Weather :

Timings : All days of the week: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : 1 to 2 hours

Entry Fee : INR 20 per person per day (Inner Line Permit)

Height : 4350 metres

Length : 12 kms

Pangong Tso, Leh Ladakh Overview

The most popular tourist attraction in Ladakh, Pangong lake is an endorheic (landlocked) lake situated at 4350 meters. Also known as Pangong Tso, it is 12 kilometres long and extends from India to Tibet. Almost 60% of Pangong Lake lies in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. A unique feature of the lake is that it does not remain blue throughout the year or even the day, rather it changes colours from azure to light blue to green and grey too! It is famous amongst tourists as the spot where the Bollywood movie "3 Idiots" was shot.

Since the enthralling Pangong Lake falls on the Sino-Indian Actual Line of Control, an inner line permit is required to visit it. The Indian Nationals can easily obtain individual permits while other foreign nationals need to obtain a group permit, with at least 3 persons in the group, accompanied by an accredited guide. The permit can be obtained at the tourist office in Leh, for a small fee. Owing to its altitude, the Pangong Lake temperature ranges from -5°C to 10°C as a result of which it freezes completely during winters in spite of its salinity. 

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Pangong Lake Camping

The natural setting of Pangong Lake makes it 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.

Pangong Lake in Winters

Winter turns the landscape of Pangong into a shimmering and snowy extravaganza. The mountains exhibit a kaleidoscopic contrast with sand dominating one side while snow makes an appearance on the other. Pangong Tso freezes to an absolute turquoise, and you can even walk all over this frozen beauty. The sun doesn't make much of an appearance and fog envelopes the landscape. However, the temperature here gets to a minimum of -14°C, so be sure to pack loads and loads of woollens!

Pangong Lake Weather & Best Time to Visit

It is best to visit Pangong Tso in summers, precisely from June to 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.

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!

Flora and Fauna at Pangong Lake

Due to the briny water, Pangong Tso 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, the stunning lake 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 up to the size of a small dog.

How to reach Pangong Lake

It is a breathtaking 5-hour drive from Leh, with the entire route to this destination being the epitome of scenic beauty. The Lake falls on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control, and you are required to get Inner Line permission. Also because the Pangong Lake is situated very close to the border, you will be allowed to visit only up to the Spangmik village.

From Leh, you need to pass through the Changla Pass and then through Tangste. Regular buses by the state road transport corporation are also available. In addition to this, you can hire taxis, motorbikes, jeeps and cars are reasonable prices as well. Make sure you have enough fuel in your vehicle as there are no petrol pumps in Pangong.

The road journey from Leh to Pangong is thrilling in itself. Since the drive is tiring (though breath-taking), it is advised to avoid making the return journey the same day.

Food at Pangong Lake

There are a few eateries and stalls at the lake selling popular local items, Maggi and tea. One might want to, however, carry their own food for a trip to the lake. While options for food at Pangong lake are limited, you may find popular and local preparations such as Thukpa which is a noodle soup, Tsampa, known in Ladakhi as Ngamphe (roasted barley flourished barley flour), and Skyu which is a heavy pasta dish with plenty of veggies as well as the very popular and delicious Momos which are steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables or meat.

Need to Know

1. It is advised to carry more and sufficient warm clothes to withstand the cold weather.
2. It is an ecologically fragile place where littering is a serious offence. Kindly dispose of your waste wisely.
3. For security reasons, boating at the lake is not permitted.

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