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To Khunjerab Pass and Back again

From Passu to the highest paved border crossing in the world. This is the information of the journey to Khunjerab Pass from the Pakistan side of the Karakoram Highway, highlighting the essential travel facts. We visit Khunjerab National Park on all our set Pakistan motorbike tours.

Key facts

Where is it - Khunjerab pass is the highest paved border crossing in the world which connects the northern most tip of Pakistan to the far west of China. It is used for trade, local area business, official government movements and of course adventure overland travel.

Closest Town - on the Pakistan side the closest town is Sost and on the China side Kashgar.

Nearest toilet facilities - The proper public washroom facilities are at the entry check point to Khunjerab National Park.

Travel times and distances - From Passu to Sost the distance is around 36 km and takes 45 minutes to 1 hour roughly. From Sost to the Khunjerab National Park entry point is about another 30/35 km and takes up to 1 hour. From the National Park entry gate to the Khunjerab border pass is 50 km and takes up to around 2 hours. So the whole round trip Passu to the border and back is a full day of around 8 or more hours.

Type of terrain - This area is high altitude gaining from 2800 mtrs at Sost to 4693 at the Khunerjab border pass. It is a gently rising valley surrounded by hills. Open alpine habitat above the tree line.

Road condition - The whole journey from Sost to the border is on fully bitumened road that is mostly in excellent condition. There is some cracks, potholes and wear in places but overall very good. There may be occasioanl water or ice due to snow melt.

Weather patterns - The weather at Khunjerab National Park is very unpredictable. Snow can fall at any time of the year. Thick cloud and rain can close in quickly. Temperatures are often sigificantly colder than in Passu. That said it can also be beautifully clear and warm, hopefully the luck is on our side wehn we visit :) We do not recommend to travel this road in very heavy rain or snow.

Altitude - the Khunjerab Pass Border crossing sits at 4693 metres above sea level, so the surrounding peaks are much higher. We recommend spending no loger than around 20 minutes at the pass to avoid altitude sickness.

Open times - The Pakistan / China border crossing is open for travel between mid April and mid November, exact dates vary slightly depending on the snow and weather. The crossing is also closed on weekends, so make sure if you are wanting to cross the border and not just visit then plan your timing to be between Mondays to Friday. On the Pakistan side the border is open for crossing between 9 am to 5 pm (Pakistan Time) and on the China side between 11 am to 8 pm (Beijing time)

Fuel - the nearest fuel station is Sost.

Atms / Money exchange - There is actually an atm at the border, this often makes travellers stories as it claims to be the highest atm in the world. We advise to not rely on that atm for withdrawing money. It certainly is a strange sight to see an atm seemingly in the middle of nowhere. All other main atms and facitlites are at Sost.

Customs office - The border customs processing is actually in the twon of Sost, this is where any carnet papers and passport visa documents must be checked and approved for passage. At Khunjerab Pass proper there is just a small check point for the Pakistan China border crossing.

Khunerjab Pass National Park entry - All travellers must stop at the entry to Khunjerab National Park before proceeding. There is an entry fee whcih is currently $40 USD for foreigners and 500 rupees for locals. This often causes some contention as to why the price is so massively different. You need to enter the office area and purchase the entry ticket. Payment is cash only.

Public transport options - if you do not have your own transport or sadly are not on tour with us :) there are local buses that do the crossing but no option is provided for travellers who just want to visit the border or national park. It is possible to arrange a local car from Sost.

When exploring to Khunjerab National Park and the Pakistan China Border we like to base ourselves at Passu. The main reason for this is becuase it is so incredibly jaw droppingly beautiful. Passu is quiet, surrounded by rugged mountain ranges and massive glaciers, there are small village communities and specatular local area walks. It is by far more interesting and pretty than the border town of Sost. Taking a day ride to Khunjerab border and back is a long day but the road is good and riding not technical.

We would of course love to welcome you all to ride with us on one Pakistan Motorcycle tours including our Pure Pakistan, Indus Shyok or Classic Karakoram rides, all of which visit to Khunjerab area. contact us to book your next adventure ride :)


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