Pangong Lake Ladakh
This high altitude lake is the highlight of the Ladakh trip, and truly it is breath-taking. Flocked by tourists every single day, it is a must-see destination. I guess five years back it wasn’t so crowded and polluted as now. It even gained more popularity after being featured in the famous movie “Three Idiots” among Indians. However, I wish travelers could be more responsible and avoid littering such beautiful ecosystems. Traveling to this beautiful Pangong Lake Ladakh requires to permit, i.e., Inner Line Permit for Indians and Protected Area permit for foreigners.
Chang La Pass
It is one of the highest motorable pass in Ladakh maintaining its position on number 10 with the height of 5,360 m (17586 ft). It connects Leh to Pangong Tso. Leh is about 2hrs drive from the pass (74 km). The World’s highest research center by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) is stationed here. It is advisable not to stay for over 20 mins at the pass. The pass has washrooms and refreshments for travelers (however, not in the best conditions). To our luck, we got some snowfall here (The most exciting part of the pass, since we belong to the tropical side of India).
It is about 5 hrs drive from Leh via Man Mirak, so be sure to leave as early as possible. You could spot endemic Marmot (giant squirrels residing in burrows) on the way. The lake resides on a disputed territory claimed by India and China at the height of 4,350 m (14, 270 ft). The eastern part is claimed by Tibet. The lake is 5 km wide and a whopping 134 km long with about 60% extending into Tibet. It is the world’s highest Brackish water lake. However, it freezes in winter despite the salinity. This multi-shaded lake with shades of blue, green and red, with a backdrop of mountains; can’t be expressed in words but only by experience. The lake is also a site for a variety of migratory birds. We reached there in the afternoon, although the glare of the sun was at its peak, don’t be deceived, the weather is really cold and breezy. We literally had to put effort to walk because of the power of the winds. Camping and Homestays are introduced in Pangong Tso. Expect the food to be simple. If you plan to camp, don’t forget to gaze on the stars, at such altitude it is a different experience.
Tso Moriri (4595 m) could be an alternative lake to visit in the Changthang region (requires 2 days). There is a direct route from Pangong to Moriri and the directly to Manali-Leh highway.
INNER LINE PERMIT
Environment Fee: Rs. 400/-
IIP fee: Rs. 20 per day
Location of application: for Pangong Lake Ladakh at Leh DC office (between 9 am to 3 pm), application online (http://lahdclehpermit.in/) and payment in person
Documents required: Passport photos, attested, and original copies of Nationality identity proof, written application with travel route and travel dates.
Citizens of Afghanistan, Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and China need permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi for a PAP
- Time: day visit or overnight stay
- Warm clothes, sunblock, and sunglasses
- Confirm about the permits
- Always carry extra food and hydrate
- No ATMs so carry cash
- No proper network coverage for contact
Get Travel Gear Here