Nubra Valley To Pangong Lake

Overview

The direct journey from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake was something that was unachievable a few years ago. It took people 3-4 days to travel to both Nubra valley and Pangong lake. Travellers had to come back to Leh and start again. 

But luckily, if you wish to cover these two major tourist attractions in just one day, it is possible. The better connectivity of roads, well-functioning routes and constant efforts for improvisation are the reasons for it. The passes, the roads, the streams that were once beyond tourists’ grasp are now attainable and save some extra days from their itinerary. 

You have two options of pathways for this one day trip. Both have their pros and cons but the only thing common between them is the scenic views they offer. Throughout this road trip, you will be mesmerised by the villages, rivers with bubbling waters, chilling high-altitude passes. The final destination is serene and calm Pangong Lake. Words never suffice to describe its beauty. It is one of the most breathtaking water bodies of Ladakh. The journey is long and challenging but if done with caution, it is so worth it. 

Talking about the most important thing regarding journeys, the first route is via Agham-Shyok road and the Wari-La route. The former is comparatively easier and you have to travel a lesser distance in this. The paths are smooth and no steep climbing as such. 

The latter one is a bit adventurous per se, where you cover more distance in contrast and involves driving through rough patches, steep ascent and passes like Wari La and Chang La. Both of them start from Diskit and terminate at Spangmik.  

 

Route options to reach Pangong Lake

Wari La Pass route: Among the two, this is the road less-taken. If you chose this, you won’t see many people on the routes. The distance you have to cover is 220 kilometres, which takes almost 8-10 hours approximately. As far as the roads are concerned, they are not in their best condition but still drivable. It is one of the under-explored regions of Ladakh and it is nothing like the ones you have seen till now. It is very challenging and involves extra efforts. 

The Wari La route starts from Diskit village and from there you drive till Khalsar. At Khalsar there are two roads. The upper one takes you to Khardung La and then Leh. Don’t take that. Once done crossing Khalsar, the next mid-destination would be Agham village. In Agham, you are at a crossroads, the one taking you to Shyok village is on the right. That must be your choice. 

After driving for sometime, you will be on your way up to Wari La Pass. It is one of the high-altitude passes located at an altitude of 17,400 ft. Initially, it is easy to navigate but that last 20 kilometres will make you sweat. Even your vehicle would feel the level of difficulty. A small village called Tangyar falls in the way. 

When you have crossed Wari La, take some time to relax after the tiring drive. Give some time to your vehicle too to cool it down. Drive down now and another tiny village called Tathok will be seen. The pass will find its conclusion at Shakti village. 

Crossing the village will get you on the Pangong road. Another paas, Chang La, will make its entrance. After Chang La, it’s a buttery ride to the ever-soothing Pangong lake. 

The reason why some people pick this one is because you get to drive through some of the highest passes of Ladakh. It is adventurous and thrilling. You explore more of Ladakh with this route. 

Agham-Shyok Route: Travelling from Nubra valley to Pangong Lake via Agham-Shyok route is better because the road conditions have improved a lot now. Earlier, nobody even experienced local drivers dared to choose it. All the credit goes to BRO that it is now the most picked one among both. The distance covered is about 160 kilometres. It takes you maximum 5-6 hours to reach the take. The routes are straightforward and smooth. Consider Diskit as your starting point and you have to reach Khalsar after that. 

As previously done, here too, after Khalsar , you take the road on the right that takes you to Agham village. One reaching Agham, this time, do not take the right road at the intersection as it would take you to Wari La Pass. 

The road on your left is the one that is taken for Shyok village. The route is named after this village and Shyok river accompanying us. The distance between Agham and Shyok is 48 kilometres and it would take almost 1 hour, depending on your speed. On reaching Shyok, next is Durbuk, 18 kilometres away. 

Ultimately, it is a straight ride to the Pangong lake from here. With this route, you have to drive 80-90 kilometres less and save up to 4-5 hours. It is undoubtedly safer but you can’t be careless. It had been a landslide-prone area and sometimes Shyok river flows right next to the road. You must practise caution and be careful. 

