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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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    Quote Originally Posted by farooq05 View Post
    i dont exactly know where someone get these safety gears in Karachi but i did see some old ad on olx.. i hope there are members who knows the availability and will help! keep posting the pictures...
    Yes, I think this would be a good medium in communicating to others where such safety gear could be purchased as I also think it would be quite useful for a long drive. Actually, they would come in useful on a common daily commute as well but I wonder how practical that would be on a daily commute.

    In any case, if you or any other member on PW knows where to get such elbow and knee pads I would appreciate it if they could let us know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farooq05 View Post
    i dont exactly know where someone get these safety gears in Karachi but i did see some old ad on olx.. i hope there are members who knows the availability and will help! keep posting the pictures...
    Yes, I think this would be a good medium in communicating to others where such safety gear could be purchased as I also think it would be quite useful for a long drive. Actually, they would come in useful on a common daily commute as well but I wonder how practical that would be on a daily commute.

    In any case, if you or any other member on PW knows where to get such elbow and knee pads I would appreciate it if they could let us know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulaiman75 View Post
    Yes, I think this would be a good medium in communicating to others where such safety gear could be purchased as I also think it would be quite useful for a long drive. Actually, they would come in useful on a common daily commute as well but I wonder how practical that would be on a daily commute.

    In any case, if you or any other member on PW knows where to get such elbow and knee pads I would appreciate it if they could let us know.
    i really dont have any idea how they are worn and how a person would look like in his daily routine but i think there may be different types to suite your requirement the best... this forum is so helpful so wait and someone with experience will surely come and guide! thnx.

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    very nice tour and nicely narrated sir jee.very much inspirational for the lazy's like me.i salute ur courage and devotion..

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    Nice and wonderful coverage of tour, absolutely adventurous, beautiful photography and
    Brilliantly narrated.
    With best wishes,
    Zia

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    Quote Originally Posted by moons View Post
    very nice tour and nicely narrated sir jee.very much inspirational for the lazy's like me.i salute ur courage and devotion..
    I always say ... "Don't Think about it .... Just Do It !!!" I think you need to get into making a decision at the spur of the moment and just get up and go somewhere for three to four days. Its good to be lazy sometimes but its also good to be spontaneous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zia1967 View Post
    Nice and wonderful coverage of tour, absolutely adventurous, beautiful photography and
    Brilliantly narrated.
    With best wishes,
    Zia
    Thanks for your Comments Zia, I can't wait to take another trip like this again but currently its very winter season up North so I will have to wait till spring or summer to consider another such a tour. Not to mention that being in Karachi we are so darn far from all the best Parts of the North that it takes a heck of a long vacation time as well as a budget just to get to Islamabad from where the journey and experience really begins. Although i loved the experience of driving throughout Pakistan as a whole but for some reason I have a special place in my heart for the beauty and splendor of lush green high mountains as well as snow capped mountains which you can't really drive on but the view are spectacular nevertheless.

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    Default Driving to Mansehra, Kiwi, Shugran

    I took a few snaps on my way to Mansehra.

    I enjoyed the waterfall that rather than having a tunnel underneath the road where the water can flow through, the water instead flowed on top of the road and across to the other side into the valley below.

    That I think was a unique experience not only for me, but for anyone who crosses this route as I am sure people must always stop and get their feet wet while enjoying a good bit of photography. Its quite a unique experience, specially for those coming from Karachi or even other parts of Pakistan where nothing like this exists.

    After a few pics of this location I carried on with my drive to Mansehra. And YES, I also got my feet wet (who wouldn't)?

    Once I entered Mansehra it was an interesting view since what I had been used to is pretty much a city (Karachi) which is on flat land whereas this town/city Mansehra was on a mountainous region and quite a site. I took a few pics of the market and road and continued onward. After crossing a bridge there was a winding road heading up the mountain which was an interesting ride for me because for a biker winding roads and hills are exciting.

    I wasn't sure if I should take a pic of the road elevation ahead of me or to wait till I go up the mountain and take a pic of the view below. I settled for the latter and then took a pic of the view below. Unfortunately for me though, with my limitations of my simple and automatic digital camera I was not able to capture the true essence of the beautiful surroundings and the entire winding road below since I would have required a zoom with a larger wide angle lens. But this view was sufficient.
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    Default Mansehra to Shugran

    I drove on to Shugran but could not resist stopping at every turn in order to capture the views in my camera. I think the pics in now way can express the true beauty and marvel of this area. Naturally, this slowed me down because for the first time I even made some U-Turns in order to get to the spot to get the 'best shot' of the mountain range and valley. There were winding roads going up the mountain, even roads could be seen in the distance where I had come from or where I had yet to travel on.

