We will begin our tour in Pakistan’s green capital, Islamabad, nestled between the Margalla hills. It is at once a bustling urban town with restaurants full of foreign diplomats and journalists, and wide boulevards that lead to the mountains beyond the city.
We will explore Islamabad on our motorcycles to get you accustomed to riding in Pakistan and learn some of the local words (and swear words to vent any frustration on the roads!) before we head up to Murree, a famous old hill station that once popular with the British for its close proximity to the city, its tall pines, colonial architecture and winding roads. It’ll be a short, easy ride the first day so everyone can ease into riding on the “wrong” side of the road and get comfortable on their motorcycles. The next day, it’s a straight shot to Naran, the gateway to the world’s biggest mountain ranges – all within a stone’s throw from the edge of the town.
We’ll make our way across the first high pass- Babusar Pass- and will test our bikes as they climb up to 13,700 ft. It is a breath-taking mountainside ride, with surprises at every turn. We’ll head towards Rama Lake and take a break next to its quiet blue. Sometimes, you can opt to join the local boys in a game of cricket, or get lost for a while between the oak trees off the beaten path.
From Rama, we’ll pass the Deosai Plains, the land of giants- the second highest plains in the world. Words cannot describe the extraordinary scale and vastness of this place, the still clouds hanging over the endless green horizon. We’ll ride all the way to Skardu, a city of many great adventures and the landing spot for some of the world’s biggest thrill-seekers. All the big 8000-meter peak expeditions begin in Skardu and you get to bump into really cool high altitude alpinists readying to summit. There’s a bazaar packed full of mountaineering treasures and stories of shopkeepers who are mountaineers themselves.From Skardu, We’ll ride the Jewel, the road connecting Skardu to Gilgit. Slowly, we’ll make our way through the historical city of Hunza and up the Khunjurab pass, climbing up to 15,400 ft to the China-Pakistan Border. The Karakoram highway is the highest paved international road in the world and although it is 100% perfectly paved tarmac, it will prove to be a challenge even for the skilled motorist.
By the time you reach this place, you will have experienced local flavor, local culture, and Pakistan’s world famous hospitality. As we return to Islamabad, your days in the mountains will have changed everything you thought you knew about travelling, and you will leave knowing that one day you will be back for more.
We’re excited. It’s day one. You wake up to the fresh valley air of Pakistan’s famed capital, Islamabad and before the sun comes up, we’re already out of the city, riding up mountain roads till we stop for lunch along the banks of the famous Kunhar River. From there on, we ride to the mountain resort of Naran and call it a day.
Naran is our doorway to the mountains, and from here on we follow breathtaking roads along a river that leads us to Babusar Pass. We’ll push our bikes up 13,700 ft and you’ll get your first taste of riding one of the highest paved roads in the world- the Karakorum Highway. This is one of the tour’s longest riding stretches at about 7 hours, and we stop for the night at Gilgit, an ancient city along the old Silk Road.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to ancient Buddha sites, where we will stop for light sightseeing and photographs. After a visit to Karga Buddha, we ride up to Pakistan’s crown jewel: Hunza, famed for its fruit orchards and its gentle people. Don’t shy away from stopping at fresh fruit stalls along the ride for the best cherries, apricots and apples you’ve ever had- some of them straight off the hanging branches!
Hunza has a lot to offer, and it’ll be hard to make you leave. The Karimabad Bazaar- one of the most vibrant bazaars in the entire province- boasts stunning indigenous finds. From antique jewelry to silk carpets and traditional embroideries, it’s going to be a blast from the past through quaint shops on the hill. We’ll take a trip to the Altit and Baltit forts, built over a thousand years ago, and if you’re a foodie, save some room for dessert because Karimabad is home to Café de Hunza’s famous walnut cake.
Hunza defies every stereotype of an emerging economy, with a 95% literacy rate and an empowered population of businesswomen including an all women-run furniture factory. The homes are quaint and humble, the traditions are ancient and respectful of culture… but don’t challenge anybody to a knowledge duel- you won’t win. We’ll take a tour through one of the schools and meet the educators, and students, who have made Hunza the extraordinary place it is.
We’ll hit the Karakorum Highway once more, riding all the way up to the Pakistan-China border- the Khunjerab pass which stands at a majestic 15,400 ft making it the world’s highest international border. If you’re fortunate, you’ll get to see a Markhor, an Ibex or a snow leopard- all rare sightings. Bring your own binoculars if you’re feeling lucky.
This is going to be a relaxing, short day on the road and will be your last chance to hit the bazaar one more time for a final bargain on a rug (or a slice of the walnut cake). It’s important to take it easy here because the next day is going to be a challenging one.
It’s going to get bumpy! The road has been under construction for over a year, and though it’s now a far wider road than it was not so long ago, it’s still wild and exhilarating riding so close along the raging Indus River. A heavy breakfast before leaving Gilgit will be VERY important and we’ll be taking lots of snacks along because getting lunch on the road will be tough.
