Leh to Pangong Lake Distance
The distance between the two points depends on the route taken to go from Leh to Pangong Lake. The usual route that takes you through Shey and Chang La, is about 160 km one way.
The other ways that one has to take through the Nubra Valley take you over either the daunting Wari La Pass or the beautiful and calm Shyok Valley. Both these routes are over 220 km and will need the extra 120 km added to them, as that is the distance between Leh and Diskit.
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Leh to Pangong Lake Route Map & Road Conditions
Getting to Pangong Lake from Leh is not as difficult it may seem as there are simple straight roads that lead you through the region without much confusion. To cut it straight, there are two routes that take you to Pangong Tso, with the other one divided into 2 variations.
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Leh – Shey – Karu -Sakti – Chang La -Durbuk – Tangste - Lukung – Spangmik – Pangong Tso
The usually taken route to get to Pangong Tso, this is also the shortest and least troublesome. You start on this route taking you from Leh to Pangong Lake which will take you to the destination, Spangmik in about 6 to 7 hours.
Beginning from Leh, the route takes you first to Shey, the famous village which still houses a 5 century old Palace, the Shey Palace. Built by the then king of Ladakh, the palace is mostly known for housing the largest golden statue of Buddha in the entirety of Ladakh. From here, as you move on the Manali-Leh highway, you hit the junction city of Karu, where the way then leads you east, towards the lake. Driving a mere 9 km from here, you will arrive at a small village called Sakti, which is the home to a colorful and vibrant Takthok Monastery.
The run from here brings the visitors to a high mountain pass called Chang La. At the height of 5,360 m, Chang La is counted amongst some of the highest passes in the world and is an equally important post. So far, the roads are great and made in asphalt, however, the climb is steep and requires a careful drive.
For about 10 to 15 km before and after the pass, you will find only dirt roads, because of the streams that erupt in the summer season erode it away. With a military post and cafe on the top, Chang La is a place where it is advised to not stay for than 20-25 minutes.
On the last stretch towards the lake, you will find the roads turn rough again till you reach Durbuk, post which the roads appear again. And so do the shops as you come across the major town of Tangtse. A small drive on the narrow roads from here takes you to Spangmik, the last town on the road, especially famous for the scintillating views of the blue lake that the place offers.
Hence, as a reason, there are a lot of camps and small accommodations that have erupted at this location. This is where you can enjoy the majesty of Pangong at its best.
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Rafting can also be enjoyed on the rapids of the Zanskar river. The force of the waters along with the twists and turns of the river makes rafting in Ladakh on the Zanskar a memorable adventure activity.
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Diskit/Panamik - Khalsar - Agham - Shyok Village - Durbuk - Tangste - Lukung - Spangmik
Comparatively shorter than the Wari La route, this road may be a straight shot to Durbuk but is one of the most difficult routes that you may have ever drive on. Driving for the most part along the Shyok River, the streams that run into its flow makes things a little more difficult, while the dirt ridden road full of boulders only makes things more adventurous.
The road starts from Diskit, and goes onto Khalsar and then onto Agham, where you take the right turn and prepare yourself for a scenic ride straight to Pangong. The drive continues and you keep crossing the Shyok River a few times before finally arriving at the beautiful village of Shyok. As you arrive here, there is only 70 km of the road left in front of you, which will only take a couple of hours.
As you keep riding, you will eventually drive into the Pangong road on Durbuk, from where it is only about 50 km to Spangmik. Pangong is a beauty and as you drive on this road, you will see it from a long distance away, pulling you in instantly.
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Best time for Leh to Pangong Lake Trip
Taking care of road availability and climate
throughout the year, the best time to visit Pangong Tso is during the months of
May to September. Although people do visit Pangong lake in the months of winter, one
usually finds a thick sheet of ice covering the lake, thick enough to walk on
it and that is an adventure in itself.
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How to Reach from Leh
The best, simplest and plain sailing way is to arrive at the beautiful lake in a private car or bike. You get your own pace, your own space, and arrive on your own terms. The beauty is entirely yours to capture, and the vehicle yours to enjoy.
You can get the cars/bikes from Leh itself or can get it booked from your travel agent. Now, because the road and terrain is pretty rough, try to make sure that you have 4X4 for this journey as your ordinary sedans and hatchbacks won’t make the cut.
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Yes, there is a bus that takes you from Leh to Pangong Lake. Although, buses mean that you have to stick to a schedule and follow particular timings, but the excitement of traveling with the locals is something that overtakes every other factor.
A direct bus that takes you from Leh to Pangong runs every Saturday and Sunday at about 6 AM and brings you to Pangong in the late afternoon. The bus then halts there for the night and then journeys back to Leh the next morning. The fare for the bus is about Rs 250 per person one way.
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By Shared Taxi
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Things to Know during Leh - Pangong Lake Trip
Petrol Pumps on Leh - Pangong Lake Route
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Mechanics on Leh - Pangong Lake Route
You will not find any mechanic on this road so make sure that your vehicle is fully healthy while embarking on this journey of Leh to Pangong Lake.
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Mobile Network Connectivity
As it is, the beauty of Pangong will make you forget about the existence of mobile phones or connectivity.
And in this case, it is a good thing that as soon as you leave Leh, the mobile networks disappear. No BSNL/MTNL postpaid, or Airtel work in this zone, so you can enjoy the beauty all on your own.
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The only medical facility on the way that you will find is actually in Tangtse, which is about 35 kms from Spangmik. So if you have any condition that would require immediate attention, it is advised that you carry your own personal medication with you.
Also, because AMS is a looming possibility at such heights, you should also always carry the required medicines for that. Going to Pangong Lake from Leh can trigger a lot of situations, simply because of the sheer height of some of the places that you will be passing through.
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Food Joints/Places to Eat between Leh and Pangong Lake
Now, most of these places will serve either popular snacks like maggi, noodles, or toasts, or will serve you with traditional Tibetan Food.
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ATMs on Leh - Pangong Lake Route
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Hotels at Pangong Lake
The Kora Pangong
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The Pangong Inn
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Hermitage At Pangong
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Camp Martsemik La
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Camp Whispering Camps
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Safety Tips and Guidelines
1) you may not find it in Ladakh
2) there is no medical facility on the way apart from the one at Tangtse.
1) always stay with or within the sights of your entourage
2) if you are traveling alone, do not stray onto places you don’t know about.
Leh-Ladakh is a dream come true destination. A vast landscape of enchanting and unspoiled natural beauty. Check out the Srinagar to Leh guide to make your trip easier and hustle free.