3400+ Motobike tour from Lahore to Northern Pakistan (I and my Wife)
Asalamoalaikum to All,
I and my wife has completed 3400+ kilometers on Motorbike to the northern areas of Pakistan from 15th August to 01 September. Find below the detail, experience, information and expenses of whole tour. I hope you like it.
(Language is English and Roman Urdu mixed).
Relevant references, names and addresses are at the end.
This is the link for the photos. Posting pictures here seems a difficult task for me and if its more than 350 pictures..... so decided to upload on flickr with public access. You do not need to sign in to see the pictures but need to sign in for comments :-)
Route plan of the tour:
1. Lahore to Gujranwala
2. Gujranwala to Rawalpindi
3. Rawalpindi to Dir
4. Dir to Kalash
5. Kalash to Shandur
6. Shandur to Gilgit
7. Gilgit to Sust
8. Sust to Khunjerab top and back to Sust
9. Sust to Gilgit
10. Gilgit to Astore (including Rama Lake)
11. Astore to Deosai
12. Deosai to Skardu
13. Skardu to Shigar Fort and Shangrila
14. Skardu to Chillas
15. Chillas to Balakot
16. Balakot to Gujranwala
17. Gujranwala to Lahore
Friday 15th of August (Day1) Lahore to Gujranwala
The plan was to go office and came back after Jumma prayer and then head to gujranwala but motorbike ka thora sa kaam kervana tha jis k liya pehlay days main time nhi mila tha. So went to mechanic but time zyada lag gaya and got free at 3pm. Ignition swith ma keys k thora sa hilnay say fuel gage or ignition lite off ho jati thi so took motorbike to electrician and get fuel gage electric connection direct (not through ignition switch). Then got Director's call from office that don't go and delay your tour for first week of september. Everything was ready and i felt like uuuuuggggg.. Went home and got confused with mind decisions, asked my wife to bring a coin, "head aya to chalain *** verna september ma", coin uchala or aya head..... :-) fatafat tayyari pakri, sara bag tayyar kiya or shaam ko maghrib ki namaz k baad nikal gaye Gujranwala.
Saturday 16th of August (Day 2) Gujranwala to Rawalpindi
The plan was to wake up early and reach Faizabad at around 2pm and phir Shakarpariyan, Pakistan Monument, Museum and Faisal Masjid ghumain *** but when we woke up, it was raining so sleep again and woke up at 11 or 12 o clock and started getting ready to depart. Departed to Rawalpindi at 1pm and reached at 5.30pm. Got room in Travel Lodge Hotel, Faizabad and again rain started. We took our rain coats and went to pakistan monuments but when we reached there it was closed (i think due to dharnaas of PTI and PAT). We make a mistake by not making U turn to back and got stuck in PTI Dharna area. Moved slowely slowely and after 1 hour we reached at the exit to the Blue Area and then headed to Faisal Masjid. Took some pictures and came back to Savour Restaurant. After dinner went back and on the way back i felt some strange thing in motorbike handle. It was like front wheel bearing issue but checked it and it was perfect (no play in wheel). I ignored it and went back to hotel and slept early due to next day long run.
Sunday 17th of August (Day 3) Rawalpindi to Dir
We woke up at 4.45am and departed at 5.30am. Touched Peshawar road and stopped for a glass of milkshake. Started to Dir again and after half an hour i felt again same bearing issue. While running at 70 to 80kmph, it was not feeling but when i push break to slow down any where, it felt like handle is going to opposite side of wheel. I decided to got it checked at Mardan because of a big city. While running I forgot to see the board to turn to Mardan. We took Peshawar road for about 20km ahead and I was wondering there is no board for Mardan so i stopped and asked a person and he said you are ahead. Go back and turn left for mardan. So like this time wasted for almost 40 minutes. We reached at Mardan and did our breakfast first and then started searching Honda Mechanic. Found a Honda Centre and got motorbike checked. It was handle bearing issue where handle fixed with chassis. Mechanic took 1 hour and fixed it very efficiently. We thank God that this issue arises in the beginning. Anyway we both wanted to buy a pair of leather shoes because we could not bought it from lahore. We checked almost all shops in Mardan but could not found any good shoes specially for female. We moved on to our destination and reached Dir at 60pm. Got a room and took some rest then after evening went out for some dinner. Me ordered Kabli Pulao and my wife ordered Bhindi (Pakhtoon likes bhindi, chana and maash ki daal very much). After dinner came back and slept.
