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Thread: Bike Tour 4,000 KMS - Karachi - Naran - Astor (Gilgit Balistan) and Back to Karachi

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    Default Bike Tour 4,000 KMS - Karachi - Naran - Astor (Gilgit Balistan) and Back to Karachi

    My Travel Itinerary:

    Day 01: Wed - Aug 21st --> Karachi to Uch Sharif (Punjab)

    Day 02: Thur- Aug 22nd --> Uch Sharif to D.I. Khan (KPK)

    Day 03: Fri - Aug 23rd --> Stayed in D.I. Khan (KPK)

    Day 04: Sat - Aug 24th --> DI Khan to Islamabad

    Day 05: Sun - Aug 25th --> Stayed in Islamabad

    Day 06: Mon - Aug 26th --> Islamabad to Naran

    Day 07: Tue - Aug 27th --> Naran to Astor (Gilgit Balistan)

    Day 08: Wed - Aug 28th --> Astor to Rama Lake and Back to Naran

    Day 09: Thur - Aug 29th --> Naran to Islamabad

    Day 10: Fri - Aug 30th --> Islamabad to Karachi

    Day 11: Sat - Aug 31st --> Traveling to Karachi

    Day 12: Sun - Sep 01st --> Early Morning Arrived in Karachi



    I have lived abroad most of my life and only returned to Pakistan some three years back. I now live in Karachi and have driven to Islamabad many times by car and its been an exhilarating experience every time.

    My Bike Adventure plans began more than two years back when I was visiting Northern Areas (Naran) with Cousins from Islamabad. I drove my car alone from Karachi to Islamabad and got together with 9 others in two cars and explored the Northern areas for the very first time in my life and was struck by its shear beauty. Along the way I saw many people on motorcycles whom I thought were locals at first, or perhaps from Islamabad area. However, upon discovering Pakwheels I was amazed to see that so many people were driving their bikes in groups from various parts of Punjab as were as a few courageous souls who also traveled from other places and posted their step by step travel experiences, both on bikes and cars.

    So I began to think what it would be like to drive a bike across the country since I had already done that by car many times. I should point out that where I had lived my entire life one could not imagine driving a bike, at least not an entire year due to heavy snow during winters and many wet days of rain throughout summer. So to put it plainly, I had never driven a bike nor did I know how to drive one. Although I sad on a few bikes in Pakistan as a passenger but never really driven one.

    So now I was becoming more and more bold in researching bikes both on Pakwheels as well as on olx. I came to a realization that most long distance riders who posted on Pakwheels chose either a Honda 125 or a Suzuki GS 150. I took many months researching both the pros and cons of both bikes to see which was better for longer drives, fuel economy, accessible spare parts, durability and so on. And although I was leaning more towards purchasing a Honda, I was told that in Karachi it would not be wise to buy a new Honda and instead to go for a new Suzuki GS 150 due to the high demand of Hondas and the high likelihood of a new 125 being stolen.

    So a year back (Nov 2012) after doing plenty of research I finally purchased my first ever Bike, GS 150 and asked the seller to deliver it to my office since I didn't want anyone at home to know had I purchased a bike since I didn't know how to ride one just yet. At my office I used the help of my guard to teach me how to turn it on, how to put it in gear, how to break and all the basics which were totally a new experience for me. After some three weeks of learning to ride in our large office parking lot after hours when there was no traffic I finally gained the confidence of driving it home. I began to drive it from home to office daily after everyone came to know I had purchased a bike but due to the fact I could comfortably ride it not too many objected to me purchasing a bike as I had originally thought.


    A month later I took my first ever 'Long Distance Test Drive' experience to Hyderabad which took me close to 3 hours with a brief 5 min stop at two places to adjust my ever so aching bum. I had a relative in the Army who was posted in Hyd Cantt. After a two night stay and a professional Champi I returned back to Karachi and realized just how painful and exhausting a long drive can be. Nothing could be done I thought, to resolve the issue of an aching bum from such a long drive.

