The third main location in Kashmir that has started to see a return of foreign travellers is Sonamarg, 84km northeast of Srinagar. Perched beside the River Sindh and surrounded by forests of pine, fir, beech and sycamore, with towering peaks all around, it is a scenic spot to break the journey to Kargil or Leh. This is also the place with the best display of spring and early summer flowers. A further attraction is that the Thajiwas Glacier is an easy hike, just 4km away. The town is also a good base for the famous Amarnath trek.
Sonamarg itself is not particularly attractive, with its main bazaar strung along the vital Srinagar–Leh road, which means there is a constant flow of traffic and a noticeable military presence. Most of the more established hotels, restaurants and shops line the north side of the bazaar, with the opposite side given over to government complexes, the bus and taxi stands, plus a couple of the larger new hotels. More new hotels are starting to proliferate like mushrooms further along the valley.