A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum

Kashgar, Xinjiang, China

Changi Airport

This adventure is: #adrenaline pumping, #far far away, #scenic

Kashgar: A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ...

Your Organizer

“The second-hand torn Atlas that I picked up when I was 7 years old. I flipped it every day and wonder what is happening in the world and to the people. I wonder why straight lines can be drawn on the map and then called country.”

32 Adventures organized
1,290 Friends came along
Total ratings:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Highlights

Have you ever seen snow and glaciers of the Himalayan Ranges? If not, here is your chance! Pack your bags and come on this epic scenic journey with me as I lead you through the meandering roads, snow-capped mountains, vast lakes as well as forts and villages in Central Asia via the Karakorum Highway, the highest international road of the world.

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaKarakorum Highway. Photo by mhtoori is / CC BY-SA 4.0

Highlights
  • Drive to Borith village to see the beautiful Borith Lake, where large numbers of ducks arrive from the warmer parts of southern Pakistan between March and June.
  • Hike to the 600 year-old Ghulkin village via the Ghulkin glacier and the Passu glacier, which boasts one of the best views in all of Pakistan
  • Cross the 4 mile-long uniquely sky blue waters of lake Attabad by boat while surrounded by the mountain backdrop
  • Gazing at snow-capped mountains from the 700 year old Baltit Fort and the 1100 year old Altit Fort, the oldest monument in the Gilgit–Baltistan
  • Sightseeing at the three great mountain ranges (Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindukush), which are the most heavily glaciated part of the world outside the polar regions
  • Entering the Khyber Pass and the Takht-i-Bahi Buddhist ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib, the most significant Sikh temple as well as the Taxila site, another UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore Islamabad's city

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaDriving along the Karakorum Highway. Photo by Shahid Mehmood is / CC BY-SA 4.0


Day 2: Feel free to explore the city of Kashgar before we make our way to Tashkurgan. We'll be dropping by the bazaar. The city of Kashgar has Islamic influence and a Muslim majority!

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaKashgar bazaar stall selling dried goods. Photo by Laika ac is / CC BY-SA 2.0


Day 3: Tashkurgan to Sost (Pakistan)

We will drive on a highway surrounded by snowy mountains, where the snow almost slides down onto the road. On this 6 hour trip, we'll also be treated to other landscapes. We'll also drive on the Khunjerab Highway, which is the highest point on the Karakoram Highway

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaView of the Khunjerab Pass point.Photo by Sheikh Danish Ejaz is / CC BY-SA 4.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaGlacier at the Khunjerab Pass. Photo by Mark Hodson Photos is / CC BY 2.0



Day 4:

Borith Lake is located near the Gulkin village. The lake is also a haven for migrating birds and is a must-see spot for bird watching! We'll also drop by the Passu glacier, the most photographed peak of the region.

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaBorith Lake in the Hunza Valley in Pakistan. Photo by Muhammad Azeem is / CC BY-SA 3.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaLocals tending to their farm animals. Photo by Ghazi Ghulamraza is / CC BY-SA 3.0

We can also hike to the Ghulkin village via the Ghulkin Glacier! It moves, cracks and hisses due to the running water underneath

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaThe view of the Gulkin Glacier from a helicopter. Photo by Akbar Khan Niazi is / CC BY-SA 3.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaPassu cones in Upper Hunza. Photo by Jameel ahmed Hunzographer is / CC BY-SA 4.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaPassu cones right beside the Karakorum Highway. Photo by Faisal Rafiq is / CC BY-SA 4.0


Day 5:

Borne out of a natural disaster, Lake Attabad is a gorgeous picturesque lake and we will cross it by boat to reach the other side of the lake to the Attabad village. This is one of the places I personally would choose to return to if I had the choice because 1 day is not enough to absorb all of its magnificence.

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaBoat ride on Lake Attabad. Photo by Furqanlw is / CC BY-SA 4.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaAttabad Lake in the Hunza valley. Photo by Ek is / CC BY-SA 4.0


Day 6: Karimabad

Ranked by The Guardian as one of the 5 best tourist sites in Pakistan, Karimabad has various sightseeing treats await us, such as Baltit Fort and the Altit Fort. The Baltit Fort is a strong contender for becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its rear is covered by great snowcapped mountains.

