Join YPT along the Karakoram Highway from Pakistan to China!
This must be one of the ultimate road trips in the world. From Pakistan’s cultural capital Lahore to the ancient Uyghur city of Kashgar in China. During this trip you will travel from the plains of the Punjab countryside to the mountains of the Himalayas. Not a trip for the faint hearted!
The trip starts in Lahore. While this isn’t Pakistan’s capital, it is its cultural heart. Here is Lollywood, lots of theatre, art and music. We will be cruising down the small alleys of the old town, witnessing the famous border ceremony with India and even paying a quick visit to the countryside.
After Lahore we will be heading towards Islamabad, via the Khewra Salt Mines. These salt mines are the second biggest in the world, and even include a mosque and a temple! Pakistan’s capital Islamabad isn’t like any other city in the country.
Then we’ll hit the Karakoram Highway (for about 1200kms!). This highway was constructed in the 1960s and 70s and is a symbol of the friendship between China and Pakistan. For a few days we will be making our way up towards the mountains. One of the first stops is Abbottabad. A place which might be familiar to you as the hiding place of Osama Bin Laden! Though his compound is destroyed, we can still get a cup of tea in the town.
Then it’s more up and only up. We’ll be driving past lush green hills, raging rivers (like the Indus), deep ravines and incredible high peaks (K2 is in the same area). Along the way we will make stops for photos and to take in the breath-taking landscape that we’re experiencing. Surrounded by high mountains, we’ll take a relaxing day in the Hunza Valley to experience the local culture here and explore the Hunza.
From the Hunza Valley it’s a few more hours to the border, where we’ll be entering China. After a night in a yurt at the incredibly beautiful Karakul Lake, we enter the historic city of Kashgar, closer geographically to Tehran and Damascus than to Beijing, a border town between China and the Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and the site where traditional Uyghur life hits the Chinese state head on.
This incredible tour is taking place along the soon to be developed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, so it’s best to get in before the Chinese developers do! As always there are discounts for return Pioneers
• Meet the group and your guide at 9am at our centrally located hotel in the cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore
• Visit the Lahore Fort and Badshahi Mosque
• See the famous Pakistani truck painting
• Witness the daily flag ceremony at the Indian border at Wagah. You’ve been to the DMZ separating North and South Korea? Well, we think it hasn’t got anything on this, the tensest border on the planet!
• Dinner at the world-famous Coco Den’s
• Experience the famous Thursday Sufi Night.
• Overnight in Lahore
Friday 5th October – Lahore
• Visit the (in)famous street doctors/dentists/pharmacy/bone setters and experience a haircut by fire, if you date!
• Walking tour of the old city and a visit to the Shalimar Gardens
• In the afternoon, we’ll drive out of Lahore to experience the real Pakistani countryside at a local farm.
• Dinner at the Giwal Mandi Food Street
• Overnight in Lahore
Saturday 6 October – Islamabad
• Today we’ll start our highway road trip! After an early breakfast we’ll drive from Lahore to the capital Islamabad.
• Short stop at the Khewra Salt Mines, the second biggest in the world
• Arrive in Islamabad and check into our hotel
• Visit to the Ketas Raj Hindu temple, one of most famous Hindu temples in Pakistan
• Overnight in Islamabad
Sunday 7 October – Abbottabad, Besham/Chillas
• Up nice and early to start drive along the Karakoram Highway
• Got your Navy Seal T-shirt? Well it’s time to put on a jumper, we’ll be having a tea break in Abbottabad, the city were Osama Bin Laden was killed.
• Sit back and enjoy the road trip, we will have plenty of stops for photos and rest breaks
• Overnight in Besham or Chillas depending on how far we manage to drive!
Monday 8 October – Besham/Chillas, Nango Parbat, Hunza
• After breakfast we set off for another day of winding roads along the Karakoram.
• En route you’ll see the stunning Nango Parbat, the 9th highest mountain in the world. This is where three of the world’s greatest mountain ranges (Hindu Kush, Karakorum and the Himalayas) meet
• Finally you will arrive at the Hunza valley
• Overnight in the Hunza Valley
Tuesday 9 October – Around Hunza
• We will have a full day in Hunza to explore life in the valley
• Visit the ancient forts of Baltit and Altit, the traditional residences of the Mirs of Hunza
• We will walk on the high irrigation channels cut into the rock, giving tremendous views and an insight into how the people of Hunza created their Shangri-La.
• Overnight in Hunza Valley
Wednesday 10 October – Hunza, Passu, Sost
• Continue along the Karakorum Highway crossing the newly formed Attabad Lake to Passu. The 30 km long lake was only formed in 2010 after a massive landslide dammed the mighty Indus river.
• We will make a stop at Passu where you can cross the famous rope bridges near the village of Husseini
• Arrival in the border town of Sost.
• Overnight in Sost
Thursday 11 October – Sost, Tashkurgan (China)
• Once again we wake up nice and early for a long day of driving and border formalities.
• Early morning border crossing into China via the famous Khunjerab Pass. We’re entering the Chinese Uyghur autonomous region of Xinjiang. Here we’re entering one of the most remote areas of China, and the home of its sizable Muslim minority
• Arrival in the Chinese border town Tashkurgan. Night stroll through the city and some well deserved barbecue and cold beer, or if you’re daring then Chinese baijiu!
• Overnight in Tashkurgan
Friday 12 October – Karakul Lake
• Set off on the scenic drive towards Karakul Lake. As always we’ll stop for photos and rest breaks along the way!
• Stroll around the lake, relax, take in the incredible surroundings. The lake is famous for its colourful ranges from a dark green to azure and light blue. There’s optional horse riding or we can hike around the hills surrounding the lake
• Go local with an overnight in at a Kyrgyz yurt.
Saturday 13 October – Kashgar
Morning walk by the lake after breakfast
Then it’s time for the final stretch of our amazing Karakoram Highway Tour. We’re ending in Kashgar, modern China’s most western city. An ancient city which was a major hub along the Silk Road.
Stop by People’s Square and the largest statue of Chairman Mao in China!
Walking tour through the windy lanes of the old town and the Id Kah Mosque. See what Kashgar used to look like.
– International flights
– Pakistan and China visas (YPT can offer visa support)
– Single Supplement (€300)
– Entrance fees, lunches and dinners,drinks and other personal expenses
– Tips for the local guides
– Any additional flights needed in Pakistan because of security concerns