How to get to Turtuk Village is a question that needs a detailed answer owing to its remote location and challenging terrain. It is India’s last rural idyll and is among the newest areas in Ladakh that are opened for tourism. Since it is set barely a kilometer away from the L.O.C., an Indian citizen will need an Inner Line Permit to visit this place. It is one of the most sensitive zones and is heavily guarded by the army. Foreigners will need to provide a Protected Area Permit.
It is set at a distance of approximately 205 kilometres from the Leh city. An 8-hour drive should get you here from Leh, but it all depends on your vehicle, its speed and the conditions of the weather and roads.
Here are all the details you need to know on how to reach Turtuk Village:
Even with a commendable rise in the tourism of Ladakh, the availability of public transport is below average. Travelling by bus can save you a great deal of money and can reduce your overall trip cost. However, if you wish to travel by bus, you will have to match the bus timings with your itinerary or work around another way if you fail to do so.
Very few buses service this sector. There is one weekly bus only that starts from the Leh bus stand on every Saturday at 6 a.m. Approximate fare per person is INR 350. You can buy the ticket from the Leh bus stand and it is recommended that you do so a day prior to your journey day as the seats are very limited on this bus.
If you happen to miss out on this bus option, do not worry. Another route is to catch two buses, one that takes you from Leh to Diskit and then another from Diskit bus stand to Turtuk Village. There are three buses on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday starting at 6 a.m. from Leh bus stand to go to Diskit. From there, a daily bus leaves at 2.30 p.m. and arrives in Turtuk at 6.30 p.m. The fare per person is approximately INR 100.
By Private Vehicle
Travelling by private vehicle to Turtuk village is a great option. It will let you take halts and enjoy the journey as per your own wish. Below is the route and explanation of how to get to Turtuk Village from Leh.
Route: Leh– Khardung La – Khalsar – Diskit – Hunder – Thoise – Skuru – Bogdang – Turtuk
Take an early start from Leh. This will help you avoid major traffic hours on your journey. Drive to what is acclaimed to be the highest motorable pass- the Khardung La Pass. It is about 35 kilometres from Leh city centre and you should reach the top in approximately 90 minutes at the most. The route is entirely scenic and you can take a short break to enjoy the views from atop. Once you cross the pass, you will descend in the valley of Nubra. Continue the drive for another 22 kilometers to reach Khalsar. The road will bifurcate from there and the one running left will take you to the picturesque towns of Sumur, Panamik, and Warshi. You need to take the right turn that will go towards Diskit and Hunder villages and finally end at Turtuk. All this time, the beautiful Shyok River will be running on your right. Once you drive ahead from Diskit and Hunder towards Turtuk, many areas prohibit photography so be careful with your cameras.
Travelling to Turtuk Village on a motorbike will give you an unbeatable experience of exploring Ladakh. It is a long and bumpy ride, but not so much as the road is well paved almost all the way. It can be extremely pleasurable to motor-cycle or bicycle in here. Cross the high altitude mountain pass of Khardung La with care. The roads are steep and a heavy bike with higher power is recommended. However, remember to fill fuel and tank up in Leh itself as there are very few places to buy provisions on the way. Bikes can get you to the village with ease since there is very little traffic. Prepare at least 3 photocopies of the permit as the checkpoints usually ask you to deposit a copy with them.