How to Travel Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari

Introduction

Pangong Tso is the world's highest saltwater lake. This endorheic lake is nestled in the lap of the Trans Himalayas and is 134 km long, extending from India to China. Pangong Lake is a popular tourist attraction in Ladakh along with Nubra Valley, which is renowned for sand dunes and ancient monasteries. These two are the most visited tourist destinations of Ladakh. In the earlier times, tourists usually returned to Leh from Nubra Valley and then visited Pangong Lake. But nowadays, travelers choose to visit Pangong Lake directly from Nubra Valley via Wari La, a high-altitude mountain pass located at an altitude of 5,312 m above sea level.

Traveling to Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley via Wari La is a perfect route with which you can save a lot of time and also have a unique experience while traveling on the less explored route. Here is the detailed travel guide from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La. You can get information about how to reach, the best time to visit, things to carry, and travel tips. Take a look to gather information about this route and plan accordingly.

How to reach Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La

Wari La is a high-altitude mountain pass, which is one of the lesser-known passes of Ladakh. It is also among the most difficult passes to cross. The road to the top of the pass is terrible and very steep. In this route, you have to cross Chang La along with the Wari La. This less explored route offers an unparalleled experience. Here is the detailed information about the route of Pangong Lake via Wari La from Nubra Valley.

Route: Hunder - Diskit - Khalsar - Agyam - Wari La - Sakti - Chang La - Durbuk - Tangtste - Lukung - Phobrang - Pangong Lake

Distance from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La: 300 km Travel Time: 8 hours (approx.)

Places to visit en route Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley

  • Hunder Sand Dunes
  • Diskit Monastery
  • Shyok River
  • Taktok Gompa
  • Wari La
  • Chang La Pass
  • Tangtse Monastery

Places to eat en route Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley

There are very limited options to eat en route to Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley. It is advisable to carry dry fruits, chocolates, and biscuits with you for the road trip. Before starting your journey, savor breakfast as the journey is long and not many eateries available along the way. You may find roadside shops or restaurants but it is not sure. There is one popular restaurant in Lukung near the lake named 3 Idiot Food Stall, where you can enjoy food with the view of the lake.

Places to stay en route Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley

  • Desert Himalayan Resort
  • Agyam Farm Stay
  • Chang La Guest House
  • Thenzing Guest House

Petrol Pump en route Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley

There is only one petrol pump in Diskit in Nubra Valley and after that, there is no pump en route Pangong Lake via Wari La. It is advisable to carry extra fuel from Leh as there might be a possibility that the availability of fuel is limited in Nubra Valley. There is also no other fuel pump at any of the villages en route Pangong Lake including Sakti, Tangtse, Durbuk, Lukung, and Spangmik. Also, you will not find fuel anywhere on Shyok Road, even in black.

Traveling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La by Car

You can drive your own car while traveling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La. This route gets connected with the conventional route from Leh to Pangong Tso at Sakti Village. During the journey, you have to climb two mountain passes namely Wari La and Chang La. While climbing the Wari La, the last 20 km of the pass is so steep that you need a tough car with good engine power.

There are several water crossings involved in this route and the road condition is not very good. The ascent to Wari La is difficult due to which there are very few people but this route is still worth traveling on as it is a less traveled road and the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful. Some of the recommended vehicles for the journey:

Sedans/ Hatchbacks: You can travel in this vehicle. It is good for at least the climb up/ down for Wari La and then again to Chang La. However, it is very difficult to travel in this vehicle in early summers as there are several water crossings and the route is tough.

High Ground Clearance SUVs (4×2): This is also a good option to travel. It is manageable, however, traveling in this type of SUVs in early summers is difficult as the streams on the road and ice-melting make the road slushy and muddy. High Ground Clearance SUVs (4×4): This is the best option to travel on this route. It has good ground clearance and a powerful engine, which is certainly helpful in crossing the streams, climbing up and down the mountain passes easily.

Tips

  • If you have extra luggage then leave the baggage in Leh and try to travel light as the ascent to Wari La is difficult.
  • Get your car serviced before the trip.
  • Ensure that the electrical system is working fine with no worn-out wires anywhere.
  • Check all the shock absorbents.
  • Get both the wheels aligned.
  • The car must be in a good condition and have a powerful engine.

Traveling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La by Motorcycle

You can travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La by bike. Climbing up the Wari La is the major issue but with your driving skills and with the selection of the best motorcycle you can reach Pangong Tso by crossing two high altitude mountain passes. For this route, you need a motorcycle that has a good and powerful engine that can climb up and down Wari La and Chang La Pass. If the motorcycle does not have a powerful engine then it will not climb the mountain pass and you have to return without completing the journey. The best bike for this route is Royal Enfield 350 and Royal Enfield 550.

