Travel Guide for Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh

470

Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

Tso Moriri lake in Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, calm and sacred (for ladakhis) high altitude lakes in India. In fact, it is the largest high altitude lake in India that is entirely in Indian Territory. This beautiful blue pallet lake is about 7 KM wide at its broadest point and about 19 KM long. Being part of the wetland reserve under Ramsar site, it is actual known as Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve and one cannot pitch any tents or construct anything near the banks of the lake. It is the highest Ramsar site in the world. A large number of flora and fauna is found in the region. Since, it is very near to the Line of Actual Control, one need to get Inner Line Permit to visit Tso Moriri. You can get more details on Inner Line Permits here: Inner Line Permits for Leh – Ladakh. Starting May 2014, Indian Tourists does not need Inner Line Permits for Tso Moriri. Read more about it here

The beautiful multi shades of blue color offered by this lake along with a picturesque landscape around gives this place an extremely romantic feel and breathtaking feel. However, in actual reality the place is extremely harsh and difficult to survive especially in winters. There is only one cemented accommodation available around the lake and the facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc. are rare to find. The lack of oxygen makes survival difficult if your body is not properly acclimatized to its high altitude and hence, one need to plan his/her journey extremely carefully to make it acute mountain sickness free vacation.

Blue Hues of Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh
Blue Hues of Tso Moriri Lake - Ladakh
Location

Tso Moriri lake is located about 240 KMs from Leh town of Ladakh district.

Altitude

Tso Moriri lake is one of the high altitudes lakes of India at a staggering altitude of 4595 Meters or 15075 Feet, yes higher than Pangong Tso.

Season for Traveling to Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

In January to March, Tso Moriri remains mostly frozen, extremely cold conditions with no options to stay around the lake. In April types, it starts to melt and starts transforming into the beautiful multi shades of blue colors off the shores. Then May, June, July and August is the peak tourist season but as compared to Pangong Tso it gets less number of tourist.

Come September and early October, the tourists starts to reside as cold starts to set in and accommodation tents starts to pack up nearing to lake. According to me, this is by far the best time to visit Tso Moriri to see full glory of beautiful shades of blue color. The colors are purely magical at this time of the year and with less number of tourist comparatively, you get better deals and enjoy more. After second week of October up to December, all the accommodation packs up and the only nearest place you can stay is either in some home stay type guest house at Korzok village or at Chumathang with basic facilities to fight the harsh cold. Chumathang is at much lower in altitude and one can stay there if visiting at the onset or in winters.

How to Reach Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh
Route from Leh to Tso Moriri Lake

This is the general route to Tso Moriri that most people take to visit this ever beautiful lake in Ladakh. You can reach in about 6 – 7 Hrs depending upon the number of break you take in between. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Leh – Karu (36 KMs) – Upshi (13 KMs) – Kumdok (19 KMs) – Kere (53 KMs) – Chumathang (34 KMs) – Mahe (22 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Korzok or Tso Moriri(53 KMs) = 240 KMs

You can cover Thicksey, Hemis and Shey monasteries while going through this route, if you haven’t covered them earlier while going to Pangong Tso. This route provides the best road conditions among all other routes. So, if you are one of those who prefer relaxing vacation and do not want to rush through places then, I will suggest make a two day trip to Tso Moriri lake via this route from Leh. Of course, I assume your body has been acclimatized properly by staying for couple of nights in Leh and spending a night or two in Nubra Valley as well before attempting to sleep near Tso Moriri or Korzok. If you are short on time then you can also exit towards Manali via Manali – Leh Highway from Tso Moriri via this route only but you need to esnure you have enough fuel to cover about 550 KMs without any fuel pump.

Route from Pangong Tso Lake to Tso Moriri Lake

There exist a direct and an indirect route between Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso as well and in most general cases, you will always be doing it from direct route of Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri because you can exit Ladakh from Tso Moriri towards Manali – Leh Highway after visiting Tso Moriri without coming back towards Leh and secondly, Tso Moriri is higher than Pangong Tso so as per acclimatization schedule you should stay near Pangong Tso before spending night at Tso Moriri.

Pangong Tso Lake to Tso Moriri Lake via Changthang (Merak – Chusul – Nyoma)

You can go to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso directly via the remote and ever beautiful Changthang region. The drive between Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri is one of the most beautiful drives in whole Ladakh region. Foreigners are not allowed to go beyond Man – Merak Villages as permits are not issued to them for this route. Hence, they need to follow the indirect, slighly longer route to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso. You need to mention all the places mentioned in the route below on your permit form in order to under take this route. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Spangmik (Pangong Tso) – Man (9 KMs) – Merak (12 KMs)– Kakstet (4 KMs) – Chusul (24 KMs) – Tsaga La (33 KMs) – Tsaga Village (20 KMs) – Loma (23 KMs) – Nyoma (22 KMs) – Mahe (25 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Tso Moriri / Korzok (53 KMs) = 235 KMs

You need to make sure you carry fuel for about 550 – 600 KMs because you will be covering Leh – Pangong Tso – Nyoma – Loma – Tso Moriri – Leh without any other petrol pump. And if you want to exit Ladakh through Manali – Leh Highway from Tso Moriri then also carry petrol/diesel for about 650 – 700 KMs as the next petrol pump will be available at Tandi. Otherwise, you need to come back to Karu or Upshi, refill and move back again towards Manali – Leh Highway.

Pangong Tso Lake to Tso Moriri Lake via Chumathang

The indirect route that goes via Chumathang is the longer one, where you need to go all the way back from Pangong Tso to Leh upto Karu and from there you can take left towards Upshi – Chumathang – Korzok to reach Tso Moriri. This route can be followed by foreign tourists who are not allowed the permit for Changthang (Man – Merak – Chusul etc) region, if they do not want to go back to Leh. But, IMO one must go back to Leh from Pangong Tso, refresh themselves and start towards Tso Moriri next morning instead of very long day via Chumathang. You need to mention both Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso on your permit form in order to under take this route. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Spangmik – Lukung (16 KMs) – Tangtse (34 KMs) – Durbuk (9 KMs) – Chang La (32 KMs) – Sakti (34 KMs) – Karu (10 KMs) – Upshi (13 KMs) – Kumdok (19 KMs) – Kere (53 KMs) – Chumathang (34 KMs) – Mahe (22 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Korzok or Tso Moriri(53 KMs) = 339 KMs

Do not forget to refill petrol/diesel at Karu or Upshi petrol pump and if you want to exit Ladakh through Manali – Leh Highway then also carry petrol/diesel for about 500 – 550 KMs as the next petrol pump will be available at Tandi. Otherwise, you need to come back to Karu or Upshi, refill and move back again towards Manali – Leh Highway.

Preferred Vehicles

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable and 4×4 ones would definitely be helpful especially between Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri via Man – Merak – Chusul – Nyoma (Changthang) route. However, for general route via Chumathang, quite a few people do it in hatchbacks and sedans as well which depends upon your skills to drive and road conditions at the time of travel.

Suggested Itinerary for Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

Generally, at least one night stay is preferable to truly witness the mesmerizing beauty of this blue colored salt water lake. Of course, one night stay will help you watch sunrise and sunset over the picturesque landscape and increase the charm of your vacation to great extent. Most people, generally do:

Day 1 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang

  • Cover Korzok Monastery
  • Overnight at Tso Moriri or Korzok

Day 2 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring – Taglang La – Rumste – Upshi – Karu – Leh

  • Cover Tso Kar Lake and Taglang La (some part of Manali – Leh Highway)
  • Overnight at Leh

You can also check the most common and very well balanced itinerary for whole Leh – Ladakh region covering all major tourist destination including Srinagar – Leh Highway and Manali – Leh Highway, at the below link: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh

Accommodation Options at Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

You cannot find accommodation at Tso Moriri lake on the banks because it is restricted to pitch the camps there being a wetland reserve and sanctuary for migratory birds. You can pitch the tents near the other tented colonies pitched just before Korzok village or find an accommodation in Korzok village. Both ways you will definitely have a clear and broad view of the 24 KM in length, 6 KM in width this magnificent blue colored high altitude lake – Tso Moriri (Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve)

For a comprehensive list of accommodation options or hotels or camps around Tso Moriri lake, check the link here: Good Hotels or Accommodation options near Tso Moriri – Ladakh

Medical Facilities near Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

The nearest basic medical health center may be available at Korzok Village though I am not that sure about it. You can get basic first aid including Oxygen doses at some of the tents/camps, I guess.

Food Joints near Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

Being a remote place, you will either be eating in the home stay at Korzok Village or at the camps/tents near Korzok in which you might be staying overnight.

Phone Signals at Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

You will not find any phone or mobile signals at Tso Moriri lake.

Petrol Pumps near Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

Nearest Petrol Pump is at Karu (about 204 KMs) from Tso Moriri and comes on the way to Tso Moriri from Leh. I will suggest that you top-up the fuel from Leh itself and then drive/ride up to to Tso Moriri.

ATMs near Tso Moriri Lake – Ladakh

You will not find any ATMs near Tso Moriri lake and hence, it is always better to carry cash from Leh (the only place where you find ATM in Ladakh) itself.

Conclusion

It is a great place to visit and I am sure if you visit Ladakh, this one surely is not the place you would like to exclude from your plan. I hope the above information will be useful for your upcoming Leh – Ladakh trip.

Please feel free to post any queries or doubts you might have in planning your trip to Tso Moriri place in the comments section below. If you have been to Tso Moriri lake, kindly share your thoughts and other information you might feel will be worth sharing with other fellow travelers and prove helpful to them.

If you found above article useful, then PLEASE stay connected with us on Facebook or Twitter or Email Subscription for any himalayan travel queries or travel updates / tips / news / guides on Traveling to Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir and other parts of Himalayas. Travel, off the road with us...


