Pangong Lake is a must see for every traveller to Ladakh. This 604m² lake is the actual border between India and China. It lies at an altitude of about 4300m, so it is also litteraly breathtaking. About 60% of the lake is actually Chinese territory and now and then disputes arise between India and China about some parts of the lake. As this region has strategical importance travellers need to have a special permit delivered by the authorities in Leh.
Pangong Tso: a marvel of nature
The brackish lake has no fish living in it, but it is a paradise for birdwatchers. The lake and the adjoining marshes are an important breeding ground for several migratory birds like Bar Headed Goose and Brahmin Ducks. Around the lake Marmots and Kiang (the wild donkey) are living in large number.
Most travellers however come for the beautiful views of the blue lake and the barren mountains in the background. Just take your time to observe the everchanging colours and the game played by the sun and the clouds.
Although the water is saline the lakes freezes completely during the harsh winter months and local people play a kind of Ladakhi icehockey on it.
While travelling to Pangong, you will certainly see some settlements of local nomadic shepherds who roam the plateau with their yak, goat and sheep.
Travelling to Pangong
Travelling to Pangong Lake involves a 150km journey from the capital of Leh crossing the more than 5000m high Chang La pass. The best thing to do is to go there for an overnight trip. Most travellers however stay 2 nights around Pangong in one of the fixed camps that are set up during the short summer period.
Another option is to combine Pangong Tso with the green valley of Nubra which can be done in a 5 day jeepsafari from Leh. If you have more time you can drive further south to the lakes of Tso Moriri and Tsokar.