Ethereal hues of Pangong Lake amidst the Ever-Changing Landscapes

Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas. At a height of 4350 m the 134 km lake stretches all the way from India to China with around two-third in China.

The charismatic lake is situated on the Changtang plateau in eastern Ladakh region approximately 140 km from the Ladakh capital city Leh. The route from Leh to Pangong Lake takes around 6 hours.

One can also visit the famous monastery of Thiksey on the way before reaching the village of Shakti from where the ascent to Changa La (Chang Pass at 5,360 m) starts through the treacherous roads up the mountains.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Chang La (Chang Pass)

Due to a landslide, the road further of Chang La was closed for clearance by the Indian Army. We waited in a small cafe at Chang Pass run by the Indian Army which has food, medicine, and toilet facilities. There is also a small temple of Chang La Baba at the pass. The pass is covered by snow throughout the year.

We came across this frozen lake on the way down from Chang La.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

The slushy dirt roads are occasionally covered in gravels, sludge and gushing streams.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Ever-changing landscapes from Tangtse Village to Pangong lake

The ride from Tangtse to Pangong is breathtaking with picturesque landscapes unfurling magic at every turn much similar to our epic journey from Mumbai to Leh and will remain etched in our memory for the lifetime.

The arid terrain with massive mountains of contrasting shades.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

The arid terrain sometimes showed traces of vegetation amidst the snow peppered bald mountains .

Pangong Lake Ladakh

The road would sometimes wind through rocky and rugged mountains.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Suddenly out of nowhere we spot some wild ass camouflaged with the mountains in the background.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

At some places, there were meadows where we could see yaks and mountain goats grazing.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake Ladakh

We also got to see some cultivation lands at foothills of the same barren mountains. Pangong Lake Ladakh

Nature never ceased to amaze us with its creativity that enraptures and challenges our imagination.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake Ladakh

A couple of km further the asphalted road meandered through deserted terrains loomed over by the massive mountains sometimes covered with snow and mist.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake Ladakh

It is like you are chasing an oasis amidst the barren land and then you sight a glimpse of the shimmering blue lake afar surrounded by the daunting mountains leaving you awestruck.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake

The blue stretch of crystal clear lake surrounded by trans-Himalayan barren mountains is mesmerizing. The serenity and tranquility of the place are overwhelming. The pristine beauty of lake unfurls myriad of mystical colors from turquoise to indigo to emerald.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Pangong Lake Ladakh

Migratory birds like black-necked cranes and seagulls in large number flock on the lake surface.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

The Pangong Lake freezes during winters in spite of its salinity. Due to the brackish nature, the lake cannot have any kind of vegetation or even aquatic life.

One can camp on the shores of the lake or choose to stay at the Spangmik village which has plenty of Accommodation options.

To visit Pangong Tso one is required to get Inner Line permission which has to be endorsed at the checkpoint en route Pangong Tso. The best time to visit Pangong lake would be late June until September.

Aren’t the stunning landscapes and the lake enthralling enough to allure anyone? Have you visited this surreal lake of Pangong?

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49 Comment

  1. These landscapes are stunning. But it looks very cold too. How long did it take you to get there from Mumbai?

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Adventurists bike all the way to Ladakh. We took a flight to Leh and then around 5 hours of biking to Pangong 🙂

  2. Maggie says: Reply

    What a cool experience! The landscape looks beautiful and so desolate. I haven’t been, but would love to check it out one day.

  3. Stace says: Reply

    Oh my gosh those mountains and that scenery! Absolutely breathtaking. Looks like quite an adventure and very secluded!

  4. Clare says: Reply

    Wow it looks amazing there. The scenery is stunning. I would love to do a trip there though not sure I would want to do it in the snow with a motorbike!! Looks like you had another great trip 🙂

  5. I have been dying to go here for so long. I think for us Indians this place came into prominence after the 3 idiots movie. I love how inviting the mountains look. Next year for sure.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes Agree, after the 3 idiots movie this place has turned out to be a very popular tourist destination 🙂

  6. Wonderful pictures. Landscapes are stunning and beautiful scenery. Lake Ladhak this places is very calm and peaceful. So close to nature. Everything is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your experience and the lovely pics.

  7. My goodness, what amazing pictures of the landscape you were able to capture. To be able to travel and experience these places that you usually see only in magazines or postcards is absolutely breathtaking. I will be pinning this post, so valuable for others to see and hopefully explore.

  8. Fatima Ali says: Reply

    Wow! This looks so beautiful and you’re so lucky to have visited this place. Awesome and amazing indeed.

  9. The landscapes are so pretty! I love all of them. You really did an awesome job capturing them.

  10. It is amazing how the scenery is changing! From desert to snow, how beautiful. How long did it take for you to reach the lake?

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      We started from the capital city Leh it took us around 5 hours of biking 🙂

  11. Lovely post and beautiful photos. Although I haven’t been to Ladakh, and it is on my visit list, the terrain seems a lot similar to what I experienced around Sikkim. The changing scenery and the presence of water makes it very dramatic and I’m glad that over the years the “younger” generation has become more adventurous and are traveling to far off places in India that deserve all the attention they can get. Cheers!

  12. The landscape looks beautiful yet eerily quiet at the same time. I have to agree with some of the other commenters on the thread and say that it does, indeed, look pretty cold!

  13. This place looks really unreal. I think it is so remote and difficult to find and visit. But that makes it really special. i love the colour and the hues of the mountains. Surely a great place to take photos and unwind.