Arrival at Pangong Lake

When you reach Pangong Lake, the highest saltwater lake of the world, situated at an altitude of 4.350 ft. you will feel immense tranquillity. All the driving, every effort, will be worth it on arriving at the lake. The lake is there with its turquoise blue waters attracting people from all over the beauty. Its beauty has been featured in many bollywood movies like the super-hit “3-idiots”, “Jab tak hai Jaan” and others. Well, pictures can never do justice with its charm. You need to reach there to soak it all in. On reaching there, you can take slow walks along the shore, clicking pictures, camping under the stars and stargazing.  

Stops along the route of Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake

Khalsar :The road trip from Nubra valley to Pangong lake generally starts from Khalsar or sometimes Diskit. It totally depends on where you have resided in the valley. At Khalsar, you can freshen up, fuel your vehicle and eat something to be energised for the next few kilometres. 

Agham & Tangste: Agham and Tangste are small villages, lying along the way where you can take a break and have refreshments at small local shops. After Agham, you have to drive 48 kilometres to reach Shyok, hence a break here is necessary. 

Itinerary of Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake

you had to start from Leh and then explore the Nubra places and nearby famous attractions like Diskit Monastery, Hunder sand dunes. After that, move ahead to Shyok valley, explore there and come back again to Leh. 
The next day, from Leh, you have to start the journey to Pangong Lake. Chang La was to be crossed first and then moving downhill, on the other end of the pass, you were on the Pangong road. Some small villages like Spangmik lie from where you get a little glance of the lake. After a walking distance, you arrive at the mesmerising Pangong Lake. Spend the night there in homestays or in a tented accommodation near the lake. 
 the morning begins with a breathtaking view of the lake. After having your breakfast, your journey back to Leh city begins. On your way back, you can explore some other places like Hemis Monastery and more.  By evening, you arrive in the main city of Leh.

Places to visit during the Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake

Hunder Sand Dunes

Hunder sand dunes offer you a view of vast landscape and in the evening, you can enjoy local food and traditional dance. The place is also characterised by double-humped Bactrian camels whose rides are very popular here. 

Located by the Shyok river, you can have a relaxing time here. It is only 10 kilometres from Diskit village in Nubra valley. You should visit here once. 

 

Diskit Monastery

It is one of the prime tourist attractions of Nubra valley and Diskit is taken as the starting point of a road trip from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake. The highlight of this monastery is the 106 feet statue of Maitreya Buddha.

It is at an altitude of 10,308 ft. The place showcases the heritage of Ladakh. Diskit village looks lovely from here.

Khardung La Pass

If you are in Leh, you must drive on Khardung La Pass to reach Nubra valley and start the journey. It is the world’s highest motorable pass at an altitude of 18,380 ft. 

The feeling of riding on this pass is thrilling and you add another feather to your cap. It is one of the main gateways to enter the valley. On this pass, you get stunning views of Leh city and other mighty mountain ranges. It is safe to drive cautiously here. Enjoy taking pictures, having refreshments in local shops etc. 

Pangong Lake

Pangong lake is our final destination on this journey. It is one of the most beautiful places of India and you will have a sense of achievement on reaching here. It is 134 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide but only one-third of the lake resides in India.

You do need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) for visiting Pangong Lake as it comes under Line of Actual Control(LOC).The whole panorama is a treat to the eyes and looks very dreamy.

Spangmik

A tiny village on the southern bank of Pangong Lake, Spangmik gives you stunning views of the lake. It is said that only seven families live here with a population of around seventy people.

You can find an abode here at cosy homestays offered by locals to spend the night. They are cheap and offer you good food. The village is about 156 kilometres from Leh. 

Shyok Village

On the trip from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake, Shyok village is one of the highlights if you have chosen Agham-Shyok route. The Shyok river flows along the roads sometimes, even touching the tires of your vehicle when the water level is up. Earlier the river used to flow on the not-so-good routes and that’s why no one even dared to choose this route.it is better now. 

