Leh-Ladakh / Travel

How-to travel from Nubra to Pangong Tso

You must be wondering, why I am writing about traveling to two of the most visited destinations in Ladakh. After all, pretty much everyone who travels to Ladakh, visits Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. And it is fairly common knowledge, that in order to visit these two destinations, you need to first visit Nubra Valley via Khardung La and then come back to Leh and next day travel to Pangong Tso via Chang La!

Well, that is one way and if you have the time, and you want to stick to the usual tourist infested route, instead of taking the path less taken. Then by all means, go for it!

khardung-la

The two routes I am writing about today, help you travel directly from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso in a single day. Minimize the number of kilometers you need to cover. And help you explore some of the most beautiful areas of Nubra Valley, which you would have otherwise missed.

Sounds interesting?

Then read on…

The quest

I have been searching for an alternate route from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso, ever since I visited Ladakh for the first time in 2005.

The map I had at that time, showed two direct routes from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso. However, no one seemed to know about them in Ladakh!

map-of-ladakh

In 2007, I finally got some confirmation from taxi drivers, and also a bad news. Shyok River was flowing in full force and crossing the river on motorcycles was impossible.

Couple of years later, Wari La become operational and updates and enquiries about the Agham – Shyok route started flowing in as well. As more and more people turned to Google Maps and as usual, it showed the shortest, but not the most feasible route to travelers.

I finally got to visit Wari La in October 2015 and in September last year, on my 8th trip to Ladakh; I covered the Agham – Shyok route as well.

Having covered both the routes, I feel it is now perfect time for travelers to start exploring these routes. Since they are more adventurous and at the same time, comparatively safer and doable than they were ever before.

Route 1, Nubra Valley – Wari La – Chang La – Pangong Tso: Traveling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La and Chang La used to be my top recommendation, until last year. This route is less susceptible to flooding and landslide than the alternate route via Agham and Shyok Village. And on top of that, you get to visit the beautiful Wari La and the mighty Chang La passes.

Wari La

wari-la

Chang La

chang-la

You also end up saving 50kms by taking this route, instead of going via Leh. Plus you can take detour from Shakti Village to Karu and top up on fuel.

However, Wari La is only open from mid-June to October-end, and can close down easily, in case of heavy snowfall. Plus snow makes climbing the steep hairpin bends of Wari La quite difficult. So it is only a good option, until heavy snowfall occurs. Plus unlike Khardung La, finding help at Wari La is extremely difficult. Since only a handful of vehicles cover this route.

road-to-wari-la

Route 2, Nubra Valley – Agham Village – Shyok Village – Pangong Tso: Until last year, I used to seldom recommend this route to travelers. Since bridges on this route were under construction and you had to drive through Shyok River at couple of points. Plus there were constant landslides and road was in bad condition as well.

Not anymore!

Bridges have been built and majority of the route between Agham Village and Shyok Village is in decent condition. And by taking this route, you end up traveling 110kms less than what you would have done, had you traveled via Leh.

Plus the route is beautiful and you end up saving a lot of time as well, and this can be done anytime of the year!

agham-shyok-road

along-the-shyok-river

Here is a time-lapse video of my journey from Hunder to Pangong Tso via Agham and Shyok. As you can see, the route is very much doable now.

However, there are a few choke points, which are landslide and mudslide prone. So even at the best of time it is recommended to inquire from vehicles coming from the opposite direction and locals about the state of the road.

Also by taking this route, you’re dependent on the petrol pump at Diskit Village, which became operational last year. There are no petrol pumps near Pangong Tso, so you have to carry enough fuel or buy fuel in black. Especially if you’re planning to take the Chushul route to Hanle and Tso Moriri.

Of course, neither of these routes is going to be as safe or easy as the usual route via Khardung La and Leh. However, this is where the thrill of adventure lies and makes it all, worth it!

62 Comments

  1. Sangam Mishra says:

    Very informative Sir jee.

  2. Wouldn’t this route too become tourist infested with this info? 🙂

  3. Good one and nicely narrated…
    This will be my priority when I plan my next trip to Leh ??

  4. Sandeep Shambharkar says:

    Thank you Yogeshji…will do it this year

  5. ANKIT KHARE says:

    We did diskit to pangong via agham shyok route last year September on motorcycle. We didn’t faced any issues except 2 major water crossings and skidding on sand few times. Though we never fell down but one has to be very very careful while riding on sand filled on this route. Gumboots came very handful managing water crossing. We sold our gumboots in leh.

  6. Very well described…thanks for the update Yogesh Ji…I covered Nubra as well as Pangong in Oct 2016 on my Santro Xing in October 2016 but on the usual routes…planning again for Oct this year. Will it be doable on a Santro (Nubra to Pangong via Agham/Shyok route ) ?

