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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Asianrider, Apr 19, 2019.
Hell yes looking forward to more
Here's a map to get an overview of where this is happening with my track in red:
You can see how close this area is to Afghanistan and to Tajikistan (Pamir). In fact, it's easy to se how the "normal" way to Chitral is along the river from Afghanistan, where the Lower pas road is much more difficult. Also, the Yarkhun valley road used to be a good transit road to and from Pamir and Central Asia. But nowadays the passes through Afghanistan are closed and the only other road connecting Chitral is the Shandur pass road, leading to Gilgit. That's where I'm headed to.
Thanks so much for this. I'm heading to Pakistan for a month of riding in September, this is definitely getting me excited!
@BCPilotguy Excellent, you'll have a blast, September is a great time.
Before leaving for the long road ahead off me toward Mastuj, I spot these mangoes on the side of the road. Hmmm..
It's hot and dirty.. must resist the temptation.. damn, I've got a full tank of gasoline, a six-pack of toilet paper and I'm wearing sunglasses.. hit it!
The road out of town is still paved and pretty good. The views are amazing.
But before long the road turns to dirt.
Nothing to complain about, the little 150 is making its way surely if a little slowly for my taste.. Shortly before Booni I see a road forking left. I have a look at the map. It's going up the other river, the Rich Gol. I decide to make a little detour.
See theses little villages up there ? let's go see if they have a bar with a terrasse.. the road is pretty steep and crappy but I manage to get there. The altitude is 2400m, about 400m above the river. It's still hot. I leave my bike at the end of the road, there are only children playing. Everybody is at the mosque.
I take my camera and go for a walk. The view is beautiful toward the mountains. Not a bad place to live.
There's nothing much to do here; it's Friday and all the locals at the mosque. And no beer. Let's head back.
It's supposed to be good hiking country. I can believe that, the views are great.
Back on the road, I make a little detour to Booni village, hoping to grab something to eat. After looking around I'm directed to a hotel in the bazaar, but they don't do lunch on Friday, I think. So I buy a pack of cookies and eat it on the street next to the jeep stop. A guy cames to talk to me, he's waiting for a jeep to show up to head back to his place.
After Booni the road turns into a small dirt track that hugs the river. It's in REALLY bad shape and me and my little bike take a beating.
I have to skirt around the huge potholes and avoid the big rocks. The suspensions hopeless, my back does all the work. Boy did I wish I had a proper bike !
But I feel for these poor guys in jeeps who are being banged around for hours. There's not much traffic, mostly jeeps as normal cars would quickly break apart here.
Beautiful views make up for the bad road though.
Finally I reach the bridge across from Mastuj (it's on the left bank of the river). There's a police checkpoint where they take my details. No fuss.
Mastuj feels like a frontier town, far from everything and feeling almost abandoned.
I get myself a room in a rundown guesthouse. I meet two Croatian guys who have rented bikes in Gilgit and doing the road in reverse. With a catch: one of them is riding pillion behind the tour guide... ouch !
I'm pretty knackered so I go to sleep after a quick rice and vegetables in a small shack in the bazaar. Tomorrow I'll get over Shandur pass.
Those damn plants grow like weeds everywhere......
Just wondering. Over east in the Indian Baltistan it was really tough getting vegetarian meals. How was the non meat menus in Pak?
Yes, Pakistan is the land of opportunity boys, or should I say gullible sheeps? You're as likely to have your head severed off as not.
"Indian Baltistan" is a peculiar name. Baltistan does not extend over India. I guess you mean Ladakh ?
I didn't really pay attention to this kind of details, but one thing for sure, dal (lentils) and rice and or chappatis is ubiquitous so that should get you covered. Variations thereof with chickpeas or beans are also common. But the muslims are not particularly vegetarians, unlike Hindus.
I've got a hard time getting your point, can you elaborate ? or maybe not, you can also DM me.
really enjoying your report. Fantastic.
My grandfather was in that area for 8yrs at turn of 1900's.
The rest of us want to hear neckbracebob's point also.
I think it's a case of what someone said earlier in the thread - about perspective. Glasses can either be half full or half empty.
