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Mountain Biking to the Nubra Valley

8th Jun 2013

Thikse Monastery

Photo of Nubra Valley by Himalayan Bikers

Leh View

Photo of Nubra Valley by Himalayan Bikers

Bactrian Camels

Photo of Nubra Valley by Himalayan Bikers

Sand Dunes of Hunder Village

Photo of Nubra Valley by Himalayan Bikers

A Souvenir Collector's Paradise

Photo of Nubra Valley by Himalayan Bikers

Biking along Nubra Valley

Photo of Nubra Valley by Himalayan Bikers

You may have seen snow capped mountains, you may have seen deserts, and you may have seen colorful gardens, but have you seen all three at the same place? That is Nubra Valley for you, otherwise called Valley of Flowers by those who have visited it and swear that it is the most beautiful place in the world. Surrounded by the snow capped Himalayan peaks, with the Siachin Glacier feeding the Siachin river on one side, Nubra Valley is one of the highest motorable points on Earth. The roads leading up to the valley are among the highest in the world. The valley itself is home to a wondrous variety of flora, covering the entire area in a riot of colors during spring. And not far from this marvellous natural garden, you find sand dunes. Yes, sand dunes in the mountains, complete with camels! That too the rare variety, the two humped Bactrian camels. Believe me, there are no words to describe the beauty of this place. You just have to take it all in, and preserve them preciously in the confines of your heart. For there they will remain, ever-colorful and awesome, as the memories of the experience of a life time. Nubra Valley is a place everyone should visit, at least once in their life.

The Himalayan Bikers Association organizes some of the best biking expeditions to Nubra Valley. They make sure you are in the best physical condition to make the journey, help you get acclimatized to the weather conditions and the high altitude, take care of all arrangements, and overall, make sure that you have the time of your life there. The trips organized by Himalayan Bikers Association include -

* Transportation by Car / Taxi

* Food, water and Accomodation in comfortable guest houses / tents as appropriate

* Visit to monasteries and meuseums (excluding offerings)

* Mountain bikes as suitable for you

* Support vehicles to carry the bags and for emergencies

* All necessary licenses and permits

The association offers 2 circuits based on your interest, time and fitness levels. The first is a smaller circuit, of 3 days, which takes you through the Khurdung La road and the village of Diksit. For those who are more adventurous, a further more circuitous route through the Wari La road, the third highest road in the world, can be arranged, which takes about 6 days. To start for either of these circuits, the tourists have to first get used to the conditions prevalent in the place. The Himalayan Bikers therefore request tourists to allocate at least 4 days prior to any circuit for acclimatization. In these four days, the tourists are asked to rest completely, and gradually increase the movement every day. So for the first day you simply rest, the second day you walk a little, the third day you visit a monastery or make a short trip to Shanti Stupa, or through the markets collecting soveneirs, and the fourth day you could probably indulge in some rafting. That is, if your acclimatization goes according to schedule. If not, you would need to spend a day or two extra in preparation. You need not worry though, for all this preparation is for your own benefit. You certainly do not want your trip to be marred by High Altitude Sickness or nausea do you?

Once you are ready you can choose either of the two circuits -

Circuit 1 - 3 days (100 Kms)

Day 1 - You descend towards Nubra Valley through the Khurdung La, the highest motorable pass in the world. Since you will be coming down from the 3500km altitude of Leh to 3200km altitude of Nubra Valley, the descent it pretty easy.

Day 2 - You get to wander in the valley, among the flowers and pass through the sand dunes of Hunder. Since you will be passing through villages that have not yet seen high tourist movement, you can experience the life of the people there at close quarters.

Day 3 - Return back to Leh through Khurdung La.

In case you are daring and raring enough to explore more of the region, opt for the second circuit.

Circuit 2 - 6 or 7 days (225kms)

Day 1 - Ride from Leh to Taktok. If you wish it, this ride can be covered through a car.

Day 2 - Continue the journey from Taktok to Pangong Tso a most enchanting lake on whose one side lies India and the other lies Tibet. The journey takes you through another high mountain pass, Chang La.

Day 3 - Travel from Taktok through the Wari La pass to Nubra Valley

Day 4 and Day 5 - Halt at Nubra Valley in Khalsar. Here you can spend a couple of days exploring the wonders of this dreamy place.

Day 6 or Day 7 - Return back to Leh via Khurdung La

Leh is a land that will never fail to amaze you. Whether you are visiting the scores of monasteries dotting the area, or the magnetic hill that lies close to Leh and where your bike will move without you having to do anything, you are always in for a new surprise. When you are in Leh, do not fail to visit Thikse Monastery, Shanti Stupa and Leh palace. There are also a lot of unique and brilliant soveneirs to collect and bring back for your loved ones.

Photo of Leh by Himalayan Bikers

This is the second highest motorable pass in the world, at 5600 miles. As you progress through this road, the vistas of Nubra Valley start opening up in front of your eyes, and Leh begins to appear as a tiny green patch among the stark brown mountains. The road goes through a small army camp and North Pulu where you can usually camp for the night.

Photo of Khardung La Road, Leh by Himalayan Bikers

The Valley of Flowers, Nubra Valley offer a climate more pleasant than Leh, since it is at a lower altitude than the latter. The valley splits into two - one arm going towards Siachen Glacier and the other towards the Shoyok River. At the end of this valley lies the Karakoram pass, the highest mountain pass in the world.

Photo of Nubra Valley by Himalayan Bikers

Located in the border between India and Tibet, the Pangong Tso teases the traveler's heart with different hues and colors at different times of the day, depending on the sun's angle. This 140km long lake has a number of idyllic villages lines along it, mostly on the Tibetan side, and you can treat yourself to some nice local food while enjoying the panorama unfolding in front of your eyes.

Photo of Pangong Tso, Ngari, Xizang (Tibet), India by Himalayan Bikers

Nature always keeps springing up impossible surprises for mankind, and one such surprise is the desert in the lap of snow capped mountains. That is what you will find in Hunder, where you will come across sand dunes and Bactrian Camels, a semi domesticated, semi-wild variety of camel that has 2 humps, roaming freely through the village.

Photo of Hunder by Himalayan Bikers

Driving in the Wari La road can be an adrenaline rushing experience for even an expert biker. For the pass is dotted with precarious hair pin bends, too many of them rather, and there is absolutely no grip on the slopes. Still the adventurous attempt it, and swear that the experience is worth the effort. A journey through Wari La is a more adventurous way of reaching Nubra Valley.

Photo of Wari La by Himalayan Bikers