    • Thank you very much Vishal. This route can be done in a hatchback, in fact we saw couple of santros en route, being driven by locals. However, there are points where the hatchback can bottom out. Also in case a landslide hasn’t been cleared fully, it would be difficult to navigate through it.

      • Rakesh Raina says:

        Yogesh Ji, how about using a Sedan Ciaz for the Wari La route.

      • The sedan would struggle a bit at Wari La since some of the hairpin bends are pretty narrow and steep. SUVs have to do a two point turn at a couple of these turns. Apart from that, as long as road isn’t covered with snow, it should be alright.

    • Rakesh Raina says:

      Dear Vishal,
      Since you covered in a hatchback would request you to share your experience especially the route you opted to an fro Leh. Also please share your experience with the road condition and any obstacles faced if any. Any precautions you suggest with the vehicle.

  7. Subhankar Paul says:

    Very useful information for the intending Ladakh travellers. I did the Wari La route in 2014 with Rigzin in June. The trip was heavenly with hypnotic scenery. That time Shayok bridges were not built so Rigzin didn’t dare to take the Agham road crossing the full flowing Shayak .
    Thanks Yogesh for the rewarding update.
    Now I wonder which should be preferred route during the winter months considering the beauty of the journey?

    • In case of winter, Wari La isn’t an option, since it closes whenever there is heavy snowfall. Shyok will remain open and is in fact used by taxi drivers as times, when Khardung La shuts down due to heavy snowfall.

  8. Dhaval Lakkad says:

    Hello,

    I must say that this is the best information about the agham-shyok road.

    We will be travelling on agham-shyok road on 21st June 2017 by innova and royal enfield bikes.

    Some one told me that this road will not be possible in june due to shyok river flowing on the road.

    So please let me know whether I will be able to cross this road or not?

    Regards,
    Dhaval

  9. Is this true? Bridge thing? I just had a long talk with one of my friends who have been visited ladakh 2-3 times and he said it’s impossible to drive through that road and also he said wari la route is closed. Is it true?
    P.s- your article is very helpful keep up the good work sir!! 🙂

    • Wari La is open from July to October. And the Shyok route is mostly alright now, barring a few sections. Landslides and mudslide can still close it, just like any other route. Locals do this route on compact cars and even taxis like Ecco do it.

  10. Hi. Yogesh
    First of all thank you so much for providing such valuable and useful information. Really appreciate your efforts. I am planning to visit Ladakh for the first time during last week of June 2017. I would like to traverse Nubra-Shyok-Pangong Route.

    Would love to have your valuable opinion about using the route during last week of June, as I am little concerned about landslide / rain during that period.

    • Surojit, rain in Ladakh depends on Western Disturbance, hence is a little unpreditacble. Shyok route does get frequent landslides, hence it is best to check with locals in Nubra (especially drivers), before attempting the Shyok route.

  11. Yogesh ji i saw your youtube video for shyok road .. when did you start traveling for pangong? as you encountered night drive.. most of the drivers reach there in afternoon!

    • We had started from Diskit Monastery around 12:40 pm and thereafter, we had stopped for lunch at Khalsar and then tea at Tangste. Hence sunset occurred, while we were between Tangste and Lukung.

  12. Udai chand says:

    Yogesh sir, m Udai and would like to know if khardung LA will be open during early may and is it possible to complete agham and shyok route in early may ( solo traveller on RE 350 classic) And would like to know about the requiremant of ILP..i.e.. In case if m travelling from leh to pangong tso via shyok , pangong to tso moriri via chushul and tso moriri back to leh. For which all place do I need to obtain ILP. And do serving defence personnal (Army) also require ILP or ID card will do. Kindly guide.Regards Udai.

    • You will need a permit from the army, they along the DC Office in Leh and ITBP are the authorities for issuing a permit in Ladakh. It is up to them, whether they issue you a permit or simply wireless your details to check posts.

      Khardung La should be open if there is no snowfall around your time of travel. Shyok route is open, a friend did it a few days ago, although in a taxi. On a motorcycle, touring in May would be a little hard, since passes will have snow on the road.

      • Udai chand says:

        Sir which all passes we hav to cross enroute while moving on agham- shyok road.i..e.. directly travelling from nubra to pangong tso. Regards

      • There are no passes en route. The entire route is along the Shyok River, in the valley.

  13. Harish chander says:

    Harish this side from Punjab. Which route will be more scenic and adventurous from Nubia to pan gong and pan gong to tso morriri by Pajero sports by 2 June 2017

  14. Priyanka Poddar says:

    Hi Yogesh

    For the first time, m gonna visit leh… my dream place… the travel agent is saying it is not possible to cover from Jammu to Srinagar in 7 nights and 8 days.. Please guide us..I want to cover beautiful range of leh to the bestest..But our travel agent is saying Nubra & Pangong wont be possible together in such time…:(..,We will be travelling starting from Katra on 24th June 2017 and would be having last flight(4:15pm) from Srinagar on 1st July 2017.

