Pangong Lake to Tso Moriri Travel Time & Road Condition

by Vargis.Khan

One of the most common queries I receive on a daily basis is regarding reaching Tso Moriri directly from Pangong. There is a lot of confusion regarding how long it takes to reach from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri. People would plan their itinerary assuming that it is a single day journey and they will make it to Moriri on the same day. Reality however is entirely different. Distance between these two lakes may not be that great but the fact remains that it is at least a 2 days journey. There is absolutely no way that you can make it to Karzok from Pangong while the sun is still in the sky and I am speaking this out of experience. While I did not do this intentionally and we ended up completing this journey on the same day but by the time we reached Karzok, it was pitch black all around and clock was showing just about midnight, after starting from Pangong at about 9 AM. The entire journey from Loma till Karzok was completed in rush due to no roads, no help and absolutely pitch black. We ended up getting lost as well which added another couple of hours to an already tiresome day.

road-from-pangong-tso-to-tso-moriri-1

There are 2 ways to reach Moriri from Pangong. One is either you return to Leh and then go to Karzok. If you are doing this then you already would know that it took you good 8 hours to get to Pangong from Leh so there is absolutely no way that you can reach back to Leh and continue to Moriri, hoping to reach in time before the sun sets. For this route, you would have to return to Leh, spend the night there and then continue to Moriri on the next day.

road-from-pangong-tso-to-tso-moriri

Another, shorter and more popular route is via Chushul. For someone who hasnโ€™t been to Ladakh and is planning their first trip, the small distance of 200 odd kilometers on this route gets misleading. If this is your itinerary then you must consider the fact that road on this route is almost non-existent. For most of the journey, you will have to follow a dirt track created by Army trucks, as shown in the pic above. Below is another pic of the road.




You cannot rush on these roads and for the initial couple of hours you will be driving right next to Pangong Lake which would also mean frequent breaks. Even on the patches where you will actually be on a road, the condition will not really be that great. This ideally is a 2 days journey at the least. If you are on a motorcycle, then you may hope to reach Karzok by sunset if you started by first light of the day from Pangong. But if you are in a car, then this journey must be broken in to two days. You will also have to consider the fact that you will be stopping at several places for registering yourself with ITBP check posts. Another reason you cannot speed up is because you will have to drive slowly and carefully to ensure that you remain on the right track. As I mentioned, there is no road and one wrong turn taken in rush (which happened with me) can land you in trouble. This entire area is highly sensitive so there is absolutely no one in sight that you can ask for help or directions except for the army guys. An ideal plan should be

Day 1 – Spangmik-Man-Merak-Chushul -Saga-Loma-Hanle

Day 2 – Hanle- Loma -Nyoma-Mahe-Sumdo-Karzok.( Tso Moriri)

For more information on this route, please visit the following article where I have explained the entire route with a map.

So if you are planning on the either of these routes, please ensure that you make it a 2 days journey and then only you can enjoy your trip without getting tired and rushing through the entire day.

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54 comments

Jolly Chatterjee February 2, 2019 - 2:02 pm

Dear Vargis Khan,
Hi! There will be 6 people travelling from Pangong lake in the month of early June. Three people will be traveling towards Tsmoriri while the other 3 will return Leh.
. .So , the car will start by early morning at 7am from Pangong and will reach Karu, where 3 people will be shifted to another car for onward journey to Leh, while the other 3 people will be heading towards Upshi and then towards Tsmoriri Lake.
Now, my question is, in comparison to the traditional and popular route from Pangong to Tsmoriri via chusul village, Nyoma etc.,, How far this route is feasible to travel in a day? Starting from Pangong at 7 am , in this route , when is the car expected to reach at Tsmoriri ? In Comparison to previous and popular route via Chusul village, how much extra time can be taken in this route (via Karu and Upshi) to reach Tsmoriri Lake?

Please provide the information, it’s urgent.

Thanks in advance.
Jolly Chatterjee.
02.02.2019.

Reply
Vargis.Khan February 2, 2019 - 2:44 pm

Hello Jolly, Yes it is doable if you started from Pangong by first light of the day. The journey can take you well over 12 hours so please ensure that you start and take breaks accordingly.

