A Road Trip from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass


Have you ever been to Khunjerab Pass, the magnificent gateway at the end of the breathtaking Karakoram Highway, which is concealed behind the craggy peaks of the captivating Karakoram Range?

The most popular weekend getaway for people living in Islamabad and nearby areas has traditionally been to Murree and the surrounding hill regions, mostly due to their proximity. However, it takes some time and thought to arrange a vacation to these well-known locations for individuals who reside in remote areas.

But if you’re genuinely interested in discovering Pakistan and its immense natural beauty, you should go a little higher. It might take a little longer to get to these areas. But once you arrive in these stunning valleys packed with tall, snow-capped mountains and lush, green meadows, you won’t care about the distance at all.

About Khunjerad Pass

The Khunjerab Pass, also known as the Pak-China border is regarded as one of the world’s greatest engineering feats. It is also the highest-built international border crossing in the world, rising to a height of around 15,400 feet. The period from May to September is the ideal time to see this stunning landmark because in winter, this area gets heavy snowfall and it becomes almost impossible to reach Khunjerab pass. 

Planning of Road Trip from Islamabad to Khunjerab

Here is a comprehensive route plan to the Khunjerab Pass. To get from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass by car, it will typically take you 3 to 4 days.

Advice: Consider renting a suitable vehicle rather than using your own car. Hiring a skilled driver who is familiar with the turns of Karakoram Highway is always preferable.

NATCO, officially known as the Northern Areas Transport Corporation, offers cheap bus service from Islamabad to Hunza.

Weather at Khunjerab Pass-Gilgit Baltistan


Location of Khunjerab Pass

Day 1: Departure from Islamabad

To avoid any heavy traffic, it is preferable to depart from Islamabad as early in the morning. You must make an effort to cross Mansehra before sunrise if you don’t want to get stranded on the road for hours. It is advised to only stop for breakfast when you arrive at Balakot. It will be a lengthy ride, so make sure to eat something light and bring some snacks.

You’ll need to travel for roughly five hours from Balakot to your next destination, a lovely village called Besal close to Naran. As Naran gets quite congested during the tourist season, avoid stopping there. Prior to traveling to Lulusar Lake and Babusar Pass, stop for tea at Besal. 

The highest point in this valley is Babusar Pass, which links Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. There are several abrupt twists and bends on the route that descends from this mountain pass. Therefore, the motorist must drive very carefully. You can use the Karakoram Highway for 3 to 4 hours to get to Jaglot from here.

The majority of people favor staying in Chilas. But if you’re traveling in the summer, it’s preferable to stay in Jaglot. Spend the night in this tiny but incredibly friendly town and dine at a neighborhood eatery.

Day 2: From Jaglot to Hunza

On the second day of your vacation, depart from the hotel as early as possible to avoid traffic on the roads and travel down the Karakoram Highway to the Hunza Valley. The convergence of the Karakoram, Hindukush, and Himalayan mountain ranges is one of Gilgit Baltistan’s most visited tourist attractions.

In around 3.5 hours, if you remain on track and don’t take any unneeded stops along the way, you’ll arrive in Karimabad, the hub of the Hunza area. You can have lunch here before continuing your travel a little distance to see the ancient Altit Fort. This fort, which dates back around 1100 years, is regarded as the oldest structure in the area.

Day 3: From Hunza to Nagar Valley

The next day, make your way to Attabad Lake, one of its most gorgeous lakes. A massive landslide caused this gorgeous blue lake to form. Additionally, it is most likely one of Gilgit Baltistan’s top tourist attractions. You can enjoy jet skiing or take a quick boat trip here.

You can travel to Baltit Fort, another historical site in the valley, after enjoying Attabad Lake. This is regarded as one of Pakistan’s greatest historical tourist spots and was built around 700 years ago.

After leaving Baltit Fort, it will take you an hour and a half to travel over the Karakoram Highway to reach Minapin village in Nagar Valley. The residents of this tiny village in Gilgit Baltistan are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet on your travels. You can go for a walk and spend the night in a nearby hotel. 

Day 4: Finally Arriving at Khunjerab Pass

In good weather, it will take you over six hours to get to Khunjerab Pass. You can make stops along the trip at the well-known Hussaini Bridge and the picturesque Passu Cones to capture some unforgettable images. Due to the distinctive shape of the summits, it is also known as the “Passu Cathedral.”

You can stop for a quick break once you’ve reached Khunjerab National Park. From this point, the ascent to Khunjerab Pass will be exceedingly difficult. You must use as little energy as you can because the oxygen level will eventually decrease due to the high altitude. 

People leave their vehicles near the Pakistan-China border. To take pictures in front of the magnificent gate, move over to the dividers that have been built in front of Khunjerab Pass. Additionally, there is an ATM machine nearby which is supposed to be the highest ATM machine in the World. 
You should return to Nagar once you’ve spent the memorizable at the Khunjerab pass. You can dine there and stay another night.

Day 5: Back to Naran

If you check out of the hotel at 9 am, you’ll probably be in Chilas by 2 pm. After having a meal, you might continue traveling for another 3-4 hours to reach Naran.

Day 6: Back to Islamabad

You’ll travel from Naran to Islamabad in a total of seven to eight hours. Have breakfast in Naran, then depart for Islamabad. Before you may eat a lunch break in Abbottabad, you must pass through Balakot and Mansehra. You will probably have heavy traffic on your way home because summer is the best time to take a tour of the north. However, if there are not any significant traffic jams, you’ll arrive in Islamabad around noon.

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