The direct route from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso is getting popular among domestic tourists year after year. As of 2024, this route is the hot favorite among tourists, especially those who are short on days for an ideal Ladakh trip. 

5 Direct Routes – Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake to Tso Moriri | Offbeat Ladakh Road Trip | Kaksang La

Today in this article, I will talk about some important tips and things you should consider when traveling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso.

So, when you ask me:

  1. Can I travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso directly?

    The answer is “Yes”, you can travel to Pangong Tso from Nubra Valley either from Diskit – Agham – Shyok village route or from Diskit – Agham – Wari La Pass- Sakti – Changla Pass route. So, two direct routes exist between Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso, the two most popular tourist destinations in Ladakh.Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso Direct Route via Shyok Village

Let’s look at the answer in detail now 🙂 …

Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso Guide

I get a lot of questions about how I can save a day in my plan for Ladakh trip, where people look to travel directly from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso instead of coming back to Leh.

If you need to understand more about the routes in Ladakh along with distances, you can also refer to our DoW – Maps of Ladakh | Nubra Valley & Changthang.

Before going into the details, I always suggest everyone keep in mind that all the remote routes in Leh Ladakh are a bit desolate and most of them are like dirt roads. The first and foremost tip I suggest is that you “better stick to conventional routes in case it is your first trip to Ladakh to avoid the uncertainties of different kinds on these unconventional routes 😉” …

Tips about traveling directly from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
Tips about traveling directly from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso

Download your FREE high-resolution version pdf copy of this infographic guide for tips about traveling directly from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso. If, you liked it and found it helpful, please feel free to share it with your family and friends to help them too.

As you can see in the DwD maps of Ladakh there are two routes to travel to Pangong Tso from Nubra Valley directly. I will talk about both of them in detail one by one.

Shyok River on Roads... Making Your Own Way - Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
Shyok River on Roads… Making Your Own Way – Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso

Road Conditions of Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso

Let’s check both routes in detail one by one.

1. Nubra Valley – Agham – Shyok Village – Durbuk – Tangste – Pangong Tso (Lukung)

This route has become very popular among tourists since 2018 and is now the de facto route in all standard Leh Ladakh road trip itineraries even though some symptoms of AMS can be felt at Pangong Lake. The road conditions have stabilized a lot on this route and a lot of people now travel on this route, especially when it is shorter than Wari La route and saves you a day in the overall Ladakh plan.

Some of the road sections between Agham & Shyok villages are kind of tricky and landslide-prone. Even though a lot has been improved on this route starting in 2016, it is still not an easy piece of cake, especially in the July – August time period.

Sometimes the water in the Shyok river swells and closes the road. Hence, it is important to ask at Agham village before you travel on this route. There are some sections, especially before Shyok Village (towards the Nubra side), which might be tricky to climb without a high-ground clearance vehicle even though most cars are able to manage now with careful and cautious driving.

Hence, you need to be a bit extra cautious when traveling on this route by a hatchback or sedan, IMO. People have done this route on all types of cars; it depends upon the person driving the car and how much they love their car. At one of the sections, we were moving, and one person kept clearing stones falling from above but that was like 10 years ago 😛 … A lot more road conditions are stable now.

Road conditions getting better now

YOU MUST keep in mind that this route is getting more popular year by year and is now majorly used by almost everyone traveling to Ladakh as of 2024. You will always get some cars or vehicles to accompany you when you are traveling alone in these parts of trans-Himalayas. You can tag along to have some company for peace of mind of being not alone. Having this company will help in case of any breakdown as others can help the person in need.

In case, you venture out on this route alone, you will find other tourist vehicles traveling everywhere now and then. If you are self-driving to Ladakh, it is better to carry the essential things for a self-drive trip to Ladakh.

Please take a sensible call for yourself and your loved ones waiting for your safe return. As of 2024, due to road construction going on the Shyok village route, cars with high ground clearance are preferable on this route. Always inquire about the road conditions either at Agham Village or Khalsar Village before taking the route from Shyok Village to Pangong Tso.

If you are traveling from Pangong Tso, then there is a GREF hut that comes after Shyok village from Durbuk side. You can inquire about the route status from them as well.

  • Sedans/Hatchbacks = Drive cautiously!!
  • High Ground Clearance SUVs (4×2) = Doable
  • High Ground Clearance SUVs (4×4) = Doable

You can read my travel tale about this route in the article Adventures of Shyok Village Route & the latest travel report of this route from 2018 as Nubra to Pangong – Let the Adventure Begins

2. Nubra Valley – Agham – Wari La – Shakti – Chang La – Durbuk – Tangste – Pangong Tso (Lukung)

The direct route from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso from Wari La Pass is much longer than the Shyok Village route. It gets connected to the conventional route from Leh to Pangong Tso at Shakti/Serthi village.

