If you are planning to visit Nubra Valley then this article will be very helpful for you. In this article we are telling how to reach Nubra Valley from Leh. Travel Nubra Valley
About Nubra Valley
The Nubra valley, nestles at the foot of the Karakoram Range in the northern part of Ladakh. Nubra, which means orchard or Garden, is a picturesque green valley with milder climate as compared to the rest of Ladakh. The Nubra and the Shayok rivers provide an agriculture wonderland of apple and apricot orchard and crops of wheat, barley, peas, buck wheat and millet. The legendary Great silk rout once traced its wealthy way through this stunning valley where tall willow and poplar tree stand against towering mountains.
The climate of Nubra Valley is milder as compared to Leh. The road to Nubra from Leh, traverses through Khardung-la pass, which is the world’s highest motor able road, at the soaring height of 18,380 feet. As one drives down the road, the marvelous view of Nubra Valley and the lofy snow bound range of Stock Kangri, provide the chilling excitement and unmatched adventure. Evening are still more mysterious and enchanting because then the nature treats there white mountains as its canvas and turns them spiritual with a generous splash of Orange and red and saffron. Long ago, the caravans used to take this route to trade between the eastern Turtkistan and India.
The lifeline of Nubra, shayok and nubra valley rivers, divide the fertile valley into two parts. When the road dips into the valley from Khardung-la, the road bifurcates, the right side lead to the Panamik, along the nubra river and the road on the left goes to Diskit, which is the Headquarter of Nubara. This road leads to Hunder and its Bactrain camels andf sand dune and from there towards Turtuk. Before 2010, the tourists were allowed to go up to Hunder village only but now they can visit one of the remotest areas of the Ladakh, Turtuk, close to the line of Control.
The name of Turtuk, in the Language Balti, is Dhuk- Dhuk, which means to settle down. The folk-lor goes that about 1100 year ago, a boy and a girl were camping there. They fell in love and decided to settle in this picturesque valley. Since then area is called Dhuk Dhuk. It is amongst the most fertile areas of Ladakh, because of river which flows through it dividing it in to two. The valley is famous its good quality apricot and apples.
Place to visit in Nubra
- Diskit Monastery
- Ensa Monastery
- Hunder (Double Hump Camel Safari)
- TURTUK VILLAGE
Diskit is the one of the oldest monasteries founded by Lama shereb Zangpo of Stod in 1420 AD., in the reign of king Dragspa. This branch of thiksey monastery is a home for more than hundred monks. Diskit gonpa is situated on the top of the hill, always keeping a watchful eye on the village below.
Sumur, 28 kms from Diskit, lies across the shayok and nubra rivers. It is another major village of Nubra valley and is also called the village of three rivers. It is famous for its 150 years old samtenling Monastery. Parts of this makes it look restively recent. The Gonpa, which is built on a hill overseeing the valley, has a rich collection of gilded statues, murals and Thangkas.
Panamik, which is the last village on the treaty Road, is 60 kms away from Diskit, at the height of 3231 meter. In those days it was the halting place for the caravans. Still there is a big ground, where the caravans used to pitch in their tents, for the much needed rst and used to prepare their bodies for the arduous journey ahead. The medicinal hot springs, used to de-stress their battered bodies and today also the springs are there for the travelers to treat themselves and refresh.
The Ensa monastery, which is 8 kms away from panamik, is accessible only by trekking for three to four hours, after crossing the nubra river. This 250 years old monastery lies uphill, on the side of the gorge.
Hunder (Double Hump Camel Safari)
The word ‘desert’ reminds one of endless terraces of sand dunes and of camels. Ladakh, being a cold desert, is also incomplete without these two. The sand dunes, embarked on their aimless journey, moving wherever the strong, cold wind direct them, are the reminiscent of the hot Thar desert, of Rajasthan. The double humped Bactrian camels, present in the Hunder village, 7 kms from the Diskit, are a major attraction of Nubra valley.
Hunder is the last point for tourist and road beyond leads to the army base for Siachen glacier and it serve as base for tourist exploring the Nubra Valley.
TURTUK VILLAGE ( Nubra valley)
When people call Kashmir the crown of India, they probably include Ladakh too. Just like Kashmir, Ladakh has its fair share of awe inspiring vistas, and has also been a war zone since time immemorial. While the Chinese war of 1962 left us protecting our land, the 1971 war brought a bigger portion of Ladakh, which was once controlled by the Pakistani administration, under India’s control.
To explore this part of Ladakh, take a drive ahead of Hunder in Nubra Valley. You will be greeted by Shyok, a turquoise river which snakes through the valley and crosses the Line of Control to enter Pakistan. At the end of this trail, towards the Indian side, is the tiny little hamlet of Turtuk.
Turtuk, and a lot of other small villages, were brought under Indian control after the 1971 war, when the Indian army pushed the Pakistani soldiers past the mountains towering the Nubra Valley. Turtuk lies at the extreme corner of the Indian border, and hence its accessibility is a challenge. Due to treacherous roads and sensitive army base camps, permits were not issued to Indian civilians until late 2010.
Note : Do visit the place if you are interested in knowing other culture and traditions, and history.
Season for Travel Nubra Valley
In January to March, Nubra Valley remains mostly in cold conditions with very few options to stay open to welcome guests. In April types, some guest houses starts to open up but food does remain an issue at many places. You have to rely on home stay options and home cooked food only. You can see apricot flowers blooming all over Nubra Valley in April. Then comes May, June, July and August which is the peak tourist season and you can find mostly all accommodation options open with full staff and support.
