How to Plan a Trip from Leh To Pangong Tso

by Vargis.Khan

Prior to the year 2009, the name Pangong Tso was pretty much unknown to everyone except for a handful few who were familiar with the terrain of Ladakh. Then in 2009, a movie called “3 Idiots” was released which featured a scene of Amir Khan flying a kite on the banks of a deep blue lake against the backdrop of barren grey mountains of mighty Himalayas. The movie was an instant hit but an even bigger hit was that lake. It provoked curiosity throughout the nation and pretty soon, Pangong Lake became a household name, known to every travel enthusiasts in the country.

pangong tso

The word Pangong Tso derives from Tibetan “spang gong mtsho” which literally means “High grassland Lake”, Also commonly referred to as “enchanted lake”, it is about 5 kkilometers wide at its broadest point and runs a total length of 134 kilometers; extending from India to China. Approximately, 60% of the lake is in China and 40% in India.




Pangong Tso is a saltwater lake and has very low micro-vegetation. Per the reports, there are no fish or any other aquatic life in the lake however you will still see numerous ducks and gulls flying over and on the surface of the lake. Interestingly, this lake also acts as a breeding ground for a variety of birds. In Summer, Bar Headed Goose and Brahmini Ducks are common to be seen here. Though you will not see right on the banks of the lake, but the area around also supports a number of species of wildlife like Kiang and Marmot.

In winter, water of the lake freezes completely; so much that you can easily walk over it. People have also taken their SUVs over the water in Winter to click pictures though I will really not recommend it. The route from Leh to Pangong Tso will also take you across mighty Chang La, a high altitude pass which was once considered as third highest motorable road in the world. Depending on your speed and breaks, this journey can take you anywhere between 6-8 hours and runs through a highly scenic region full of eye-catching vistas.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide

In this article, I will provide details on how you can plan a trip to Pangong Tso from Leh. The article contains information on routes, accommodation, best time to visit and several other important tips that can be of help while traveling to Pangong.

Pangong Tso Permit

Pangong Lake is considered a part of inner line, areas closer to border; hence an Inner line permit is required in order to visit here. For foreign nationals, a Protected Area permit has to be procured before they can travel from Leh to Pangong Tso. Inner line permit can either be applied for and obtained in person from DM office Leh or online. Protected area permit however needs to be obtained through a registered travel agent. Please read through the article below for more information on how to get these permits.

Also read:

How to obtain an Inner line permit for Ladakh?

Step by step guide to get an Inner line permit online?

How to obtain a protected area permit for Ladakh?

How to reach Pangong Lake from Leh

There are four routes that you can take for this journey. One is the traditional Leh to Pangong Tso direct route; while the other two roads are via Nubra Valley and the least traveled one is between Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso.

Pangong Tso Map

Below is a road map of Leh to Pangong Tso that I will be referring to for this article. Please click on the map to view it in full size.

pangong tso

Leh to Pangong Tso via Chang La

This is the most traveled upon and direct route to reach Pangong Tso from Leh. The other routes via Nubra Valley and Tso Moriri are more of an extended itinerary; when you try to cover all three places in a loop. However if Pangong Tso is on your mind and you want to get there directly from Leh, below is the route you will be following.

Leh – Shey – Karu [45 kms]
Karu – Shakti – Chang La [40 kms]
Chang La – Durbuk – Tangste [60 kms]
Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik – Pangong Tso [30 kms]

Leh to Pangong Tso Distance by Road

Traveling on the above mentioned route, total distance covered will be approximately 160 kilometers which can be covered in 6-7 hours depending upon your speed and breaks.An early start from Leh is advised so that you can reach Pangong by late afternoon and have ample time to spend on its banks. Take the Manali – Leh highway and drive till you reach Karu, which will take you less than an hour. From Karu, leave the Manali – Leh highway and turn left towards Sakti, then continue towards Chang La, ascent of which starts a few kilometers after crossing Sakti.

Chang La Pass

Chang La, literally meaning “Pass towards the South” is claimed to be the third highest motor-able road in the world, located at 17,590 ft. It is called Mighty Chang La because of its steep and “tough near the final ascent” climb. Once at the summit, take a photo-break and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. At the top of Chang La is an army base and small cafeteria, which offers free tea, without milk however. So if you don’t mind sipping down black tea, it is good place to sit with a cup in your hand and beautiful Himalayan peaks all around you. Take photos next to several signboards reading “Chang La, 3rd Highest Motor-able Road in the world” You can also Visit Chang La Baba ka mandir built by Indian Army under the belief that Baba will protect & save people from any mishap here.

Also read: How to Travel to Ladakh by Public Transport Services

Chang La to Pangong Tso

After Chang La, continue on the descent towards Durbuk. Road initially is bad, closer to the top of the pass, after which it remains super smooth for rest of the journey. In a couple of hours, you will reach the town of Tangste, the big town on this route with several shops, hotels and guest houses. It is also a preferred stop for several people who reach here towards late evening. If you reached Tangste around noon, have your lunch here.

After Tangste, it is a straight run to the village of Spangmik, right on the shores of Pangong Tso. Roads are extremely good however there are areas where you will find streams of water flowing down from the hill on the road. Within an hour, you will get your first sight of the beautiful lake. Get ready to be mesmerized and enchanted.

pangong tso

A little before Spangmik, there will be a barricade where you will have to pay a small fee before you continue ahead. Last I was there, it was Rs. 10, may change in coming years. Pangong Tso mainly has accommodation available in form of Chadar tents and camp sites. There is also an Army base by the lake and a souvenir shop in case you are interested to buy something that would remind you of the trip.

While traveling on this route, you can also cover several monasteries either while on your way to Pangong or returning to Leh. Thiksey, Hemis and Shey monasteries can be covered but please ensure that you plan your day and time spent at the monasteries accordingly. This is the most convenient routes of all and provides the best road condition.

Also read: How to Calculate Minimum Budget for Ladakh Trip

Leh to Pangong Tso via Nubra Valley

Well this is not exactly the road you take if you want go to Pangong Tso from Leh; but a way to include both these places in your itinerary without having to come back to Leh from Nubra valley. The most common way of a trip to Ladakh is to first reach to Leh, then travel to Nubra valley and then to Pangong. Earlier people would come back to Leh from Nubra valley before continuing to Pangong but off-late this has started to change. There are two routes that you can take to reach Pangong Tso from Nubra valley. One will take you across a high altitude pass, Wari La; while the other will have you traveling right next to Shyok river. Traveling on either of these roads will mean that you can save a day in your trip by not having to return to Leh city from Nubra valley.

The common thing between Wari La and Shyok routes is that they are both extremely remote and challenging. You will hardly come across anybody and in case of a breakdown, there is a high risk of getting stranded. You will be on your own and it can be several hours before help arrives. Of the two, route via Wari La will take approximately 10-11 hours before you reach Pangong Tso however traveling by Shyok road will see you by the shores in 5-6 hours.

Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Wari La

This route will take you over the mighty Wari La; probably one of the most difficult passes of Ladakh. Journey will be as mentioned below;

Diskit / Panamik – Khalsar – Agham – Tangyar – Wari La – Tathok – Sakti – Chang La – Durbuk – Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik

Total distance traveled will be close to 250 kilometers which may not sound much; but due to difficult roads and steep ascents, can very well take anywhere between 10-12 hours; depending upon your speed and breaks.

Also read: How to Plan a Journey from Manali to Leh

Due to the long journey, an early start from Nubra valley is highly recommended. Leave by first light of the day so that you can reach Pangong well in time. Depending on where you stayed in Nubra valley, you will have to backtrack all the way to Khalsar. At Khalsar, do not take the road towards Khardung La; rather continue straight towards the village of Agham. From Agham, you will take the diversion towards Tangyar, climb up to Wari La and then descend on the other side to Sakti while crossing the village of Tathok on the way. From Sakti, it is the same journey to Pangong Tso that I described previously in the article.

Important Tips

There are a few important things you need to keep in mind while journeying via this route. First is the long travel time and an early start from Nubra valley. Second is that Wari La opens a bit late in the season.




While the road across Khardung La remains open through out the year; same is not the case with Wari La. BRO clears this road sometime by late June or early July so please check the status of the road before you plan your itinerary.

Second is that while applying for Inner line permit, please ensure that you clearly mention Wari La on it. If the name of the pass is missing from your permit, Indian Army may not allow you to go that way. There is also no public transport available on this road. No bus plies this way and nor do any shared taxis so put Wari La on your itinerary only if you are traveling by your own vehicle and sometime between July and September.

Last but not the least is that from Leh to Nubra, then to Pangong and back to Leh will means several hundred kilometers of traveling; without any other fuel stations except for the one in Leh. So you need to ensure that you are making proper arrangements to carry spare fuel. A good to know information here is that these days, you can get fuel at the Chadar tents at Pangong Tso but it will be for double the price and quality of the fuel too cannot be guaranteed. Please read the article below for more details on this route.

Also read: Nubra Valley to Pangong via Wari La

Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Shyok

This is the shorter of the two direct routes from Nubra valley to Pangong Tso. Journey will be as mentioned below,

Diskit/Panamik – Khalsar – Agham – Shyok Village – Durbuk – Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik

Total distance covered will be 175 kilometers which can easily be covered in 5-6 hours. Though you will not be crossing any high altitude passes at all however; generally Shyok road is considered as more risky and challenging than the Wari La road. This road was put on the map in 2012 and it will be quite unfair to call it a road at all. It is mostly just a broken dirt trail that runs right next to Shyok river. Sometimes if the water level in the river is high then Shyok river too travels on this road and road then runs under the water. It is a highly landslide prone area with lose sharp stones, big boulders on the road. Please read the article below for further details on this route.

Also read: Nubra Valley to Pangong via Agham Shyok Road

Depending on where you stayed in Nubra valley, you will backtrack to Khalsar village and take the road towards Agham village. From Agham, continue towards Shyok village and you will exit on Leh Pangong road near Durbuk. After Durbuk, it is a straight run to Pangong Tso.

Tips that I mentioned for Wari La apply for Shyok route too. You need to mention it on your permit, make arrangements for fuel and there is also no public transport available here as well.

Also read: Spare fuel for Ladakh: Which routes do you need it on?

Tso Moriri to Pangong Tso

This route too is not really the one you take to visit just Pangong Tso but to rather extend your itinerary; exploring both these lakes without having the need to come back to Leh. In most of the cases, the route is actually done the other way around, meaning that people will first reach Pangong Tso and then travel to Tso Moriri directly. A few people however I know to have done it from Tso Moriri side as well; that is to reach Tso Moriri from Leh and then continue towards Tso Moriri via Chushul. Route of the journey will be as mentioned below.

Karzok (Tso Moriri) – Sumdo – Mahe – Nyoma – Loma – Tsaga Village – Tsaga La – Chushul – Merak – Man – Spangmik

Total distance of this route will be close to around 250 kilometers. Due to bad roads, even this journey can take well over 12-14 hours. I have explained this entire route in detail at the link below.

Also read: Pangong to Tso Moriri Travel Guide

Even on this road, you will have to ensure that you mention all the places clearly on your permit. There is no public transport available and you will have to make serious arrangements to carry spare fuel.

Pangong Tso Road Conditions

If you travel directly from Leh to Pangong Tso via Chang La, then most of the road is well paved and smooth. The only bad section is around Chang La top but rest of the journey is comfortable. Road conditions between Nubra valley or Tso Moriri to Pangong Lake are mostly bad; worst being the Agham Shyok road. If you travel via Wari La, the bad section is pretty much limited between Agham and Sakti. On Shyok road, the entire section between Agham and Durbuk is badly broken. Road between Tso Moriri and Pangong is a mix of good, bad and ugly.

Best Vehicle for a trip to Pangong Tso

For the Chang La route, even a Sedan or Hatchback will be able to complete the journey easily. For the other three routes however, a SUV is suitable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a 4×4 but good ground clearance is a must. A Hatchback or Sedan is not recommended at all for either Wari La, Shyok or Chushul route.

Also read: How to Plan a Journey from Srinagar to Leh

Best time to visit Pangong Tso

Most of the tourism in Ladakh and at Pangong happens in the months of June till September. However the lake remains accessible throughout the year; except for the times when heavy snowfall may block the road temporarily near Chang La top. If you want to see a completely frozen Pangong, then January will be the best time to visit. Otherwise, anytime from June till September is good enough. It is peak tourist season at this time and you will have no problem finding accommodation or transport to reach the lake.

Pangong Tso Accommodation

Accommodation at Pangong Tso is mostly in the form of camp sites. There are several of these now and charges per person can be anywhere between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 4000; depending on which camp you are staying at. If this sounds a little steep then a cheaper accommodation can be at any of the Chadar tents where you will easily get a bed to crash on for the night for Rs. 200 – Rs.300. Another great choice for a budget stay is as a paying guest at Spangmik. There are a few guest houses there now which mostly are just homes of villagers where they let tourists stay for the night. There is only one cemented hotel at Pangong which is government run and is always booked months in advance.

pangong tso

Further ahead of Spangmik are villages of Man and Merak which too now have a few budget guest houses available. For more details on accommodation at Pangong Tso including names and numbers of camps sites & guest houses, please read through the article below.

Also read: Accommodation at Pangong Lake : Hotels, Camp Sites and Guest Houses

Leh to Pangong Tso Bus

If you are not traveling by your own vehicle then you can travel from Leh to Pangong Tso by Bus. The bus starts in the morning from Leh, reaches Pangong by late afternoon and then travels back to Leh next day. You can use this Bus for both, traveling to Pangong Lake and return journey. This however is not a daily bus and you will have to plan your trip according to the timings of the bus. Please read the article below for more details on Leh to Pangong Tso bus service.

Also read: Leh to Pangong Lake Bus Service

Leh to Pangong Tso Taxi Service

If traveling by bus does not match your itinerary, then there is a regular taxi service as well that you may chose to travel by. Private taxis in Ladakh are a costly affair though but if it fits your budget, then it is the best mode of travel. Shared taxis are a cost effective option that you can get from Leh bus stand. Fare of a shared taxi will pretty much be the same as that of a bus.

Petrol Pumps at Pangong Tso

There is no petrol pump either at Pangong Lake or on the way. The only gas station here is in Leh. Usually a round trip from Leh to Pangong Tso can easily be done in a tank full unless your vehicle is consuming excess fuel or has a smaller tank. You will have to however make arrangements for fuel if you are heading towards Tso Moriri or Nubra valley from Pangong. You may find petrol available at the Chadar tents at the lake but it will be for double the price and quality of the fuel too cannot be guaranteed

Mobile Network and Data Connectivity at Pangong

The answer is none. There is no cell phone reception or data connectivity at Pangong Tso, no matter which network you are on (this also included MTNl / BSNL).

Also read: Mobile Phone Services in Ladakh

Banks / ATMs / Plastic Money at Pangong Tso

There is no Bank, no ATM at the lake and nowhere on the route. None of the hotels, guest houses or camps sites have the facility to accept a debit or credit card payment; hence it is of utmost importance that you withdraw cash before leaving Leh and carry enough as per your itinerary.

Medical Facilities at Pangong Tso

Once again, the answer is none. The nearest place you can expect to find some basic medicines or a Doctor is at Tangtse village, about 50 kilometers from Pangong Tso.

Pangong Tso Weather

Cold is how the weather here always is. Days in summer will be moderately warm but you will still need to put on a jacket, because of the cold winds. At nights, even in summer, temperature can drop down to zero degree Celsius. During winter, the lakes freezes completely and temperatures drops several degrees below zero.

Also read: Clothes for Ladakh Trip: What to Pack

Pangong Tso Altitude

The lake is at an altitude of 4,350 meters 14,270 ft.

Acute Mountain Sickness at Pangong Tso

It is one place where you are most likely to suffer from acute moutain sickness. Upon your arrival in Leh, do not straight away go to Pangong Tso. Spend a few days exploring Leh town and Nubra valley first and then plan a trip to Pangong Tso. If you start to suffer from AMS during evening, then do not spend the night at the lake and return to Tangtse. Please read the article below for more details on acute mountain sickness in Ladakh, what the symptoms are and how to deal with it.

Also read: How to Deal with Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh

Leh to Pangong Lake Taxi Fare

If you rent a private taxi, it will cost you about Rs. 12000 to Rs. 14000 for a 2 days journey. For a shared taxi however which you can easily get from Leh Bus stand in the morning; the fare will be between Rs. 400-Rs. 500 per person.

