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Pakistan Biking Pakistan Karakoram Highway - [ Bi-Cycle Tours ]

The raw natural beauty ofglaciers 8,000 m snow-cappedpeaks and surging streams await

you on our adventurous bicycletour through northern Pakistan.

As we follow parts of theKarakoram Highway (KKH) we

trace the Old Silk Road andabsorb ancient cultures while

enjoying some of the best ridingin the world.

Cycling on the KKH gives you

bragging rights for having ridden on the highest paved international road in the

world! Built over 20 years, this Pakistani-Chinese project is truly an engineering

marvel and in fact has been called the Ninth Wonder of the World. Riding on dirt

and paved roads through the Karakoram range, the backbone of vast colliding

mountains of 7,000-8,000 m peaks, will takes us to the base of some of the

longest non-Polar glaciers and along the banks of Pakistan's longest river, the

Indus.

After meeting in Rawalpindi we fly to Skardu, the gateway to K2 expeditions and

base ourselves in Khaplu for three nights to acclimatize to the 2,600 m elevation.

Our day trips will take us to the stark and striking valleys of Hushe and Thalley.

We then cycle along the Shyok River to where it meets the mighty Indus before

heading up to the Deosai Plateau. Here we'll be climbing 4,200 m passes and

riding by turquoise blue lakes.

We then head north to the Hunza valley which has been mythologized as James

Hilton's "Shangri-La." The area only opened up following the completion of the

Karakoram Highway in the 1980s. Here we'll explore the dramatic 700-year-old

Balti and Alti Forts and then ride over to the rival Nagar Valley. These valleys are

filled with apricot and almond trees and the sheer ice covered walls of Rakaposhi

(7788 m) provides a stunning backdrop.Two more days of cycling, with

some thrilling descents, take usto Gilgit. After a wander through

the bazaar to pick up some driedapricots or fresh walnuts we

leave this northern province andfly back to Rawalpindi.

Bicycling Pakistan's enchantingmountain kingdoms via the

ancient silk route throughbreathtakingly beautiful scenery

is a trip of a lifetime!

Biking Difficulty

(out of five)

Good quality tarmac roadsBut they are at highAltitudes which raises theDifficulty level. No technical

Experience required.

Cycling Distance

560 kilometres

Cycling Days

10 full

 

Trip Profile

We will cycle 560 kilometres in 10 days of riding. This is a tough trip due to the

altitude and the terrain. We spend three nights at 2,600 m in Khaplu acclimatizing

and slowly increase our level of activities during those days to prepare you for the

passes ahead.

We’ll stay in hotels where we can and for four nights we’ll be camping due to the

remoteness of the terrain. Two of these overnights will be at 4,200 m, so it can

get cold at night. It is the combination of conditions –altitude, weather,

topography and overall environment –that makes this a challenging tour and a

test of sustained riding.

Remember, all our tours are vehicle supported which allows cyclist the option to

get into the van as needed.

Biking Conditions: The road surfaces are a mix of paved and dirt roads, but in

high altitude conditions of extreme weather, there will be patches where the road

has disintegrated and will be potholed or even gravel.

Suitability: This trip is designed for the experienced cyclist. The lack of oxygen

at the high altitudes we’ll be cycling at as well as the climbs we’ll be doing means

that this is a tough trip and you'll enjoy it much more if you have a good level of

stamina and fitness. The distances and gradient each day are not extreme but

getting into the best shape possible for the trip will ensure you get the most from

your holiday.

Travel: It is not dangerous to travel in Gilgit-Balistan province. Our route avoids

troubled regions altogether. Please remember that the news media tends to

emphasize the few troubled spots because these make more sensational news.

Our itinerary has been kept flexible to handle things like land slides or bad

weather that can delay flights. As this is an adventurous holiday you will need to

be prepared to be flexible when necessary and we will do our best to adhere to

the original itinerary should there be unexpected events.

 
ITINERARY:

Day to Day

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1 - Arrive Islamabad/Rawalpindi

You will be met at the airport for a 30 minute transfer to our hotel in Rawalpindi.

