From Kyrgyzstan to Skardu, Pakistan via China

Greetings from Skardu, Pakistan!
This blog update is really long again.

!!! All photos are in this latest update !!!

Pictures have a letter in front to tell in which country photo is from (K-Kyrgyzstan, C-China, P-Pakistan).

Warning! This update was written in a hurry, so there might be things that do not make any sense. I will fix them later when I get some comments from my trusted readers 🙂

After the breakfast we continued studying what could be the problem in Jeff´s bike. We could not do anything for the fuelpump, so we decided to remove coalcanister (or what ever it is called) which is in US-models to prevent fuel to drip to the ground.
Reason why we wanted to remove thisone was to remove one possible problem component from the fuel system. Maybe it does not work as planned.
We compared his and Uli´s bike fuel lines and finally modification was quite quick and easy. Jeff and Si did the actual work and after mod it ran normally.
Problem has been difficult because it could be that they can ride the bike whole day without any problems and suffer only in the late afternoon…

I continued ride with Uli and Annaleen towards eastern part of the lake. Jeff and Si headed towards Bishkek, where Jeff needed to get his Rabies shot (dog had bitten him at one of the police checkpoints).

Days ride was short, only around 80km to Karakol-town. Ride itself was boring, this coastal road have nothing to offer. Mountains are on southside, but they were covered by this haze. Someone said that it is from the sandstorm somewhere in south.

Tourist information center was closed, but we found free space from one yurt-village. I got whole yurt for myself ☺ for the price of 350SOM (around 6€).

There I noticed that I had left my slippers to the previous place where we stayed over night. Damn! It would not cost much to buy new ones, but now it was Sunday and I had no clue where I could find new ones. It is not the price, but the whole thing of trying to find new ones.
I decided that on a next day I would go back and get my dear slippers back, in any case we would need to go back towards west in the next day.

Afternoon I spent writing blog update offline until it came time to search internet café.
I stopped one person on the street and asked where I could find internet, she told me that there is one café where internet is free. Excellent! Free internet suit traveller´s wallet really well:)

Found this café easily. At the front of the café I saw one bike with lot of luggage, I thought I had seen this bike earlier somewhere. Checked license plate and noticed bike was from UK!
Fern was sitting inside the café (I met her first time in German HU meeting, she is part of the group who is going to cross China together with me).

Fern checked facebook and noticed message from Jeff and Si, that their bike had been stalling all the time in rush hour traffic in Bishkek. Shit! Our fix did not help… Hopefully they can get their bike fixed there…

I also got email from Nicolas (French rider) that he had been in two accidents and now his knees where hurting quite badly, one rib was also really sore and his bike was in really bad shape. He was planning to fly back to France to heal his wounds and continue ride on the spring. Nicolas has had lot of bad luck during the trip. Get well soon Nicolas!

Rest of the evening went really fast because I was trying to get English version published before 21:00, because that was the time when this café would close.
I could not add all photos I wanted, because I ran out of time, but will publish Gallery (hopefully soon).

Woke up quite early and started to pack my bike. Wasn´t in a hurry, because plan was to ride back around 80km, find place to stay and then try to reach 4200m high pass.

Annaleen told that she got really scared during the night because one cat had jumped to her bed when she was already asleep.

Ride back to the previous village went faster this time (at least felt like it). We decided to check another place next to the beach, maybe they would have cheaper accommodation available.
This place was yurt village at the shore. Looked really nice, but price was 20€/night. We were shocked about this price!
Owner told us the rules: No meat, no alcohol, no topless sunbathing, they had arts and something Thai stuff there. Wow, I think this was a bit hippie place 🙂
Decision was done at the same time, we would go back to the place where we had stayed one night earlier…

Arrived to the hostel and I noticed my dear slippers where I had left them 🙂

We unpacked our bikes and then started going towards south and 4200m high pass together with Uli.
Good gravel road was guiding us higher up to the mountains. Hairpins were covered with really fine dust which was darn slippery. Front and rear tires were sliding, but it was actually quite much fun ☺
Few rain drops started to come down, so at 3700m high we stopped and decided to go still few kms forward and then turn back down to the village. There we met one Polish rider who we met on previous day on a coastal road.

