Leh to Nubra Valley Valley Route Map & Road Conditions.
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Route 1: Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardung La
You will reach the destination, Nubra Valley.
Route 2: Leh to Nubra Valley via Wari La
The road is not used a lot and is broken in certain places. You will essentially be driving on dirt and rocks, occasionally, even water. This road will be closed in June due to heavy snowfall at the Pass. Bear in mind that is it not one of your regular high altitude passes.
Perched atop 17,400 ft., Wari La pass is very difficult to navigate. Especially the last 20 km of the pass is very, very steep. In addition to that, you have several water crossings awaiting the trail.
There are no villages here to stop and snack at, until Sakti, which you can reach only after having crossed Wari La.
That said, there’s little else that compares to the thrill of crossing the infamous Wari La Pass! You get starkly different terrains and views to boast about, along with an adventure of a lifetime.
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Best time for Leh to Nubra Valley Trip
Come summer, the valley begins to blossom, greeted by the first apricot flowers of the year! In April, a few accommodations start to function, but food junctions continue to rain shut in most places. From May to August is when the valley really blooms and welcomes travelers with beautiful, cloudy skies and a patchwork of floral colors making its face.
The months of September and early October, although a bit colder than summer months, are also viable for taking a road trip from Leh to Nubra Valley, especially if you wish to escape the mainstream tourist crowd. The autumn colors outshine everything else, and there’s the much-required serenity, travelers often chase. Another upside is that, since September - October is less touristy, you’re likely to land a much better deal at hotels and camps!
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How to Reach from Leh
When traveling to Nubra Valley from Leh the entire bike/car ride will take you about 5 hours, considering that you’d want to stop at Khardung La for some exploring. You can hunt for bike rentals in Leh, which aren’t difficult to find at all. There are more than enough rental options to choose from, though the rates may be non-negotiable.
If you’ve rented a bike up to Leh, you might have to leave it back at your hotel, and rent another one from Leh to travel to Nubra. If traveling to Leh on your own bike or in your own car, then you’re free to travel to Nubra and other places in the same vehicle and enjoy the bike trip in Ladakh.
If you’re unsure about rental options, contact your hotel operator/manager. He will arrange it for you. Though the idea of riding a bike along the beautiful roads of Leh sounds tempting, it is not for beginners. It is recommended only to people who’ve experienced riding on rough roads.
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The best and most practical way to reach Nubra Valley from Leh is by road, due to the lack of railheads and airports in the area. You can find a shared cab, hired taxi or bus from the Leh airport to take you to Nubra Valley comfortably. There are public buses which ply regularly to and from Nubra Valley.
These buses can be boarded from Jammu Tawi, Srinagar, Leh, and a couple more places. All buses heading to or from Nubra must cross the mighty Khardung La Pass, where travel permits need to be obtained by submitting photocopies of relevant documents.
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By Shared Taxi
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Things to Know during Leh - Nubra Valley Trip
Petrol Pumps on Leh-Nubra Highway
Considering that Nubra is about 150 km away from Leh, it is important to have prior knowledge about the fuel requisitions and petrol pumps en route Nubra in order to avoid any glitches. It is advised to stock up on fuel at Leh itself, and carry enough petrol for the journey.
If you somehow run out of petrol along the way, there is a petrol pump at Diskit. You can refill your tanks here. Bear in mind that this may be the only petrol pump you’ll find in Nubra valley. There are no petrol pumps in Hunder, Panamik, Turtuk or any other villages there. One tank full of petrol from Leh will suffice you unless your plan is to continue right up to Pangong Tso.
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ATMs on Leh -Nubra Valley Highway
It is strongly recommended to carry a good wad of cash with you from Leh itself. There are only two working ATMs in Nubra Valley - one in Diskit and the other in Pratapgarh. While Diskit and Pratapgarh do have ATMs, it wise to keep these options open only for emergencies or as a last resort.
While it is natural to want to carry as little cash on hand as possible, the lack of sufficient ATMs in Nubra Valley demands that you carry enough cash. Make sure that all your cash is never in one single place. That way, if you misplace one of your bags, you will be left with enough money for safety and emergency.
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Mechanics on Leh-Nubra Highway
It is widely recommended that you pick up on some skills before starting your bike trip in order to enjoy the journey comfortable. There are a few mechanics available through the ride, though. While you may find a mechanic to help you out, it doesn’t hurt to have a few tricks up your sleeve, just in case. You also have the option to hire a mechanic for the entire journey, depending on your budget. In dire times, a mechanic will definitely come in handy, and you will not have to go hunting for one. You will find plenty of mechanics in Leh, but you’ll have to patient with them, as there will be many bikers around. Beyond Leh, it might be very tricky to find mechanics when you need them.
Mobile Network Connectivity
Mobile network may seem a bit difficult to come by. There are a few things to keep in mind when traveling to Leh. Only postpaid connections function in Leh. No prepaid connections will work. Also, you will likely get decent network coverage in only a handful of places in Ladakh. The network seems to dwindle as you reach Khardung La Pass, and beyond the pass, it completely disappears.
The signal shows signs of revival only once you descend from Khardung La, and reach either Diskit or Hunder. BSNL also works well in Hunder, Sumur, and Turtuk. Furthermore, there’s no mobile network along the Nubra valley - Pangong Tso route, although you can find decent BSNL connectivity at Lukung, Pangong Tso. To sum it up, you will have a hard time finding decent mobile connectivity, so it’s recommended to inform your near and dear ones before crossing over from Leh to Nubra Valley.
In case of emergencies, there are villages in Leh which have satellite phones. BSNL phones have the widest mobile coverage, and Airtel is a close second. With regards to internet connectivity, the speed is limited to 2G. 3G network is very hard to come by. Although you can always use the wifi connections in hotels, restaurants, and cafes.
There are also a few cyber cafes. Bear in mind that electricity is a luxury here, but most villages and cyber cafes will have generators.
There are plenty of camps in Nubra Valley for a peaceful stay during your trip.
There are also decent medical facilities available in Nubra valley. Diskit also has a well-equipped hospital where one can easily get basic medical aid.
Food Joints/Places to Eat between Leh and Nubra Valley
While Khardung La may not have many options, there are plenty of dhabas, restaurants and eating joints in Leh, serving piping hot, delicious food. You also have the option of enjoying your meals in your hotel’s or camp’s restaurant or eating out in dhabas or homestays. There might be little to no options for eating at the mighty Khardung La Pass, so it is recommended that you carry enough stock.
Diskit, Turtuk and Hunder will have more than enough options to explore, though. Nubra valley houses a lot of food joints, especially in Diskit. Gyantse Restaurant is one of the most famous eateries in Diskit, famous for the savory Chinese food that travelers have come to love.
Most of the restaurants and dhabas serve mouth-watering Tibetan as well as Chinese delicacies including the iconic momos and Thukpa, a delicious Tibetan dish. The Rangyul Guest House in Turtuk is famous for Balti dishes.
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Places to Visit and Things to do in Nubra Valley
Diskit Monastery is arguably the oldest and grandest Buddhist monastery in Nubra Valley. Dating back to the 14th century, the monastery overlooks the vast stretches of the Shyok river plains. Distinguished by the 100-foot tall statue of Maitreya Buddha that sits atop the ancient gompa, it is one of the most frequented tourist destinations of Ladakh.
The monastery commands incredible panoramic vistas of the entire Nubra Valley. One can also admire the numerous frescoes and murals that the monastery fosters. Presently housing over a hundred monks, the monastery beautifully symbolizes the beliefs, traditions, and culture of Ladakh.
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Camel Safari at Hunder Sand Dunes
Famously referred to as ‘The desert in the sky’, these sand dunes are cocooned right between Hunder and Diskit, flanked by snow-clad peaks and glaciers. Hunder has the privilege of being part of the old Silk route, and is famous for the sea buckthorn plants that dot its face. The iconic camel ride in these sand dunes is absolutely unmissable!
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Quad Biking at Hunder Sand Dunes
The miraculous fusion of two different terrains in Nubra is an experience that cannot be missed! The rich sand dunes of Hunder has perfect for quad biking and camel rides. The ideal window for enjoying the Hunder sand dunes is from May to October when the hospitable weather of Ladakh with clear views guarantee to leave you spellbound.
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Samstanling Gompa, Sumur
It sits about 120 km away from Leh and can be reached from Sumur village, which is about 45 minutes away. A lush canopy of trees overlook the monastery, and countess fluttering prayer flags surround the place. The monastery is currently home to 50 monks, and several beautiful murals of Lord Buddha.
It is one of the lesser known monasteries of Ladakh but is seeing an increase in footfall every year.
Yarab Tso Lake
Ladakh’s best kept secret and nestled in the laps of Nubra Valley lies the pristine Yarab Tso lake. At a distance of only 15 km from the Diskit region, the sacred lake is shaded in the Sumur village and is accessible only by foot. The trek to the lake begins from Panamik Village and requires about 20 - 30 minutes of ascending up the mountain.
The untouched, unpolluted waters of the lake bear striking reflections of the surrounding snowy peaks - a view that remains etched in the heart for years! Considered as a highly sacred site, it is not allowed to swim, wash or take a dip in the waters of the lake.
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Turtuk is a pristine, untouched little village along the banks of the river Shyok, cradled by Nubra and Baltistan. It is the northernmost village, beyond which lies the Pakistan-occupied region of Kashmir.
Turtuk sits in the laps of Nubra, essentially untouched by the crutches of commercialism, and remains untouched by the wheels of time. The natives are warm and welcoming, and the land is home to numerous apricot plantations.
New to travelers, the village remained entirely off the path of tourism right until 2010. The inhabitants speak fluent Balti, a linguistic amalgamation of Persian and old Tibetan. The ‘village divided by a border’ is essentially a journey back in time.
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Panamik is a beautiful little village in Nubra Valley and is known widely for its sulfur hot springs, which are believed to have great health benefits. Sitting in almost touching proximity to the Siachen glacier, the village lies about 150 km away from Leh.
Neighboring the Indo-Tibetan border, the village is a convenient base for the trek to the 250-year-old Ensa Monastery. An absolutely unmissable place when visiting Nubra Valley, make sure to buy some of the famous Kashmiri carpets, Pashmina shawls and woolen socks which the village is famous for.
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Hotels in Nubra Valley
One of the most elite hotels in Nubra Valley, Hotel Stendel is famous amongst travellers. Certified with an ‘A’ grade, the hotel prides itself on its 3-star amenities and hospitable staff. Equipped with 22 well-furnished rooms, the hotel also fosters a beautiful lawn, famous for outdoor meals. The in-house, multi-cuisine restaurant is applauded for its excellent delicacies, prepared by professional chefs.
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Lchang Nang Retreat
Offering the peace and tranquility every traveller seeks, the simplicity and hospitality here is second to none, supported also by a cooperative staff. The retreat is open for visitors from May to mid-October only.
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Hotel Grand Nubra
Carrying stunning views of the Karakoram range, the hotel is seated well in the laps of Nubra valley, and a bit far away from the main market, ensuring you nothing but the comforting silence and tranquility of the mountains.
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StepInn Nubra Valley
Rooted in the philosophy and aim of making travel affordable, StepInn Hotel is a marvellous modern-age hotel, which also manages to retain the rustic charm of the mountains beautifully. It is a name likely to be on the ‘best hotels in Ladakh’ list, owing to the warm hospitality of the staff and excellent amenities that the hotel offers.
Hotel Real Siachen
Their rooms are spacious and well-furnished, while a handful of rooms also feature a spacious courtyard for some blissful moments of privacy.
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Camps in Nubra Valley
Mystique Meadows Camp
Lapped in Sumur village of Nubra, the Mystique Meadows Camp carries an assortment of eighteen Swiss cottage tents, five Mongolian yurt tents, and four standard rooms - all of which are spacious, clean and very well-maintained.
The camp also houses an in-house kitchen, with chefs adept at cooking mouth watering delicacies ranging from Indian, Chinese, Continental, Italian and Ladakhi cuisines. One of the most comfortable stay options in Nubra valley during your Leh-Ladakh road trip.
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Apple Nubra Cottage
The camp comprises of 20 Swiss cottage tents with private bathrooms, along with an exclusive Indian restaurant, and 24-hour front desk. In addition to this, the camp is also pet-friendly!
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Valley Flower Camp
Surrounded by a medley of floral colors in the summer season, the camp provides you truly postcard-worthy photos to take away. With a range of fifteen well-maintained tents, the Valley Flower Camp promises to have you keep coming back.
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Nubra Ethnic Camp
Combining the elements of luxury wilderness, Nubra Ethnic Camp sits in the heart of Hunder village in Nubra. The tents are spacious and well-maintained, along with individual bathrooms with running hot and cold water for utmost comfort. The tents also come with a private verandah, ideal for those beautiful moments of privacy spent marvelling at the encircling beauty. Hunder sand dunes are about 20 minutes of walking away from the camp.
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