The city of Rawalpindi is a garrison town established under the British Raj, and it

is still the headquarters of the Pakistani Army. The city is rather sprawling with

enormous and complicated bazaars where you can easily get lost, but they are

great fun to explore and everyone is extremely friendly. We meet up for a trip

briefing and then have dinner.

Shalimar Hotel. Rawalpindi D

Day 2 - Skardu - Khaplu

After breakfast we head to the airport for our flight to Skardu. This short, but

spectacular, one-hour flight skirts past the breathtaking Rupal and Diamir faces of

Nanga Parbat. It is even possible to catch a fleeting glimpse of K2 and the other

high peaks of the Baltoro in the distance before landing at Skardu. After lunch in

town we continue our journey which will take 2 to 3 hours by jeep on a

spectacular road beside the Indus to the village of Khaplu. At 2600m-high we will

be beginning our acclimitaztion in this village of stone houses. Here we check

into our hotel located high above the village with magnificent views over the rock

spires and towers that mark the entrance to the Hushe Valley.

BT Hotel. B L D

Day 3 - Khaplu –Thalley Brok - Khaplu

As part of our acclimatisation we will spend our day at the lovely settlement of

Khaplu, with its stunning views across the broad valley of the Shyok to the Batura

Spires. Depending on how we feel we will either take a short cycle, 16 km, on a

part-finished jeep road up to a lake where the views of the Karakoram peaks are

superb. If we are acclimatizing well we'll go for a longer cycle, 50 km, up the

Thalley Valley where the landscape varies from the sands of the Indus Valley to

the high snow-capped peaks. Returning to our hotel in Khaplu there will be time

to explore the old polo field and the beautiful, 600 year-old Rajah's Palace.

BT Hotel. Ride 50 km. B L D

Day 4 - Khaplu - Hushe - Khaplu

Testing out our lungs we will have an undulating ride as we cross a number of

‘nullahs’or small river valleys until we reach the beginning of the Hushe River

Valley. Here the road gradually ascends to Hushe Village on a rough jeep track.

Hushe is the highest village in the area at a height of 3100 metres (10,200 feet)

and is the last permanent habitation in this area, with the huge bulk of

Masherbrum (also known as K1) at 7,821 metres (25,659 ft) dominating the

valley to the north. After lunch it is nearly all downhill, as we ride back to our hotel

in Khaplu.

BT Hotel. Ride 60 km. B L D

Day 5 - Khaplu - Skardu

Following the eastern banks of the Shyok River to Kiris, the once wild jeep track

has now been tarred resulting in an excellent biking road. With hardly any traffic

but passing through a succession of small, lush villages set against a backdrop of

dramatic mountains, this road is made for riding. Beyond Kiris and the confluence

of the Shyok and Indus rivers, the landscape becomes more barren but

unforgettable. It is a full day's ride to our hotel in Skardu although there will be

time to explore this wild west bazaar town which is the gateway for all expeditions

to K2, the second highest mountain in the world.

Skardu Mashabrum Hotel. Ride 100 km. B L D

Day 6 - Skardu - Deosai Plateau

It is a relatively decent tarmac road out of Skardu which climbs steeply to the

beautiful Satpara Lake and continues up on to the Deosai Plateau. It’s a hard

slog of around 35 km with a 2000 metre climb to reach the start of the plateau,

where the terrain levels out. Our aim is to reach the start of the national park and

set up our camp (4100 m) close to a lake.

Tented Camp. Ride 50 km. B L D

Day 7 - Across the Deosai Plateau

Now on the Deosai Plateau proper it’s only a short climb up to the Chachur Pass

(4200m / 13,780ft). There is only a rough dirt jeep track to follow now, with the

occasional small river crossing. Beyond Sheosar Lake, our route turns into a

downhill blast. We aim for a side jeep road, which has a short climb up to the

village of Tarashing. Here, we will camp (4200 m) in the shadow of the mighty

Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world.

