Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Shyok Road

by Vargis.Khan

About a decade ago, Shyok Road was probably the worst stretch of road in all of Ladakh. It was a road that was considered to be dangerous to travel on. Even the local drivers used to avoid traveling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Shyok because of the extremely bad condition of the road.

But still, a lot of people wanted to travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake directly. This way, they would not have to go back to Leh and it would save one day in the itinerary. But still, for a few years, this road remained in a terrible state and only the adventurous kind dared to venture in this direction.

Much however has now changed. What once was a badly broken dirt road full of stones is now a super smooth stretch of tarmac. It is now a road that is among the most traveled ones in the region and don’t be surprised if you find a traffic jam on it at some stretches.

I recently was on a road trip to Ladakh and traveled from Pangong Lake to Nubra Valley via Shyok on the 33rd day of our trip. The post below is a brief narration of our journey and also provides several necessary details on this route. To read the previous parts of the travelogue, please follow the links below.

Journey So Far:

If you were planning to travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso directly (or vice versa) but weren’t sure how good the road was, the pictures and the post below can help you decide.

Day 34: Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Shyok Road

This day started very late and there were two reasons behind that. The first one was that we were awake for most of the night and did not go to sleep until 3 in the morning. As a result of that, we could not wake up until 10 am. The second reason was my overconfidence.

This was going to be my 4th time on Shyok Road. The first time I traveled on it was almost a decade ago when this road was newly constructed and was considered dangerous. But during the second and the third time, after it was tarred, we were able to complete the journey easily in 5 hours at most.

So even this time, I assumed that it would take us the same amount of time. Even if we started from Nubra Valley by noon, we should still be able to reach Pangong by 6 pm at most which is a good enough time to be there. What I failed to foresee however was the huge amount of traffic that were going to run into.

Before I move on with the travelogue, let me provide a few details on this route. You can also take a look at the video below of our journey from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Shyok. This can help you better understand the details that I will talk about in the post below.

Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake Distance

The total distance between Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake via Shyok is approximately 170 km, depending on where you stay in Nubra Valley. The 170 number that I quoted is from places like Diskit, Hunder, Sumur, or Panamik. If you stay in Turtuk, it will add roughly another 90 kilometers to the total. The total travel time is about 6 to 8 hours.

Also Read: Leh to Nubra Valley Bus service – Fare, Schedule & Timings

Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake by Bus

There are no direct buses available from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake. In fact, there is no public transport available on the Shyok route at all, not even shared cabs. So if you were traveling by bus and shared cabs, the only thing you can do is to look for a shared cab from Diskit.

If you are lucky, you may find one. If not, you can also try to hitchhike with other tourists heading to Pangong. In peak tourist season, you will find a lot of people who will be willing to drop you at the lake. If nothing worked, you have no other choice but to return to Leh and go to Pangong the next day.

Also Read: How I Traveled to Leh Ladakh by Public Transport

Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake Route

Let me now explain the route that you will take for this journey. I will do that as I explain how we traveled and will post the pictures accordingly.

In Nubra Valley, we were staying at a campsite in Sumur. It is one of the best places to stay in Nubra Valley, located just outside the village, near Sumur Sand Dunes. You can read a detailed review of this campsite at this post – KBC Sand Dunes River Resort.

Most of the tourism in Nubra Valley is toward the towns of Diskit, Hunder, and Turtuk. That is where the majority of the people go and not a lot of them come to the other side of the valley, where Sumur and Panamik are. This is why this place is best for someone who wants to spend some time away from the crowd.

It is located right next to the Sumur Sand Dunes. So you can just walk around in peace, go to the banks of the river, and enjoy your stay. The host is a gentleman by the name of Tashi. He is a great person to talk to who loves to share his knowledge of the region and would love to suggest some offbeat places for sightseeing.

KBC Sand Dunes River Resort

Sumur to Khalsar

We woke up between 10 am to 11 am on this particular day, already much later than the plan. Even after that, due to my overconfidence that we would complete the journey in 5 to 6 hours, we made no effort to hurry up and took our own sweet time in getting ready.

As a result, by the time we checked out of the campsite and started on our way, the clock read 12.30 pm. We drove around 15 kilometers back to Khalsar junction and took a short break there. There is a petrol station at Khalsar where we got a thankful of Diesel and then some tea for ourselves.

khalsar junction

We started running into traffic as soon as we crossed Khalsar. There were a lot of cars and traffic coming down the Khardung La road and it was almost impossible to go beyond 20 kilometers an hour speed. A few kilometers after Khalsar came the first hurdle of the day when the traffic came to a standstill.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

The traffic did not move for almost 45 minutes and we just stood at the same spot. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the reason for the traffic jam became clear in the form of Army trucks. There was a convoy movement at Khardung La due to which the traffic was stopped, to clear the way for the Army.

Khalsar to Agham Village

Finally, the traffic started moving again after about 45 minutes. We drove for a few kilometers and reached the spot where the road to Shyok Village bifurcates from the main Leh Nubra Valley road.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

At this particular spot, the road going toward the right will take you to Khardung La and then to Leh. The one going to the left is the one that takes you to Shyok Village and then to Pangong. So from here, we turned here and continued our journey. There was still no sign of traffic slowing down.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

The road in this particular section is downhill and very narrow in some places. Since there was heavy two-way traffic that also included trucks, we had to stop for 5 to 10 minutes every now and then waiting for the traffic to clear. This part of the road is possibly the most challenging on this entire route.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

After driving downhill and tackling traffic for about an hour, we finally came down on the flat section of this road. From here on, until Shyok village, the road mostly runs flat, right next to Shyok river.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

The condition of the road also started to deteriorate a little around this part. It was broken in a few places but not too badly. After a slightly bumpy drive, we reached Agham, another small village on the route.

agham village

After crossing the bridge in the picture above, the road will bifurcate again. The one going to the right will take you to Wari La Pass and then down to Sakti Village. The one to the left leads to Shyok, Durbuk, and Pangong Lake.

Agham to Shyok to Durbuk

There were also a lot of dhabas near the bridge. For a minute, we thought to take a break but then decided against it since we were short on time. We crossed the bridge, turned left, and continued our journey.

After Agham, the road continued to be a mix of good and bad. At some places, it got really bumpy but we were still able to maintain a speed of 30 to 40 kilometers an hour.

We came across this dhaba where we took another break to stretch our legs and also to get something to eat. This was the only dhaba that I noticed on this entire section of the road. By the time we reached here, the time was already 3 pm and we still had a long way to reach Pangong.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

This particular region is possibly the most scenic part of this entire route. So even though we were trying to hurry up a bit, the scenery and the views were forcing us to stop every now and then to click pictures and shoot videos. The road condition also was a little bad on this stretch.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

It took us almost two hours to cross the distance between Agham and Shyok Village. Finally, by the time we reached Shyok, the clock read 5 pm.

shyok village

We took another small 10-minute break in Shyok and continued our journey. Sun was setting fast and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford any more photography breaks in between.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

Even though the views looked inviting enough to get some more pictures, I kept my foot on the gas pedal and did not stop until we reached Durbuk.


Durbuk to Pangong Lake

The sun had already set by the time we reached Durbuk. I already knew that we wouldn’t be able to reach Pangong in time before dark. So there was really no harm in taking another break here for some tea and to get something to eat.

I think we spent about 15 to 20 minutes in Durbuk and started on our final lap of the journey, to Pangong Lake. We crossed the village of Tangtse on the way and even though the views were still inviting us to stop at every turn of the road, in our hearts we knew that we could not afford to do so.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

As expected, it was soon dark all around. Finally, we got our first view of Pangong Lake.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

The image above was after opening the exposure in Photoshop. In reality, this is how dark it was.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

Our accommodation for the night was booked in the Bluewave Camp located in Man Village. By the time we reached Spangmik, it was pitch black and dark and the only things that we could see were the ones that the headlights of my car and other vehicles were shining on.

nubra valley to pangong lake via shyok

We continued driving non-stop. On the way, because it was dark all around, we ended up taking a couple of wrong turns as well. There is no network in this area so we could not even turn on the Google Maps. Finding our way to Man Village and the campsite was all guesswork but thankfully, we were able to do it.

