Nubra Valley Ladakh | Sightseeing and Travel Guide

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Nubra Valley – Ladakh

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Nubra Valley is one of the MUST VISIT places in Ladakh especially if you are visiting for the first time. Nubra Valley is among the sub-districts in Ladakh, located in North East side having Diskit Village as the its main headquarters. Diskit is situated about 120 odd KMs from Leh town which is the main capital of Ladakh district. The Shyok river, a tributary of Indus river, meets the Nubra or Siachen river to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakorum Ranges. The ultra wide landscapes, humongous mountain faces, lovely trails, wide variety of colors and musical Shyok river flowing midst the valley will take your breath away at first sight. Since, it is near to the Line of Actual Control, one need to get Inner Line Permit to visit Nubra Valley. You can get more details on Inner Line Permits here: Inner Line Permits for Leh – Ladakh. Starting May 2014, Indian Tourists does not need Inner Line Permits for Nubra Valley. Read more about it here

The major attraction of a trip to Nubra Valley is going over the so called or hyped, highest motorable road, Khardung La Pass Being at lower altitude than Leh at an average altitude of 10000 Feet or 3048 Mtrs, Nubra Valley is an ideal place to fit into the acclimatization schedule of your Ladakh trip once you reach Leh. Climbing to very high altitude of Khardung La from Leh and then sleeping at low altitude of Nubra Valley DOES HELP tremendously in acclimatization. Thus, apart from the magnificent vistas on offer, Nubra Valley has a hidden advantage with respect to acclimatization as well which will eventually help your trip be more successful. No wonder, if you are missing on this part of Ladakh on your trip, you are almost missing out on the heart of the Ladakh trip.

The India Gate – But In Ladakh Near Khardung La Pass …
The India Gate - But In Ladakh Near Khardung La Pass
The Beautiful Landscape of Nubra Valley…
The Beautiful Landscape of Nubra Valley
A Gateway to Heaven — Nubra Valley???
A Gate of Prayer Flags in Nubra Valley
Location

Diskit, the main headquarters in Nubra Valley is located about 120 KMs from Leh town of Ladakh district.

Altitude

Nubra Valley has an average altitude of about 10000 Feet or 3048 Mtrs.

Season for Traveling to Nubra Valley – Ladakh

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.

Light and Shadows Play in Nubra Valley…
Light and Shadows Play in Nubra Valley
Blooming Beautifully… The Apricot Flowers…
Blooming Beautifully... The Apricot Flowers at Hunder Village...
How to Reach Nubra Valley – Ladakh
Route from Leh to Nubra Valley

Below is the most general route to Nubra Valley from Leh that most people usually follow. You can reach in about 5 – 6 Hrs depending upon the number of break you take in between and of course at Khardung La. Do try to ensure you do not stay more than 15 minutes at Khardung La as you will start to get hit with AMS because body cannot cope up with that high altitude, so quickly in the trip, for that long. Anyways, the route to Nubra Valley from Leh along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

LehKhardung La Pass (40 KMs) – Khardung Village (34 KMs) – Khalsar (23 KMs) – Diskit (19 KMs) = 116 KMs

You can cover Diskit & Hunder on the first day to Nubra Valley from Leh irrespective of the fact where you are staying between these two places. Then, you can plan to cover Sumur & Panamik while you are returning from Nubra Valley. So, if you are one of those who prefer relaxing vacation and do not want to rush through places then, I will suggest make a three day trip to Nubra Valley. Of course, I assume your body has been acclimatized properly by staying for couple of nights in Leh before attempting to climb Khardung La pass and come over to Nubra Valley. If you are short on time then you can just make a two day trip covering Diskit, Hunder, Sumur and Panamik on the flow of travel to and from Leh.

Do not forget to refill petrol/diesel at Leh petrol pump as there used to be a fuel pump at Diskit but never seen that in working conditions. So, better tank up at Leh only before making a dash out to Nubra Valley.

A Lovely Trail at Hunder…
A Lovely Trail at Hunder Village
The High Alitiude Camel Safari…
The High Alitiude Camel Safari
Preferred Vehicles

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable and 4×4 ones generally not required. However, quite a few people do it in hatchbacks and sedans as well which depends upon your skills to drive and road conditions at the time of travel.

