Pakistan_2














Lahore, Pakistan
N 031░ 33.497 E 074░ 19.058 ->
Today: 111.2 °F ( +44 °C)
13 Apr 2017
24496 km

Spent the night at a guarded car park in down town Lahore, with absolutely no facilities. But it is always like this in big cities, really difficult to find a good place to stay and only the expensive hotels have parking facilities.

Started the day by trying to get some Paki money from an ATM. It is not that easy if you have a MasterCard, VISA is a better choice in Pakistan. Finally we found a Standard Chartered Bank who takes MasterCard.

After that we tried to get a Liquor Permit to be able to get a beer in the dry Pakistan. With a permit foreigners can be served a beer in more up market hotels, but unfortunately the permit man had left for the day.

After that we went to The Shrine of Data Ganj Baksh Hajveri to listen to Qawwali singing. But there it was completely chaos with big crowds, men and women had to enter in different parts and we could not meet inside it had been very hot and uncomfortable all day +44░ C, the town is dirty, polluted and messy. All this together made us decide to leave Lahore in the afternoon.


















Lahore, Pakistan
N 032░ 46.179 E 072░ 42.271 ->
Today: 113 °F ( +45 °C)
14 Apr 2017
24760 km

Now we finally have paki pimed our car. We have talked about it and dreamed for a long time. It is a very modest paki pimp compared to the absolutely beautiful trucks here in Pakistan ľ but still it is a paki pimp.

We put a wide stripe on the hood, a thin one along the side of our car, tin harts with bells under the bumper, a thin line on Toppolle, new big tassels in the back and some bling for our antenna. Every little detail on the stripes are cut by hand. We paid 20 Euro for everything. Take a look at the clip to see what it looks like.

All over Pakistan we see this beautifully decorated trucks. At a petrol station we saw a big bunch of trucks nicely parked. We got in there with our Saab - we feel like one of them now.

The local busses in Pakistan are not that bad too. The bus companies at home have to put a lot of effort in to mach this lot.
















Taxila, Pakistan
N 033░ 44.770 E 072░ 49.086 ->
Today: 113 °F ( +45 °C)
15 Apr 2017
24994 km

In the afternoon we finally started to leave the sizzling hot plains and started to climb up to cooler climate in Himalaya again. So very nice. It has been far too hot for comfort the last days.

We ran in to a couple of other overlanders today one car from Austria and one from Germany. They are also taking the Karakorum Highway back home to Europe. But they are transiting China two days after our group.


















Besham, Pakistan
N 034░ 53.989 E 072░ 51.697 ->
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
16 Apr 2017
25208 km

Police escort today all the way from Besham to Chilas. It is especially the Indus Kohistan region that is regarded unsafe. A summary of todayĺs escort: 48 policemen, 16 vehicles and 5 check points. The police are doing a terrific job escorting us with no unnecessary stops and the new escort is ready and waiting for us to arrive all the time.

Now we can feel that we are on the Karakoram Highway (KKH), the mountains are high and the valleys are deep and steep from the edge of the tarmac. We can already see snow capped in the distance. It feels great to finally get to travel the KKH. We talked about it already on our last trip 10 years ago, but then it was not possible due to route and the time of year. The high pass is only open for a few months a year.

The Karakoram Highway is a 1 200 kilometer mountain road through very hars terrain. It runs between Islamabad in Pakistan and Kashgar in Kina. The road rund through a high mountain area and passes the Kunjerab Pass at 4 730 meters. China and Pakistan started to build the KKH in 1966 and it took 20 years to complete it.

There are quite a few suspension bridges made of steel wire and wood that crosses the Indus. Today we passed a long one in our Saab. We could feel the bridge swaying back and forth in the strong wind. Check out the film clip.


















Chilas, Pakistan
N 035░ 25.911 E 074░ 06.318 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
17 Apr 2017
25402 km

Along the KKH there are signs with warnings of landslides and falling rocks. For sure that is not an empty threat - it is a promise. Everywhere we see rocks and debris along the roadsides and on the tarmac. Some stones are bigger than others, but even a rock big as a fist can make a lot of damage to the car.

We have been standing in long lines of cars and truck 3 times today waiting for the crew to clear the road from landslides, rocks and mud. Fingers crossed that we get through the KKH without rocks landing on our carů

At the last land slide or more like a mud slide it was impossible for us to pass, even the busses and trucks got stuck trying. We just had to wait for the crew to arrive. We were ever so pleased that we had to wait only for two hours before they arrived. See film clip from mud slide.

