Pangong Lake Ladakh


Last Updated on: Oct 27, 2014 

The Blue skies, the blue lake and we….. Pangong Lake had a tranquil and relaxing effect on us like blue topaz and inspired us as well. The vast and azure waters of Pangong were enough to mesmerise us and renewed our love for each other. Well, blue has always been my favourite colour….

Let the blue sky meet the blue sea and all is blue for a time

 – Moncy Barbour

The blue sky, the blue waters and we….

Pangong Tso is about 160 km from Leh. To reach the lake you have to cross world’s third highest motorable pass, the Chang La (17586 ft) which is guarded by the Indian Army as it is very near to China. So, we started our journey at 6.00 AM in the morning from Leh with our driver Kader Bhai. Very soft spoken and gentle, he was not only our guide but was like a guardian towards us.

 – Moncy Barbour

The Winding Road

After a drive of an hour or so, we reached Karu village. We could see various monasteries till here. From Karu, the uphill road begins. A few kilometres from Karu the roads were good, but as the climb to Chang La began the conditions of the roads deteriorated with potholes and dangerous curves. The temperature also fell drastically and so did the level of oxygen making us realise that we are gaining height. Chang La is the third highest motorable pass in the world. We could see the majestic snow capped ranges from the Chang La. There is an army outpost at Chang La which serves complimentary tea to anyone who crosses the Chang La. We started our descent after having tea and interaction with the army jawans.


Conquering the Chang La

The conditions of the road were pretty bad as we descended from the Chang La and at some places, there were no roads at all !!! After the descent, the condition of roads improved a lot and so did the landscape. The barren terrain was replaced by picturesque meadows with streams flowing beside us. The varied wildlife of Ladakh was also seen here. We saw huge yaks grazing as well as the funny looking marmot. It was here we saw the Royal Enfield Bike team riding towards Pangong Lake.


Grazing Yaks….


The Marmot in motion….

We were happily looking at yaks and marmots when suddenly a stretch of blue appeared before us in between some hills. Well, that was the Pangong for us. As our car took turns, the Pangong too took turns to play hide and seek with us. Another travel of 15 minutes and then we could see the vast stretch of azure waters in front of our eyes. Leh will never fail to mesmerise us. After the Nubra, now it’s the Pangong.


First glimpse of the lake

Pangong lake is shared between India and China. Only 40% of the lake lies in India. Our imagination failed to visualise the actual size of the Pangong. The blue lake surrounded by yellow mountains is a paradise to any wanderlust’s eyes. Brahmini ducks were seen in abundance. It is also their paradise…!!! We travelled towards the stretch of the lake which had been made so famous by the Bollywood movie 3 Idiots.


Where mountains touches the sky and the lake….

We travelled further towards the Spagmik village, the farthest village in Pangong. We had decided to stay the night at Pangong in a tent which was quite luxurious and very near to the lake. The lake could be seen just as we come out of the tent.


The endless blue waters

The crystal clear waters of the lake shine in many shades of blue depending upon its depth and with the sunlight. At one point we stared at the lapis lazuli, while the azure waters lapped at our feet in the next.


Clear waters at our feet…

The emerald green shades were also added to the charm. Sitting in front of the Pangong Lake, we forgot all our worries. All our worldly thoughts went into oblivion. We could appreciate the beauty of nature to the fullest.


The Sunset

As the sun began to set, the blue waters seem to fade into a dull colour. The night was equally charming. The vast sky was dotted with numerous stars and the dim lights at the campsites looked amazing. A campfire beside the beautiful lake and under the starry sky with travellers with their various stories completed our day.




The Campfire under the starry skies…

Some facts about Pangong Tso:


Pangong Tso is located about 170 Km from Leh town of Ladakh district.


Pangong Tso is one of the high altitudes lakes of India at a staggering altitude of 4350 Meters or 14270 Feet.

