The Karakoram Highway (known as the KKH for short) is one of the world’s great roads, and also a classic bike touring route.
The scenery is nothing less than stunning, from soaring mountains to tiny villages wedged into valleys. The people are welcoming and the cycling is both challenging and incredibly rewarding. In short, it’s a heck of a ride.
John & Gayle cycled this route in summer 2010 and here they share some of their experiences and advice on riding a bicycle along the Karakoram Highway from Kashgar in China to Islamabad, Pakistan.
1. How would you describe the experience of cycling the KKH?
Cycling the KKH feels incredibly exciting and adventurous. The building of the road in the 60s and 70s was a marvel of engineering and riding down the road on a bike is a truly memorable and fantastic experience. The road begins (or ends) in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, Western China and runs for 1,200km to just north of Islamabad.
Along this road you cross the highest paved border crossing in the world, highest point on the KKH, the Khunjerab Pass at 4,693 meters. You pass though deep gorges with the Karakoram Mountains towering above you and then the beautiful Hunza Valley. The people we met in the small towns and villages along the KKH were friendly and welcoming. This is a very different Pakistan to what you see in the Western media.