Got back safely to the hostel. While I was putting panniers back to my bike thunder started rumbling and soon heavy rain followed. It was correct decision to turn back to the village!

After the breakfast we started day ride first to the west and then to the south.
Ride was nice, because sky had cleared after the rain.
In one village we met John (part of our group to cross China together). John was tightening chain in his bike.
There was quite many road constructions ongoing, so this time I could not avoid riding in a dust cloud.
At one point I passed Uli and Annaleen, because I wanted to find good spot to take photos of them.
One car flashed his lights to me, I thought he just wanted to greet me so I waved my hand to him.
Well, it was not ment for greeting, it was a warning. I realized this when police waved me to stop…
Police greeted me by saying “heil Hitler”… I think this was third time I have been greeted this way.
Police said I had been speeding by going 69km/h in 50km/h speedlimit area. I tried to explain to him that I had not seen any speedlimit signs, he replied something I could not understand.
Luckily I had slowed down, because I saw sign which warned about the children.
After few minutes of this kind of discussions, he just waved me to continue.
If they would have wanted some money from me, I would have asked them to show me speedlimit sign.

Soon we reached our target for the day, Naryn. A bit searching and we find tourist office and soon we had apartment with garage.
Garage was tiny and it took some time to fit all three bikes there.

Finding an internet café proved to be almost impossible. There was two places with internet, first place did not allow to use own laptops and second place was closed. So we returned to first place, but network was extremely slow. Not possible to do any blog updates.

When I left this “internet café”, I asked personnel to empty my browsing history, but it proved to be impossible for them… What kind of people are working in these places?!?

Dinner we had in one local disco/nightclub/restaurant –looking place. Local artist was singing in the backround while we enjoyed our dinner.
We did not realize that artist fee was included in the restaurant bill and refused to pay artist fee (his singing was not worth the money).

We had only a short ride ahead of us so we stayed till noon in the apartment.
On our way out of Naryn, we filled tanks and headed south towards Tash Rabat.
During our ride we met also Fern (part of the group).
Ride was only 100km long, so we were in the intersection quite early.

We had agreed to meet everyone in this place which was important meeting point when silk road was in use.
Our plan was to do camping here, but before pitching our tents, I decided to ride all the way to old resting area (which was around 10km away from the main road).
Road was gravel and in good shape, so I was able to enjoy ride over there.
At the end of the road I met Hose and Pilar from Spain. They had arrived few minutes earlier.
Told them that all others are close to the main road and decided to ride back to tell them that few others are already in the meeting point.
I did not get far until I saw that others also had decided to come all the way to the meeting point.

Because sky looked rainy, we decided to spent night in the yurts, this way we would not need to pack camp in the morning.

We got a good deal of 2 yurts (both had beds for six people) and breakfast was included in the price.

A bit later John, Jeff, Si and Marco arrived.

Before dinner we took a short walk to the nearby stone building which had provided shelter for the people who travelled along the silk road.

Few hours later came also Max and Lucas.
Now whole international group was there:

  • Jeff and Si from USA
  • Uli and Annaleen from Germany
  • Fern and John from UK
  • Marco from Italy
  • Jose and Pilar from Spain
  • Max and Lucas from Poland
  • Part of the group had dinner in the nearby house and other part created tasty noodle dinner in one of the yurts.

    It was nice meeting everyone now face to face after huge amount of emails.

    We got up before sunrise, because we had agreed meeting time at China border with our Chinese guide.
    Breakfast was good and soon we were ready to had towards China!
    Night had been cold and for the first time during this trip seat of my bike had frost on it!

    We had roughly 100km ride to the Kyrgyztan border. Gravel road got worse by every passing km. Small and big holes were everywhere so it was impossible to get around of them.
    Speed was too slow for me because holes kept hitting my hands and I knew that in faster speed suspension in my bike starts working properly.

