Road travel to GB
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Oct 15, 2012 6:29 AM Last Post By: k2_heights
Sep 6, 2012 11:54 PM
Road travel to GBHey all - quick question about current road travel to GB - getting a lot of conflicting reports so anyone nearer to the north than I am currently able to help? Driving to Gilgit - is this now done in a convoy? A few people here have said convoys are being organised re the recent shootings, to make sure vehicles are in groups. Guess they're banking on safety in numbers. Assuming this is adding a lot of travel time to the journey? Any estimates on current drive time ISB - Gilgit? Also - the perennial question - does anyone know of a good, inexpensive car-hire company who will do the drive? Looking at a possible drive to Gilgit and then drive over the Shandhur so just checking on prices for both trips. Flights to Gilgit seem to be booked until October and they're not keen to fly to Skardu and drive down. Thanks as always, and bests, Beck
Sep 7, 2012 12:30 AM
Sep 7, 2012 1:21 AM
Sep 7, 2012 2:55 AM
Sep 7, 2012 5:20 AM
4When I rode up in May ( not long after the Chilas attack ) we were not in convoy, nor was anyone else. What they may be doing with buses is forming them into convoys for the drive through Kohistan, this is where we had a heavily armed police escort, through Besham, although, strangely enough, not as far as Chilas. You are not driving in convoy all the way from Islbd to Gilgit. I would advise against travelling on a Friday, as there are regular and sometimes violent protests in Chilas town, we ( and everyone else) were delayed for 5 hrs at the police checkpoint on the way in, however we were not escorted nor formed into a convoy for the drive through and past the gory remains of burnt out buses !
Sep 7, 2012 7:52 AM
Sep 8, 2012 1:24 AM
Sep 10, 2012 11:45 PM
I'm now in Kyrgyzstan with my friend and we were due to go thru KKH to India after two-three weeks. I sent an email to a trekking agency we used to get the invitations. They are based in Gilgit and their response was the following:
"There was more tension in Gilgit recently and the city was under curfew, but it is now open again. The tensions was between the two sects and was directed at foreigners, but it has caused problems for travel. Unfortunately, there is only one road from the China border and it passes through Gilgit. You do not need to stay in Gilgit, but there is no alternate route. You drive to Skardu from Gilgit if you want to avoid the southern portion of the KKH, but the flights are not reliable.
Overall, tourism in Gilgit Baltistan is still safe and I think you will enjoy your visit. Places like Hunza and Skardu are very peaceful."
I think this is way more positive review than the Pakistani news give you. In GB-based news agencies report on curfews, Gilgit being completely cut off from rest of the Pakistan and there may be food and medicine shortages going on.
What do you see is a good choice here? Pakistan would be very important leg in our overland journey and other option (going round China or crossing Xinjiang and then Tibet) may not be plausible either.
Sep 11, 2012 6:56 AM
Sep 15, 2012 7:36 AM
10It is extremely dangerous to visit alone to Gilgit. According to my friend who are journalist and he is also from Gilgit, told me that leaders of the both rivals groups reached in an agreement and both group will play role for the peace in GB.
Sep 16, 2012 3:43 AM
11In light of todays bombing in lower Dir, you might want to rethink any plans for travelling Chitral-Peshawar.
Sep 16, 2012 10:38 AM
12I was in Gilgit a few days ago. Very heavy police/army presence at every junction, but peaceful in town. There were a couple of maybe sectarian murders but no threat to tourists. It feels much more safe than Chilas and Dasu, where I was spat on whilst riding through on my motorbike.
South of the Skardu turn off, I had compulsory armed escorts. Luckily I didn't have to go with the coaches but was a range of boy soldiers on 125cc bikes, or pickups with machine guns mounted on the back. This was on and off for over 150kms.
Tonight i'm in Basham, and the checkpoints here wanted an NOC although I thought it wasn't needed for the KKH but maybe things have changed. Staying in the PTDC motel, and are curfewed, have to be collected by armed escort in the morning. Armed cops are staying in the lobby. I've lost count at the amount of checkpoints where i've had to enter all my passport details. Its slow going.
Tourists are being turned away from the Babushar pass, a couple I spoke to say the 7 vehicles in front were ambushed, although I know of one solo motorbiker who got through a few days ago.
Now there is a severe storm, wondering how many landslides I will find between here and islamabad in the morning!
Sep 17, 2012 6:10 AM
13You've done the worst bit roadwise ( Gilgit-Chilas), Besham-Islbd is pretty decent surface.I have to say, that in 6 weeks riding around NWFP, Besham was the only place that we felt nervous, regarding personal safety, even around Dir/Swat/Peshawar, we never felt threatened They'll escort you down to the Kohistan border,( about 80Klms ) then turn you loose on the road to Chattar plain, these are good roads. If you have a day spare, turn off at Abbottabad and take the road up to Nathia Galle, ( a lovely little hill station, up in the pine forests) it's a beautiful run and you can pick up the road back down to Islbd past Muree, avoiding the worst of the traffic. Also if you ask politely they should allow you onto the new Motorway from Islbd-Lahore (normally closed to motorcycles),as the old Grand Trunk (GT road) is a nightmare, at least we managed it, so it is possible !
Good luck. UB.
Sep 22, 2012 3:41 AM
14Does somebody have any info on flights Gilgit-Pindi? How much are those flights and are there any chances to get a seat in one?
We're going to KKH with my friend from China in 1-2 weeks but we're still uneasy about it. I think we go to Hunza to see the situation and decide after that. Fortunately we have double entry visas to China.
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