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Smylee Nallalagu August 1, 2018 - 8:48 am

Hi Vargis! Thank you this very informative article. We are planning to hire bikes from Manali(2 nights in manali), go to Chandrataal spend a night there, and ride up to Sarchu or Pang spend a night there and then head to Tso Moriri(spend a night there) and then head to Pangong(breaking one night en-route somewhere). Spend a night at Pangong Lake and then head up to Nubra Valley(a night there), then head to Leh. Is this doable? Any pointers would be great. Thank you and appreciate your help!

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2018 - 2:57 pm

Hi Smylee – You cannot go straight to Tso Moriri without first getting the permits from Leh city.

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Supriya May 29, 2018 - 2:22 pm

Hi Vargis, First of all I would like to Thank You for writing such informative blogs on areas that are still a bit of an unknown! I wanted to check if you have any latest update on the road condition on this route from Tso Moriri to Pangong via Chushul? I had read that in 2017 there was a lot of alternate roads construction done in Nubra, Pangong, Tso moriri region. But research on the internet or YT does not lend any latest information. It would be great if you can add an update to this article. Thanks again!

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Rox July 12, 2019 - 7:04 pm

My friends completed the ride from pangong to TSO Moriri today 12/7/19 and there exists no proper road as such. They to follow the marks of army trucks and the route is full of stones. They completed the ride in a day though and now resting for 2 days due to the strain and pain. Better find alternate routes or go back to Karu halt and then ride to TSO Moriri

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Vargis.Khan July 12, 2019 - 10:11 pm

Thanks Rox

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Jack April 25, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Hi Vargis, m a bit confused after researching, which is better Tso Moriri or Pangong (Also in terms of accomodations & quiteness)
I have a tight schedule and for me i can spend either 1 night at Tso moriri or Pangong

Can you please help me out here coz the above itinerary is on my days towards the end of ladakh trip

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Vargis.Khan April 25, 2018 - 2:17 pm

Hi Jack – If you can just pick one then pick Pangong.

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Jack April 26, 2018 - 5:07 am

Okies.. Thnkx for the suggestion, surely i’l share my trip experience with you!
My only concern in the trip between Srinagar to Leh only when i reach srinagar, i’l come to knw whether i will be able to reach in a days time or whether i have to stay for sometime! ๐Ÿ™‚
[Timing/Day isnt planned yet on this route]

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Vargis.Khan April 26, 2018 - 5:03 pm

I didn’t understand brother. You want to travel from Srinagar to Leh in a single day?

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Jack April 27, 2018 - 4:49 am

Yea.. this is what i had planned & hoped, yes but i want to stay & visit Drass memorial for few hrs which is opened from 7 to 3

Vargis.Khan April 27, 2018 - 1:38 pm

You cannot travel from Srinagar to Leh in a day. The journey will take you minimum 18 hours in a non-stop taxi.

Jack April 27, 2018 - 5:19 am

i am planning a 1 day trip from Srinagar to Leh with few hours halt at Drass memorial
1st Day iโ€™l stay in leh & arrange for permits (I heard that huge lines are there for permits)
2nd day is one day trip to Diskit/Hunder from Leh
3rd day iโ€™l goto Pangong.. spend a night there and leave the next day,
remaining 3rd day iโ€™l utilize for shopping and local sightseeing if required
and on 4th day, i will be leaving from Leh by flight

Jack April 30, 2018 - 5:09 am

Hi Vargis, i understand your points, i’l see what i can do after reaching Srinagar.

Bdw, can you advice me where to stay at pangong inorder to get a better view & quiet nights, also in term of budget ๐Ÿ™‚ (Whether should i stay at pangong hotels/tents or further at Spangmik)

thanks in advance

Vargis.Khan April 30, 2018 - 7:02 pm

In terms of budget and good view stay at the Chadar tens at Spangmik.