    I was riding in front and John was following.
    I was right, Öhlins suspension was working like a dream. Ride was enjoyable and I was able to relax when bike was flying over the potholes. Nice!

    At some point I stopped and had a chat with John. He said he had to slow down because his suspension was bottoming quite often, I told him that my suspension is working really well.

    I should have kept my mouth shut, because five minutes later I hit huge hole on the road (could not slow enough to avoid it, saw it too late). I got front tire over the hole but rear tire hit bottom of the hole really hard and kicked the whole rear end of the bike off the ground!
    I do not know how long I was going only front tire on the ground, but I was really lucky not to go completely over… Then damage would have been in totally different level on a bike and rider.

    Few hundred meters later I stopped because rear end of the bike felt strange.
    I noticed that rear suspension was completely compressed and I could not put bike to a side neither center stand. F**k!
    20km to the Kyrgyz border and I had destroyed rear suspension! How stupid is that?!?! After few kicks to my own backside, I decided to wait John to appear so that we could lift bike to a center stand and I could start looking what is the problem.

    John arrived and then I removed all the luggage from the bike. Removed seat to check if rear frame had cracked. No frame was ok.
    Removed tire so that I could check if everything was ok with cardan (shaft), final drive and swingarm. All of them were ok, so next I removed upper bolt from the suspension.
    Now it was clear that suspension had failed. Even upper bolt was removed, suspension stayed compressed.
    There was nothing I could do for the suspension here, so I put everything back together, shared my luggage rolls with others and rode 20km to the Kyrgyztan border.
    It was hard ride, I rode really slowly because I did not wanted to put any extra stress for the rearframe and other parts. I felt every grain of sand on the road during this ride.

    Border crossing was fast and now we were in “no mans land” riding towards China border which was roughly 100km away (if I remember correctly).

    Around 20km later we crossed Turugat pass (3752m) where John got flat tire. I kept ongoing because I was slowest of the group and first police checkpoint was only few kilometers away.
    Annaleen and Uli were already waiting at the police checkpoint.

    One officer took our passports and disappeared. Nothing happened for a long time because personnel at the checkpoint were having their lunch break.

    Rest of the group appeared after some time as also our guide, Ali.
    At this checkpoint we had to do immigration and take all of our luggage to the x-ray vehicle. Also all laptops were taken inside the car for check.

    When I was putting my stuff back to the bike, officers wanted to go through content of all panniers. At this point officer took my axe and hard discs. I got really worried about my hard discs because they had all the photos of the trip so far.

    I did not get them back and asked Ali what the hell is going on. He said I would get them back after the customs which is roughly 80km away!

    While waiting things to be sorted out, I adjusted pretension of the rear suspension and saw that suspension had extended a bit, not normal level, but slightly so that I could use sidestand.

    Finally everything was checked and we started our 80km ride towards customs

    First small bumps caused suspension to collapse again… 80km to go and no suspension at all! Luckily road got better so I could use mainly front suspension by sitting on top of the fuel tank. This way I would put minimal amount of stress to the rear frame.

    At one of the stops I reduced also rebound and noticed rear end of the bike jumped up! I did not reduce rebound enough so suspension was still compressed. At this point I thought that Öhlins has had it´s last bumps and I would need to figure out solution in China.

    Just before immigration/customs we had to stop and pay disinfection fee. Guys were spraying something to the bikes, but I am 100% sure that it did not had any effect, it was just a way to get some money.

    Somehow I made this 80km ride to the immigration/customs. It was quite hard for my backside and arms, but I made it 🙂

    At the immigration things went quite smoothly, passports got stamped, luggage x-rayed (they dropped one of my panniers, but luckily no damage) and we had to pay quarantine fee (no idea what was the purpose, but we needed to pay this).

    Customs was harder part. We had to wait really long time outside next to our bikes and wait someone to show up and check the bikes.

    While we were waiting I reduced rebound even more and rear suspension seemed to start working better. Not even close as it used to be, but now I could at least sit on the seat.

    Finally someone came to check the bikes and he was mainly interested of engine numbers. We tried to explain that VIN-number is only official identification number on the bikes, because it is marked to the official bike papers.
    Guy was still insisting to see it, but we kept on saying that he needs to check only VIN. Engine numbers were under thick mud layer, so it would have been almost impossible to find these numbers.
    Officer was really pissed and he was ready to stop the whole process, but somehow someone was able to convince him to continue.

    Finally everything was ok and we were cleared in to China.
    Just before continuing to Artush I asked Ali about my hard discs and axe. Got my hdds back, but they did not want to give my axe back to me.
    I told Ali that I need my dear Fiskars axe back, even if he would need to hold it all the way to Pakistan border.
    He discussed with customs officers and finally he came out and said that owner of China-tour company would go personally to the customs on Sunday and bring it to me to Kashgar.

    I was ok with this solution and we continued to Artush.

    We arrived quite late to our hotel in Artush (guide did not find the hotel easily, so we needed to do few U-turns), so I decided that I would look suspension next day in Kashgar.

    Needless to say that soon after parking in front of the hotel our bikes were surrounded by huge crowd.

    Dinner was some kilometers away from the hotel. We grabbed a taxi and went to a local restaurant were fresh meat was hanging outside and we could pick meat for the bbq.

    Meat was ok and beer was cold, so everything was going smoothly.

    We were a bit confused which time to use, official Beijing time or local time (which was same as time in Kyrgyzstan). In any case, I went to the breakfast too early and understood that it would be served two hours later.

    I thought that two hours more sleep would not hurt, so passed out again really quickly.

    A bit after getting up, Uli knocked to the door and said that we should be ready to leave in few minutes! What the heck?!? I was planning to go for breakfast, but now I needed to hurry and pack my bike asap.
    I missed my breakfast, but everyone said it was quite bad, so no big loss there.

    Target for the day was to get all paperwork done at police station and show our bikes at the inspection point before riding 40km to Kashgar.

    I was thinking that this process would not take too long and we would be quite early in Kashgar.

    How wrong I was again…
    We spent whole day waiting papers to be done, officials to finish their lunch breaks, going from one office to another and then back (actually our guide went to the offices and we were just waiting outside in parking area).

    It was a bit frustrating, but we could not do anything to speed things up. I used the time by making late breakfast to me at the parking lot and sleeping a bit more.

    We felt also a bit annoyed because we felt that all these paperworks could have been done before our arrival. This way we would have saved one day. I am not sure if it´s possible to do them beforehand, but this was what we felt.

    Just when offices were about to close all paperwork was done and we were able to continue to Kashgar.

    Kashgar was bigger city with wide roads and electric scooters (petrol scooters are not allowed in to the town).

    On our way to the hotel, Fern got really sick and she had to stop and throw up.

    Got to our hotel without a problem, but quite late again, so I decided to check my bike on a next day (which did not had any agenda). Bellboys were waiting there to get all our luggage to our rooms. Before I noticed my helmet was hanging from one of the hooks on a trolley and guys were pushing this trolley up to a steep slope. Before I was able to say anything, I saw my helmet dropping from the hook.
    Luckily it did not fall directly to the ground but dropped first on top of the bags.
    Helmet got long mark to the backside and I lost my temper. These dorks had dropped most important protection to the ground!

    I walked to the reception with my helmet and asked how hotel will cover the damage what their personnel had caused. I did not get any sensible response from them and this pissed me off even more. I asked to see the manager, but personnel did not do anything to get their manager to give response.
    I waited over 40 minutes there to speak to the manager who never showed up (because no-one called him/her)…

    I also wanted to get my own room, because Fern was sick and I did not want to get same bug. Hotel had one free single room (no internet connection) which I needed to pay by myself (hotels were included in the China Tour price).

    Had a quick shower and then went back to the reception and asked them to give me email address to the highest manager so that I could write complaint email to him/her.

