The great pyramid of Giza is fascinating, but have you heard about the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan? If you haven’t, know that it is indeed the eighth wonder of the world! Yes, this phrase is often thrown around, but there’s quite a lot of substance to the claim regarding the Karakoram highway.
Let’s start with a little bit about its rich history and how it’s a perfect place to feed your wanderlust other than being an essential part of economic uplift for Pakistan’s people.
Karakoram Highway: A Rich History
In 1985, Pakistan and China collaborated on a project that would reinforce amicable relations between the two countries for years to come. Thus, Karakoram Highway was constructed and made available to the public as soon as the marvel got the green light from its capable engineers.
Today, it isn’t just the result of political friendship; instead, it bridges the gap between two different cultures, literally! The road connects Hasan Abdal, a quaint city in Pakistan, to Kashgar in China.
A few decades ago, building a 1300 km road was no easy feat. It still isn’t, but at least there’s more equipment to take some exertion away from manual labor. Yet, the highway was transformed into a traveling infrastructure spread between an overshadowing cascade of majestic mountains.
Not just that, but the road is built to perfection that it’s hard to believe that the latter was conceived in the late 1990s. Moreover, it took a whopping 20 years to complete this masterpiece, and this fact alone garners a lot of admiration globally. Both Pakistani and Chinese construction workers came together to get the job done. However, unfortunately, many lives were lost as well.
It’s a Perfect Place to Feed Your Wanderlust
If you have a knack for traveling, you won’t be disappointed exploring the Karakoram highway in Pakistan. The view is breathtaking, and tourists who have had the experience swear by the beauty of the terrain. It’s a thrilling adventure in every aspect, which is why it should make a priority on your travel list.
For decades, this highway has hosted thousands of travelers simply because of how mesmerizing it is. Naturally, the elevated altitude contributes a lot to the overall allure. The Karakoram Highway winds through the most bewildering mountain range on the planet, including the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush, and the Karakoram. Once on the road, you will get to see a lot of beautiful spots across Havelian, Hunza, Besham, Abbottabad, and more.
Because it is so popular, areas surrounding the road become crowded when the holidays come around. Families and friends flock to spend their vacations away from the city’s hustle and bustle and among the snow-topped mountains instead.
However, complications do arise when it gets too cold. The road is shut down on account of landslides and reduced visibility due to smog. And when the monsoon rains hit, roadblocks can last for hours.
CPEC – A two-way ‘Road’ to Economic Uplift
In essence, the twisted path that spans across miles, carefully constructed between gorges, valleys, and rivers, is a sight for sore eyes. But besides its evident brilliance, the Karakoram Highway is also integral for Pakistan’s economy.
Launched in 2015, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was initiated by the governments of both nations. This project’s main goal was – and is – to improve infrastructure within Pakistan and facilitate trade with China. Since this is the only connection by land between the two, it holds significant importance and reduces the costs associated with exporting and importing products.
In 2020, CPEC is still active, with various branches extending into other, smaller-scale projects.
Before You Pack Your Bags, Know This
There are certain matters you need to look at on your to-do list before you start the journey to explore the highway. For starters, traveling in the winter, particularly during November or December, is not recommended. It is not the frigid air that’ll bite at your face; that is the problem, yes, but the Khunjerab Pass is not open to the public during some of the harshest months of winter.
Then, there’s the perception that since cross-country travel is by road, you don’t need a visa. This is entirely untrue, so make sure you have yours before you attempt to cross borders.
Most people prefer driving their vehicles while exploring the Karakoram Highway, and if you’re one of them, know that it’s going to take at least ten days, perhaps even longer if you stop at different places during the journey. Nevertheless, going on such an adventure is highly rewarding. It’s very safe considering the area is strictly secured because of international interest and utterly enthralling.
In a Nutshell
Karakoram Highway in Pakistan is thus indeed called the 8th wonder of the world. It plays an integral part in uplifting Pakistan’s economy and strengthening ties with its neighbor country China and considered one of the world’s most beautiful destinations.
While traveling on the highest paved road that follows the ancient Silk Road traces, you connect to the people who traveled there ages ago. The breathtaking view of Passu, Minapin, and Khunjarab glaciers adds a cherry on top.