    One has to see it first hand and feel the clean cool breeze run through their hair (for those who still have some hair...) and to smell the freshness of the air. But in any case, for those of you who have never been to these areas I strongly recommend that you find the Will and a Way as well as make the time to take such a trip whether with a group, your family, or just by yourself as I have done. This is a must ... even if you have to hitch hike, or crawl there for that matter, but JUST DO IT !!!
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    Default Reaching Kiwai - Waterfall Cafe

    As I reached a place called Kiwai, it had a small bridge under which water flowed that ran down from a mountain in the valley behind. What locals have done is to build a restaurant, I think a combination of few restaurants in the valley to use the flowing water from a waterfall in the valley and place their chairs and tables with Umbrellas as well as Charpais so that patrons can sit and enjoy their food/Tea with their feet soaked in the freezing cold water flowing beneath them. The water flow is not at all deep, perhaps 6 to 10 inches, or around your ankle but its a pleasant experience.

    When I arrived at this location I stopped near the few shops that are at the base of this waterfall and found there were a few cars parked and I noticed a few bikes with boys having backpacks indicating they were also travelers who had stopped for a snack or some photography. I also decided to park my bike in that area where bikes were parked. We made eye contact, well all of them (about 7) plus a few others made eye contact and as I was parking my bike and dismounting they were pretty much mounting their bikes and starting them one by one. I was the first to go and say Salam and they responded accordingly with a smile and asked if I was alone.

    I said yes, and they were a bit surprised. I asked where they were from and they said they were returning from Naran and heading back to Lahore but really going to Pindi and will book their bikes by train instead. I was actually having a conversation with only two of them but soon one by one the others also crowded around to get into or at least hear our conversation.

    We briefly shared our experiences, they about Naran and I about the drive from Karachi to this location. They were at first reluctant to accept my story of driving alone, and that all the way from Karachi. So they asked specific Questions about my night stays, which areas I went through along the way and after I told them the names of the areas, they being from Punjab know them well and finally agreed that indeed I had traveled by bike through all these areas and drove from Karachi all the way.

    They wanted to take pictures with me and they one by one came to shake hands with me and took pics from their camera and then I also took out my camera and requested them to take our pics. They were a group of 7 on 5 Bikes from Lahore.

    After they left, I walked into the Waterfall Cafe (that was the name written there) and sat down for a simple chai and enjoyed the feeling and the surroundings. As you can see from the pics below it was pretty much empty and I was the only one there. I asked the waiter what the reason for the lack of people and he said that the lunch time is over a while back and evening is soon approaching so people may come in the next hour or two after which it will be dark and no one is here at that time.

    I had my tea and moved on towards Shugran which is a small hill top resort just adjacent to this Waterfall Cafe. Actually, a road cuts off from the main highway onto a mountain which I think Shugran is about 4 to 6 kms up the mountain. I am sure someone reading this who knows will correct me on this. But I decided to take a quick trip up the mountain to see Shugran and take some pics while I was up there.
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    I like your pillow and the way you have mounted the map on the fuel tank...
    -

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    Default Driving Up the Mountain to Shugran

    After leaving the Waterfall Cafe I took the road up the mountain towards Shugran. It was a steep ascent in some spots but generally a nice drive. If you look at the fist pic it you can see to your left the road where I had come from and to the right is the road I would have to further travel on to get to Naran once I come back this mountain from Shugran.

    From the pics its really difficult to illustrate just how steep this road really was in some areas, partly because there was no where to safely park the bike at that elevation or angle so that I could take some pics. But you do get the idea I am sure.

    As I drove further and further higher up the mountain I began to see more and more deep green pines all the while feeling the temperature go down sharply due to the sudden ascent.

    Upon reaching the top I came across a Hotel called 'Pine View' or 'Pine Valley' ( I am forgetting now ). It was a flat plateau with lush green garden and colourful flowers. I could not resist but to take pics of this beautiful site and also asked local passer by's to take a pic or two of me. Now there was a further track much higher up the mountain from this location which was accessible only by jeeps which are most beautiful locations well known for picturesque valleys and hills called 'Siri Paya'. But I was pressed for time and had to carry on towards Naran so could not avail the opportunity to hire a jeep and go up there as it would have taken another two hours or more to just go up there, look around and then come back down.

