Karakoram Highway Tour
What's it all about?
This is one of the ultimate road trips in the world. Our Karakoram Highway tour will take you 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 Karakoram. 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. 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!
We’ll be driving past lush green hills, raging rivers, deep ravines and incredible high peaks. Along the way, we will make stops for photos and to take in the breath-taking landscape. We’ll then take a relaxing day in the Hunza Valley to experience the local culture here.
From the Hunza Valley, it’s a few more hours to the border, where we’ll then enter China. After a night in a yurt at the incredibly beautiful Karakul Lake, we enter the historic city of Kashgar site where traditional Uyghur life hits the Chinese state head-on.
Lahore - Islamabad - Naran - Gilgit - Fairy Meadows - Hunza - Sost - Tashkurgan - Kashgar
September 7 - 20th, 2021
We will apply for a letter of invitation on your behalf and then you can either apply for the visa at the nearest Pakistan embassy or online. We will also support you with the Chinese visa application.
Where the Himalaya meets the Karakoram
Tuesday - September 7th, Lahore
- Arrival at your own convenience in the city of Lahore; Pakistan’s second biggest city and the provincial capital of the Punjab.
- Meet the group and your guide at 8pm at our centrally located hotel.
September 8th, Lahore
- Visit the Lahore Fort and the stunning Badshahi Mosque.
- See the famous Pakistani truck painting in action.
- Witness the daily border closure at the Wagah border. You’ve been to the DMZ separating North and South Korea? Well, we think it hasn’t got anything on this!
- Dinner at the famous Coco Den’s.
- Overnight in Lahore.
September 9th, Lahore
- Visit the street doctors/dentists/pharmacy/bone setters, and book an appointment if you dare!
- Walking tour of the old city
- In the afternoon, we’ll drive out of Lahore to experience the Pakistani countryside at a local farm.
- Dinner at the Giwal Mandi Food Street.
- Overnight in Lahore
September 10th, 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.
- Stop at the 16th Century Rhotas Fort.
- Arrive in Islamabad and check into our hotel.
- Overnight in Islamabad.
September 11th, Abbottabad & Naran
- Early start for our drive along the Karakoram Highway.
- We’ll be having a tea break in 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.
- Overnight in Naran
September 12th, Nanga Parbat & Hunza
- After breakfast, we set off for another day of winding roads along the Karakoram highway.
- En route we’ll see the stunning Nanga 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.
- We take a route towards Fairy Meadows, according to most people the most beautiful part in Pakistan, and maybe even in the world!
- After arrival we spend the night in a camp (tent or a hut).
September 13th, Fairy Meadows
- We have a full day around Fairy Meadows to explore the magnificent mountains. We’ll visit a view point and if everybody feels like it, we can hike to the base camp.
- Overnight in Fairy Meadows at our camp.
September 14th, Fairy Meadows & Hunza
- We continue our road trip along the Karakoram Highway with several stops along the way.
- Finally, we arrive in the Hunza valley.
- Overnight in the Hunza Valley.
September 15th, Around Hunza
- We will have a full day in Hunza to explore life in the valley.
- Visit the ancient forts of Baltit and Altit.
- 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.
September 16th, 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 bridge near the village of Husseini.
- Arrival in the border town of Sost.
- Overnight in Sost.
September 17th, Tashkurgan, China
- 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.
- Arrival in the Chinese border town of Tashkurgan. Night stroll through the city and some well-deserved barbecue and cold beer.
- Overnight in Tashkurgan
September 18th, 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 and take in the incredible surroundings.
- Then it’s time for the final stretch of our amazing Karakoram Highway Tour. We’re ending in Kashgar, China’s most western city.
- Overnight in Kashgar.
September 19th, Kashgar
- We head out to the famous livestock market where the local Uygurs are trading goats, camels, horses and anything else with four legs they can get their hands on!
- Head out of town to the beautiful tomb of Afaq Khoja: a 17th-century mausoleum.
- 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.
- Streetfood, including the option of the Uyghur staple, fried rice and mutton.
- Overnight in Kashgar
September 20th, Kashgar
- Stop by People’s Square and the largest statue of Chairman Mao in China!
- Browse the bustling Grand Bazaar, which is the biggest in Asia.
- Delicious lunch of Xinjiang noodles.
- End of Karakoram Highway Tour
- Enquire about continuing onto the Pamir Highway!
You’ll be in the vastly experienced hands of our English speaking local guides & fixer as well as your Rocky Road Travel guide. We visit northern Pakistan regularly, so we know the best spots and have perfected the itinerary accordingly. The itinerary may change slightly, but we will always go above and beyond with added extras to the itinerary such as stops at local cafe-bars, shisha lounges and more. We are also in constant communication with our local partners on the ground who advise the safest routes to take.
Before & after each tour we will add you to dedicated email and social media groups so you can share photos easily with your travel mates. Just let us know is you want to opt out of this.
To book the Karakoram Highway tour, simply hit the button below and start the conversation today.