Pangong Lake Ladakh, Location, Camping, How to Reach, What to See, Best time to visit, Tour, Permit. About Pangong Lake, Camping and Homestays in Pangong, What makes Pangong lake special, Things to do at Pangong Lake, Best time to visit Pangong Lake, How to Reach, Permit and Permission, Accommodation complete detail updated.
About Pangong Lake
Location: Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India; Rutog County, Tibet, China Plan
Pangong Lake also known as Pangong Tso is a beautiful endorheic lake situated in the Himalayas and is 134 km long, extending from India to China. Pangong Lake is situated at a height of 4350 m and is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the country. The beauty and allure of this lake has attracted people from all over the country and beyond. The lake is said to be in the process of being identified as a wetland with international significance under the Ramsar Convention and if everything goes as expected then the Pangong Lake will be the first in South Asia to be a trans-boundary wetland and that too under this convention.
The one factor that makes this Lake so popular is the fact that it keeps changing colors. Situated in the Himalayan range it is approximately 140 km from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir. The name of the lake Pangong was got from a Tibetan word Banggong Co that means a narrow and enchanted lake. And now you know that the lake has got its name rightfully. You will know this when you visit the beautiful lake of Pangong. You are sure to be enchanted by the charm. And because the lake is a long stretch, one third area of the lake lies within our country and the other two third portion lies with Tibet and is controlled by China.
Due to the briny water, the lake does not support aquatic life other than some ocean bugs called crustaceans by oceanographers. Pangong lake is home to many migrating birds in summer, and one can witness numerous ducks and gulls “surfing”. Other than being a haven for these birds, it is also an important breeding ground for birds like Brahmani ducks and seagulls. Some are lucky to spot a Kiang which is a wild ass or a Marmot, which is a brownish rodent native to Ladakh that can grow upto the size of a small dog. There are two streams from the Indian side that form the wetlands and marshes at the edges. It is the beauty of the impeccable blue waters that embezzle the tourist’s attention the most. The serenity and tranquillity of this place are the tourist’s paradise.
Camping and Homestays in Pangong
The natural setting of Pangong makes for a perfect destination for a quaint little camping adventure. If you wish to camp at the lake, you might want to consider tenting which is the only viable option. The tents are quite clean, cosy and comfortable with meals included in the package. in addition to the camps, you can also try out homestays here where local households provide accommodation. The ideal place to live is 32 kilometre from Pangong lake in a place called Tangste. Also, there are places to live in and around the vicinity of Lukung which is close also located close by and has the provision of eco huts. One can, however, be based at Leh, which has numerous options for accommodation and take a day trip to the lake. The beautiful setting of this destination makes it an ideal spot to relax and unwind.
What makes Pangong lake special?
Pangong lake in Ladakh is one of the highest endorheic brackish lakes and is also the most sought after attractions in the Trans-Himalayan region. Such is its allure that Pangong commands a dedicated itinerary from travel enthusiasts.
Experts recommend June – September as the best time to visit Pangong lake. This is when the roads leading to Leh are clear; the sun shines brightly in the sky and weather is as favorable as it gets. But…
Who cares! If you are looking at something more daunting and extreme, try visiting Leh Ladakh in winter i.e. December – February, when the lake is entirely frozen. The beauty of the lake is still unmatched and you can actually feel the bite as you walk across it.
Things to do at Pangong Lake
1) Night stay in camps near Pangong Lake, do campfire and barbecue.Homestay option is also available here. But i would recommend camp stay , specially near Pangong lake, it has its own charm.
2) Even though temperature will gonna be very low at pangong lake specially in night and morning, maybe around 0 degree celsius and you don’t want to come out of your blanket in camp. You will be amazed by seeing the galaxy picturesque in clear sky.Sky looks near to you at night, you can see sparkling stars very clearly unlike in our polluted metro cities.You even don’t want to break your sleep at early morning time but Its worth to see sunrise here.
3) Don’t forget to stop some 10 km before pangong lake while coming from Leh. You will witness rare endemic species ‘Mormot‘. Lives in pot holes, but in daytime they usually come out of their potholes.You will find some sign boards en route stating ‘Stop here to see rare endemic species Mormot’.
4) Even if you are not a professional photographer or don’t have a high quality camera, just take as many pictures,selfies as you can from your normal camera. This place is so beautiful that even random clicks will look beautiful.Ifyou will come from your own vehicle, park your vehicle near the lake.Definitely you want to capture the pride moment to ride to the highest saltwater lake in the world.Whenever you see your Ladakh trip pictures in future, you will gonna miss Pangong lake most.
5) You might experience snowfall at chang la pass while going pangong lake from Leh. Me and my friend who visited chang la after one month of my visit, we both experienced snowfall there.Even if snowfall will not occur, this is the place where you can find maximum amout of snow and ice.Apart from road, you will find snow as far as your eye could see. Stop there for a while, have a tea or soup at Army cafeteria,click some pics with milestone showing that you are on World’s third highest motorable road.
6) You will feel cold out there and you will find nobody there taking a dip in lake.Tourist starts leaving pangong lake after morning sunrise as they have to reach leh before sunset.But before going back to Leh, do take a dip in pangong lake, trust me it will be fun.You will feel cold after a dip, but this coldness is temporary. If your body catches cold easily and your immunity system is weak, then do not try this.you will gonna ruin your remaining journey.
7) Blue water Pangong lake turns into ice sheet in winters. If you love adventurous trekking, then you might wanna come here for a walk on ice or ice skating.
8) A typical traveller to Ladakh notices a lot of miniature stupas at every nook and corner of this trans-Himalayan region. These are not the typical relic stupas that are very well known for their religious significance. Instead, these are the votive stupas that look like a stone pyramid , constructed by the locals to commemorate their visits or to gain spiritual benefits. Locals keep sacred texts and other goods of religious importance like a prayer bowl or a prayer wheel inside these votive stupas as offerings. These votive stupas are found across the entire region of Ladakh.If not then you will definitely find some of these around Pangong lake.Make your own stone pyramid out there and give your offerings to lord Buddha.
Pangong Lake and its Bollywood connect
The unadulterated natural beauty of the Pangong Lake makes it a favourite destination among directors for shooting and filming. A number of blockbusters have been shot here, which includes amazing works such as Dil Se, 3 Idiots, Heroes, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Sanam Re, Waqt and Tashan among many others. The Bollywood junkie in you will definitely feel like a superstar here.
Best time to visit Pangong Lake
It is best to visit this lake in summers, precisely from the month of June to the month of September as in winter due to its extreme weather and high altitude the vacation would not be as enjoyable and the lake would be frozen as well. A visit in summer will open an avenue to witness different migratory birds and other flora fauna.
Usefull Note – Pangong lake is best seen on a trip to Leh. From Leh, start early to enjoy the sunrise during your drive to Pangong Tso. Spend the whole day, till the afternoon exploring the lake and its surrounding lake Tso Moriri. One may also go about exploring the rest of the Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary.
How to Reach
Most people usually prefer taking the Leh to Pangong Tso route. This route will take you about 6 hours and this totally depends on how many breaks you decide to take on your way. This is the route that you will follow:
Leh to Karu- to Sakti- To Chang La- to Durbuk- to – Tagnste- to – Lukung-to- Spangmik-to- Pangong Lake.
Now while you do take this route, you can also explore the many attractions that are located on the way. Hemis and Shey monasteries are few of the attractions that you must explore. This route also has one of the best roads and hence it is also the fastest. It would be recommended to take a two day trip to Pangong Tso so that you can halt at Leh, before you head out to the lake. This will help you acclimatize your body to the high altitude.
Another route that most domestic tourists prefer is the Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso Lake. This route will take you through Nubra valley to Wari La and then to Pangong Tso Lake. Nubra Valley is always the best to halt at for a better acclimatization. The Wari La Pass is one of the most secluded passes in Ladakh and it takes about 11 hours approximately to reach your destination. This again depends on the number of breaks you want to take. So it also means that the route is longer as compared to the Leh route and it is also a rough route to cover. Set out early from Nubra valley if you want to witness the much talked about sunset at the Pangong Lake.
Permit and Permission
You must be wondering, what is the permit and permission procedure for visiting Pangong Lake? What documents should I carry with me? We have the answers to your questions.
There are certain areas in Ladakh which are considered inner line (areas close to the border with either China or Pakistan), and Pangong Tso Lake is one them. Therefore, Indians will need to obtain an inner line permit for visiting this place. Foreign nationals visiting this place are required to obtain a protected area permit if they want to travel from Leh to Pangong Lake.
Earlier, obtaining an Inner Line Permit (ILP) was a cumbersome task. However, the government authorities made that task much easier by launching a web portal named http://lahdclehpermit.in/. All you have to do is visit the website and follow the steps mentioned there. You will also have to pay INR 400 per Person as an environmental fee + 20 rupees per day as Inner line fee at the time of getting the permit.
Although it’s true that the online method of applying for the Inner Line Permit has made it extremely easy for travelers, however, it should be noted that the payment for the permit cannot be made online. As of now, there is no provision for that. To make the payment and get your permits signed or stamped, you need to take a print of the online form along with its copy and visit the following address – TIC Office, Opposite J&K Bank, Main Market, Leh.
You will find several camps in close proximity to the Pangong Lake with well-equipped facilities and amenities. You could book your stay in any one of them. The stay will be both comfortable and exciting.
However, if camping is not your cup of tea, then there are other accommodation options available. You could also opt for homestays in nearby villages of Pangong Tso Lake. The locals of this region are very friendly and will ensure that you have a comfortable experience. Opting for a homestay is also a great way of mixing with the locals.