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaBaltit Fort. Photo by Jamalhunzokuz is / CC BY-SA 4.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaAltit Fort. Photo by Majidafridi2003 is / CC BY-SA 4.0

In the evening we will head to see the sunset at the Hunza and Nagar valley.

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaA beautiful View of Hunza Valley during sunset. Photo by Tanzeel Khan is / CC BY-SA 4.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaAmazing view from the snow covered peaks of the Eagles Nest in Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan. Photo from Hassanzealous is / CC BY-SA 4.0


Day 7:

We will make our way to Chilas from Karimabad. On our way to Chilas on Karakorum Highway, we will visit the three great mountain ranges which are Karakorum, Himalaya (Nanga Prabat) and Hindukush. These are three of the world’s biggest and most spectacular mountain ranges and we'll only be able to look at them along the Karakorum Highway.

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaKarakorum Highway. Photo by Zacharie Grossen is / CC BY-SA 4.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaKarakorum Mountain Range in Pakistan. Photo by mtzendo is / CC BY-SA 4.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaSnowcapped Hindukush Peaks.Photo by manalahmadkhan is / CC BY 2.0

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaThe Nanga Prabat, the nineth highest mountain in the world. Photo by Tahsin Anwar Ali is / CC BY-SA 3.0


Day 8 

We will continue our journey towards Abbottabad City stopping by at Naran Valley.  I think this will be another beautiful and scenic day of the road trip.  

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaThe view along Jalkhand road leading to Naran Valley, photo by Mohsinkhawar licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0  

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaThe view of Naran River, photo by Faisalrazamalik licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0  

Day 9

We will head to Taxila, this is an important part of Indus Valley Civilization and a UNESCO site.  This city has witnessed the different development stages of a city on the Indus from Persia, Greece and to Central Asia influences. From the 5th century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D. it was an important Buddhist centre of learning.

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaTakht-i-Bahi Buddhist ruins. Photo by Asif Nawaz is / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Taxila site is one of the most important archaeological sites of South Asia. Its rich in history, dating back to the ancient times of Alexander The Great and have also survived the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.


Day 10 - Islamabad

We will bid the ancient civilizations, snowy mountains, and scenic highways goodbye as we pack our bags and return to Changi Airport.

A scenic road trip through the highest mountain ranges in the world - Karakorum starting at Kashgar, Xinjiang, ChinaSunset in Islamabad. Photo by Xain Z. Sheikh is / CC BY-SA 40

Itinerary

Day 1: Kashgar (China)
Meet and greet in Kashgar with our guide and driver
Overnight at Kashgar

Day 2: Kashgar (China) – Tashkurgan (China)

Explore Kashgar city
Drive to Tashkurgan (4h)

Day 3: Tashkurgan (China) – Sost (Pakistan)
Drive to Pakistan via Khunjerab
Rest at the border before driving to Sost
Drive to Passu after passing immigration at Sost

Day 4: Passu – Gulmit
Breakfast drive to Borith village to see the beautiful Borith Lake
2 hour hike to Ghulkin village via the Ghulkin glacier
In the evening we will go to our hotel in Gulmit

Day 5: Gulmit – Karimabad
Cross Lake Attabad by boat for 1 hour to Attabad village 
Transfer to the Jeeps for onward 1 hour journey to Karimabad.

Day 6: Karimabad
Visit Baltit Fort, Altit Fort and evening to Duiker to see the sunset
Dukier is the best point to view the Hunza and Nagar valley and the beautiful snowcapped mountains.

Day 7: Karimabad – Chilas
Departure for Chilas on Karakorum Highway (en-route visit to Gilgit city)
Stop at three great mountain ranges (Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindukush) 
Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Day 8: Chilas – Abbottabad, stopping by at Naran Valley
Today we will visit the Naran Valley
Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Day 9: Abbottabad - Taxila
Departure for Islamabad, en-route we will visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Taxila sites and museum
Arrive at the hotel

Day 10: Fly back home!
Drive to the airport in Islamabad and fly to Changi.