So, that means you travel Nubra Valley to Sakti over Wari La and then traverse a major part of Leh to Pangong Tso route as well, including climbing the Chang La pass. It easily takes about 10+ hrs to reach Pangong Tso from Wari La route.

This route most likely be closed from December to April-May due to snowfall at Wari La pass and is not kept actively open by BRO as there is no urgency to do so. It is just an alternate route present. Hence, in the winter months and early season time, you should not travel on this route at all because it will most likely be closed.

As the Shyok village route which is much shorter, this Wari La pass route is not traveled by many tourists. It is better only to take the Wari La route in case the Shyok village route is closed. Otherwise, you will not find many people on this desolate route, and no help will be available in miles in case of any breakdown.

So, even if for some reason you take this direct route to Pangong Tso from Nubra Valley, it is better to do it in a group of 2-3 vehicles at least.

The road conditions are mostly average with a dirt track in the majority of the route. There are a couple of water crossings, and at the top of Wari La, the vehicle with a small GC may struggle a bit.

  • Sedans/Hatchbacks = Doable, at least the climb up/down for Wari La and then again to Chang La. A bit tough in the early summers.
  • High Ground Clearance SUVs (4×2) = Doable
  • High Ground Clearance SUVs (4×4) = Doable
On the way to Wari La - Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
On the way to Wari La – Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
On the way to Wari La - Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
Adventures of Shyok Village Route – Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
Adventures of Shyok Village Route - Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
Adventures of Shyok Village Route - Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso

Itinerary of Nubra to Pangong Tso Route

Given below is a three-day itinerary for planning a trip to Pangong Tso directly from Nubra Valley without coming back to Leh. I am assuming that you have already stayed a couple of nights in Leh for acclimatization and then only you are traveling to Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso.

If you have more days at hand, then you can add the Turtuk village to stay in the below plan where you can travel to Turtuk on the first night. Then, the next day comes to Hunder and goes over to Pangong Tso.

Day 1 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder

  • Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
  • On the way enjoy a cup of soup at the Khardung La Pass
  • Diskit has a monastery with the tallest lord Buddha statue and Hunder has sand dunes and a bacterian camel safari

Day 2 | Hunder / Diskit – Shyok Village or Wari La – Pangong Tso

  • Take the direct route to Pangong Tso via Shyok Village (shorter) or Wari La (longer) whichever is open
  • Overnight at Pangong Tso

Day 3 | Pangong Tso – Leh, covering Hemis, Thicksey, and Shey monasteries

  • Cover Hemis, Thicksey, and Shey
  • Overnight at Leh

Permits of Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso Route

As of 2022, permits are not required for domestic tourists to travel anywhere in Ladakh including Hanle, Umling La Pass or even Demchok. You only need to pay the environment/green/ecology fee and carry a receipt of the payment. 

Indians do not need any permits anymore in Ladakh for regular sightseeing. You just need to pay the Ladakh Environment Fee on the website and carry the receipt of it. Here is the link where you need to pay it: 

Current Ladakh environment fees are broken down as follows: 

1. Environment Fee = Rs 400 one time

2. Wildlife Fee/Something = Rs 20 per day

3. Red Cross Fee = Rs 50 one time but Optional, you don’t need to pay if you don’t want to.

DO NOT confuse the environment fee receipt with a permit. You just need to carry this fee receipt, hard copy, or soft copy. This receipt may be checked at some checkposts. Hence, people are confusing it with a permit but this is just verification that you have paid the fees. 

You can pay the Ladakh environment fee for Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso online now.

Leh Ladakh Maps | Nubra Valley and Changthang
Leh Ladakh Maps | Nubra Valley and Changthang

Don’t have time to read the full article? Check video on Discover With Dheeraj YouTube Channel on these essential tips for traveling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso directly. If you like my video, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.

Video – Can I travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso directly?


In the end, make a calculated risk when traveling on direct routes from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso either from Shyok village or Wari La pass. Remember that it is always good to travel in a group on such unconventional routes in Ladakh, so even if you are alone, the vehicle waits at Agham village to travel in a group. Otherwise, you will be best suited to avoid them.

Have a travel question?? You can subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave a comment to ask your travel questions about traveling to the Himalayas.

I am sure with the details described in this article, you will be able to make a judgment call, about which is best the best route for you and your family. If you still have any doubts or questions about planning your trip from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

I will be happy to hear from you on other suggestions about this wonderful route in Ladakh. Have you done this route?? Tell me what was your experience and help others travel better in Ladakh. Do not forget to share this article with your friends and family who are planning the trip to Ladakh.


I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.

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