    Upon reading many of the threads on this site I finally realized I needed a cushion to sit on for a longer drive as well as some basic necessities I would need for a longer drive.

    So this year from Feb/March I began my plan to ride to Islamabad and then up to Naran if I can. I did post on here asking for people's advice as to whether it was safe to drive to Naran from Karachi in March-April and most responded that Naran will not be approachable till late May due to snow which has not yet melted. So the next possible time I had was holidays just after Eid in August.

    So on Aug 21st I began my road trip to Islamabad. But I had only 10 days since I had to be back to work on Monday Sept 2nd and that meant I would have to be back in Karachi by Sat Aug 30th or Sun Aug 31st and allow myself to rest for a day on Sunday.

    I did the following very basic modifications;
    - HID Headlight for high beam, low beam was regular headlight
    - Installed a Car Lighter Adapter in order to keep my mobile charged while I listened to music during my drive
    - Installed a new wider and larger Tire in rear
    - Purchased new tubes for the front and back
    - Wasn't sure of the tools so left that since I have never changed a tire but was certain I would find a puncture shop on the road
    - Purchased an extra Clutch Cable and a Break Cable
    - Installed saddle bags for each side for my Water Supply and other heavy items
    - Installed two Heavy Horns to sound like a Corolla which really really helped throughout the trip
    - After getting a Fresh Oil Change two days before leaving, Also purchased an extra liter of oil for the road

    What I forgot was to purchase a pump, someone might help me change a tube but how would we pump air into the tire? That was something I realized much later after returning back to Karachi.

    I guess these are all the items I got done to the Bike before leaving. Now I should point out once again that all these ideas I got on this website from reading many other postings except for the lighter adapter which was my idea since I could not go an entire day without being certain I had a mobile which was charged for security situations in case I needed to call someone.

    I had a Thermos with ice cubes and frozen cold water along with frozen water bottles for the road.

    I began my trip exactly at 3:30 AM on Wed Aug 21st in order to do most of my drive in cool temperatures and avoid the summer heat. My plan was to clear Sindh in Day time and enter Punjab before sun set and take a hotel in Rahim Yar Khan. Now I had no idea just how long it would take me to reach Rahim Yar Khan so I planned a stop at RY Khan for the first night. My relative who lived in Hyderabad the year before had been re-posted to Dera Ismail Khan so now the plan was to stop there on my way to Islamabad, which meant a new route I had never been on.

    So my second night stay would have to be DI Khan if I could reach it.

    I left Karachi with a half tank of Fuel (Rs 500) in order to keep the weight light so I could easily cope with the steep hills I had to climb on my way to Hyderabad knowing full well that I would find many petrol pumps along the way. The plan was to fill up just after crossing Hyderabad as it would be a more flatter and smoother ride. I cleared Hyd just after 6:30 AM and filled up to the top. I drove past many farming communities and realized that although I had driven this route many times over the past 3 years, I never saw this view from the car which I was enjoying now on my bike trip. I kept a steady speed of 80 and sometimes even touched 90 on clear roads but had to slow back down 70 near heavy traffic.

    I stopped somewhere at a Truck Stop (Charpai Hotel) for breakfast at around 9 AM, not sure if I can remember the place but it may be close to Moro. I am certain that the very first 3 pics should remind some of the readers as to the location if they have traveled this route.


    After a 45 Minute stop for nashta which I had on a Charpai I got back on my bike and head further into Sindh. Now I should also mention that I had my relatives believe I would go by Bus and book my Bike on top all the way to Islamabad and then do my road trip from Isb to Naran. No one would believe it was possible or even safe to travel by bike this long route. This is why you will notice I had most all of my pics with my bike in order to later convince people that I in fact drove my bike and did not just stop the bus to take pics along the way.

    Most of the readers will automatically recognize these areas of interior Sindh along Kherpur, Gotki and other areas where I stopped to take pics.
    As it got closer and closer to the afternoon, it got hotter and hotter. I would stop periodically to open the water bottle in my saddle bag on the side which was already warm, so I would take a cup which I carried and mix the ice cold water with the warm water so as to not to have a very cold drink and at the same time make the water cold enough to drink and keep myself hydrated in the heat of August.