    Please help dear… We are four and a kid … Will be having Innova..
    Kindly mail me at [email protected], if possible.

    God Bless…!!!!

    Regards
    Priyanka Poddar

    • It is possible, but not recommended, since you will be running around from one place to another.

      You can do something like this:

      24th: Katra to Sonamarg.
      25th: Sonamarg to Leh, en route visit Drass War Memorial, Indus and Zanskar Confluence, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and Magnetic Hill.
      26th: Leh local sightseeing and rest day. Get the inner line permit made for Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso.
      27th: Leh to Nubra Valley and back, it would be a long journey so start at 5 or 6 am and you will be back by night.
      28th: Leh to Pangong Tso and back, again a 12 journey, so start early in the morning.
      29th: Leh to Sonamarg, en route visit Hall of Fame and Lamayuru Monastery.
      30th: Sonamarg to Srinagar.

      Seeing the condition of the valley this year, it might not be a good idea.

      You would be better off flying back from Leh, as it will reduce the need to run around and do long journeys.

      Your taxi from Katra, Jammu or Srinagar won’t be able to do sightseeing in Ladakh. So you need to hire a local union taxi. They can pick you up from Sonamarg and drop you at the same place. Get in touch with Dorjeychubi Inder (+919906971501), Rigzin (+919622954779 and +919469472772) or Sonam Angdus (+91-9469272773).

      Read this guide on AMS, with kids it is best to err on the side of caution https://www.bcmtouring.com/cms/ladakh-ams-survival-guide/.

  15. Dear Yogesh Sir,
    In June 2015
    Me and my good lady travelled together from
    Nubra -Shyok-Pangong road. We were on a higly customized Bajaj Avenger220. We undertook this adventrous path after thoroughly reading your numerous post ,and comments about the same.
    As adviced in your post we thorougly inequired from local drivers about the road . To our fortune there was group of Gujju in a tempo traveller who were also taking the same route. Evening before the ride , we decided to to take a lead of 4 hours ahead of them just in case , there was a contigency. To our surprise there was lot of BRO work going arohnd the road that time workjng on several bridges.
    Through out our Manali – Leh -Kargil-Srinagar- Jammu-Rishikesh -Dehradun Ride, this was the most adventurous.
    Sharing a WoRd of advice, at nubra in the evening please do ask local gentlemen (cabs/lorries) who might be taking the same route next day. Take a good start lead ahead of them ( 3 to 4 hours),and this would help you cross alMost 60% of the kuchha road . As such locals arohnd are very helpful.

    Regards
    Narendra & Pooja
    Wishing you safe and happy riding to all

  16. Hello Yogesh – Thanks for providing a detailed and breath-taking video. I am planning to visit Leh 2nd week of July. I will be travelling with my parents and sister. Here is the tentative plan:

    Day 1 . Reach Leh at evening via Leh-Manali Highway.
    Day 2 . Leh Sightseeing. ( if you can provide some good suggestion)
    Day 3 . Leh – > Nubra Valley via Khardung La ( Plan to visit turtuk, Hunder)
    Day 4 . Nubra – Pangong via Afgham, Sayok valley.
    Day 5 . Pangong Tso -> Tso Moriri.
    Day 6 . Tso Moriri – Leh.
    Day 7 . Leh sight seeing.
    Day 8 . Leh -> Alchhi ->Lamayuru -> Kargil.
    Day 9 . Kargil -> Srinagar. Journey ends.

    Let me know if you see this plan is ok or hectic. Also, as we will be spending most of the time in road, please suggest some reliable, friendly driver-guide.
    Thanks in advance.

    Regard,
    Samrat

    • Hello Samrat,

      For sightseeing on day 2, it would be a good idea to cover the monastery circuit i.e. Hemis, Thiksey, Shey along with Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Tsemo Gompa, Hall of Fame and Spituk Monastery.

      Add another night in Nubra Valley and do something like this:

      Leh to Turtuk, spend the night there.

      Turtuk to Sumur, visit Hunder Sand Dunes, Diskit Monastery, Sumur Monastery and Panamik Hot Springs.

      This will reduce the sightseeing day you have in Leh, but will help you cover Nubra Valley better, without it getting hectic.

      En route to Kargil, I recommend you visit Phyang and Likir Monasteries, they are beautiful.

      As for driver, my recommendation would be Dorjeychubi Inder (+919906971501). In case Inder isn’t available, you can get in touch with Rigzin (+919622954779 and +919469472772) or Sonam Angdus (+91-9469272773). All three have been used by me during my various trips and are good drivers with knowledge of all the routes.

