Another few days on the KKH.

After three more days we are only 140km nearer to China. Once again, not because of any problem, but because there is so much to see.

OJ drives passed a burning tyre outside Gilgit.Whilst parked in Gilgit we were advised that there was a camp site in Aliabad that was "100 times bigger and far better" than the delightful one in Gilgit (admittedly we were told this by the brother of the owner of the Aliabad campsite). Armed with this impartial advice we decided to aim for Aliabad rather than the nearby town of Karimabad as originally planned. However whilst trying to leave Gilgit in the morning we became aware of some sort of obstruction on the road ahead and pedestrians began to indicate that we should turn round. The obstruction turned out to be a group of demonstrators, many of them school children, who had blocked the road with rocks and burning tyres. The Pakistan police, who were present in force, were remarkable restrained. Indeed the entire demonstration and its policing seemed to be very good natured. (We think the demonstration was about the interpretation of the Koran in school text books.)

Aliabad camp site with Rakaposhi in the background.On arrival in Aliabad our initial impression of the camp site (36.305985°N 74.613682°E) was not favorable, indeed access to the camp site for the longer vans looked difficult. But with care we all got in and second impressions were far better. The site is a series of grass terraces with plenty of trees and would probably accommodate 100 tents or 20 campervans. There are showers (cold) and toilet blocks. Electricity (about 190 volts 30-70Hz?) is also available. The view from the campsite of Rakaposhi (7788 metres) only 20km away is breathtaking. Recommended. Our original reason for going to Karimabad was to visit the Baltit Fort. After discussions with the ever helpful camp site owner we arranged for two Jeeps to pick us up at 04:00 next morning and take us, first to the "Eagle's Nest" for sunrise, then on to the fort. Cost about $5.00USA per person.

The Baltit Fort security guard.The drive up to the Eagle's Nest, partly in the dark, was exciting (don't even think of going up in anything bigger than a short wheel base Land-Rover.) Just below the viewing area is the partially built but excellent Eagle's Nest Hotel which provides fine breakfasts and awe inspiring views. This trip is strongly recommended!

The visit to the 600 year old fort (which opens at 09:00 or 09:30 in winter) was also a great success, in part due to the excellent guide. Entrance costs about $5.00 per person and $2.00 for a still camera permit. If you get there early you can photograph the security guard for free!

Today has probably been our shortest moving day, only 40km from Aliabad to the Gulmit Silk Route Lodge (36.387713°N 74.868605°E). Adequate parking, a friendly manager and a yet to be tried restaurant. Costs only $1.00 USA per van per night).

LPG and the problems of getting it!

Most of the five vans on this trip are using 24 volt compressor refrigerators, one van (OJ) however has an evaporative refrigerator that requires either mains electricity or gas (LPG) when stationary. As a result OJ is always on the look-out for some means of replenishing his gas supply. Since leaving Turkey(?) this search has been futile. In some cases LPG has been available, but the source has been unwilling or unable to fill OJ's tanks. In Pakistan many garages do supply "gas" but it is CNG (compressed natural gas) rather than LPG. However whilst leaving Gilgit the holy grail was spotted in the form of a notice directing us to the "Premier Gas. LPG Storage and Filling Station". Alas after most of the staff had sauntered out to inspect OJ's tanks they agreed that they did not see how they could possible fill them.

Photograph Quality: Because there is no GSM phone service in this part of Pakistan this page and its photographs have been uploaded by Iridium phone. As a result only low quality images have been used to keep each image below 10KB. Sorry.

Stephen Stewart.

Home - This page last changed on 2004-05-22.