Leh to Pangong in One Day

I added this information here because this is one of the most frequent queries I receive in regards to Pangong Tso. Can you visit Pangong from Leh in one day? Yes You can but I would not advise you to do so. If you want to cover Leh to Pangong in one day and be back by evening, then an early start from Leh City is must; probably by first light of the day. The entire journey will take you at least 5-6 hours to get to Pangong; then you will spend some time at the lake; and then another 5-6 hours for return journey. So you must plan accordingly and keep your breaks limited while traveling.

An ideal way for this journey however it to do it in two days. Arrive at Pangong, spend the evening and night at the lake; enjoy the scenic beauty of the region and return to Leh the next day.

Conclusion

I hope the information above on planning a trip from Leh to Pangong Tso was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum and I will be glad to answer.

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98 comments

101 Things to do in Leh Ladakh | Must do Things in Ladakh - Vargis Khan August 31, 2019 - 10:18 am

[…] like Brahmi ducks; along with an undisturbed reflection of the mountains in the water. Please read How to visit Pangong Lake for a complete travel guide on visiting this beautiful […]

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Kalyan June 21, 2019 - 11:25 am

Vargisbhai,
Your information are extremely useful, especially for the people who are heading to Ladakh for the first time.
We just did the trip with a Brezza and would like to share just one very important point for the driving enthusiast; never underestimate the lack of oxygen. Your vehicle power (pick-up or torque) will be significantly reduced at high altitude, especially above 5000m.
We faced this at Changla and thought it might be Brezza that is under powered for the task or the vehicle is over-loaded. Then we saw one Creta and one Ecosport were struggling in front of us. We heard from fellow drivers (Creta, Scorpio, Safari, who were waiting with me to get the road in front to be cleared) that they too are facing the same pick up issue. At the same time, all were a little reserved not to push the vehicle too much and burn the clutch plate; that would have been a disaster!!
The trick we found is, don’t try to climb from a gradient. Reverse the vehicle until a relatively flat area, then speed up and use the momentum to climb the slippery steep gradient. The risk is hitting some of the boulders that otherwise can be bypassed at slower speed. Anyway, whatever you do or whatever is your vehicles ground clearance is, you will end up hitting some stones; you will never escape from shooting stones!!
Rest of the higher passes such as Khardungla, Zojila were smooth even though the road at the summit was not at the best. We didn’t try Wari La or Shyok route for Nubra-Pongong; although people had conflicting views about the route; some said doable and some said not advisable.

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Vargis.Khan June 21, 2019 - 12:38 pm

Thank you so much for adding this information Kalyan Bhai. This is great info. Do share some pics if possible.

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Kalyan June 21, 2019 - 1:44 pm

Sorry bhai, how to post a pictureor video here?

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Vargis.Khan June 21, 2019 - 9:30 pm

I got the pictures in email from you Bhai. I will post.

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Aravind MJ June 2, 2019 - 1:39 pm

Vargis Bhai, please update the situation of accomodation in Pangong area for this year.

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Vargis.Khan June 2, 2019 - 3:22 pm

There are a few camp sites still operational Aravind Bhai

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Kalyan June 21, 2019 - 11:40 am

There are plenty of cottages and tents. Rates are wildly fluctuating. If you book in advance from Leh then it might be around 1500-2000. If you reach Pongong early and book the cottage on the spot then you can get at 700-1000 range. If you are a little late to reach in Pongong and most of the cottages has been filled up the the rate can sky rocket to 2000-3000 range!
We were moderately late and the first cottage asked for 1300! I said my foot! for this crap you want me to pay so much? Before I move to another place, another group snapped the cottage in front of me. I went to another one and the rate was absurd … finally had to pay 2000!!! Only consolation, this 2000 included dinner and break fast ..)

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Vargis.Khan June 21, 2019 - 12:38 pm

Kalyan Bhai were the cottages a little away from the lake? Or close enough?

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Kalyan June 21, 2019 - 1:42 pm

All the cottages and tents are in two rows, the first row is hardly 50m from the lake and the second row is around 70m from the lake. We stayed in the first row – just come down, cross the road and you are at the lake.

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Vargis.Khan June 21, 2019 - 9:30 pm

Thanks Kartik Bhai.

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UTTAM KUMAR SEN March 17, 2019 - 3:12 am

Dear Vargis,
Is their any reliable moyorcycle rental service in leh? Please suggest me the best one and provide their contact number. Thanking you,
UKS

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ravi February 4, 2019 - 1:44 pm

vargiis bahi me plan to trip leh pls suggestion which best place to visist n d relx also 7 days

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Amitha November 28, 2018 - 4:16 am

Hello Sir,

Me and 4 of my friends are doing Chadar trek from Jan 12 to 20. We have a plan of staying back for 2 more days and visit pangong lake. Will it be safe. Please guide.

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Vargis.Khan November 28, 2018 - 12:29 pm

Yes it will be

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Somnath bera October 25, 2018 - 7:45 am

Sir,
Plz up ka mobile no do .
Plz sir JI.

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Thasneem July 29, 2018 - 6:12 am

Hi vargis bhai

We are a group of 5 youngsters from kerala planing for 7-8days leh ladak trip in this September 12 Thasneem Hadi EK onwards. Plz have a review of our itinerary

Day 1) reach leh in morning by flight rest and local sightseeing.
Day 2) leh local sightseeing and rest
Day 3) leh – Nubra Valley and night stay.
Day 4) nubra valley – pangong lake and night stay.
Day 5) pangong – tso moriri night stay
Day 6) Tso Moriri- leh
Day 7) leh local sightseeing/ buffer day
Day8) leh – delhi return by flight in morning.

What do you think about the itinerary. Can we execute it without any hassle? We are planning to hire a local taxi from leh for the nubra – pangong- tso moriri. What about the innerline permits requirement if we are hiring local taxi.

Thanks in advance.