The river freezes in Winter. Summer is the best time to visit the place and sightseeing. You can stop here for some snacks and tea and relax for some minutes. 

 

Panamik Springs

A warm bath in the Panamik relaxes and rejuvenates you. Located in Nubra valley, they are believed to have medicinal properties.

The springs are surrounded by mighty peaks and scenic beauty. You can spend a few hours here amidst the natural beauty. They are at an altitude of 10,442 ft.  A soothing plunge into the waters is a must. 

Chang La Pass

It is one of the passes you drive on if you have picked Wari La route to reach Pangong lake. 

One of the highest motorable passes in the world, it is at an altitude of 17,586 ft. Driving on it is very adventurous and gives you chills when you are on it. 

You face steep ascent, rocky paths but after crossing it and reaching Pangong, you feel a sense of achievement that is worth it. 

Best time to visit Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake

The summer months, from May to September, are the greatest for travelling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake since the weather is pleasant and the lake is frozen during the winter, which makes the journey less enjoyable for travellers. Despite the fact that Pangong Lake is visited by visitors in the winter, the lake is typically covered in a sheet of ice so thick that walking on it is an adventure in and of itself.

Travellers are advised to visit Ladakh during the summer to take advantage of the pleasant weather and other top attractions.Finally, when taking the direct path from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso, whether from Shyok village or Wari La pass, take a calculated risk. Even if you are travelling alone, the car waits at Agham village so that you can travel in a group. Keep in mind that it is always preferable to travel in a group on such unusual roads in Ladakh.

Tips for travellers on Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake

Check road condition: The roads are in a good condition and can be driven on. But you must have a current update on them to avoid any unnecessary hustle-bustle. They sometimes face temporary closures, and having known them will save you from traffic. Practice caution when driving on them. 

Collect permits: Inner Line Permit (ILP) is mandatory to travel in Nubra Valley and reach Pangong Lake. it is applicable on both the routes too. You can obtain them from SDM office in Leh by going in-person or you can apply for it on an online portal. You can also get it via a travel agency or hotel. You can pay them and they will get it for you before you reach ladakh. It is the most convenient option, saving you from going to the SDM’s office. 

Checkout weather: The Ladakh weather is quite unpredictable. As Nubra valley and Pangong Lake are high-altitude regions, snowfall is experienced here sometimes in add months too. Remain updated about the current weather condition. 

Travel time and distance: The travel time is 8-10 horse, in which you cover a distance of 220 kilometres. But the alternate route, Agham-Shyok route, should be chosen to decrease the distance and travelling time by 3-4 hours. 

Fuel and supplies: The stop points in this journey are very secluded areas of Ladakh hence, petrol pumps are scarce here and so are shops. You must carry extra fuel and other supplies like snacks, dry fruits, enough water etc. 

Advance booking for stay: Advance booking for stay becomes important if you are here during the peak season. It avoids any last-minute arrangements. It saves you so much money too.  You must book them prior to your trip. 

Altitude consideration: You cross one of the high-altitude passes of the world like Chang La, Wari La and Pangong Lake is another Alpine lake. It is very essential to acclimatise well before starting the journey. It is done to avoid high-altitude sickness like headaches, stomachaches, vomiting etc. 

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Essential Information

Pangong Tso

Tips for travellers on Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake

Check road condition: The roads are in a good condition and can be driven on. But you must have a current update on them to avoid any unnecessary hustle-bustle. They sometimes face temporary closures, and having known them will save you from traffic. Practice caution when driving on them. 

Collect permits: Inner Line Permit (ILP) is mandatory to travel in Nubra Valley and reach Pangong Lake. it is applicable on both the routes too. You can obtain them from SDM office in Leh by going in-person or you can apply for it on an online portal. You can also get it via a travel agency or hotel. You can pay them and they will get it for you before you reach ladakh. It is the most convenient option, saving you from going to the SDM’s office. 

