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Tso Kar, Leh Ladakh Overview

Tso Kar is a fluctuating salt lake in scenic Ladakh Valley. Popular as the white lake, and unlike its counterparts Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso, Tso Kar Lake is the most peaceful and calm of them all and also the smallest of the three. There are only a few yak sheds, a monastery and a couple of nomadic families in the surrounding. An overnight camping expedition is recommended as the experience is unlike any other. Tso Kar also has a large variety of birds for bird lovers as the marshlands surrounding the lake supports an amazing array of birdlife.

The common birds found at Tso Kar Lake are Brahmin ducks, bar-headed geese and great crested grebe. The main attraction, however, is the black-necked crane. The black-necked cranes, known for their fidelity, come to Tso Kar to lay eggs. The sight of the bird, with a wingspan of almost 8 ft, taking off is an amazing sight to witness against the backdrop of green plains and the snow-covered mountains.

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Tso Kar lake Temperature and Best Time to Visit

The most comfortable time to go to Tso Kar is in June- July. Due to the high altitude, the temperature during the winter months can go down to as low as -40 degrees Celcius. During the summer months, the temperature at Tso Kar Lake rises to 30 degrees Celcius at times, with fluctuations during the day.

Tso Kar Lake Accommodation

Tso Kar has the option of night camping although the number of tents isn't large. It would be better to make a booking in Leh just to be safe. The tents are on the west end of the lake near the Manali-Leh road about three km from the lake. Accommodation options are easily available at Leh. There are a number of hotels to suit almost every pocket or preference. Hence, it might be convenient to be based at Leh and take a day trip to the lakes.

Food At Tso Kar

Options for food at the lake are limited and basic and do not carry any significant food culture or speciality except popular and local preparation. One might find basic food at the tents set up here, but there aren't any proper eateries. It is best to carry your own food for a trip to the lakes.

Tso Kar Lake Itinerary

It is best to travel to both Moriri Tso as well as Tso Kar. The lakes are best seen on a trip to Leh. Start early from Leh and after visiting Moriri Tso, come over to Tso Kar Lake for a quiet environment and some bird watching. From there, take the cab back to Leh again.

Tips for Visiting Tso Kar lake

1. Carry an extra can of fuel because the nearest fuel station in any direction is in Leh or Keylong.
2. If you plan to stay overnight in one of the tents, then make sure you wear protective woollen clothes and carry an extra pair. It can get really chilly and also windy in the open grasslands.
3. There are no ATMs nearby, so do not forget to carry cash

How to reach Tso Kar

  • Air: The closest airport is the one in Jammu.

  • Road: The Tso Kar lies 160 km south of Leh; the Leh Manali road passes 30 km west of it. The lake is 540 km east of Srinagar, the capital of the state.

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