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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hanging Out: 2011-07-15 From Karachi to Khunjerab by Road

Yes! from Karachi to Khunjerab by road…
Karachi to Khunjerab

Car – Suzuki Cultus 2010 with Rooftop Carrier
Number of Persons – 4
Tour Duration ~ 10 days (15-Jul-11 to 25-Jul-11)
Total Cost per person – 25k/person
Majority of the amount was spent on transportation (fuel, rent, oil, etc)

  • Fri, 15-Jul-11
    • 02:00pm Gather at Gulistan e Jauher
    • 05:40pm Karachi Toll
    • 07:10pm Hyderabad Toll
    • 10:55pm Moro
  • Sat, 16-Jul-11
    • 01:15am Rohri
    • 02:00am Panu Aaqil
    • 02:30am Ghotki
      • A huge flame of the Qadirpur Gas Field is visible from here.
    • 03:20am Entered Punjab
    • 03:50am Rahimyar Khan
    • 05:30am Khan Bela
    • 05:50am Tarinda M Panah
    • 07:00am Bahawalpur – [ Slideshow ]
    • 08:10am Stopped at Lodhran for Breakfast – [ Slideshow ]
    • 09:00am Exit Lodhran
    • 10:20am Khanewal
    • 11:00am Cheechawatni
      • Almost an hour was wasted here Sad smile because the main highway was blocked by people, who were protesting against the electricity outage. After waiting for some time, we took an alternative path way to bypass the blockage.
    • 04:15pm Faisalabad
    • 05:30pm Entered Motorway M3 – [ Video ]
      • No doubt this highway is a jewel among the road infrastructure of Pakistan. Breath taking natural views and exceptional facilities.
    • 09:00pm Exit Motorway M2
    • 11:30pm Stopped at Abbottabad – Overnight Stay – [ Slideshow ]
      • When we reached here, all shops were closed. We checked in at:
        • Comfort Inn Hotel
          0992-334159, 0992-333964
          0345-9511712 – Sajid Hafeez
          0334-8954410 – Waqas Ahmed
      • Instead of ordering the dinner cooked by the Hotel’s Chef, we went to the hotel kitchen, on the opposite side of the road, and planned to cook by ourselves. We prepare delicious Winking smile Chicken Karhai (out of K&N’s Mince Chicken Meat). It was a wonderful experience, just the four of us on the deserted road with 3 or 4 Hotel staff helping us getting what is required to cook the dish.
  • Sun, 17-Jul-11
    • 06:30am Exit Abbottabad – [ Slideshow - Video ]
    • 07:20am Mansehra
    • 09:55am Balakot
    • 10:40am Kewai
    • 12:05pm Kaghan
    • 01:30pm Stopped at Naran – [ Slideshow ]
      • Parked our Cultus on a rented Parking Lot for 5 days against PKR 800. Hired a 4x4 Jeep with PKR 2,500 rent per day excluding Fuel and Oil. Driver’s meal (alone and not accommodation) was our responsibility too.
    • 04:15pm Exit Naran
    • 06:45pm Stopped at Babusar Top/Pass
      • It was very cold up there and we also had to offer Asir Prayers because time was running out. Even the boiling water for ablution didn’t help much, as the breeze was so chill that we were literally shivering. Two cups of hot tea under a makeshift Tea Shop made out from a “Choldari” Tent was a blessing at that time Smile
    • 07:10pm Exit Babusar Top/Pass
    • 09:00pm Stopped at Chillas
      • We come to know that the main route in and out of Chillas is not safe. And there were several incidents of looting vehicles and passengers. On multiple complaints, government deployed police mobiles which now escort people coming in and going out of Chillas. All vehicles are stopped at police check post and after every hour, a police mobile escort the caravan of vehicles safely to the police check post on the other end. From there vehicles carry on by themselves as the route is considered safe after that.
    • 10:30pm Exit Chillas and travelled on Karakoram Highway (KKH)
  • Mon, 18-Jul-11
    • 01:00am Stopped at Raikot – Camped Overnight @ Shangrilla Park’s Lawn – [ SlideshowVideo ]
      • Here, we had to close our deal with the driver, whom we hired from Naran, because the people of Raikot do not allow vehicles other than their own to travel between Raikot and Fairy Meadows. When I inquired about the reason, they said that the villagers of Raikot build the pathway by themselves and therefore we will not allow any other to benefit from the transportation business on that road.
    • 06:15am Exit Raikot and towards Fairy Meadows – [ Slideshow ]
      • We had to pay PKR 5000 for the round trip on 4x4 jeep from Raikot to Trekking Start Point towards Fairy Meadows and back.
    • 07:30am Stopped at Trekking Start Point towards Fairy Meadows
      • Unfortunately, we met a mudslide in between which washed away the path created for 4x4 Jeeps and Trekkers. There was an incomplete wooden bridge structure at the same site which suggests the frequent spill of the mud slide from that junction point of the two mountains. We waited for some time, on request of our driver Musa khan who said that the villagers will fill the gap with large blocks soon and we would be able to cross it then. But the mudslide continues making things difficult for the villagers waiting for the mudslide to stop, so they can begin filling the gap.
