Ladakh Tourism: How to Plan your Leh Ladakh Trip

Leh to Nubra Valley

Introduction

Leh-Ladakh- Land of high passes is an epitome of unlimited adventure and unfathomable beauty. The newly created union territory of India is a complete package for any traveler. The mesmerizing landscapes, enjoyable weather, astonishingly high mountains, and the adrenaline rushing passes; will surely leave your jaws dropped for good reasons. Leh is also denoted as the heaven on earth and there are a lot of good reasons for that as well. Leh to Nubra Valley is a fantastic road stretch that lures a lot of riders each year.

One of the main attractions of this place is the majestic Nubra Valley. It is a tri-armed valley that sees a separation from Shyok and Siachen Rivers. Nubra is unlike any other valley in the entire country because of the magnificence it has on offer. This breathtakingly beautiful valley is popular for its picturesque landscapes and cold desert. Being the top tourist attraction of Ladakh; Nubra Valley is also famous for Hundar Village and Diskit Monastery. These are two of many go-to destinations in Nubra Valley.

Location of Nubra Valley

To reach Nubra Valley people have to take a road trip from Leh. This is not any ordinary road trip because it involves crossing high passes through narrow muddy roads. The road trip from Leh to Nubra is not just thrilling but admirable too. All these reasons contribute towards making this trip a to-do activity on every adventurer’s bucket list. Nubra Valley has a lot in store with stunning views of the majestic Himalayas, Zanskar Valley, and the Karakoram Range. With many thrilling and spellbinding natural beauty all around, Nubra is just like a place equivalent to heaven.

From Turtuk ,Khardung La and Panamik to Diskit and Hundur, Nubra has it all for its travelers. Taking in terms of distance, Nubra Valley is located approximately 130-140 km from the city of Leh which is a 5-hour journey from one side depending upon the vehicle and speed. Also, Nubra Valley is located at approximately 3050 m above sea level. Here is the complete guide of Leh to Nubra Valley Road trip.

Leh to Nubra Valley Route

To reach the enchanting Nubra Valley, you have three different routes. For every traveler, it is recommended that one should take the route via Khardung La. You will get patches of well constructed roads along this route which will add up to your experience. Almost all the tourists visiting Nubra prefer taking this route because it is quick, smoother, and easier as compared to that of the others. So, the best route to reach Nubra from Leh is to Khardung La, and here is what all places would come by. Leh to Nubra Valley distance by road is approximately 160 km and a fantastic drive/ ride.

Note: Before getting to the valley route, make a note that you should have multiple photocopies of your permit as well as the other important documents like your vehicle papers, and your ID proof. For those traveling by bus or shared transport don’t have to worry about the vehicle papers.

Leh To Khardung La

The first popular spot for you during this 140 km trip will be the magnificent Khardung La point. One of the highest motorable roads in the world is a place that will surely interest you and give you a lot of reasons to stop by and click some pictures. It is advised to start early from Leh and reach Khardung La early so that you don’t have to rush your way to Nubra. Take stops, refresh yourself and keep moving. The road in the starting and a few places is good but apart from that, the melting snow has made the road a bit patchy and difficult to ride or drive on. Be careful while you ride or drive on this road and stop by at places to click pictures.

While you reach Khardung La through South Pullu, the gain in altitude is quite high but if you have already acclimatized to the altitude you won’t feel much of a problem. But it is also recommended that you should not exert too much at the summit because of low oxygen level as compared to that in Leh. While you reach here, click some pictures around and buy souvenirs from the army canteen.

Khardung La to Khardung Village

The descending road from the summit is in a bad shape and that has been the same from the very beginning. You will have to hustle your way out till North Pullu. Make sure you are all concentrated on the road because this is a muddy stretch with puddles of ice water, Be cautious while riding or driving here.

Note: At times people might have to submit their documents at the North Pullu checkpoint. Sometimes they just check and verify things and let you go.

If this ride has made you hungry you can sit at the small restaurants at Pullu and eat something. Make sure you carry ample cash because cards won’t be an option here. But don’t be too excited you might just get chips, biscuits, and maggie to eat. Some places also provide boiled eggs, omelet, or scrambled eggs.

