Enchanting Pangong Lake : Leh Ladakh

Pangong Lake : Summers in Ladakh
                                                       Pangong Lake : Summers in Ladakh
The Pangong Lake or “lake of the great hollow” lies about 160 km to the north-east of Leh across the chang la pass and is considered as the largest lake in Asia. The water is clearer though salty. It is believed that these waters must have been fresh at some ancient age. The mountain ranges at the pangong’s north-western extremity are of lime stones which seem to affect its water.
Pangong lake : First View Leh Ladakh India
                                              Pangong lake : First View
The Crystal clear salty water shines in many shades of blue depending upon its depth. It literally changes shades with sunlight. With a backdrop of mountains of various hues and colors, It is a sight for the Gods. At an elevation of 4300 meter, the air is cool even in summers at Ladakh. Pangong Lake is about 4 Km wide on the average and at least 136 Km long. The extent of the known portion is, therefore, upwards of 250 square miles (400 sq km) or about the same size as the holy lake of Mansarovar.
Pangong Lake with backdrop of Snowy Himalayas Leh Ladakh
                                 Pangong Lake on the backdrop of Snowy Himalayas
Only about a fourth of Pangong Lake is in India-till it takes an easterly turn and disappears into Tibetan territory. Towards the east, pangong is supposed to have sweet water. With its rare black necked cranes and other birds, it is the sight beyond one’s wildest imagination. But sadly Pangong is also ‘sensitive’ with some of the opposite bank being controlled by the Chinese. The man and merak village with the backdrop of the snowy peaks of the pangong range offer a grand view.
Pangong Lake : Map Leh Ladakh
                                               Pangong Lake : Map
The series of lakes going under the name of pangong extend over 150 km, the longest lake of the series being 60 km in length and between 3 to 6 km in width. It is a saltwater lake. The color of the water ethereally entrancing passes through the various shades of lovely green and blue as the sun changes its position in the sky or a passing clouds floats over the lake.
Near Spangmik Village : Pangong Lake Leh Ladakh
                                 Near Spangmik Village : Pangong Lake
The farthest village of pangong area is spangmik located at 6-7 km along the southern shore up to which the foreign tourists are permitted. One can have a spectacular view of mountains of the Chang-Chenmo range to the north west of the Pangong Lake with its image reflecting in the lake’s ever-changing blue blue and green water. Above Spangmik are the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Pangong range.
Spangmik Village near Pangong Lake Leh Ladakh
                                 Spangmik Village near Pangong Lake
Besides Pangong, there are some other lakes in the region of which Hanle Tso is the largest fresh water lake in Ladakh fed by a small fresh water stream and drained from the lofty range of mountains. The Hanle monastery is situated to the east of the lake. Tsearh Tso is 6 km towards north of Pangong Lake at an elevation of 13950 ft adjoining the Merak Tso situated in the village of man at an elevation of 13900 feet. Tso Rul is another lake situated in Chushul at a distance of 10 Km towards south of pangong lake. This lake runs 25 km in length with breadth 2-3 km. it is a bitter water lake.

The famous Khurnak fort near the international border stands on the bank of Pangong Lake.
 Pangong Lake in Winter : January Leh Ladakh
                                Pangong Lake in Winter : January
Pangong Lake in winter:

During winters, the Pangong Lake freezes and the yaks, ponies and goats walk over the frozen hard surface of the lake when they migrate from place to place. A number of animals and birds roam around the Pangong Lake which are protected by the wild life department of the state government. Spangmik and some other small villages along the pangong’s southern shore are the summer homes of a scanty population of changpas. Changpas are the nomadic tribes of Changthang Valley in Ladakh range. The pangong Changpas cultivate sparse crops of barley and peas in summer. In winter they go to distant warmer places.
Pangong Lake : Partially Frozen in Winter Leh Ladakh
                                       Pangong Lake : Partially Frozen in Winter
In winter, the pangong surface becomes so solid that the army’s huge three-tonner trucks easily ride over its smooth surface. It looks a superb venue for a gala festival of ice-skating where all the ladakhi villagers, In their colorful clothes, beads, necklaces, head-dresses, and the army, in camouflage uniform, could mingle happily for ample fun.
Migratory Birds at Pangong Lake in Winter Leh Ladakh
                                       Migrated Birds at Pangong Lake in Winter
In winter, one may sight great crested grebe, common merganser, brown headed gulls and majestic black-necked crane at Pangong Lake.
 Frozen Rivers on the way to Pangong Lake Leh Ladakh Winters
                                  Frozen River on the way to Pangong Lake

Key Information:
- You will require an Inner line permit to visit Pangong Lake and it can be procured at the DC’s office in Leh.                                
   Dy Commissioner, Leh : 01982-252010, Kargil : 01985-232715.
- You can hire a taxi to Pangong Lake from Leh. Taxi price and other information can be found on the link below.
   Taxi Fare
- You can visit Pangong Lake in winter.

Hi Vishnu! Im planning a

Hi Vishnu!

Im planning a family trip to Leh in the month of June. 4N5D
Wana visit Panong and Nubra too. Can you pls help me with the time allocation and which day to travel which place? Also pls provide ph no.s of drivers.
Tell me the approx cost of these tours from Leh. And should i book everything from my city? Or can I go to Leh and then book the tour and hotel?
Wish to stay at Nubra valley for a night. Should i book hotel before of after going there? Very confused!

You can stay at Nubra valley

You can stay at Nubra valley for a night. Pangong can be done as day trip but will recommend an overnight stay. Taxis charges are standard and changes every year. Once you are in Leh you can find the charges from taxi union. you can book the hotel and tours once you are there. i think stay in Nubra can be easily arranged by the guy from whom you hire vehicle. I don't have any number of drivers with me any longer.

Hi Vishnu,    I am planning

Hi Vishnu, 


I am planning on a trip to leh ladakh in august this year, was wondering if it is easy to tour around on our own without a guide? 
Can we apply the PAP in the DC only when we reach leh ladkh? how long will the approval take?

If we are planning to visit several places such as stok, nubra valley, magnetic hill etc, are drivers available for hire along wherever we visit?





I don't think permit is

I don't think permit is required any longer. anyways its easy to obtain one. it takes few hours. No, there are buses to some of the places you mentioned. Shared jeeps are available for Nubra. most of the tourists hire their own private vehicle.

jully vishnu,,,,,could you

jully vishnu,,,,,could you please  tell me more about the composition of PANGONG TSO,,,,

Juley... Sorry i do not have

Juley... Sorry i do not have much idea about the composition of lake.. Its salt lake though..

Name all villages around

Name all villages around pangong lake?

Spangmik is the closest and

Spangmik is the closest and then there are few more on the way to Pangong.

+- Vishnu

i want to visit

i want to visit pangong/Tsomiri lake around 8 to 15 november 2015. I want to see its colors, but i am confused lest it not get frozen. Can you assure me that at this time it wont get frozen.

Also I want to see the colors of Laddakh and Kashmir and saffron harvesting in Pampore Kashmir. Is it the suitable time to visit to enjoy the autumn beauty of Kashmir.

Hi.. Me n friend also going

Hi.. Me n friend also going to Leh in 8november. Can we join for apply permit to pangong Tso n nubra? Coz we only 2person, I read that we have to join in group min 4person for that permit.

I do not think you really

I do not think you really need to be in a group for getting ILP to Nubra, Pangong and other border regions.

+- Vishnu

No. Pangong and Tso-moriri

No. Pangong and Tso-moriri would not be frozen in November. It will be end of Autumn so you may not see those colors you are expecting but still its good time for traveling Ladakh.

Hi Vishnu, Can you please

Hi Vishnu,

Can you please tell me whether I can pitch my own tent near Lukung, Spangmik, Man or Merak.. Any more information/help regarding this will be highly appreciated...



Neeraj Wandre

I don't think there is any

I don't think there is any problem pitching in your tent in Ladakh region. if you are pitching near a village then will request you not to leave trash behind.


Hi Vishnu,   Planning to

Hi Vishnu,


Planning to visit Leh in the 2nd week of April.

Main interest is to see Lake Pangong. Will it be frozen?  Can we do a day trip? If we are to stay, can you recommend a place. We are just 2 people. So do we have to join a tour? Isn't it possible to hire a car? Will we see the gulls?


Hope to hear from you.





Yes, you can do the day trip.

Yes, you can do the day trip. Chances are bleak to see the lake frozen but this year, winters extended little further so you might. Yes, it is possible to hire a private car from Leh. There will be plenty of choices for accommodation.

+- Vishnu

Hi.. Am planning to visit @

Hi.. Am planning to visit @ 1st may 2015.. Places would be leh, nubra, pangong and turtuk for 8 days.. Would i get snow / snowfall?? Want to see blue / turquoise colour pangong lake.. Hope it wont be frozen..

You can get snow. Pangong

You can get snow. Pangong would not be frozen in May. I hope you are planning to take flight to Leh because Roads would not be open by May. 8 days are sufficient for visiting the places you mentioned.

Hi ,I want to go to Ladakh

Hi ,I want to go to Ladakh From 10th June till 17th June15 .Delhi Leh Flight and then returning back by Leh Manali Road.Last stop is Pangong Lake with overnight halt at Pangong Lake.Mode of transprt will be Private taxi(Tavera/Scorpio)I want to ask you,if  I start early from Leh by 6 am will I be able to reach Jispa/Keylong by evening 6-7 pm?If not then If I halt at Sarchu  then If I start early by 6 am from Sarchu , can I reach Manali by 3 pm?I have to catch bus to Delhi by 5 pm.

Another option can I start from Pangong lake early in morning (after seeing sunrise )and continue till Karu and go to Sarchu.Will I be able to reach Sarchu by 7 pm?



Yes, Leh to Keylong should be

Yes, Leh to Keylong should be possible in 12 hours and same will go from Keylong to Manali. Pangong-Karu-Sarchu-Keylong will also take more or less same time (little more).

if we plan to visit ladakh in

if we plan to visit ladakh in early feb(may be 1-10 feb),  are 4 days enough to visit leh , pangong and nubra?considering its one way traffic during that time and snowfall block the roads

Also can we watch migratory birds at pangong at the at that time and is the lake completely frozen ? we want  to see  the turquiose water as in does the snow starts receeding?

And finally what are accomodation options at nubra and pangong during this time?



4 days are not enough for

4 days are not enough for Leh, Pangong and Nubra valley...During Feb, it will be one way traffic to Nubra valley and at times its not accessible... you need at least a week time if planning to stay in Nubra and near Pangong...

till Mid Feb, Lake will get frozen completetly..Yes, you can see flock of migratory birds during winters.. Snow will not start receding in Feb.. for that, you should visit in Spring.. Early April perhaps..

there will be couple of hotels open in Nubra at Hundar or Diskit... Near Pangong, there is a village before the lake where you can find homestays...

=== Vishnu

Hey!I'm visiting leh next

Hey!I'm visiting leh next week on Thursday. Would need a taxi for 5days. I plan to do a pankong and nubra plus some local sight seeing.Tanu

Hi Tanu.. i have the taxi

Hi Tanu.. i have the taxi rate list for previous year.. i hope it will be helplful .. generally people hire taxi in Leh on circuit basis instead for days...


If you want, i can send you some numbers of taxi drivers in Leh..

Vishnu Kumar

Hi Vishnu Am planning to

Hi Vishnu

Am planning to visit Pangong lake from Leh on my own and stay there for one night. Could you please suggest the best and the safest way to do the same ( transporctation- bus, cab)... thanks in advance

Generally people hire private

Generally people hire private taxi on this route due to think public transport however with surge in tourist, there are chances to club with other groups or find a shared jeep till pangong lake.... There are buses but these are  once in a week sort of...

best would be finding a group and sharing the fare with them...

Vishnu Kumar

Hi Vishnu,   I m planning to

Hi Vishnu,


I m planning to visit Leh on aug 2nd & my destination would be pangong lake.

kindly advise if i need to hault a night at leh while i come from srinagar ?

If so, do i need to hault another night at pangong lake ?

YES, it won't be possible to

YES, it won't be possible to reach Pangong lake directly from Srinagar in one day.. I would suggest you to stay at Leh for a day or two in order to get acclimatized... Leh-Pangong-Leh can be done in a single day but would be little hectic.. i will recommend to stay overnight at Pangong if you have days in hand...

Hi Vishnu... Greeting from

Hi Vishnu... Greeting from Malaysia,

I'm a girl, tourleader, adventurer, and i will go to India next year. Me and my Delhi friends will visit Leh in winter.

We are planning go to Leh at the end of feb 2015. Flight early morning from Delhi and touch down Leh around 7:30.

and here our itenanry :

                                   Day 1 -> Leh Acclimatization

08:00 - 09:00 Check in at Shanti Stupa GH

09:30 - 11:00 Apply Inner Line Permit @Leh DC Office

                                   11:30 – 12:00 Hall Of Fame(take pic outside only)

12:30 – 13:00 Magnetic Hill

13:30 – 14:00 Confluence of Zanskar River and Indus

14:30 - 15:30 Go to Likir

16:00 - 17:00 Visit Likir Monastery

17:30 - 19:00 Back to Leh

19:30 - 20:30 Visit Shanti Stupa Night view


Day 2 -> Nubra Valley

06:00 - 07:00 Shanti Stupa for Sunrise

07:30 - 09:00 Leh Palace

09:00 - 14:00 Go To Nubra Valley (Hundar and Diskit only)

14:30 - 18:30 Explore Nubra Valley

18:30 - 23:30 Back to Leh

Day 3 -> Pangong Tso

07:30 - 09:00 Thiksey Monastery

09:30 - 10:00 Chemrey Monastry (Take pic from far just)

10:00 - 15:00 Go to Pangong Tso

15:30 - 18:30 Explore Pangong Tso till sun set

18:30 - 23:30 Back To Leh


1. Should we take 3days rent car at Leh? 09622922188 your best driver at Leh, Should i hire him?

2. Hundar Camel ride avaliable in Feb?

3. What do you think about my schedule with single day acclimatisation? any advise?

   We dont have much time, only 3days Sad

4. I heard that for foreigner, they will give us Inner line permmit only if we go on gorup (4person),

    What if we just 2person? 

5. if you found any couple who also wanna travel at the end of feb 2015, can you please inform me?


Thanks so much vishnu, nice blog, waiting for ur reply Smile


Hii.... Thanks for dropping

Hii.... Thanks for dropping by... Well, 3 days are too less for a visit to Ladakh.. I will suggest you to spend at least 5 days in Leh...

Day 1: 24 hours are generally sufficient for acclimatization but do not add any tour for Day 1. Reach Leh, stay in hotel and get your permits arranged.

Tour planned for first day should be switched to Day 2:

Day 2: One day tour to Nubra valley is not possible... During winters, traffic to Nubra is one way everyday so you will not be allowed to return on the same day. Drive to Nubra is quite arduous so you won't be able  to do it in single day. I will suggest Drive to Hundar on Day 2 with overnight stay in Dikshit... next morning visit Panamik and drive back to Leh..

Day 3: Pangong along with tour to Thiksey is possible...

My take on your queries..

1) YES, you will have to hire a vehicle (Scorpio sort of)... Will send you more numbers on email.

2) Camel ride won't be available in Feb

3) As said earlier, no point visiting Ladakh for 3 days... you should at least have 5 days..

4) Will give you a contact number to inquire the same... Single person permit should not be a problem...

5) Sure, I will keep it in mind and connect you with any group who are planning to visit Ladakh in Feb 2015..

Vishnu Kumar

i have a dream to go thr

i have a dream to go thr ...................

Go there...its awesome...

Go there...its awesome...

Hii vishnu,, can i reach

Hii vishnu,, can i reach pangong driving own car cruze(ground clearance 165 mm)? plz suggest me

I won't recommend to drive

I won't recommend to drive Cruze on this road... Ground Clearance is very low for negotiating Changla pass and terrain...

Hi Vishnu, can I reach

Hi Vishnu, can I reach Pangong driving own car... if so, what type of car should one drive in Leh / Pangong.

Manodeep Chakravarti

You can reach Pangong on your

You can reach Pangong on your car.... it should have decent ground clearance... Here is the route from Leh to Pangong...


=== Vishnu

Hi can you please help me

Hi can you please help me with contacts of people having / organising homestays at pangong and nubra?

Hi Tanvi...Sorry for the late

Hi Tanvi...Sorry for the late response....was on the road with no connectivity at all... Here is the number of some guest house in Nubra...


Getting homestays near Pangong should not be a problem.... In fact mostly its homestays around Pangong... One can get it easily in any of the nearby villages or get a tent on the lake bed....

--- Vishnu

i cant imagine this

i cant imagine this ................. as i have gone to this lake

cant imagine i have gone

cant imagine i have gone there i was unlucky as it was frozen,

I'm speechless. This can be a

I'm speechless. This can be a srupeb blog and very attractive too. Nice work! That's now not actually a lot coming from an newbie publisher like me, however it's all I may just say after diving into your posts. Nice grammar and vocabulary. Not like other blogs. You actually recognise what you?re talking about too. Such a lot that you made me want to discover more. Your blog has develop into a stepping stone for me, my friend.

Very nice write up Vishnu.Am

Very nice write up Vishnu.Am planning to do the Chadar trek in Feb 2013.Would it be possible to visit Pangong at that time?Am wondering if its worthwhile visiting Pangong at this time.What do you think?

Till February, Pangong gets

Till February, Pangong gets frozen to a large extent so you can even walk on the frozen lake... I don't think it would be a problem to reach Pangong during February...certainly worth visiting in my opinion and it will take only 1 day from Leh...



Vishnu, you have done a

Vishnu, you have done a remarkable job with the content... Me and My husband are planning to visit Pangong lake during this winter....Can it be done in one day tour ?, What all are the accommodation options nearby ?... We will be visiting Ladakh in December... waiting for your reply....

Hi Garima, During Summers,

Hi Garima,
During Summers, There are plenty of accommodation options near Pangong lake...In Winters, you can get an accommodation in the village just before pangong... it would be home stay.... December would be completely deserted but inspiring landscape.... One day tour would be quite tiring...will recommend you to spend a night in that village before heading back to Leh...

Vishnu Kumar

Thx for the information

Thx for the information friend, really usefull one stuff.

This year in June we are planning to go there. If possible can u tell me more about the staying places between Leh to Pangong Lake

There are many villages on

There are many villages on the way to Pangong from Leh...spangmik is the nearest one on the shore of the lake but you wont find any place to stay there... you may pitch in your tent...just before Pangong lake, there is a village where you can easily find accommodation (homestay)...People are really welcoming so you wont find any problem...

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