Traveling to Ladakh is like adding new stories, experiences in your diary every day. Who could have guessed a high-altitude desert in Ladakh?
Beyond the leisure and challenging route of Ladakh lies a stunning silver sand Dunes of Hunder.
Situated in the Nubra Valley, at an altitude of 4,000 meters, beyond anyone’s imagination.
With a beautiful landscape with snow-clad mountains in the backdrop, The Hunder Sand dune seems to be no less than a heavenly dream.
It is beautiful yet remote, like an oasis situated right in the middle of the cold dessert.
The sand dune is home to Bactrian Camels, which was earlier a major contribution of traveling through the silk route.
The area surrounding Hunder Nubra Valley is desolate, the village has vast, breathtaking greenery and cultivable land.
This place is rich and versatile with flora & fauna offered, popularly the sea-buckthorn, Leh Berry, Buddhist monastery & Hunder Gompa.
Due to its remoteness, there are not many tourists here, this has led to the contribution of its natural beauty the same as it is. Campers usually prefer to stay in tents, homestays, Guesthouses with nominal food facilities.
As it is situated closer to the Siachen glacier and Pakistan border, in the Union Territory or Ladakh which was part of Jammu & Kashmir back before 2019.
It is barred to enter beyond the village as the area is controlled by the Army of India.
Hunder is approx. 160km from Leh that is reachable through the most amazing, scenic yet full of challenging route, known as Khardung La.
It is claimed to be the world’s highest motorable road, so the journey towards this destination itself is an excitement.
Best time to visit Hunder
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Hunder in Winter
In the colder months that range from December to March, Nubra Valley looks like it’s painted with white, due to massive snowfall and extreme cold.
Although day temperature can be bearable by the tourist and other activities can be done. The night can be too cold to handle, resulting in serious sickness and health problems.
The issue during this time occurs due to a lack of accommodation facilities as well as eating options. Guesthouse hotels are all the more closed during winters, except few options for homestays which makes it not an ideal month to visit the destination.
Hunder in Summer
If you wish to make your time in Ladakh memorable and see all shades of it, the beauty, its valley, and facilities. The ideal time to visit is from May that goes till October.
It is when you can explore every place with full enjoyments, the roads are clear, although challenging but far better than the condition in winter.
In addition to that, the camps, tents, guest houses, homestays, and hotel options are fully operational. Thus, giving you a better time to enjoy the enchanting mystic beauty of Ladakh.
How to Reach
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Route: From Leh via KhardungLa Pass
To reach Hunder, tourists can hire a cab from Leh (if you don’t have a private vehicle or a motorbike).
The journey takes about 4 to 5 hours depending upon the driving capabilities and number of breaks you take.
The route cut through the most popular route known as Road to the Wolrd’s Highest Motorable Road Kardung La Pass. (This is a false claim as it is the 11th World’s Highest Motorable Road)
Before you embark upon this journey, it is best to fuel your vehicle petrol to full or carry spare along with you. There are hardly any petrol stations on the way.
This route covers places like Khardung La Pass, Khardung Village, Khalsar, and then Diskit to Hunder. Drive through this route and explore some natural views that are sure to blow your mind.
Where to Stay
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Hunder village is an ideal place to live when visiting the destination. There are many facilities for tourists for accommodation like guest houses, private hotels, a homestay as well as camping options too.
The best part about homestays is, villagers provide their home to stay at a very nominal rate along with food included.
There are so many gardens styled guest houses, offering basic facilities like fine linen, good bathroom facilities too at a cheaper price tag.
This gorgeous place is one great destination to explore the remoteness of Ladakh in a new pristine way.
Plus, tourists can experience the cultural significance of Hunder Nubra Valley, as the villagers have maintained the charm till date.
The authenticity lies in the look and feel of the homes along with the food option. It gives you an experience of living life like a typical Ladakhi.
Where to Eat
There are a handful of restaurants that can provide you good food options.
Nubra organic farms are a major source of food here. It is a great place for campers to stay and relish organic food, all in the style of Ladakhi. If you wish to try the authentic flavor and cuisine of north India, you will love this place.
Do not expect too fancy restaurants, as most of the time you will find yourself eating at a joint, homestay, normal hotel. The authentic flavor of Ladakh lies in the simplicity of the food option, so go for it.
Things to do in and aroud Hunder
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1: Hunder Dunes Safari
The star attraction and a must to visit place in the Hunder village is this coldest desert in India.
It has over time become one of the really popular spots for tourists in Ladakh. It covers a vast area and provides exceptional activities to do.
Have a breathtaking time, watching the sun above you and if possible, you go as far as you can to have an isolated time with your dear ones. “the desert in the Sky” will give you a great perspective being a high altitude desert with a beautiful sunset.
2: Yarab Tso Lake
In Nubra Valley, situated about 15km from Diskit is an enchanting holy lake, said to be the “hidden lake of Ladakh”.
