Many would argue that a trip to Leh is incomplete without visiting the Nubra Valley, and we concur. We missed visiting the Nubra valley on our last visit to Leh due to lack of time, but we made sure we don’t miss it this time. Since it is located in some of the restricted areas of the Ladakh region, an ‘Inner Line Permit’ is required to visit the region. We got it through a travel agent since we realised that we need a permit a little later and visiting the office ourselves would take us a long time. The cost is INR 600 per person per day, or INR 700 per person per week. An ILP is required to visit Nubra Valley, Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso, so we made sure we get a 7 day permit so that the paperwork is out of our way.
We made a small mistake and mapped ‘Nubra Valley’ on Google Maps, our guide across all destinations. Sadly, it is not rightly placed on Google Maps, so we had to come back 2 hours after someone told us to map ‘Hunder’ instead. It took us some time to reach, but we could not complain about the detour as well. The whole area is so scenic that a drive is never ever tiring.
On the way we visited the Diskit Monastery. It is really hard to miss, considering the size of the Budhha Statue which is visible from far far away. I always wonder how the monasteries are always located on top of one hill or the other. I am sure it is a mammoth task to build these structures but once built, they all are iconic. It is difficult to compare the grandeur of the structure with anything I had seen before, maybe the Buddha statue I had seen in Hong Kong long back.
We stayed at the ‘Wooden Nest’ there. One of the best places around with a small stream of water flowing through the resort and nice wooden cottages with all the amenities you could think of. There is no phone network in the whole region though, so be prepared to be cut off from the world while you are at Nubra.
Nubra is primarily famous for two things – it’s white sand deserts and the double humped camels which add to the beauty of these deserts. The view of a white sand desert surrounded by barren mountains all around is quite stunning. Don’t ask me the reason why the camels have two humps here and why are they not found elsewhere (well, yes they are also found in few numbers in southwestern parts of Kazakhstan too). I could not find a logical answer myself.
1. Nubra Valley is a huge valley, but the best places to see are in Hunder. Do not get confused if you are driving yourself.
2. One night stay in Nubra is good enough if you just want to visit the white sand desert and the double humped camels, but an extended stay won’t hurt if you are looking to spend some time away from the hustle bustle of the city.
3. If you plan to visit the Pangong Tso, go straight from here instead of going back to Leh first. There is a direct route from Nubra which is shorter and has better roads than travelling from Leh.