8/19/2010 to 8/21/2010 | India , Ladakh

Turtuk: Eden on the Pakistani border

Tam and Kip had given up on a road exit from Ladakh and booked flights to Delhi.  There departure date left them time for one last trip in Ladakh.  We managed to hook up with a brother and sister from Britian and an Israeli girl to share a jeep to the Nubra Valley.  I had previously been to the Nubra Valley but as of this year, 2010, foreign tourists were now able to go all the way to the Pakistani border along the Shyok River to the village of Turtuk.  Turtuk is a Muslim Balti village that until 1971 was under the control of Pakistan.  I was anxious to include Turtuk on our itinerary as I could find no one who had yet been there, even among my travel agent friends in Leh.  My lobbying paid off and the group was persuaded to shell out the extra rupees for the jeep to take us to Turtuk for a night.  After spending the first night in Hunder we continued down the road a half days journey to Turtuk.  A journey made longer by countless inner-line permit checks along the way.  From the road it was a short hike up to a small plateau above the valley where the village of Turtuk sat.  It was a beautiful location for a beautiful village straight out of a fairy tale book.  Picturesque stone houses lined cobblestone lanes bracketed by luscious green fields, apricot orchards, grape vines and all manner of vegetables, it was a Garden of Eden in the midst of barren mountains.  The friendly villagers were gracious hosts if some what bewildered by the recent novelty of foreign visitors, the only down side was the expensive accommodation at the only guesthouse in the village.  Priced at more than 800 rupees a person, this was bit of a shock to budget travelers like ourselves who are used to paying less than half of  that.  However, I will add that the price the included local style meals that were delicious and the rooms while simple were clean, making it at least an ok value considering the amenities and location.

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