Essential Information - Pakistan - The Old Silk Route
Mountains and Glaciers
Before booking please check the status of the trip you are joining. We do not advise you to book flights until a trip is confirmed to run.
There is a 5% booking incentive discount for all "Available" and "Available 2 More To Guarantee" tours. To confirm your place on a tour please make the deposit payment. Your deposit payment is fully refundable at any stage before the tour shows as "Guaranteed". Your final balance is payable no later than 56 days before the trip start date.
On booking your trip you are agreeing to our booking conditions. Please read them fully via the link here. For each holiday a minimum number of participants is required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed'. You can check the trip status for each departure on our ‘Dates and Prices’ page. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has reached guaranteed status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.
Guaranteed Limited - trips are open for booking and confirmed to run but have a limited number of spaces available.
Guaranteed - trips are open for booking and confirmed to run.
Available 2 More To Guarantee - trips are open for booking but not yet confirmed. 2 more bookings will guarantee the running of this tour.
Available - trips are open for booking but not yet confirmed.
Contact - If you would like to book this tour, please contact us.
Fully Booked - trips now closed for booking.
- Support vehicle
- Most meals (see trip notes for details)
- Snacks and mineral water during cycling days
- Airport transfers on the start and end day of the tour
- Local professional English speaking guide(s)
- International flights
- Alcoholic drinks
- Meals not stated on the itinerary
- Visa fees
- Travel insurance
- Tips for guide (s) and support staff
The tour starts in Islamabad. You will need to arrive on Day 1 of your itinerary no later than 03.50 am. Your flight departure at the end of the trip should be booked for the final day of the itinerary. We appreciate that people join redspokes tours from all over the world. Whatever time you arrive at the airport on the trip start date you and your luggage will be transferred to the joining hotel. Please bear in mind that if you arrive before midday you may have to wait for your room to be made available. If you decide to arrive early or stay on after the tour, redspokes can assist you in booking your extra accommodation and airport transfers at additional cost.
Our tour price does not include your international flight.
You will at all times have the security of a back-up vehicle; either a jeep or a bus. The vehicle will carry your luggage (we transport your main baggage by support vehicle from each overnight stop to the next) and yourself if you want. The backup van will be with us throughout the day stopping around every 12 miles (20 km).
Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems so all you normally need to carry is a daypack, for your camera etc. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be equipped for all repairs, so if you are bringing your own bike on the tour you must ensure that it is in good working order. If in doubt, have it fully serviced by a bike shop before you travel.
If you wish to hire a bike or have a single room for the tour this can usually be arranged for you at extra cost. You will have the opportunity to request these extras at the time of booking or, subject to availability, at a later date, by emailing your request to us.
If you require additional accommodation or transfers in advance of the trip start date or at the end of your trip we can arrange this for you at extra cost.
We have a wide mix of cyclists on our tours from couples, friends to solo travellers. Our prices are based on twin shared accommodation. If you sign up for one of our tours as a solo traveller we will twin share you with another person of the same gender in your group. If you prefer to have your own room this is an option on most of our tours for an extra charge.
Most meals are included in your trip price apart from on non cycling days and some other exclusions. Please check the itinerary for full details. If you have a special dietary request, please advise us at the time of booking. Most diets can be catered for, but it is always important to advise us in advance.
It is mandatory that you are well-insured for the full duration of the tour. This must include personal injury, medical expenses, death, repatriation, helicopter or aircraft rescue, loss of luggage or equipment, cancellation or curtailments.
You should also ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for the type of activities included in your tour. Any claims concerning matters for which you are insured must be directed to your insurers. We strongly recommend that you take out insurance at the time of booking your trip to ensure that you are covered in the event of cancellation.
For people within the UK Snowcard Insurance Services specialize in all mountain sports holidays including mountain biking. Follow the link above to obtain full information and a quote.
We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room. Should you wish to have a room all to yourself there is a single supplement option on the majority of our tours. For more information on the additional costs please see dates and prices.
The majority of the accommodation for this trip is in either Guest House or Hotel with one night of camping
Some Hotels will have En suite facilities and Air Conditioning.
We are unable to offer bike hire for this trip. Please see the section below for details on the suitable bike to take on this tour.
For this tour we recommend a good tough mountain bike as the roads can be very rough. Front suspension will help with the washboard tracks and potholes, but it is not essential. Full-suspension is OK, but may be hard work on the tarmac stretches. If you have flat bars, fitting bar ends will give you a different hand position and help with the climbs. The trip can be done on a traditional touring bikes, but it is important to ensure it has got strong enough wheels, sufficiently wide tyres (37mm is about the minimum) and low enough gearing. It's worth investing in a pair of 36 spoke, hand-built wheels, using a good quality rim (e.g. Sun Rhyno, Mavic or RigidaLow geared such as a 22-tooth granny cog on the front crank driving an 11-32/34 block on the back should do the trick. Comfortable as there are some long days so it is essential your saddle and riding position are comfortable.