Come September and early October, the tourists starts to reside as cold starts to set in and accommodation starts to pack up too. According to me, this is by far the best time to visit Nubra Valley to see full glory of burning colors of Ladakh with clouds hovering like candies in the blue sky. The colors are purely magical at this time of the year and with less number of tourist comparatively, you get better deals at hotels and you enjoy more. After second week of October up to December, mostly all the accommodation options packs up except the small guest houses or home stays and some hotels. However, the situation of accommodation options in Nubra Valley in winters as well is not that bad as compared to Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri lakes, where only few home stays run with very basic facilities.
Reach Nubra Valley from Leh
If you are planning a trip to Ladakh in near future and Nubra valley is on your itinerary; please read through the article below for further details on planning a visit here. This article contains information on three different routes you can take to get to Nubra; places where you can stay and a list of must visit tourist attractions in Nubra Valley.
Nubra Valley Map
Below is a detailed Leh to Nubra valley travel guide with map and route explanation.
The map above includes areas that are not actually within Nubra valley. Only the area from Khalsar to Turtuk and Warshi is the Nubra valley. Region towards Agham, Karu, Sakti, Shyok Village, Wari La isn’t considered a part of the Nubra but I included this in the map only to highlight an alternate route that you can take to visit there.
Also Read – Ladakh Tourism and Travel Guide
I will break this article in 4 different sections. First one detailing how to reach Nubra valley, second part covering a list of places you can stay at; third part listing down some must visit places there and the last part provides some general information about the valley that can be of use.
Route to Nubra Valley from Leh
The 350 Km odd round trip from Leh to Nubra Valley is a journey that is likely to be etched in your mind long after it is over. The high point of the journey is definitely crossing one of the highest motorable passes in the world, the Khardung La Pass, before you plunge into the pristine valley where the Shyok river meets the Nubra river. In fact the entire sojourn unfolds like a picture postcard unveiling its many miracles till you reach the magical Nubra Valley at an elevation of 3048 metres above sea level. Watching an arid landscape change into a beautiful valley of flowers is what makes the journey to Nubra Valley a blessing.
Route and road condition
- Most preferred route for tourists: – Leh – Phyang – Khardung La – Khardung – Khalsar – Diskit – Hunder – Diskit – Sumur – Panamik
- Route is open generally from mid-May to October
Leh – Phyang – Khardung La (40 kms): Despite being the highest motorable road in the world, a journey from Leh to Khardung La is easier than it sounds. The first leg of the journey takes you through some fairly good roads, however army trucks ply on this road a lot and with the tourist season in full swing, the narrow winding road is bound to get crowded during the day. So if you want to make a good headstart, start early so that you can avoid traffic. Even with the rapid gain in altitude, there is very little likelihood of being affected by AMS. A signboard which says Khardung La, 18380ft, Highest Motorable Road in the world, makes the perfect photo opportunity. You can take a break here to catch your breath and indulge in a cup of hot coffee. A souvenir shop offers interesting memorabilia to take back home.
Khardung La – Khalsar (58 kms): Tolerably good roads make the journey from Khardung La to Khalsar smooth. You may want to take a break at Khalsar as it offers several good eating options.
Khalsar – Diskit (20 kms): There is a bifurcation in the road a few kilometres down the road after starting from Khalsar; take the left one leading to Diskit, a well-populated town offering good amenities. As you start approaching Diskit you get a glimpse of the beauty that draws people to Nubra valley, the desert landscape changes magically into a valley bed of flowers. Diskit is famous for the ancient Gompa believed to be more than 600 years old. A climb upto the Gompa offers not only the opportunity to view the panoramic landscape all around but also visit the main Deity holding in her hand a mummified human head and forearm.
Diskit – Hunder (8km): A moderately good road makes the travel from Diskit to Hunter comfortable enough. Famous for its fruit orchards and undulating sand dunes and the even more popular Bactrian camel, also known as the “Two Humped Camel”, Hunder is a tourist’s delight, especially on a full moon night. A camel safari is a must do at Hunder. Hunder offers quite a few camping options for the more adventurous tourists.
Hunder – Sumur (40 kms): If you want to cover everything the region has to offer, backtrack all the way to the bifurcation and choose the right turn this time to head towards Sumur. A scenic drive and good roads make this drive pleasurable and easily accomplished. A quaint scenic village and the 150 year old Samstening Gompa make Sumur a delight to visit. Nestled in the serenity of Sumur Village lies the Yarab Tso Lake. which charms every visitor with its crystal clear water
Sumur to Panamik (20 kms): Again decent roads make this journey fairly easy to accomplish. You would definitely want to see 50 year old Ensa Gompa and hot water springs. This is also the last civilian settlement before Siachen base camp.
Accommodation in Nubra Valley
Diskit: Diskit is the administrative headquarters of Nubra Valley and has a number of accommodation options including homestays.
Hunder: Hunder has few guest houses and camps
Sumur: A favourite pit stop of travellers, you can find a range of accommodation options here, much like Diskit
Panamik: You could choose to stay at the guest houses in Panamik, though the accommodation options here are fewer.
- There is no mobile or phone connectivity in Nubra Valley. Diskit is the only region in between that offers pay phone facilities
- The only petrol pump in between Leh and Nubra Valley is at Diskit, so be sure to fuel up before embarking on the trip
- There are no ATM facilities and credit cards are not accepted so keep cash in hand for expenses