    Next was to find place to eat and get cold beer.
    I asked Ali if he knows any other hotel nearby which would have internet connection.
    Dinner restaurant was actually in next building and there was also hotel. They had free rooms and price was actually cheaper than in the other hotel, so before dinner I quickly checked out from first hotel and checked in to this another hotel.

    Dinner was ok, but there was no beer available! We needed cold beer and after a bit searching we found one internet café which sold beer (restaurants did not sell any beer).

    After few beers, everyone were ready for bed.

    We did not have any program for Saturday, so everyone had their own plans.
    I had agreed with John that after breakfast we would try to find place to wash our bikes and then do some checking on them.
    Jeff and Hose also wanted to get their bikes washed and some welding done for the racks, so four of us got one local to guide us to the washing place.

    Without local guide we would have never found this washing place. For our luck it was also close to the garages were we could do some work for the bikes.

    I cleaned cardan (shaft) because rubber seal had jumped off in Kyrgyzstan bumpy road and mud had get in to the cardan tunnel. I also changed final drive oil (I was able to find place which sold 85W-90 gearbox oil) but decided not to do anything for the shock, because in reality what I could have done for it… Rear suspension was rideable, so I decided that I would try to get in to Pakistan and try to find Öhlins service from there.

    John changed sprockets and chain for his bike.

    Satisfied with the work we had been able to finish on that day, we went back to hotels and agreed to have beer in internet café.

    There we met few others from our group and decided to go and walk around a bit. John and I also wanted to find a place to buy helmet cameras.

    Walking around was interesting: Butcheries and bakeries next to the road, people dressed in colorful clothes etc. Walk was really enjoyable.
    We also found electronic store which was recommended to us, but did not find helmet cameras from there. Next stop was apple store (because it was next to the electronic store) where I purchased Ipod (got it cheaper than german internet stores).

    We also visited old Uigur town (after paying entrance fee). Followed narrow streets between mud brick houses. Visited few houses (dfferent families were specialized to different things like carpets, hats etc) and then started heading back to hotels so that we would not miss our dinner.
    Took a ride back to the hotel on the back of “Tuk-tuk”.

    Dinner we had in “John´s café” where Ali gave our driver´s licenses and license plates (we had to ask him several times to give them to us, because we paid rest of the money earlier that evening. Ali said “if we loose them, we have trouble”)

    We started day around nine in the morning. Ride to Tashkurgan did not offer anything to see. Ride was 310km.
    Once we get to our hotel, few people checked the rooms and commented that they were really filthy. Floors were dirty as they have not been cleaned ever, bedsheets were also dirty, so we refused to stay in that hotel because we had payed quite much money to China Tours.

    There was nice looking hotel on the other side of the road, so we went there and checked the rooms. They were from totally different planet, clean and nice.
    To our surprise, this hotel had same name as the other one.
    Ali said that China tour had booked us to a cheaper hotel, but we had only name of the hotel in our quote. So this way we could negotiate that we need to stay in this better hotel.
    After long long discussions we got our rooms from cleaner hotel.

    We did random pick for place where to have dinner. It was a small place but food was excellent! Finally we got some real chinese dinner, I was so happy!

    People were quite tired due to excitement of the day, so everyone went to bed quite early.

    We decided to skip the breakfast (restaurant was full of people and food wasn´t ready yet) and just bought some bread from the town.

    After breakfast Ali came to us and said that he needs more money from the rooms. I do not know how it finally ended, but we did not pay any extra.

    While I was waiting people to get ready to leave, I was sitting on top of my bike (bike on a side stand) all gear on and I fell asleep!
    Through the sleep I sensed that I am leaning more and more towards right until I realized I am falling. Woke up and realized that I am falling together with the bike!
    There was nothing I could do to keep bike up so down we went together with a chrash…

    Got bike up quickly with help from the others and noticed that side pannier was bended again… These Touratech boxes are too thin from the backside, so at some point I need to find some aluminium plates and maybe welder to make them stronger.

    Ride to the Chinese border was quite boring, except one the lakes was really nice. Scenery there was really “out of this world”.