Although it is a sacred lake, it is not allowed to swim or put your feet in it. Sit by the rock, breathe fresh air, enjoy the natural view offered.
Relish the site, with the colorful prayer flags fluttering around the crystal clear water. The calmness of this place is going to teach you a lot of things.
3: Bactrian Camel Ride or Double Humped Camels Ride
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Native from Mongolia, Double Humped Camels, or Bactrian camels came to Ladakh from the silk route. They were earlier the primary source of transportation but now have become a center of attraction for tourists.
Its specialty is the double-humped that is the rarest species present in Ladakh.
Camel Safari in Hunder Sand dune is the most choice-able activity. Sit on the camel’s back, view Ladakh from the top, enjoy the ride & amaze yourself as you see one side dessert & another side gorgeous snow-capped mountains.
4: Shyok River
The Shyok river flows alongside throughout the village, it is a blueish, crystal clear flowing river and a sight to behold.
Leave all the chaos around, be comfortable near the river, sit, and enjoy the pleasant breeze.
It is ideally best to visit in the morning, to enjoy a calm serene filled moment. Wake up in the morning, walk down the riverside, and enjoy the perfect view.
You will be in love with the river, the view offered, greenery around, birds chirping, fresh breeze to inhale. It is like the gate of heaven is opened for you to soak its pureness.
5: Pluck Apples
If you visit Ladakh from Mid August to October, you will be surprised to see apple orchards everywhere around you.
The apples grow in a massive number in these months and imagine how fresh, pure, and juicy they could be. Every guest house, homestay, or hotel will have a handful of apple trees, so the best part is to pluck it all by yourself.
This is going to be a whole new experience if you haven’t had a chance earlier. Enjoy the fresh Ladakh Apples, eat it, and live a life you always wanted, trouble-free.
6: Local Beer
Guesthouses and homestays that are provided by Buddhist, offer beers. This is their culture and it is a must to try the local beer, that you might have never tasted elsewhere.
For those who had a really tiring night driving all the way and need some break. There is nothing better than sipping local beer to add energy and a great vibe.
Do not bother about carrying alcohol along with you, Hunder Ladakh village is a place for beer lovers.
7: Star Gaze
We have all wished at least once to see the milky way through our naked eyes, haven’t we? Well, if you are visiting Hunder, your one wish is going to be true alongside other adventuresome madness.
On a clear night, the sky is filled with stars, so many that will make you feel like diamonds in your eyes.
Just lay down somewhere, on the rooftop or the green grass bed, in your blanket, and spot some shooting stars too.
In a matter of time, you are going to see so many falling stars, like a magical movie scene.
8: Atv Ride in Sand Dunes
Atv Ride in the world’s highest Sand Dunes, you might have never thought existed?
Well Ladakh is a place of mystery, the more you learn about it, the more you get mingled in it.
Out of so many other activities to do in Hunder Sand Dunes, this is one heck of a crazy adventure that you must try out.
All the fear, stress, problems, and insecurities will pause for a while, giving you the experience to cherish for years to come.
The picturesque place with ATV rides is going to be more than just fun, you will fall in love with the moment.
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9: Panamik Hot Spring
Panamik is a small, remote, and extremely peaceful village nestled very close to the Siachen glacier. Also popular for being the highest battlefield in the world.
This place attracts huge visitors now, especially for the hot sulfur spring.
Hot sulfur spring became an unusually attractive thing for tourists to view.
The boiling water in the middle of the lake sounded pretty unnatural, also the smell isn’t too pleasing, but its uniqueness is what grabs attention.
Chances are, while you are driving, you may witness steamy lake, in a small portion with hot springs.
10: Turtuk, India’s Last Village
Turtuk is one of the northeast most Last villages in India, nestled below snow-clad mountains and the last village situated in Leh, Ladakh too.
Almost 205 km from Leh, situated on the bank of Shyok River, this picturesque village is the last major settlement of India.
It is a beautiful hidden gem, so natural, and the reason is because of its remoteness, very few visitors are attracted here.
Ladakh has too many colors, and green being dominated mostly in this village, which indeed is a refreshing view offered.
One can say it is a sandwiched wall, where one side is India and the other side is Pakistan.
11: Siachen Base Camp
Siachen glacier base camp, situated at an altitude of about 11,000 feet, has the highest battlefield and one of the most challenging terrains on earth.
It is approximately 6-8 hours drive from Leh, being very remote, the connectivity through transportation isn’t too strong.
This place is ideally meant for trekkers and campers who wish to explore Ladakh, India through a different perspective.
12: Op Baba Shrine
Located near Siachen Base Camp, OP Baba Shrine now holds a strong faith and a very unique story.
A soldier named Om Prakash was badly beaten back during the enemy attack on Malum post.
The soldiers believed that Saint Om Prakash, fondly named now as OP Baba is a guardian angel, who protects them from not only the natural disasters of glaciers but from enemies by warning them.
