Shandur Pass

Shandur Pass: driving in 1st and 2nd gear only

Shandur Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.728m (12,230ft) above the sea level, located on the border of Chitral and Ghizer districts of Gilgit Baltistan, in Pakistan. Expect a rough gravel road and driving in 1st and 2nd gear only.

Tucked away on the northern part of the country, the road to the summit is totally unpaved. It’s called Gilgit-Shandur road. The road features very steep climbs and descents with narrow hairpins in one of the most beautiful, but isolated and rugged landscapes on Earth, frequently called the ‘Top of the World’. The greatest and most infamous Polo tournament takes places annually on this pass, the highest polo ground in the world.

The road is 65.3 km (40.57 miles) long, running from Barsat to Mastuj. A 4x4 vehicle is required.  It’s the main route along which traffic travels from Pakistan’s Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa province to the Karakoram Highway. The route is in fact no road worthy of the name; every day in the warmer months two NATCO buses, one in each direction, rattle along the track which links Gilgit to Mastuj and Chitral. Traffic is infrequent at the best of times, and the route is only driven by a series of 4WD jeeps, that ferry supplies to some of the more remote villages.

Set high in the Hindukush range of mountains, the pass remains snow covered in winter. It’s accessible between late April and early November. From the AK-47 Arms Dealers, to the bakers and cobblers, these valleys were home to some of the world’s most resilient but generous people, who offered the traveler nothing but great hospitality.



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