Even if the bulldozer took away most of the rocks, mud and made the water flow another way it was tricky for us to pass the spot. The Saab was sliding on the belly and the stones hit the frame. We had to stay the night in Astak, the delays during the day prevented us from getting to all the way to Skardu before dark.
















Astak, Pakistan
N 035░ 37.940 E 075░ 01.476 ->
Today: 77 °F ( +25 °C)
18 Apr 2017
25571 km

Today we have continued to follow the river in to the Skardu Valley. The road gets narrower and in worse shape the longer in to the valley we come. It is still doable for us if we take it easy and go slow over the bad parts. We travel slowly through the small villages. They are like small oasis of spring green leaves and cherry blossoms.

Arriving in Skardu we went to the PTDC motel that has a tourist information. Guess who we found there if not Henry & Anna and Mathias & Tina. They were having a late lunch. They just arrived from Khaplu, where we wanted to go. They said it was only two hours to get there and the road was pretty okay. We decided to go the last 100 kilometers to Khaplu strait away.




















Khaplu, Pakistan
N 035░ 10.071 E 076░ 21.006 ->
Today: 50 °F ( +10 °C)
19 Apr 2017
25764 km

Khaplu is a small village at 2 600 meters compleately surrounden by snow capped mountains and right now the cherry trees are in bloom. And there are cherry trees all over the place. Yesterday evening when arrived here we got to see all this beauty.

This morning when we Woke up everything was gray and the rain was hanging in the air. Our plan was to spend the day here to do some sightseeing. There were two places we wanted to go, but there have been landslides and roads to these places were closed.

Then we got to hear that it was already raining in Chilas and Skardu. That made us worry; rain on these already bad roads with landslides is not what we need. That will be disastrous for us. There is only one road to the valley and if this road gives in we will be stuck here. And we just have to be at the Chinese border April 24 th to transit China. There is no alternative to this. We decided to leave the valley as soon as possible and not risk getting stuck here.

The place where we stopped for lunch had a wifi and we checked the weather forecast; Rain all afternoon, more rain in the evening and rain tomorrow morning. The man at the restaurant said; The rain is coming. The road will get bad and there will be landslides. Go, go go don┤t stop to sleep. Go all the way out of the valley until you reach the KKH again. This means we have to drive many hours in the dark with difficult road conditions. That is bad - but we cannot risk getting stuck here in the valley.


















Gilgit, Pakistan
N 035░ 55.371 E 074░ 19.436 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
20 Apr 2017
26062 km

We arrived in Gilgit at midnight. But we definitely feel we took the right decision, 12 more hours of rain would have been bad for us. It was slippery enough as it was. This morning we met Rahim again. He is also in Gilgit. After that we did some shopping and washed the car from all the mud since yesterday and Bert made a Swedish-paki adapter to fill our gas bottle.

After that we went to Eagles Nest. Anna & Henry, Mathias & Tina and Josefin & David were already there camping and Rahim will show up tomorrow.

Eagles Nest is high above Karimabad. We started out riding the incredibly steep road with the sharp curves. The road is narrow and when we meet another car one of us have to stop to let the other one slowly pass. Again and again we had meeting cars and minibuses and it was difficult for us to start again and again on the steep road. Finally we could got stuck. We called for help and Mathias came down with his 4-weel drive jeep to tow us all the way up to Eagles Nest. This road was really a tough one for our Saab. And of course things like this always happens in the dark. See film clip.
















Karimabad, Pakistan
N 036░ 19.514 E 074░ 41.395 ->
Today: 77 °F ( +25 °C)
21 Apr 2017
26174 km

Today when Rahim arrived from Gilgit with spare parts for Henry & Annas car, the hole China transit group was gathered for the first time. Great! Eagles Nest is high above Karimabad with a fantastic view over the valley and the snow capped mountains that surrounds the palce.

Today we got to know that KKH up in the Kunjerab Pass was closed due to too much snow, and we are scedueld to pass it in 3 days. Our snow chains are too small since we got new tires in India. And Rahim the poor guy, is supposed to ride his bike over the pass. This can get really interestingů


















Karimabad, Pakistan
N 036░ 19.514 E 074░ 41.395 ->
Today: 50 °F ( +10 °C)
22 Apr 2017
26174 km

Today we left the others to go north to Sost, 80 kilometers from the Chinese border. Along the way we found this very interesting and airy suspension bridge. It was 4-5 decimeters between the wooden planks. We really needed to keep track of where to put our feet. See film clip.

We asked all the English speaking people we met about the conditions up in the pass; yes snow already and since it has been raining here all day there will probably be more snow and there is a big landslide that they are trying to fix right now. If all goes well they will open the road on Monday. Sounds good, since that is when we are going to the border.

