Embarking on an unforgettable adventure, our road trip on bikes took us through the mesmerizing landscapes of Northern Pakistan.
The entire bike trip from Attabad lake up to the Sost border saw us travelling through icy cold temperatures that were rarely above 1 or 2°C which, while riding, felt like at least -2 or -3°C.
There were a total of about 25 Harley Owners Group (HOG) riders in this tour of which 11 were from Karachi and 14 were from the HOG capital chapter from Islamabad led by Yasir Khan. HOG has a presence in nearly every major country and city of the world which includes Pakistan as well. Within Pakistan, there are HOG chapters in Lahore, Lyallpur and Islamabad.
One of our HOG members, Muhammad Yaseen, who resides permanently in Saudi Arabia came to Pakistan specifically to participate in this ride. He flew in to Islamabad and from there rode all the way up to Sost along with the rest of us. After the conclusion of the ride he returned with us to Islamabad and flew back to Saudi Arabia.
It was heartening to see tourists from different countries such as Portugal, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Thailand among others. Even bikers from these European countries were riding all the way from there to Hunza just to experience the beauty of this region for themselves.
During our interactions with these foreign tourists we discovered that they were such huge fans of Pakistan and this region in particular. Despite such unfair and negative marketing that Pakistan receives, the presence of European tourists in large numbers was promising.
The journey took us through rugged terrains, towering peaks, and vibrant cultures. Our route was set: Skardu, Gilgit, Hunza, Passu Cones, Sust, Khunjerab Pass and Karimabad.
Each destination held its own charm, and the road connecting them promised an exhilarating ride.
Day 1: Skardu – The Gateway to the Himalayas
Our road trip kicked off in Skardu, the gateway to the Himalayas. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Skardu welcomed us with its serene lakes and historic forts. Riding alongside the Shigar River, we marvelled at the surreal landscapes, feeling the crisp mountain air invigorate our spirits.
Day 2: Gilgit – Where Rivers Converge
Leaving Skardu behind, we headed towards Gilgit. The journey took us along the indomitable Gilgit River, winding through deep valleys and awe-inspiring gorges. As we approached Gilgit, the confluence of the Gilgit and Indus Rivers unfolded before us, a spectacle that left us in awe.
Day 3: Hunza – The Jewel of Pakistan
Hunza Valley, with its emerald-green landscapes and majestic peaks, was next on our itinerary. This region is well endowed with stunning and breathtaking mountain sceneries. Hunza valley has the well deserved distinction of being the most beautiful part of not just Pakistan, but the entire world. The Karakoram Highway led us through hairpin bends and narrow roads, offering breathtaking views of Rakaposhi and Ultar Sar. The ancient Baltit Fort stood tall, welcoming us to the timeless beauty of Hunza.
Day 4: Passu Cones – Nature’s Masterpiece
Venturing further north, we reached the iconic Passu Cones. These towering, pointed peaks against the backdrop of the shimmering Passu Glacier left us speechless. Camping beneath the stars, we felt a profound connection with the untouched beauty of this remote paradise.
Day 5: Sust – A Glimpse into High Altitude Living
Sust, a small border town, provided a unique experience as we witnessed the confluence of the Khunjerab River and Gilgit River. The town’s simplicity and the warm hospitality of its people offered a glimpse into the challenges and joys of high-altitude living.
Day 6: Khunjerab Pass – Roof of the World
The climax of our journey awaited at Khunjerab Pass, the highest paved international border crossing in the world. As we navigated the winding roads to an altitude of 4,693 meters, the air grew thin, and the surrounding peaks seemed to touch the heavens. The panoramic views of the Pamir Mountains and the vastness of the plateau left us humbled.
Day 7: Karimabad – Jewel of the North
Descending from Khunjerab Pass, we made our way to Karimabad, the heart of the Hunza Valley. Nestled beneath the watchful eyes of Rakaposhi, Nanga Parbat, and Ultar Sar, Karimabad’s ancient charm and the vibrant bazaar showcased the cultural richness of the region.
Our road trip through the scenic landscape of Pakistan was nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The sites, cultures, and the sheer thrill of riding through some of the world’s highest and most remote regions made this journey an indelible chapter in our travel diaries. As we bid farewell to Northern Pakistan, we carried with us the memories of a road trip that truly allowed us to ride the roof of the world.