Nubra Valley: A Guide For The Place Where Adventure Twins With Serenity
Nestled in the moonscapes of Ladakh, Nubra Valley, a favourite in all our Leh Ladakh tour packages, is a tranquil haven that boasts awe-inspiring landscapes and natural beauty. The Nubra Valley is 10,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by the towering Karakoram Range on one side and the Ladakh Range on the other.
Nubra Valley has been integral to the ancient Silk Route for centuries. It is home to many thriving oasis villages that testify to the human spirit of resilience and adaptation.
The Nubra Valley is blessed with a unique ecosystem that supports a variety of flora and fauna, including the elusive snow leopard, Tibetan wolves, and the endangered double-humped Bactrian camel. It is where nature meets serenity, and the landscape takes you on an enthralling journey of a lifetime.
WanderOn’s Leh Ladakh packages pave the way for travellers to embark on a picturesque journey to Nubra Valley. Our carefully curated itineraries offer a seamless and hassle-free travel experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the Nubra Valley’s mesmerising landscapes, ancient monasteries, and panoramic villages.
The packages are customisable whether you stay in comfortable accommodations or prefer a more rustic experience. From snow-capped peaks to verdant valleys, from ancient monasteries to bustling markets, Nubra Valley has something for everyone. You can hike through the rugged terrain, rave in the Shyok River, or relax in one of the many hot springs.
Getting to Nubra Valley: A Travel Guide
Route1: Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardung La
If you plan to travel from Leh to Nubra Valley, the conventional route via Khardung La pass is a popular option. Standing at a breathtaking height of 18,380 ft. above sea level, this legendary pass is the world’s highest motorable civilian all-weather pass and was once a part of the Caravan trade route to Central Asia.
To begin your journey, you’ll start from Leh and ride through towering mountains, quickly gaining altitude as you approach Khardung La. While the ascent may seem daunting, you’ll hardly feel its effects, and the awe-inspiring views of the Indus Valley from the top will leave you speechless.
On the way, you’ll stop at Phyang, where you can visit the 16th-century Phyang Gompa or monastery. Afterwards, you must submit your permits at South Pullu before continuing your journey to Khardung La Village, which gave the pass its name. Remember to show your permits again at North Pullu before entering the Nubra Valley.
As you continue your Leh-Ladakh road trip, the road will split at Khalsar, offering two routes to Nubra. Taking the right lane will lead you to Sumur, Panamik, and Warshi, while the left takes you to Diskit and Turtuk. Both routes offer stunning views of the Nubra Valley and surrounding landscapes, making this journey an unforgettable experience.
Route 2: Leh to Nubra via Wari La
For the more adventurous souls, the Wari La Pass offers an exciting and unconventional route to reach Nubra Valley from Leh. Standing tall at 17,427 ft. above sea level, it’s one of the highest roads in the country. Unfortunately, with steep sections and challenging surfaces, this pass becomes inaccessible during winter.
To begin your journey, take the Manali Leh Highway from Leh to Karu, roughly 35 km away. As you travel along the way, you’ll come across the breathtaking location of Upshi, with its stunning colours that paint the region. From here, a sign will guide you towards Wari La, which is only at some distance from the sign.
As you embark on your Manali to Leh bike trip, you’ll ride on some of the most rugged roads in Ladakh, which present a challenge for you and your vehicle. But the reward is well worth it, as you’ll soon arrive at the small town of Agham, which marks the start of a continuous, serene stretch of road leading to Khalsar, the beginning of Nubra Valley Ladakh. This route may be less travelled, but it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Travelling from Leh to Nubra Valley is a unique and challenging adventure requiring complete preparation. Before starting your journey, ensure you have enough fuel and carry enough food and water supplies, as there are no gas stations or shops along the way.
Acclimatizing yourself to the high altitude is essential to avoid altitude sickness before going on this trip. Once adequately prepared, this thrilling and breathtaking journey to Nubra Valley via Wari La will leave you with many memories that should last a lifetime.
