|Makran Coastal Highway Zero Point|
Trip to Gwadar is an excellent 2/3 days escape from Karachi especially in the winters when the weather is suitable for long expeditions. Also, the drive through the Coastal Highway is a pleasure in itself.
Mushfiq Hussain is also planning for the long drive however he has some valid concerns which he shared with me through an email. It would be appropriate to blog these concerns here along with the response:
We are planning to travel to Gawadar this weekend from Karachi. Could you please give us some travel tips?
- What will be outlook of fuel in the way? Or we need to get extra fuel with us from the start?
- What about the lunch on the way? Are there any restaurant in Ormara or Pasni?
- How is the security?
- What is the condition of the road?
Thanking in advance.
What will be outlook of fuel in the way? Or we need to get extra fuel with us from the start?
Yes, it will be a good idea to take a 15-20 liters can with you as a backup.
PSO at HUB will be your last choice for the authentic Pakistani fuel. Afterwards, it will be all smuggled Iranian one being sold in open drums and that too can only be found after driving half an hour from the previous drum!
Well, going to Gwadar means that you cannot avoid the Iranian petrol so the tested strategy would be to first top up the tank at HUB and then refill past Ormara junction when the tank is half full without utilizing the backup fuel. This way the fuel would be mixed up which will be better than the ‘pure’ Iranian one. I understand that Iranian refineries do not produce high quality octane and then the obsolete logistics methods add up to the worries.
There is a Caltex petrol pump in Gwadar which claims selling the local blend so that would be your best bet even if you have doubts over their claim. The can is still with you as a reserve which you can use on your way back however keep 4-5 liters for the emergency until you hit back the RCD Highway.
|You will find the Last CNG Station at HUB|
|Utilizing the Reserve Fuel|
|Beware, the pressure gauge there is in kilograms!|
What about the lunch on the way? Are there any restaurant in Ormara or Pasni?
What I tried successfully in the previous trips is to avoid the breakfast and instead have a brunch at Hingol River Bridge before continuing nonstop to Gwadar.
Al-Hasan Hotel located just after the bridge – ~120 km from the zero point – serves passersby especially truck walas and does that well. The chef there can make a scrumptious Chicken Karhai if requested with respect! You may also ask for the keys from the waiter for the ‘luxurious’ WC toilet, if needed.
Ormara and Pasni have got local eateries but for that you have to go off the highway which is better done for the backward stretch. There is indeed a restaurant on the main highway after crossing the Ormara junction where Javed Coach also takes a stop however I have to yet try that.
|Finally Some Food!|
How is the security?
During the last many trips I did not see any security issues. But this does not mean that one avoids the precautions.
Try to keep low profile, shalwar kameez are the ideal to achieve that. Give respect to the locals and avoid traveling after dark. Security concerns arise from the locals’ perception that Pakistani security agencies are usurping their rights and the word ‘Punjabi’ is like a ‘gaali’there, so keep that in mind too.
Usually I found Makrani people hardworking, friendly, harmless, and busy in their lives, but don’t close your eyes.
Uptil Ormara it’s pretty uninhabited and cutoff from the rest of the country therefore very safe. Pasni is connected with Turbat by road which kept disturbed sporadically while Gwadar is pretty much calm and peaceful in my experience.
What is the condition of the road?
This question is actually redundant! This is such an excellent road that I would only suggest to keep your speed checked - 100 km/h is approximately the most optimum especially from the fuel perspective - and watch out sfor roped barricades raised by customs and levies one of which I erroneously overrode!