    When I returned to my bike I noticed four men circling my bike and looking at the license plate in amazement. I went to them and said my Salams. They asked if I was from Karachi, and I responded with an affirmative.

    The one in the black coat was also from Karachi and it turns out that his home is hardly 500 feet from where I live in Karachi, but he is currently working in Dubai and had been visiting Pakistan for a week holidays. He said his cousin (the tall man in the grey Kurta lives in Mansehra and had insisted he come to visit him. He said he flew from Karachi to Islamabad and they are now driving him around these wonderful areas and will return to Mansehra for the night.

    We all had a wonderful discussion and incidentally, the man from Dubai (in black coat) works in media industry and wanted to interview me but had no professional camera gear so he used his i-phone to do a brief interview and asked how my journey was and so on and all of a sudden in a matter of one minute his camera battery died. He had forgotten his car charger and had no way of charging the camera again. So we settled for the pics they took of me with the other two cameras they had and I also requested they take a few with my camera, and so these were the only two I was able to get.

    I was invited by the tall person in grey Kurta to stop over in Mansehra on my way back and stay there for a night with them, he gave me his number on his business card which although I put away in a safe place but after my long and eventful journey ahead I think I misplaced it. So I had no way of contacting him on my way back, not that I had the time but its always good to meet and keep in contact with people you meet on your journey.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hsumbal1 View Post
    I like your pillow and the way you have mounted the map on the fuel tank...
    Well I was just trying to make my journey comfortable and have a good direction of where I was headed and the surrounding areas. That map also provided the distances from one town/city to the next and it was specifically designed for the Northern Areas so I found it quite useful. Its really a large map and very detailed so I had it folded in a way that I would change the direction and the fold to suit the location I was in and kept changing it as needed. Very handy I think.

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    Default Shugran to Naran

    Heading down the mountain was a lot easier than when I went up but the view was still spectacular. Although I wanted to stop for some pics the angle of descent did not allow for me to stop the bike safely without it rolling forward so I decided against the idea of stopping for pics except for the very first two pics you see below.

    That I had to capture because you can see below on the right the road that I came on from Mansehra and the first little turn has a bit of traffic which is the Waterfall Cafe where I stopped earlier for Tea. And once you come around that road which is camouflaged by the tree line, you can see on the left the road that continues with some shops in that area.

    The road I am on will descend right at the tip of those shops where there is a pinkish/purple roofed hut, where I will make a U-Turn to the right and take the road below me to carry on towards Naran.
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    Thumbs up Awesome trip!

    You thread is un-put-downable! I am really enjoy the pics and your excellent and detailed narrative! Awesome work! It takes guts and strength to do what you have done. Waiting for more pics!
    :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mehran View Post
    You thread is un-put-downable! I am really enjoy the pics and your excellent and detailed narrative! Awesome work! It takes guts and strength to do what you have done. Waiting for more pics!
    Thanks for your comments and your kind words. I still have a bit of a trip, rather an Adventure to write about ahead of me. So I will try to post the pics and details as quickly I possibly can.

    The fact that I began my journey some two years back when I discovered PakWheel.com and learned everything I know about traveling in Pakistan and eventually was inspired to purchase a bike, learn to drive it, and then take this trip I am currently narrating leads me to believe that there must be hundreds or even thousands of people also reading postings such as these who have never ventured outside their home town or city.

    It is for those people I am writing and expressing my experience and shear gratitude of what transpired during my very first bike journey across Pakistan, and that all alone and by myself. This is to empower, encourage and motivate others to at least make an attempt to do something similar because although I can write about my experience, I can in now way express the emotions and experiences they will encounter when they themselves take such trips.

    Hope you keep enjoying the rest of my journey.

    Sulaiman

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    Default Trying to Reach Naran in the DARK

    As I began the last part of my drive for the day towards Naran, I took one quick stop for a photograph but two boys walking up to me said their Salams and inquired as to where I was coming from. They were local residents walking on the road.

    So we got talking and when I finally told them where I was headed, the elder of the two boys said its getting dark now so why not stay for the night in Shugran and then carry on in the morning. I explained to them that Naran is only a little while longer so I will try to make it there as it was only 6:30 pm at that time. He said it will get dark very fast here and it might be difficult to drive in the dark.