Suggested Itinerary for Nubra Valley – Ladakh

Generally, at least one night stay is preferable to truly witness the mesmerizing beauty of Nubra Valley. Of course, one night stay will help you ride the Bacterian Camels over Sand Dunes of Hunder around sunrise and sunset (ie cooler conditions) that increase the charm of your vacation to further extent. Most people, generally do:

Day 1 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder

  • Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
  • On the way enjoy a cup of soup at Highest Motorable Pass (as claimed) Khardung La
  • Diskit has monasteries with tallest lord Buddha statue and Hunder has sand dunes and bacterian camel safari

Day 2 | Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh

  • Sumur has a Samstanling monastery to check out nearby
  • Panamik has hot water springs and a sacred Yarab Tso lake
  • Overnight at Leh

You can add a day to your schedule for a trip to Nubra Valley and go ahead to visit Turtuk, about 95 KMs from Diskit. Turtuk has been opened recently in 2010 for domestic tourists and in 2013 for foreign tourists. It is an amazing place, quite different from the rest of the landscape in Nubra Valley and have a different affinity of culture too.

You can also check the most common and very well balanced itinerary for whole Leh – Ladakh region covering all major tourist destination including Srinagar – Leh Highway and Manali – Leh Highway, at the below link: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh

Beautiful Deskit Village in Nubra Valley
Beautiful Deskit Village in Nubra Valley
106 Feet Tall Lord Buddha at Deskit – Nubra Valley
106 Feet Tall Lord Buddha at Deskit - Nubra Valley
Accommodation Options at Nubra Valley – Ladakh

For a comprehensive list of accommodation options or hotels or camps in Nubra Valley, check the link here: Good Hotels or Accommodation in Nubra Valley – Ladakh

Places to visit in Nubra Valley – Ladakh

You can visit following places in Nubra Valley and may be I will try to explain them in detail in some other article just to maintain the brevity of this article.

  • Diskit: Diskit has a monastery which is largest and oldest Buddhist monastery in Nubra Valley and houses a 106 feet tall Maitrey Buddha statue. There is Lachung Temple as well which is quite close to monastery.
  • Hunder: Hunder is famous for its sand dunes and double humped bacterian camel safari.
  • Sumur: Somewhere between Sumur and Kyagar, you can visit Samstanling monastery.
  • Panamik: It has hot water springs and a sacred Yarab Tso lake nearby the entrance of the village.
  • Turtuk: Recently opened for tourists in 2010, Turtuk offers a much different landscape and cultural orientation than rest of the Nubra Valley. You can see apricot trees loaded around the entire village with views closer to Karakorum range. If you have time, a MUST VISIT place in Nubra Valley.
First View… Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley

Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
Medical Facilities in Nubra Valley – Ladakh

Diskit Village which is the headquarters of Nubra Valley has a hospital where you will be able to get basic medical aid and treatment.

Food Joints near Nubra Valley – Ladakh

Most of the time you will be eating out in Hotels or Camps or Guest Houses or Home stays you will be staying. However, there are dhabhas or eating joints at Khalsar and Khardung villages where people generally stop for lunch while on the way to or from Leh.

Phone Signals at Nubra Valley – Ladakh

BSNL Postpaid Connection does work like a charm in most parts of Nubra Valley with some loss of signal at few places though.

Petrol Pumps near Nubra Valley – Ladakh

Do not forget to refill petrol/diesel at Leh petrol pump. Update 2016: Things have improved and the petrol pump at Deskit, Nubra Valley is mostly found in working condition now a days even in winters.

ATMs near Nubra Valley – Ladakh

You will not find any ATMs in Nubra Valley and hence, it is always better to carry cash from Leh (the only place where you find ATM in Ladakh) itself.

Conclusion

It is a great place to visit and I am sure if you visit Ladakh, this one surely is not the place you would like to exclude from your plan. I hope the above information will be useful for your upcoming Leh – Ladakh trip.

Please feel free to post any queries or doubts you might have in planning your trip to Nubra Valley place in the comments section below. If you have been to Nubra Valley, kindly share your thoughts and other information you might feel will be worth sharing with other fellow travelers and prove helpful to them.

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335 Comments

  1. Hi ji, We Starting to leh tomorrow,
    We are a couple fly to leh, Day 1:Leh, 2:Nubra, 3:Leh return, 4:Pangong, 5:Hanle, 6:Tsomoriri, 7:Leh, 8:Lamayuru return (Sharing), 9:Kargil (via Baltiac sharing or individual), After that we are confused to go to zanskar or direct to srinagar. I want to book return flight from Srinagar after visit gulmarg and Pahalgam. Days not problem but we are from south india.. Before no experience like this high altitudes.
    So need suggestions:
    1.For zanskar minimum how many day needed or
    2.shall return from padum
    or
    3.skip zanskar due to 1st time..