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Vargis.Khan July 29, 2018 - 6:26 am

Hi Thasneem Bhai,

Your itinerary is OK if you are hiring a local taxi. Permits you will have to arrange yourself or can even ask the taxi driver to keep it ready for you. Talk to Nasir in Leh @ 9906229203. He runs his own taxi there. If things work out then hire him and see if he can also get the permits.

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THASNEEM July 29, 2018 - 8:13 am

I will contact him soon. Once again Thank u very much.

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Vargis.Khan July 29, 2018 - 10:15 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Chandra Soni June 26, 2018 - 4:07 pm

Hello Vargis Bhai,

I can see you helping people with any sort of information they need from valley and your timely response it really helps !! Doing good Job Bro.

I appreciate if you could help me also with a piece of information to make our journey well planned and comfortable since it is with family.

Here are the plans:

Lucknow to Jammu ( Vaishno Devi )- July 14th-2018
Jammu to Srinagar- July 15th
July 19, Srinagar to Lucknow.

16, 17,18 we want to cover Leh Ladakh and srinagar, since time is less we want to cover important places only.

so would it be advisable to go Leh Ladakh directly from Jammu, if yes how, how long would it take.

how much time is sufficient in Leh Ladakh, we want to cover pongong, nubra and shapti etc.

then we want to return to srinagar to see all famous place over there.

kindly suggest.

Thanks,
Chandra

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Vargis.Khan June 26, 2018 - 6:10 pm

Chandra Bhai you cannot do Ladakh and Sriangar in 3 days. Just to reach Leh city and come back to Srinagar will need 4 days at least.

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Chandra June 27, 2018 - 8:31 pm

Thanks Bhai, will plan accordingly.

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Vargis.Khan June 28, 2018 - 12:34 am

You are welcome Bhai !!!

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Chandra June 30, 2018 - 11:37 am

Bhai,

One more:-)

I am looking for a good hotel in range of 3-5K a day in Srinagar on Jly 15th afternoon, I am also expecting hotel to organise a trip for me to pahlgam and gulmarg within 16&17 july, then comeback to srinagar on 17th night, july 18th local tour only in srinagar.

Please guide if you have some good options for me. For 2 adults and 2 kids.

Thanks
Chandra

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Vargis.Khan June 30, 2018 - 4:23 pm

Chandra Bhai please speak to Faisal in Srinagar @ 9596 410670. Give my reference and he will arrange both your accommodation in Srinagar and your trip to Gulmarg and Pahalgam at reasonable rates.

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Amit May 26, 2018 - 7:20 am

Hello vargis bhai.
Can u please suggest better for my plan
Day 1 : arrive in morning & stay at leh
Day 2 : rent bike and go to nubra then return back to leh
Day 3: local site seen and stay
Day 4: rent a bike to pangong lake and return to leh
Day 5 : Local site seen
Day 6: return flight
Is this ok or should I replan this.
Thanks

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Nitin Mahajan May 1, 2018 - 7:07 am

Thank a ton Vargis Bhai, this information is gold mine. I am planning to travel with wife to Leh 2nd week of june. Here is my itinerary:
Day 1 & 2 : Stay in Leh
Day 3: Rent a bike from Leh and go to nubra valley via khardungla
Day 4: Start back from Nubra valley and reach Leh Via same road
Day 5: start bike journey towards pangong lake
Day 6: return back to Leh

I need suggestions:
1. I have not driven bike in last 4 years but I have good experience on driving cars.
Do you think these roads will be risky ? Should I take car on rent?

2. Should I drop pangong from iteniary as this stretch seems riskier or hire a cab?

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Vargis.Khan May 1, 2018 - 2:53 pm

Thanks Nitin Bhai. If you have not ridden a bike in 4 years then I must advise you to do so first. Get your hands on a motorcycle and ride it around for a few weeks before going to Leh. Roads to Nubra and Pangong are not that risky. They are mostly all smooth except for a few bad stretches around Khardung and Chang La top but even then, you must first get a bit comfortable on the motorcycle since you will also have a pillion.

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Nitin Mahajan May 1, 2018 - 3:41 pm

Thanks a lot Bhai, great advice will rent a bike here in May for two weeks. All your blogs have wealth of information, you have simple yet powerful writing style.

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Vargis.Khan May 1, 2018 - 7:06 pm

Thank you for your kind words Nitin Bhai. I appreciate it.

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Piyush April 30, 2018 - 6:05 am

Google may shows distance between Leh to pangong is around 270 whereas various articles says around 170.. what is the actual distance..if I travel from nubra to pangong can I stay for a night gault somewhere in between..I am traveling for the first time to Leh with my wife and have planned to do it on a bullet.

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Vargis.Khan April 30, 2018 - 7:01 pm

Google Map shows the distance way ahead of Merak and then it takes you on the other side of lake . Search Leh to Spangmik and that will be the actual distance. Spangmik is where you will go, not the point which Google marks as Pangong.

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Jayendra Soni April 26, 2018 - 2:25 am

Hello Vargiskhan

By 7th May 2018, We have planned to travel leh by Sedan car Nissan Micra from Baroda to Srinagar to Leh via Kargil, then return via Manali route. We will stay at Leh and visit surrounding places such as
nubra valley, Turtuk, pangong, Tso Moriri, jispa. Plz advise me can we go all places by my car or we have to hire car in Leh to visit places. Also advise us to make night stay if we go to all places.

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Vargis.Khan April 26, 2018 - 5:06 pm

Hi Jayendra,

Low ground clearance of Nissan Micra will be a huge problem during the trip. Add to it the fact that you are traveling early in the season so road conditions too will be really bad. Zojila pass right now is closed and you are going on 7th May so there will be a lot of slush, mud, water crossing etc at that stretch. Manali Leh highway is closed right now and is expected to open towards Late May so whether or not you can return that way cannot be guaranteed right now.

