Pangong lake in winter months of December, January, February

If you are planning a trip to Ladakh in winters, you should know that it’s not going to be your another run-of-the-mill vacation. Winter here can be tough but nevertheless very mesmerizing and beautiful.
And if you are visiting Ladakh, you have to visit the Pangong lake. The temperature in Ladakh varies from -5 to -25 degree Celsius during winters and the Pangong lake freezes solid. This lake flows from India to Tibet and while it’s pretty in summers, it gets breathtakingly beautiful in winters. Images below via TravelShoeBum

When the lake freezes, the ice gets so solid you can walk over it. Infact, some local drivers will take their SUVs on it too! The Pangong lake is accessible all over the year from Leh but in case of heavy snowfall, the roads are closed partially – basically the mighty Chang la pass is the culprit here. Do note that in winters, the Srinagar Leh highway and the Manali Leh Highway are closed by October/ November, so road travel to reach Leh Ladakh isn’t possible. The only option is to fly. There are a lot of flights that you can take from Delhi or Jammu to Leh and the prices aren’t that expensive.

During winters, travelling by motorcycles is not advised due to harsh weather conditions. The best way to travel is by hiring taxis. The fares might be little steep but it’s safe and drivers know their way. Hiring a cab would cost you anywhere between 7000 to 9000 RS for a day trip from Leh to Pangong and back. There is no accommodation option available near the Pangong lake in winters but these drivers will help you contact the local families there who will provide you accommodation and food for a small price. This can in fact cost you around RS. 400-600 per person. Do note these will be very basic.

You can either just sit and enjoy the beauty of the lake or cross the lake with shepherds of the Mann village who do that to reach to the pastures. They’d be happy to take you along at a nominal price. It’s said that all the postpaid networks work in Leh but we’d ask you to get BSNL postpaid as it is more consistent even though weaker than usual. Be prepared for windchill here.

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