The route is a mixture of poorly maintained tarmac and very rough gravel tracks. The best tyre for the job is probably the Schwalbe Marathon XR. It's very tough and hardwearing, and has a decent tread for the gravel without being too knobbly for tarmac.
We strongly recommend that you have your bike fully serviced before going on the tour. Ensure that wheel spokes are adjusted, greasing all bearings, check gear and brake cables, tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamp and tyres. Put in a new inner tubes and check wheel rims aren't worn.
We recommend that you take the following items with you.
- Multi tool
- Tyre levers
- Spare inner tubes
- Spare spokes
- Check with your bike shop for disc/ brake pads
- A few links for your chain
- Spares for any unique things for your bikes i.e fluid or bleed kit.
Your bike must be carried as part of your luggage allowance. The weight of a bike in cardboard box is about 15-20kg, so please bear this in mind when packing for the trip and you may have to pay for excess luggage.
Whilst we endeavour to provide correct and relevant information obtained directly from the relevant Embassies, High Commissions and Consulate Generals - this information is subject to frequent changes, without warning and at very short notice. Due to this, we cannot be held liable for any errors in the information provided on this site. We strongly advised you to check all information with the relevant embassy for details on your visa/passport requirements.
You must be in possession of a valid passport and visa. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of arrival or 1 month after expiration of visa and have 2 blank pages in your passport for each country that you visit.
You can apply online for an e-visa. Alternatively, visa application forms for UK residents can be obtained by clicking here. If you would prefer to pay an agent to get your visa, we would then suggest using Travcour UK Ltd. They have been in the visa business for 25 years & offer our customers a £5 discount on all visas purchased.
Please ensure you check that all the details on the visa are correct prior to your departure.
We strongly recommend that you contact your doctor or local Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks before going on your trip for advise on the correct vaccinations required for your trip. Also please refer to advice from National Travel Health Network and Centre .
There are no mandatory vaccinations for this trip, however the following are recommended Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis.
Vaccination requirements can change and we aren't medically qualified to answer your questions regarding vaccinations so please also check again with your health professional before departing for your trip.
Pakistan has a continental type of climate characterized by extreme variations of temperature, both seasonally, daily and in differing regions. The high altitudes on the majority of this tour means the climate is cold, with snow-covered northern mountains.
In terms of clothing this is clearly up to you and we can only supply a rough guide as to what to take. This guide is entirely flexible and should be tailored to your specific needs.
- Cycle Helmet
- Water bottles or camelbak
- Base layer tops
- Fleece jacket/ pullover
- Waterproof cycling jacket (breathable fabric)
- Baggy padded cycling shorts
- Cycling shoes/ trekking shoes
- Lightweight socks & heavyweight socks
- Trekking Shorts
- T-shirts– lightweight
- Long-sleeved thermal shirt
- Fingerless cycling gloves
- Warm gloves
- Warm fleece hat
- Lipbalm/ sunscreen
- Thermal Long Johns
- Sleeping bag
Our guides carry first aid supplies, however we recommend you bring your own first aid kit which should contain the following item;
- Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen (or whatever you prefer for headache)
- Lomotil or Diacalm
- Rehydration salts (Dioralite)
- Antiseptic cream
- Throat lozenges
- Plasters (band aids)
- Nasal spray
- Eye drops
- Ear plugs
- Anti bacterial hand wash
- Antiseptic wet wipes
- Insect Repellent
- Energy Bars (gels, power bars)
- Energy/recovery drinks
Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. 55-60USD for the guide and team at the end of the tour is recommended.
It is customary for this to be collected up and given to your guide who will distribute it amongst the team. Unfortunately there is usually a hierarchy for the division between guides, helpers and drivers.
Spending money depends on your tastefor souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that £250 will be
more than enough to cover the tour.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan - Capital: Islamabad
Population 197 million
Area 796,095 sq km (307,374 sq miles), excluding Kashmir
Major languages English, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi
Major religion Islam
Life expectancy 66 years (men), 68 years (women)
Currency Pakistani Rupee
- Gilgit: Kargah Buddha
- Cross the longest suspension bridge in Asia.
- Cycle alongside the River Indus.
- Ghilkin Glacier.
- Visit the Hunza valley.
- Karimabad: 13th C Fort, Sacred Rocks of Hunza.
"It was always a cycling 'must do' for me. Cathedral Mountain by moonlight, snow covered peaks, glaciers, and this is just the run-up to the Khunjerab Pass where we looked..."