Pangong Lake is located in the northern part of India at an elevation of 13860 Feet (4225m), towards the east of Ladakh, in a region called Changthang. It is around a 5 to 6 hours drive from the main town of Ladakh, i.e., Leh. The nearest airport is Kushok Bakula Airport in Leh, connected to major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jammu, and Srinagar.

Pangong lake

The easiest way to get to Pangong Lake is to reach Leh Airport by flight and then hire a taxi from Leh to Pangong Tso. Most tourists reach Leh and then rest a night in Leh to acclimatize and then plan a trip to Pangong Lake.

  • Reach Leh by air or road
  • Obtain an inner line permit in Leh.
  • Rest a night in Leh to Acclimatize
  • Hire a Taxi from Leh to Pangong Tso

If you are planning a trip to Pangong Lake, read this article to get all the necessary information. Also, you can contact us to know the current situation and the road conditions.

We arrange trips to Pangong Lake at a very reasonable price. View all tour packages.

A detailed guide on how to reach Pangong Lake

By Air

  • There is no direct flight to the Pangong Lake area; you have to arrive at Kushok Bakula airport in Leh and then travel to Pangong Tso by road. 
  • Connecting flights are available to Leh from all the airports in India. However, direct flights are available from Delhi, Jammu, Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Srinagar.
  • Arrive Leh and rest for at least a night to acclimatize properly.
  • Apply for the inner line permit a day earlier. You can also contact us to obtain the permit for you.
  • Hire a taxi for Pangong lake.

By train

  • Ladakh is not connected with railway lines, so; there is no direct train to Ladakh. However, you can travel by train up to Jammu Tawi or Kalka Railway Station.
  • Once you reach Kalka or Jammu on a train, you can reach Leh in a bus, tempo, or shared taxi.
  • Obtain a permit from Leh and then hire a taxi to Pangong Tso.

By road

To reach Pangong Lake, you need to arrive at Leh first using one of the two given routes:
  • Manali – Jispa – Leh
  • Jammu – Srinagar Leh
Route1 – Manali – Jispa- Leh – Pangong
RouteTravel TimeDistance
1Manali to Jispa2 hr90 km
2Jispa to Leh9 hr336 km
Route 2 – Jammu – Srinagar – Leh – Pangong
RouteTravel TimeDistance
1Jammu to Srinagar6 to 8 hours260
2Srinagar to Leh8 to 12 hours430

Read this blogpost about how to reach Leh. Once you reach Leh, you can plan your trip to Pangong Lake.

  • Obtain your permit from the DC office, Leh.
  • Plan the route to travel to Pangong lake.
  • Rent an oxygen cylinder in Leh and carry it along to Pangong Lake.
  • Start the journey the following day early in the morning.

How to reach Pangong Lake from Leh?

The fastest and easiest way to reach Pangong Tso from Leh is by private transportation. The journey to Pangong Lake will take about 5-6 hours. The most tourist preferred four-wheelers available to hire are:

  • SUVs such as Innova and Xylo
  • Eeco/van
  • Tempo traveler
Why should you choose private transportation to reach Pangong Lake?
  • The benefit of this is the experience of being able to travel through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ladakh. The terrain of Ladakh and the surrounding region of the road to Pangong are stunning. Your entire family/companions will enjoy the great sceneries the route has to offer, and you’ll have more fun as a result.
  • You can plan your route specifically through the areas you want to visit. 
  • Leh to Pangong Lake is one of the most scenic routes in India. So, the best part about this is that you can choose to make stops during the journey, which will give you a much better view of the beautiful landscape and make the most of the trip to Pangong Lake. It’s an excellent way to save money and still see plenty of the places you want to see during your trip.
  • If you travel in your own vehicle, you don’t have to depend on anyone else to safely and securely take you and your companions around the various points on the road to Pangong Lake.
  • Your vehicle (hired/self-owned) would be readily available for you in case of an emergency.
  • You should also carry the oxygen cylinder, which is very important if you suffer from altitude mountain sickness (AMS).
  • On the way to Pangong, lake roads are rough and bumpy at places such as Changla Pass, so private transportation would make your ride very comfortable as compared to public transportation.

Route 1 – Leh to Pangong Lake

This route is the most popular and scenic route from Leh to Pangong Lake. It is also the shortest and least challenging. It takes about 5-6 hours to complete this journey through the Chang-La pass.

