Travelling the road from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso

The road linking Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso (Spangmik) via Agham – Shyok villages is located in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The journey offers an exhilarating driving experience, with superb views.

Nubra Valley-Pangong Tso Road

This is definitely one road trip that you want to record with lots of photographs. The conditions of the road were massively improved by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) in the past couple of years and it has become a viable option. The journey is 173 km long. This is definitely not a Sunday drive. Drive with care as this is a mountain road. Stock up on fuel. Diskit does have a Petrol Pump, but is not very reliable. Adverse weather conditions can prompt closure of the road. It can often be treacherous, so exercise caution as you make your way. One day the road can be ‘smooth and easy to drive’, the next, it can be full of washboards that will bounce you right over the edge if you aren't careful.
The first part of the road (Hunder to Khalsar) is insanely beautiful, the road is constructed well, with a long stretch of straight road and afterward, the bends are just delightful. From Khalsar to Agham the drive offers views unlike any other valley in Ladakh. In one moment, you will be driving next to the river bed, sometimes on the river bed itself and the next moment, you will be on a steep climb with many hairpin bends. This entire route will lead you up and take you back to the river multiple times. A majority of the route is driven next to the Shyok river. This river is known for its unpredictability. Be prepared, this road is not for the faint of heart or ill prepared. One mistake can have serious consequences. You need to be alert of two things:  the river flow and the landslide-prone mountains. The road is not recommended in winters at all. Inquire about roads conditions from the locals in Agham village before moving ahead on this route. Road conditions are always changing. It can be a reasonably easy drive in favourable dry conditions, but also has the potential to be a very difficult muddy and slippery track -and at times impassable- after wet weather. The ride is rather remote, so you need to be prepared. In case of a breakdown, there is very little in the way of passing traffic or inhabitants around, and no cell phone service in parts. Proceed with caution.

From Agham to Shyok Village, the route is mostly in a mixture of well-constructed stretches and passing through riverbeds. The curves are not difficult to maneuver but are frequent and the roads are exceptionally narrow. The main risk on this road is coming around a blind corner to discover a vehicle proceeding toward you at high speed. It shouldn’t be attempted by those who don't know how to reverse.  The Shyok Village to Durbuk section is very scenic. This is also the spot where a number of Bollywood movies have been shot – Jab tak hai Jaan, Highway etc. Be prepared for sharp bends in some parts. The last part of the road links Durbuk and Spangmik. Here the route becomes more commercial. This stretch of the road is easy, but you’re in the heavy military area – a lot of places prohibit photography, so do keep an eye out for the signs. Near the end of the journey, you hit a rough patch of road. It has to be known that the Ladakh roads do make you earn your sites. This road ensures the driving is dramatic, the roads are thin and the excitement is immeasurable.
Road suggested by: Deepti Sharma
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