Skardu is packed full of history and adventure, and home to a spectacular cold desert. Summiteers and mountaineers looking to conquer Pakistan’s massive peaks all land in Skardu as a starting point for their excursions. There’s climbing fever everywhere you go, with bazaars loaded with expedition gear, and some of the shopkeepers famous mountaineers themselves! If it’s a cloudless night, the stars will take your breath away.
Deosai Plains, known as the land of giants, is the world’s second highest alpine plateau with an average elevation of over 13,500 ft. It is almost impossible to describe riding along its vast, infinite stretch- an experience so humbling, it will bring even the toughest riders to an emotional brink. It is a land of legend and story-telling, and the shepherds you’ll meet along the way will give you your fill of ancient folk tales.
We’ll take a rest day in Rama, surrounded by green meadows and an 8000 meter peak, Nanga Parbat, the western anchor of the great Himalayas. Rama Lake is just 15 minutes away- a fun short ride with gorgeous views.
We head back over Babusar Pass one more time. Climbing up the pass from this end is challenging and steep, but a new paved road makes it both fun and doable.
One last day of riding through the hustle and bustle of mountain towns, we will finally go through Pakistan’s favorite northern getaway, Nathia Gali, packed full of posh mountain homes. From there, we ride down to Islamabad and get a night’s sleep, hopefully brimming with more stories to share than we have time.
Rest, shop, eat, sleep. It’s your last day in beautiful Pakistan. We’ll take you to the airport and leave you with a lifetime of incredible memories.
Please visit https://visa.nadra.gov.pk for complete information.
General riding gear, which includes a helmet, jackets, pants, shoes and gloves, jeans, long and short-sleeved T-shirts, riding shoes or boots, and gloves. For summer, long-sleeved T-shirts are a great idea. You will have the opportunity to keep a small pack in our chase vehicle, so you’ll have some margin for error if you end up packing too much. Mornings and evenings can be chilly. Some windbreaker gear is great and easy to carry. Bring cash for any personal expenses like shopping, laundry or snacks. We can change currencies for you, please make sure to let us know beforehand.
Common items to include in your packing list:
– Motorcycle Gear (Head to Toe)
– Base layers are MUST-HAVES for winter tours
– Windbreaker/ gear as needed per tour/ season
– SPF 50 Sun Block
– Hand Sanitizer
The visa process can sometimes take up to two months for Pakistan so we suggest getting your visa as soon as possible. If you already have a visa, you will need to book a tour with us at least a month in advance so we can prepare properly for you.
We recommend you arrive two days before the tour begins, so you can wear off your jet lag, and be fresh for the adventure ahead!
Absolutely! We give a 15% discount for pillion riders or they can always hop into one of our vehicles and follow the riders.
We can also arrange for passenger minivans that can be driven to trail the group if they want. That way, non-riders can either be on the back of the bike, or can all ride together in their party van depending on the weather, and how much they want to be on the bike.
Riding days can vary from as little as 150 km to 350 km per day, depending on the tour you choose. In the twisty Himalayas or the Karakoram range, a 300 km day can easily take up to 7 hours due to ferry crossings, side excursions etc., depending on the trip you choose. Keep in mind that we design itineraries that make full use of your vacation time, and it will be difficult to get bored at any point.
The simple rule is: Anything is possible, so prepare accordingly. Riding season in Pakistan starts in May and ends around mid-October. It’s generally great weather to be in the Himalayas but the winds can suddenly change and short storms can hit us out of nowhere. So bring your rain gear, bring a summer mesh jacket for hot days plus a warm layer or two.
There could be a wide range of weather possibilities on some particular tours depending on location and season. If you want to make sure you’re choosing a trip that suits your hopes for the weather, please be sure to contact us and we’ll help you make a better suited choice.
Yes, a valid operator’s license from your home country, specifically with the motorcycle endorsement is necessary, and will be confirmed at the starting point of your tour. This is not only for legal & insurance reasons, but also for the safety of yourself and the people on the road with you.
This answer actually does not vary from tour to tour, as we at ADA hope you are in excellent physical and mental condition anytime you plan on riding a motorcycle. As with other topics, contact us and let’s discuss what shape you’re in and the type of tour you’re planning on to make sure it’s a match. However, our approval of your condition does not take the place of a trusted doctor’s evaluation, which is something we strongly encourage you to seek before any tour or rental.
No. Your tour begins in Islamabad on the day of the tour and ends when we get back. We have found that this is really the best option for you. Arrangements can be made for extra hotel accommodations upon request. The hotels we use on the first and last day of the tour are usually close to the airport. In most situations and tours, there will be a shuttle to take you to or from the airport. We suggest arriving a couple of days early, and leaving a couple of days after the tour so you have time to rest before and after the tour. We can help book these hotels and figure out the transport for these days.
– 10% discount for a group of 4.
– 15% discount for a group of 6.