Once you cross Pullu, it is the majestic Khardung Village with greenery all over amidst the ice-clad mountains. Take a halt at places and click some pictures that would be your take-aways from here.

Khardung Village to Khalsar

Khalsar is roughly 30-35 km from Khardung Village. You will enjoy this stretch because the road is good here and it will not take you much time to cover the ground.

Khalsar to Diskit

There is a diversion at Khalsar, if you take a right you would be able to explore Sumur, Panamik, and Warshi. But to reach Nubra Valley you will have to take a left. Let’s first discuss the way to Nubra which is important and then you can see what all is in store towards the opposite side.

One of the major tourist attractions near Nubra Valley is Diskit Village. This is one of those places where people love to spend a few hours. The main spot in this village is the Diskit Gompa that is believed to have been constructed in the 14th Century. Needless to say, the other thing that will keep you engaged will be the pristine and picturesque beauty of the place. Another perk of Diskit is that you will be able to find Pay Phones here because all along the way it will be difficult for your mobile to capture signals. So take a break and call your loved ones to inform your whereabouts.

Diskit to Hundar

After Diskit it is the next best place near Nubra Valley and that’s Hunder. Approximately 10 km from Diskit this is a small village amidst the fruit orchids and sand dunes. These sand dunes showcase a completely different sight to the people during a full-moon night. Apart from this, it is advised to stay here for some time because you can enjoy the Bactrian Camel ride in Hunder. These are the two-humped camels and a ride on their back in the cold desert is something you will not get everywhere.

Hunder to Bukdang via THOISE

THOISE stands for Transit Halt Of Indian Soldiers En-route is the next destination for every traveler. Here you will see that it is the only flatland in the entire Nubra Region. This serves as the military Airfield. This airstrip is used by the Indian Military to send supplies and men to the Siachen border.

Bukdang was also known as Bogdang and this was initially a village where Buddhists thrived but now it has turned into a Muslim area. According to the history of this place, it is a place where Balti people live. This region was taken by the Indian Army in 1971 before which it was a part of Pakistan.

Bukdang to Turktuk

Turtuk is the last village that is accessible on this route by any civilian. This place is also known to be “frozen with time” and the reason why it is called so can be witnessed on arrival. This village is also a gateway to Siachen Glacier which is also the last outpost of the Indian Army. The town is thriving with apples, apricot, cauliflower, cabbage, and tomatoes. The place is breathtaking and you will enjoy your time here keeping in mind the natural beauty that’s on offer. It has normal accommodations and you can stay here for a night or few hours. The place is also popular for making walking sticks from the horns of wild ibex.

Now coming to the other side of Khalsar

Khalsar to Sumur

Sumur is the next village that will come your way once you take the diversion to the right from Khalsar. The road from here is in good shape and you will love your time here. From this village, you will see more greenery than snow and that’s the beauty of this place. Also, while crossing Khalsar, ensure that you visit the 150-years old Samstanling Gompa. This is one of the famous spots of Sumur.

Sumur to Panamik

Panamik is approximately 25 km from Sumur and another wonderful place to visit near Nubra Valley. This is an old town where travelers wait and rest for a night at least. You might find a 250-year-old Ensa Gompa but that’s not the major attraction of this village. People love to take a dip in the hot water spring that takes away the edge from a driver or riders’ body. You will feel very relaxed in the natural hot water spring. There are several budget-friendly guest houses in Panamik. Locals have also constructed bathrooms around the hot spring that gives a chance to all the travelers to spend some time here.

Panamik to Warshi

Warshi is the last village on this stretch and an equally wonderful place to be at. You will find the roads in good condition until here. Though you might come across a few bad patches but overall the roads are good enough.

Places to visit in Nubra Valley

Here are some of the top visited spots in Nubra Valley:

  • Panamik
  • Tiger
  • Sumur
  • Hunder
  • Diskit

Places/Attraction near Nubra Valley

If you are looking for some attractions near Nubra Valley you don’t have to worry much about it because here are some of the best:

  1. Turtuk
  2. Khardung La Pass
  3. Khalsar

Things to keep in mind while preparing for Nubra Valley from Leh

Here are a few things to keep in mind before starting your journey from Leh to Nubra Valley.