Amit Upadhyay August 6, 2017 - 8:49 pm

Hi, We have prepared an itinerary for Leh – Pangong Tso – Chusul – Tso Moriri – Leh in 3 days.
Day 1: Leh – Pangong Tso (stay at Spangmik)
Day 2: Pangong Tso (Spangmik) – Chusul – Tso Moriri (stay at Tso Moriri)
Day 3: Tso Moriri – Leh
Kindly accord whether these routes are OK.
We are traveling on Aug 20,21,22 2017 through this route.
The major concern for this route is fuel as it is very long travel of around 650kms. with only petrol pump at Leh. We will rent Bullet 500 which has 13.5 ltrs. tank only and load will of driver + pillion + one travel bag. Suggest what mileage we can expect on this route with Bullet 500 and also how much fuel extra we have to carry, is it feasible to carry so much fuel while driving through dirt roads?
I have visited Leh – Pangong – Leh in single day in 2015 and your forum has been a great help to us during our last trip as well. Kindly address our issues, it will be a great help. Thanks.. Regards, Amit Upadhyay

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Vargis.Khan August 7, 2017 - 2:25 pm

Hi Amit,

First of all, Pangong to Moriri via Chushul is ideally a 2 days journey. If oyu can, add a day here with a night halt at Hanle. So the journey will be leh to pangong, to hanle, to moriri, to Leh, 4 days total. This will be the ideal way to do the journey without rushing anywhere. If you cannot add a day then make sure that you start from Pangong by first light of the day and keep your breaks limited to ensure that you reach Moriri before dark.

For fuel, yes you will need to carry a lot of fuel. Good part however is that you can get petrol at the Chadar tents at Pangong Tso but for double the price, last I was there I tanked up for Rs. 110 per liter. Carry 2 liters Pepsi bottles, fill up 4-5 bottles for each Motorcycle, and carry it that way. After every 40-50 kilometers or so, keep emptying the bottles as you go.

Last but not the least, be very careful arund the dogs on this route. Read the article below to know what I mean.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/the-beasts-of-changtang/

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Amit Upadhyay August 7, 2017 - 2:50 pm

Thanks bro for prompt reply, I guess we can complete it in a day, so we will leave spangmik with the 1st light of the morning, carry extra fuel, we’ll have a small stop at Chushul War Memorial for half an hour and breakfast at Chushul itself..
I guess we’ll reach Tso Moriri by evening!

But this dog story has scared the hell out of us! I am not sure now whether to take this route, I am contemplating whether I should return to Leh and then go to Tso Moriri next day, but I also don’t want to miss the beauty of Changthang valley!!

If u can please enlighten us more about this dog issue, where we’ll find them mostly? And how can we run away from chase on dirt roads?
I went through the article you shared, it’s scary! I am personally petrified by dogs!
Please help whether I should take this route or not?
Thanks

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Vargis.Khan August 7, 2017 - 3:36 pm

Bhai you can take the route but just keep a few things in mind. First of all, ride in group, do not get left behind while others ride ahead like I did. I am a photography enthusiast and mostly it happens with me that I end up falling behind the group by several kilometers, riding all alone because of continuous photography breaks. Do not do that, tell the group to ride close to each other and if one stops and then everyone stops.

You will find these dogs mostly at villages only, or if there is a shepherd establishment. The idea is to not stop at the village unless you are either at the check post or at a Dhaba with locals nearby. This incident with me happened at the Loma village and by the way those dogs were coming towards me running, I could tell that they mean business. So be careful at Loma.

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Amit Upadhyay August 7, 2017 - 3:41 pm

Thank you bro for all your suggestions ๐Ÿ™‚

Vargis.Khan August 7, 2017 - 3:41 pm

http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2016/oct/30/peaceful-land-ladakh-dogged-by-deadly-dogs-1533227.html

Read this, another incident of Dogs eating a girl in Ladakh. Gives some insight on why the dogs there are so aggressive.

Neelabh March 31, 2019 - 10:30 am

Dear Vergis,
Is spangmik to chumathan/ upshi can be done in a day without going back to Leh ? Are there possibilities of getting at least a erage stay without prior booking in June 19 third week.
Thanks for your support
Neelabh

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Vargis.Khan March 31, 2019 - 3:29 pm

Hi Neelabh – Yes you can go to Chumathang or Upshi as well and stay for the night. You should be able to get accommodation without booking as well.

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Sri July 30, 2017 - 11:18 am

Hello dear Vargas,

Thank you very much for all these informations, itโ€™s quite good.

