Pakistan : The Hunza Valley




Pakistan : Sost to Lahore
After having crossed the border from China into Pakistan, we continued the KKH into the Hunza Valley. The Hunza valley is on a branch of the silk road from Kashgar to Kashmir. We have decided to spend 10 days in the North of Pakistan and another 3 weeks in the South when we return from India in September after our big loop back East. As can be seen from the map above, the area is peppered with mountains all in the 6000 to 7000 meters range ! 


Assalam Alaikum. Peace be with you. Welcome to Pakistan !


Pakistan : a new country !

Having dropped Mike, our mandatory Chinese National guide, just before the Chinese border, we found ourselves very tired of the many km we have driven in China. Lost also. Crossing a few mountain ranges has made us land in a totally different country. Language and customs are a world apart. Since the demise of Silk Road several centuries ago, these two parts of the world have gone their own way and have hardly been in touch with each other. It wasn't until the two countries decided to build a road in the mid-sixties and its construction in the seventies and eighties that contact was again established. It has taken us time to adapt to society and conduct of this strict Muslim country. 


Passu village (2400 m)
Our first stop after the border town of Sost was the little village of Passu. Our first impression of this little village was had at a speed of 40 km/h. The dots representing villages or small cities on Chinese road maps meant driving through hundreds of buildings and seeing hundreds of people. The same dots on Pakistani road maps can mean little more than a few houses ! Passu village is located on the banks of the Hunza river. The village farmers makes use of the fertile alluvium brought down from the mountains to grow crops. Passu village is also nested between two giant glaciers : the Passu Glacier and the Batura Glacier which is 56 km long. It is in Passu that we met with SHUHEI UENO, a Japanese television director who had the bright idea to take a taxi from Tokyo to London. He drove through China along a similar route as ours then continued West into Central Asia and Russia. It is also in Passu that we set up our satellite phone again to be interviewed by the Belgian radio and the "Belges du bout du monde" programme !



The Hunza river tucked away by one of the many 7000 m + peaks around the valley & the "Indiana Jones" suspension bridge


Karimabad, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Hunza, is named after Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismailis Muslims.  

The Karimabad page


Hunza Valley children
Some said "hello", some said "goodbye" some said "give me pen", others even said "give me rupees" ! Tourism has made it here before us...

Some of the many pictures we took. 


Gilgit To Lahore
For the last days in the Hunza valley, we had been driving a leisurely 20 to 40 km each day. From Gilgit onwards, this was to change as we wanted to rush to New Delhi. Three crazy days and 1500 km after, we were in Delhi ! The first day, we followed the KKH south of Gilgit following the magnificent Indus river, in which the Hunza river merges with in Gilgit. This road is also where three of the world's mightiest mountain ranges join : the Himalaya, Pamir and Karakoram ranges.


Green mountain streams flooding into the Indus (left), banks covered with grey sand (centre), Nanga Parbat 8125m (right)



We drove 482 km this first day at an average and constant speed of 30 km/h. Most of this journey followed the Indus River into the plains of Pakistan. We would be following the mountains at impressive heights above the river. Then we reached Nanga Parbat, the world's 8th tallest mountain (Pakistan has 5 of the 14 eight-thousanders). An incredible sight.


Following the Indus river and coming face to face with the Nanga Parbat, North Pakistan.


On the second day, we drove 570 km to Lahore and saw some funny signs on the motorway. The next day, we crossed the border into India and drove 500 km to Delhi !


Motorway restaurant in Pakistan (centre)


KM 120,000

Where were we when the speedometer hit the 120,000 mark ? 

KM 120,000


The Chilas petroglyphs
Century after century, travelers along the Silk Road (as well as, more recently, the Chinese workers on the KKH) left graffiti on stones along the road.

The Chilas petroglyphs




We are doing well !

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