Khunjerab Pass: Conquering the Highest Border-Crossing in the World

Khunjerab Pass is an international high mountain pass at an elevation of 4,706m (15,439ft) above sea level, located on the border of Pakistan and China. It is said to be the highest border-crossing in the world and is the highest point on the Karakoram Highway.

Khunjerab Pass

In which province is Khunjerab Pass situated?

Set high in the Karakoram Mountains, the pass is located at a strategic position on the northern border of the Gilgit–Baltistan Hunza-Nagar District in Pakistan and the southwest border of the Xinjiang region in China. The border is marked by an iconic gate separating both countries.

How can I get to Khunjerab Pass?

The road to the summit, also known as Khunerjab Pass and Kunjirap Daban, was fully paved in 1982. It’s called N35 (Karakoram Highway) in Pakistan and China National Highway 314 (G314) in China.

Is Khunjerab Pass open?

The high elevation, with its risk of altitude sickness, weather concerns, steep road grade, and overall inaccessibility, makes travel dangerous and difficult. The road is seasonally closed due to snow. It is generally closed for heavy vehicles from November 30 to May 1 and from December 30 to April 1 for all vehicles.

Is Khunjerab Pass open for tourists?

When the road is accessible (in summers), the border is open for tourists. Choose your time carefully. The border is only open on Mondays to Fridays, from 9 am to 5 pm on the Pakistani side and 11 am to 8 pm on the Chinese side on Beijing time. There are some police checkpoints along the highway in China that may slow down your journey significantly if there are many cars and trucks. Don’t forget your passport. It forms the only open border between the two countries. It's a good idea to check in advance to make sure you are not traveling on a holiday. The journey is quite easy and only requires a little preparation, but due to the strict measures imposed by the Chinese authorities, you will need an extra dose of patience.

Why is Khunjerab Pass important?

At 4,706m (15,439ft) above sea level, it is said to be the highest border-crossing in the world. The Pakistani side features the highest ATM in the world. For comparison, Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe, is 4,810m, and Mount Whitney, the highest point in the 48 contiguous United States, is 4,421m. Its name is derived from two words of the local Wakhi language: 'Khun' means Blood, and 'Jerav' means a creek coming from spring water/water falling.

Is Khunjerab Pass worth visiting?

The road to the summit is never too steep and relatively flat. It offers sweeping views of scenic beauty with awesome mountain views. Due to its elevation, it is highly advisable to limit your stay and keep going preferably during the daytime. Take warm clothes with you as it can get very cold. And remember to bring plenty of water to help stave off the feeling of altitude sickness.
Pic: Travelling Pakistan