Travel to Northern Pakistan – Episode 694

categories: asia travel

Travel to Northern Pakistan (Podcast)

Hear about travel to Northern Pakistan and the  Karakoram Highway as the Amateur Traveler talks to David Harden from about his road trip in this remote and beautiful country.

David started an overland trip across Asia when he was 18, but it got interrupted by the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Since then he has been filling in the missing bits including Pakistan.

The original plan was to do this trip on his own on a motorcycle, but he was convinced by Pakistani friends to get a guide and a driver instead. The highways would have been more difficult with a motorcycle. This gave him someone who had local intelligence and could determine what regions were safe at any given time. The guide also then knew where photography was not appreciated.

We start in Islamabad. David recommends a stop at the huge Faisal Mosque which was financed by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. It is in the foothills overlooking Islamabad.

David’s trip started at the beginning of June because some of the highways are impassible much before that.

Karimabad is just south of the highest pass in the world that leads from Pakistan to China. “I knew I was in the right place. I watched the sun come up. The sun caressed Rakaposhi Mountain which is snow-covered. The snow turned gold for a minute. It was wonderful.” Karimabad is a lush valley in a rugged landscape. 

David got partway out on the Hussaini Hanging Bridge which is a hanging pedestrian bridge. It has a reputation as “the world’s most dangerous bridge”. The bridge is by the city of Passu. Passu is tower over by the Passu Cones. They visited a lake with beautiful green water. Many of the rivers in the area are glacial melt and are a “cement gray”. David hiked to the Passu Glacier.

truck yard Rawalpindi

Along the Karakoram Highway, you can see brightly painted trucks. In Rawalpindi, he visited a truck yard where they assemble and paint the trucks.

He traversed the Deosai Plaines in Deosai National Park which are the 2nd highest plains in the world. From there he hiked to the base camp for the hike to Nanga Parbat.

His trip over the Shandur Pass coincided with the Shandur Polo Festival in this high mountain pass. 50 weeks of the year you would only a couple of temporary buildings but during the festival, the valley fills with tents and polo fans (men).

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Kalasha people of Northern Pakistan. The Kalasha people are not Muslim. They are a small (3,000 people) ethnic group. 

This episode may inspire you to head to Northern Pakistan as well.

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Show Notes
Faisal Mosque
Karakoram Highway
Babusar Pass
Baltit Fort
Hussaini Hanging Bridge
Truck Workshops – Rawalpindi
Astore Valley
Nanga Parbat
Deosai National Park
Shandur Pass
Shandur Polo Festival
Kalash people
The Kalasha People of Northern Pakistan
Goat Curry



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Travel to Northern Pakistan (Podcast) | What to do in Northern Pakistan | Driving the Karakoruem Highway | The Kalasha People of Northern Pakistan #pakistan #asia #travel #trip #vacation #karakorum #kalash Travel to Northern Pakistan (Podcast) | What to do in Northern Pakistan | Driving the Karakoruem Highway | The Kalasha People of Northern Pakistan #pakistan #asia #travel #trip #vacation #karakorum #kalash

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

4 Responses to “Travel to Northern Pakistan – Episode 694”



Awesome! Any possibility to get in contact with the interviewee for some travel tips? Thanks!

Chris Christensen


I will send your email over.



This episode was among the most adventurous I’ve listened to. Extremely inspiring and invoked a sense of possibility. Yes- I’m listening way past original publication date, and as such, imagine what David might do differently were he to embark on this trip in 2024. I would so appreciate the chance to communicate with him. Is it possible for you you to send my email to him? Or is there another way to get in touch? Thanks for anything you can do, and thanks for bringing this show to the public. Love these truly off the beaten path episodes, that are do-able.

Chris Christensen


I passed along your comment and email to David.

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