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Pangong Tso Lake

Introduction

Visiting Leh Ladakh? No one can assume or get an idea about the surprise nature has for you. Pangong Lake “High Grassland Lake”, situated at a height of 14270 ft (4350 m). This is also known as world’s highest salt water lake. This is the lake which changes its color as the sun moves further in its direction. Colors like blue and green seems to be dyed, thus lake stands as contrast to the nearby mountains. Almost 160Km of entire lake around 1/3rd part of Pangong Lake lies in India and rest of the part is in China.

Pangong Lake is one of the most famous Lake in entire Ladakh region. In Tibetan language this lake is called as Pangong Tso meaning High Grassland Lake. One can spend hours sitting near bank of Pangong Lake and still not able to have enough of its beauty. This is the lake which is also famous for changing its color from red, blue and green at different hours. While visiting to Ladakh one should not skip their visit to Pangong Lake. In fact no one can describe the beauty of Pangong Tso lake in words. One has to visit there, see it, feel it and absorb the nature within yourself.

Things to do at Pangong Lake

No one can deny, the beauty of Pangong Lake is the main reason of travellers to visit there. In fact, there are other reason as well for visitors to visit Pangong Lake, that will keep you excited. One of the main point of attraction near Pangong Lake is Camping. Camping near Pangong Lake can be enchanting experience. Bonfire, Light Music and Barbecue – what else is required when you have a big Lake in front of you.

Even though leaving the camp warmth for someone is way much difficult, go ahead and try once. At night the sky and stars shines in all their grandeur. One can feel the whole universe is immersing themselves in you, especially when there is a clean and complete visibility of galaxy view. Get up early in the morning, come out of your camp and watch the majestic sunrise. Carry your camera and shoot some picture of Sunrise with the blue color of the Lake.

When you are coming from Leh to Pangong Lake, you can see beautiful landscape as well. The entire route from Chang-La Pass to Pangong Lake is beautiful as the lake itself. To get a glimpse of such a natural beauty, stop around 10km before the lake. On the left side you will see a big ground and a sign board saying ” Stop here to see rare endemic species Marmot”. Marmots looks like a big squirrels, which normally found in Himalayan ranges and reside in burrows. They do come out of their burrows often in a day time and one can spot them easily with a photograph.

An adventure is all about taking challenges and to try something unusual. One of the extraordinary thing to do in Pangong Tso is to take a dip in its cold water. Most of the visitors leave early from Pangong to Leh after sunrise, so that they can reach Leh before sunset. Before leaving from Pangong Tso, why don’t you try to take a dip in the lake. No doubt this is crazy, but such experiences makes such adventures rides memorable.

Permit - Permission required for Pangong Lake

What is Inner Line Permit – Permission required for visiting Pangong Tso Lake? Procedure to get an Inner Line Permit for Pangong Lake? What documents are required to obtain a ILP for Pangong Lake? Here are the details about all these questions before visiting pangong lake.

In Ladakh region there are some of the areas where a permission is required before visiting. To visit Inner Line areas (such areas which either close to the border line area of Pakistan or China) permission is required. Pangong Tso Lake is one of the Inner Line Areas where one has to obtain Inner Line Permit. For Indians inner line permist is required to visit. For foreigners, protected area permit is required for such areas to travel from Leh Ladakh to Pangong Tso.

Earlier, getting an ILP use to be a diffcult task for travellers. However, as of now government officials made this task bit easy by launching an online application on website called http://lahdclehpermit.in/. Separate application form for domestic and foreign nationals are available to obtain inner line permit. All you have to do is to visit the above mentioned website and follow the steps as mentioned over there. Inner Line Permit fees is Rs. 400 per person as an environmental fees and Rs 20 per day per person has to be deposit. Childern’s under age of 12 doesn’t require any permit to visit.

In fact now the process of obtaining ILP is easier than before for applying the same. However, as of today the ILP fees can not be made online on the website. So that, to make the application fees, take the print out of online application and visit TIC Office, Main Market, Leh.