Tented Camp. Ride 60 km. B L D

Day 8 - Deosai Plateau - Astor - Muskin

We have time for a short exploration in the morning, before a fantastic descent to

the small bazaar town of Astor where we leave the Deosai. We then enter a

narrow gorge that descends to the mighty Indus River. Depending on our

progress we will look for a camp somewhere in the shade around Muskin.

Tented Camp. Ride 60 km. B L D

Day 9 - Muskin - Gilgit

More downhill biking into the roaring Indus Valley where we eventually cross the

river and climb onto its western bank to reach the Karakoram Highway. It's then a

rolling route that winds its way to Gilgit. Here, we check in to the comfortable

Chinar Inn that has a relaxing garden shaded by poplars and a chinar or plane

tree. Gilgit is another fascinating town and our first chance to take in the sights

and sounds of Hunza at the bazaar, as well as enjoy our first shower for a few

days.

Chinar Inn. Ride 50 km. B L D

Day 10 - Gilgit - Karimabad

Today is our first day off the bikes in seven days! We load our bikes onto the

support vehicles for a drive up the KKH to the Hunza Valley, a journey of about 4

hours. On the way we will stop off at a cafe below Rakaposhi, which at 7788

metres (25,552 feet) is the 29th highest mountain on earth. Rakaposhi was first

climbed in 1958 by a British expedition that included George Banks and Tom

Patey. The glacier spilling down from its flanks reaches almost to the road. Once

we arrive in Karimbad we will explore this old capital city and the dramatic Balti

and Alti Forts. These 700-year-old forts were occupied by the former Mir's of

Hunza and were lived in until 1945. Once in a state of disrepair, these Tibetaninfluenced

forts have since been restored and provide a perfect window into the

lives of the Mir's.

Hunza embassy hotel. B L D

Day 11- Karimabad - Hopar - Karimabad

Today we explore Hunza's once rival state of Nagar. We bike down to the

Karakoam Highway and cross it for a stunning ride through the Nagar Valley. We

cycle on an old jeep road that follows the Hispar river to the village of Nagar and

climb gradually upwards for 800 metres to a spectacular viewpoint above the

village of Hopar, which lies at the end of the jeep road and the start of the jagged

Bualtar Glacier. There we have a well-earned lunch at the “Hopar Hilton”and if

you have the energy it is worth taking a short walk above Hopar for a magnificent

view of the Bualtar Glacier and the surrounding peaks of the Karakoram.

Retracing our tracks to Karimabad, it is downhill all the way, well nearly. From the

highway there is a last short climb to Karimabad, which should finish you off

nicely!

Hunza embassy hotel l. Ride 30 km. B L D

Day 12 –Karimabad - Chalt

Back on the KKH, we drop down to Shia village of Chalt. This first hour of the day

is one of the most relaxed and beautiful sections of our trip, being a constant

downhill, cycling through small villages shaded by poplar trees and all

overshadowed by the huge white bulk of Rakaposhi. Just past Minapin we again

leave the main road and cross the river to join part of the original caravan route of

the Silk Road. Home to various fruit trees, you should try the local specialty of

nuts from the inside of apricot kernels. We celebrate our last night’s camping

within the gardens of the Mir’s house at Chalt.

Tented Camp. Ride 40 km. B L D

Day 13 - Chalt –Gilgit

From Chalt, we again join the KKH but only for a short while, as we soon re-cross

the river on a wild foot bridge and join the old road to Gilgit from Naltar. We follow

the river to Gilgit, arriving in time for a late lunch at our hotel. There will be plenty

of time in the afternoon to do some shopping or simply to relax. Gilgit has an

interesting bazaar, full of trade goods from China and Afghanistan.

Chinar Inn. Ride 60 km. B L D

Day 14 - Gilgit - Rawalpindi

After an early breakfast, we will go to Gilgit Airport and catch the flight to

Islamabad. It is a short transfer from our hotel in Rawalpindi to Islamabad Airport.

The afternoon is free to explore the bustling Raja Bazaar.

Shalimar Hotel Rawalpindi. B L D

Day 15 - Depart Islamabad/Rawalpindi

After breakfast we'll transfer you to the airport for onward travel.

 



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