General Route:

Leh – Karu – Sakti  – Chang La – Durbuk  – Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik


Tents are available at the lake side. There are hotels at the Spagmik village for staying overnight.

Petrol Pumps and ATMs:

Nearest petrol pump is at Karu about 135 km from Pangong.

No ATMs are found near the lake. It is better to carry cash.

Visiting the Pangong Tso is an experience itself. The heady mix of the rough and barren Chang La with the serene blue waters of the lake against the backdrop of the mountains is irresistible. You should not miss this trip. It is recommended to spend a day here to realise the true beauty of the place. Otherwise, Pangong is doable in one day itself from Leh.

© Tale of 2 Backpackers

The Pangong Tso

Please feel free to post any queries or doubts in the comment section. If you have been here, please share your experiences and information with us.


The Blue lake

Reproduction of the content, including the photographs without prior consent/permission of the writer and photographer, is not encouraged at all and a violation of the same will attract legal action. If you need anything, Contact Us.

Agni Amrita Travel Blogger

Hey! we’re Agni & Amrita.

We have been travelling together since the last 15 years and writing independent and personal travel content since 2014. Travel is one of the best teachers and through this blog, we aim to share our experiences and travel tips. We encourage you to travel more and see the world through your eyes and not through filtered templates.

Find more about us.


Best Zanskar Itinerary – How to Visit Zanskar Valley in 8 days

About this blog: Zanskar Valley is fast becoming one of the most sought-after destinations for adventure seekers. Nestled in one of the remote corners of the Himalayas, Zanskar valley is one of the most difficult places to reach. After our trip to Zanskar Valley, we...

Hunderman – Ghost Village near Kargil with Museum of Memories

Hunderman – Ghost Village near Kargil with Museum of Memories

About this Blog: A few days back, we had visited Kargil and from there explored Hunderman, a lesser-known destination. Hunderman is a small village located near the India-Pakistan border. Very recently it has started attracting tourists. The village is also the home...

Changpa Tribe of Changthang, Ladakh – The Story of Pashminas

Changpa Tribe of Changthang, Ladakh – The Story of Pashminas

About this Blog: The Changpa tribe is a semi-nomadic tribe found in the high altitude Changthang region of eastern Ladakh. They are known for rearing the Changthangi Goats or the Pashmina goats that yeild the fine wool to produce the exquisite fabric Pashmina. In our...

Sham Valley in Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide

Sham Valley in Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide

About this Blog: Sham valley is another beautiful valley of Ladakh. Located near Leh town, Sham valley is a popular sightseeing destination from Leh. Read this travel blog to know about it, attractions and places to visit in Sham Valley and other relevant information....

Basgo Monastery, Ladakh – Ruins of Palace and Fort

Basgo Monastery, Ladakh – Ruins of Palace and Fort

About the blog: Basgo Monastery is a beautiful and important place to visit in Ladakh. Located about 40 km from Leh town on the Srinagar-Leh Highway, you can see the ruins of Basgo Gompa and fort from a distance. Basgo has an interesting history and was once the...

Saspol Caves – Best-kept Secret of Sham Valley, Ladakh

Saspol Caves – Best-kept Secret of Sham Valley, Ladakh

About the blog: Saspol Caves are one of the finest examples of Buddhist art found in Sham Valley of Ladakh region. Located in Saspol village about 60 km from Leh, the Saspol Cave temples contain beautiful and vibrant wall paintings. We had visited Saspol Cave in our...

Mangyu Monastery – A Hidden Gem in Sham Valley, Ladakh

Mangyu Monastery – A Hidden Gem in Sham Valley, Ladakh

About this blog: Mangyu Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. Located in Sham Valley, the Gompa belongs to the early period monasteries built between 1000 – 1300 AD. We visited Mangyu Gompa on our last trip to Ladakh. This travel blog shares our...

1 Comment

  1. Mainak Debnath

    This is really awesome….


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.