  14. Wow, that landscape really looks amazing. At the same time it looks like a really scary place to drive in. 🙂

  15. Was just wondering about the permit you need to acquire – can I as a foreigner get that? I know there are quite a lot of areas in India which require a permit, but it’s only issued to Indian nationals.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes, foreigners can get the permit. You can check with hotels you plan to stay or there are many agents in the capital city Leh. For more information check this 🙂 Let us know if we can help you any way.

  16. Elizabeth O. says: Reply

    I’ve never been to this place before, I love that it is untouched by civilization. The sights are breathtaking and it’s worth the journey, definitely!

  17. Whoa! Incredible journey!
    Had you not mentioned I would have have noticed those wild ass!
    Such scenic delights!
    I hope I will be able to visit at least once this life time.

  18. Gareth says: Reply

    What an amazing part of the world and it’s hardly surprising that so many temples were erected there. Spotting those wild ass must have been particularly humbling as there is something so primal about coming across grazing animals that haven’t been domesticated that is real evidence that there are still some truly untouched parts of the planet. I was fortunate enough to see some wild horses during my time in Kyrgyzstan and to this day it is probably the highlight of my backpacking life

  19. Phil says: Reply

    What an adventure you had! The pictures looks absolutely stunning and I can’t believe there are places like that in the world. I would love to visit there at some point.

  20. Ana says: Reply

    Visiting Pangong Lake would be definitely a lifetime experience! The splendid landscape view is something to die for and it would be a dream to ride on those roads! What was the temperature when you guys visited?

  21. Chloe says: Reply

    Pangong is so beautiful. And the landscapes are truly amazing! What a great adventure!

  22. What a beautiful scenery and incredibly gorgeous landscapes! Awesome photos. Thank you for sharing your amazing experience!

  23. lex says: Reply

    Lovely landscape and the images here are just divine. Good to see and know of places like this.

  24. This looks like a place full of adventure and fun with amazing landscapes. My husband would love to visit! Beautiful!

  25. Nina says: Reply

    Oh Wow! what incredible and unique photos. Pangong looks like an amazing place, would love to visit.

  26. Your bike trip to Pangong surely looks like an amazing adventure, loved the landscapes and the bike!

  27. This place looks absolutely unreal! Like a painting! The blue of the Skye…and the clouds….I have never seen a skye that blue!

  28. The photos are stunning. And what a contrast in topography. From dessert to snow capped mountains. How cool is that?

  29. I love the raw, pure nature of this trip! Your photos are stunning and do a service to the beautiful views you encountered!

  30. Brown Gal Trekker says: Reply

    High on my list. Did you rent a bike to go there? Is it easy for foreigners to get there from Leh? I’m unclear as to the options available as foreigners. I plan to scout the trails in India for my trekking company and a visit to Pangong is definitely a must. Camping by the lake sounds awesome. I take it you can just show up and get a spot or stay in guesthouses?

  31. Pangong lake is indeed amazing. Lovely photographs. The terrain is outstanding. Thanks for the post.

  32. No matter how much you read about it, how many pictures and videos you have seen of it, nothing really prepares you for Pangong Lake. I was awestruck when I went there last month. It was definitely one of the best moments of my life. I wish I could go to the China side though.

  33. These landscapes are breathtaking! Amazing pictures. I love everything about this post! Thanks for sharing! Have a nice weekend!

  34. jackie says: Reply

    Wow amazing landscapes along the scenic route. It looks like a very interesting and adventurous place to visit.

  35. Kusum says: Reply

    Such a stunning place! Pangong has always been on my bucket list and your pictures are making me want to pack my bags right away. What a wonderful time.
    xx, Kusum

  36. Emma says: Reply

    Such stunning pictures. The scenery and landscapes look breathtaking! So scenic!

  37. Wow, stunning landscapes. What an awesome adventure you guys went on. A bike trip is definitely on our list. This looks like the place to do it! Did you rent those bikes? Or was this part of a tour?

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes, we rented those bikes. We explored on our own. You should definitely plan a biking trip in Ladakh.

  38. Sudipto says: Reply

    The Pangong Lake is one of the most beautiful places to photograph. We were there a month back when we visited the Naropa festival. Were you able to check that out??

  39. Ladakh is one of our favorite location in India. Seeing your pictures made us feel nostalgic about it. Definitely Pangong Lake is very picturesque.

  40. Nika says: Reply

    What an impressive place! I cannot even imagine being in 4000m + altitude! Last year while hiking in 3700m+ in the Canary Island I struggled with breathing. Do you experience the same in this altitude in Himalayas as well? If yes, how do you cope with it?
    I have never learned much about Himalays and surrounding region so seeing mountain peaks covered with snow and desert nearby is quite unusual for me. Lovely pictures, Rashmi! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  41. These hues are ethereal indeed! I generally get stuck in Himachal and never reach Ladakh. Thanks to this post, next summer I will probably have enough motivaton to travel the last miles and cross over to Ladakh.

  42. Beautiful scenes from your travel along Tangtse to Pangong. It was fascinating at the same time as there are animals that actually live behind those rocky landscape and noticed that they all look healthy(especially the yaks). Pangong lake could be a place that every photographer must consider going to.

  43. Johann says: Reply

    Ethereal is the exact word to describe Pangong! I had a wonderful experience traveling there and would never forget what happened that day. The sight of the lake was so exciting your heart starts to rush! I love that stretch of land where there are horses and sheeps grazing and some lone shepherds. Thanks for sharing about Pangong. Helped me relive my time there.

  44. Shane Prather says: Reply

    Wow! Despite any gravel and slush, the roads look stunning! I’m sure the pictures can’t nearly do justice to this exciting experience around the lake!

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