How to Travel to Pangong Lake


Pangong Lake is one of Ladakh's most popular and mesmerizing alpine lakes. It is not just the beauty; Pangong Tso is among the world’s highest brackish water lakes. The Pangong Lake location is towards the Indo-Sino Border, where 2/3rd of the lake is in China and only ⅓ in India. Many travelers visit here every year to witness the beauty of this lake because, throughout the day, the water changes colors.

The lake became famous after being featured in one of the Bollywood flicks. Since then, it has been a go-to destination. The lake is 5 km wide and 134 km long and is visited by people throughout the year. Owing to such a high altitude, Pangong Tso freezes in winter, making it a completely different sight for tourists.

How to reach Pangong Lake

Pangong is a popular destination in Ladakh, and it sees many visitors throughout the year, especially during the summertime. Road trips are something that people love to take, and they call for planning things in the best way possible. Choosing how to reach Pangong Lake with the Indian Holiday is seamless and stress-free. We offer a variety of options to suit your preferences and needs. The real thrill of Pangong lies in exploring the multiple routes leading to this lake. Discover these routes and include them in your Ladakh tour package for a perfect trip.

Pangong Tso is well connected to other vital parts of Ladakh, such as Tso Moriri, Nubra Valley, and Leh. Here are the best routes from different places..

1. Reaching Leh to Pangong Lake

If you plan on visiting Pangong Tso Lake from Leh, the total distance you will have to cover will be approximately 171 km. Start your journey from Leh and reach Spangmik, one of the hotels near Pangong Lake. Here is the route you should follow for a comfortable visit.

Route: Leh- Karu- Sakti- Chang La- Tangste- Lukung- Spangmik

While traversing this route, you can visit Hemis, Thiksey, and Shey monasteries. The road is decently maintained throughout the route, so you will have no problems with it.

2. Reaching Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake

The other place where people usually plan their trip to Pangong Lake is the Nubra Valley. Most people visit the iconic lake after they have visited the valley. So, if you want to do the same, here are two routes you can follow.

The first one is through Shyok Village, and the route for the same is:

  • Route 1: Diskit- Khalsar- Agham- Shyok Village- Durbuk- Tangste- Lukung- Spangmik

This route is about 175 km and has its share of hiccups because there are a few waterlogs. However, the challenge offered by Ladakh is something that travelers cherish. It is one of the elements that people most enjoy.

The other route from Nubra Valley to Diskit is through the Wari La Pass, which is a bit more challenging. People enjoy traversing the pass often because it infuses a thrill in the visitor’s head and heart. So, if this is the route you wish to take, then follow the below-given path:

  • Route 2: Diskit – Khalsar- Tangyar- Wari La- Tathok- Chang La- Durbuk- Tangste- Lukung- Spangmik

You must obtain a special pass to cross Wari La for this route. So, get that beforehand and keep spare fuel before leaving Leh. It will be about 300 km from Leh to Nubra to Pangong Lake and then back to Leh. So, be well prepared for the entire trip.

3. Tso Moriri to Pangong Lake

A handful of people still prefer visiting the serene Tso Moriri Lake before Pangong. If you, too, have similar plans, this route is best.

  • Route: Tso Moriri- Mahe- Nyoma- Loma- Tsaga Village- Tsaga La- Chusul- Kakstet- Merak- Man- Spangmik

Few people might visit Pangong From Tso Moriri, but people do take the route the other way around. So can you!

Petrol Pump en route Pangong

Fuel availability is one of the biggest concerns of people traveling by their own vehicle. Knowing about the petrol pumps and their locations is also important while you travel to Pangong Tso from Leh or Nubra Valley. There are just two places where you can find a petrol pump: one in Leh itself and the other in the Nubra Valley in Diskit. But there are high chances that you might not get fuel in Diskit, which is why it is advised to carry spare fuel while leaving Leh.

To know about How and Where to Carry Spare Fuel for Ladakh Trip

Traveling to Pangong by Car

This is the best and the most convenient way to travel to Pangong Tso Lake. You can start your drive from Leh and reach Pangong Lake directly via Chang La. Most tourists who wish to go to Nubra Valley also choose to reach Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley via Wari La.

This route is less explored but offers an incredible experience to travelers. While traveling from the Nubra Valley route, you will cross Khardung La Pass, Wari La Pass, and Chang La Pass, among the world's highest mountain passes. The Wari La Pass and Chang La Pass are difficult to cross.

This route involves several water crossings, and the road condition is not very good. You need a tough car to cross these passes, as the ascent is steep, and the road conditions are also not very good. However, if you are planning to visit Pangong Tso directly from Leh, then you have to cross only Chang La Pass.