Monday 18th of August (Day 4) Dir to Kalash
Woke up at around 7:30am. I went to petrol pump to get tank full and got my one shoe repaired. Bought a pair of gloves for wife because of skin sun burning. Took breakfast and started our journey at 8:30 or 90am. Bad road started after a few kilometers till Lawari down then got good road till Ayun. Left Chitral road to down to Ayun and kept going till Kalash. Very bad road and pretty high weavy road because of old road goes flooded. I had a picture of mine 15 years old which i took at the gate of Kalash hotel and was looking to search this hotel again. 15 years ago there were just 3 hotels and now there were almost 20 hotels. I thought that hotel has finished suddenly an FC guys stopped us and asked for identification. I asked him for that hotel and showed him my picture. He smiled and said this is my Father in Law's hotel, its just 5 minute more drive. We went ahead and found hotel. It was a happy moment for me to stay in the same hotel and same room in which i stay 15 years ago. Anyway took rest and a cup of Kehva. Saw stares at night while sitting in lawn and slept.
Tuesday 19th of August (Day 5) Stay at Kalash
Next morning woke up and i changed engine oil then got fresh and took breakfast and went to visit kalash places. Saw grave yeard, last check post, trout fish farm, chashma and kalashi handycraft shop.
Wednesday 20th of August (Day 6) Kalash to Shandur
Next morning at around 7am we started our journey to shandur. Got good road from ayun to Boni and then very bad road till shandur down. 2 oclock reached at Mastuj, took lunch and headed to shandur. sliped on the way to shandur due to a dog but we were very slow like 7 to 8 km/h speed due to very bad road and height. I got a big scratch on my knee but Alhamdullillah my wife was fine. So headed to shandur again. It was 7pm and we were still 1.5km back from shandur. It was almost dark and a truck came from back. He crossed us and stopped a few steps ahead. Sher Zaman Khan was the driver. He said come drive in front of my truck light till shandur because "Tum bacha k sath hai". I asked him one more favour to keep our bag in his truck and asked my wife to sit on the empty back side of truck so i could drive a bit fast. So she sat there and we headed to shandur. 7.30pm we reached at shandur. FC guys got confused to find a female on the back of the truck then i showed them identification and told them all story. Went to hotel kitchen and took tea and some night photos. An FC guys bandage on my knee and then we slept.
Thrusday 21st of August (Day7) Shandur to Gilgit
Woke up early in the morning to get some sun rising shots and also we had to go to gilgit thats why walk around the shandur area to see lake and scenes. got some beautiful pictures enjoyed cool weather, fresh sun shine. Took tea and headed to gilgit at around 7:30am. At first checkpost after shandur they gave us the water from "Karva Chashma" and taste was like coke. After a few miles of that area a blue see joined us along with the road all the way till gilgit. I recommend to Motorbikers to travel on that route. Its very good to drive on that. Very good scenes, very beautiful transformations of blue river, beautiful village views and road is also good like you can drive on 80 to 90km/h speed easily. With some stay points reached at gilgit at around 5pm. Got room and rest and then dinner. We both felt like temprature and decided to stay tomorrow in gilgit. Took panadols and slept.
Friday 22nd of August (Day 8) Gilgit to Sost
Woke up and decided to go continue as our plan is. Did our breakfast as we touched KKH from gilgit. Enjoyed fresh Injeer given by restaurant Owner. Headed to sost. On the way saw sacred rocks, rakaposhi view point. Crossed Ataabad lake with a difficulties due to problem in ferry's one ingine and flow of water against us. It tool 2 hours to cross to sost side. Crossed lake and then a few kilometer ahead to deep chashmas on the road. crossed and got wet legs with freezing water. Headed to sost and found motobike problem. It was not running more than 50km/h. I thought of power plug issue, changed it but no result. So i decided to go to sost and get clutch plates change immediately. reached sost left bags at hotel and went to mechanic asked to change the clutch plates but there was no spare parts for Honda 100. :-(. came back to hotel.
Saturday 23rd of August (Day 9) Sost to Khunjerab Top
Next morning without breakfast headed to Khunjerab Top. The plan was to return from khunjerab top and pick bag from hotel and will left for gilgit buuutttttt..... motorbike was almost like walking on the steep roads. Just 4 to 8km/h and we reached in 4 hours. but the place was awesome... the panoramic view of the land there was beautiful. So enjoyed there and came back at around 2pm and decided to stay in sost one more night and will go back to gilgit early morning next day.
Sunday 24th of August (Day 10) Sost to Gilgit
Headed to gilgit at about 6.30am. this time ferry took just 1 hour to cross ataabad lake bcz of water flow on the same side. did our breakfast at Ali Abad. Then reached at gilgit around 3pm. Left bags at hotel and searched a honda centre and get clutch plates changed. They had not honda 100 clutch plates but used honda 125 clutch plates. I tested the speed it was fine now. Then came back to hotel and did dinner and watch TV and then slept.
Monday 25th of August (Day 11) Gilgit to Astore
Wokeup and left gilgit around 8am. reached jaglot and did our breakfast and then headed to astore. When turned to left for astore from KKH, a narrow road started and after good road a broken road goes with us till astore. On the way to astore saw waterfall and spend 30 minutes there and then headed to astore. Reached as astore around 1am. Did some rest at hotel and get our lunch packed and headed to Rama lake. Rama lake gave us a hard time due to steepness. 12 km till PTDC hotel but still there was no lake. I asked a person where is lake, He said its 20 minutes more drive and from that point there was no road and more steep road started. So we did our lunch there. Our motorbike refused to take us up so we decided to left motobike there and walk on food. After walking around 700 meters, a suzuki potohar came and offered us to sit bcz they were just 2 guys and their fellows were walking to the lake through a shortcut way. After a huge effort when we saw the lake, we all for some moment disappointed because that lake does not have an attractive shape but snowy mountains on the back were awesome. Anyway enjoyed some time there and those guys stay there for their fellows and we return back. After 500meter waking they again came back and took us till our motorbike bcz their fellows were again walking back on foot. We took our motorbike and came back to astore. did our dinner and slept.
Tuesday 26th of August (Day 12) Astore to Deosai
Started our journey at 80am after breakfast. Weather was rainy, not heavy but light rain on different spots so we wore our raincoats and started our journey. Reached at Chillum, stoped for a cup of tea and rest. Headed to Deosai. A few kilometers the road was good and after that bad road. On one or two parts of the road motorbike refused to climb with us on it. so my wife walked a bit and i took big bag on my shoulders and ran with motorbike for a plain part of track. Reached at Sheosar lake. It was an amazing moment and breathtaking view of a broad view of Deosai Plans. There was a hotel (Tents Hotel) at sheosar lake. we decided to stay night at Deosai. did some rest and walk around the lake. did photography. Asked Hotel manager to cook Daal Chaawal for us but Daal sahi say paki hi nhi. kachi kachi hi khani pari. Any way enjoyed a beautiful weather there and it was so cold there. Evening time started and we went into our tent for some rest. Razai lainay ki dair thi k neend aani shuru ho gai or pta hi nhi chala k kab so gaye. A bear was walking around our tants, finding any food at 9 pm. Hotel manager nay bhagaya us ko to raat ko 12 bajay phir aa gaya n phir 2 bajay aa gaya but us k baad nhi aya.
Wednesday 27th of August (Day 13) Deosai to Skardu
Woke up at 6.30am. it was very beautiful weather. took a cup of tea and decided to move on. More bad road started after sheosar lake but we kept move on. On a point i changed plug again. the way till bara pani was kind of scary bcz of no one around. After chota pani bridge confused tracks started. I got confused on some point "where should i actually go". but at the end i noticed all tracks end up on a same point. small diversions were actually short cuts. Anyway reached at Bara pani checkpost. did some rest there and then headed to skardu. After bara pani track was a bit better. After a few miles and bad down track to skardu, we reached sadpara lake. The road is good a few kilometers before sadpara lake. Sadpara lake is actually now sadpara dam. Rest there for a while and headed to skardu.
Thursday 28th of August (Day 14) Shigar Fort & Shangrila
Next day woke up on a normal time. did breakfast and headed to Shigar Fort at 90am. On the way spent time at shigar desert just after shigar bridge. Visited shigar fort. Its a nice place but just to visit not to stay bcz of very high night rates (min. 15000pkr n max. 25000pkr per night). After spending time there we headed back to skardu at 12.30am. Came back to hotel stay for a while and headed to shangrila. Shangrila is a very nice place to visit. One can spend a lot of time there by walking around in the garden and watching beautiful scenes. did our lunch at shangrila with trout. saw shangrila zoo and at 5pm. we headed back to skardu. Watched TV and slept on time bcz of next day long ride.
Friday 29th of August (Day 15) Skardu to Chillas
Next morning at 70am we headed to chillas. I must say government should re construct skardu road bcz one can not keep even average speed on that road for 1 minut, just break n again break n again break. Anyway morning weather was very nice n light rainy and clouds were below the mountains. We touched KKH at around 1pm. Petrol was short on many petrol pumps. I had enough petrol to read chillas but for the safe side i was checking. took some snackes and rest on a place at KKH. Then headed to chillas and reached chillas at 4:30pm.
Saturday 30th of August (Day 16) Chillas to Balakot via Babusar Top
Next morning without breakfast headed to Babusar at 7am. very steep road. It took us 5 hours to reach top bcz of slow speed with 1st gear of motorbike. At top enjoyed on a small glacier with snow balls and took a cup of tea with pakoras and boiled eggs. weather was very good at the top and soon expected rain. we rest there for a while did some photography and headed to naran. Babusar down track is under construction. As we started our motorbike, its raining and we wore our raincoats and it was ice with rain now. We enjoyed that icy rain for a while and went to our way to naran. after a few miles got Lulusar Lake. A very big lake. stoped for a while there and went again. After Lulusar lake the road is good. Reached naran at 1pm. did our lunch there and after naran market thought to stop at riverside and what we saw. Ganda pani just beside river or Kuray Karkat ka dhair... OMG! Naran to bohot khubsurat jaga thi but this.... very sad... Then we headed to balakot and reached balakot at 6pm. Stayed at my frieds home and did chit chat.
Sunday 31st of August (Day 17) Balakot to Gujranwala
Woke up early, Islamabad condition was also not good due to police fight with protesters. My friend's father was saying, "don't go, Haalaat theek nhi hain. Pindi ko seal kiya hua hai unhon nay". but ma nay kahan sun'ni thi bcz mujhay 2nd September ko office jana tha. We excused them and headed back to gujranwala. did our breakfast at Abbotabad. then stoped some places just to stay for a while and did 15 minut stay at Wah cantt bus stop. Then crosed pindi. There were container blockage on 2 points but they were leting go to those who are going out of pindi. Petrol was again short due to road blockage. Any way after a few miles from pindi we stoped on a petrol pump for stay and prayer so got petrol from there and did some time rest also. Then headed to gujranwala again and then we ran for long distances because it was hot and we decided not to stay many places and try to reach at gujranwala home ASAP. so we reached at gujranwala at 4:30pm. Thank God. This was the moment for actual rest.
Monday 1st of September (Day 18) Gujranwala to Lahore
Next day we went to my sis home at gujranwala and it was raining heavily. Barish kehti thi k main to nhi ruknay vali. so We wore our rain coats and headed to lahore. All the way it was raining and we reached at lahore after 1 n half hour and it was water water every where.
That was the end of our longest, adventurous and awesome tour. We can never forget it. I hope you all like it. I am open to all questions.
1. Always take new motorbike or got replaced handle bearing+wheel bearing+tyres n tubes+chain gear set+clutch plates+front and back break shoe+chain gear drum rubbers for such a long tour bcz of bad road conditions. Use every spare part Genuine.
2. Try to get your petrol tank full whereever you get chance because no one knows what situation is next for you. Specially from Ali Abad, Hunza if you are heading to Sost bcz after Ataabad lake condition is very worst for petrol. Also keep your motobikes in hotel management custody bcz i have told that petrol chori bhi ker laitay hain sost ma bikes ma say (not sure but just in case).
3. Always keep extra power plugs+extra tube+extra clutch and race cable+extra chain lock+a thread cone+2 to 3 yard long thin flexible wire piece+Sticking tape+extra back light n head light bulb+all puncture tools and mobiloil in a small bottle in case of any need.
4. Bad road info: (from Dir till Lawari down bad road) (After Ayun till Kalash bad road) (After Boni till Shandur Down bad road) (from KKH to Chillum average road condition) (from PTDC hotel, Rama till Rama lake no road and steep) (10km after chillum no road till deosai down to sadpara lake) (Skardu to KKH not too good road) (from babusar top point till lulusar lake bad road)
5. If you stay night at deosai camp, never ever leave any food in your camp upon evening. Through it far from your camp because bear's smelling sense is very strong and they visit those places at night to get food. Try to keep matchbox and a stick which could get fire immediately bcz bear runs from fire.
6. If you visit fish farm at kalash. Dont try to dip your fingure or foot in the farm because all fish attack at onces thinking of a food coming in water bcz every visiter through food for fish. So fish are use to it now.
7. Never try to take any picture for females in kalash either muslims or kalashi but with their permission because some time they refuse badly and situation can be worst.
8. Always keep raincoats and big shoping bags to cover your bags.
9. Always wear helmet and use left and right back mirrors on Motorbike.
10. Always keep, Penadol, Brufin, Disprin, Suniplast, a bandage rool, vesline, small scissor, pen, some papers, neddle and thread.
11. Must must must keep your ID cards with you bcz after almost every 30 kilometers you will get checkpost and they will enter your identification information.
12. Always keep a half leter water bottle with you. on some places you can not find water but might be you really need it on that place.
13. On most of the places cell phone service not available so its important for you to inform your location and status at your home when you get mobile phone service in any main city.
14. Always plan your tour before going and plan day time traveling specially in none populated areas.
15. Never try to keep engine off while coming down from high side to down to save petrol. Without engine power you are on a free ride and it can be very very dangerous.
What I could understand from your plan, you want to touch each area in limited days. In that case my preference does not work here which is ?WE SHOULD HAVE TIME FOR THE DESTINATIONS WHERE WE REACH AFTER A LOT OF TRAVELING?.
I would say, if you are cutting down the days you should cut down some destinations as well. You have to understand that when you gain height, your bike slows down and at some points, it literally cry climbing. In that situation you can not do anything, you have to give time to yourself and your bike to get relax.
1. Astore to chillam (52.6km ? Not less than 2 hours)
2. Chillam to sheosar (15.7km - Not less than 2 hours)
3. Sheosar to sakardu (67km ? Not less than 5 hours)
4. Naran to babusar top (65km - Not less than 3 hours)
5. Babusar to chillas 47km (Almost 1.5 hours)
Day 1. Islamabad to naran/jalkhad (Achievable. You can stay at Naran or Batakundi. Accroding to my information there is no hotel at Jalkhad)
Day 2. Naran/jalkhad to gulmit (Nothing is impossible if you have courage to ride in any conditions. Reaching Sost is achievable if you have no issues riding without day light because I think you?ll get evening on the way to Hunza and Sost is about 90km after Hunza.)
Day 3. Visit Khanjerab pass, hussaini bridge and stay at gulmit (As I said, nothing is impossible if you have courage?. You will be able to reach till Ataabad lake or Ali Abad in the day light if you start your day from Sost ?NOT FROM HUNZA OR GULMIT?. Then till Gilgit in dark)
Day 4. Gulmit to chillam (Achievable in daylight if you start your riding early in the morning and have breakfast at Gilgit and If you stay previous night at gilgit then you can easily reach chillam. But check with someone if there is a hotel for night stay at Chillam. I have no idea about it.)
Day 5 Chillam to sakardu (Till skardu you can reach in day light but It all depends on the weather condition in Deosai. If you could save daylight then visit shighar otherwise without daylight its useless to go shigar.)
Day 6 Sakardu to shangrilla, upper kachura and try to reach chillas if not then stay at juglot (Visiting Shangrila and Upper Kachura lake can take you 2 hours minimum and reaching from Skardu to KKH takes around 6 hours due to road conditions. And then it takes around 3 hours to reach chillas. I think there is no hotel for night stay at Jaglot but do confirm it from some one else.)
Day 7 Wapsi (From chillas till Islamabad, you can not reach in daylight as well because from chillas it will take around 5 hours to reach till babusar top. I think you will get evening near around Mansehra.)
Your alternative plan is more or less same as previous. You said you have to reach back on 8th day but your first plan contains 7 days. Why like that?
What I could suggest you is written below:
Day 1: Islamabad to Batakhundi (Start traveling early morning)
Day 2: Batakhundi to Astore (Start traveling early morning)
Day 3: Astore to Skardu (Start traveling early morning)
Day 4: Skardu to Gilgit (Visit Shigar in early morning, come back, take breakfast and start travel. Visit Shangrila and Upper kachura lake and head to KKH. Manage time with less stays on the way so you could touch KKH before evening. Then till gilgit there would be no problem on the KKH.)
Day 5: Gilgit to Sost (Start traveling early morning)
Day 6: Sost to Khunjerab and Back to Gilgit (Start travel early morning, leave your luggage at hotel and take your breakfast or buy something to eat on the way because after sost there is nothing for breakfast. It will take around 6 to 7 hours till reach back sost. Take your bag from hotel and leave for Gilgit. You will get evening near about Atabad or Ali Abad. Then till gilgit in dark won?t be any problem.)
Day 7: Gilgit to Batakundi (Start travel early so you could cross babusar before 4pm)
Day 8: Batakundi to Islamabad (start at normal time around 8 or 9 am and you will be able to reach Islamabad before night)
(Note: This schedules are mentioned without including any other issue e.g. bike puncture, long stays of 1 hour at pass by destinations like sheosar lake, ataabad lake, babusar pass, lulusar lake etc.)
Hope It helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.
hmm thx a lot jnab.. as per your advise and less time and probability of puncture or rain we should travel more and even at night for khunjerab part and save time for deosai.
as per travellouge of other members yes there is a hotel "chashma hotel" half hour before chillam. and also at juglot.
i am still thinking to do khunjerab first and then enter deosai so that if if my pridor fails i will be done with atleast khunjerab pass ....
thx rizwan bhai for the help this is my first bike trio thats y i am little confused. earlier i had done only hiking trips. i wanted to add minimarg in this tour but not possible so some day inshallah i will cross dudgai pass from taubat and enter minimarg.