Biking off the beaten track: Pakistan adventure motorcycle tour
Ride between some of the world’s highest mountains on the famed Karakoram Highway. Maneuver switchbacks on mountain passes more than 3,500m above sea level. Follow glacial rivers to hidden valleys.
And then some.
In two weeks of riding on our Pakistan adventure motorcycle tour, you’ll encounter more landscapes, cultures, and questionable roads than you ever thought possible in such a short time span. Trust us: there are few road trips in the world that can compare. Join us and see for yourself!
Why this Pakistan adventure motorcycle tour?
Our motorcycle tour will take you to the most popular tourist sights and go off the beaten track, well beyond what most first-time tourists see. You’ll visit the Pakistani side of the disputed Kashmir region, experience peaceful Ismaili communities in the villages of Hunza, bike past shepherds and their flocks in the Hindu Kush mountains, meet the (literally) colorful and unique Kalasha people in their secreted valleys, and weave through streets crowded with rickshaws and vendors in Mardan.
Who can come on this bike tour?
We don’t discriminate! Any person of any gender, nationality, and age can come on this trip, so long as you know how to ride a motorcycle. All we ask is that you have good senses of adventure, humor, and don’t mind a little change of plan now and then.
Perks of coming on this Pakistan adventure motorcycle tour
- New bikes: You’ll be on a 2022 Suzuki GS 150. The small but sturdy local favorite is, in our opinion and experience, the best motorcycle for traveling in Pakistan.
- Small group: Group size is purposefully small for a more intimate experience… and less chaos on the road.
- Group mechanic: A qualified mechanic and backup truck will come with us the whole way. No need to worry about breakdowns or loading luggage (unless you want to). Plus, if your butt/back/belly/soul isn’t feeling it for a day the passenger seat is yours.
- Diverse experience: You’ll see a wide range of cultures and regions on our Pakistan adventure motorcycle tour, not just Islamabad and the Karakoram Highway.
- Photography: Alex is a photographer and we both like flying drones – your vacation photo album will be happy.
Who’s leading this Pakistan bike tour?
This tour is run by two bikers who know Pakistan like the back of their hand and are always up for an adventure.
Sanaullah (Sana) is from western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He’s biked literally all the way from one end of the country to the other in between working as a security expert for the UN and British High Commission. These days, he heads his own adventure tour company, Coyote Trail. He knows everything there is to know about Pakistan, has a devious sense of humor, and is a menace on a motorcycle. In a good way. Usually.
Alexandra (Alex) is a solo female traveler, writer, and photographer from the United States. She began traveling Pakistan in 2016, and started leading tours in 2019. Despite how unusual it is for women in Pakistan to ride bikes, she went on the first of many motorcycle trips in Pakistan in 2018, and has since been asked if she’s a man more times than she can count.
Bring your own gear: $2350 per person
Have your own helmet and safety kit that you know and love? Bring it along, we’ll cover everything else.
Give me everything: $2500 per person
Includes everything: motorcycle, helmet, safety gear, and all the basic tour stuff.
Couples and friends: $4250 for two people
($4500 with helmet + safety kit)
Want to ride together on one bike? No problem! +1s can also ride in the backup vehicle if desired.
- Rental of a 2022 motorcycle
- Accommodation at locally-owned guesthouses during tour dates
- All meals
- Drinking water
- Tickets and park entry fees
- Local and foreign tour leaders
- Letter of invitation for your visa
- Airport transfer
- Mechanic and backup vehicle
- [Paid extra] helmet rental
- [Paid extra] body armor
What’s not included
- Motorcycle and travel insurance
- Damages to the motorcycle
- Comms devices
- Plane tickets
- Visa fees
- Accommodation or transportation before and after the tour dates
To secure your spot on our Pakistan adventure motorcycle tour, all you have to do is pay a $500 deposit via bank transfer. The remainder you can either pay two weeks before the trip, or bring US dollars when you come to Pakistan.
Itinerary: where are we going?
Arrival in Islamabad. Many international flights arrive late at night, so there’s not much to do this day. Feel free to come several days earlier, though!
We’ll roam around Islamabad and its surrounds so you can get used to your new motorcycle… and the way Pakistanis drive.
Strike out into the foothills of the Himalayas, dipping into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir before following the river to Naran, a town tucked between green, forested mountains.
Feel the chill as we climb twisty roads to Babusar Top, the 4,173m (13,691) mountain pass into Gilgit-Baltistan. It’s only open for a few months every year! We’ll then descend and connect with the famous Karakoram Highway, pushing all the way to the sweeping Hunza Valley.
Visit Hunza’s hilltop forts to get an introduction to the region, then we’ll ride up the Karakoram Highway to Passu, one of the oldest villages in Hunza with some of the best views in the region.
No need to pack up just yet—we’ll spend the day driving up to Khunjerab Pass, the northern tip of Pakistan and highest paved border crossing in the world at 4,693m (15,397 ft) above sea level.
Head back down the KKH, then veer off to the east to enter the quiet Ghizer district, one of our favorites in the north. We’ll rest our heads in Ishkoman, a side valley in Ghizer.
We’ll ride along the rushing Gilgit River to Phander Valley, a little mountain village around a lake of the same name. If you’re lucky, it might be warm enough to take a dip in the lake!
Let the offroading adventures begin! The paved road stops shortly after Phander, then it’s all dirt and gravel until Chitral. The track will lead us up and over the 3,738m (12,263ft) Shandur Pass, AKA the “Roof of the World” that hosts the world’s highest polo festival every year.
Don’t get the names mixed up—Qaqlasht is an area of green alpine meadows near Booni, while Kalash is an area spanning 3 small, rocky valleys that are home to one of Pakistan’s most intriguing minority groups.
Rest up and give your back a break in the peaceful Kalash valleys as you learn more about the colorful culture and curious history of the Kalasha people, believed by scientists to be descendants of the armies of Alexander the Great.
Back to the heat of the plains we go! Driving south and out of the mountains, we’ll break our journey back to Islamabad with a stopover in Mardan. If you can bear the heat, we can do some sightseeing… but if not, lounging in AC is a perfectly acceptable pastime.
Time to close the loop on Pakistan adventure motorcycle tour! We’ll head along the winding green Haripur road, passing Pakistan’s largest dam, Tarbela, before returning to Islamabad.
A buffer day in case of landslides earlier in the trip, or a relaxed day for shopping, COVID tests if necessary, and/or vegetation before your night flight out.