The mountain bikers from the Netherlands start their journey from Rawalpindi to Karakuli Lake in China.–INP

RAWALPINDI : The 11-member group from the Netherlands will cycle on the Karakoram Highway from Rawalpindi to Karakuli Lake in China and back to Islamabad.

The biking tour started from Flashman’s Hotel on Friday. Pakistan Tourist Development Corporation (PTDC) Managing Director Mir Shahjahan Khetran was there to see off the bikers.

Team leader Kolkhuis Tanke Pascal has visited Pakistan over a dozen times, and always brought group of cyclists.

During their biking trip, the group will visit Abbottabad, Mansehra, Thakot, Besham, Chilas, Raikot, Gilgit, Hunza, Sost and on to Khunjerab Pass, the highest point on the Karakoram Highway i.e. 4,723 m above sea level.

They will also see beautiful valleys, and high peaks like Nanga Parbat (8,126m), Rakaposhi (7,776 m), Diran Peak, Shispar Peak, Vulcan Glacier, Passu Glacier and Batura Glacier along the route.

And will cross the famous 20km long Ataabad Lake in Hunza Valley on boats. The lake was formed as a result of landslides and floods in 2010.

With a visit  to famous forts of Baltit, Altit and have a view of Rakaposhi from the base camp in Nagar Valley. From Khunjerab Pass, they will drive to Chinese border town Taxkurgan before biking on to the Karakuli Lake under the shadow of famous mountain of China Mustag Ata (Father of Mountains).

After staying in yourt (traditional nomad camp) along the Karakuli Lake, the group will return to Islamabad on the same route to fly back home to Amsterdam.

Speaking on the occasion, PTDC Managing Director Mir Shahjahan Khetran said despite all odds, the corporation was working hard to promote adventure tourism along the Karakoram Highway and Gilgit-Baltistan region.

“It is very encouraging that such adventure bikers are continuously visiting Pakistan only due to its natural beauty, diverse landscape and climbing as well as the most hospitable people,” he said.

He said due to the effort of the tours department of PTDC such activities have continued over the years.

The PTDC is not only providing services throughout the country to Pakistani tourists but also foreign guests, he added.