    I said, from what I heard its expensive in Shugran and I am hoping to get a Hotel in Naran at approximately Rs 300. He said I could also get a room in Shugran for the same price. I asked how that could be possible? To this day I cannot forget his name; Zeshan. He said that if I just drive up to the hotel .... Oh I am forgetting the name now in Shugran, well just go there and say that Zeshan sent you and they will agree to your rate of Rs 300 because he works there but he is current off duty.

    I gave the idea some thought, even considered that I would have the opportunity to visit Siri Paya in the morning and then carry on towards Naran in the afternoon. However, I figured that I really wanted to get to Naran and spend time there. So I thanked Zeshan for the offer and said I would take him up on his offer on my way back and then spend the night there.

    By the time we finished our conversation I noticed it was getting dark and although I could have taken a picture I needed get my but back on the road and boot it down to Naran as soon as possible so as not to get caught in the pitch darkness of the mountains.

    Well, that was not going to happen. The winding roads, the beautiful waterfalls running across the road, and there were many. This slowed me down so much so that a distance of maybe 36 kms ended up taking me nearly 2 hours to cover. I turned on the HID which I had installed for such occasions and it worked perfectly.

    I reached Naran at exactly 8:30 pm and drove all over the main road looking through Hotel Names to find Punjab Hotel which the guy who I thought was going to steel my bike told me about. I passed a hotel called Naran Punjab Hotel and I thought perhaps its another hotel and I should be looking for Punjab Hotel, so I kept driving till the end of the market and then realized that the Naran Punjab Hotel was indeed the same hotel I was searching for so I turned back around and went to that hotel.

    At first I asked one of the five or six boys that worked there the rate for the night, he asked how many and I responded with just one (me). He said Rs 1,000 for the night. I tried bargaining and explained to him that there are plenty of hotels here and I can go anywhere. He then came down to Rs 500. I finally said that I will not pay a penny over Rs 300.

    He said then I can just go to another hotel because they cannot give me a room for that rate. I said then please call .... obviously I forgot that boys name whom I met on my way. He asked where did I meet him, I said they were heading towards Abbottabad and I was coming here and he specifically told me to come here and said I will get the room for Rs 300 and if not then have you call him.

    The boy didn't argue and said that if he gave you that rate then you can have the room for Rs 300. And that was that.

    I first went to see the room, I saw one room, then the second and then the third and decided on the first he showed me. It was not what I had expected but for rate of 300 I guess I should not have been so picky.

    Not knowing whether they had ever washed the bed sheets or pillow covers I was all prepared and pulled out my Sleeping Bag and Bed sheet I had brought along and placed that on the bed to sleep on. Below is the pic of that room which although is not very presentable but served the basic purpose for the price I got it for.

    Anyways, I unloaded all my luggage from the bike and brought it up in two trips. It was tough to carry since I had some in my arms, some in my hand and even some under my armpits but oooh boy, it was a tough climb up two sets of stairs since I was on the second floor overlooking the market on the road.
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    Default Hunting for Dinner

    After unloading all my luggage and settling into my room, I freshened up and then decided to go in search of Dinner.

    I began walking from one end of the street to the other end since Naran has a simple marketplace on one single street which consists of restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels. After walking the street I realized how dead it was with hardly anyone on the street. There were a few people walking the street, mainly honeymooners which I noticed were usually accompanied by a large number of family members and the honeymooners were easy to pick out because the girl would be decked out in shiny clothes with shiny sandals and lots of mehndi on their hands walking with their husband while a large group of relatives followed and the relatives were very plainly dressed.

    I don't mean to show that I was staring at the lady but it was strikingly obvious with just one glance as to the type of tourists that were walking on the street. I suppose it was also a Monday night and most people would have visited Naran on the weekend and so that was part of the reason there were not too many people there.

    I noticed a coach had just arrived in front of me and after the people came out of the coach they walked into a hotel while some of the men helped unload their luggage from the top of the coach. It seemed like one big family had just arrived in that coach.

    After having walked the entirety of the market I had settled for the restaurant called 'Unique Cafe Naran'. You can see that in one of the pics below.
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    People arriving at night and checking into a hotel
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    sir ur solo tour has become my second fav thread my first fav is @ranasherdil solo flight worth seeing
    https://www.pakwheels.com/forums/roa...p-safari-natco
    once again thumbs up for you sir................

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