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parveen gosain April 23, 2018 - 2:27 am

Vargis bhai, we are planning to visit Leh from Delhi from 18th May to 29 May by road in our Innova car so few queries I have if you can respond:
A. Srinagar to Leh and Leh to Manali highway would be opened during this time?
B. Shall we take our car to Nubra valley/ Panamik/Pangong considering the roads condition or should we hire a govt taxi there??
C. Wts the best suitable itinerary you suggest day wise

Thanks!

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Vargis.Khan April 23, 2018 - 3:32 pm

Hello Parveen Bhai,

1. Yes both the roads should be open by this time
2. Yes you can take your own car. Do not hire a taxi, it will just be additional expense.
3. Take a look at the link below please and see if either of these work for you.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/tag/ladakh-itinerary/

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parveen gosain April 24, 2018 - 1:26 pm

Thanks bhai for your quick response…one more question…Innova car ground clearance is ard 170 …is it fine to take your car to Pangong or Nubra Valley because someone mentioned that ground clearance should be more than 190 ??

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Vargis.Khan April 24, 2018 - 6:35 pm

Innova is fine Parveen Bhai. A lot of local taxi drivers have Innovas there so you are OK.

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Sushil April 19, 2018 - 8:12 pm

Hi Vargis
Great n detail info about leh, we friends will be travelling ladhak on 20th june to 24th june on 3rd day we will be travelling from Nubra valley to pongong lake via Agham- Shyok road , will it be safe to travel thru that route

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Vargis.Khan April 19, 2018 - 8:21 pm

Yes it is quite safe to travel. There is however a great chance that this road may not open this year at all or get closed later. If however it is open at the time of your travel then you may traverse on it.

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Sushil April 23, 2018 - 7:33 pm

Thanx Vargis bhai

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Vargis.Khan April 23, 2018 - 8:04 pm

You are welcome Bhai. Let me know if I can be of any other help.

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suprava April 2, 2018 - 10:50 am

Hi Virghis, great info. I am planning a trip to pangong lake from kolkata in October. will take a bike with a friend from manali via rohtang. Is it a good time coz I love greenery. Will I get to see greenery? And also if you can provide some more details about it then it would be of great help

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Vargis.Khan April 2, 2018 - 1:59 pm

Yes you can go but plan in first 10 days of October only, no later than that. After this, it can snow on the route anytime blocking the road.

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Meenaxi March 22, 2018 - 12:56 pm

Hello Vargis,

Is it a good idea to book hotels after reaching the destination. We are planning to stay at following places
1. Srinagar
2. Kargil
3. Leh
4. Dikshit/Hunder
5. Pangong
6. Tso Moiri

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Vargis.Khan March 22, 2018 - 6:16 pm

Hello Meenaxi – Yes you will easily find accommodation at all these places. Reach here, find a place per your liking and negotiate an on the spot deal.

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Paromita Roychoudhury January 10, 2018 - 9:07 am

Hello Vargis, Thanks for the all the info you have put in your blog. We have booked tkts to Leh for 9th May. Traveling with an 8yr old kid. Do you advice on night stay at Pang gong Tso?
Itinerary is as per below:
Day 1: Arrive and rest
Day 2: Local sight seeing
Day 3: Nubra via Khardungla. Night stay
Day 4: Nubra to Pang gong. Return to Leh or night stay. ( Advice- if the road to Pang gong directly from Nubra at that time will be motorable or not. How long will it take? Can we do day trip to Pang gong and return back to Leh the same day? Is it possible to stay in Pang gong the night?
Day 5: Monastry sight seeing from Leh
Day 6: suggest some sightseeing that can be done.

If we do not stay night at Pang gong we shall get an extra day to spend. Please suggest some sight seeing. Since we are traveling with a child is it advisable to stay in Pang gong?
Thanks in advance

Paromita

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Vargis.Khan January 12, 2018 - 5:02 pm

Hello Paromita – Thank you for your encouraging words.

Since you would already have spent 2 days in Leh and one in Nubra, staying at Pangong would be OK but Shyok road may not be open at that time. It usually opens by June. If however it is open then yes, you can stay for a night at Pangong. For now, better keep your plan like this.

Day 1: Arrive and rest
Day 2: Local sight seeing
Day 3: Take a drive on Leh Srinagar Highway. Go until Lamayuru and return to Leh by evening
Day 4: Nubra via Khardungla. Night stay
Day 5: Nubra to Leh
Day 6: Leh to Pangong and return (start early from Leh)

If Shyok road is open then follow this plan,

Day 1: Arrive and rest
Day 2: Local sight seeing
Day 3: Take a drive on Leh Srinagar Highway. Go until Lamayuru and return to Leh by evening
Day 4: Nubra via Khardungla. Night stay
Day 5: Nubra to Pangong via Shyok road
Day 6: Pangong to Leh

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S Dutta November 19, 2017 - 6:42 am

Hi vargis,
I want to know where can a book a shared taxi from in leh to reach the pangong lake and are they easily available? And can the hotel staff help me with the permit and the shared taxi becoz in sikkim the same happened.

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Vargis.Khan November 19, 2017 - 10:49 pm

Hello Sayani – For shared cab, just reach Leh bus stand and board one from there. And yes, hotels can help keeping the permits arranged in advance, they will charge you additional for it of course.

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Saraswati Rawat October 22, 2017 - 10:46 am

Wow! this is a great information, have been there in 2013 and it was an amazing experience

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Vargis.Khan October 23, 2017 - 3:13 pm

Thank you Mr. Rawat

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Ameen August 29, 2017 - 2:48 pm

Dear Varghis bhai,

I don’t have enough words to appreciate the great help you’re rendering to fellow travellers. Best wishes for your endeavours.