Acclimatize to the condition

As you already know that while going to Nubra Valley you will have to go through Khardung La which is at an astonishing altitude of more than 18000 ft. So it will be better if you first acclimatize your body to such a gain in altitude. The pressure and oxygen level at such height drops drastically.

Prepare for Khardung La

The pressure and oxygen level are very low at such a height so it is very important for all the travelers to either keep medicines or acclimatize themselves before heading out. In some cases when a person feels nausea, dark chocolates help a lot.

Pack your backpack well

Keep your backpack light and put all the important stuff inside. Don’t forget to put in layers of clothes so that you can cover yourself if the temperature drops.

Inner line permits

Do carry multiple copies of inner line permits and make sure you have them somewhere on the top of your bag. Don’t put it deep inside your bag because you need to show them at every checkpoint.

Accommodation in Nubra Valley

Diskit is known to be the headquarters of the Nubra Valley and it has the maximum number of accommodations including decent hotels and good guest houses. If you want to stay at any of the homestays, you will be welcomed by the people because there are several locals who have made their houses for homestays. You can use them for a night and pay moderately.

On the other hand, top places near Nubra Valley including Hunder, Panamik, and Sumur have a few hotels, homestays, and guest houses where you can spend your night comfortably.

Savoring the Ladakhi cuisines

As rich as Leh, Ladakh and Nubra are in terms of natural beauty and mind-blowing spots, the Ladakhi cuisines are equally cherishable. The various cuisines that are served in these places are mouth-watering, rich, flavorsome, and highly nutritious. There are still a lot of people who are under the impression that noodle soup, thukpa, and momos are the food items that are savored by people here.

Though it is true that these food items form a huge composition of the entire cuisine-offering of the place but there is a huge variety of dishes that can be enjoyed here. Keeping in mind how difficult it is to farm here due to adverse climate and lack of water; people still find a way to grow grains and vegetables here. Including the ones mentioned above here is a list of famous Ladakhi food items that you can devour on while you are here.

Famous dishes:

  • Momos
  • Thukpa
  • Tapu
  • Thenktuk
  • Mokthuk
  • Tigmo
  • Chutagi
  • Paba
  • Skieu
  • Khambir

This is the list of main dishes but Ladakhis have a lot of side dishes as well. Here are some of them:

  • Holkur
  • Tsamik
  • Apricot Jam
  • Chhupri
  • Apricot Syrup
  • Apricot Juice

Every cuisine you eat is incomplete unless it is complemented by a drink. Being in Ladakh you don’t have to bother about those because here are some local drinks/ beverages that will blow up your mind.

  • Tangdur
  • Chhang
  • Cholak
  • Gur Gur Chai
  • Sea Buckthorn Juice

Things to do in Nubra Valley

There are a plethora of things that can be enjoyed in and around Nubra Valley. Some of the major things to do in Nubra Valley are:

  • Camel Safari
  • ATV ride at Khalsar
  • Diskit Village
  • Visit Samstanling Monastery
  • Visit the Tiger village
  • Hot spring fun at Panamik Village
  • Attend a festival

Best time to visit Nubra Valley

Many people are unaware of the fact that Nubra Valley remains open for tourists throughout the year. Roads might be temporarily closed due to heavy snowfall at Khardung La but the Indian Army regularly works to restore the connectivity of roads for their transportation and traveler’s too. But talking about the best time to visit Nubra Valley it is between the end of May to early September when all the roads are open and you will see a lot of riders conquering this trail. The guest houses and hotels are also functional in full swing throughout this time.

Mobile connectivity 

The mobile networks will run out when you ascend to Khardung La and you won’t get it back throughout the circuit. There are payphones that are available in various villages so you can use them for contacting your loved ones.

Availability of petrol pumps between Leh to Nubra Valley

Yes, there is a petrol pump in Diskit but there is no assurance of getting fuel in this area. It is always advised to people that they fill up their tanks when they leave Leh so that they don’t face any problems thereafter.

Availability of ATMs between Leh to Nubra Valley

The availability of ATMs can be an issue throughout the circuit; though there are quite some ATMs in Leh but none after that. So it is advised that you do withdraw sufficient cash from here so that there is no problem throughout the trip from Leh to Nubra Valley.


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