Leh To Nubra Valley Travel Guide

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Located across Khardung La is the charming Nubra Valley. Its original name is believed to be Ldumra meaning "Valley Of Flowers". This beautiful valley is located at a height of 3048 meters and is the meeting point of Shyok and Nubra rivers.

Total distance for this journey is roughly around 350 kms, round trip, covering Nubra Valley and returning to Leh. Route is as mentioned below.

  • Leh – Phyang – Khardung La [39 kms]
  • Khardung La – Khardung Village [31 kms]
  • Khardung Village - Khalsar [30 kms]
  • Khalsar - Sumur [23 Kms]
  • Sumur - Panamik [20 Kms]
  • Panamik - Diskit [60 Kms]
  • Diskit - Hunder [08 kms]

Inner line permit for Indians and Protected area permit for foreigners is required to visit Nubra Valley. Click here to read about how to obtain and ILP and Click Here to read about obtaining PAP .Please also ensure that you always carry multiple photo-copies of your permit as you would be required to submit them at several check-posts..


leh-to-nubra-valley-map-with-distances


Leh – Phyang – Khardung La:
Like yourself, there will be several people wanting to visit Khardung La. Add that with Army and civil supplies trucks, locals crossing the pass to other side and you have a heavy traffic on a narrow and steep road. To avoid this traffic, an early start on the journey is advised. Road is pretty good except for a few bad patches due to melting snow near the top of the summit. Despite the fact that gain in altitude is high in a very short distance and time, you would hardly feel anything in terms of altitude sickness.

You may be required to submit a copy of your permit at South Pallu. Last time i visited Khardung La, no one asked me for my permit at South Pallu but do not take a chance. Carry a copy of your permit and submit if you are asked to do so.

At the top of Khardung La is an army base and small cafeteria, which offers free tea, without milk however. So if you don't mind sipping down black tea, it is good place to sit with a cup in your hand and beautiful Himalayan peaks all around you. Take photos next to several signboards reading "Khardung La, 18,380 ft, Highest Motorable Road in the world"

There is also an Army souvenir shop selling hats, caps, t-shirts and kitchenware noted "Khardung La" in case you want to buy something that would remind you of the visit. Last time i was there, i really liked a hat with Khardung La written on the front but could not buy it as the souvenir shop was closed because the guy incharge went visiting Leh.

Khardung La – Khardung Village : Road on the descent towards Nubra has always been in a bad condition till North Pallu. As a matter of fact, there is no tar on the road for the first few kilometers just a dirt road full of puddles. It mainly is due to melting snow which results in a continuous flow of water on the roads. Caution is advised while driving / riding here.

Once you reach North Pallu, you will again have to submit a copy of your permit. There is a small restaurant at Pallu so in case you are hungry, you can eat here. Chances are that the only thing you will find in the menu are chips, biscuits and Maggie.

After Pallu is the scenic Khardung Village which will make you apply brakes on your vehicles to take photos several times. The vista presented by small green fields in midst of naked snow capped desert mountains is awe-aspiring.

Khardung Village is another place where you can grab a bite to eat. Menu however will still remain tea, chips, biscuits and Maggie.

Khardung Village - Khalsar : Roads from Khardung till Khalsar are smooth so it wont take you long to cover these 30 kilometers.

Khalsar - Sumur : Road after Sumur and through-out Nubra Valley remains in good condition. Few Kilometers after Khalsar, you will come across a bifurcation. Road on your right goes to Sumur and Panamik while the one on the left leads to Diskit.

Continue on the one to the right and shortly you will realize why Nubra Valley is so famous. Greenery will start coming more in the picture of a cold desert and it would start looking like an oasis. While at Sumur, visit the 150 year old Samstening Gompa that this village is famous for.

Sumur - Panamik : Further 20 kms will take you to the village of Panamik, the last point that tourists are allowed to. There is a barricade on the road that only allows Army Vehicles to pass. Sumur has 250 year old Ensa Gompa but the primary attraction is its hot water spring. Locals have constructed

bathrooms around the spring and there is a proper bathing arrangement. It is highly recommended that you take a dip here and feel your tiredness melting away.

Panamik has several guest houses and is a good place to stay for the night.

Panamik - Diskit : Since you can not go any further beyond Panamik, you will now have to backtrack 40 kms to the point where the road bifurcated and you took the right turn. From here now take the left turn which will take you to Diskit, another village in Nubra valley.

Primary attraction of Diskit is an ancient Gompa which is believed to be at least 600 yrs old. There is a statue of a Deity in the Gompa holding a mummified human forearm and head [believed to be of a Mongol Warrior] in its hand. You will have to leave your vehicle and trek for about half hour to the hilltop where the Gompa is located. It also presents a Panoramic view of Diskit village and the valley around.

A lot of people visiting Nubra Valley prefer to stay at Diskit because of the availability of pay phones. Your cell phone will stop working the moment you start on the ascent to Khardung La so if you want to call your folks back home, Diskit is the place you can do it from.

Diskit also has some decent hotels and guest houses available to stay.

Diskit - Hunder : 8 kms from Diskit on a moderate road and amidst fruit orchids is the village of Hunder famous for its sand dunes. If you staying at Diskit for the night, and if you are lucky enough for this to be a full moon night, do not miss the sight that these sand dunes present under a full moon.

Another amazing thing you will get to see at Hunder is the Bactrian Camel, or commonly known as two humped camels. Yes, thats right. Unlike the regular camels, this one has two humps on its backs. You can even get a ride on this camel at Hunder if you are willing to pay.

Accommodation And Other Facilities : Diskit is the headquarters of Nubra Valley and has maximum number of hotels and guest houses. Even several locals here take tourists as paying guests for a very moderate charge. It also has a petrol pump but availability of petrol can not be guaranteed so it is advised that you tank up on your start from Leh.

Phone networks do not work in Nubra Valley and the only available pay phone is also located in Diskit.

Hunder, Sumur and Panamik also have few hotels and guest houses available so you can chose to stay at either of these towns for the night however if you need a hot water bath, Panamik is the place as the hotels here do supply hot water from the hot water spring located here.


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