Checkout weather:The Ladakh weather is quite unpredictable. As Nubra valley and Pangong Lake are high-altitude regions, snowfall is experienced here sometimes in add months too. Remain updated about the current weather condition. 

Travel time and distance: The travel time is 8-10 horse, in which you cover a distance of 220 kilometres. But the alternate route, Agham-Shyok route, should be chosen to decrease the distance and travelling time by 3-4 hours. 

Fuel and supplies 

The stop points in this journey are very secluded areas of Ladakh hence, petrol pumps are scarce here and so are shops. You must carry extra fuel and other supplies like snacks, dry fruits, enough water etc. 


  • Advance booking for stay 

Advance booking for stay becomes important if you are here during the peak season. It avoids any last-minute arrangements. It saves you so much money too.  You must book them prior to your trip. 


  • Altitude consideration 

You cross one of the high-altitude passes of the world like Chang La, Wari La and Pangong Lake is another Alpine lake. It is very essential to acclimatise well before starting the journey. It is done to avoid high-altitude sickness like headaches, stomachaches, vomiting etc. 



diskit

Best transportation options for Nubra to Pangong Lake

The best transportation option for travelling from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake is by your personal vehicle like a Car or bike. You can even rent them. A 4×4 SUV is the best choice as Wari La Pass is really challenging and you can’t choose a Sweden or Hatchback. 

If you have opted for a bike then Royal Enfield is the required pick. Don’t overload the bike with lots of luggage. Just keep the essentials only and drive solo. You must have spare fuel in a container as petrol pumps are sparse here.

Wherever you see a petrol pump, you should refill your tank. It is crucial to know your bike in and out as to be able to solve some minor issues like puncture etc. Keep a puncture-repairing kit yourself with some tubes too. Experience in driving or riding on mountainous roads is appreciated and highly recommended. If you have not, then you can do it for some days on rough roads to get an insight. 

Now, any public transportation like Buses does not operate from Nubra Valley to reach Pangong Lake. Not even shared cabs are available. 

Hitchhikes are one such option that you can choose. In the peak season like summer, many people travel on these routes, you can ask someone if they can take you along.  

 

FAQ's

The roads between Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake are in better condition and they are totally drivable by a skilled and experienced driver. They do face some temporary closure sometimes. It is suggested to remain updated before starting the journey.   
Pangong Lake will win your heart if you enjoy the outdoors, while Nubra Valley is a better choice if you want to have some adventure fun and sightseeing.
Yes, you can cover Pangong Lake in one day. The direct routes like Agham-Shyok route and Wari La route are now accessible from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake. 
This totally depends on the route you have picked. With the Wari La route, you cover a distance of 220 kilometres. Agham-Shyok route requires you to cover a distance of 160 kilometres to reach Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley. 
The best mode of transportation would be your own car or motorcycle but you must be fully equipped to drive on the roads of Ladakh. 
It again depends on the routes you have chosen. The distance with the Wari La route is more, hence 8-10 hours is the required time. Agham-Shyok route takes you to Pangong Lake in 5-6 hours from Nubra Valley. The second is the easier one. 
The journey from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake takes at least 8 to 10 hours. The Agham-Shyok road is an alternate route that may easily carry you from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso in 4-5 hours and has no challenging peaks. This path may involve crossing rivers with rapid currents and landslides, so you should proceed with extreme caution. It is not at all advised to travel down this road after dark.  
Yes you will get plenty of guesthouses, homestays options on the way but if you want to cover Pangong Lake in one day then only after reaching the lake, you should book a stay and spend the night there. 
No special permits are required as such for travelling but to visit Pangong Lake from Nubra Valley, you need an Inner Line Permit (ILP). You can apply for it online. 
The distance between nUbra Valley to Pangong Lake is 220 kilometres via Wari La route. But there’s another route called Agham-Shyok route in which you only cover 160 kilometres, saving some hours. 
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