Pangong Tso is one of the most famous lakes in Ladakh. 150 kilometres long, extending into both India and China, and rich in natural beauty, this lake must be seen to be believed. Set against a backdrop of intense blue skies, golden plains and snow-capped peaks, Pangong Tso seems purely magical. The lake has several unique characteristics which separate it from other lakes in Ladakh. For one, Pangong Tso Lake never freezes.
Though it is perched upon a high altitude of 4,350 metres, the lake remains in a liquid state even in the depths of winter. This is because of the saline content of the lake- a unique outlaw in a region rich in glaciers. But nature’s magic does not stop here. There are various camps around Pangong lake which attract a lot of tourists.
Pangong Tso is also famous for the ever-changing colours of its water which makes it a picturesque delight. There are many camping facilities around the Pangong Tso, so make sure you spend some time admiring it in all its moods when you are in Ladakh.
Distance from Leh: 250 kilometres approx.
How to Reach: There are several jeep safaris that take you to the Pangong Lake and you can also rent a bike or car for yourself in Leh.
Tso Moriri, which translates to “Mountain Lake’, is a glacial lake situated high in the Ladakhi mountains of the Changthang Plateau. Tso Moriri is one of the most beautiful sites in Ladakh and should not be missed when you are in the region. It is situated at an altitude of 4,522 metres and is vast in its dimensions.
Tso Moriri is fed by mountain streams and snow melt-off from the mountains which makes the lake one of the many freshwater lakes in the Ladakh region. Its surroundings are verdant in the summer and an atmosphere of freshness and positivity fills the air around the lake and birdcalls thrill with their music.
Its high-altitude means that the lake is only accessible during the summer months, and you will find several tourists enjoying its beauty during that time.
Distance from Leh: 240 kilometres approx.
How to Reach: There are several jeep safaris that take you to Tso Moriri and you can also rent a bike or car in Leh.
Being one of the most famous Ladakh lakes, located on the Rupshu Plateau in Southern Ladakh, Tso Kar is a breathtaking lake renowned for its size and depth. It is a unique lake, but unfortunately, is not well-featured on the Ladakh itineraries. There is a beauty about the lake which comes from its very difference-
Tso Kar is a heavily saline lake with weeds, nettles and other lake plants growing within and a tendency to form salt crusts on the outside. Though it is not as large as the Pangong Tso or Tso Moriri, Tso Kar’s strength lies in its serenity.
Since not many people visit the lake, those who do actually end up enjoying a greater level natural beauty in a blessed solitude which the popularity of the two other lakes denies their visitors. Visiting Tso Kar is a wonderful experience while on your Leh Ladakh road trip, and if you really want to know all about the various lake landscapes of Ladakh, a trip to Tso Kar is a must-do.
Distance from Leh: 160 kilometres approx.
Nyak Tso is a small and delightful lake situated in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. Unfortunately, Nyak Tso does not fall within the Indian borders but falls in Tibet, 30 kilometres away from Rudog in Ladakh. Visiting Nyak Tso may turn into a complicated matter because of its border division, but if you can visit it, the lake will reward you with a very pleasant picture of natural beauty.
Nestled in the midst of stern mountains and sheer cliffs, this lake is almost like an oasis of extraordinary worth. The photographic beauty embodied by it is stunning, to say the least, and the force of nature is easily understandable in its environs. The peace and solitude that hangs over the lake only add to the complex beauty of Nyak Tso. Many travellers on their Leh Ladakh bike expedition often visit this place for a peaceful experience.
Distance from Leh: 120 kilometres approx.
How to Reach: You can rent a car or bike in Leh and drive over to this lake.
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One of the many lakes in Ladakh, Yarab Tso is located near the Panamik village of Nubra Valley and is a must-visit spot for anyone touring the valley. Yarab Tso captures all the peace and serene stillness of Nubra Valley and sends out its fragrance into the air all around.
Surrounded by steep mountain cliffs and towering mountain peaks, this lake is considered to be among other highest in Ladakh and is full of a magnificence that is hard to rival.
Being one of the most famous Ladakh lakes, Yarab Tso is not just a lake, it has also had important Hindu Leh legends and is thus considered to be a holy lake in the region. If you wish to go offer Bitten track, definitely considered paying a trip to its place during your Manali Leh Srinagar bike trip.
Distance from Leh: 180 kilometres approx.
How to Reach: You can rent a car or bike in Leh and drive over to this lake
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Ladakh is rich in lakes and Mirpal Tso is another spectacular example of the same. While most popular lakes in Ladakh are brimming with tourists, Mirpal Tso is an isolated lake which only has solitude and silence for companions. The lake is located in Chushul and has both sandy shores and fresh waters to its credit.
If you want to head out on an adventurous outing in Ladakh and want to see sights that have only been seen by a few eyes, Mirpal Tso will fulfil your requirements and provide you with an awe-inspiring experience to cherish for long.
Don't forget to check out the list of hotels in Leh before you start planning your next trip and make your stay wonderful.
Distance from Leh: 202 kilometres approx.
How to Reach: You can rent a car or bike in Leh and drive to the lake.
Stat Tso and Lang Tso
Being one of the most famous Ladakh lakes, Stat Tso and Lang Tso are the twin lakes in Ladakh and make for a particularly enchanting visit. The lakes are situated in the Zanskar region of Ladakh, close to the Pensi la pass and can be visited in tandem with the pass.
They are small lakes situated close by each other, and because of their relative lack of popularity, remain one of the lesser explored destinations in Ladakh. Exploring Stat Tso and Lang Tso will give you a chance to create unique memories in Ladakh since this is one destination that not many know of which makes it a must visit a place during their Manali to Leh bike expedition.
Distance from Leh: 369 kilometres approx.
How to Reach: You can opt for a shared jeep safari to this lake or drive there in your own (rented) vehicle.
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Recommended Read: Mumbai to Ladakh Travel Guide
If you are travelling to Ladakh via the Manali-Leh highway and take the road leading to Tso Moriri, you will pass by the Kiagar Tso Rupshu Valley. Located at a height of nearly 4000 metres, this lake provides tourists with a well-deserved refreshment in the form of a serene landscape made up of shimmering blue waters surrounded by stalwart mountains all around.
The lake is saline in nature and is almost like an oasis in the middle of a desert. The cool mountain winds in combination with the warm sun and sweeping landscape make for a very enticing picture. Wild animals can be seen grazing around the shores of the lake and the entire ambience is very refreshing. A stopover at this lake is a good way to enjoy some time on your Ladakh trip.
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Distance from Leh: 270 kilometres approx.
How to Reach: If you are travelling to Leh via Manali, just take the road which leads to Tso Moriri. If you are travelling from Leh, you can include visits to Tso Moriri and Tso Kiagar in the same outing.
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Located en route to Pangong Tso, Chagar Tso is one of the many small lakes in Ladakh which add to the beauty of the Ladakhi landscape. This lake is fed by glacial waters and can be seen calmly sparkling in the sunlight all day long. There is hardly any crowding around the lake because of its lack of popularity.
But this only makes stopping at the lake a far more pleasant experience for those who choose to visit it. You can easily incorporate a visit to Chagar Tso on the trip to Pangong Tso. Spending some time on its banks will relax and refresh your body after the long car ride during your Manali Leh jeep safari and make the remainder of the trip a more enjoyable one.
Distance from Leh: 200 kilometres approx.
How to Reach: If you are travelling via a shared jeep, you can ask them to stop here or you can simply rent a vehicle in Leh and drive over to the lake.
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Kyun Tso & Ryul Tso
Being one of the most famous Ladakh lakes, Kyun Tso and Ryul Tso are twin lakes located near Hanle and Nyoma in Ladakh. These lakes are marvellous to behold. Nestled in the midst of towering cliffs and peaks at over 5000 metres these lakes provide some of the most pristine experiences in Leh.
Their attitude and location also make them rather difficult to visit and only hard-core adventure enthusiast find it in themselves to surmount the road obstacles necessary to reach these twins.
But the exhilaration that you experience once you do reach here is worth every ounce of effort and you will long remember the trip to Kyun Tso and Ryul Tso as one of your best trips in Ladakh.
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Distance from Leh: 255 kilometres approx.