    Transport:Strictly Sharing taxi…
    Really confusing….
    Need all your team suggestions.

  2. David Simms on

    Thank you for your helpful information and for the time you take to reply to questions.
    I will be travelling alone and I hope to visit Diskit at the time of the Festival. I’m thinking of getting there the “standard” way, by looking around for a shared ride.
    Did you say it was possible to stay at the Monastery ? failing that, I conclude there are lots of places in town.
    After the festival, I’d like to hike/ride down the valley and spend time in Hunder. I’m a photographer and would like to see things in different light.
    From the maps in my books and online, I see a big trail from around Hunder/Changmac over to the Indus Valley. It seems to end around Basgo. Is it possible to hire a porter or horse in Hunder to make this trip ?
    How long would it take ?..it looks like 3-4 days. On the maps, I see some villages. Are homestays possible ?

    Thank you for your help.
    Dave…from Canada

    • Hello Dave,
      Deskit is head quarters of Nubra Valley and there is surely bus services connecting Deskit and Leh. Also, many shared cabs would be running between Deskit and Leh mostly on daily basis. You can refer the bus time table too and plan the trip accordingly:Rates & Time table of Bus Services in Leh – Ladakh
      Most of the monasteries in Ladakh offer stay options and yes, there will be plenty of home stays available in Deskit and Hunder villages. You will not be stranded there. Hunder is just 7-8 KMs from Deskit and you will have no issues in hitch hiking or taking lifts. If you are used to hiking being from Canada, well, you can walk as well through beautiful scenery too.
      There could be one trail but I do not have clue over feasibility of doing it. I have not known it as it does not seem to be a popular one in Ladakh. So, even porters will be hard to find. Sorry on that front.
      Regards
      Dheeraj

      • David Simms on

        Thanks Dheeraj; This sounds good and I thank you, once again. If I manage to get some info regarding that trail, which surely exists, I’ll post it to help inform others.
        I was thinking that, taking that trail from the other end could be an option and maybe some help (if necessary) could be available in Lamayuru, or thereabouts.
        Have a great day.
        Dave

  3. Krishnendu Bhattacharyya on

    Dear Dhirajji,
    We are arriving at leh on 28th september. We are a family of 4 members. Me, my wife and two daughters. Do you need to book hotel prior to visit in leh and hunder ? Or is there spot booking available? Can we have rooms if we spot book on the day we arrive?

  4. PRADIPTA KAR on

    Dear Mr Dheeraj
    I am reaching leh on 28th september with my spouse & 2 years aged daughter.
    Actually I am budget traveller so can get shared car for Nubra,Pangong lake & sight seeing from leh?
    Can you share any hints of fares for said trips?

    Pl. share your valuable feed back.

    • You are a couple and private taxis are very costly in Leh but you will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in the worst case, you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself. Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo and look forward to meeting new people

  5. Hi Deeraj,

    Thankyou for this post as Nubra is definitely on my list.
    I have a few question, since I’m traveling solo I will mostly gonna rely on sharing cabs during my trip. But after doing some research it seems like my itinerary will match the bus schedule to Nubra which depart every Tuesday from Leh. Which will safe me some efforts to try to find sharing taxi partners since I can just catch the bus.

    The question is, will these buses make the stops in Khardung La, Sumur and Panamik? Or will it just go straight to Nubra without stopping? Because I’d love to make some photo stops if it’s possible.

    Thanks.

    • Hello Ruth,

      They may stop for couple of minutes at Khardung La on request but not enroute anywhere else expcept the bus stops of villages to pick up passengers. Sumur and Panamik does not fall on the route as bus goes to Deskit only. So, it will not stop there as well. Since, you will love to take pictures of the scenes enroute, best is to find the tourist shared taxi and get a seat in it. you will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in the worst case, you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself.

  6. Sanchita Tiku on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Is there any place you know where food is provided in Turtuk? I am planning to spend a day in that village and was wondering if you can suggest some place to have traditional Balti food.

    Let me know. Many thanks for your help as always!

    Best,
    Sanchita

    • I will say villagers will help you do so. Some homestays/guest houses will be running restaurant cum dhabha where you can eat food. You can request them to prepare some balti food on request and of course paying the goodwill at the end. I don’t see any reason they will not be able to help you with your request.

