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