I’m planning to fly from Delhi to Leh solo on 14th sept 2017 (morning flight which reaches at 6-7am) and spend 4 days/3nights as i return back on 18th Morning.

Can you suggest a good itinerary to cover these (some, if not all, but one lake at least) and how to travel/stay:

1. Nubra Valley
2. Tso Moriri lake
3. Pangog lake
4. Khardungla
Anything else that replaces these and is a natural landscape/surrounding possible to explore.

I prefer basic tents /homestays/ shared rooms/shared cabs to hotels and private car bookings.

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Ram August 20, 2017 - 3:12 am

Hello Vargis Bhai,

Is Nubra to Pangong road via Wari la open?

August last week status?

Couldn’t find latest status on it…

Also any suggestions to keep dslr safe while in bike?

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Vargis.Khan August 21, 2017 - 1:36 pm

Hello Ram Bhai – Last I heard it was closed and there is a high chance that it may not open at all this year. I have a strange way of keeping my camera safe. I have a thick windproof jacket, not too tight. All the time I ride, my camera hangs around my neck. I put it there and zip the jacket over it. It serves two purpose, since it is around my neck, I know it is safe. Second, where I see a photo opportunity, I just stop the motorcycle, unzip the jacket, take the camera out, shoot, put it back in, zip up and ride on. No hassle of getting off the bike, taking the camera out, putting it back in etc and there are plenty of photo moments while you are going to Ladakh.

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DJ August 16, 2017 - 2:46 am

Hi Varghis Bhai, is the recent Chinese aggression a problem for bikers to Pangong? Also any workshops available at Pangong area?
Thanks

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Vargis.Khan August 16, 2017 - 12:55 pm

Hello DJ – It is no problem around the areas where tourists are allowed. You are OK to go to Pangong but no mechanic workshops or gas stations there.

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Hari August 1, 2017 - 5:59 pm

Hi vargis is it adviced to go to pangong from nubra on bike .Hari

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 9:04 pm

Hi Hari – If you have decent enough biking experience and know how to handle bad roads then yes, you can go directly to Pangong from Nubra valley.

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Anupam Drona July 31, 2017 - 2:12 pm

HELLO VARGIS..

WE R TRAVELLING TO LEH BY DUSTER , WILL REACH LEH ON 4 SEPT VIA SRINAGAR KARGIL , PLEASE SUGGEST BEST ROUTE SO THAT WE CAN VISIT NUBRA VALLEY , PANGONG AND THAN PROCEED TO PANG , SARCHU WITHOUT RETURNING TO LEH . WANT TO LEAVE FOR NUBRA VALLEY ON 6TH SEPT AND REACH SARCHU ON 8TH SEPT.

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 3:15 pm

Hello Anupam, You can go to Nubra valley on 6th, then to Pangong Tso via Wari La or Shyok road on 7th. On 8th, you can travel to either Pang or Sarchu from Pangong via Chang La.

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Prateek Bardhan June 26, 2017 - 10:41 pm

Hi Varghis,
I intend to do a Ladakh trip this July. And this will be my first time. The itinerary is all set but I wanted to ask that how much distance can one cover on bikes given the condition of those roads in one day before the sun sets? I’m assuming about 200 to 250 kms. Let me know if I’m wrong and/if there is any patches of road where it’s extremely difficult to drive.

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Vargis.Khan June 27, 2017 - 2:04 am

Hi Prateek Bhai, Hard to tell based on distance. Let me know what your itinerary is and I can suggest if it is doable. If any changes are required, I can let you know.

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Prateek Bardhan June 28, 2017 - 4:42 pm

Yeah, my itinerary is somewhat like this but it can change depending on conditions
Day 1 Jalandhar to Srinagar
Day 2 Srinagar to Kargil
Day 3 Kargil to leh
Day 4 leh
Day 5 nubra valley
Day 6 pangong
Day 7 back to leh
Day 8 jispa
Day 9 Manali
Day 10 Jalandhar.

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Vargis.Khan June 28, 2017 - 7:33 pm

Your itinerary looks good Prateek Bhai. The only suggestion I would make here is to not come back to Leh from Pangong on Day 7. You will anyways have to backtrack until Karu the next day. So on Day 7, change it to Pangong to Pang or Pangong to Sarchu. On Day 8, you can do Pang / Sarchu to Jispa.

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Prateek Bardhan June 28, 2017 - 7:59 pm

Sure. Thank you so much Varghis Bhai.

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Prateek Bardhan June 28, 2017 - 8:04 pm

One more thing. Please let me know if there’s any stretch in my itinerary which is difficult to drive through.
Thank you.

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Vargis.Khan June 28, 2017 - 8:17 pm

How are you planning to go from Nubra to Pangong direct? which route?

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Prateek Bardhan June 28, 2017 - 8:29 pm

I was thinking about taking the shyok village route but I was advised against it. So I will be traveling through the wari la route to tangste and then pangong.

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Vargis.Khan June 28, 2017 - 8:52 pm

That is the longer route actually. The last 20 kilometers of the ascent to Wari La is really steep and you need to ensure that you motorcycle is in best condition. Agham Shyok is a badly broken dirt trail but shorter and will see you at Pangong from Nubra within 5-6 hours.

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Prateek Bardhan June 28, 2017 - 8:56 pm

So which route would you suggest. I’ll be taking a royal Enfield Thunderbird 350. I’ll ensure the condition is the best that can be. But is the shyok agham route doable keeping in mind this is my first Ladakh trip. I have done bad broken roads in Himachal. But I don’t know how bad that road is.