Traveling to Pangong Lake by Motorcycle

Going on a bike trip to Pangong Lake is a dream for every biker. The journey from Leh to Pangong Lake directly or via Nubra Valley is a unique experience. However, the central issue is climbing the high-altitude mountain passes and crossing the water streams. But with your driving skills and the selection of the best motorcycle, you can reach Pangong Lake. Climbing up the Wari La, Chang La, and Khardung La is not for the faint-hearted. You must be careful while driving on these rugged and winding terrains.

For this route, you need a motorcycle with a good and powerful engine that can climb up and down the mountain passes. If the motorcycle does not have a powerful engine, it will not climb the mountain pass, and you will have to return without completing the journey.

Travelling to Pangong Tso by Bus

You can board a bus from Leh to Nubra Valley. It is the cheapest option of all. However, the bus timings and schedule need to be confirmed at the Leh bus stand. Also, booking your ticket in advance is advisable, which can be done only from the Leh bus stand one day before the journey. Government-run buses for Pangong Tso from Leh do not ply daily. So, if you are looking to travel to Pangong Tso by bus, you must plan accordingly.

Travelling to Pangong Tso by Taxi

There are regular taxi services available in Leh for Pangong Tso. You can either book a private taxi or board a shared taxi from the Leh bus stand. Private taxis are costly; however, shared taxis are cost-effective. The fare of the shared taxi is almost the same as the fare of the bus. You need to confirm the shared taxi in advance from the taxi stand.

Best time to visit Pangong Lake

The best time to visit Pangong Lake is between May and September. The Pangong Lake temperature starts to fall after September and freezes during the winter season. The reason behind this is the high altitude, and for those unaware, Pangong Lake is an alpine Lake. One of the highlights of visiting it is to witness the mesmerizing Pangong Lake view.

Road Conditions till Pangong Lake

The road conditions from Leh to Pangong Tso Lake via Chang La are comparatively reasonable. The roads are well-paved and smooth. There is only one bad section on this route, around Chang La Top, but the rest of the journey is comfortable. If you travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake, you have to cross the Shyok River, and there are several water crossings. You may come across several rough patches along with the slushy roads.

The road from Shyok to Durbuk is mainly broken and is the only rough patch on this route. If you travel via Wari La, the wrong section of the road is limited between Agham and Sakti. Crossing the Wari La is a challenge on its own, but with your driving skills and a vehicle with a powerful engine, you can travel on this route, too. This is the least explored route among all, but it is worth visiting.

Places to stay near Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake in Ladakh attracts many tourists yearly so you can find several stay options. There is a reasonable number of places to stay in Pangong Lake, which caters to every kind of traveler, including families, friends, honeymooners, solo travelers, and leisure seekers.

You can stay at hotels, guest houses, campsites, Swiss camps, or Chadar tents. The nearest place to Pangong Tso is Spangmik, a sprawling village with camps and hotels. To know more about accommodation at Pangong Lake, click here!

Some quick facts about Pangong Lake

  • Plan the route to travel to Pangong Tso before leaving Leh.
  • Although there is a petrol pump in Diskit, there is a high chance that you will not get fuel there. So, it is advised to carry extra fuel for the trip.
  • The route is highly challenging at some point, so take a few breaks throughout and make sure you are well-rested.
  • You must also keep a medical kit accessible throughout the trip.
  • Obtain the required permit to travel through Wari La and to Pangong Lake.

Tips that can help in traveling to Pangong Tso better

  • Make sure you leave your extra luggage in Leh. The ascent to the high altitude of Pangong Lake is challenging.
  • It is advisable to travel light as the ascent to Wari La and Chang La is difficult.
  • Check the components of your vehicle and get it serviced before the trip.
  • Getting your vehicle's engine oil and oil filter changed before going on the trip is essential, as this will help you obtain optimal engine performance. Also, ensure that the vehicle's electrical system is working fine and that no worn-out wires are present.
  • Check all the shock absorbents and fluids.
  • Fill up the tanks and check the tires.
  • Check the braking system and carry the essential kit.
  • Adjust the steering and check the wheel alignment of the vehicle.
  • Ensure your vehicle is in good condition and has a powerful engine.


Pangong Lake is near the Indo-Chinese Border and is in restricted/ protected areas. A permit is required to visit Pangong Tso for security reasons. If you are planning to visit Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley, you also need a permit for Nubra Valley. There are two types of permits - Inner Line Permit (ILP) and Protected Area Permit/ Restricted Area Permit (PAP/ RAP). However, you escape the stress of acquiring permits when planning your Leh Ladakh tour package with the Indian Holiday. Their travel experts will arrange the permits for you, leaving you hassle-free throughout the trip.

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