Leh to Spangmik – On the Shores of Pangong Tso

by Vargis.Khan

This post is in continuation with Day 5 of the travelogue of one of my Ladakh rides. We stayed in Leh on Day 5; arranged permits and traveled from Leh to Spangmik on Day 6. Please click on the link below to read previous part of the travelogue.

Journey so Far: Day 5 – Trouble in Leh City

The next morning we ended up sleeping till late. Even though the plan was of starting early towards Pangong; it was well past 10 by the time we left Leh. Since we knew that we would not be returning to Leh; and will continue home from Pangong; we bid our host goodbye and checked out of the hotel. While the others spent time packing and getting fueled up, I went to the nearby ATM to withdraw cash and get a T-Shirt for everyone that read “Ladakh”, a sort of memoir of the journey.

Leh to Spangmik

The first stop came a little after; at Karu for much needed cup of tea and some breakfast.There was an Army truck parked nearby selling more Ladakh souvenirs and we decided to buy a few hats.

After Karu, we took the diversion towards Sakti and were soon on the ascent towards Mighty Chang La. Road was mostly good but really ugly towards Chang La top. The entire journey did not take us long enough and pretty soon; we were posing for pictures at Chang La top.

leh to spangmik

Chang La to Pangong

After spending some time, having something to eat and drink at the army cafeteria; we continued towards Pangong. The moment we started, to all our surprises; it started to snow at Chang La. Temperature suddenly dropped at an alarming rate while we hurried down. Not long after, we came across our 4th high altitude lake of the journey, Tso Ltak.

The Serpent

I stopped to take a few pictures somewhere around in the pic below while others carried on. After clicking some shots, I moved to catch up only to find Sunny and Shoaib on the ground a few meters ahead. At a sharp turn, there was a lot of sand on the road which caused their motorcycles to dis-balance. Luckily it was the sand itself that avoided any injuries to either of them. After getting them back on their feet and a hearty laugh, we continued on the journey.

Sunny and Shoaib on the ground.

There was an entire stretch of road completely covered with sand. I decided to go first, crossed it successfully without falling down; and others followed.

At Pangong

We registered ourselves at Tangste. this time we had to pay a fee of Rs. 10 / person to go visit Pangong. It wasn’t the case the last time we were here; but considering the crowd that ha started to come this way now and the mess they make at the banks of the lake; it is quite reasonable to charge.

After Tangtse and just a little before Pangong; came our 5th high altitude lake, Chagar Tso. This lake is a beauty in itself. But everyone is so occupied with the idea of reaching Pangong that this lake remains invisible to everyone; except for the ones looking for it which I happened to be.

It didn’t take us long to reach Spangmik, thanks to the good road conditions; but both Shoaib and I were shocked upon reaching there. Last we visited Pangong, there was nothing but a government run hotel here and only one camping site. But this year, it was an entirely different story. There were dhabas and camping sites all around which kind of also killed our spirits in a way.

The Camp Site

We located one camping site where we were the only guests and decided to check in; because it was solace that we were expecting here. Some alone time in peace and silence on the banks of the beautiful lake.

What followed was a long walk along the banks of Pangong Tso; tons of pictures and plenty of fun. Soon dark took over and we returned to the camp site. The owner was kind enough to arrange a bonfire and served us dinner right there.

After dinner, it was time to call it a day and crawl under blankets in our tent.

And so ended our 5th day of the journey. Plan for tomorrow was to ride on the Chushul route and reach Hanle. But nothing really turned out to be the we way we planned. With no idea about how adventurous the next day was going to be, all of us soon dozed off.

Leh to Pangong Lake Road Condition

The road from Leh to Pangong Tso is mostly all good, except for a few bad patches in between. The really ugly stretch is around Chang La top; but except for those few kilometers, rest of the journey is smooth.

Leh to Pangong Travel Time

The entire journey will take you about 6-8 hours depending upon your breaks and speed.

Journey Ahead: Day 7 – Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri

Planning a trip to Ladakh? Need help with any of your 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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