We spent quite a while in Leh, mostly recovering after 5 weeks of intense cycling and after days in bed we needed a new adventure. We decided to visit Nubra Valley – famous of its proximity to Pakistan and high passes that one needs to climb to get there.
To reach Khardung La from Leh we had to climb almost 2000 metres! This is definitely too much to climb in one day, so we took a rest on our way up. Khardung La is called the highest motorable pass of the World – which is not true. It is in fact a huge scam, mostly to attract motorcyclists that can later put nice pictures on facebook and say that they are cool. What is more – it is not 5602 m as you can read on the board – but “only” 5359 m. You can read more on Wikipedia.
The ride down was – as usual – a pleasure and a joy.
On the way down Mat almost run over a huge marmot – Himalayan Longtail Marmot to be precise. The area is full of them, and they cross the road in big numbers, not looking around.
The valley of River Shyok turned out to be stunning! We needed to obtain a week long permit to get there and could stay only for 7 days. The end of the valley, right at the border with Pakistan, was closed to foreigners until 2010. We rode all the way to the last accessible village – Turtuk – that is situated only 7 kilometres from Pakistan. 210 kilometres from Leh.
On the way to Turtuk we could already feel that we are not in Buddhist Ladakh anymore. This region is inhabited by Muslim, Balti people, that are of a Pakistani origin.
This is all Bogdang…
As soon as we entered Turtuk, we realized that we got to a place that is frozen in time. Turtuk was taken over by India in 1971 – before that time it was a part of Pakistan. It is a magical little village, with a stone-and-wood architecture, small fields squeezed between houses, narrow cobble stone streets and a river flowing through.
One special thing about Nubra Valley – sand dunes and the only population of camels in India.
Only the villages next to Pakistan are Muslim – the rest of the area is mostly Ladakhi Buddhist.
Right before the pass we decided to visit the village of Tangyar to get some supply for the hard climb in front of us. Mat went up to the village, and on the way down lost our stove somewhere in the village. When he went back after just 5 minutes it was gone and nobody had seen it…
We could not quite believe that the stove magically disappeared and we stayed in the village for 2 days asking all the people! For us a stove is a super important thing – we use it everyday and can not travel in the mountains without.
That is it! We hope you enjoyed our short adventure!