8 on 8, a journey in Ladakh

Yogesh Sarkar

27th September 2016, Nubra to Pangong via Agham Shyok

I woke up early in the morning and woke up Neha. She was still feeling unwell and decided to rest, while I took a shower. After a while, we woke up KP as well, and while KP started getting ready, Neha went back to sleep.

We were supposed to start around 6 in the morning, eventually, we came out of the room around 7:30am and then had breakfast consisting of delicious locally made jam and Ladakhi bread.

When we were about to leave, Rehman bhai came up to me and gave me a gift. He still felt bad for not recognizing me yesterday. And we had a hard time paying him rent for the room, as he kept on saying, we need not pay.

After a wonderful experience at Habib Guest House (+91-9469736543, 01980-221039 and 01980-200344), it was time to hit the road once again. Even though all of us would have loved to stay here another day, however, we were running short on time.


First order of the day was to drive towards Turtuk so that Neha and KP could see Thoise Airstrip.

After 2007, this was the first time I was going ahead of Hunder. And memories of that ride were playing vividly in my head.

After crossing Thoise, we stopped after a small village, at a stream. Which although had more rocks now due to slides than in 2007, yet, still looked fabulous.


Vastness and beauty of Nubra Valley were all around us, and even though the sun was painfully bright and wind cold, we were all in love with the landscape around us.


We came back to Hunder and then took a detour to sand dunes. While the sand dunes there aren’t really conducive to photography, the stream flowing through it is absolutely amazing.


Then it was time to do something touristy. Take photos of tourists on the Bactrian Camels.


Then a photo of the Bactrian Camels.


And Bactrian Camel Calf sniffing my Manfrotto BeFree tripod. I guess he/she too is a budding travel photographer :D.


After camel photo shoot, we came back towards the stream. While Neha and KP decided to explore the dunes. I tried to photograph the stream, by far the most interesting subject for me here.


Once I had my heart’s fill, we got into our cab and started our journey towards Diskit.

Once on the outskirts of Diskit, a few tears of happiness came out of my eyes. Well not really, but they could have. Because Diskit Petrol Pump was operational! And not only diesel but also petrol was available there.
I never thought I would live to see this day, but I did!

After getting some fuel, it was time for us to go in search of the chemist shop and buy a few medicines. Once that was done, we headed towards Maitreya Statue at Diskit Monastery.

It was noon when we reached the statue, and yet, photographs there turned out to be beautiful.




After half an hour or so, it was time to hop back inside our cab and head towards Khalsar. Where we planned on having our lunch.

While crossing the sand flats after Diskit Village, we saw a couple of ATV rental places. I used to love this place due to the serenity and beauty. While the lure of riding an ATV there was quite tempting, the reason why I loved this place, is I guess long gone. So we didn’t stop, we just continued driving till Khalsar. And stopped at the same restaurant we had yesterday.

Post lunch, it was time to resume our journey and go on a route, I hadn’t done earlier. The direct road from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso, via Agham and Shyok Villages. This route until last year was a dreaded one and involved crossing Shyok River multiple times. However, now the bridges were supposedly through and road condition, comparatively better.

Of course, the views en route were fabulous.



Road condition was a mixed bad, at times bad, but at times fairly good. Except for a couple of stretches where a compact or sedan would struggle with a driver from plain, entire Agham – Shyok route could be done in a hatchback. In fact, we came across couple locals doing it in Santros.

We stopped a few times, but not very often. I wanted to be at Pangong Tso around sunset.


However, break at Shyok Village to source fuel and then at Tangste cost a lot of precious time. And I knew, we would only make it to Pangong Tso under the cover of darkness. Thankfully SJCAM SJ4000+ was recording the entire journey till Lukung. Here is the video compilation of hyper lapse and videos I shot along the route.

We reached Lukung around 7pm. And we went to the camp where I had stayed while traveling with Vishal bhai last year. They quoted a price of Rs. 2,700 for 3, including tented accommodation, dinner, and breakfast. Neha and KP went to check it out and came out with a smile on their face. Stating they had made a deal for Rs. 1,500 without any food. I asked them if they had checked what buffet charges were, they replied in negative. Turned out, getting the tent and having dinner here would cost us more than taking the MAP package. This made absolutely zero sense.

We checked out several places in Lukung and Pangong, none less than 2.5-3k for accommodation with attached English toilet with jet (a requirement for KP). We were on a budget trip and thus didn’t want to spend that much.

Some places at Spangmik were even full, that too this late in the season. Of course, this meant, arrogance could be heard in the voices of the hoteliers here. With the lady at Himalayan Wooden Cottages down right rude.

My plan of staying at Man was no longer feasible since it was almost 8pm. I was getting pissed and at this point, Sonam finally took us to Pangong Villa (Dorjey +91-9419342720, 9622960460, www.pangongvilla.com). Compared to other places, it seemed cozier and had enough room to fit an extra bed for me. We eventually managed to bargain the price down to Rs. 2,200, including a room, extra bed, dinner, and breakfast.



The icing on the cake was, the food was actually good, though a little less salty. And was prepared exclusively for us, since by the time we went for dinner, everyone else had already eaten.

He agreed to give us hot water around 5:30am as well as tea, and pack our breakfast so that we could eat it en route.

After a hearty meal, it was time to sleep. I had to wake up early, way early ;).

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Yogesh Sarkar

Thanks, Gaurav. We didn't go till Turtuk, since we were running short on time. I didn't take photos of Thoise airfield since it is a defense airfuled and photography of them isn't permitted.