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HomeRoad TripsAsiaEast AsiaChinaEpic Karakoram Highway
Karakoram

Epic Karakoram Highway

Kashgar - Taxkorgan - Khunjerab Pass - Gilgit - Jalkhad - Mansehra - Islamabad

Expect on your itinerary

Landscape Landscape
Road conditions Road conditions
Benefit-stress ratio Benefit-stress ratio
Culture Culture
Historical sites Historical sites
Security Security
Wildlife Wildlife
Urban life Urban life
Epic Karakoram Highway ACTIVATE MAP Stages6 km1,176 h/stage3.0

Best months to drive

I II III IV V VI
VII VIII IX X XI XII

Road Trip Costs

How much does it cost to go on a Epic Karakoram Highway in China?

Economy
Low budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 1,080EUR drive & more 163EUR sleep & more 275EUR eat & more 288EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 726EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 1,806EUR
Standard
Mid budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 3,240EUR drive & more 213EUR sleep & more 473EUR eat & more 432EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,118EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 4,358EUR
Premium
High budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 4,536EUR drive & more 288EUR sleep & more 1,034EUR eat & more 576EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,898EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 6,434EUR
Camper
On the road in RV, overnight at camp grounds with self-catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 1,350EUR drive & more 313EUR sleep & more 330EUR eat & more 288EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 931EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 2,281EUR
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Epic Karakoram Highway Road Trip Itinerary

Experience the Epic Karakoram Highway, a road trip that spans 1176 km and takes you from Kashgar, China to Islamabad, Pakistan. This six-day journey is best taken during the summer months, when the weather is most favorable. Along the way, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the Karakoram mountain range, lush green valleys, and the Hunza River. You will also pass through the towns of Taxkorgan, Gilgit, and Mansehra, each of which offer a unique experience. The road conditions are excellent, and the scenery is breathtaking. However, you should be aware that there are border crossings along the route, and that road closures due to weather conditions may occur. With a reasonable budget, this road trip provides an unforgettable experience that is suitable for all drivers. Enjoy the Epic Karakoram Highway and make memories that will last a lifetime.
number of days 6 number of days
route length 1,176 km route length
budget moderate budget
good for explorer good for
traffic direction on the right traffic direction
accident level high accident level

START Kashgar

Distance 1,176 km Driving time 18.0 h Pace: fast 352.8 kWh Airports KHG
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Kashgar is a city in the western part of China, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is an ancient city, one of the key points on the Silk Road and the starting point for the Epic Karakoram Highway road trip. This city is a beautiful mix of cultures, religions and languages. Kashgar has much to offer to travelers, making it a great place to start your journey. You should certainly visit the Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China, and the Ancient City of Kashgar with its unique architecture. In the old town, you can find the traditional bazaar where you can find all kinds of goods, from spices to carpets. If you are looking for something more adventurous, you can explore the beautiful surroundings of the city, with its valleys and mountains. Kashgar is accessible by air from the Diwopu International Airport (KHG), located 21 kilometers from the city center. There are car rental services available at the airport, making it a great option for exploring the city and the region around it. Kashgar is an amazing city and a great starting point for the Epic Karakoram Highway road trip. With its unique culture, breathtaking scenery and friendly locals, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

1 Kashgar - Taxkorgan

Distance 287 km Driving time 4.3 h Pace: fast 86.1 kWh View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road junction of road trips
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Embark on an adventurous road trip from Kashgar, China to Taxkorgan! This 287 km drive will take you less than 5 hours and you will be mesmerized by the stunning scenery along the way. Start your journey in Kashgar, a city in western China, with a rich history and culture. Visit the Sunday Market, the largest outdoor market in Central Asia, and the Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China. Don't forget to try the delicious local cuisine at the restaurants in the old city. Continue your journey to Taxkorgan, a county in the far northwest of China. Here, you will find the stunning Tajik Autonomous County of Taxkorgan, a beautiful area with snow-capped mountains, lush meadows, and pristine lakes. Visit the Taxkorgan Nature Reserve, the largest nature reserve in Xinjiang, and the Karez Well, an ancient irrigation system. Along the way, don't forget to take in the breathtaking scenery of the Karakoram Highway, the highest paved international highway in the world. Make sure to take plenty of pictures and videos to remember this amazing journey! For more information on attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, check the Itinerary of this stage.

