India is a land of snow-capped mountains, lush flowing rivers, green dense forests and wide blooming valleys. Every state and city has their gems that tourists flock to. No other place is as mentioned or adored as Ladakh and the Nubra Valley in Ladakh.
Looking straight out of a calendar or computer wallpaper, the rugged mountains and stark landscape make for a scene unparalleled in the world. Nubra Valley or Nubra is one of the two valleys that make up Ladakh. A region set apart in its own world by the sharp, huge uninhabited mountains creating a cave, Nubra was initially called Ldumra (Valley of Flowers) by locals.
Nubra or Diskit (the main area of Nubra) is located approximately 120 kilometers away from Leh. This high altitude range is also a cold desert with little to no vegetation and gently flowing streams.
Tourists and travelers often prefer taking the Leh to Nubra route as that is commonly accessed and safe. You will have to hire a private cab or take a bus from Leh. The journey takes around 5-6 hours as you pass Khardung La, the highest motorable road in India. You can find local cabs and taxis in Diskit to take you around Nubra Valley. It is suggested to refuel in Leh as you may not find a petrol pump in Nubra. There are no ATMs either so it is prudent to carry cash for your daily expenses.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Nubra and its nearby areas is from May to September. May to August is the peak tourist season in Nubra and you will find the home stays, lodges, and hotels packed with adventure lovers, hikers, and trekkers. August and September is the late tourist season when the conventional travelers pack up but the thrill seekers, offbeat tourists, and unconventional sports lovers stay back to watch the cold in full bloom.
Foreign nationals will require a ‘Protected Area Permit’ to visit Nubra. The permit is available at the District Commissioner’s Office in Leh. Travel agents also sell the permit to tourists. The permit will mention where you can visit and stay.
Things to Do
Khardung La remains Nubra’s most famous attraction. Sharp, sleek turns with wide, expansive views of the sweeping valley below make it for a memorable drive.
There are many small villages or hamlets around Nubra that can be accessed via road. Go for a walk among pastured green fields, camp next to little streams that mingle into the big rivers and enjoy splashing cold water around.
Buddhist culture is well and alive today as monasteries are found around the village. Travelers can visit the monasteries to watch the daily routine of monks and pay their respects. The colorful monasteries make an excellent pop of color against the glacial peaks and arid land. Diskit houses the Diskit Gompa, a monastery beloved for its artful sculptures. Hunder village is situated around Diskit, pretty and scenic with many shrines located in small cliffs and green trails and the Shyok river moving slowly. A monastery named Chamba is in Hunder which you can visit to soak some more of the local culture.
There are innumerable opportunities for tourists and adventurous people to hike and trek thanks to the ample terrain. The huge expanses make it a delight to just walk around and breathe in the incomparable beauty of nature in its raw form. Do carry proper woolen clothing and gear as the altitude can take some getting used to.
Since Nubra is on a lower altitude than Leh, you can plan Nubra before you move to Leh. It can ensure your body is acclimatized to the high altitude and difficult weather. There is a clean and comfortable hotel called Hotel Yarab Tso which is perfect for the city dweller to stay in with its nice rooms and amenities.
The sensitive border area is also close to the Siachen Glacier, the world’s second largest glacier. Also known as the world’s highest and coldest battlefield, it is impossible for tourists to visit Siachen.