From Leh you have to cross the Khardungla pass to go towards the Nubra and Shyok valley. The Nubra river originates from the Siachen Glacier. The Shyok river originates from the Rimo glacier and is a tributary of the Indus. All along the valley floor you can find small settlements as local people try to sustain themselves with the river waters. This is the only place in the barren mountain region where you can find some greenery.
The serpentine road hugs the mountain and you can see the sheer fall of the valley on the other side. At certain places the road had been washed away due to unusually heavy rainfall in 2015. Soon you descend from the mountains onto the valley floor. You will soon be driving on the dry river bed. The condition of the road improves a bit. at the confluence of the Shyok and Nubra rivers you come to a fork in the road. Straight ahead flows the Nubra river which will take you through Panamik to Siachen glacier. Towards your left is the Shyok river which takes you through Hunder and Diskit towards our border with Pakistan at Turtuk.
Hunder is the place where you can see lots of double humped Bactrian camels. The other major attraction here is the white sand dunes. For about a kilometre or so the river valley is covered with white sand dunes. During peak tourist season people come here to ride these double humped camels.
About 7 kms ahead on the same road you come across the Diskit monastery. In fact you get your first glimpse of the monastery about a kilometre before you reach it courtesy the 32 metre high statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Resplendent in gold and red the Buddha statue overlooks the Shyok river facing towards Pakistan. This is the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery around here.
Most tourists turn back from this point and move towards the Nubra river heading for Panamik hot springs. Few adventurous ones make a 4 hour trip towards Turtuk. But that is a story for another day!