We are planning Ladakh trip in last week of Sep. Is that a good time?
We were wondering if this itinerary seems to be good:
Could you please help:

Day 1 : Arrival in Leh
Day 2 : Excursion to Sham Valley and back to Leh
Day 3: Leh – Nubra via Khardunga Pass
Day 4: Nubra – Leh
Day 5: Pangong Tso and stay overnight
Day 6: Pangong to Hanle
Day 7: Hanle to Tsomoriri
Day 8: Tsomoriri to Leh

We are 2 ladies who will be travelling with one around 60 yrs, do you think it will be safe for us to hire private vehicle and travel?

There are good camps/hotels at Hanle?

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 4:26 pm

Hello Sri – September is a good time to travel to Ladakh and yes, it will be safe to hire a private taxi in Ladakh. If it helps, you may contact Sonam Angdus in Leh at 9469272773. He drives his taxi in Ladakh and is a reliable fellow. You can talk to him and if it works out, hire him for your trip.

Your itinerary looks good, no change required.

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Sri August 1, 2017 - 6:21 pm

Hello Vargis,

Thanks for your reply.One travel agent was saying the road between Pangong and Tsomoriri is not good, so its better to come back to Leh from Pangong and start from Tsomoriri next day from Leh.So my itinerary will look like below :

Day 6: Pangong to Leh
Day 7: Leh to Tsomoriri
Day 8: Tsomoriri to Leh

What is your suggestion here?

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 9:07 pm

Hello Sri – Road is not all that bad, it is a mix of bad and super smooth. Please do not change the itinerary, you must not miss Hanle and vistas en route. You have nothing to worry about since you will be in a private cab with a local driver. Coming back to Leh means that you will just waste one day that can be used to explore more. Take my word for it, the beauty on Pangong-Chushul-Hanle-Tso Moriri route is mesmerizing.

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Sri August 2, 2017 - 3:57 am

Thanks Vargis for your reply. I will not change itinerary then.

Vargis.Khan August 2, 2017 - 2:18 pm

You are welcome Sri. Do let me know how the trip went once you return.

Sri September 17, 2017 - 12:10 pm

Hi Vargis,

We are reaching Leh around 20th Sep. We have Nubra and Pangong both in itinerary. Travel agent has recommended to reach Pangong via Shayok from Nubra. Is the route good and safe now?

Vargis.Khan September 17, 2017 - 9:29 pm

Hi Sri – Yes it is OK to travel on the route now

Ruchi July 20, 2017 - 3:19 am

Hi All,

We are planning for a trip in 2018 May. Will it be a good time for visit. Also can you please tell me the budget, if I want to book an Innova for 4 people for 5 days?
Kindly give me some contact details as well, if possible.

Cheers!

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Vargis.Khan July 20, 2017 - 2:15 pm

For 5 days, taxi alone would cost you about 40,000. Rest depends on the hotel you check in to but you can get a good enough hotel in Ladakh for 1000 – 1500.

For taxi, you can contact Sonam Angdus @ 09469272773

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Ruchi August 1, 2017 - 7:09 pm

Thanks Vargis. I see that you reply to all the comments and queries very patiently and in as much details as possible. It’s highly appreciated from my end. You are doing a great job

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 9:01 pm

Thank you for your appreciating words Ruchi.

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Ankur Chaturvedi June 15, 2017 - 7:24 am

Hi Sir,
Planning a trip with my wife and three yrs old kid. Can you share the no. of Taxi driver you have mentioned in your comments? Plus whats your views on taking direct flight to leh and skipping driving Srinagar to leh?

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Vargis.Khan June 15, 2017 - 1:32 pm

Hello Ankur Bhai,

If you are traveling with a 3 year old, I would recommend taking a look at the post below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/traveling-to-ladakh-with-children/

When are you traveling? Amarnath Yatra will be starting towards the end of this month, causing a lot of traffic and chances of unrest in the valley. If your plan is after 25th June and before 10th July, it is not the best time to be driving on Srinagar Leh highway.

Number of taxi driver is 9469272773 and his name is Sonam Angdus.

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Ankur Chaturvedi June 15, 2017 - 6:48 pm

we are starting on 24th june from Delhi and planning to drive it myself. will it be very difficult to drive from Manali Leh. I think I am bit confused myself. Suggest which side will be best with kid and first time driving to leh? Please help
M reading the Like you suggested, it is informative
Thanks

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Vargis.Khan June 15, 2017 - 8:26 pm

If you are starting from Delhi on 24th then take the Srinagar Leh route to reach Ladakh and Manali Leh road for your return journey. As long as you have decent enough experience at the wheel, it wont be too difficult to manage. Which are are you bringing?

