The Karakoram Highway



Kashgar (China) to Karimabad (Pakistan) : The KARAKORAM HIGHWAY
On May 8th, we left Kashgar and headed South instead of West !  And it was not a sunny day !


Kashgar to the Karakul Lake (China)
As we left the oasis of Kashgar, we headed South towards the desert. Canyons became larger as we headed up towards the lake Karakul. The wind was picking up and we were sad we were not going to see any mountain tops.



As we reached the lake we were had planned to stay for the night, a storm broke and it started to hail (white dots on the pictures !). Within 15 minutes the whole area was white.



Stay with a Kyrghyz family
Having dropped Mike at a small guesthouse that charged ridiculous prices and wanted a fee for the car entering their CP, we headed a little further to find shelter for our car.

Stay with a Kyrghyz family


Lake Karakul to Tashkurgan (CHINA)
The road from Lake Karakul to Tashkurgan, the last city on the Chinese side was simply incredible. We were driving at altitudes between 2500 and 3500 and were surrounded by mountains as high as 7800 m. We have never seen more beautiful mountain scenery. Every time we would take a hairpin, the scenery would change and we would discover new angles and new faces to the same mountains. No single other spot in the world has a higher density of 7000+ mountains.



Scenery as we drive south towards Pakistan


Tashkurgan is the last city on Chinese side. It is home to the customs department, a few shops and a few hundred souls with nothing to do but to cater for the passage of travelers and trucks on the KKH. Due to some paperwork problems we had to stay her 2 days before we were allowed to leave the country. As it turns out, this might well have become a habit. Whenever we are afraid not to be able to enter a new country (in this case, we had no visas to enter Pakistan as different embassies had given us contradictory information), we have all the trouble in the world to leave the old one...


Leaving China
On May 11th, we left China, said goodbye to our guide and drove the 100+ km of no-mans-land between China and Pakistan. Despite not knowing whether we would be allowed into Pakistan, we were ecstatic !

At the Chinese customs with trans-border trucks, the border, do camels have a "Carnet De Passage" ?


Khunjerab Pass
At 4730 m, the Khunjerab Pass is the highest point on the Karakoram Highway, the official border between China and Pakistan and one of the highest motorable roads on earth. 

The Khunjerab Pass (4730 m)


We arrived at the Pakistani border in the late afternoon of May 11th to be greeted by an English speaking border control man with his young daughter. The immigration office was closed. We had to hand over our passports and come back next morning. What a change from China !


First night in Pakistan and first glimpse of the country next morning.


We were given a 30 day entry to Pakistan and the car got in with its Carnet de Passage en Douanes. Two hours of paperwork at a relaxed pace with lots of curious questions asked but also 2 or 3 delicious cups of Pakistani tea (essentially tea with milk and lots of sugar). What a delight to have left the Chinese stressed out way of life ! A few mountain chains further and it's a totally different world.



We have slowly made our way down the Hunza valley, only driving 20 or 40 km each day and enjoying ourselves. Crossing our first border (after the HK-PRC border) has been a great step for us and all of a sudden we have no guide and no programme. We are making the most of it !

We are doing well !

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