Join YPT along the Karakoram Highway from Pakistan to China!
This is 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, after which we will be heading towards Islamabad, via the Grand Trunk Road with its famous Rohtas Fort. Pakistan’s capital Islamabad isn’t like any other city in the country. It’s relatively new and looks well organized.
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. After such a road trip, we’ll sure you’ll be hooked for more! Rejoice, as this trip can be combined with our other road trip of a lifetime: the Pamir Highway Tour. If you do not have time to visit Pamir but still have a few days left, why not make your time in China memorable with one of our extensions?
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
Arrival at your convenience in the city of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-biggest city and the provincial capital of Punjab
Meet the group and your guide at 8pm at our centrally located hotel in the cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore
Wednesday 9th September – Lahore
Visit the Lahore Fort- this stunning fort has almost 500 hundred years of history and has seen several different eras come and go.
Visit the neary Badshahi Mosque- Perhaps the most emblematic building of Pakistan. The mosque was Completed in 1673 and remained the largest in what is now Pakistan until the completion of Faisal Mosque in 1986.
See a well known local workshop where artists undertake the famous Pakistani truck painting. You’ll see loads of great examples here for photos.
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 this iconic restaurant is legendary for it’s stunning night views over Badshahi mosque.
Overnight in Lahore
Thursday 10th September – Lahore
Visit the (in)famous street doctors/dentists/pharmacy/bone setters, if you dare!
Walking tour of the old city
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
Thursday night used to be Sufi Night, but these days it tends to be a much quieter affair. If there are any events, we’ll try to make it!
Overnight in Lahore
Friday 11th September – Islamabad
Today we’ll start our highway road trip! After an early breakfast, we’ll drive along the Grand Trunk Road from Lahore to the capital Islamabad
Along the way we’ll stop at a truck driver’s favourite restaurant which we believe serves perhaps the best Dal in the world.
Stop at the 16thCentury Rohtas Fort- This Unesco world heritage site is one of the largest Forts in the Subcontinent. It covers 70 hectares of land and is so large that today it is home to a small township.
Arrive in Islamabad and check into our hotel
Overnight in Islamabad
Saturday 12th September – Abbottabad, Naran
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 stopping for a quick look and a photo opp Abbottabad the city where Osama Bin Laden was killed.
We’ll take a detour from the Karakoram Highway, to see an even better part of this specific area. Driving past incredible peaks, right next to Indian Kashmir, we’ll make our way to Naran. So sit back and enjoy the road trip, we will have plenty of stops for photos and rest breaks.
Overnight in Naran- Tonight you’ll need to pack a smaller bag for the 2 night trip to Fairy Meadows as the Jeeps we take up the mountain can’t accommodate much luggage.
Sunday 13th September – Naran – Fairy Meadows/ Nanga Parbat.
After breakfast, we set off for another long day of photography opportunities on winding roads along the Kunhar River to Lulusar Lake. After a short break, we’ll resume our journey toward Babusar Pass at 4173m, where await panoramic views of west Himalayas and Hindukush.
Descend down to Chilas and join the Karakoram Highway to Raikot bridge, from where we shift to 4WD Jeeps to experience our hair raising adventure journey up to Jhel village.
Hike to Fairy Meadows, located at the base of majestic Nanga Parbat (8126m). The second highest peak in Pakistan & 9thin the world ranking, this is one of the most beautiful parts in northern Pakistan, and a must-visit place.
We can arrange horses for those who would like to ride instead.
After arrival, we will overnight in our huts where, at night, we’ll get to go stargazing.
Monday 14th September – Fairy Meadows
We have a full day around Fairy Meadows to explore the magnificent sights of west Himalayas & Karakorams. It offers plenty of options, you may want to rest and explore the surroundings with mesmerizing views. For those who would like to go for further hikes, it is possible to go to the view point located next to Raikot glacier or all the way to Base Camp and return to Fairy Meadows in the afternoon.
Overnight in our camp in Fairy Meadows.
Tuesday 15th September – Fairy Meadows – Hunza
We continue our road trip along the Karakoram Highway with several stops along the way.
We’ll stop en route to the point where three of the world’s greatest mountain ranges (Hindu Kush, Karakorum and the Himalayas) meet.
Lunch break at Gilgit, the capital town of Gilgit Baltistan region before heading north to the Hunza valley – making a few stops along the way for photography.
Overnight in the Hunza Valley
Wednesday 16th September – 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. Baltit dates back 700 years, while Altit is the oldest surviving building in the Gilgit-Baltistan region dating back 1000 years.
We will walk on the high irrigation channels carved into the rock for tremendous views and an insight into how the people of Hunza created their Shangri-La.
Overnight in Hunza Valley
Thursday 17th September – Hunza, Passu, Sost
Today, we’ll continue along the Karakoram 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 to see the famous rope bridges near the village of Husseini.
We will visit the Passu glacier while passing by Borit Lake on our way out of the Karakoram Highway.
Lunch break at the famous Glacier breeze restaurant before making our way to Sost. Sost is the last town if Pakistan before we move on to China.
Overnight in Sost
Friday 18th September – 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. This is one of the most remote areas of China, and home to many 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
Saturday 19th September – Karakul Lake, Kashgar
Short sightseeing around Tashkurgan
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.
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.
Overnight in Kashgar
Sunday 20th September – Kashgar
We head out to the famous livestock moment where the local Uygurs trade goats, camels, horses and anything else with four legs they can get their hands on!
Head out of town to the beautiful tomb of the famous Khwaja Afaq Khoja, a 17th-century mausoleum for this important Uyghur figure. This is considered as the holiest Muslim site in all of Xinjiang.
Once we’re back in the city, we’ll stop by People’s Square and the largest statue of Chairman Mao in China!
Lunch of Xinjiang noodles
Check out Kashgar’s old town, or what’s left of it, to get a glimpse into what life in the area used to be like before heading out to the very lively night markets with a great array of street food.
Walking tour through the windy lanes of the center and the Id Kah Mosque.
Browse the bustling Grand Bazaar, which depending on how you measure it, is the biggest in Asia.
Dinner of local Street food, including the option of Uyghur fried rice and mutton, and for the daring a good variety of insects and other culinary oddities.
Overnight in Kashgar
Monday 21st September – Kashgar
End of the tour if you are not joining us for the Pamir Highway Adventure! YPT can arrange further accommodation, transportation and adventures in Xinjiang.
– 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
We have expert guides ready to help answer any questions you may have.