FromToDistanceTime
LehThiksay20 km30 min
ThiksayKaru17 km20 min
KaruSakti15 km20 min
SaktiChang La34 km70 min
Chang LaDurbuk32 km80 min
DurbukTangtse10 km20 min
TangtseLukung35 km60 min
LukungSpangmik15 km30 min
Google Map

Leh to Pangong lake through this route will also give you an opportunity to go around the major tourist attractions on the way that includes the Thiksay monastery, Karu, Chang La Pass, Durbuk, Tangste, Spangmik, and so much more.

  • As you travel on this route, you will reach Thiksay to visit the tremendous Thiksay Monastery.
  • On the way, you will get to Karu, a junction city where the road will take you to the lake. 
  • The next stop would be a small village called Sakti, home to the colorful and lively Takthok Monastery, a few minutes’ drive from Karu.
  • After some time, you will reach ChangLa pass at an elevation of 17585 feet high. You can have some tea and snacks at the ChangLa pass tea stall.
  • The road would be rough and bumpy here.
  • After driving for more than an hour, you will reach Tangtse, a small town before Pangong Lake. You will find some small shops here to buy stuff.
  • After Tangtse, you have to drive for about an hour and a half to reach Spangmik, known for its breathtaking views of the lake.
Route 2 – Nubra Valley to Pangong lake via Warila Pass

If you decide to travel to Pangong Lake from Nubra valley, you can travel through this route. It is the longest and a challenging road. It takes about 10-12 hours to complete this journey through the Wari-La pass.

FromToDistance
DiskitKhalsar20 km
KhalsarAgham31 km
AghamTangyar10 km
TangyarWari La30 km
Wari LaChang La80 km
TathokChang La5 km
Chang LaSpangmik92 km

Nubra to Pangong lake through this route will allow you to go around some known tourist attractions that include Khalsar, Agham, Tangyar, Wari La, Chang La, Durbuk Tangste, Lukung, Spangmik, and much more.

Route 3 – Nubra Valley to Pangong lake via Shyok
FromToDistance
DiskitKhalsar20 km
KhalsarAgham30 km
AghamShyok50 km
ShyokDurbuk20 km
DurbukTangtse10 km
TangtseLukung35 km
LukungSpangmik15 km

It takes about 8-10 hours to complete this journey through the Shyok village. Nubra to Pangong lake through this route will allow you to go around some famous tourist attractions that include Khalsar, Agham, Shyok, Chang La, Durbuk Tangste, Lukung, Spangmik, and much more.

Route 4 – Tso Moriri to Pangong lake

Through this route, Tso Moriri To Pangong lake will allow you to go around some famous tourist attractions that include Korzok, Sumdo, Mahe, Nyoma, Tsaga La, Chusul, Kakstet Merak, Spangmik, and much more.

FromToDistance
KorzokSumdo45 km
SumdoMahe15 km
MaheNyoma25 km
NyomaTsaga La65 km
Tsaga LaChusul35 km
ChusulKakstet20 km
KakstetSpangmik25 km

As Tso Moriri Lake is at a higher altitude, travelers usually visit Pangong Tso, stay there for a night and then visit Tso Moriri lake to make the acclimatization process work more effectively. Also, a special permit to travel through Chusul is mandatory. You can obtain the permit along with the Pangong Lake inner-line permit from the DC office Leh.

Insider travel tips

The road to Pangong Lake has not a well-developed infrastructure, and it still lacks some basic amenities. Along the route of Pangong Lake, the basic facilities such as restaurants, ATMs, and fuel stations are hardly available. So, it’s a good idea to plan your trip ahead of time to be well informed about the route.

There are a few key tips you can follow to make your expedition more pleasant. And these may also help you avoid problems along the way.

  • Acclimatize in Leh for two nights before visiting Pangong lake.
  • Apply online for the permit a few days ahead and when you visit Leh, obtain the permit from the DC office.
  • The road trip from Leh to Pangong Lake would be through remote regions where cell phone signals are weak. BSNL SIMs receive better signals than other SIMs, so subscribe for a postpaid BSNL SIM before visiting Ladakh.
  • Rent an oxygen cylinder in Leh to carry it to Pangong Lake
  • Carry enough cash with you from Leh, as you won’t find many ATMs through this route.
  • Carry some spare fuel
  • Carry warm clothes, as the temperature at Pangong Tso during the nighttime would be extremely cold even in the summer.

