Ladakh road trip 2 – Pangong Lake

Wanting to have as much fun in high-altitude traffic as possible, we next hired a taxi to visit a different border area on the north side of the Ladakh Range. This destination was Pangong Lake, a 160-kilometer-long saline lake crossing into western Tibet.

Fortunately, this area was sparsely populated and traffic was minimal. The 5400-meter Chang La pass was also easy, one of the reasons British players in the Great Game feared Russian invasions by this route.

The land in this area was remarkable: barren mountains, rocky outcroppings and sand dunes. Wild horses roamed the valleys. At the lake we could see hints of the changing light blue colors that are reputedly amazing on sunny days. The weather, however was not cooperating, with overcast clouds all evening.

Hotels being scarce and fully booked, we stayed in the home of an elderly Tibetan refugee and his Ladakhi wife. He made a delicious meal for us, which we ate in his traditional kitchen.

The next morning it was snowing lightly. We quickly packed and ate breakfast to get over the pass before it got worse. The police checkpost was turning back cars from the pass, but they let us through when our driver showed he had tire chains. With few vehicles on the road, our pass crossing was snowy but uneventful.

Back on the Leh side, we visited several monasteries and ruined palaces that we had not been able to go to before.

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