Also known as the Orchard of Ladakh, Nubra Valley is a magical place set at about 10,000 feet above sea level. It can be easily reached from Leh city and is set at a distance of 150 km. approximately. A scenic 5-hour drive (depending upon your speed and breaks) from Leh will transport you to this mesmerising piece of nature. Indian travellers will need to obtain an Inner Line Permit and foreigner nationals need to get a Protected Area Permit for visiting the valley.
Here are all the ways in how you can reach the Nubra Valley:
Opt for a bus from Leh and experience travelling in Ladakh in a local way. They are the cheapest mode of transport. Although, these buses do not stop for any sightseeing on the way. Regular bus services operate to and fro the Nubra Valley by both, private and government owners. About 8-9 buses run by the state JKSRTC department are available whose routes connects various villages like Diskit, Hunder, Panamik, Turtuk and Sumur. Three buses travel from Leh to Diskit on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of the week. It departs at 6 a.m. from the Leh bus stand. Another bus starts from Leh to Skuroo in Nubra Valley every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 a.m. There is also another bus to Turtuk that departs on every Saturday, again at 6 a.m. from the Leh bus stand. It is the last village in Nubra Valley right before the L.O.C. The tickets for all these can be bought directly at the Leh bus stand. The one-way bus fare is about 200-300 rupees per person, depending on the bus/route you choose.
By Private Vehicle
There are 3 routes available to go from Leh to Nubra Valley. These are via Khardung La Pass, Wari La and Agham Shyok road.
Route 1: via Khardung La (Leh – Khardung La – Khalsar – Warshi – Diskit- Hunder- Turtuk)
Travelling through Khardung La road is the most convenient route for travellers. It is claimed to be the highest motorable road and the views from up above here are insane. That is the best advantage you have of travelling in a private vehicle that you can take a halt here and enjoy the scenic views. More than 90% of the tourists take this way to reach Nubra Valley.
Take the road from Leh towards Khardung La, cross the Khardungla village after and head to reach Khalsar. The road till Khalsar is smooth and hence, it will not take you longer to cover the distance. Slightly before Khalsar, the road will divide in two and both leads to Nubra Valley. The road on your right goes to Sumur, Panamik and Warshi and the left one goes to Diskit and Turtuk.
Route 2: via Wari La (Leh – Kari – Sakti – Wari La – Agham – Khalsar – Warshi – Diskit- Hunder- Turtuk)
Those travellers who are either returning from Nubra valley to Leh or heading towards Pangong Tso usually take this route. This road is not a walk in the park as it is challenging to cross Wari La in your vehicle in terms of distance, difficulty and the time taken. It is advisable to start early from Leh as this route is time consuming.
Route 3: via Agham Shyok Road (Leh – Pangong Tso – Shyok Village – Agham – Khalsar – Warshi – Diskit- Hunder- Turtuk)
This is not really a route that you must opt for to reach Nubra Valley from Leh. That is because there are no roads at all on this path. It is broken and filled with dirty rocks and loose gravel all around. It is not wrong to say that driving on this road is also dangerous. The only advantage is that the travel time via this road to get to Pangong Tso directly from Nubra valley is merely 6 hours. From Leh, you must take the road towards Pangong Tso and get to Durbuk. From there, take the turn towards Shyok Village and continue towards Nubra Valley.
The main road access to the Nubra Valley on a bike is over the Khardung La pass. It is open throughout the year. Roads conditions will be a mix of good and bad. If you opt for travelling via Wari La, check the season as it opens a bit late after winters as compared to other roads. BRO clears this road for bikes by late June or early July only. If you opt for the route via Agham Shyok Road, please note that it can be very dangerous to travel on bike. Take that route only if there are more than 2-3 motorcycles travelling together. Also fuel the tank to the fullest and carry extra petrol as there are no petrol pumps available once you leave Leh city.