While coming to Nubra Valley, after Khardong village when you just enter Khalsar, you will see a milestone in the middle of the road which will direct you to Turtuk and the other will direct to Lukung. Lukung is a village near Pangong Lake.
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Once you are on the road, you will follow the beautiful river Shyok which is dangerous during the monsoon because it overflows and the road gets shut for vehicles. So if you are there during monsoon time, try to leave as early as possible because one can’t take the risk of getting stuck somewhere in the middle of the road where no person is available to help you out. It’s a quiet, vacant road.
You will find a lot of different scenes which will tell you about the real landscape and beauty of Nubra Valley. The road follows the river and goes round and round with it. It also has amazing rock structures to see and could be a good spot for a photoshoot. The road challenges you with water crossings, boulders and even some off-roading. So if you plan to do a bike tour of Nubra, just keep these things in mind.
The road has a lot of places to eat at and even for rest there are campsites available, but the only problem in this area is it will get freezing cold at night. Better find a shelter where you can sleep peacefully. The river gets smaller where the village of Shyok comes. The river is a combination of different glacier water streams which solves the problem of water in such areas.
The colours of this river is naturally blue but during the monsoon, it gets muddy due to landslides from the mountains. The Shyok village also has a decent option for food and accommodation. The population must be around 100 – 150 people max in this village.
Once we cross Shyok village, we reach a village called Tangste which comes at an elevation of 4350m with a proper military base camp, training zone and hospital. The population of this village must be around 200 – 300 local people.
You can observe a good bond between the military and locals, they live like a family and help everybody. No violent vibe comes from here. Once you reach Tangste, you will find a lot of places to stay and eat at. It is better to stay here in Tangste instead of near Pangong Lake because over there the weather quickly changes. Even the sleeping arrangements are not proper. It is just 35km before Pangong. So you can leave for the lake post-lunch, visit the lake and come back by 7 or 8 in the evening.
Changing wildlife sanctuary
The route also has a wildlife sanctuary called Changthang Wildlife sanctuary where you’ll find different Himalayan species around the mountains. The most commonly available species are the Himalayan Marmots. They are the most friendly and photogenic animals. While driving, you can see big holes on the land with these marmots live. Feeding animals is strictly prohibited in this area so just look and admire, don’t create any trouble for yourself and the marmots. You will also find yaks and dzo in this terrain, but don’t get too close to them because they don’t like it.
The route is known to be the best one in Nubra Valley which goes up and down to reach Pangong. Before reaching Lukung, you will see on your left side, a board that says, ‘First view of Pangong’. You go ahead towards Lukung and you will see that paradise has arrived.
When one is close to the gate of Pangong, on your right you will see a fence protecting certain areas. That is where landmines were kept during the Indo – China war in order to stop them from entering. Now that you have arrived at Pangong Lake, Asia’s most beautiful lake, just enjoy every second over there. Avoid running around because it will make you breathless.
Don’t enter into the lake because it is a sacred lake. Please keep the place clean. The last thing which is very important is to get your warm clothes with you because of the strong wind presence, you tend to feel colder, that’s why it is advisable to have more pairs of warm clothes which will help you survive the winds of Pangong.
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