Tips

  • Make sure you will travel light and solo. Do not carry a pillion rider on this route.
  • Make sure your bike is serviced and in good condition.
  • Check wheel alignment before starting for the trip.
  • Make sure about carbonator tuning.
  • Ensure suspensions are in good condition.
  • The bike has motorcycle’s engine oil, gear oil, brake fluid, and suspension oil.

Best time to visit Pangong Tso

The best time to travel on this route is from mid-July to end-September. The Wari La receives snow almost throughout the year due to which it opens very late in the year and closes so soon as compared to other mountain passes. Chang La is also covered with thick snow in the winter season. This route is maintained and managed by Border Road Organisation (BRO) and for them, it is an alternate route. So it is not kept actively open by BRO. So, it is not advisable to travel on this route in the winter months and early season time as this is most likely to be closed.

Places to stay near Pangong Tso

There are a plethora of accommodation options available near Pangong Tso that caters to every kind of traveler from leisure to solo travelers and from families to guests. You can choose to stay at hotels, guest houses, camp sites, chadar tents, and paying guests. Although hotels in Pangong are very limited and you need to book them in advance. Most of the guest houses and homestays are located in Tangtse, which is situated 35 km from Pangong Lake. Those who are looking for cheap and affordable options can stay in Tangtse. However, you can easily find camps near Pangong Tso and they are the most popular option among travelers. The chadar tents are the second most popular staying option in Pangong and an amazing place for budget travelers. Some of the famous places to stay near Pangong Tso are:

  • Pangong Camp Resort, JKTDC Hotel, Spangmik
  • Pangong Tso Kongma Resort, Spangmik
  • Camp Martsemik La, Spangmik
  • Camp Whispering Waves, Spangmik
  • Wonderland Camp, Spangmik
  • Camp Watermark, Spangmik
  • Pangong Delight Camp, Spangmik
  • The Kora Pangong Camp, Spangmik
  • Highland Camps, Spangmik
  • Gongma Homestay, Spangmik
  • Peaceful Homestay, Merak
  • Hotel Pangong Residency, Tangtse
  • Himalayan Wooden Cottages, Spangmik
  • Yakmik Changla Guest House, Tangtse
  • Eco Huts, Lukung

Permits

It is mandatory to obtain permits to visit Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake as they are located in restricted or protected areas. Pangong Tso is extended to China and for security reasons, every visitor requires a permit. Indians can apply for Inner Line Permit by two modes - online and offline. Apply online on the official website of LAHDC (Leh Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council) http://lahdclehpermit.in/. If someone wishes to apply by offline mode, then they can directly visit the DC Office, Leh. Indian citizens are required to provide valid photo identity proof issued by the government.

Foreign nationals can apply for Restricted or Protected Area Permit (RAP/ PAP). The permit is valid for a specific tourist circuit with the exact entry/ exit points. Foreigners are not allowed to visit areas other than the ones indicated in the permit. Also, they are not allowed to stay in the restricted/ protected area after the expiry of the permit.

Things to Carry during Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Wari La

  • Make sure you will carry extra fuel from Nubra Valley, otherwise you will have to buy it in black.
  • There is no ATM in Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. Make sure you will carry enough cash for a road trip.
  • Carry sturdy and comfortable shoes
  • Carry your important documents like photo id proof, accommodation tickets, and permits in a waterproof bag. Also, keep them handy. First aid kit along with the prescribed medicines and basic medications for fever, cough, and cold.
  • Carry heavy woolens as the region experiences cold weather throughout the year.
  • Chargers of all your electronic devices along with the power bank.
  • Spare Battery, memory cards, and card reader for your camera if you are into photography
  • Carry an umbrella and windcheater. Waterproof jackets and backpacks in monsoon.
  • Laptop, tripod, and rechargeable torch.
  • 3 socket Belkin Surge Protector Lighter or matchbox Goggles (for protection from sun rays)
  • Sunscreen Lotion with high SPF (50 or above)
  • Mustard Oil (for applying on legs, arms, and face as they can become dry due to cold winds) Toiletries
  • Eatables such as dry fruits, chocolates, and biscuits. Also, carry water bottles.

Tips

  • Make sure you will have a basic understanding of your vehicle and know how to repair it in case of urgency as there is no village on this route after Khalsar until Sakti, after crossing Wari La. If your vehicle breaks down, you would definitely be in trouble so ensure that you will learn about vehicle repair.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat small meals in the form of snacks to avoid motion sickness. Do not go empty stomach and do not overeat either.

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