Unlike in most other regions, Karakoram glaciers are either stable or advancing, a phenomenon known as the Karakoram anomaly. Despite studies of glacier surges and the derivation of surface velocity maps, the spatiotemporal variability of glacier dynamics still remains poorly understood, particularly in the Eastern Karakoram Range. We use Advanced Land Observing Satellite/the Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (ALOS/PALSAR)-1/2 data from 2007 to 2011 and 2014 to 2015 to examine detailed surface velocity patterns of the Siachen, Baltoro, Kundos, Singkhu and Gasherbrum Glaciers. The first three glaciers show considerable velocity variability (20–350 m a−1), with clear seasonal patterns. Although all glaciers, except for Baltoro, flow slowest in 2015, the velocity structures are individual and vary in space and time. In Gasherbrum Glacier, peak surge-phase velocities are seasonally modulated, with maxima in summers 2006 and 2007, suggesting surface melt plays an important role in maintaining the active phase. Given the relatively close proximity of these glaciers, we assume that surface melt timing and rates are comparable. We therefore argue that the observed spatiotemporal and interannual velocity patterns are determined by local and internal mechanisms, including englacial and subglacial hydrology, thermal processes and tributary configuration of each individual glacier.