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The Wonders Of The Pangong Lake: A Day Tour From Leh

Pangong Lake

The Pangong Lake has become a must on any Ladakh tour that you are going on. This gorgeous blue lake gained famed after the famous movie 3 idiots showed it in all its glory and beauty. Since then the Pangong Lake has been crowded by tourists from all over the world.

The scenic lake is so mesmerising that you will find yourself gazing at it for hours. From the changing colours with the sun rays to the idyllic mountains in the background, the Pangong Lake shows the natural beauty of Ladakh.

It is situated about 150 km from Leh.

If you are going on a Ladakh tour then do not give this one a miss:

Quick History

You can take a guided tour in Ladakh, and your guide will mostly revel you with the history of the Pangong Lake and the Himalayas.

According to popular belief and stories, this lake is the remnant of the sea when the Himalayas emerged out of it. The lake is salty and has no fishes that swim around here due to its high altitude. You will, however, find many migratory birds that come here in all shapes, colours and sizes and makes the Pangong Lake even more iconic and gorgeous. Some of the birds even lay their eggs or build a temporary nest.

It is located at an altitude of 4300 metres, so you need to make sure that you are acclimatised to such a condition

The Lake

On your Ladakh tour, you will find yourself staring at the iconic saline water lake that looks as stunning as you can imagine. The Pangong Lake with all its shades of blue and rustic brown hills in the background is perhaps the most photogenic place in the whole of India. It is quite impossible to look away at the sheer marvellous sheen that this lake reflects.

The Pangong Lake remains frozen during the winter season, so come here between April and September, and you might find it in its best form.

This lake is also unique since two-thirds of its falls under Tibet, which is now a part of the Chinese international border. The rest of the lake comes under India. Due to this demarcation, you will come across many army tanks and camps, but they are quite friendly and warm towards tourists.

The Beauty Of Chang La

The second highest motorable road in the world is the Chang La pass, which you will encounter on your way to Pangong Lake. At the top of this stunning region, you will find the Chang La Baba Mandir. Get down and watch the colourful flags flutter with the wind as they add that little colour to the otherwise barren land. Chang La is the place where you need to get accustomed to the height. If you do get AMS, you will start to show at Chang La Pass. So take your time and get used to the height.

The Mesmerising Landscape

From the thrilling Chang La Pass, there will be a steep descent, and another three hours of drive to reach the spectacular Pangong Lake on your Ladakh tour. The roads will take you through all the possible natural realms. From glaciers melting into cascading waterfalls, to farmers grazing with their cattle on freshly pastured fields, the sights are beyond imagination.

There are also a few army camps who have tea stalls and bathrooms for you to use.

While the journey is long and can be a little strenuous, the landscape is quite a treat. You will be driving through paradise, where the clouds play hide and seek with the mountains, and rivers emerge when you least expect it. You will be in the laps of nature.

The Pangong Lake

As soon as you arrive at the Pangong Lake on your Ladakh tour, you will invariably let out a gasp. The beauty of this azure waterbody is hard to put into words, and only those who see it will be able to feel it. It is so blue that not even your camera can do justice to the sight in front of you.

You will found too many tourists crowding this place. There are also posters of Bollywood movies and an iconic scooter that marks the famous movie, 3 Idiots. These are merely photo ops. If you wish to indulge in this, then you can stop here, otherwise, you should go a little further.

Here you will find yourself in pure unadulterated bliss. No tourists, no crowds, just you, the blue lake and tranquillity.

Just stop here and let the moment flood you with memories and moments that you will never forget. It is hard to find such beautiful moments in life, and this one is truly one of the best.

Staying The Night

While most people choose to head to Pangong Lake as a day tour from Ladakh, but the real beauty can only be felt when you stay here for the night. Staying by this shimmering blue lake on your Ladakh tour is the best way to reconnect with nature and feel the peace flow through your veins and heal you from within. It is therapeutic in every sense.

You can either set up camp or look for a decent hotel. There are not many hotels, so you might just have to settle for a tent.

The nightlife here is so exotic and enchanting. Just stare at the thousand stars that light up the night sky, and sip that hot cup of tea while listening to some soulful Kashmiri songs. If you are travelling with a group, then you can also light up a bonfire and share some eerie ghost stories.

Wake up early the next morning to catch the breathtaking sunrise. It is so magnificent, that it will be etched into your memories forever. You just cannot give this one a miss on your Ladakh tour.

To enter this stunning area you will have to acquire an ILP (Inner Line Permit). The area is under international border security, so make sure you have all your documents ready. You have to pay around INR 600 per person.

A Half Day Trip

If you are not looking to stay the night near Pangong Lake during your Ladakh tour, then make sure you start as early as possible. From Leh, the journey takes about five hours and the roads are quite rough. You will be driving through the treacherous mountain roads which can add to your time.

The journey, however, is quite dynamic and scenic, especially if you are travelling from Leh. Snow peaked mountains surround the roads, as the roads wind narrowly. Your car will go higher and higher and you might start to feel the actual meaning of Stairway to Heaven. It is so beautiful and mesmerising, that you will forget about the arduous roads.

There is no flora or fauna in sight. Everywhere you look, it is completely barren and you will be in the middle of nowhere. Far from the maddening crowd, you will even start to hear the silence in the most tranquil way.

Things To Remember

  • On your Ladakh tour, to reach the Pangong lake you can either hire a shared taxi or your private vehicle.
  • This Ladakh tour is extremely popular, so book yours in advance to avoid any last-minute hassle.
  • Before embarking on this tour, make sure you get a full health check-up done. Also, carry enough medicines to counter AMS- altitude sickness. It is quite common, and you need to be prepared. So give yourself some time to get used to the lack of oxygen at such high altitudes.
  • While you might think that Ladakh is a cold place, and the sun will not bother you- that is not true. The sun rays in the morning are quite harsh and can penetrate your skin deeply leaving you sunburnt. So carry sunscreen at all times, and cover yourself up as much as possible.
  • If you are camping at Pangong lake, then make sure you carry enough warm clothes. The temperatures drop down to -20 degree Celsius at night, so take ample precautions.
  • You cannot swim in the Pangong Lake.

Be a responsible and eco-friendly tourist and take care of the environment. Ladakh and Pangong lake are highly sensitive ecological zones, so do not throw plastic waste or litter. Even if you are planning a bonfire make sure the pollution is kept to a bare minimum. Do not buy plastic bottles all the time, instead, keep refilling your bottle. Ladakh also has a scarcity of water, so make sure you take care of how much water you are using while going to the washroom. Overall just respect the beauty of nature on your Ladakh tour and let the lake do the rest of the magic.

Sinchita Mitra
Sinchita Mitra
Sinchita is a student, who has always dabbled with a bit of writing here and there. She has always made herself look into things in a different way than others, which has allowed her to explore certain feelings and emotions which many cannot. She is a bold writer and believes in the saying, 'a pen is mightier than the sword'. She strongly believes that the writing should be so compelling that the writer feels that they are on a journey they read through the article. The writing must make the reader feel something, otherwise it pointless

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