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    Review of Khaplu valley – Himalaya motorbike trip – Approaching the border area

    Waking up early in the morning in Skardu, the cool air of yesterday in Gilgit had turned into a numbing cold here, along with a magical mist that covered the whole town, under the magnificent snow-capped mountains.

    The northern terrain of Pakistan is quite diverse, the west bank is the foot of the Hindu Kush range, the middle to the northeast is the Karakoram range, and further to the east is the contact with the Himalayas. From Skardu onwards, the terrain has been much higher and the climate has changed slightly, closer to the Himalayas, so it is also colder.

    Review of Khaplu valley - Himalaya motorbike trip - Approaching the border area
    Photo by Le Tu

    In general, in northern Pakistan, autumn is slow and spring is about 1 month faster than in Ladakh due to the slightly lower average topography, mid-October to late October is the peak, the birch trees are covered with color. bright yellow, with apple trees laden with fruit.

    The morning in Skardu was quite quiet, the group was still asleep because it was quite late yesterday, but the morning scenery at this beautiful and dreamy resort could not make me sleep more. Unlike China, in India and Pakistan, it is not until about 10 o’clock that shops open, and life begins to change.

    Review of Khaplu valley - Himalaya motorbike trip - Approaching the border area

    Almost in the morning the only thing open is the flour bakery, here called Naan, the method is as simple as any other cake, flour is mixed with water in a certain ratio, kneaded until blended. Evenly, they separate each part, they use a stick to thin and round, then put the cake in a round oven, underneath is fire coals, when hot will make the cake stick to the oven wall and expand evenly. Hot cakes are very fragrant and crispy, not boring.

    I quite like taking photos of the bakers here, especially in the morning when the sun is slanting but the bread oven is dark, forming a really magical cut.

    Review of Khaplu valley - Himalaya motorbike trip - Approaching the border area

    After breakfast, the group started to go to Khaplu valley, a town located more than 100km east of Skardu, along the flow of the Shyok River. Skardu is the crossing point between two quite famous rivers, the Indus and the Shyok, the Shyok stream flows through Pakistan and connects directly to the other side is Ladakh, India, if you follow this direction, you will go straight to Nubra valley and Pangong lake. quite famous. I used to think, if it weren’t for political conflicts, perhaps the road leading from Ladakh (Northern India) to Skardu could be considered a great road trip for anyone interested in the scenery. experience the intersection of two mountain ranges, the famous Himalaya and Karakoram.

    Review of Khaplu valley - Himalaya motorbike trip - Approaching the border area

    With the terrain bending along the Shyok stream, there are many bridges along the way, according to my assessment, these bridges over a distance of more than 100km are really beautiful, big and long, and the road has beautiful bridges. best. In addition, although it was only over 100km, we couldn’t count how many times we had to stop to take pictures because the road was so beautiful, along the way from Skardu to the valleys of Shigar and Khamarg, the birch trees became golden. much more, overgrown on the hills along the way.

    Review of Khaplu valley - Himalaya motorbike trip - Approaching the border area

    The road is also enchanting, especially the part from Hussain Abad (abad means town), the road down deep into the mountain becomes more beautiful and dangerous. Different from the main road S1 yesterday, the quality of the road from Skardu to Khaplu has become much better, although the road is not big but smooth, the road is very scenic. Going to the Hushe valley is adjacent to Khaplu, from here, looking out into the distance are K2 and Masherbrum, two peaks above 8000m high to suffocate.

    Review of Khaplu valley - Himalaya motorbike trip - Approaching the border area
    Photo by Le Tu

    Some interesting information:
    – On the section from Skardu to Khaplu, at the intersection with Chhomdo bridge, turn right to go to Kargil – Skardu road, this route leads straight for a few tens of kilometers to Kargil, quite close to Ladakh/Kashmir region. It’s near and far, though, because this border is not open to tourists.

    – From Khaplu go a little further to the point of intersection between the two countries of India / Pakistan on the line of control is Siachen glacier, this Siachen glacier is quite famous, and is the highest station of the armies of both countries in the world, At an altitude of more than 5000m, you can understand how terrible the army must go through at this height. I was lucky enough to have a soldier in India who used to be stationed to show me a short clip of how they live, helicopters have to fly and drop essentials, every day when I come out there is only snow and snow, I thought beautiful but very miserable, not only that, having to train troops at this height is also a huge challenge.

    – From Khaplu is the gateway to a few very high peaks, of which K2 is the second highest peak in the world after Everest, but it is the peak with the highest fatality rate in the world, due to the way up. The mountain is very steep and dangerous, plus climbing in Pakistan can’t have as many good ancillary services as the Nepal side.

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