We kept stopping every time we saw the boards of the campsite to get down and read the names. Finally, at around 8 pm, we arrived in Man Village and by god’s grace, were able to locate the campsite as well.

Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake Road Conditions

The condition of the road on this entire route is a mix of good, bad, and ugly. For the most part, though, it is a smooth and tarred road with a few bad stretches in between. Even if you were in a hatchback car, you would still be able to complete the journey easily.

Also Read: How to Travel from Pangong Lake to Tso Moriri Lake

Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake Taxi Fare

A private taxi from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake will cost you anywhere between Rs. 5000 to Rs. 8000 for a drop. The final price will depend on your negotiation skills and the tourist season. If there were a lot of people in the valley and the demand was high, sometimes this price can even touch Rs. 10000 for a drop.

Your greatest chance of finding a cab is in Diskit because that is the biggest town in Nubra Valley. Shared cabs, as I mentioned previously, do not ply on this route and you will be extremely lucky if you are able to find one.

Mobile Network & Data Connectivity

If you were carrying a Jio and Airtel postpaid connection, you would have full connectivity on Agham Shyok Road with good data speed. There are stretches in between when you will lose connection but in and around the villages en route, you will be back on the network.

Prepaid phones do not work in Ladakh at all. BSNL/MTNL also work on this route but their services are not that good. Idea and Vodafone also do not work that well in Ladakh.

Once you cross Durbuk and reach Pangong Lake, you will once again lose the network. On the other hand, in Nubra Valley, both Airtel and Jio provide excellent service with 5G data speed.

Bluewave Camp – Man Village

The campsite we stayed at was just OK, nothing great but not too bad either. The tents were large enough with attached bathrooms but the beds felt a little hard and uncomfortable. That night, only two of their tents were occupied which sounded a little surprising to me and I could not help asking the owner the reason.

What he told me was that earlier that day, there was a landslide just before Agham Village. This resulted in a traffic jam that lasted for about 5 to 6 hours. Due to this, a lot of people who were supposed to come to Pangong that day canceled their bookings and went back to Leh instead.

We did not run into this landslide because we started very late in the day. By the time we reached that spot at around 2 pm, the road was all clear. So as they say, whatever happens, happens for good. If we had started early, we also would have gotten stuck in that traffic.

There was really nothing else to do that evening. It was dark all around and the lake was not even visible. We rested for a while in our tent, played some cards, and had dinner at 9 pm. The food was very average but since we were very hungry, we did not mind pushing it down our throats till our bellies could take no more.

At around 10 pm, we called it a day and went to sleep. The plan for the next day was to go back to Leh via Chang La Pass. Please click on the link above to continue reading the next part of the travelogue.

Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Shyok – Conclusion

Should you take this road? Yes, definitely. It will save you a day and the hassle of going back to Leh and then to Pangong the next day. You will also get to see some new areas and explore more. The only problem can be if you are traveling by public transport. In that case, you may find it a little hard to include this route in your journey.

I hope the travelogue, pictures, and information above on traveling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Shyok were of help. If you have any questions, you can contact me on Instagram and I will happily answer. You can also consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and asking a question there.

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Gaurav February 10, 2022 - 7:10 am

Hi Vergis,

Your blog is very informative and helpful. I will be in Leh for 5 nights in April end. Are roads from Leh to Hunder, Hunder to Pangong Lake (via Agham-Shyok) and Pangong to Leh safe for drive during this time?

Vargis.Khan February 10, 2022 - 10:18 am

Hi Gaurav – Yes, April end is quite safe to go. There could be some snow at the top of the passes but other than that, it will be mostly dry.

Anirban Ganguly April 9, 2022 - 7:39 pm

Hi Vargis, Thanks for your intimate details . We are planning in last 5 days of April in Nubra Valley . Hearing Pangong Tso lake is still frozen. Any idea how would be situation during 26-17 April this year ?

