The time had come for the most exciting part of the trip. Our day trip to famous Pangong Lake started around 6:30 in the morning on Manali highway and views were equally mesmerizing. We stopped at a road side dhaba for breakfast and had tasty Parathas. You need to be cautious on this route as stones might come rolling down from top of hills. Around 8 in the morning we reached Changla pass which is at height 17586 feet. There was a snow fall last night and place was covered with white crystals of snow.

Crystals of snow
Crystals of snow

Changla Pass
Changla Pass

Snow on the sides
Snow on Sides

Snow Mountain View
Snow Mountain

After taking some snaps we moved forward quickly as we wanted to reach lake as soon as possible. The entire route was very scenic again with snow covered mountains, greenery, horses and other animals eating grass.

At around 10 in the morning we saw a glimpse of lake from a distance but it was still few km away. That gave us an idea of size of lake. We reached the lake in next half an hour and to be honest my first reaction after seeing lake was like wonderful but not exceptional to go mad about. We stepped down from the cab and moved towards lake at a distance. After reaching the bank view completely changed. It was really an unbelievable experience and in a matter of few minutes opinion had changed completely. Yes, this is the most wonderful place I have seen in my life.

Looks Like a Scene From Movie
Lake

It’s a huge lake whose 30 % part is in India and rest is in China. You can see hills at a distance which belong to china. It was a great feeling to know that we are so close to border. It was very cold even at 11 in the morning and my teeth were constantly making shivering noise because of cold wind. We had tea and noodles in a nearby tented restaurant. After taking some snap at our starting point we started walking along the bank. Then we started noticing the phenomenon which makes this lake famous. The sun light falling at different angles give different colors to water at different places. We saw all shades of blue in the water as we moved. Also the water is crystal clear as it is not polluted. Boating is not allowed in lake due to security reasons. This is salt lake so you will not find any vegetation in it. We sat on the banks of lake and then we never felt like getting up though we had to return in some time. It was most peaceful place I had witnessed and were just throwing stones in lake for almost an hour.

Pangong Lake
Pangong Tso

Another View of Lake
Pangong Tso

Different Color of Lake
Pangong Tso

One more view of Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso

Finally it was time to go back else we had to cross the Changla pass before it’s dark and also there was a risk of snow fall. While going back we decided to visit famous 3 idiots movie school. This was a newly constructed school by Aamir Khan as the original one got washed away in cloudburst of 2009. Cab driver explained to us that how devastating the cloud burst was as thousands of gallons of water came down from hills and since houses are made of just sand, everything just washed away. We also spotted a canteen named “Rancho Coffee Shop”. After having tea there we started our return journey back to Leh.

Rancho’s Coffee Shop
Coffee Shop

We reached Leh around 6 in the evening. It was a long and tiring day but a memorable one. We roamed around in the market for some time and had dinner in our favorite restaurant in Changpsa Road. We were not in hurry to sleep tonight as next day was kind of buffer day. Our trip was almost concluded and we couldn’t have asked for a better vacation

Next day we board on our fights from Leh airport. It’s a very small airport and fully crowded due to tourists coming from all over the world. I had kept my camera in hand to capture the hills from above. In plane I met two girls from Canada who were on a 1 month tour of India and had planned to see places in India much more than what we had seen:). I could see snow covered hills below the clouds from plane and alas these were the final views of the most beautiful region I had seen.

View from Plane
View from Top

Hills from Top
Hills from Top

We say good bye with a hope to meet again. Ladakh, I will come again to meet you some time in life again.

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About the Author

I am a Travel Blogger from India. This blog is a collection of my travel experiences and learnings. I share my travel stories to introduce the wonderful places that I have visited and thus have virtual tours with readers:). If you liked reading my travel blog, please comment to share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.

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10 Comments
 
  1. Neha Bhargava 23 May, 2013 at 2:13 PM Reply

    Hi Makarand,
    I enjoyed reading this nice description of your journey. Photos are really amazing. We are also planning to follow almost the same plan as yours. We will be going in June end. Could you please give the details of the hotels where you stayed in Srinagar, Leh and Kargil? We are planning to stay in houseboat in Srinagar. Can you suggest a good one with optimal rate? Also we are 4 in number, so is it a good idea to take a shared taxi or should we hire a private vehicle. I was thinking of shared one as it will be cheaper than the other one. (We are students :-)).
    Thanks,
    Neha

    • makrand 23 May, 2013 at 2:44 PM Reply

      Hi Neha,
      Welcome to my travelogue. For hotel in Leh you can go through this link :

      http://makrandtraveldiary.com/hotel-review-zambhala-inn-in-leh/

      I am not able to recall the name of houseboat in Srinagar but if you are flying to Srinagar then you can find J&K tourism counter at the airport and they can help in choosing the boat. Personally I felt nothing great in houseboats as they stand still in water. You can also stay in hotel and then take shikara ride in evening.

      Since you are 4 in number, I would suggest to hire a private vehicle. Though shared cost among 4 of you would be slightly higher than 6 people but it will add a lot of comfort. Traveling in Ladakh involves long travel hours so private vehicle much better. Also you can stop at places of your choice for taking photographs . I will try to find the driver number if I have with me for travel from Srinagar to Leh. In Leh taxi prices are fixed by union and your hotel can help in arranging a vehicle.

      Let me know you need any other info.

      Have a great trip.

  2. Neha Bhargava 23 May, 2013 at 4:46 PM Reply

    Thanks for the information. That would of great help if you can give me the contact details of the driver. We are currently finalizing the itinerary. Do you have any suggestions for us?
    Thanks a lot,
    Neha

    • makrand 23 May, 2013 at 7:04 PM Reply

      Depends on how many days you have in hand ? The itinerary I followed you have seen anyways. Just wanted to check whether you have planned to return via flight from Leh ? Flight prices have been hiked to sky level this year and I assume you haven’t done any ticket booking yet so you have some thinking to do there. If you are planning a road route then you may also opt return via Manali route.

  3. Neha Bhargava 23 May, 2013 at 10:07 PM Reply

    We have 8 days with us. We will have return flight from Srinagar on 8th day. So on 6th day we will leave Leh for Srinagar so that by 7th evening we can reach Srinagar. We were thinking of booking hotels in Kargil and Leh in advance. Should we book the cab also before? We are also planning to spend a night in Numbara valley and Pangong lake in camping tents. Is it a good idea considering that we are a group of 5-6 girls.

    • makrand 24 May, 2013 at 12:28 PM Reply

      The cab you take from Srinagar to Leh can not be used for local sightseeing in Leh. Once you reach Leh your hotel/travel agent can help you in booking cabs and you don’t need to worry about rates as they are fixed. Safety vise camping tents has no issues as Ladakh is one of the safest part of our country but I believe it will be extremely cold at Pangong in night in June end. I had a day trip to Pangong but there are tented accommodation available though will be expensive. If you are planning to carry your own tents and stay then I would advise to do more research as I don’t have an experience myself.

      You can also go through the link http://www.devilonwheels.com/ which has very detailed information for Ladakh.

      As I see your plan I am assuming you are also going by road from Srinagar to Leh. So total 4 days you will be spending roundtrip srinagar-> Leh and leaves you 4 days in Leh. If you are planning a night stay at pangong lake then you don’t have enough number of days. I would advise to add at least one more day if possible. On first day in Leh you will need to take it in a relaxed way due to AMS (Referred in earlier posts on Ladakh). Though you are traveling by road and risk is less but still do not exert much on first day.

  4. Vedant 7 May, 2014 at 10:44 AM Reply

    HI Makrand,
    Its my first visit to your blog. I was glued to your travelogue . Its simply superb. Now let me come to the point. I am planning to visit Leh via Srinagar. Here is the itinerary of my trip.
    Tour Schedule:-

    Day 1: 15th August:
    Early morning start from Mumbai for Srinagar.)

    Day 2: 16th August:
    Srinagar Local Site seeing

    Day 3: 17th August:
    Srinagar to Kargil

    Day 4: 18th August:
    Kargil to Leh city

    Day 5: 19th August:
    Leh to Pangong. Enroute visit Thiksey Monastry and Shey Palace.
    Stay at Pangong lake

    Day 6: 20th August:

    Pangong Lake to Leh.
    Also visit Hall of fame army Museum in Leh City

    Day 7: 21st August:
    Drive to Nubra
    Stay in Nubra

    Day 8: 22nd August:
    Drive from Nubra to leh.
    Stay in Leh

    Day 9: 23rd August:
    Leh Local and Shopping

    Day 10: 24th August:
    Leh to Kargil

    Day 11: 25th August:
    Kargil to srinagar

    Day 12: 26th August:
    Srinagar to Mumbai

    I would like to know about weather in August. Any other suggestions from your side.

  5. Makrand 9 May, 2014 at 2:02 AM Reply

    Hi Vedant,
    Few suggestions from my side.
    1. Move Leh local sight seeing to 19th august.Keep that day a bit relaxed so that your body is adjusted proprely .
    2. Go to nubra valley before going to pangong lake. Nubra valley is at a lower altitude than Leh so would help in altitude acclimitazation.
    3. Pangong lake is at higher altitude than Leh so keep it for last. This will minimize risk of AMS.

    August is ideal time to visit Leh n weather would be good. Still you will need to carry some woolen. Specially pangong may be cold in night.I was there in September and it was a bit shivering in day itself due to strong cold wind.
    Hope this helps.

  6. kailashexpeditions 25 February, 2016 at 4:13 PM Reply

    Such a wonderful pictures, Please post more Pic.
    Some New suggestions from my side.
    Pangong lake is at higher altitude than Leh so keep it for last. This will minimize risk of AMS.

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