I can certainly think of a fair few places in the US where if you aren't of the local ethnicity - neckbracebob's quote might also apply. [There will no doubt be numerous similar places around the world.]
Does that make the rest of the US [or those other countries] like that? I believe not.
I'd take the experiences of someone who's been there - or currently there - over anyone who hasn't. Nonetheless be interesting to hear neckbracebob elaborate on the original quote.
On a related note - in the past I traveled to Kalam, coming out of the capital and it was beautiful to say the least. One thing I do remember was coming up to checkpoint and what my friend's uncle said after we were waved thru - he mentioned that the old customs of hospitality dictated that strangers were not "interfered" with and treated well.
Obviously as time passes such traditions weaken but where the OP is - they likely hold very strong.
Enjoying the RR!
Not really. Just as the Punjab was divided by partition between Pakistan and India, so too was Baltistan forcibly divided. When I was on the Indian side, people the still called their home Baltistan.
Quote from https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Kargil_War
Before the Partition of India in 1947, Kargil belonged to Gilgit-Baltistan, a region of diverse linguistic, ethnic and religious groups, due in part to the many isolated valleys separated by some of the world's highest mountains. The First Kashmir War (1947–1948) resulted in most of the Kargil region remaining an Indian territory; then, after Pakistan's defeat in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the remaining areas, including strategic military posts, also passed into Indian territory. Notably, Kargil alone has a Muslim majority among the district in the Ladakh subdivision. The town and district of Kargil sits in Jammu and Kashmir.
Love the ride report, the history and learning about other cultures!
Well I'm no vegetarian (I don't eat lots of meat though and usually opt for vegeterian stuff)
back in 2001 when I travelled through pakistan (Essentially - with a few differences - the opposite route from what @Asianrider is doing..)... there was plenty of dhal (lentils), rice and potato based stuff...
The poorer the region, the more basic the food gets. doesn't mean bad though - I've eaten rather well and tasty in pakistan.
The curries though are often meat based (lamb, chicken)... and then there's the flat bread that is cheese "filled"... mmmmhh.
in the "Cities" that are like Lahore or Islamabad, you'll find quite a variety, up north in the mountain ranges I've had my fill of dhal bat (lentils & rice, sometimes potatos)
I mean sure, you can get killed in a ton of places WORLD WIDE...
but frankly, in 2001 (yes, after 9/11) when I was travelling through asia and at the time travelling through pakistan, I can only say that I was never treated badly or saw myself facing the danger of being abducted, having my head severed, shot or any other such thing.... actually quite to the contrary.
Sure there are sketchy areas.... and you act accordingly... but those areas aren't exclusive to paksitan.
I could say the same thing about other regions on the planet I've been to that had "conflicts" and other problems.
Or to put it differently, the only time someone actually tried to stab me, was in my old home town of zurich, switzerland... over 8 quid.
When this place opens up to the world, I guess it is going to be full of adventure riders (Maybe on hover bikes by then but still), the place looks amazing. I with the exception of the bike am envious of your trip my friend, you look to be having the trip of a lifetime. Stunning country. I look forward to every post. Safe riding. I bet you miss your BMW ?
Incredible -- definitely one of those "ride reports" that transcends the category and reminds me of childhood hours spent pouring over my grandparents' National Geographic mags. As with those, it's hard to figure out what's best here: the photos, your badassness for simply making this trek, your excellent narration or the fascinating educational value. Really feckin awesome!
Interesting, I know they speak balti in a couple small villages up Nubra valley (beyond the last checkpoint where you're turned back), but I did't know there were balti speakers in Kargil. In addiiton, the politics are also blurring the vocabulary...
No shit ! but it's getting complicated for me to return to Pakistan on bike overland, for lack of time and because of other projects. So it's either riding Corsica on a BMW or Pakistan on a 150gs. Or both !
But the point here is to demonstrate that the ADV in advrider is not in the bike, it's in the trip. And as I'll be showing somewhat later, the small size of the bike can make you do crazy things that you wouldn't dare do on a RTW trip on large capacity bike. So it does have some advantages. After all, thousands of people go rent a RE Bullet in Ladakh and have a blast, though the motorcycling experience isn't any better.