Famous For: Pangong Tso is famous for its scenic beauty. It is an international tourist attraction. Here many tourists gather every year to enjoy and experience some adventures.
Major Attractions: Its scenic natural beauty and adventures.
Ideal Visit Time: Ideal time to visit Pangong Lake is between June to September. The winters are quite harsh in this region and the lake freezes. Hence the best time to visit Pangong Lake is during these months.
About Pangong Tso
Pangong is an interesting and amazing lake located in the Himalayan region. It is about 134 km long and extends from India to China. It is also known as Pangong Tso. The name of the lake Pangong was got from a Tibetan word “Banggong Co” that means “A Narrow & Enchanted Lake”. Pangong Lake is located at an altitude of 4350 meters and is one of the largest tourist attractions in the country. The beauty and charm of this lake attracts people from all over the country and abroad alike. It is said that if the lake is designated as a wetland with international significance under the Ramsar Convention, the lake will be ranked 1st in South Asia.
One-third of this long stretch of lake is located inside India and the other two-thirds is in Tibet. Part of Tibet is controlled by China. Enough to make a lasting impression on your mind at first sight of this alluring lake and its blue waters. What tourists and explorers love the most here is the narrow stretch of land that goes straight into the lake. This spot has also been a favorite among many photographers.
The amazing fact about Pangong Lake is that it contains salt water and even then the water is icy. For this reason, there can be no vegetation or aquatic life in the lake. But you do not have to be disappointed because you will be treated to the views of many migratory birds like Black Necked Cranes and also Seagulls. This place is paradise for bird lovers especially. You’ll astonish to see other birds like Rodents that are said to grow up to the size of a dog. For activities, you can camp on the shores of this lake and this one is going to be sheer delight for adventure enthusiasts.
Pangong lake falls within the Sino-Indian border control line and you need to take permission from the inland line to see this beautiful lake. Also Pangong Lake is very close to the border so you will only be allowed to visit a certain area. You will be able to explore the lake up to the “Spangmik” village. Whenever you plan to visit this magical place, keep in mind that you should have plenty of winter clothes with you.
The climate is very cool and it gets harsher after dawn. Don’t expect any kind of boating activities here. Located very close to the border, Pangong Lake is still considered a very delicate area to visit. Just look at this place for its boundless beauty and natural splendor. For any kind of adventure, the best suggestion given to you would be to set up camp on the shores of the lake. If you love photography, this place is going to be an absolute pleasure for you.
Hard to find that people who have not seen “3 Idiots” movie. Everyone should remember the scene where Kareena Kapoor rode a scooter to meet Aamir Khan. This is Pangong Lake and those of you who have seen the movie know that the scenic beauty of Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake is incomparable.
Where To Stay
If you are looking for a place to live near the lake, tents may be the only option. As I said before, pitch a tent on the shore of the lake to get an adventurer. Moreover, camping is also allowed on the shores of the lake. There are very limited options for staying in this area and even in the surrounding area. Alternatively, you can find a standard hotel with basic amenities at “Spangmik”. The most fascinating thing is, if you have the skills to connect with the locals or get to know them very easily, you will be surprised that the locals provide accommodation. It may be a little uncomfortable for some people to just share the toilets, which are outside the house.
You can also consider some options in the village of Tangtse located in Leh. The village is located about 34 km from Pangong Lake. From mid-range to budget hotels, there are many accommodation options that you can find in Tangtse.
[N.B. It is always important to pre-book your place of stay before going to Pangong lake. Because most of the places there are always full. Since most of the tents are also occupied, it is usually very difficult to get accommodation near the lake. So you need to pre-book the hotel and if not, you can choose home stays in the village of Spangmic and Tangtse. These may be less comfortable than your other hotels but the location of the hotels will make you forget all your other problems.]
Where To Eat
Pangong Lake has very limited arrangements for a meal. So, on these national trips it is best if you carry the stock of food yourself. But there are some locals who provide homemade food, which is always healthy and delicious. There are also a few eateries around the lake but those dishes are quite expensive. Most tourists eat at the Spangmic and Tangtse or from the tent in which they camp. So, if you don’t carry enough food in stock, these may be the source of your food.
Interesting Fact About Pangong Tso
1) It is a saline water lake but it freezes completely during winters.
2) There are very few micro-plants in the water of Pangong Lake. Research has shown that there are no fish or aquatic life in the lake except crustaceans.
3) Approximately 60% of the length of Pangong Lake lies in Tibet.
4) Pangong Lake is a disputed territory. The Line of Actual Control passes through the lake. A section of the lake 20 km from the Line of Actual Control is controlled by China but claimed by India! The Eastern end is in Tibet and India doesn’t claim it. The Western end is disputed between India and Pakistan.
5) The lake is in the process of being identified as a wetland of international importance under the “Ramsar Convention”. It will be a the trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under convention!
How To Reach
By Road: There are not too many buses to Pangong from other cities. However, this is a good way to reach to the Pangong Lake. The best way to reach to Pangong Tso by bus is to catch one in Leh. The buses to Pangong Tso leave Leh at 6:30 AM every Saturday and Sunday.
By Train: The closest railway station to Pangong Tso is the Srinagar Railway Station. It is 385 km away from Pangong Tso. There are several trains passing through this railway station plying the route between Banihal and Bagdam. After reaching the Srinagar Railway Station, you can easily hire a taxi or cab to Pangong Tso or catch a bus to Leh to take another bus from Leh to Pangong Tso.
By Air: There is no airport around the Pangong Lake. The closest international airport to Pangong is the Srinagar International Airport. The Srinagar International Airport is connected to most major Indian cities such as New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Chennai. The airport also has flights to and from Jeddah. Airlines that operate from this airport are Air India, GoAir, IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, and Vistara. Another nearest airport is Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh. It is about 142 km away from Pangong. It is well-networked with many other major cities of India. Taxi or cabs are available from the airport.