    We stopped once for a lunch, wanted to have it in a roadside restaurant next to Kala Kulehu-lake, but they wanted to charge entrance fee to get to the restaurant! Price was not high, but just thought that paying entrance fee to get to the restaurant was too much, so we decided to cook our own meals next to the lake few hundred meters away. They lost 12 paying customers at that day…
    After the lunch Jose wanted to go for a swim to a lake, but locals stopped him saying that it was lake where they took drinking water. Not far away where we had lunch was herd of cows next to the shore. Funny is that these cows do not pollute water, but swimming there was forbidden…

    At Chinese border things went normally. Lot of waiting again. We had to carry all our luggage around the building, but no x-raying was done… So, it was just to make tourists to sweat.
    Passport check took ages, but finally bikes were packed and we were ready to leave.
    John started his bike and then one of the officers run to him and shouted “No! No”. Explanation was that we needed to wait someone so that Pakistani officials could escort us to Pakistani side.

    Just when we were ready to leave, Ali came and said that he needs to get more money. He mentioned “maybe you need to stay one more day in China”, someone commented to him that this is real blackmailing. I think border officers heard this and commented something to Ali and after this we got going.

    Slowly we climbed higher and higher and scenery started to get more interesting. High mountains raised in front of us and I felt real excitement in me, Himalayas, here I come!

    We reached Khunjurab Pass (4733m high) without problems. For my surprise bike handled this altitude without any problems.
    At the top we took lot of photos and met Pakistani officials. They were really nice and friendly by welcoming us to Pakistan!

    Road from Khunjurab pass was partly gravel, partly excellent asphalt. Lot of road constructions were ongoing everywhere. Construction workers were smiling and waving their hands to us when we passed them.
    I also noticed clear difference in people´s faces after crossing the border. This was first time on my trip when I see such a clear change in the looks of people after crossing the border.

    Scenery got better further we got.
    Scenery in the alps is gorgeous, but this was totally different. John mentioned it quite well “think about alps and multiply it by ten, then you might have idea of the scenery”.
    I do not have words to describe how it looked like, but cold chills were running on my back when I admired this majestic landscape.

    Some kilometers after Khunjurab pass, John had stopped because his rear wheel bearing started to fail. He still decided to continue further, hoping to reach next village before total failure.
    Well, he did not make it… Luckily local small truck stopped and we loaded his bike to the truck.

    After a ride which I will remember rest of my life we reached Sost and Pakistani border control (distance between Chinese and Pakistani border control is around 200km!) and customs.
    Things went really smoothly in both offices and I got also first stamps to my carnee. Difference between Chinese (west) and Pakistani border officers is like day and night. Pakistani officers were smiley and welcomed us to their country when Chinese did not say anything.

    We found hotel just next to the border control point. Before dinner we changed John´s rear wheel bearing.

    When thinking back of China part of the trip I got a feeling that this was just a mandatory part of the trip to get to Pakistan. Scenery wise this part of China did not offer anything special.
    Paper process was big pain in the a**.
    People were interested of our bikes, but it was really hard to contact with them.
    I have been in eastern China many many times and that area feels like totally different country.

    This was one of the most amazing days in the trip so far!
    Left hotel quite early in the morning knowing that day ride is going to be quite short, but flood lake crossing could take a lot of time.

    Ride to the lake offered again amazing sceneries, few stream crossings and saw also first guns.

    Guys negotiated good price with one boat crew. Loading place was around 5km further down to south. Marco took passenger from this point who guided us to the loading place via really twisty narrow road over a mountain. Ride was quite interesting.

    Once we got to a loading place, there was one small boat on a shore. Boat crew was arranging a narrow ramp to the boat while we removed panniers from the bikes.

    I was wondering how on earth they could fit ten bikes, 12 people and all the luggage to the tiny boat, but after some hairy and scary moments they got all bikes to the boat.
    Boat guys did really big work by lifting the bikes to the boat! Price for that work was small (price was around 15$/bike).

