Nubra Valley lies in the old Silk Route from South to Central Asia. Traders and their caravans used to traverse this route from areas in Ladakh and Kashmir to Central Asian places like Yarkand and Baltistan. Currently it is a military area because both Pakistan and China borders touch this region with whom India does not have very cordial relationship. The valley is relatively warm during summers but temperature goes down to -40 degrees celsius during winters.
Towns & Villages
Popular tourist places
This region is fed by two rivers, one is Shyok and other one is Nubra. When descending from Khardungla pass, one encounters Shyok river and continues on its left bank. The river's entire basin is visible from road. The river is not full of water so, it has many channels. The basin is o/w filled with sand, stones and occasional green patches of trees, shrubs and sometimes cultivated fields. Same is the case with Nubra river which originates at Siachen glacier. They both meet near a place called Khalsar.
The people here speak Ladakhi or Balti language and their dialects but they fairly understand and speak Hindi and a bit of English mostly due to number of foreign tourists who visit this region.
It is approachable by road from the city of Leh which is the capital of Ladakh region. One has to climb the Khardung La pass (also known as K-Top) ,popularly but wrongly claimed to be the highest motorable pass in the world and descend into the valley further beyond. The road forks at a place called Khalsar, one of which goes towards towns Diskit, Hunder and further up to Turtuk on the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. The other road goes to towns like Sumur & Panamik and further upto Sosoma check point and Siachen base camp but tourists cannot go beyond Panamik. If visiting this area, it is advisable to spend atleast a night here, either at camps in Hunder or at homestays in Turtuk. Tour operators in Leh sell packaged tours for round-trip. For one night two days trip, covering Diskit, Hunder, Panamik and Sumoor, the quote may be between Rs.2200 to Rs.2500 per person with four person sharing. Lesser if more people shared the cab.
Public transport is very intermittent and unpredicatble due to remoteness and difficult terrain of the place, so your best bet is to go by your own vehicle or hire a taxi, either private or shared, from Leh. Be aware if you come with your own or rented vehicle, there is only one petrol station in the area and it is in Diskit, but it has a limited supply and often is out of petrol.
The major attractions apart from the mountain scenery and Shyok river basin to this region are cold desert and bactrian camels of Hunder and hot water springs of Panamik. Yes, there is a desert with sand dunes around Diskit and Hunder which host bactrian camels who have two humps reminding us of old times when this region was a part of Silk Route to Central Asia. Panamik hot springs are not that great with not very great amount of water oozing from mountain cervice at around 60-70 degree. Also definitely worth a visit is the village of Turtuk.
There are hotel and guest hoses at Diskit. Hunder offers plenty of camping options and Sumur has a few of those too. Several homestays options are available at Turtuk.
The only way out is to go back to Leh and then proceed somewhere else. There is no other escape from here.