The faith is so strong and pure that all soldiers have pledged not to drink any alcohol or smoke when they are on a stay at the glacier.
The shrine is in honor of Op Baba, and it was renovated in 2003, renamed from Shrine to OP Baba Shrine.
13: Diskit Monastery / Maitreya Buddha
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Diskit Monastery also known as Diskit Gompa is the Oldest and Largest Buddhist Monastery in The Nubra Valley.
The monastery has a statue very attractive and huge, which is of Cho Rinpoche also known as the crowned Buddha.
It is in the prayer hall, and there are huge drums to look at, along with different images of the guardian Deities of Buddhism culture.
This monastery is going to give you a great experience and learn about the importance of Buddhism in Ladakh.
Along with that, there is an enchanting, huge Maitreya Buddha statue near Diskit Monastery.
It is a 32-meter huge one, that’s facing down the Shyok river that’s toward Pakistan. It is said to be the largest statue in Ladakh, and thus beholding a sight will be truly mesmerizing.
Just 8 km from Hunder at Diskit, there are few medical facilities for tourists to prefer and seek medication in case of emergencies.
One major thing to remember is, it is always advisable to carry a medical kit along with you. Ladakh is full of up with altitude changes, zig-zag roads, and sharp twists and turns.
This is one reason why tourists suffer from breathing issues, altitude sickness, acute mountain sickness, and so on. Therefore, you should carry a few medicines while embarking upon the journey.
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Mobile Connectivity and Internet
BSNL and Airtel postpaid SIM cards are the best way to ensure connectivity back at home and with your dear ones is possible.
The mobile connectivity and internet are still manageable in Leh, as it is the base for many tourists to accommodate.
Although, Hunder Leh, being a remote location, the connection is barely possible at some locations.
It is advisable to inform your family back at home about your detailed itinerary. So, if you are out of contact due to poor connection, they are well informed about it.
Petrol Pump & ATM
While you are about to leave toward Hunder from Leh, it is best to fill your petrol from Leh.
There are many petrol pumps to fulfill your needs. Also remember, there are hardly any petrol pumps available on your way. Also, you can carry some spare fuel too.
Along with that, you can get petrol from local shops too, but it is important to know that it’s good only in emergencies. The quality of petrol provided by locals is very unsatisfactory and poor quality.
Talking about ATMs, you have an ATM facility at Leh, so make sure you use it and carry some extra cash with you.
Plus, there is one ATM as well built at KhardungLa for travelers. It is said to be the world’s highest ATM facility specially built for challenge seeker travelers. You can make use of it, but do keep extra cash because Hunder Leh being a remote location, the availability of ATMs isn’t possible.
Useful Information about Hunder
While visiting any remote area in Ladakh, it is crucial to get an Inner Line permit which is of utmost importance.
One can get it through online mode, or from the office in Leh that can be accessible between 9 am to 4 pm. Turtuk and Hunder are two major spots that require you to have a permit. For Indian/ domestic travelers, one needs to get ILP. However, for international tourists, they must obtain Protected Area permits.
If you fail to do so, you will not be allowed and restricted to move to certain places in Ladakh. You should prepare yourself for such documentation well in advance, so you will have a glitch-free, stressless traveling throughout Ladakh.
- While you will be driving through the route of KhardungLa, it is advisable not to spend more than 15 minutes on the route. The chances of suffering from acute mountain sickness and high and low altitude changes can trouble your health.
- Electricity isn’t that great in the remote part of Ladakh, so you should remember to charge your devices fully whenever possible.
- Naturally due to region sensitivity, while traveling in and around Hunder Ladakh, the army presence will be maximum. So if in doubt regarding routes, you can get in touch with them, as they are cooperative.
- Fuel your bike up at Leh, do not let the last moment problem trouble your entire trip. At leh there are petrol pumps so be sure about it.
- There are no commercial places while on a route from Hunder to Turtuk, so make sure you carry food and snacks for sudden needs.
- It is also advisable to carry your bottle to drink, as it is best to be hydrated all the time and be away from AMS, Acute mountain sickness.
- Make sure your vehicle is strong and has good ground clearance, as the road of KhardungLa Pass, a challenging, most scenic, yet dangerous route.
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Plan Your Trip to Hunder
While visiting this spot, you will be lost amidst the greenery, serene filled view, exotic apples to eat and so many activities to do.
With dozens of guesthouses and homestays at Hunder, many tourists settle here for a few days and enjoy this remote village.
The place is filled with natural gems, and spots that can make you go crazy and the only thing you will say is ” Incredible Ladakh”
Ladakh trip is meant to add an unusual, uncertain, and shocking experience to relish for tourists. It is a place full of mysticism, nature, religion & culture.
If you have any unique experience of your trip to Ladakh or Hunder. We would love to know your side of the story. So do let us know in the comment section, and if you wish to ask u anything, we would guide you too.