Snowland

Biking the Silk Road

Key Destinations

Islamabad- Gilgit- Hunza-Gulmit- Passu-Sost
Khunjarab Pass- Hunza- Karakoram Highway
Trip Summary

Avg Daily Distance: 70km

Max Altitude: 4,730m/15518 ft

Duration: 14 days

Off Road Cycling: 5%

Trip Highlights

  •  Cycling on the Famous Karakoram Highway-Old Silk Route
  • One of the world’s great cycle rides
  • Views of Nanga parbat 8125m 2nd Highest peak in Pakistan
  • Beautiful Hunza Valley 

Trip Overview

Cycle tour of Pakistan is an opportunity to experience astounding natural beauty and ancient cultures while enjoying some of the best riding in the world.

The Karakoram is the backbone of vast colliding mountain ranges incorporating some of the world’s highest peaks and longest non-Polar glaciers. These peaks reach 7,000-8,000m and include k2 the second highest mountain on the planet.

We cycle through spectacular scenery starting near Rawalpindi, following the River Indus (which separates the Himalayas and Hindu Kush ranges) to Gilgit. Here we feel that the “real” mountain cycling begin as the road climbs towards the Khunjerab pass at 4,730m.

 En route we cycle through the Hunza valley which has a reputation for outstanding natural beauty, welcoming communities and endless hiking and mountain biking opportunities. Until very recently Hunza was cut off from the modern world and became mythologized in books and films as the “Lost Kingdom of Shangri-La”. Due to its isolation and purity its people are reputed to have extraordinary health and longevity. One of the world’s great cycle rides, set amongst ever-changing scenery, this Pakistan cycle trip is hard to beat.

 Karakoram Highway

Noted as the world’s highest paved road, it reaches a pass of 6,693 m as it connects Pakistan with China through the Karakorum Range among the Hindu Kush. Riding part of it is a far less hair-raising prospect that taking a bus rides, as it snakes its way along impossible mountain passes, besides steep and breathtaking valleys. This is one of the highlights of our Silk Route bike tour. Interestingly, the official Pakistan start of the highway is in the lowland town of Abbottabad. Since January 2010 the KKH was closed between Karimabad and Gulmit, due to a landslide. The road   reopened in September 2015.

Holiday Itinerary

Day

1

Arrive Islamabad and Fly to Gilgit
Meet in Islamabad and take a flight on the top of the world to Gilgit.

Day

2

Gilgit
We spend the day acclimatising in Gilgit. People have the option of visiting the incredible Kargah Buddha.

Day

3

Gilgit to Ghulmit
Not long after we leave Gilgit we cross over the longest suspension bridge in Asia, spanning a impressive 180 meters. The road climbs slowly passing a few small villages before we start to witness the huge spiral of Rakaposhi looming in the distance. The road goes so close to it's base that it is hidden most of the way, it is only when we arrive at our small family guest house at Ghulmit that we really witness the true beauty of Rakaposhi. Accommodation: Guest house Cycling distance: 80km

Day

4

Ghulmit and Gulmit
Cyclists from all over the world come to the Karakoram simply because it offers some of the most exhilarating and scenic bike rides on the Planet. The Karakoram highway is at its most spectacular between Ghulmit and Gulmit. The road rides high on the eastern side of the river, twisting and turning around the barren foot of the Hispar Range, which boasts six peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 feet). On the opposite bank, villages cling implausibly to the side of the 7,388 metre (24,240 foot) Ultar Mountain. Above we see that the jagged teeth along the ridge hide the highest snow-covered peaks from view. We will stop for lunch after one of the hardest parts to our trip, a steep 15km climb from a Ganesh. After lunch we will continue on until we reach Gulmit where we will rest our tired bones. Accommodation: Hotel Cycling distance: 70km

Day

5

Gulmit to Sust
About 2 Km outside Gulmit we witness the rock and gravel covered Ghilkin Glacier as it almost touches the road. The road then climbs for about 8km. As we cycle you catch intermittent glimpses of glaciers, precipices and gleaming snow white peaks. The 10km descent to Passu brings us directly in front of the incredible Passu Glacier after which we head to Sust, the last town before China. Accommodation: Guest house Cycling distance: 47km

Day

6

Sust to Barkhum
The big one! Today we start a two-day climb to the top of the Khunjerab Pass (Altitude is the challenge here not distance). On our first day the road climbs 900 metres through deep gorges high above the Khunjerab River. Camp is set up at Barkhum 35km before the pass. Accommodation: Guest house Cycling distance: 55km

Day

7

Barkhum - Khunjerab pass to Sost
We start after an early breakfast with a relatively easy 18 km climb, the hard part is the last 17 km of switch backs to the top of this 4730 metre pass. It was only in 1986 that tourists were allowed to cross the Kunjerab Pass. It is the highest border in the world, separating not just 2 countries but 2 of the world's major mountain ranges, the Pamir and the Karakoram. From the pass we have a more relaxing day riding mostly downhill to Sost, only 35km away. We should arrive mid-afternoon then rest before exploring this amazing area. Accommodation: Guest house Cycling distance: 125km

Day

8

Passu
Today people have the choice to rest and recuperate and absorb the magic of this dramatic area, we have aneasy 35km ride to Passu where you can take a guide and hike to Batura Glacier, said to be the Worlds' largest outside the Polar region (spanning 60km). Another option being a half days' expedition to Dut in the stunning Shimshal Valley, truly a beautiful days riding! Accommodation: Guest house Cycling distance: 35km

Day

9

Passu to Karimabad
Today we cycle to Karimabad, the capital of Hunza. The road climbs and falls as the terrain dictates, but finally it reveals, the Ultra peaks still un-climbed and the Granite spiral known locally as Lady Finger. Accommodation: Hotel Cycling distance: 53km

Day

10

Karimabad
We have 3 choices: 1. Explore this enchanting village, visit the 13th Century Baltit Fort or see the Sacred Rocks of Hunza. 2. Trek to Ultra Meadows with guide. 3. Cycle to Hopper in the Nagar Valley. Accommodation: Hotel

Day

11

Karimabad to Manipin
This is the most tranquil day of cycling, 25km downhill through scenes of unparallel beauty. We start with a steep 2km descent to Ganesh where we again join the KKH. From there we can observe the mighty peak of Diran (7,270m). After cycling through small villages shaded by Poplar trees we finally cross the Hunza river where we again leave the KKH and follow on an unpaved 3km road Manipin. Accommodation: Guest house Cycling distance: 32km

Day

12

Manipin to Gilgit
Our last days cycling presents something of a challenge, as we continue to descend to Gilgit we will have the opportunity to cross the KKH at Nomal. This crossing on a precarious footbridge will give us the chance to travel the original Caravan route of the Silk Road. Accommodation: Hotel Cycling distance: 83km

Day

13

Gilgit
A rest day... time to park the bikes up and spend a little time in Gilgit. We spend the day chilling and possibly browsing for souvenirs in it's colourful Bazaars. Accommodation: Hotel

Day

14

Gilgit to Islamabad
Transport back to Islamabad. Accommodation: Hotel

Day

15

Fly back to home
Transfer to airport for your flight home.

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