When to Visit Nubra Valley: The Ideal Time
The Nubra Valley, one of the must visit places in Ladakh is located in a high-altitude region, so the weather can be extreme and unpredictable. Therefore, planning your trip according to the weather is essential to ascertain a comfortable and enjoyable experience further.
The best time to visit Nubra Valley Ladakh is from May to September. The weather is relatively stable during this period, and the temperatures are pleasant during the day, ranging from 10 to 20 °C. The nights, however, can get quite chilly, with temperatures dropping to as low as 0 °C. Therefore, carry warm clothing for the evenings and early mornings.
May and June are ideal for exploring the valley’s natural beauty as the flowers are in full bloom, and the landscapes are lush and vibrant. The Nubra Valley is a treat for photography enthusiasts during this time, as the clear blue skies provide the perfect backdrop for capturing stunning shots of the surrounding landscapes.
July and August are peak tourist season months in Nubra Valley, and visitors can expect larger crowds during this period. However, it’s also an excellent time for adventure enthusiasts as the weather is perfect for trekking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities.
September is the best time for those who prefer to avoid crowds but still want to enjoy the valley’s beauty. The autumn season brings stunning hues of gold and red as the leaves on the trees change colours. This period is also ideal for those who wish to witness the Ladakh Festival, one of the best festivals of Ladakh, which takes place during September and features cultural performances, traditional dances, and local food.
Note that the Nubra Valley is inaccessible during the winter months from October to April due to heavy snowfall. The temperatures during this period can drop to as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, making it impossible to traverse the region.
Exploring Nubra Valley: Top Attractions and Activities
1. Diskit Monastery
It is one of the the largest and oldest Buddhist monasteries in Nubra Valley Ladakh. It houses several ancient murals, paintings, and artefacts, providing ample options for a glimpse into the region’s rich history, culture and tradition. However, the highlight of this one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh is the 100-foot statue of Maitreya Buddha, which is visible from far away and is one of the tallest Buddha statues in Ladakh. Visitors can also witness the monks’ morning prayers and experience the monastery’s peaceful atmosphere.
2. Hunder Sand Dunes
These dunes offer a rare opportunity to witness the desert in the mountains. Perhaps the most exciting part of this experience is riding a Bactrian camel—a double-humped camel native to the region. These camels are well adapted and thoroughly trained to the harsh desert environment and have been used for transportation for centuries. Riding a Bactrian camel through the sand dunes is an unforgettable experience that will undoubtedly leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
3. Yarab Tso Lake
About 15 km from Sumur village, Yarab Tso Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in Ladakh is a small yet breathtakingly beautiful lake in the heart of Nubra Valley. The lake’s crystal-clear waters reflect the snow-capped mountains and create a tranquil atmosphere. Visitors can spend hours relaxing by the lake or meditating in its peaceful surroundings. The lake is also considered sacred by the locals and is believed to have healing powers. It is said that meditating by the lake can support healing the mind, body, and soul.
4. Sumur Village
The village is known for its beautiful apple orchards in full bloom during the summer months. The orchards are a feast for the senses with their fragrant blossoms and the hum of bees. In addition, Sumur Village is home to a 150-year-old monastery steeped in history and culture.
The Gompa is a testament to the region’s rich Buddhist heritage and is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the local culture. Finally, Sumur Village is also famous for its hot springs, which are indeed believed to have healing properties. A dip in these natural springs is the best way to unwind after your long involved day of sightseeing.
5. Khardung La Pass
At an altitude of 18,380 ft., it’s considered one of the highest motorable passes in the world, besides attracting visitors from all over the globe. The pass is a photographer’s paradise, as the panoramic views of the Himalayas from the top are stunning. Adventure enthusiasts flock to Khardung La for its challenging terrain, making it an excellent destination for trekking and mountain biking. The fresh mountain air and the breathtaking views of the valley make it an unforgettable experience for everyone who visits.
