Road Trip on Karakoram Highway

Karakoram Highway or N-35 is a 1300 KM or 810 Miles national highway starting from Hassan abdal in Punjab province to Khunjerab Pass in Gilgit Baltistan region. The highway connects Punjab province with China’s Xinjiang region through the Khunjerab Pass. The highway was constructed from 1966 to 1979 and is considered a landmark project between Pakistan & China.

The highway passes through some of the best valleys, along the Indus river. The highway is surrounded by Sky High peaks including Nanga Parbat, which is the ninth highest peak in the world. Many parts of the highway are constructed on ancient Silk Road.

The road trip on this amazing highway is one of the best experience you would ever had. It would take you from plains of Punjab into mountains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa then onwards into Gilgit Baltistan region at Chilas. The road trip is considered the best road trip on earth by British Backpackers Society.

The road trip would start and end at Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. It would be a 7 days long tour, which would fascinate you for the rest of your life.

Day 1: Islamabad to Besham

Besham is one of the major towns on the ancient Silk Road. The town is the capital of Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It would be a 7 hours long drive. Today you would be witnessing city life of Pakistan while passing through the towns of Mansehra & Abbottabad.

Day 2: Besham to Raikot Bridge.

This would be around 8 hours to drive from Besham to Raikot Bridge. You would enter the region at Chilas. Chilas is one of the oldest settlements in the region. The area is famous for rock cravings & hot spring waters. Today’s drive would be somewhat strenuous due to bad patched today. These patches are formed due to land slidings in the region. If you are traveling during monsoon, keep aware of the land sliding ahead.

Day 3: Raikot Bridge to Hunza Valley

Hunza valley is a major tourist attraction in the north. The valley offers some of the best landscapes in Pakistan. You would be driving for almost hours today. You can explore Altit & Baltit forts, eagle’s nest and the old bazaar of Karimabad. You would be exploring the collision point of three highest mountain ranges near Jaglot.

Passu Cathedral
Credits: Muhammad Shuaib

Day 4: Hunza Valley to Khunjerab Border

You would be witnessing highest border crossing, highest ATM and the largest lake in Pakistan, today. After an hour of drive on KKH, you would be reaching Attabad Lake. You would be witnessing the mighty Passu Cones and Hussaini Hanging Bridge after an hour of drive from Attabad Lake. Khunjerab Border is at an elevation of over 4000 meters.This is the end of the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan. You would be traveling in Khunjerab National Park. If you are lucky, you can see Markhor, which is the national animal of Pakistan. You would be traveling back to Sost today. You would be driving for around Six hours today.

Day 5:  Sost to Raikot

You would be traveling back to Raikot Bridge today. It would be a 243 KM long drive, which would be covered in 5 hours. You can explore smaller attractions on the way back.

Day 6: Raikot Bridge to Besham/ Naran

If you are traveling in summers, you have 2 options now, either you can keep traveling on Karakoram Highway from Raikot or you can enjoy Pakistan’s second highest mountain pass today. Babusar Pass is just across Chilas on your left side. The pass connects Kaghan Valley with Gilgit Baltistan Region.

Pakistan China Border Crossing
Credits: Muhammad Shuaib

Day 7: Besham/Naran to Islamabad

You can reach Islamabad today after around 7 hours of driving. This would mark the commencement of your Seven Days Road trip on Karakoram Highway.

You have traveled on the Karakoram Highway now. It doesn’t mean you had completely visited Pakistan. Pakistan is lot more than Karakoram Highway. You would plan to explore other areas of Pakistan now.

For all your travels , we recommend The Tourist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *