Pangong Tso, also known as Pangong Lake, is a salt lake situated amidst the Himalayas. The lake is located at a height of about 4,350 metres in the Leh District of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is situated in Changthang Plateau bordering Tibet. With a length of 134 km, 60% of the lake belongs to Tibet, which is under the rule of China. The lake has saline water though it freezes during winters.
The Line of Actual Control between Indian and China passes through this lake. The eastern end of the lake is in Tibet and the dispute-free area of the lake is the western end. At present, the lake is the point in India from where intrusions of China can be easily observed.
Known as the wetland of international importance, the lake is in the process of being distinguished under the Ramsar Convention. The water of the lake is brackish; hence, lacks in providing any micro-vegetation. Apart from crustaceans, there has not been any other fish or aquatic life in the lake for many years.
Pangong Lake is the most popular attraction where tourists can spot resident and migratory birds such as ducks, gulls, bar-headed goose and brahmani ducks. The surrounding region of the lake provides natural habitat to various animals such as kiang and marmot. Traces of lines above the present lake level show a five metre thick layer of laminated sand and mud, providing evidence that the lake has compressed recently. The destination also offers an opportunity to witness the rich Buddhist culture.
The closest airport to the destination is Leh Airport, which is located at a distance of about 204 km. Pangong can also be reached by trains that connect to the Jammu Tawi Railway Station, from where rental cars and private taxis are available. The nearest bus station to the destination is Phyang Trokpo Bus Stop in Jammu and Kashmir, which is around 120 km away.
The best time to visit Pangong is during May to September as it experiences favourable climatic conditions and the lake is also not frozen.