Should I book a full tour with an agency before reaching or book my own hotels, and then look for a taxi driver once I land there? In any case 1st day will be for rest, so may be in the evening can go and check out possibilities.
Planning Ladakh trip is never easy. There are always so many questions about where to stay, whether to book in advance or not, acclimatization issues and the inner line permit requirements, etc. From my personal experience, I could say for a fact that, booking with tour agency in advance could save you bucks when it comes to good hotels. But if you are planning for budget accommodation, you are better off negotiating once you arrive in Leh. You won’t believe how lucky you can get. During my trip, I booked when I arrived. I was in group of 3 and we got accommodation in a decent hotel with hot water (only for 2 hours in the evening and morning) and comfortable bed for 1000 bucks.
When it comes to transportation, it is always advisable that you do so when you arrive at your destination. A little traveling around and asking people could save an amazing amount of money. Or you could head straight to Leh Taxi Stand and check out the rates.
Will I be able to get accommodation in Pangong/Hunder easily or should I book these places in advance?
Considering the time you are going, I have strong reason to believe that you’ll get accommodation once you reach Pangong and Hunder. At Pangong Tso arrive as early as possible to get a Home stay at prime location (close to lake). My suggestion is that head straight for Spangmik for accommodation. Similarly in Hunder too, there are ample Homestay and tents to offer accommodation.
I read somewhere reaching Tso Moriri Lake is really beautiful (vs. even Pangong) – if I had to make a choice of only 1 lake – which should i go for? Tso Moriri is supposed to take a long time to reach?
Depends upon the time you have. How beautiful is a lake is purely subjective and depends on personal taste, adventure, company and weather. The road to Tso Moriri is difficult as compared to Pangong. Pangong is a large lake but at lower altitude whereas Tso Moriri is a relatively smaller lake but at higher altitude. At Tso Moriri, you’d spot variety of wildlife as it is a wetland site whereas all you’d find in Pangong are Brahmani Ducks.
Changthang is a high altitude plateau could be reached from both Pangong Tso side as well as Tso Moriri
Then you’d not get to cross Chang La if you choose Tso Moriri. I personally found Chang La to be the most awe inspiring mountain cross across which I rode during my bike trip to Ladakh. I’d rate it grander even then Khardung La in my personal opinion. There are small lakes as you head towards Pangong and some green patches and then the barren landscape too. Variety is everywhere in Ladakh whether you choose Pangong or Tso Moriri.
To choose between one of these lakes, you have to take into consideration the time you have up your sleeves and how good you have acclimatized to the high altitude condition (acclimatization in Ladakh is the most important factor while traveling and remember that Tso Moriri is at an elevation of more than 15,000 feet). And don’t forget to apply for the innerline permit which is a must for traveling to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri.