February 15, 2023
Ladakh holds many mesmerizing prizes for visitors. There are beautiful mountains, picturesque peaks, scenic skies and much more to see in Ladakh. One of the best things to see on your trip is Nubra Valley. Before you make the Leh to Nubra Valley Trip, there are a few things that you need to know:
About Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is about 150 Kms from Leh which takes about 5-6 hours to cover by road. It is one of the best places to visit while visiting Ladakh and the roadtrip from Leh to Nubra valley is unlike any other.
One way to make your journey more meaningful and hassle-free is to do your research beforehand. Here is what you need to know about Nubra Valley before planning your trip:
Nubra Valley is at an elevation of 10,000 feet above sea level.
Nubra Valley is administered as a sub district or tehsil of Leh.
The headquarters or capital of Nubra Valley is Diskit, which lies about 120 Kms north of Leh, the capital of Ladakh.
Foreign nationals are required to get a Protected Area Permit to visit Nubra. From 2017, Indian nationals are also required to get an Inner Line Permit to visit Nubra Valley and areas close to the border.
The Tibetan name of “Nubra” is “Dumra” which means “Valley of Flowers.”
Traveling from Leh to Nubra Valley / How to reach
As mentioned, there are 3 different ways to travel to Nubra Valley from Leh. We will focus on the main way as it is the safest and remains open most of the time. This is the route over Khardung La Pass.
To make your journey easier, we will divide the route into several segments:
Leh to Khardung La (Aprox. 39 kms)
The first leg the journey has good roads except for a few places. The elevation increases sharply as you climb up to the pass. Here you will be required to show your permit on the way at South Pullu. At the top of Khardung La, there is an army base and a gift shop where one can buy souvenirs. There are also many famous spots here where one can take pictures of the surrounding areas.
Khardung La to Khardung Village (Aprox. 31 kms)
From Khardung La, a rickety road leads up to Khardung Village. Again, in North Pullu, you will be required to show your permit. There is also a restaurant here where one can get basic food. After Pullu, you reach Khardung Village, which is a pretty place with an oasis of greenery.
Khardung Village to Khalsar (Aprox. 23 kms)
The road from Khardung Village to Khalsar Village is smooth and undamaged by rain. From Khalsar Village, we can see the beginnings of Nubra Valley and its distinct dreamlike landscape.
Around this village, the road bifurcates. If one takes the left turn, one goes to Diskit, the capital or headquarters of Nubra Valley but if we take the right turn, the road goes to Sumoor, Teggar and then to Siachen Glacier.
Both routes go through Nubra Valley but the one to Tegar is prettier and less commercial. This route has the best greenery and the most beautiful views. It is less touristy and better exemplifies the ethereal landscape of this magical land. Therefore this is the route we recommend.
Khalsar Village to Tegar (Aprox. 16 Kms)
The way to Tegar is relatively smooth and the road is good. Along the way, there are many beautiful views of the Nubra River which flows parallel to the road. There are also many picturesque cold sand dunes and patches of greenery.
These are the famous patches where the ancient convoys of the Silk Route used to stop. Here, they would graze their animals and get supplies for the hard road ahead to China and Central Asia.
Tegar Village is also knows as Kyagar Village. This is one of the last villages before you reach Siachen. Here, there are incredible granite formations of an unusual variety called Tegar Granites. There are also some ancient structures here like Samtsaling Monastery, which has important cultural underpinnings.
Best places to stay in Nubra Valley
One of the finest hotels in Nubra Valley is Lchang Nang Retreat – The House of Trees. It is an eco-friendly hotel that caters to tourists visiting the region. The hotel is built with sustainable materials and powered by solar panels. It also has an Ayurvedic Spa and a cosy café where one can sit and get a riverside view.
Best time to visit Nubra Valley
The best time to visit Nura Valley is between June to August. Nubra is covered by snow all year long but hosts visitors around the year. In winter, it is very cold but many still travel to Nubra Valley. The main road to Nubra is over Khardung La pass, which remains open throughout the year. The other two routes through Agham and Durbuk are sometimes closed due to snow and adverse weather conditions.
Nubra Valley Timings, Entry Fees and Permits
There are several things remember when visiting Nubra Valley due to its elevation and temperature but also because it is close to the International Line of Control. Because of it’s proximity to the border, Indian Nationals are required to get an Inner line Permit, which can be easily obtained from the DM office in Leh or applied for online.
Foreign Nationals, on the other hand have to get a Protected Area Permit, which can also be easily obtained from the DM office in Leh or online but requires the involvement of a local registered travel agent.
The cost of applying for an Inner Line Permit is about Rs. 20 per day but also includes an environmental fee of about Rs. 400. In addition to this, there may also be a processing fee of about Rs. 100. The cost of a Restricted Area Permit is about the same.
Frequently asked questions about Nubra Valley:
Q1. Do we need oxygen in Nubra Valley?
Ans. Due to its high elevation, the air is rarified in Leh and Nubra Valley. Interestingly, the elevation of Nubra alley is actually lesser than that of Leh so if you are comfortable in Leh, you will probably be comfortable in the Valley. However, as a precaution elderly people and those with breathing problems are advised to carry oxygen in case of breathlessness.
Q2. What clothes should one pack for a trip to Nubra Valley?
Ans. As mentioned, Nubra Valley is at an elevation of about 10,000 feet and therefore, temperatures can drop quite suddenly at night and early in the morning. The best thing to do is come prepared with several layers of clothes that can be added and subtracted as per the temperature. It is best to carry at least one thick jacket in case you need it. In winters, you may need special clothing and footwear such as thermal underclothes, ear protectors and heavy duty gloves.
Q3. Where can one stay during a trip to Nubra Valley?
Ans. There are several places to stay in Nubra Valley. There are proper hotels in Diskit and in some of the other villages around Nubra Valley. Many locals also take in guests for a reasonable fee. One can also go camping and camp out in specific places.
As mentioned above, Lchang Nang Retreat – The House of Trees is one of the best places to stay here. It is a comfortable and cosy hotel with many in-house activities such as Yoga, Bonfire, Outdoor Movies, Stargazing etc. It is an eco-friendly hotel that uses local products and promotes eco-tourism.
Q4. Which Route is the best to visit Nubra Valley from Leh?
Ans. The best route to take from Leh to Nubra Valley is via Khardung La. From there, one can travel to Khardung Village and then take a right towards Tegar. For more details, please refer to details above.
Q5. Which vehicle is best to travel from Leh to Nubra Valley?
Ans. Although normal sedans and bikes can be used to travel to Nubra Valley, it is advisable that visitors use rugged vehicles that have snow tires, snow chains and heater.
Bikes can also be used to travel to Nubra Valley but it is advisable to use bikes with snow tires. Suitable bikes can be rented from Leh or from Diskit at reasonable prices and can be used in times when the road is closed.
Q6. What are the major attractions on the way to Nubra Valley?
Ans. The main attractions in Nubra Valley and the surrounding areas are: Cold desert safari, Hot Water Springs in Panamik, Samstanling Monastery, Diskit Monastery, Yarab Tso Lake, Waterfall in Turtuk, Lachung Temple and Zamskhang Palace.