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GLt June 11, 2017 - 5:35 pm

Hello dear Vargas,

Thank you very much for all these informations, it’s very helpful.

We are going to Ladakh in august.
We were wondering if this itinerary seems to be good:
Could you help please:
Day 1 to day 3: Leh
Day 4 : Lamayuru
Day 5: back to Leh
Day 6: Diskit (2days)
Day 8: Pangong Tso via Shyok route)
Day 9: Hanle
Day 10/11: Tso Moriri
Day 12: Tso Kar
Day 13: back to Leh

Is there any fuel pump in Korzok ?
We are 2 ladies who will be travelling, do you think that we can go by ourself and rent a 4×4?

Thank you very much in advance,

Best regards

Reply
Vargis.Khan June 12, 2017 - 9:02 pm

Hello, Your itinerary looks great and I definitely envy you for being able to spare so much time to explore the area.

Yes, you can go there and rent a taxi. Let me know if you would like me to provide you with a number. I know a driver in Ladakh, he has his own taxi and I have sent a few families to him before, all came back with great feedback.

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Mahesh April 30, 2017 - 2:29 am

Hi. We are planning to go from karzok to panting directly via Mahe and chushul. We are coming from manali. So is required to have intial under road permits to take this route??? Or i can directly move on this road???

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Vargis.Khan April 30, 2017 - 1:37 pm

Hi – You will need permits for this route. Even to go to Tso Moriri, you now need permits so there is no other way except for to come to Leh first and apply for ILP.

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Dr Hemant Datye April 17, 2017 - 3:50 pm

Hi,
I am going for a tour of Pangong Tso-Chushul-Hanle-Tso Moriri as part of a bigger trip of ladakh., In June 2017.
I have between 22nd June Morning 9 AM starting from Psangmik (Pangong) to 24th June night at Tso Moriri. On 25th June Morning,I plan to leave Tso moriri for Leh by Chumathang route to reach Leh by late afternoon, All travel is by new Innova driven by a Local driver. How should I plan to take night halts? We are 4 adults in total,all wildlife enthusiasts. Please advice.

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Vargis.Khan April 17, 2017 - 9:43 pm

Hello,

You can do the journey in the following manner,

22nd – Pangong to Hanle
23rd – Hanle to Karzok (Tso Moriri)
24th – Tso Moriri to Leh

For the additional day, you can spend it at either Hanle or Karzok. Both places are equally beautiful and definitely worth spending a day. Do keep in mind though that while going to Hanle, you will have to leave all your cameras at a check post at Loma, about 50 kilometers before Hanle.

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Abhi February 27, 2017 - 11:22 am

Is there a possibility for reaching in a day ? I read another article of yours wherein you have put the route . Please let me know if it is possible and we have planned the trip in the month of September end.

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Vargis.Khan February 28, 2017 - 12:49 am

It is doable only if you start by first light of the day from Pangong and do not take too many breaks. It will be a rushed journey but yeah you can do it. Start from Pangong between 6-7 AM, and then you can hope to reach Karzok by evening 6.

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Abhi February 28, 2017 - 3:05 pm

Thanks for the reply. I read another article of yours and you had mentioned about the route. If we halt somewhere in the middle will there be any place for accomodation ?

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Vargis.Khan February 28, 2017 - 5:43 pm

How are you planning to go? Via Chushul or Chumathang? If Chushul, then halt for the night at Hanle. If Chumathang then come back to Leh and go to Moriri the next day.

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Kimal June 27, 2016 - 1:39 am

Are there any private Tents for two at Pangog lake, Numbra valley and at Tsomoriri lake.

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Vargis.Khan June 28, 2016 - 9:17 pm

Yes there are

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Farogh Mahmood May 25, 2016 - 6:55 am

Will car gps give the right direction of the route.

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Vargis.Khan May 26, 2016 - 2:30 am

I highly doubt that your GPS device would have a map of Pangong-Chushul-Karzok route. Which one are you using? Most GPS devices cover only Jammu / Srinagar area in J&K.

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