    After everything was loaded, they pushed boat away from the shore. Boat tilted quite much which was damn scary moment! Luckily all the bikes stayed on a boat…
    Two engines were working hard to push this fully loaded boat towards unloading position.

    Sun was baking our heads while we admired blue water and really steep slopes rising from the lake.
    At some point I was thinking what would happen if one of the big rocks would fall to the lake (looked like any of the mountain slopes could collapse in any moment)… Most probably it would create huge wave and sunk our tiny boat immediately together with bikes and passengers…
    Luckily this did not happen and we arrived to the unloading place safely.

    Unloading place was at the point where landslide blocked the river few years ago.
    Landslide had been massive, looked like whole mountain had collapsed!
    I have seen photos of this dam, but seeing this in real really made me realize how huge it really was.

    Unloading process was even scarier process than loading, because bikes needed to be pushed quite much higher than where the boat was.
    I think I bit my hand and toenails while watching process where bikes were lifted to the ramp and then pushed forward. Amazing was that none of the bikes were dropped to the lake…
    I almost wet my pants when guys asked me to start my bike´s engine and put it to a first gear. They thought this would be easier, but after stalling the engine immediately and almost dropping the bike (at this point my heart skipped few beats) they decided to use muscle power to push the bike to the shore.

    Finally all bikes were unloaded safely and we were ready to continue our ride.
    Firstly we needed to ride over this dam. There was several hairpins just to get over it and at this point I also realized the magnitude of the dam…

    Someone suggested that we would stay a night in Eagle´s Nest –hotel in Karimabad. Ride there was quite short and soon we arrived to the village.
    Group was spread all around in Karimabad so I went back to search for missing people. I decided to ride all the way to Eagle´s Nest which was high up in the mountains after several kilometers of twisty narrow mountain road.
    There I met Hose and Pilar, all others had gone for a late lunch down in the village.

    Hotel was nice and scenery even better.
    Spent evening by looking this amazing view down to the valley and mountains on the other side of the valley.

    Woke up to a most amazing scenes in a long long time.
    Massive mountains at the other side of the valley were wishing me a good morning 🙂
    Had rest day in Eagles´t Nest in Karimabad.
    Spent a day by going through hundreds of photos… Maybe I am taking too many photos, but on the other hand, it´s better to have enough where to select decent ones…
    Later in the evening we changed two other bearings to John´s rear tire, because he said that rear wheel is humming.

    Woke up around six this morning (John was already outside fitting his rear tyre) and walked outside to see if everything is going ok with John.

    Things were going on smoothly, so I returned to my room and started packing.
    Music was coming out from my ipod and scenery outside was amazing, I was thinking that this is really unreal… I am in the middle of Himalayas, packing my stuff and listening good music, things could not be much better than this.

    After the breakfast I was ready to go, my hands were itching to get on the road to explore new amazing sceneries.

    We all agreed to meet in Skardu, so I was first to leave.
    I decided to take it slowly today, stop often to take photos etc. Overall distance was only a bit over 300km.

    KKH-road south from Karimabad was still under construction.
    For my opinion, best part of KKH (so far) is north from Karimabad, it is partly paved (perfect asphalt), partly good gravel, partly rough sections.

    I needed to stop for around 15minutes so that recent landslide was cleared. While waiting I was thinking that if there is another landslide, there would not be any chance to avoid it, mountain on one side and huge drop to the river on the other side…

    I stopped around 10km before Gilgit to have a coke (coca cola :)) and had a nice discussion with local police officer.
    After I left this place, I saw graffits which stated something like “Down with USA, biggest killer of muslims, USA and Israel”. I did not stop to take a photo at this point, but I was just wondering what Jeff and Si thinks when they pass this point.

    In Gilgit I planned to stop to get some fuel. Saw one quite questionable looking fuel station and decided to go a bit further. First road to Gilgit was blocked by a fence and stones, so turned back.
    Waited other group close to the intersection and had a nice chat with locals. Saw John to take same road as I had taken before. A bit later Uli and Annaleen appeared and they continued forward.
    I waited still few minutes and then headed towards south to search for fuel.
    Around 5km later I stopped and asked locals where to get fuel. They instructed me to go back to that questionable looking gas station, so there I was few minutes later. Got only 10 litres of fuel, because I thought that I will refuel then in Skardu.