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Vargis.Khan June 28, 2017 - 9:39 pm

Take a look at this post, I have posted some pictures.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/agham-shyok-road/

If you are comfortable riding here, then take this route. If not then take the Wari La road but that will take you about 8-9 hours to reach Pangong.

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Prateek Bardhan June 28, 2017 - 9:43 pm

Thanks a ton Varghis Bhai. I’m pretty confident I can take the agham shyok road. Let’s see what happens. Thanks again.

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Vargis.Khan June 28, 2017 - 9:48 pm

You are welcome Prateek Bhai. Let me know how the trip went and don’t forget to share some pics.

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9845635164 June 25, 2017 - 8:47 am

Hi varghese, I am planning to visit ladak on may 1st week of 2018, is the road of khardunga pass and Penang lake is open

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Vargis.Khan June 26, 2017 - 12:05 am

Hello – Yes it is open

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CHETAN CHOWHAN May 13, 2017 - 8:54 am

what is the realistic driving time from leh to pangong

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Vargis.Khan May 13, 2017 - 11:33 pm

5-6 hours minimum if you limit your breaks.

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CHETAN CHOWHAN May 17, 2017 - 6:56 am

Is it possible to cover khardungla, leh, pangong lake, with tata indigo car from manali and return by keylong , kaza, spity vally, hikkim , komik, kalpa, kinnaur, site seen, sarahan to narkanda by same indigo

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Vargis.Khan May 17, 2017 - 8:24 pm

Are you asking about a rented car or private vehicle? If rented, then no, you cannot rent a cab in Manali and take it to Nubra or Pangong. For this you will have to rent a local cab in Leh.

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CHETAN CHOWHAN May 18, 2017 - 3:32 am

No it’s my private car, tata indigo, jharkhand registered. Is the root is suitable for that car? And thnx vargis for all given information.

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Vargis.Khan May 18, 2017 - 4:34 am

Yes you can do it but the drive from Gramphoo to Kaza will be extremely tough. This stretch is badly broken and you will have to drive very carefully to ensure no damage to the belly of your car. How many days are you planning to give to the entire route including Ladakh and Spiti?

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CHETAN CHOWHAN May 18, 2017 - 8:20 am

15 days, starting from shimla and ending at chandigarh.

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Vargis.Khan May 18, 2017 - 2:32 pm

15 days to cover both Spiti and Manali can be a little hectic Chetan. What is your itinerary? Let me know and I will suggest if any changes can be made.

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CHETAN CHOWHAN May 13, 2017 - 8:52 am

Can i go with my own car from leh to pangong tso, Is there any vehicle restriction?

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Vargis.Khan May 13, 2017 - 11:32 pm

No restriction as long as the car is registered in your name and you are carrying all valid documents, RC, PUC, Insurance and your DL.

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Mohammed Azkar Hussain April 6, 2017 - 8:16 am

We are planning to go on Bikes from Srinagar to Leh around 30th April 2017 and then Leh to Pangong on 1st May. Later want to go Leh to Manali on 5th May. Can you please let us know Srinagar-Leh,Leh-Pangong, Leh-Manali road will be open between 1-7 May 2017

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Vargis.Khan April 8, 2017 - 5:42 am

No to all. Srinagar Leh road will open in early May and Manali Leh road will open in early June.

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Shamil shoukkath February 27, 2017 - 7:46 pm

We are planning a trip to leh, kardung la and pangong tsu on march 25. Actually we are comming from kerala by train to delhi. From there we will rent a motorcycle.then to leh…. What are the things to keep in mind and in how many days we can cover those places. No need to stay for long.. Our time too short

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Vargis.Khan February 28, 2017 - 12:43 am

You cannot go to Ladakh by road in March Shamil. Srinagar Leh highway won’t open until Late April and Manali Leh highway will remain closed until June.

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Santosh February 18, 2017 - 8:04 pm

Hi and thanks for your information. My concern is altitude sickness . How can this be avoided or minimized.
Thanks
Santosh

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Vargis.Khan February 19, 2017 - 12:59 am

Hi Santosh – Take a look at the article below detailing how to deal with AMS in Ladakh.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/dealing-acute-mountain-sickness-ladakh/

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Deepak kumar November 26, 2016 - 3:37 pm

Wich is Best place To halt in ladak and how much distance between ladak city to pangong Lake and how to go there

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ABIJITH AZHAKATH August 26, 2016 - 1:24 pm

Hi varghese,

am planing to visit lej ladakh on sept 8.to sept 17. could u plz advice which all places i should visit. We are planning to start from manali – leh highway .i already have a few places in the list like, pangong, sangam river rafting,magnetic hill etc. Since you had vivited this place it will be of great help if you can put in some suggestions . Anticipating your reply.
By the way you had done a great job by creating this website. This is really helping a lot of peoplE

Thanks & regards

Anjali & Abijith

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Vargis.Khan August 30, 2016 - 2:01 am

Abhijith – What is your itinerary? Some of the places you can cover are Leh palace, Shey palace, Nubra Valley, Tso Moriri, Shanti Stoopa, Sham valley, Zanskar valley etc.

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Binay July 27, 2017 - 6:20 pm

Hello Vargis
I along with three others are planning a bike trip from Nubra to Pangong lake in second week of August. Can you suggest us the route that we can take. Have heard that the shyok route is currently closed. Because of our hotel booking schedule we need to travel in a single day from nubra to pangong.
Please suggest.

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 8:08 pm

Hello Binay – Yes the shyok road is closed as of now. If you want to make this journey in a single day, then start really early from Nubra and take the Wari La route to reach Sakti. From Sakti you will cross Chang La to reach Pangong.

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