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