Vargis.Khan April 10, 2022 - 4:00 am

Hi Anirban – No it is not. The lake is frozen only in Jan and Feb

Indranil Jana July 22, 2021 - 6:16 am

Hi Vargis,
Thanks very much for lots of useful articles. Your hyperlinks are properly placed and anyone can easily find desired topics. I got almost all the answers. regarding Leh tours. We will be traveling from Kolkata/ Howrah, WB by car probably on the end of August 2021 with family via Srinagar. Now if RTPCR is mandatory with 96 hrs validity, how can we made it on the way? Is it possible to perform the test at Srinagar? If yes then where should we go at Srinagar? Please help regarding this or make an article on RTPCR test for smooth movement towards Leh Ladakh.

Vargis.Khan July 25, 2021 - 7:01 am

Thank you for your kind words Indranil. Please speak with Faisal @ 9596410670 in Srinagar about where to get the RTPCR done

Deeksha Goyal July 12, 2021 - 10:43 am

Hello sir

We plan to stay for two nights in Nubra.
Can we visit Pangong Tso as a day trip from Nubra?

Vargis.Khan July 12, 2021 - 9:48 pm

Hello Deeksha – Nubra to Pangong is about 6 hours drive so making it a day trip will be very difficult

SUBHAS GHOSH July 4, 2021 - 1:20 pm

Hi Varghis,
I have been Ladak for three consecutive Years 2017,2018,2019. I had a plan to go in 2020 also. Unfortunately due to pandemic Covid 19 the planning was postponed. This year I am planning to go again at 21st August 2021. My 2 questions to you.
i) Do you think at that time there will be any restriction such as requirement RTPCR test or closing of any local visiting place viz Santi Stupa, Hall of fame etc?
ii) Nubra – Shayak- Pangong will be Ok for Tempo Traveller ?
Subhas, Kolkata

Vargis.Khan July 4, 2021 - 9:06 pm

Hi Subhas – RTPCR is required right now and I am guessing it will be in August as well. Yes, Shyok road is Ok for tempo travellers as well.

Deeksha Goyal July 12, 2021 - 10:42 am

Hello Sir

We intend to stay for two nights in Nubra.
Can.we visit Pangong Tso as a day trip from Nubra?

Vargis.Khan July 12, 2021 - 9:48 pm

Hello Deeksha – Nubra to Pangong is about 6 hours drive so making it a day trip will be very difficult

Gurpreet Singh March 27, 2021 - 3:54 pm

Hello Vargis,
I am planning to visit Leh in April 2021 from 10th to 18. We are 2 couples. I just wanted to know is it safe if we can go from Leh to Nubra and then to Pangong by rented bike. How’s the road conditions????

Yash Mishra September 14, 2019 - 3:03 pm

Hello Vargis,

Amazing page and blogs , Thanks you for making travler’s life easy.

I am traveling to Leh on 23rd sept. Was planning to Move Nubra to Pangong direct route. Will be on BIKE and with my wife.

Having less days in hand, wanted to check the current road conditions (after August monsoon season ) for bikers. Will it be safe on the rented bike to travel via Shyok .

Vargis.Khan September 16, 2019 - 4:15 am

Hi Yash – Road is good and perfectly safe right now. You are OK to go.

Yash Mishra September 16, 2019 - 4:52 am

Thank you for prompt response. We are in confusion on how to make it a good one..

Taking care of altitude etc.. I planned as per Below :

Day1(23rd Sept) : Stay at Leh hotel and evening local market etc. As will land in Leh at around 12pm.

Day2(24th) : Lamayuru, Magnetic Hill and Sham valley back to leh same day.

Day 3 (25th) Leh to Nubra and stay thr at Hunder.

Day4 (26th) Nubra to Pangong: Including Panamic before leaving Nubra And stay at Pangong.

Day5 (27th) Pangong to TSO Moriri to Leh same-day.(will it be possible?) Or I will have to stay at Moriri.