Accommodation options near Pangong Lake

Earlier, there use to be many options available on the bank of Pangong Lake. However, from 15th September, 2018 as per the High Court notice and local administration of Ladakhasked all of the camp owners to remove the camps from Pangong Lake.

As of now, the best possible options for overnight stay at Pangong lake or home stay at pangong lake, one can visit Tangtse village. You can find some luxury hotels in pangong area in Tangtse & pangong lake camp. The local villagers of area near pangong are very friendly and you can rest assure for comfortable stay.

Food Options

As Pangong Lake is a remote area and on a height of 4350 m. The food options are basic but nutritious. It is considered to be immaturity if one expect some luxury food over there. So it’s better you should be aware you won’t be able to find some Italian food, burgers, pizza at all. However, whatever the food options are available on such place, you will not be disappointed. Because visitors enjoy their food at such a high altitude is altogether a different experience in itself.

How to reach Pangong Lake?

Visitors can reach Pangong Lake by Leh or by another option from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake.

Leh to Pangong Lake

From Leh city to Pangong Lake, the total distance is almost 156 KM. You have to cross the third highest motorable pass in the world called Chang-La pass. If your plan is from Leh to Pangong, then you have to drive towards Manali Leh Highway till Karu. From Karu, leave the main Manali – Leh Highway and drive toward Sakti on left side of the highway. Further drive towards Chang-La.

After passing Chang-La, keep driving toward durbuk. Furthermore, in few hours you will reach Tangtse. From Tangtse somewhere around 8 KM you will see the First view of Pangong Lake.

Nubra Valley (Hunder) to Pangong Lake

If you are driving from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso, you have to follow the route which is explained here.

Again there are two options available from Nubra to Pangong. One is by going through Wari-La which is at altitude of 17,400ft. Second option is drive along Shyok river toward Tangtse. The benefit of either Nubra to Pangong or coming Pangong to Nubra will save your one day by not coming back to Leh. Also, you will see another and a different route.

Road Condition

Road condition in entire Ladakh region is generally uneven and bumpy. Offloading all the way from Karu to Chang-la pass. After crossing changla, the road condition becomes much better. After Tangtse till Pangong entire road is good enough to ride.

Wondering which vehicle is good to drive in Ladakh? The safest and best option is always any type of SUV. These vehicles are good enough to handle such tough terrains in Ladakh.

Popular Destination near Pangong Lake

Some of the most popular destinations near pangong is Tangtse Gompa. This is a good place to visit with mesmerising view of landscape. One of the best place for photographers to hang out there sometime. Another point of atrraction while visiting Pangong Lake is Chang-La pass which is the third highest motorable pass in the world. Located at the height of 17585ft. You can stop there, there is a temple of Changla Baba and enjoy some tea and snacks in a small cafeteria.

Best Time to Visit Pangong Lake

Well to be honest there is no such thing like best time to visit Pangong Lake. Basically, this depends on person to person. Some likes lush green landscape, some snow filled terrain and some safe months when no rain and snowfall occurs. For Landscape photography the best time to visit is the month of September till October end. For snow – November till Februray, for clear weather from May end till July.

Important Points to Consider

Permits

  1. The complete process for obtaining the Inner Line permit is mentioned above.
  2. While visiting to restricted areas, you should always keep your permissions with you.
  3. Keep sufficient copies of your documents such as aadhar card or any photo id proof.

Health

  1. AMS can hit anyone and one should not take this matter lightly. Its better before heading towards Pangong Lake, you should take rest in Leh for at least a day.
  2. Keep enough warm clothes with you. Just in case if your clothes get wet, in that case you can change them.
  3. Keeping SOS medicines always with you. Specially if you are travelling on bike. In fact its better to take a Diamox before start of the journey.

Eatables

  1. En-route most of the times you will get small meals like Maggi or Momos, Soup and tea. It’s better to keep some eatables like Dry Fruit, Chocolate and energy bar.
  2. Keep ORS packet with you. And keep drinking while driving to avoid AMS.
  3. Keep some toffee’s, chips or biscuits with you.

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Activities in Ladakh


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