Driving on Karakorum: Not for the faint-Hearted

Imagine huge brown boulders hanging over your head on one side and a ravine that dropped all the way down 200 feet or so, on the other.   Imagine all you have at your disposal is a mere one foot of space to maneuver your vehicle in-between oncoming traffic.  Slow, decorated lorries laden with goods, as high as the sky, bound for the Pakistan-China borders and impatient tour buses, honking endlessly behind you could send your heart missing a beat or two. 

Driving along the Karakorum to get to Hunza Valley, landslides normally happened at least twice a day during that 350 kilometers drive.  Chances are you will find yourself stopped in your tracks by a landslide or two.  But local machinery are on-site to clear the landslide which required you to wait for an hour or so.  Tiny fragments of rocks raining down on you is a sure  indication of an on-coming landside.  KKH runs across the Karakorum Range and through the Khunjerab Pass at the Pakistan-China border.  In Pakistan it runs from Abbotabad to the border through the provinces of Kyber- Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Balchistan.  The KKH is formerly known as China-Pakistan Friendship Highway.  It required the work of 24,000 workers to complete it.

But the views along the KKH are to die for.  Towering mountains all around, rushing waters in rivers below, hanging bridges connecting  the small towns  below the highway,  locals walking along the highway since walking was the only means of getting to places while some locals used to hitch for free rides from  passing vehicles.  Then there is the tunnel after tunnel along the way called Pakistan-China Friendship Tunnel……….

(extracted from an upcoming book “From Middle-East to the Far-East to the South”