6. Panamik Village
Panamik Village is a charming hamlet in Nubra Valley, renowned for its hot springs. These geothermal springs are believed to have therapeutic properties and are said to cure many ailments. Besides, this village is also famous for its 250-year-old Gompa, which boasts exquisite architecture and intricate murals. The Gompa has a serene ambience and is ideal for meditation and introspection.
7. Turtuk Village
The village is home to the Balti people, with distinct languages, customs, and traditions. Visitors to Turtuk Village can immerse themselves in this fascinating culture by exploring the village’s narrow streets, visiting local homes, and trying traditional Balti cuisine. The town is also famous for its apricots and walnuts, abundant in the surrounding orchards. The sweet and juicy apricots are delicious; visitors can sample them at local markets.
Nubra Valley boasts some of the best trekking routes in Ladakh, catering to different levels of difficulty and preference. From easy hikes to challenging treks, Nubra Valley offers a unique and unforgettable experience of the Himalayan wilderness. Some of the popular trekking routes in the valley include the trek from Hunder to Diskit, which offers stunning views of the desert landscape and the Diskit Monastery, and the trek from Panamik to Ensa Gompa, which takes you through the Nubra River and provides a glimpse into the traditional life of the locals.
Many campsites are scattered throughout the Nubra Valley, each offering its unique view of the towering mountains and starry skies. Visitors can relax by a bonfire and enjoy the tranquillity of the surroundings while savouring the flavours of traditional Ladakhi cuisine. The crisp mountain air and peaceful surroundings make for a restful night’s sleep, and waking up to the sights and sounds of the valley is truly unforgettable. Camping in Nubra Valley is a perfect way to escape the city life’s hustle and bustle of city life and experience the beauty of Ladakh’s natural environment up close.
10. Motorbike Riding
The winding mountain roads and high-altitude passes offer a thrilling ride, with sweeping views of the valley and surrounding peaks at every turn. Visitors can rent a motorbike and embark on their adventure or join a guided tour to explore the valley’s best routes and hidden gems. Along the way, riders can stop at local villages, soak up the culture and history of the region, and savour traditional Ladakhi cuisine.
Accommodation Options in Nubra Valley: Hotels and More
- Hotel Sten-Del in Diskit offers spacious and tastefully decorated rooms, a multi-cuisine restaurant, and an open dining space on the lawn.
- The Wooden Nest in Hunder Village is a luxury wooden cottage with modern amenities, including running hot and cold water, a spacious verandah, and classy interiors near the beautiful Hunder Sand Dunes.
- StepInn Nubra Valley is a guesthouse in Sumur with attractive amenities and sprawling gardens on the banks of the River Siachen.
- In a quiet and isolated location, Hotel Grand Nubra offers excellent rooms, a terrace, gardens, a children’s playground, and a bridal suite.
- Heritage Thongsal in Tirith Sumoor is a luxury tented camp with 24 double and triple-sharing tents decorated with local wooden furniture and attached bathroom and toilet facilities.
- Lchang Nang Retreat, meaning “the house of trees,” is an eco-friendly resort nestled amidst orchards of Apricot, Elm, and Apple trees, flanked by the Siachen River on its western boundary.
- Hotel Lhas Thang in Diskit is an ideal destination for all travellers, offering a window with a view of the beauty of Nubra Valley.
- Hotel Yarab Tso Nubra in Tegar offers Ladakhi hospitality with its luxurious 13 rooms with Wi-Fi, parking, and room service, located on the banks of the Siachen River.
- Hotel Real Siachen in Diskit offers tastefully decorated rooms with a great view of the valley and a stylish design, surrounded by sprawling gardens.
Nubra Valley Travel Tips: Things to Keep in Mind
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, our travel guide to Nubra Valley has something for everyone, with tips and recommendations to make the most of your trip.
- Mobile Connectivity– Due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, mobile networks in the entirety of Ladakh could be more reliable. BSNL is the most common network available, while others are largely unavailable. In Nubra Valley specifically, mobile networks disappear when you depart from Leh and only reappear upon entering Diskit/Hunder. Consequently, inform your loved ones about your travel plans and schedules before leaving Leh to ensure adequate communication and that they need not worry while you are travelling.
- Medical Facilities– The absence of substantial medical facilities in Nubra Valley requires individuals to travel to Leh, where the nearest hospitals, Dr. P Wangchuk and the government-funded SNM hospital, are located. Therefore, bring personal medication and a first-aid kit for any medical conditions.
- Money/Cash– Nubra Valley is a remote destination – you might not find ATMs or banks everywhere in the region. Ensure you carry enough cash to cover your expenses, including food, accommodation, and transportation.
- Petrol Pumps– A single petrol pump in Nubra Valley, situated in the capital city of Diskit, is manually operated. There are no other places for refuelling in the entire Nubra Valley area. Hence, ensuring your vehicle’s fuel tank is full before travelling to Nubra Valley is always advisable.
- Food Joints– Although the locals of Nubra Valley are friendly and hospitable, they carry snacks and water bottles, particularly if venturing into remote areas. Gyantse Restaurant and Rangyul Guest House are among the few eateries available in the Nubra Valley. Nonetheless, it’s advisable to assess the hygiene and quality of food before consuming anything.
- Clothing– The weather in Nubra Valley can be unpredictable, with sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions. Therefore, wear warm clothing like jackets, woollen caps, and gloves, especially in winter. Furthermore, carrying sturdy and comfortable shoes is always advisable to indulge in adventure activities like trekking and other related activities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Nubra Valley
1. How many days are sufficient for Nubra Valley exploration?
If you want to explore the major attractions of Nubra Valley fully, a 2-3 days stay is recommended. This duration will allow you to visit famous places like Diskit Monastery, Hunder Sand Dunes, and Sumur Village, amongst others. However, if you’re interested in adventure activities like trekking or want to take a more relaxed pace, you can plan for a more extended stay. Several homestays and guesthouses are also available in Nubra Valley, where you can stay and experience the local culture and hospitality.
2. What is the local cuisine of Nubra Valley?
If you are one of the foodies and love to explore local cuisines, Nubra Valley offers some fantastic culinary delights. The local cuisine in this region is an exciting blend of Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese flavours, which makes for a unique gastronomic experience. Some of the popular dishes that you must try include momos, which are steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables or meat; thukpa, a noodle soup with vegetables or meat; yak meat, which is a staple in the region; and butter tea, a traditional tea made with butter and salt. These dishes are delicious, and they provide you with a glimpse into the local culture and lifestyle of the region.
3. What is unique about Nubra Valley?
Nubra Valley is a truly one-of-a-kind destination, as it seamlessly combines the beauty of nature, cultural heritage, and adventure. With its ancient monasteries, hot springs, and dunes, something is exciting to discover at every turn. The Nubra Valley’s unique cultural heritage is a fascinating blend of Indian, Tibetan, and Central Asian influences, which can be observed in the local people’s art, architecture, and traditions.
So whether you’re interested in exploring the history and culture of the region or seeking an adrenaline rush through outdoor activities, Nubra Valley is a destination that has it all. From trekking to cultural experiences, our travel guide to Nubra Valley offers a range of activities to enjoy during your stay.
4. Is it worth staying in Nubra Valley?
Yes, it is worth staying in Nubra Valley. The valley offers a range of accommodation options, including guesthouses, campsites, and luxury hotels, catering to all budgets. Staying in the Nubra Valley allows you to fully immerse yourself in its natural beauty and culture and experience the warmth and hospitality of its people.
5. Is it safe to travel to Nubra Valley?
Nubra Valley is generally considered a safe travel destination, provided that visitors take necessary precautions and follow safety guidelines. It’s essential to be extra cautious while trekking or participating in adventure activities, as the terrain can be rugged and unpredictable. Additionally, it’s recommended to keep your belongings safe and secure, as theft can occur in any travel destination.