Nubra Valley is a mysterious place tucked up in the lap of the Himalayas that is filled with an enigmatic culture, mesmerizing valleys, double-humped camel rides, captivating sand dunes and challenging roads. The Shyok River meets the Nubra River in this mesmerizing village that separates the majestic Ladakh and Karakoram mountain ranges.
Nubra Valley is also known as a cold desert due to long stretches of Sand Dunes that offer a serene view between Hunder and Diskit. The rays of the sun bring life to the vast never-ending stretch of sand dunes, which proves you are in a high altitude cold desert.
If you are planning to visit Leh Ladakh, Nubra Valley is a must-see on your itinerary. In the current blog, I will be discussing how you can make the most of your visit to this surreal valley.
Nubra Valley: An Overview
Here’s some handy information for Nubra Valley, that might help a first time traveller in planning a visit to Nubra valley.
150 kilometers north of Leh, Ladakh, North India
|Mode of Travel
Guest Houses offer budget stay and budget eating options too with clean and comfortable rooms.
Pleasant and little warm during the day, and gets colder and windier during the evening. Wear clothes in layers to keep warm.
|Villages to Visit
Diskit, Hunder, Panamik and Turtuk
Sand Dunes, Double Hump Camel Safari, Maitreya Buddha
Altitude sickness, Weak mobile network, Emergency conditions
Butter Tea, and Chhang
Travelling to Nubra Valley
How to reach from Leh to Nubra valley by Taxi?
Private taxis will charge you around 10000 INR or more for a 2 day trip to Nubra Valley. This will cover Dikshit and Hunder. If you wish to cover Panamik and Turtuk Villages, it will cost about 5000 INR over and above the previous cost.
How to reach from Leh to Nubra Valley by Bus
Nubra valley is fairly connected with Leh through public transport. For budget travellers, a bus is a great option to reach Nubra valley. You can take a direct bus from Leh to one of the locations and from there you can use the local bus or shared cabs to cover the others.
Tip: Do check the Bus timetable and chart at the Leh bus stand to confirm the timings as they are prone to changes.
|Leh to Dikshit Bus Service
Three buses run from Leh to Dikshit every Saturday at about 6 am from the bus stand in Leh. The same bus returns to Leh the next day.
|Leh to Turtuk Bus Service
There is a direct bus from Leh to Turtuk. It runs every Saturday at 6.00 am from the Leh bus stand. It returns to Leh the next day.
|Leh to Hunder Bus Service
There is no direct bus to Hunder from Leh so you can take the bus to Skuru from Leh. It runs at 6 am from Leh, every Tuesday.
Accommodation Options in and around Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley (Diskit and Hunder) can be visited in two days, and Pagnimik and Turtuk might require an extra night stay. The two main villages are Diskit and Hunder, where you can find guesthouse options that offer budget stay. They have well-maintained rooms and usually have a great view and small gardens to enjoy some quality time in the lap of the mountains.
As these two villages are only 11 km apart, taking accommodations in either village will not be a problem. During peak seasons, all guest houses are usually pre-booked. So, look up some good guesthouses online, contact the person in charge, and get your room booked beforehand. You might have to pay a small amount in advance for booking. This shouldn’t be a problem as people here lead a simple life far away from deceit and fraud.
First Time Travelling Tips for Nubra Valley
If you are travelling to the Nubra valley for the first time, here are a few things that you should be aware of.
Network lines are usually broken and not repaired until late May or early June, and it is really difficult to get a signal or keep in communication with the outside world. Although guest houses have landlines that can be used to make a call, they are chargeable.
Ladakh has its own rules and regulation when it comes to network providers. Only Airtel postpaid sim can get network coverage if it’s available. Buying a sim here is quite difficult, so it is recommended that you carry an Airtel Postpaid Sim before travelling to Leh.
In cases of emergency during the journey, there are numerous army campsites every few kilometres. As army camps have their own communication network, this can be your best chance of rescue in case of emergency.
As Nubra Valley can be reached only via Khardung La, it is advised that all tourists stay in Leh for at least 24 hours on arrival, to get accustomed to an elevation of 3.5 kilometres and chilled air. The reason behind this is: that one has to pass Khardung La to get to Nubra Valley which is situated at an elevation of 5359m. This can result in nausea, vomiting or other severe health conditions if one doesn’t rest before starting the trip to Nubra Valley.
Places to Visit in and around Nubra Valley
There are four main villages that you should cover during your stay in Nubra Valley:
It is the headquarters of Nubra Valley and has lots of government offices.
It is home to sand dunes and a double hump camel safari.
The village is famous for the natural hot springs in the area. The story of the last village opens for civilians in 2010 is exciting.
Turtuk offers camping sites with an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Apart from these villages, a 32-meter tall statue of Maitreya Buddha facing the Shyok river has been built with 8 kg of gold. White Sand Dunes amidst mountains and the Bactrian Camels (double hump) Safari is the speciality of this valley.
Among the picturesque landscape of mountains and sand dunes, one can enjoy the double hump camel safari in Nubra Valley. Costing as low as Rs 200 per person, one can really enjoy the double hump camels in Hunder village of Nubra Valley. This is a one of a kind experience, as a double hump camel safari over sand dunes in the lap of Himalayas is something you don’t want to miss.
In conversation with a local, I found out that there are two groups that run the Bactrian Camels safari and they have turns on alternate days. People here know how to live in peace.
Budget Travel to Nubra Valley
Don’t pre-book the complete package online if you want to travel on a budget. Although union rates for taxis are fixed, they can be negotiated in person. In the case of single travellers, there is always someone that is willing to share a taxi. Do travel by public bus if you are comfortable with that.
The weather in Hunder can change from calm to heavy winds in a few seconds. When winds start blowing and you are at sand dunes, it can get really messy with sand filling up all your clothes. So, carry an extra pair of sweaters and socks while visiting the sand dunes, and take extra care of your camera equipment.
A trip to Nubra Valley during April end and early May will be quite different from a visit in peak season. This trip will be an enriching experience of its natural beauty and barren mountains that stretch for as far as your eyes can see. The trip to Nubra Valley can be stretched to 2 to 3 days depending on your length of travel as Pangong Tso, Chang La, Alchi, and Leh are also covered by most travelers in one trip. Plan for a ten to eleven days trip as Leh isn’t something you want to rush about.
Happy Wayfaring 🙂