28 and 29 are in hand as of now. The return Flight is on 30th morning 11am.

Wanted to cover Hanle as well, but not sure how tiring it will be to cover all alone on bike(with wife , she can’t ride) and how to manage Luggage ? As I am not coming back to Leh any time in between Can’t choose locker option.

Right now we have two Rucksack bags, don’t think it will be enough to carry all the clothes and other basic items.

Do you have any advice as we are going on such trip for the first time.

Vargis.Khan September 16, 2019 - 4:41 pm

Better plan like this.

23 – Leh as planned
24 – As planned
25 – Nubra as planned
26 – Pangong as planned
27 – Pangong to Hanle. 5-6 hours ride, easily doable.
28 – Hanle to Tso Moriri – 5-6 hours ride
29 – Tso Moriri to Leh via Tso Kar – 6-7 hours ride
30 – Fly Out

I assume you will be renting a bike in Ladakh? Contact Azhar @ 9906990020 in Leh for bikes. Give my reference and he will give you a discounted price.
Rucksacks may not be sufficient. Bring along normal bags, 3 would be better, 2 on each side and 1 behind the pillion. Tell Azhar about this and he will make proper arrangements on the bike to make it easy for you to mount the bags.

Nitesh July 11, 2019 - 1:49 am

Hi Vargis, can we go nubra to pangong via shyok village from bike? And we are couples. Is this route safe in August 1st week. because we are only 2 person. Please suggest what we will do ?

Vargis.Khan July 11, 2019 - 4:39 am

Hi Nitesh – Yes it is safe enough now.

Pravishti July 8, 2019 - 5:57 am

Hi Vargis,

I’ll going by an Innova from Nubra valley to Pangong in first week of September. Is the route safe for that time ? In terms of rains or landslides ?


Vargis.Khan July 8, 2019 - 6:05 am

No it is safe now. It is a good smooth road.

Pravishti July 8, 2019 - 6:30 am


Ajay Aj June 16, 2019 - 8:19 pm

Can this route now be done by any scooter(gearless vehicle like activa..scooty..jupiter etc).please let me know.

Vargis.Khan June 17, 2019 - 1:51 pm

Yes it can but you may have to push it at some places to get across Khardung La.

Rohit June 15, 2019 - 12:00 pm

Hi Vargis, I am going to leh for 8 nights in first week of September. Plan is spend 3 days in leh covering near places and travel via pvt cab to Nubra valley on the 4th day. Can I cover sumur , Panamik , diksit and Hunder same day and leave for pangong early next morning ? From Pangong should I go to Tsomoriri or come back to leh and travel from leh next day ?

Vargis.Khan June 15, 2019 - 6:47 pm

Hi Rohit,

Yes you can cover sumur , Panamik , diksit and Hunder on the same day if you started early from Leh. From Pangong, go to Moriri direct via Chushul

Vihang patel May 9, 2021 - 6:28 am

Hello sir, I will be driving on this route (Nubra valley to Pangong lake) during first week of june in my Hyundai i10 car. What do you think, will my car face any issues during trip considering the fact that it is hatchback and front wheel driven car.

akash SUNDARESH June 11, 2019 - 6:11 pm

Hi Vargis, How about the fuel availability in this route?? And at Pangong Tso?? Am planning to ride from Diskit to Pangong and then from pangong to Tso moriri.. Am a little concerned about fuel stations?? Does any of your blogs cover about the fuel stations at specific stretches??

Thanks for such Extensive blogging. You are helping a lot of us in planning our destinations. Keep up the good work.. Cheers..

Vargis.Khan June 13, 2019 - 7:41 pm

Hi Akash – Please see the post below. Should be of help.

Vineet July 13, 2021 - 3:49 pm

Hi Varghis, very useful first hand information provided by you in your leh blogs. Please answer if anti depressants can continue to be taken at leh nubra pangong as being taken in delhi.

Vargis.Khan July 14, 2021 - 6:50 am

Hi Vineet – I will really rather not advise on medical matters brother because I do not know. I hope you understand. Please consult with a doctor.


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