Snow, landslides and a steep uphill to the high pass sound tough. We decided to try to find a solution to make our snow chains to fit our new a little bigger tires. Bert found a workshop thar could make extensions that probably will work. We will see.

Arriving back at the PTDC Motel we found 3 of our overlander friends there too. The pouring rain made them skip the trekking and wild camping ideas and come here instead.












Sost, Pakistan
N 036░ 41.484 E 074░ 49.185 ->
Today: 46.4 °F ( +8 °C)
23 Apr 2017
26275 km

The waiting game; waiting for the rain to stop, for us to stop freezing, for the KKH to Kunjerab Pass to open and to enter China. Rahim showed up at lunch time freezing cold from the rain. Now we are all here. We are staying opposite the Immigration and Customs office. They open 9 AM. We will be there waiting for them to open.
























Sost, Pakistan
N 036░ 41.484 E 074░ 49.185 150002 ->
Today: 35.6 °F ( 2 °C)
24 Apr 2017
-123724 km
See film clip. See film clip.

On top of the Kunjerab Pass at 4 700 meter Mattias had a flat tire. Bert helped him fix it with his mending kit. It is far quicker than changing a tire.

The first thing that happened on the Chinese side was a military checkpoint. They kept us there for 4,5 hour. Both we and the cars got x-rayed and they went through the cars thoroughly. We have never been searched loike this before.

Not until 7 PM they let us go, by then it had started to snow horizontally, was freezing cold and getting dark. We had still 120 kilometers to go to Tashkurgan. After 20 kilometers Rahim told us he could not go on anymore. He was feeling the altitude, frozen stiff and had already fainted up on the pass earlier. Bert came to his rescue and drove the bike the last 100 kilometers to Tashkurgan, while Rahim took a rest and got warm again.

In Tashkurgan it all started all over again at the real Customs and Immigration office. It took forever to just get trough the Immigration, but the cars didnĺt make it through. We have been trying th cross this border for 14 hours and still we are not finished. Tomorrow we have to give it a go again with the cars.

Very tired and starving we arrived at the hotel at midnight. Luckily they managed to make us dinner even though the kitchen was closed since several hours. At 1 AM we finally had som_weather.png" BORDER=0>

ost, Pakistan# N 036░ 41.484 E 074░ 49.185 150002# +3# 2#

Customs clearance and Immigration at the Paki side took only one hour in total for 9 persons and five vehicles. That is amazing! Then they said go, go, go because when it is sunny the risk for avalanches and landslides increase. We drove as fast as we possibly could to minimize the exposure time. The road is peppered with rocks that we have to avoid all the time. Halfway up a rock passed in front of our car with less than a couple of meters.

We drive in a certain order; Matias & Tina first with a walkie-talkie, then Josefin & David who are going to help making a track in the snow and the Rahim on his bike who we need to keep an eye of in case he falls over, then us in the Saab who needs tracks in the snow to get by and last Henry & Anna who can tow us if we get stuck and with the second a walkie-talkie.

With only a couple of kilometers left to the pass there were lots of snow on the road. Rahim fell over two times and we decided to take all the weight of his bike. Henry tried to drive it instead but he also fell over. The last 500 meters before the border there were lots and lots of snow, minibuses and trucks with snow chains got stuck in the snow. Bert put on our snow chains. They worked perfectly and we managed to slide over the thick field of snow all by ourselves. See film clip. See film clip.

On top of the Kunjerab Pass at 4 700 meter Mattias had a flat tire. Bert helped him fix it with his mending kit. It is far quicker than changing a tire.

The first thing that happened on the Chinese side was a military checkpoint. They kept us there for 4,5 hour. Both we and the cars got x-rayed and they went through the cars thoroughly. We have never been searched loike this before.

Not until 7 PM they let us go, by then it had started to snow horizontally, was freezing cold and getting dark. We had still 120 kilometers to go to Tashkurgan. After 20 kilometers Rahim told us he could not go on anymore. He was feeling the altitude, frozen stiff and had already fainted up on the pass earlier. Bert came to his rescue and drove the bike the last 100 kilometers to Tashkurgan, while Rahim took a rest and got warm again.

In Tashkurgan it all started all over again at the real Customs and Immigration office. It took forever to just get trough the Immigration, but the cars didnĺt make it through. We have been trying th cross this border for 14 hours and still we are not finished. Tomorrow we have to give it a go again with the cars.

Very tired and starving we arrived at the hotel at midnight. Luckily they managed to make us dinner even though the kitchen was closed since several hours. At 1 AM we finally had something proper to eat since last morningĺs breakfast.