Karakoram Highway ​- the highest and most beautiful highway in the world

​​​​​​​​​​Last Update: 17th October 2020

The Karakoram Highway starts north from Kashgar, passes through the Karakoram Mountains, the Hindu Kush Mountains, the Pamirs, the western end of the Himalayas and the China-Pakistan border port, the Khunjerab Pass, and the south to the north of Pakistan. It stretches for 416 kilometers across China and 616 kilometers across Pakistan. Known as the highest and most beautiful highway in the world, the Karakoram Highway has also been named one of the top ten dangerous highways in the world.

Karakoram HighwayFast Facts

  • Chinese Name: Ka La Kun Lun Gonglu (喀喇昆仑公路)
  • Length: 416 kms (across China)
  • Things to do th​ere: Photography, Adventure, Driving, Nature
  • Who visits: Photographers, Adventure Enthusiasts
  • Time required: 1 – 2 x days

What to expect at the Karakoram Highway

Through the 12-years efforts of Chinese and Pakistanis, Karakoram Highway was fully opened to traffic in 1978. In May, 1986, it was opened to tourists. Along the highway across China, you will get the one-of-a-kind travel experience. Countless snow-covered mountains and stunning glaciers always come to your sight. Gobi along the highway is dotted with various types of bushes. The highway will lead you to valleys, snow-covered mountains, grasslands, villages, etc. Some sections of the highway are just on the steep cliffs.

You will see alpine valleys with the sky-blue lakes. Sand Lake is one of them. It is a feast for your eyes. Kongur Tiube stands by the south bank of the lake. 7,719 meters above sea level, the pyramid mountain consists almost entirely of rocks and ice. The snow line on the mountain is very low, and the glaciers wind down the steep valley.

White Sand Mountain is situated by the north bank of Sand Lake. It is composed of more than hills. Some of them look like the pyramids, some are like the European architecture, while the whole mountain looks like a silver dragon lying on the blue sea.

Best time to visit the Karakoram Highway

The best months to explore Karakoram Highway are from May to September.

How to get to the Karakoram Highway

The starting point of Karakoram Highway in China is Kashgar. Thus, you should first get to Kashgar. You could fly to Kashgar from Guangzhou, Xi’an, Urumqi, Hongkong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Chengdu and Chongqing. Between Islamabad and Kashgar, there are also direct flights.

Or take a train to Kashgar from Zhangye, Xi’an, Chengdu, Turpan, Urumqi, etc.

Additional Karakoram Highway Travel Advice

  • Khunjerab Pass is just open from May to October.
  • Please take a map of Karakoram Highway with you if you would like to explore it by car.
  • Those who are suffering from heart diseases, high blood pressure, various respiratory diseases, high myopia, pathological myopia and severe gastrointestinal diseases and those who had high altitude heart disease, severe high altitude coma, high altitude pulmonary edema, significant altitude sickness, high altitude hypertension and high altitude polycythemia are not recommended to explore the highway.
  • If you have altitude sickness on the way, please take much rest.
  • Please take enough warm clothes due to the high altitude.
  • Children under 10 years old are not suggested to explore the highway either.
  • Please take enough oxygen bags.
  • Please do enough exercises 1 month prior to the exploration at least.
  • It is suggested to take some aspirin, cold medicine, aminophylline, Rhodiola Soft Capsule, vitamin tablets, and other necessary medicines.
  • It is not recommended that you drink wine in the first 3 days when you get to the high altitude area.
  • It is important to get enough sleep to avoid high altitude sickness in the high altitude area.

Interested in visiting the Karakoram Highway on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours including the Karakoram Highway, among other attractions and destinations. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.