2 Taxkorgan - Khunjerab Pass

Distance 128 km Driving time 2.0 h Pace: fast 38.3 kWh View map Itinerary
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Are you ready to start a thrilling road trip from Taxkorgan, China to Khunjerab Pass? This 128km journey will take you less than 2 hours and will take you across the state border. The route is full of scenic views and you will have to be careful as some sections may be closed seasonally. Be prepared for some steep ramps along the way! This is just one stage of a larger tour, so make sure to check the itinerary for more information on attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route. Get ready for a memorable journey and have a safe trip!

3 Khunjerab Pass - Gilgit

Distance 272 km Driving time 4.6 h Pace: modest 70.7 kWh View map Itinerary
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Are you ready for an unforgettable road trip from Khunjerab Pass, Pakistan to Gilgit? This 272 km drive will take you fewer than 5 hours, offering you a unique opportunity to explore the scenic roads, steep ramps, and seasonal closures of the region. Along the way, you will be able to visit the Karakoram Highway, the highest paved international road in the world. The Karakoram Highway offers stunning views of the mountain ranges, glaciers, and valleys of the Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges. In Gilgit, you can explore the ancient city of Hunza, located at the confluence of the Hunza and Gilgit rivers. Hunza is home to the historic Baltit Fort, one of the oldest fortresses in the region. You can also explore the nearby Altit Fort, which is perched high on a mountain above the Hunza Valley. Finally, you can visit the beautiful Naltar Valley, which is known for its alpine lakes, pine forests, and breathtaking views of the Karakoram mountains. For more information on attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please refer to the “Itinerary” of this stage. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

4 Gilgit - Jalkhad

Distance 177 km Driving time 2.8 h Pace: fast 53.0 kWh View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road sections of steep road junction of road trips
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Embark on a magnificent road trip from Gilgit to Jalkhad! This 177km journey will take you less than 3 hours to complete, and you will be rewarded with stunning views of the majestic mountain ranges. Along the way, you will pass through steep ramps and winding roads, so keep your eyes wide open and enjoy the scenic beauty that the area has to offer. Make sure to take enough breaks to make the most of your journey, and remember to stay safe on the road. If you're looking for a place to stop and explore, the ancient town of Gilgit is a great place to start your journey. Here, you can explore the centuries-old mosques, bazaars, and forts. You can also visit the nearby Karakoram Pass, one of the highest mountain passes in the world. Once you reach Jalkhad, you can visit the beautiful lake of Satpara, where you can take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters. You can also explore the nearby villages and take in the breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains. For more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please refer to the "Itinerary" of this stage. Enjoy your journey!

5 Jalkhad - Mansehra

Distance 164 km Driving time 2.4 h Pace: fast 49.1 kWh View map Itinerary
dining venues
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Embark on a thrilling road trip from Jalkhad to Mansehra, Pakistan! This 164km journey is sure to be filled with stunning views and interesting stops. Drive through the winding roads of Jalkhad and take in the majestic views of the lush green hills. Stop for a refreshing cup of tea at the local tea stall, then continue your journey towards Mansehra. On your way, you can visit the ancient temple of Katas Raj, a complex of Hindu temples believed to be over 3000 years old. Take a break from the drive and explore the complex, admiring the intricate architecture and artwork. Continue your journey to Mansehra, where you can visit the ancient ruins of the Gandhara civilization. The ruins are a great example of the ancient civilization that flourished in the region. This is just one stage of a larger tour, and more information regarding attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route is available in the "Itinerary" of this stage. With a driving time of fewer than 3 hours, this road trip is sure to be a memorable journey!

6 Mansehra - Islamabad

Distance 149 km Driving time 1.9 h Pace: fast 44.7 kWh View map Itinerary
dining venues junction of road trips accommodation options
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Embark on an adventure of a lifetime and experience the beauty of the Northern Areas of Pakistan on this 149 km road trip from Mansehra to Islamabad. The drive will take less than two hours, offering a scenic journey for all travelers. Start your journey in Mansehra, a city known for its historical and cultural heritage. Visit the shrines of Hazrat Baba Rehmatullah and Baba Umer Farooq, the old fort of Balakot, and the beautiful Shogran Valley. As you travel towards Islamabad, make sure you stop in Abbottabad, a city known for its colonial-era buildings, the Thandiani Hills, and the Ilyasi Mosque. Finally, arrive in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, a vibrant city with many attractions. Explore the Faisal Mosque, the National Monument, the Shakarparian Hills, and the Daman-e-Koh Viewpoint. For more information on attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please refer to the ‘Itinerary’ section of this stage. Happy travels!