      • Sanchita Tiku on

        Thanks Dheeraj for your quick response. That helps. After my journey I am gonna share my experience here as I have referred each and everything right from choosing drivers to places to stay from ur blogs. I just love DOW and the hard work u have been putting. Cheers!

  7. Hello Dheeraj,
    You are doing a great job. After going through your lots and lots of useful advises, I finally planned for the Leh trip. I would be travelling to Leh in next month i.e August. Following your instructions I am starting the trip from Srinagar. I am sending you my itinerary please go through it and suggest me any changes if you want to.
    11th August- Reaching Srinagar at 12.30 pm. Day at srinagar n Stay at Srinagar
    12th Aug- Srinagar to Kargil via Sonmarg, Drass. Stay at Kargil
    13th Aug- Kargil- Leh stay at Leh.
    14th Aug- Leh- Nubra. Stay at Nubra.
    15th Aug- Nubra- Pangong via Shyok/Warila. (Here want to know whether travelling by this route is safer as we are couple and renting a cab and also whether this route is open for tourist in month of August.) Stay at Pangong
    16th Aug- Pangong- Leh. Stay at Leh
    17th Aug- Leh- Jispa/Sarchu. Stay at Jispa/Sarchu
    18th Aug- Jispa/Sarchu- Manali. Stay at Manali
    19th Aug- Manali- Chandigarh Tour ends.
    I am having a return flight from Chandigarh on 20th Aug at morning, so need to reach thr till 19th.
    PleaSe let me know if this itinerary is good to go or would you suggest any changes in the above plan.
    Waiting for your valuable response.
    Thanx n Regrads

    • Hi Swapy,

      You MUST have at least one day stay in Leh after reaching Leh to acclimatize, rest and get the permits done which I see is missing from your plan. Secondly, in August Shyok river swells and the road from Shyok village is mostly closed. You will need to take Wari La route. I will say to wait for some company at Agham village which can be along with you to support in the need of an hr else come back to Leh and do Leh – Chang La – Pangong Tso.

      Regards
      Dheeraj

      • Thanks for the reply Dheeraj. But as you see we dont have days in hand to rest and also to come back to leh from Nubra and then to do Leh Pangong. I am in contact with a cab driver that too recommended by you on the Forum, and my problem is that I already booked my return flight tickets which will be leaving from Chandigarh. The cab which i booked will accompanying us from Srinagar upto Manali, if u suggest i will drop that plan and can take a flight from Leh upto Chandigarh which will give me 2 more days for the Leh Ladakh region. Currently I am on the negotiation stage with the Cab driver. If you suggest then i will drop the idea for Leh Manali cicuit.

        • Well, I will suggest so given the number of days at hand else choose between places in Ladakh and covering Srinagar – Leh and Pangong – Leh on the trip only which also makes sense. For rest of the places in Ladakh, you can make some other trip in future by flying in and out of Leh.

      • Dheeraj one last question, sorry if i m bothering u too much, I will be reaching Srinagar around 12.30 pm, so is it a good idea if I directly go to Kargil rather than staying at Srinagar? This will give me one day for acclimatization. Does that route requires any kind of permission or Does Srinagar To Kargil route have timings

        • Swapy, well, it takes about 8 hrs to reach Kargil from Srinagar. You can speed it up to 7 hrs with fewer breaks. No permit is required to travel from Srinagar to Kargil

  8. Hi dheeraj…
    If i come from jammu to leh on flight and immediately go to deskit crossing khardunla(not stopping anywhere) by hiring a taxi…within 5hrs i ll be in deskit…
    Is it advisable…
    How risky is it?

  9. Hi Dheeraj

    We were planning for a plan which included Srinagar. But now we have changed that. Kindly see the plan.

    Day 1) Fly from Delhi to Leh, Acclimatization at Leh
    Day 2) Leh Local sightseeing, Stay at Leh
    Day 3) Leh to Nubra Valley, stay @Nubra Valley
    Day 4) Nubra to Siachen base camp and to Pangong Tso (Is it possible?) – Stay at Pangong Tso
    Day 5) Rest at Pangong Tso and back to Leh, stay at Leh
    Day 6) Leh to Kargil, Stay at Kargil
    Day 7) Kargil to Leh
    Day 8) Leave to Chandigarh (Morning flight)

    Is the plan too tight in terms of travel?

    Regards
    Krishnaraj R

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