Many a times I used to get queries on covering Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri route directly in one day without coming back to Leh. I though to summarizing my tips for this direct route of Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri in this article today so that it can be referred whenever required and can also let you know about this direct route in detail. Well, to start with the basic qquestion of whether there exist a direct route from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri or not? Then, yes, there exist a direct route to travel from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri and much have been discussed about the conditions of this route in the article Routes and Road Conditions In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips
To get more detailed understanding of the routes in Ladakh along with distances, you can also refer: DoW – Maps of Ladakh | Nubra Valley & Changthang. I always suggest everyone to keep in mind that all the remote routes in Ladakh are isolated and completely off track with almost all with dirt roads. Better stick to traditional routes in case it is your first trip to Ladakh to avoid the uncertainities of different kinds on these unconventional routes 😉 … As you draw from the map of Ladakh, there exist couple of routes to travel to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso directly and I will talk about both of them in detail one by one for you.
Road Conditions of Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri
Pangong Tso (Spangmik) – Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga – Loma – Nyoma – Mahe – Sumdo – Kiagar Tso – Tso Moriri (Korzok)
Considering this route, as you read in the article referenced above, major part of this remote but most beautiful route of Ladakh in Changthang, runs on a dirt track due to absence of any road. Lukung – Spangmik – Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga does not have any road at all and have some really bad sections where getting through with low ground clearance is very difficult, especially before Tsaga La pass. Tsaga – Loma – Nyoma – Mahe is freshly laid tarmac (as per April 2013) where it will be easy to drive any kind of vehicle. Even the diversion road to Hanle from Loma is in very good condition barring few patches. For rest of the route condition you can always refer the Tso Moriri – Hanle route in the above article.
Pangong Tso (Spangmik) – Man – Merak – Chusul – Nama – Kaksang La – Horala – Mahe – Sumdo – Kiagar Tso – Tso Moriri (Korzok)
Considering this route, the road conditions up to Chusul are explained above but beyond Chusul towards Kaksang La it further deteriorates. The ascend to Kaksang La from Nama side has sharp stones that can cut your tyre and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. And then towards Horala the road starts to improve with Horala to Mahe all black tarmac. You should be very very lucky to spot some soul on this route as no one takes this route being so desolated and lack of permissions from army. There will be no help around in miles in case required. Hence, utmost bravado is required on this route to travel even in case you are somehow allowed by army.
Permits of Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri
However, apart from what is said above regarding the road conditions for both these routes from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri route or Pangong Tso to Hanle to Tso Moriri route, the permits to Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga or remote Changthang routes are being given by DC office in Leh at ON and OFF basis. So, keep your fingers crossed when applying for permits and hope for the best if they start issuing the permits by the time you visit or issue you on your lucky day. Also, even if the permits are given to you then as well there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to cross Chusul check post or not because since last year several such incidents happened and people with permits also had to return back from Changla route and then took the conventional route to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso via Chumathang same route. The story most likely will be similar this year too and only handful of people may be allowed on their lucky days 😀 😀 … Then, the probable route via Tsaga La is completely a dirt track all the way with quite a bumpy ride upto Tsaga which might churns most things in your stomach ;P … Finally, as said above the routes are totally isolated with no one around you in miles for any help.
All this what is said about road conditions and permissions aspects will mean that you will have to risk it for at least a day getting wasted if you are not allowed to cross Chusul because there will be no guarantee until you cross Chusul and Tsaga post that you will reach Tso Moriri or Hanle on the same day or not. Otherwise, you always have the option of taking the conventional route from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri only via Upshi – Chumathang road.