmaloo / Parimpora).
If you missed the bus, you can board a cab for Kangan from Sonamarg and then for Srinagar from Kangan.
For other details on visiting Sonamarg, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Sonamarg from Srinagar.
Let us now take a look at public transport in Kashmir for Pahalgam. You will not find a direct bus or shared cab from Srinagar to Pahalgam. The journey will have to be completed in parts.
Srinagar to Pahalgam Bus
The direct bus between Srinagar and Pahalgam remains available only during the Amarnath Yatra season, from late June to early August. This bus starts from Pantha Chowk in Srinagar and reaches Pahalgam via Anantnag.
For the rest of the year, you will first have to look for a bus for Anantnag from Dal Gate in Srinagar. From Anantnag, you will then have to look for another mode of transport for Pahalgam which can either be a bus or a shared cab.
Srinagar to Pahalgam Bus Timings
These buses are privately owned and operated and there is no set timing for them. The good part however is that regular buses are available throughout the day.
They do not stick to any specific timings and start when there are enough passengers.
Srinagar to Pahalgam Bus Fare
The fare per person for a journey from Srinagar to Pahalgam is Rs. 150 approximately. The same journey by shared cab will cost you slightly more, around Rs. 200 per person.
Srinagar to Pahalgam Shared Taxi
To reach Pahalgam from Srinagar by a shared taxi, you will first have to look for a shared cab for Anantnag from Dal Lake in Srinagar. Once you get to Anantnag, you will then board another shared cab for Pahalgam.
The frequency of the shared cabs is much better than a bus in Kashmir and you will have no trouble finding one.
For other details on visiting Pahalgam, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Pahalgam.
The three places we talked about above are the most-visited destinations in Kashmir. Let us now take a look at the availability of public transport in Kashmir for some other offbeat tourist spots, starting with Gurez Valley.
Dawar is the central township of Gurez Valley. This is where all the hotels are and this is where you will be staying for the night.
Srinagar to Gurez Shared Taxi
To reach Gurez Valley from Srinagar, you will first have to board a shared cab to Bandipora from Parimpora in Srinagar. It will cost you about Rs. 150 per person.
From Bandipora, you will then board another shared cab for Dawar which will cost you about Rs. 350 per person.
Srinagar to Gurez Valley Bus
A journey by Bus will be the same that I mentioned above for the shared cabs. From Parimpora in Srinagar, you will board a bus to drop you in Bandipora. The fare will be Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 per person.
There is however no bus from Bandipora to Gurez Valley. You will have to board a shared cab only which is mostly a Sumo. The fare, as I mentioned above, will be Rs. 350 per person for this part of the journey.
The people of the Gurez Valley have proposed to the authorities to operate a daily bus from Srinagar to Dawar in Gurez. This will definitely help boost tourism in the valley and make the lives of the locals as well easier.
But there is no confirmation yet on when or if this bus will start. For now, you will have to travel by bus to Bandipora and then to Dawar by shared cab.
For other details on visiting Gurez, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Gurez Valley.
Aharbal waterfall is slowly gaining attention as a tourist destination. People have now started including it in their itinerary for a day trip from Srinagar.
Srinagar to Aharbal Shared Taxi
From your hotel in Srinagar, you will first have to look for a shared cab to either Parimpora or Batmaloo. This itself can be a bit of a problem and you may have to look for a private cab.
From Parimpora or Batmaloo, find a cab going towards Shopian. If you find a bus, board it and do not wait. Once you reach Shopian, you will then have to look for a shared cab for Aharbal Waterfall.
Srinagar to Aharbal Waterfall by Bus
There is no direct bus from Srinagar to Aharbal. Your first task would be to reach Parimpora or Batmaloo in Srinagar and catch a bus for Shopian.
This will not be that difficult because Shopian is a major town and there are daily buses from Srinagar to Shopian.
The problem however then is reaching Aharbal from Shopian. There is no bus service available so you will be completely relying on shared cabs. Just reach the Shopian Bus stand and ask around and you will be able to find a Sumo going towards Aharbal.
For other details on visiting Aharbal, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Aharbal Waterfall.
Doodhpathri is a small hill station in Kashmir. It lies in a bowl-shaped alpine valley surrounded by snow-clad mountains and the meadows of Pine Fir and Deodar. It sits at an altitude of 2,730 meters (8,957 ft).
The area is largely unexplored and receives very little tourism. Due to this, public transport to Doodhpathri is also scarce.
Srinagar to Doodhpathri Shared Taxi
There is no direct bus or shared taxi available from Srinagar to Doodhpathri. Your journey will have to be broken down into multiple parts and you will just be looking for a mode of transport from one town to another.
Depending on where you were staying in Srinagar, you will first have to reach Qamarwari or Parimpora. You can either rent a private cab to drop you there or just look for shared cabs within Srinagar city for either of these places.
Your next destination will then be either Badgam or Magam. Shared cabs for Magam will be a little easier to find so there was one available, you should board it.
Then from Magam, look for a shared cab for Badgam. From there, look for a shared cab for Khan Sahib and then finally for Doodhpathri.
Also Read: How to Plan your Trip to Alpather Lake?
Srinagar to Doodhpathri by Bus
Like shared cabs, traveling by Bus is not going to be easy either. There is no direct bus from Srinagar to Doodhpathri and the journey would have to be completed in parts.
The route will be the same as that I mentioned above for shared cabs. You will have to reach all these stops and from there, either board a bus or a shared cab, whatever was available first.
Other than Qamarwari and Parimpora, shared cabs are also available from Lal Chowk and Hazratbal for Magam. Depending on which place was closest to you in Srinagar, you can pick either of these.
If you were somewhere near the airport, you can board a bus or shared cab from the Humhama area. It is just two kilometers from the Airport.
You can also get a cab for Doodhpathri from Badgam itself. So do ask around before going to Khan Sahib. A shared cab is pretty much the only choice as there is no bus going to Doodhpathri from either Badgam or Khan Sahib.
For other details on visiting Doodhpathri, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Doodhpathri.
Yusmarg is located at a distance of about 50 kilometers from Srinagar in the Badgam district of Kashmir. At an altitude of 2,396 meters (7,861 ft), it is an alpine valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains and meadows of Pine and Fir.
Like Doodhpathri, public transport in Kashmir for Yusmarg as well will be a little tricky.
Srinagar to Yusmarg Bus
There is really no direct bus from Srinagar to Yousmarg. Local buses ply only up to Charar-e-Shariff so your journey would have to be done in two parts.
First, you will have to board a bus from Srinagar for Charar-e-Shariff. This you can find from Parimpora in Srinagar city. After you get down at Charar-e-Shariff, you will then have to look for a bus for Yusmarg.
Srinagar to Yusmarg Shared Taxi
It will be extremely hard to find a shared cab straight from Srinagar to Yousmarg. You will have to first get to Charar-e-Shariff and then Yousmarg as I explained above.
The shared cabs can also be found from Parimpora in Srinagar for Charar-e-Shariff. Depending on where the cab drops you, you will have to ask around and then reach the point in Charar-e-Shariff where you can get either a bus or a shared cab for Yusmarg.
For other details on visiting Yusmarg, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Yusmarg.
Public Transport in Kashmir – Conclusion
These were some of the most visited places in Kashmir that I provided details on above. One thing to note is that there is no direct public transport between these places. You will first have to return to Srinagar and then move on to the next place.
I hope the information above on public transport in Kashmir was of help. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below. You can also follow me on Instagram and chat with me live there or subscribe to my YouTube channel and ask a question there.