  Islamabad

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At the end of the Epic Karakoram Highway road trip lies Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Nestled between the Margalla Hills and the Pothohar Plateau, the city offers many interesting places to explore. The main attraction of Islamabad is the Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in South Asia. It is a magnificent structure with four minarets and a huge courtyard. The National Art Gallery and the Lok Virsa Museum, both located in the Shakarparian Hills, are a must-see for art and history enthusiasts. For a fun day out, head to the Marghazar Zoo, home to a wide variety of animals. The Daman-e-Koh Viewpoint is a great place to watch the sunset. Foodies can enjoy the city’s many restaurants serving traditional Pakistani cuisine. For international travelers, the closest international airport is Islamabad International Airport (ISB). From there, the city is easily accessible by car. Whether you’re looking for a short day trip or a longer stay, Islamabad is the perfect destination to end your Epic Karakoram Highway road trip.

Epic Karakoram Highway Road Trip at a glance

We have no doubt that our journey will become a great inspiration for your future holidays.
The itinerary we’ve suggested can be used as a foundation that you can recreate in its entirety or only partially and that can be enriched with diverse highlights of your choice.
If you are planning on travelling by car in China, there are a number of vital road rules to follow and a bunch of elements to bear in mind to make your journey smooth and safe. These tips will surely become useful for holidayers who are interested in vehicle rental or hiring a camper.
In China, there are a number of traffic rules to be remembered while travelling. Alcohol is best to be avoided at any cost while moving in a car around China. Travellers should remember that the legal alcohol limit for drivers is very low and is only 0.2‰. You can drive at the maximum speed of 60km/h when driving around the the city streets. In undeveloped areas, holidayers can travel at the maximum allowed speed of 80km/h. Avoid exceeding the speed limit of 120km/h while on highways. In order to stay safe, it is best to drive with your headlights on at daytime and equip your vehicle with a first aid kit and fire extinguisher.
One of the decisive factors when scheduling an itinerary is costs. The budget option that you go for determines the amount of money that you have to spend during the whole tour. A wide range of budget possibilities is showed below.
We estimate that the budget option when it comes to fuel to cover the planned 1,176km across China may cost approximately 163 EUR. Within the economy offer, accommodation will cost roughly 275 EUR. If this option is your target, you will spend around 288 EUR on food and restaurants. Travellers will have to pay about 1,080 EUR if they are interested in the cheapest rental car option as well. Thus, the estimated cost of the whole trip will amount to 726 EUR if you are interested in the option without car rental and 1,806 EUR if you will rent a vehicle.
Tourists who are looking for greater comfort and the standard option will pay around 213 EUR for the fuel needed to cover the trip. Cost amounting to 473 EUR can be expected by all holidayers who are considering standard accommodation. The slightly increased standard in comparison to the budget option entails expenditures amounting to more or less 432 EUR. Travellers who want to cover the trip in a standard rental car should expect a cost of around 3,240 EUR. Drivers who would like to rent a car will pay roughly 4,358 EUR for the whole road trip, whereas those who are not interested in car hire will spend about 1,118 EUR.
The highest level of comfort of the premium option will come up to the expectations of the most demanding holidayers. Drivers who would like to rent a car will pay roughly 6,434 EUR for the whole trip, whereas those who are not interested in car rental will spend about 1,898 EUR. Travellers who would like to cover the tour in a premium hire car should expect a cost of about 4,536 EUR. When it comes to the top standard option of the itinerary, the gasoline cost will be up to more or less 288 EUR. Travellers who opt for top services in all aspects of their road trip should expect to pay approximately 1,034 EUR for accommodation and more or less 576 EUR for food and restaurants.
Our trip can be easily adjusted to the expectations of all camper enthusiasts. If you choose this transport option, you should expect the costs of around 1,350 EUR. You will spend about 313 EUR on gasoline allowing to cover all stages of the road trip. Holidaymakers who are interested in camper hire should expect to pay about 330 EUR for overnight stays and around 288 EUR for expenses connected with food.
The Road Trip Costs section shows all the above details in a straightforward manner.
The part of China presented in our Epic Karakoram Highway is superb to be explored between May and October. There are numerous beautiful road trips and scenic drives that we offer on our website if you like Epic Karakoram Highway. We hope that the wide spectrum of ideas will definitely meet the expectations of the most demanding holidayers.

Facts for safer driving in China

drink drive limit drink drive limit 0.2
max speed urban max speed urban 60 km/h
max speed rural max speed rural 80 km/h
max speed highway max speed highway 120 km/h
headlights at daytime headlights at daytime on
fire extinguisher fire extinguisher yes
tolls tolls yes
seat belts seat belts yes

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