      • So, after waiting for some time, we had to return. We also noticed visitors on the other side of the pathway waiting to cross the damaged path for their exit.
    • 09:55am Exit from Trekking Start Point towards Fairy Meadows
    • 10:55am Exit Raikot and towards Astore Valley
    • 01:30pm Stopped at Astore Valley – [ SlideshowVideo ]
      • Astore Valley turns out to be one of the favorite spots of our tour. It was all lush green with great scenic views. People were friendly and welcoming. Locals said that since the disturbance started on the Swat side, people have started coming to this area more and tourism has started to pick up momentum here.
    • 05:00pm Exit Astore Valley
    • 06:00pm Stopped at Trekking Start Point towards Rama Lake – [ Video ]
    • 06:50pm Rama Lake
      • Unfortunately we were unable to capture snaps or videos of this lake, because we reach there after Maghrib and it was too dark for camera to capture some thing appealing. I guess, at Rama Lake, we were closest to the Nanga Parbat Mountain, over looking the lake. Very beautiful!
    • 07:30pm Back to Trekking Start Point towards Rama Lake
    • 08:30pm Back to Astore Valley – Overnight Stay
  • Tue, 19-Jul-11
    • 09:25am Exit Astore Valley and towards Deosai National Park
    • 01:00pm Stopped at Shausar Lake in Deosai National Park – [ SlideshowVideo ]
    • 01:45pm Exit Shausar Lake
    • 04:00pm Stopped at Sadpara Lake – [ SlideshowVideo ]
    • 05:00pm Exit Sadpara Lake
    • 05:30pm Stopped at Skardu – Overnight Stay
  • Wed, 20-Jul-11
    • 06:35am Exit Skardu – [ SlideshowVideo ]
      • Upper Katchura Lake
        • Upper Katchura Lake is far more beautiful and in its natural condition as appose to all-famous Shangrilla Resort Lake or Lower Katchura Lake. This lake is more lively with natural fauna and flora.
      • Lower Katchura Lake / Shangrilla Resorts
    • 11:05am Back to Skardu
    • 11:20am Exit Skardu
    • 06:35pm Stopped at Gilgit – [ SlideshowVideo ]
    • 07:30pm Exit Gilgit
  • Thu, 21-Jul-11
    • 01:30am Stopped at Aliabad, Hunza – Overnight Stay
    • 08:00am Exit Aliabad, Hunza – [ Slideshow ]
    • 09:00am Stopped at Attabad Lake – [ SlideshowVideo ]
      • Local people were very angry and concerned about the situation at Attabad Lake because several villages has been drowned with their homes and properties . Although administration has created a spillway to maintain the current level of the lake, but the slow work pace clearly shows the unwillingness of the administration to clear the lake completely. There were rumors among the local that government is planning to build a dam over here which means they will never be able to see their homes, properties, etc again.
      • This lake has also became a bottle neck for on going construction work on KKH and locals said that the work on this part of the KKH has been stopped by the contractor because of this lake formation. And, as the rumors goes, there was a conspiracy theory that US/India is somehow involved in this incident to block the construction work on KKH to de-link this only vital land route between Pakistan and China.
      • The life was already very hard on locals due to un availability of necessary infrastructure. And then, we have this incident, and on top of it the lack of commitment and willingness of the administration. This is one more example of why Local Government should be the way to go forward and why MPAs and MNAs should be dumped away.
    • 10:10am Boat Start Attabad Lake
    • 11:40am Boat End at Hussaini
    • 11:55am Exit Hussaini
    • 02:30pm Stopped at Sost – Overnight Stay
      • Sost is the last border town towards Pak-China border. As locals said, before the floods and Attabad Lake incident, KKH was in a much better shape and Chinese people from bordering towns used to visit Sost for trade and transport. But these days this town is deserted and we didn’t saw any Chinese people except those working on KKH.
  • Fri, 22-Jul-11
    • 08:15am Exit Sost
      • On this section of the KKH, the reconstruction work was on full swing and we did travelled over the newly metaled portions of the KKH. There were friendship tunnels in between and patches high concreted walls on both side of the KKH to prevent it from land sliding, which seems to be a very common phenomena there.
    • 11:45am Stopped at Khunjerab Pass, Pakistan-China Border – [ SlideshowVideo ]
    • 12:15pm Exit Khunjerab Pass
    • 03:10pm Sost
    • 04:45pm Stopped at Hussaini
    • 05:30pm Boat Start
    • 07:00pm Boat End
    • 07:10pm Exit Atabad Lake
    • 08:30pm Stopped at Aliabad, Hunza – Overnight Stay
  • Sat, 23-Jul-11
    • 11:20am Exit Aliabad, Hunza
    • 03:30pm Stopped at Gilgit
    • 05:35pm Exit Gilgit
  • Sun, 24-Jul-11
    • 12:00am Stopped at Chillas
    • 03:05am Exit Chillas
    • 07:05am Babusar Top/Pass
    • 11:00am Stopped Naran
    • 12:15pm Exit Naran
    • 01:15pm Kaghan
    • 02:15pm Kewai
    • 02:50pm Balakot
    • 04:50pm Abbottabad
  • Mon, 25-Jul-11
    • 01:30am Gulistan e Jauher, Karachi