    I was expecting to reach the border of Punjab and cross Sadiqqabad and catch a hotel in RY Khan sometime in the evening knowing full well that I would have to stop within Sindh to take rest under the shade of a tree during the afternoon, but to my surprise I kept riding without tiring and by 2:30 pm I was already at RY Khan. I wondered what I would do all day in RY Khan and rather than sleeping it off at the hotel all day I decided to keep on going and pushed further ahead and improvise on my night stay along the way.

    Although I would stop from time to time to drink plenty of water along the way I noticed now that I was not perspiring, I was not passing urine, and so I was wondering where all that water was going. I mean I had possible drank almost 3 liters of water, two full Nestle bottles which are at least a liter and a half each. But soon I came head on with my worst fears. I began to feel a light headache which got worst as I drove, I was feeling the heat radiating from the asphalt on the road below me and I felt hotter and hotter with my forehead beginning to sweat.

    I was come down with a heat stroke. I quickly started searching for any shade I could find but to my surprise, after passing RY Khan I really didn't see any tree but rather just fields and fields of vegetation. Soon I began to see trees in a distance and now I began to wish for a tree I could just drive my bike across the field and park under the tree to rest it off and cool down.

    There was a small dirt road cutting of the highway into some village in a distance but that road was enough for me to have access to the tree line and I just drove into the field of grass and parked my bike under the rich green trees. I pulled out a plastic sheet which I had carried with me for such occasions and laid it on the uneven dried mud field and then took out the plain which sheet to lay on top of the plastic sheet and then used the cushion I was carrying to sit on as a pillow and just laid down to sleep. I don?t know when I dosed off to sleep but could hear people walking in the distance on that dirt road hardly 50 feet from where I was sleeping. From time to time I would open my eyes and see the people walk by or on bikes who were locals and they would look at me but carried on without stopping.

    When I finally woke it was past 5:30 pm and I slowly got up, took out some much needed cold water and mixed it with the water from the bottle and drank a good three glasses down. I sat simply lay for another 10 mins or so and then folded the bed sheet and the plastic sheet and put them back in place.
    I got back on the road and although I could still feel the heat readiating from the road beneath me, it was nothing as before and I also knew it would cool down now that the sun was at an angle and would set in another two to three hours.

    From my map I knew I had to get off the main N5 highway and go towards Uch Sharif and then onward towards DI Khan and stop for night stay somewhere at a Hotel. When I reached Uch it was almost Maghrib time so I stopped at the most beautiful Charpai Hotel that I had ever seen. It was beautifully built with paved parking lot, a nice small mosque next to it which was glittering in marble and glass designs and kalima written all around it in colorful tiles. It was so well lit with dozens of bulbs. So I stopped for Maghrib and then decided to have dinner. As usual I asked the waiter for a nice meal and then they asked where I was coming from and where I was heading upon seeing the luggage on my bike. I told them and they were shocked, that I had driven all the far from Karachi. I asked how far Ali Pur was since that was on route, they said it would be another 2 hours so I asked if there were any hotels to stay at in Ali Pur. They one by one along with other customers who heard of my trip and where I planned on going came to me and requested I not drive further due to bad security conditions during the night as well as there are no services along the way until Ali Pur in case I got a tire puncture or other problems. They all recommended I stay the night at the charpai hotel.

    So after dinner and isha I asked where I could sleep since my bike had luggage which was difficult for me to undo and then again it took a while for me to tie it and didn't want to waste time in the morning putting it on once again. So they suggested they would set up a charpai for me in the veranda (baranda) where I could park my bike next to me and they too had armed guards who would also watch out for my luggage and bike so not to worry. And the best part was the stay overnight was absolutely FREE. So I did just that and was fast asleep by 9:30 pm and had set my mobile alarm for 4 am in order to be on the road early to beat the summer heat and not face another day of heat stroke on my way to DI Khan.

    When I woke up in the morning at 4 am I shut the alarm and went back to sleep since it was such a restful sleep with a cool breeze thinking I would just rest for another 10 mins before getting up. It was the morning azan which I woke up to at around 5: 00 AM. I quickly told the waiter to prepare nashta for me (Chai Paratha) while I go to offer namaz. After nashta at 5:30 I was about to leave but was requested to wait till the sun came out for safety and so I did just that. There are a few pics of my morning nashta in that charpai hotel at Uch.

    I filled up at their pump and by 6 AM I was on the road again passing through many rivers along the road which were so pretty seeing the reflection in the water early in the morning.

    I drove to DG Khan, and then to DI Khan where I reached at 1:30 PM and stayed with my relative Major Hasan for two days. Enjoyed his family?s hospitality and wonderful food. And on Sat Aug, 24th at 6 Am after breakfast Major Hasan arranged for his Driver and Guard to escort me for a safe passage to the city limits and they put me on the road leading to Chashma.



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  2. #2
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    Amazing
    I wish i had the time For a similar trip

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    please continue, posting & writing you have casted an spell
    - www.crackwheels.com - A skilled Dictator is much more beneficial to Country......than a Democracy of Ignorant people

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    Excellent adventure and great narration so far. This thread is going to be awesome. Following it
    Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity... ~ John Muir

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    Amazing MashaAllah nice going

    Excellent trip

    on a suzuki gs-150 wow

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    Alaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    http://www.facebook.com/abu.zaid.31508
    www.islam-qa.com

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    awesomeee trip. waiting for more pics and your experience with the bike and roads till islamabad
    people need to grow up sometimes and act MATURE !

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    Excellent write up. Waiting for more pics and narration of what happened as you travelled. Thanks to ALLAH you have returned safe and sound.
    www.facebook.com/Pakistanbeautiful

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    bold n beautiful.......more pics

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    Nice adventure. Please don't stop.

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    Written in a professional manner and it was very interesting to read it. Excellent.

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    epic....................
    LEGENDS OF THE NORTH

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    superb... the write up is excellent and pictures so far are great!!

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    Excellent adventure and great narration so far. This thread is going to be awesome.Thanks to ALLAH you have returned safe and sound.

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    Nice Narration. Good pictures. Hoping that you will update the thread day by day. Your narration had the ability that i was feeling that all the incidents which happened to you were happening with me. Awesome Thread. Thumbs Up !!!!

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    nice trip, just seems like Shoaib Akhter, who at childhood couldn't walk became a world famous fast bowler plz keep posting. by the way, i think we've met. have you ever been to saima paari mall located at Hyderi market north nazimabad for shopping?

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    When I reached Uch Sharif I had traveled exactly 780 KMS on my very first Day. Then on the second day I was heading to DI Khan which would be another 360 KMS, but I did 425 KMS because I missed a turn at Sheher Sultan which was headed to Karimdad Qureshi, and instead ended up straight into Muzaffargarh when I was supposed to bypass it on my way to DG Khan.

    Following are pics of me in Uch Sharif the very next morning since with the heat the day before it was impossible for me to stop and take pics when I was driving from Sindh into Punjab where I first had the heat stroke and then onwards to Uch Sharif.

    As I mentioned in my post above, I stopped in Uch Sharif for dinner and was advised to stay the night at the Charpai Hotel due to security reasons ahead and carry on in the morning. They said raat ko ye jaga sunsan hoti ha or road par vardaaten hoti han. So if I wanted to carry on I must "urte hue jana hoga" and I refused since I don't know the area and find it unwise to drive at a high speed in areas I am unfamiliar with and in the small towns there are many make shift speed breakers one cannot see in the dark so it was a wise decision to stay behind and rest for the night.

    I took the a few pics of the site where I stayed. I am having breakfast and I think its something like 5:20 am and then some more pics of the surroundings such as the mosque and when I filled up fuel, the guard walked me to the pump and made sure I was safe while filling fuel though there was nothing to worry about but I think he knew I was taking pics and wanted to be in the pic which I took at the pump while an attended fueled up my bike.

    I then drove towards Ali Pur and in the dark passed some wonderful rivers that fed into the agricultural lands all around, It was a beautiful site though I could not take too many pics in the dark. The rest you can enjoy as I drove to DI Khan.

    I also went over some large bridges which I think one was over the Sindh River, and then a major Dam I passed next to and then over. At one point there was a police check post where everyone had to check in with their NIC. It did say "No Photography Allowed" but after I spoke with the officers at the check post and requested that I take a pic with them they assured me there was no issue and I could just go ahead and take pics. So I took a few snaps and carried on towards the Dam. Upon crossing the bridge over the large Dam I noticed two armed officers at the other end of the bridge come to the entry of the bridge and stopped me as I crossed over. They said they were observing me from a distance taking pics and I should have read a sign where it clearly stated "No Pics" and so they have to take me in for investigation. After I said Salam and shook their hands with a big smile saying I totally understand what they are saying and did clearly see the sign on the other side of the bridge but when I was passing the Police Check Post a few miles back I asked and they allowed me to take pics and so I thought it was not such a big deal. They said that that may be the case with them however, here its strictly against the law.

    So I said that's fine and I think you are doing a great job in following the law and I will comply with them and show them the pics on my camera and see which need to be deleted so that they are sattisfied. I said that as you can see I am traveling from Karachi and have to reach DI Khan before the heat wave hits in the afternoon. Before they could object to my request I took out the camera and began looking for the pics and first showed them the pics with the officers a few miles back and then as soon as the pics of this bridge and damn appeared I said, " I will delete these one by one" and I deleted them and they were fine with that and then I asked if they also wanted me to delete the pics of the officers which I took earlier and they said, "No, that's fine". Then their mood shifted entirely and they asked if I had nashta yet, I said yes I stopped at Uch for the night and had my breakfast early. They said then I must stop for chai with them so just park my bike on the side and join them for tea. I politely refused and said its a long trip ahead so I must refuse and then went on my way.

    When I reached Muzzafargarh I realized I had gone off track quite a ways and had to find a way to get back on route to DG Khan and onwards to DI Khan. So I stopped in town to ask some police officers, they sort of got into a discussion and a disagreement between the two of them as to which was the best way while I just sat on my bike casually waiting for their final advice on direction. Finally, a third officer walked up and they all decided to send me through a small village street since although it was 50 KMS in distance I was not to turn anywhere and stay on it till it ended and then turn left on a major road. They said don't worry about the name just turn left and it will lead me straight to DG Khan.

    I ended up having a great experience through Muzzafargarh which I would describe as a city of fruit since there were only fruit stands everywhere, and I really do mean everywhere! They had more fruit stands in that town then I had seen in Karachi all in one location. I was so tempted to purchase some fruit for the road but knew full well I wouldn't have the space to carry it and more importantly, it would ruin in the next few hours in intense heat and decided to carry on without the purchase of fruit.

    I cut through some deep villages where the road was although paved but only 10 feet across for local bikes and tractors but in now way could two vehicles pass on another. I went through local villages and towns and all the way drove next to some very small rivers. In one village I passed a small village where young boys were in the water bathing with their Buffalo. I stopped to take their pics and they one by one came out of the water to see what I was doing. I didn't stay long and drove on. Upon my return to Karachi I searched many a times on Google maps to see if I could locate this road I travelled on through the small and remote villages but was unsuccessful and can only remember it when I go through Muzzaffargarh again.
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    Amazinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng
    If your wife wants to learn to drive, don't stand in her way

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    Great 2nd update The dam in your pictures is Head Panjanad where 5 rivers meet. I have been there and took unlimited pictures and no one stopped or objected.
    Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity... ~ John Muir

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    Inside Punjab across the rivers and in towns.

    I just realized that the Dam I was referring to where I was stopped was not the one on my way to DI Khan, but rather on the next leg of my journey which I started again three days later on Sat Aug 24th when I drove from DI Khan to Islamabad. I think it was somewhere after I passed Chashma which is called Chashma Barrage. That is where I was faced with some armed officers and I had to delete my pics of that bridge.

    In any case, I reached DI Khan at around 1:30 pm but had not as yet called my relative to say I was there and figured I should first arrive at a local and popular landmark where I can call him from to say here is where I am so now tell me where to go.

    When I drove into DI Khan I found that it was just a small cosmopolitan city much like all other cities but what I had anticipated to be a KPK rough type of city turned out to be a real nice little place with development and modern shops and cafes which really surprised me.

    I finally came to what seemed to be the center of town where there was a large round about and a police chowki in the smack middle of the chowk. I saw two officers standing there and so I went right to them and stopped my bike in front of them never really getting off the bike. We said our salams and shook hands. I asked them where the Army Cantt or residential area was, they said there are three and all in different directions. I then asked where was the main Cantt, they said the larger one is behind me on Circular Road and the smaller one is ahead of me on the Circular Road (name of the road). So I then asked what this location was and they said it is popularly known as "Tank Adda" Chowk and every one knows it by this name.

    So I called my relative and he was not answering, after a few attempts I realized that perhaps its zuhar time and he may have gone to the mosque to pray. So I asked the officers if there was a Tea Shop where I could sit in shade, they pointed to a street ahead and said its a few shops down on your left, so I drove on and found the tea shop. I ordered a cup of doodh patti and sat waiting, when the chai came I was about to sip it and smelled a odor which I was not comfortable with, took a small sip to taste and also felt it in the flavor and decided against drinking it. Luckily just then Maj Hasan returned my call and I told him where I was and for him to guide me. He said to just stay put, go to the police chowky and his driver would call me in a few seconds and come to get me. So I did just that and received a call from his driver, told him what I was driving and would be waiting right in front of the police officers at the chowk. I didn't drink the tea and came to the owner to pay and he refused to accept payment and asked if there was anything wrong. I guess he saw me sniffing and checking the tea. I said, no but I was waiting for an important call and as you can see (pointing at my bike with luggage) that i am traveling from Karachi and was waiting for my contact in DI Khan to come get me, he is on his way and I need to get going, he still refused to accept the payment but I shoved the Rs 20 in his hand and left. Although I didn't drink it but he still made it and should have been paid. I guess it was local water that everyone there had been used to and thus immune to the smell or taste.

    Upon my return back to the officers we stopped and talked for hardly a few minutes and a black pick-up came and stopped in front, the officers quickly recognized they were there for me and said there was my ride. The two men came out in civilian clothes and asked who I was, I told them my name and then asked whom I here to see, I said Maj Hasan then they said that I should sit in the jeep while they bring my bike. I said no, just drive and I would follow you. They sort of insisted but I said I will do the driving so just go and I will follow.

    When they got into the truck I was astonished at just how fast and furious they were driving through the city on crowded streets. Since i was on bike I could maneuver much easier and keep up with them but soon realized there must be a safety issue for the army in that city or no one would drive so frantically. I finally went through many army check posts and they sort of walked me through each check post without any difficulty. I was filthy and dirty with all the dirt and Diesel on my clothes and was hoping to go home, shower and change and then visit Hasan at his office. Much to my surprise they drove me right to his office and I was kind of embarrassed not by seeing him but more importantly that his relative is in town and if his other colleges see me like this it may have a bad impression. He was happy to see me and after a few drinks of juice and luccy I managed to get him to allow me to go home to freshen up. He said just go in the jeep and the officers will bring my bike, I reached home but when bhabi kept saying please shower, I kept asking what I will wear when I come out since my clothes are all on the bike and they are not here as yet.

    Finally, the bike arrived with my clothes and I freshened up and changed and went right back to the office with the driver. The pics you see are of the Army mess and the office of Maj Hasan.

    I stayed there for two more days and then took off early morning on Sat Aug 24th towards Islamabad at exactly 6 am. But to curfew during the night the driver and the second seater (Armed Guard) accompanied me to the city limits so I could get safe passage through the curfew on my way out of the city towards Chashma.
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