Leh to Pangong Lake bike trip

Reaching Pangong Lake on a bike and exploring the pristine beauty of the places through this route provides a wholly immersive and unparalleled experience.

Use the same routes as mentioned above for the bike trip.

The most popular two-wheelers available to hire to go to Pangong Lake are:
  • Royal Enfield Himalaya (411cc)
  • Royal Enfield Classic (500cc)
  • Royal Enfield Standard (500cc)
  • Royal Enfield Classic (350cc)
  • Royal Enfield Electra (350cc)
  • Royal Enfield Standard (350cc)
  • Bajaj Avenger (220cc)
  • Bajaj Vikrant (150cc)
  • Scooty

On your way to Pangong Lake, you’ll want to check out several different beautiful villages along the route. A day trip on a bike along Ladakh’s famous Leh to Pangong route is sure to include stops at various places along the way to check out the stunning sceneries, amazing landscapes, and majestic snow-capped mountains.

Travel tips
  • The weather should be good to travel on a bike. The weather can be unpredictable at times, so make sure to check the weather prediction report before traveling to Pangong.
  • June, July, and August are the best three months for the bike trip. Also, May and September is a good time for a road trip to Pangong Lake.
  • Start your trip to Pangong early in the morning.
  • Plan the day’s route on Google Map a day earlier.
  • Fill the tank in Leh before starting the trip and carry some spare fuel.
  • Install a windshield on the bike if it already doesn’t have one.
  • Don’t forget to check if the bike is serviced properly and the tires are in good condition.
  • Check the lights work, as it is essential during Leh to Pangong trip.

Bus services from Leh to Pangong Tso

To reach Pangong Lake on a bus, you can choose from the following:
BusLeh to SpangmikLeh to ChusulLeh to Phobrang
SourceLehLehLeh
DeboardSpangmikSpangmikSpangmik
Operating daysSat, SunSat, WedSat
Time6:00 AM6:30 AM7:00 AM
FareINR – 350INR – 400INR – 350
Leh to Spangmik bus service

If you plan to travel to Pangong Tso on a bus, then the best option is Leh to Spangmik bus. But the bus only travels to Pangong Tso on Saturday and Sunday at 6:00 am. So, wake up early and reach the new bus stand in Leh and ask for the Pangong Tso bus. The nameplate would be with the name ‘Leh to Spangmik’. Board this bus, and when you are at the lake edge, the pick-up service will drop you off at the Pangong Tso.

Leh to Chusul bus service

The next alternative to reach Pangong Lake is the Leh to Chusul bus. You can take this bus that goes up to the lake’s edge and then travels to Chusul. The bus will drop you at Spangmik. You will then see a road sign that points in the right direction. Follow this road, and it will eventually lead you to the Lake Edge Camping Site.

Leh to Phobrang bus service

The third alternative to reach Pangong Tso is the Leh to Phobrang bus. This bus travels from Leh to Phobrang every Saturday at 7 am. But you need to deboard at Spangmik.

Insider travel tips
  • Plan your bus trip to Pangong on weekends, as more buses are available on Saturday and Sunday.
  • These buses are not very comfortable, and traveling on a bus for 8 hours would not be a pleasant experience.
  • The road up to Pangong Lake is challenging, and there are various places where the road of this route is rough and bumpy, which can make your ride bouncy and uncomfortable. So if you are uncomfortable with a bouncy and harsh ride, you should not travel to Pangong Lake on a bus. Instead, you can travel on a shared tempo which is way more comfortable than a bus.
  • Obtain the Inner line permit a day ahead of the journey to Pangong Lake.
  • Get small oxygen cans available at local chemists in Leh to carry in handbags.
  • Carry snacks and beverages with you on the bus, as it would be a long journey of around 8 hours.
  • Eat breakfast and carry your lunch before leaving, as the bus would make only one stop at Changla Pass tea stall for only 15-20 minutes.

Conclusion

To reach Pangong Lake, you need to arrive at Leh. Once you arrive in Leh, you can choose the route and vehicles given above to travel to Pangong Tso. Follow the steps mentioned in this article and keep the travel tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to having a memorable vacation.

About the author

Sam K. Pandepa is a certified travel agent of Ladakh. He completed his MBA in 2012 and has worked as a tourist guide up to 2015. After that, he is working as a travel agent.

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