Wednesday 3 September 2014

Day 9 : Leh - Karu - Pangong Tso - Karu - Pang

Day 9 : Events (Aug 23)
  • Started from Leh towards Karu
  • Headed to Pangong lake
  • Had lunch near the lake and roamed on the road around the lake for a km or two
  • Started from Pangong lake towards Karu
  • Reached Karu and had momos and coffee
  • Left Karu at around 6:30 pm for Pang (BIG MISTAKE!)
  • Rode through sub 10 degrees temperature for over 100 km at night and somehow made it to Pang by 10:30 pm. Luckily that we didn't get frostbite riding at such low temperatures for so long on the high-altitude mountain roads. Forgot to tell you, there were no roads for 50+ km.

Leh -  Karu - Pangong-Tso - Karu - Pang

Road condition:
Leh to Karu is a small length of 30+ km of good tar road (as you would expect from a highway). There would be a lot of dust though, the same as one would experience in Leh.

Karu to Pangong-Tso has good rideable roads for the most part of the 100+ km. At times I came across gravel/non-tar roads but very less. The only challenges on this route are water crossings and white sand patches. Here are my tips for both:

Water crossings: The length of a water crossing could vary from 10 feet up to 30 feet. Go slow in a lower gear, as there might be deeper sections that may not be clearly visible while riding. Riding slowly would splash less water onto your clothes and luggage. Also, keep your distance from your front and back vehicles (if any). Falling in water with luggage would be a mess, so if at all you need to stop and put both feet down in the water. It's ok. Then start riding again. Make sure your exhaust pipe doesn't sip any water as you pass through.

White Sand Patches: These patches are dynamic and get formed on the tar road based on wind speed and direction. If you come across one, again the rule of thumb is to ride slowly but firmly using the right (lower) gear. DO NOT RIDE WITH A CLUTCH ON SAND. DO NOT DO THAT!
Always keep the rear wheel powered. If still you experience a wobble, slow down further and put your both feet down until you stop. Then start again slowly. That's all.

The climate was cold all through, but during the clear sky daytime, sun rays are strong too. So when on the bike I was getting cold breeze, but if I stand longer in the sun I feel the heat.

Fuel Stops:
Karu :
Rs 1000 / 79.74 pl = 12.5 Ltrs

No fuel available at Pangong-Tso. So the nearest filling station is Karu.

Karu : (Before heading to Pang)
Rs 580 / 79.74 pl = 7 Ltrs

Sun is playing hide and seek with the valley.

Me and Sameer on the way toward the lake

Remember the water crossing I mentioned in Day#7's post. Well..there you go!

The scariest part of crossing such streams is the surface underneath the water is uneven (rocks/stones/etc) and you don't know if there is a pothole. If there is one, how deep it could be.

It's a great feeling when you make it to the other side, dry!:) Well almost:P

Never Ever!!

Another lake on the way to Pangong. Not the famous one, but it doesn't make it any less beautiful in my eyes.

Cloudy mountain near Pangong lake.


It was very cloudy and there was a mild drizzle when we reached Pangong lake. This was the color of the water when we reached the lake. Yes, it was as ordinary/usual looking as any other lake you or I might have seen. 

But when we were about to leave, something (maybe it was Murali) whispered in our ears to take a ride along the shore of the lake and we did exactly that. We started riding on the shoreline of the lake looking at the beautiful mountains around and just then the clouds parted and the clear sky made an appearance. My God!! It was a long time since I had last experienced something I can call magic. The whole bloody lake turned blue like a sapphire. We couldn't believe our eyes. We jammed our brakes and stood still wherever we were on that narrow road and just stared at the lake for some time. was an awesome experience. I got down from the bike and took a few shots, sharing those here.

The mystical Pangong lake with unbelievably blue water.

Cold breeze, mild drizzle, chapped lips, and a dent on the tank pretty much sum it up.. :)

Notice the shoreline where the water is shallow, there is a tinge of emerald green color. Not sure if the lake turns to that color too at some point. I would love to see that someday.


The 'Key' to heaven! 

Now you must remember, finding either of these ain't enough when in Ladakh, you gotta have both 'In Time' !! :P

Saying adieu to the beautiful Pangong-Tso.

This snow wasn't there a few hours ago when we passed through this route while going to the lake.

 "The land is so barren and passes are so high that only the best of friends and fiercest of enemies would want to visit us."                                            
                                                                                                      ~ Local Ladakhi Saying

Another picturesque road on the way back from Pangong-Tso.

Had some delicious paneer momo and sugar-less (didn't ask for it though) coffee at Karu.

Tanked up at Karu, before starting for the risky endeavor of reaching Pang by night.

This shows the route from Leh to Pangong-Tso only. Though we rode back to Karu and then to Pang by night. I think my phone had died out by then for Google to know where we went afterward :P

Well..this is the route we took and how!

Night Halt:
Place                   : Pang
Accommodation : A concrete structure with cloth and tar (yes! you read it right) roof for warmth
Cost per Person : Rs 100  (in a common space)
Room Capacity   : 6 + luggage
Other Details     :
- Bikes parked just outside the house (its so cold, you in your right mind won't thing of stealing a bike, in case you did, you can't run anywhere!)
- A couple/family runs this setup and provides snacks (tea, coffee, noodles, etc), cooked food (parantha, roti, dal, sabzi) as well as packed confectioneries (chips, chocolates, biscuits, etc) in another room in a nominal cost.
- Not that I care but whoa they had a tv :)
- There is a hot water facility for brushing teeth and washing face
- A clean (relatively speaking) Indian-style toilet was also available (out of the two drums with water, one had gotten frozen on the surface in the morning o_O)
- Many other tent shops and accommodations are also available in Pang at a decent cost

View the Main Post for this ride

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