In a recent development, the home ministry has made two forbidden areas near the Chang Chenmo sector, which lies north of the popular Pangong Lake in Ladakh, accessible to tourists. Despite the border standoffs with China over the last four years, the ministry is eyeing to boost border tourism to create more employment opportunities for those residing in such areas.
On September 14, the ministry released a circular allowing foreigners to stay overnight in Hanle, located only 254 km from Leh and known as the perfect place for astrotourism. In addition, the Marsemik La, lying 184 km east of Leh, was also opened to tourists looking for an unforgettable adventure.
The circular also sanctions travellers to embark on a trekking expedition through the breathtaking Sko Valley, which lies west of the Marsemik La. The high-altitude trek sets off from Yurgo village, located near Pangong Lake's western tip, taking you past beautiful lakes and pasturelands.
While you can club your experience of visiting Pangong Lake with these two exciting activities, here are a few more things to do around Pangong Lake to make the most of your visit to Leh:
Explore Spangmik Village:
Situated 156 km east of Leh, this remote village is nestled on a narrow stretch between Chenmo mountains and Pangong Lake and is home to the Changpa community. Finding a homestay in the village is the best option if you want to stay overnight near the lake and explore the local way of life.
Spot the rare marmots:
This rare squirrel-like species calls the region home, and although there are only a few, you can catch a sighting easily on your way to Pangong Lake. Found in Changthang Valley, you can make a day out of visiting their grounds and feeding them. But do ensure to engage with them sensitively and not interfere with their ecosystem.
Visit the Thiksey and Hemis monasteries:
A visit to Ladakh is incomplete without visiting the many monasteries. Luckily, these two stunning monasteries fall on the way to Pangong and are worth a stop. The most interesting feature of Thiksey monastery is the Maitreya Temple, housing a 15-metre-tall statue of Maitreya Buddha. On the other hand, Hemis Monastery is the largest monastic institution in Ladakh and belongs to the Dragon Order of Mahayana Buddhism. You can plan a visit to witness its serenity first-hand while returning from Pangong.
Embark on a trek:
The most popular trek circuit featuring Pangong is one that starts at Digar La, passes through Nubra and ends at Pangong. It is a moderate-level trek that spans five days. To embark on the trek, you need to spend at least two days acclimatizing yourself in Leh. On the third day, you have to reach Saboo Phu and then transport to the Digar La base.