    KKH road was blocked south from Gilgit and finding a route around the block required a bit more discussion with locals.

    Finally I got around it by crossing river via small temporary bridge.
    KKH south from Gilgit was under construction and quite rough.

    30km later I turned towards Skardu. Passed small bridge and had a chat with bridge police. It is so nice here, because people speak English!
    I knew that road to Skardu would be quite narrow (only one lane) and partly rough, but I had plenty of time.

    Stopped several times to take some photos and then Max and Lucas (from Poland) catched me. We rode together roughly 1 hour to have a lunch break.
    Just when we finished, John appeared, so we decided to ride together towards Skardu.

    Further we got, more amazing road got. I was thinking that this is actually more amazing road than KKH!
    Long drop to the Indus-river on one side and steep mountain on the other side. Road has been carved in to the edge of mountain almost all the way, I cannot even estimate how long time making of this road has taken.

    On a way to Skardu we needed to stop several times to a police checkpoints, but there we just wrote our information to the paper and were allowed to continue.

    About 90km before Skardu, we had around 2 hours time before sunset and decided to keep ongoing and forget photographing for the rest of the ride.

    John was riding in front and I followed him close.
    Ride was really really nice in gorgeous mountain scenery.
    Once John hit huge water puddle and splashed water everywhere, I was able to slow down in time not to get totally wet 🙂

    We did not make it to Skardu before sunset, but luckily only last 10km we had to ride in darkness.

    We found recommended hotel after asking help from the locals. One guy hopped on top of his bike and guided us to the hotel. These people are really helpful and nice!

    Even the road to Skardu is only around 180km long, I would recommend that you start from Gilgit and reserve whole day to ride/drive this road. Average speed is really slow because you really want to stop often to take photos. There are also lot of local trucks that you need to pass. Average speed is only aroun 30km/h with all these issues.
    Road itself is a MUST ride, so if you are in the area, do not miss this road! Once again, do NOT miss this road 🙂

    Internet connection here is surprisingly fast, so been writing this blog update and tomorrow will head to somewhere 😉

    Overall comments of the countries:

    Beautifull country and nice people. Could have easily spent few weeks more in here. Chinese are building really good roads.

    China (western):
    Have a bit bad taste of the western China… Mix feeling regarding people, some where nice and some were really rude. Main feeling on top of my mind is that “we were not welcomed to China”.

    Ride still continues in Pakistan…
    People so far have been extremely polite and helpful. Most of the people speak engilsh! Scenery is majestic, massive and breathtaking. I do not have enough words to describe the scenery and I am afraid that my photos are not even close to enough to show the actual beauty of this country (so far)

    7 thoughts on “From Kyrgyzstan to Skardu, Pakistan via China

    1. Wow, now we have got the missing part of this blog, what a story! So, are these days the biggest adventures and best scenery for you so far? Feeling really sorry and ashamed for your unpleasant experience in China…

      • Hi E,

        From that part of the story, yes. Biggest adventure so far.
        Scenery has been absolutely amazing.
        No need to be sorry and ashamed, things do not always go as planned 🙂
        Now in Islamabad, trying to add rest of the photos tonight.


      • Hi Jarmo,

        Did not do anything else for the suspension than reduced rebound a lot.
        I can ride with the bike now, but once I reach Bangkok, I will take suspension to Öhlins service.


    2. Hi Marco,

      one more time to say thank you for let us join your adventure. Nice pics as always.
      Next 3 weeks i am off – spending my time with some old friends on a bare charter sailingboat at the coast of Montenegro. Barely no access to the net.
      Take care and have fun!
      cheerio Joachim

      • Hi Joachim,

        Now real adventure is ongoing.
        Staying in hotel with a British biker and we have 5 armed guards protecting us here, but more about this in the future update.
        Have a nice holiday!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *