Blogs from Pakistan, Asia - page 2


Asia » Pakistan » Quetta September 30th 2014

Stayed in Quetta 4 nights, one with Assistant police commissioner, nice but bit tricky to get out with no WiFi. Serena hotel is best hotel in area, ideal for diplomats & ministers of state, top knotch security and price to go with it, did give me a 20% discount. But it was a lock in!, steel doors U can't see out of, steel raised ramps, Xray luggage, security team, very friendly staff and a pool. A run out to shops required van & 3 man police escort - well what did I require? Just nuts & ice cream was a poor answer. Quetta is more of a tourist area, onwardvtravel only possible with NOC document apply at home-office, but shut on weekends. So Monday morning could go for my NOC travel document, issued to travel next ... read more
Salena BBQ
Bloom Star Hotel

Asia » Pakistan » Balochistan September 25th 2014

So I normally tried to do what l'm told, could be debate there, but anyway this time I did go he wrong way, to tribal areas, specifically excluded on UK foreign office web site, and did rely on Pakistan security for probably a 600km escort, for which I am very greatful. The western areas have a lots too offer, mountains, friendly people, much more scenic and cooler route than west from Lahore through Multan, in theory obtaining a NOC document from Rawalpindi would be the way to go, but for for foreign tourist this would be very hard to obtain. See web So from Rawalpindi I traveled west, following advice from the tyre shop, only when I stopped at a check point 40km from Kohat did I realise th error of my ways, alternative now ... read more
Sheep on move.
Police compound Kohat

Asia » Pakistan » Lahore September 23rd 2014

One of big tourist interest is the border with India near Lahore, where the flag ceromony is a good spectator event, how these two super powers treat their neighbour. From 'Pindi to Lahore is a 300km run on GNR (great north road) or N5 dual carriageway, bikes banned from motorways in Pakistan. Was quite hot during day so could be an idea to travel in cooler evening. No police escorts required, 300km do in 4hrs, 4..8pm. Think Road Safety is a bit risky on this dual carriageway, numerous central crossings & few central barriers, with many unlit vehicles from small bikes with no lights, farm vehicles, & dogs move any way they like, finally black bison would be hard to see. Lower speed limit 90..100kph is sensible. But front tyre had a slow puncture, much more ... read more
Rashid and Joe in local outfit.
Rashid's family.
view from roof terrace.

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad September 21st 2014

Leaving Deosai high plane, I had been advised not to travel through Chilas at night - risk of banditory. Kind hard when bridge 50km from Chilas was closed for emergency repairs till 9pm, but helpfully was reunited with Dmitry also waiting in quew, the mood was good, watched locals lift 6m 9" girders by hand was inspiring. From Chilas we wanted to go directly south over the Balakot pass 4200m, but this road not open to foreigners. So followed KKH to east though Besham & Abbottobad was the only alternative, we had on/off police escort to Abbottobad, a hot spot for terrosum in area, would seam the police escorts were often used for on this tourist route, was hyper efficient at times with escort changing on move every 30km, but also occasionally a 90min wait too. ... read more
A security check point
Security escort change over.
can U see the goat?

Asia » Pakistan » Northern Areas » Skardu September 20th 2014

Leaving Skardu could run down Indus gorge again or go up over Deosai high plain (at 4100m 2nd only to one in Tibet), with a nice run past a lake. On the maps it suggested track was no worse than usual, although on bike revered to it as Devil's eye! Well run up from Skardu past Satpara dam was mostly tarmac, but washed over by gravel and sand. Higher, it just got steeper loose gravel, bit tricky given drop on one side. Quite pleased to escape onto the top, just to meet 6 Jeeps with 10 American torists on a guided tour, they were equally surprised to see lone Brit biker. So few km on, they all stopped, where guides had prepared hot coffee and biscuits, would I like some? Yes rather! Gravel tracks with some ... read more
Big rocks
Gravel track
Guided tourists

Asia » Pakistan » Northern Areas » Skardu September 18th 2014

Stayed in Gilgit, biggest city in Northern areas, 'Grand Continental Hotel' As we left Gilgit we crossed & recrossed the'Danyore Bridge' to get right photo, on old bridge & tunnel, just for pedestrians and bikes now, suspension bridge with one end straight into a tunnel. A run up to Skardu then seamed a good idea, 'not far' as usual, but turned into a epic 180km of gravel road at times cut back into vertical cliff wall. You might think Pakistan would ease back into open valley and better road after 100k or so, not a chance here it runs hard all way, they are tough here - perhaps why cricket team does so well. Or another view 'no benefit culture here' - if U work then can have some life, but generally people are happy. Indus ... read more
Tourist info.
Bridge & Tunnel in one
Indus river Rondu gorge.

Asia » Pakistan » Northern Areas » Karimabad September 17th 2014

From Attabad lake we rode south to the high tourist resort of Karimabad. Stayed in 'Hill top hotel' at a reduced rate 1500rb approx 15$, always get a recommendation, for a discount. This is a town of two forts where the Hunza royalty have lived through the ages, both are now just tourist destinations. HRH from UK is due to land here in 2017 to judge their performance as world heritage sites, nothing so grand for us. Having cup of local 'Milky tea' with the guide Mohammed & his family was something different.... read more
path to fort
Alto fort commanded Hunza valley.
Green lines on hillside

Asia » Pakistan » Northern Areas » Hunza September 16th 2014

After crossing border stayed in a Puso hotel, just below the Pasu glacier, which was just 500m behind hotel, but impenetrable thicket stopped getting close. This would be real high mountains, black & very steep, if anything trasformation from bare mountain to scrub then cultivation that changes as U drop dow valley. Initially a sharp V, with no flat ground to a more gentle V where sides are cultivated, finally big U shape. As always water makes the ground flourish, the Pakistani people have to work hard on irrigation canals. Karakuram highway is near perfect road, but little traffic, not sure lack of wealth or fuel, with the Attabad lake blocking road, all goods must either travel from China or be lifted on/off boats, so bulk fuel would be tough. Do see 150cc bikes nearly always ... read more
irrigation canal cut in mountain
Hotel in Passu
Passu suspension bridge

Asia » Pakistan » The Great Himalaya Mountain Range September 15th 2014

The Kunjerab pass and border crossing was the most significant event of this mountainstrip, in terms of remoteness from UK, altitude risk, border complexities to get right, it all worked like clockwork. China immigration was bit slow on edge of Kashgurgan town, wait on 3 buses loading at same time, so we could all depart together. Alim our guide left immediately our passports were returned, we were pleased with his help. So 80km and 1700m to climb, but had bit of altitude sickness from 3900m and up - bit headache, not good as a lot higher to go! Drink some water and pull finger out, felt at worst at top, better as soon as U descend. Altitude sickness was a surprise, had no problems at 4100m just day before, also had stayed high to acclimatise for ... read more
Road to Pakistan
New dwellings
Wakhan Corridoor

Asia » Pakistan » Khyber Pakhtunkhwa August 26th 2014

The Tiny Trekker on the Way Dunga Gali-Mukshpuri Trek KPK-Pakistan Text & Photographs by: Muhammad Kashif Ali aka Kashifthegipsy Feeman Ali, the tiny trekker (of four and half years only), selected the Dunga Gali-Mukshpuri Track with the help of his Baba Jani, in September, 2009 for his debut trek in any mountain range. It was the month of Ramadan (1430 AH), when he set off for Galliyat Tract of NWFP, now Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa. He stayed with me (his Baba Jani, Muhammad Kashif Ali), and one of my friends, Saim Mughal in Snow Land Hotel, Dunga Gali. Dunga Gali is almost four kilometers away from Nathia Gali, and around 30 kilometers from Murree on Murree-Abbotabad road. Dunga Gali is around 8000 feet above sea-level and is engulfed by some of the finest pine forests. It is a ... read more

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