29th June 2018
The journey to the Nubra Valley in Ladakh, along the highest road in the world accessible to vehicles, is a fascinating experience - if a little chaotic at times. Winding up the steep mountainsides you are rewarded with spectacular views of Leh with a backdrop of the Himalayas. En route workers are maintaining and widening the route for convoys of military trucks, motorbikes and local buses. There is mutual curiosity, as we peer out of our minibus windows at the workers perched on rocks, taking tea breaks and eating lunch out of tins. It is well worth braving the dizzying altitude and joining the chaos at the 5,600m Khardung Pass where the inevitable traffic jam provides the perfect opportunity for a team picture with one of the triumphant road signs.
Upon descent down the other side of the pass, we become fixated on the very special views of the Shyok River flowing into the Siacha River below - the Nubra valley is picture perfect.
The hugely welcoming Desert Himalayan Camp provides an adventurous, yet luxurious stay - this is glamping at its finest. The camp, nestled in the heart of the valley, offers stunning panoramic views of the vast Karakoram and Ladakh mountain ranges. More incredible views to round off a day that was full of them.
For the energetic, a morning hike up to the Diskit Gompa - the oldest and largest monastery in the Nubra Valley - will no doubt mean you'll have the chance to interact with the local people. Children waiting for the school bus prove keen to practice their English with tourists and share their (rather impressive!) school book notes. Several farmers meander along the road, herding docile cows. The path up is scattered with stupas (shrines) and engraved stones with Hindu script and images of Buddha. Situated on a hill top, the vast Diskit Gompa provides a breathtaking view of the Nubra Valley.
A trip to the Nubra Valley is an experience not to be missed - encompassing a unique journey seemingly on the top of the world, magnificent views and genuine interaction with local Ladakhi people.