The first time I visited Pangong, It was an entirely different scenario than it is today. I and a friend of mine were the only tourists at Pangong that day. There was no one else in sight except for a few villagers at distance and the entire area seemed deserted, as you would expect an area closer to border to be. Accommodation at Pangong Tso was limited to one government run hotel and a poorly maintained single room by local villagers where you had to sleep on the floor in blankets which were also provided by the villagers. Back then, we paid Rs. 100 per person to spend the night at the lake. What’s more, we also got to go boating in the lake with Indian Army which you can just forget about these days.
All thanks to Bollywood, now it is an entirely different story altogether. Now right from the point where the lake starts also starts a serious of chadar tents which is later followed by camp sites all along till Spangmik. Until a few years ago people had to give a serious thought about where to spend the night if they wanted to stay at Pangong and the only available options were either to shed some serious money at the hotel or to sleep on the floor [2nd option was really fun by the way]. This is of course not the case anymore. Now options of accommodation at Pangong Tso are in plenty and you can chose per your convenience or budget.
1. Chadar Tents : Usually run by locals, its a huge tent with a dhaba at the front and sleeping arrangements at the back in form of a series of beds. These are in plenty in Ladakh and quite popular too mostly because they are quite cheap. Staying here makes a lot of sense when you know that all you need is a bed to crash on for the night because you will be on your way in the morning. They usually charge between Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per person, depending on your negotiation skills, excluding meals. You just take your luggage in and sleep on the bed assigned which is quite comfortable considering the money you paid for it. A good option but yes quite inconvenient if you are a little privacy concerned or if someone else sleeping in the tent starts to snore. And yes, you will also have to use a shared washroom.
2. Camp Sites : Another good option to stay and available in plenty. Its a typical camp site with a serious of tens with a sleeping capacity of 3 to 4 people. Expect the charges to start from Rs. 1500 / person inclusive of meals. Usually they will tell you that its a fixed price but you can always negotiate. Last time I visited, I was able to talk the owner into half the price that he initially quoted. Quite comfortable with attached washroom facilities with each tent and a good choice to stay if within your budget.
3. Cemented Hotel : Pangong Camp Resort is still the only cemented hotel at the lake and the oldest staying option. Its a hotel, what else can I say, and a pretty good one too, but very costly. Comfortable rooms with hot water but in buckets. This is the only place where you can afford to take a shower here because you can’t do that at the chadar tents and camps sites [unless you don’t mind bathing in a tent with wind sneaking in and please don’t make the mistake of taking a dip in the lake which I did. Water is saline and freezing cold capable of either freezing or drowning you to death]. Food is the best at the hotel and the service is quite satisfying. Expect the price to start from at least Rs. 3000 / 4000 for a double bed room and inclusive of meals. It is the preferred and probably the best option to stay if you are visiting with family but it is mostly booked months in advance.
4. Paying Guest : Almost every villager’s house in Spangmik serves as a guest house and this is the only other option if you want to spend the night within cemented walls. This is what the name suggests, you pay someone to spend a night at their house. No electricity and no hot water but they will probably not charge you more than Rs. 300 to Rs. 500, inclusive of food. Small neat houses with clean washrooms and your hosts are quite friendly people. Another option to consider If you are visiting with family. The only drawback is that it is at a little distance from the lake so if sitting at the banks of Pangong is on your mind, you wouldn’t like it however you will get an amazing landscape view of the lake the moment you peek out of your window.
If I was to be asked the best choice among the ones listed above, It would be the camp sites. You get your own tent, not highly overpriced, have attached washrooms, hot water, food is OK and they are right next to the lake. You can squeeze them into your budget too if you have some negotiation skills. During our last visit, I on purpose searched for a camp site where there were no other guests except for us because that camp site was more prone to dropping the charges. People ask me if they need to make arrangements in advance and my answer is no, unless you are planning to stay at the hotel Pangong Camp Resort. Just go there and see what suits you the best, no need to make any arrangements in advance.
Below is a list of a few camp sites at Pangong and hotels nearby with contact information in case you would like to call and inquire in advance. Please do note that I have not of course stayed at all of them. These are just names and numbers that I gathered from either when I was in Leh myself or from over the web. The camp sites where I have mentioned Spangmik as location are the ones right next to Pangong, other are in nearby villages.
Pangong Camp Resort JKTDC : The government run and the only hotel right next to the lake. Price range would be anywhere from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000 for a double bedroom.
Phone: 0191 254 9065
Pangong Tso Kongma Resort
Phone: 094695 30962
Camp Martsemik La
Phone: 075030 33585
Camp Whispering Waves
Wonderland Camp: This camp I have heard is open during winters as well but it is not confirmed. If you are planning a winter trip and want to stay at the lake, you can give them a call and inquire.
Phone: 094191 77723
Pangong Delight Camp
Phone: 095968 11649
The Kora Pangong Camp
Phone: 094192 15066
Phone: 094191 77245
Phone: 094198 19078
Gongma Homestay: A good option if you want to stay as a paying guest in the village.
Phone: 094695 34270
Dorjay Delbu Guest House: Another place to stay that comes highly recommended. To reach here, continue driving after Spangmik until the village of Merak. The location of the guest house is amazing, close to the lake. Rooms are quite comfortable and food is simple but delicious.
Phone: 099069 93462
Hotel Pangong Residency: A cemented hotel and good option to stay if you do not want to stay in the camp, could not get booking at Hotel Pangong Camp Resort and do not mind staying a little far from the lake.
Phone: 094192 43495
Marzee Home Stay: This too is in the village of Merak, another good place to stay.
Phone: 099069 93462
Peacefull Home Stay: Another good place to stay in Merak.
Phone: 070511 11988
Peacefull Home Stay: Yes there are two home stays there with this name, of the same owner though.
Phone: 094692 80274
Himalayan Wooden Cottages: If you do not want to stay far from the lake or in camps, this is a great option to be considered. About 8-10 wooden cottages close enough to the lake with decent enough cottages and food.
Price Range: Around Rs. 4000 for a double bed cottage with two meals included
Yakmik Changla Guest House
Price Range: Rs 1500 for a double bed room
Phone: 9469567990, 9469726902
Dothguling Guest house
Price Range: Rs 1500 for a double bed room
Phone: 01981-201156, 09469726914, 09469188966
Eco Huts: Luxury tents at Lukung village, price range between Rs. 3000 to Rs 4000.
Contact: 09419177658, 09906981777, +91-1982-257030, 01982-253010
I hope this information was useful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I would be glad to answer. If you have stayed at a camp site at Pangong, have good or bad feedback about it, please do provide it in the comments section in order to help others.