      Regards,
      Yogesh

  17. Thank You for informative post. Just back from Leh (3-10 June 2017). We two families took the Pangong Tso – Agham Village – Shyok Village – Nubra Valley Route on a big size Traveller . Its scenic

  18. Thank you Mr.Yogesh for this information, it is helping a lot of people to plan trip.
    Now, I am planning a trip to Leh which in late July’17. I request you to overlook my plan and suggest me stay options.

    Day 1 Leave from Srinagar towards Kargil >> Night stay at Kargil.
    Day 2 Leave from Kargill towards Leh >> Stay at Leh.
    Day 3 Local roaming at Leh >> Stay at Leh.
    Day 4 Leave from Leh towards Nubra valley >> Stay at Hunder(Nubra Valley).
    Day 5 Leave from Nubra valley to Tso Pangong via Agham >> Stay at Spangmik(Pangong).
    Day 6 Pangong to Leh >> Stay at Leh.
    Day 7 Leh to Sarchu/Keylong >> Night at Sarchu/keylong
    Day 8 Sarchu/Keylong to manali >> Night at Manali.

    Also please tell me –
    1. Is a permit required to visit above location for citizen of India with ID proof?
    2. I am also keen to see Tso Moriri. Can you help me in accommodating the same in my above plan (If its possible).
    3. Can I travel Leh to Manali in one day itself? This would save a day for me and I can manage to visit Tso moriri. Let me know your suggestion.

    • 1. You will need inner line permit for Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso.

      2. You will need an extra day, if you’re traveling in your own vehicle. Otherwise you will have to hire your own taxi, since shared taxis do not do Leh – Tso Moriri – Manali.

      2. It would be a 16-20 hour drive, not recommended.

  19. Hi Yogesh have read quite a few blogs on Agham-Shyok route and find yours the most positive . Need to ask your opinion …me and my partner plan to do the route in mid July in our SUV. How do you say the route would be during that time of the year? My question is also related to us being a ” single vehicle” and not a group . Your feedback will be highly appreciated .

    Thanks

    Nikheel

  20. Anirban Chatterjee says:

    Dear Yogesh
    we have already planned our trip to Leh . we are a family of 14 including 4 children. Our plan is as follows
    Day 1: Arrive Leh on 26 th September 2017
    Day 2 : Leh to Nubra . NS at Hunder.
    Day 3: Hunder to Turtuk and back. NS at Hunder.
    Day 4 : Hunder to Pangong via Agfam Shyok route.NS PANGONG.
    Day 5 : Pangong to Tso Moriri via Chusul. NS at Tso Moriri.
    Day 6: Tso Moriri to Leh .
    Day 7: Leh
    Day 8 : Leh to Kolkata
    We wwant to hire one 14 seater Tempo Traveller for our team. Please suggest us whether this type of vehicle can carry us through this route ? Please advice us regarding any addition alteration regarding this itinerary.
    Thanks
    Regards
    Anirban Chatterjee
    Uttarpara , West Bengal

  21. Hi Yogesh, do you have any information on the status of road condition (most important whether it is open or not) Nubra to Pangong via Shyok Village ? We are planning to reach Leh on 14th of August and head for Nubra on 17th and then to Pangong on 19th August. I think you are also travelling around the same time to these places (read on your blog)

  22. Bhupinder Shandil says:

    Hai yogesh I am planning to visit leh on 3 Sep we r group of 7 friends from shimla himachal Pradesh my queries r
    1 road condition between pangong to nubra via agham shyok road
    2 we r driving in 2 swift cars is it ok??
    3 ineer line permit required is only available at dc office leh or somewhere on route because we r directly visiting pangong from karu via changla as we r coming from mnali
    Thanks plese suggest

    • 1. As of now the road is closed due to flooding. Hopefully, the road will repoen by then, condition at a few section will be bad, and okish apart from them.
      2. As long as you don’t mind driving in rough terrain, you will be fine.
      3. Permit is only issued by the DC Office, plus it is best to avoid visiting Tso Morri and Pangong directly, since body needs time to acclimatize to the high altitude of Ladakh. You can read more about AMS here, https://www.bcmtouring.com/cms/ladakh-ams-survival-guide/.

  23. shubham singh says:

    hello yogesh,
    We group of 6 with 4 RE 500cc are planning to visit pangong from hunder (september second week 2017)
    we are short of time so can we choose shyok route.
    As going through the comment i get that road is not in good shape but can you give an estimation for about how many kilometer is the worst or no road kind of situation.

  24. Hai vargis we r traveling to leh on 3 September
    I want to know the present situation of aghm shyok road
    Thanks

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