Share.

About Author

You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

470 Comments

  1. Hi, We are planning to visit leh on 23rd may 2017 and will hire bike from srinagar to leh. Is it possible for us to do local sightseeing in leh on those bike and if not what options do we have?
    Hiring another bike in leh for local sightseeing means we have to hire twice one from sri to leh and other for leh sightseeing thereby incurring double cost. Please give your suggestion. Thank You.

    • You will have to hire the bike twice in such a case. It is best to travel by public transport to Leh and then hire a bike over there unless you are OK with paying twice and do not have any budget constraints.

  2. Bhaskar Roy on

    Hi,

    Please let me know what is the difference between Tsomoriri Camps and Tsomoriri Resorts in terms of facilities.

    For a 1 night stay during Sept’17 which one will be preferrable?

    Regards,

  3. Suketu Shah on

    is it ok for our family tour in 25th may to 5th june
    Day 01: Pick up at 4.00am.Udhampur – Srinagar (Stay at srinagar)
    Day 02: Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil (Stay at kargil)
    Day 03: Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh (Stay at Leh)
    Day 04: Leh Local sightseeing (Stay at Leh)
    Day 05: Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder- Nubra valley (Stay at Nubra valley)
    Day 06: Hunder / Diskit – Khardung La –Leh (Stay at Leh)
    Day 07: Leh-Pangong (Stay at Pangong)
    Day 08: Pangong– Moore Plains – Pang / Sarchu – Jispa (Stay at Jispa)
    Day 09: Jispa – Manali /Chandigarh (Stay at Manali/Chandigarh)
    Day 10: Manali/Chandigarh – Departure at 11.00 am

    • Your plan looks OK till Pangong Tso but Manali – Leh Highway may not be open by that time and you are making it too hectic towards the end of those days.

  4. Hi Dheeraj,

    Its great to have find all information about Leh at the same place. I’m travelling with my family (including my son – 10 years) as per following itinerary. Just wanted to check if this makes sense any specific you can suggest to have a relaxed vacation and avoid AMS.

    25th April – Land in Leh, day at leisure
    26th April – Day trip to Sham valley, night at Leh
    27th April – Leh to Nubra Valley
    28th April – Nubra Valley – Turtuk (where do you suggest to stay in Turtuk?)
    29th April – Turtuk to Leh
    30th April – Leh to Pangong Tso
    1st May- Pangong Tso to Leh
    2nd May – Rest Day at Leh (local sight seeing)
    3rd May – Leh to Tso Moriri (Do you suggest to make a booking to stay or find once we reach?)
    4th May -Tso Moriri to Leh
    5th May – Day at leisure
    6th May – Flight back from Leh

    Thanks
    Mohit

    • Hello Mohit,

      You have a very good and relaxed plan. Just ensure you follow the general tips mentioned under the article for precautions for AMS and you should be good to go. Well, you should not stay at Pangong Tso as it will be too cold, so stay at Tangtse about 34 KMs before Pangong Tso. Same is true for Tso Moriri lake. Stay at Chumathang.

      Go prepared well with heavy woollens to make sure you combat cold.

      To know about AMS and acclimatization including the tips to combat AMS, please DO READ: Acute Mountain Sickness and Importance of Acclimatization

      • Thanks Dheeraj, also wanted to check if Nubra Valley hotels would be open at the time (end April)? For the Pangong Lake and Tso Moriri, it is worth visiting if we are not staying there and they would be frozen and too cold?

        • Yes Mohit, some of the guest houses and couple of hotels will start opening up in Nubra Valley by end of April. Well, yeah, you can still visit the lakes and spend more time before return back to bases like Tangtse for Pangong Tso or Chumathang for Tso Moriri. The journey will also be beautiful.

  5. Poornendu M G on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    We are a group of 7 people planning to visit Leh from June 2nd to 17th this year. We are planning to reach Srinagar by flight on 2nd and start next day from there by road. Is the road conditions look positive? Also, we are planning to come back via Manali. Kindly check the itinerary below:-

    2nd June – Bangalore to Srinagar by flight
    3rd – Srinagar to Kargil. Stay at Kargil
    4th – Kargil to Leh via Lamayuru
    5th – Local sightseeing at Leh
    6th – Nubra via Kardungla. Stay at Hunder/Diskt
    7th – Visit Turtuk and stay there
    8th – Back to Leh
    9th – Visit Pangong lake. Stay at Pangong
    10th – Pangong to Chusul. Stay at Chusul?
    11th – Chusul to Tso Moriri. Stay at Tso Moriri
    12th – Rest at Tso Moriri
    13th – Tso Moriri to Pang/Sarchu
    14th – Pang/Sarchu to manali
    15th – Sightseeing in Manali
    16th – Manali to Chandigarh
    17th – Fly back to Bangalore

    Is this itinerary looks ok for you? Kindly provide your suggestions.

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    Poornendu

      • Poornendu M G on

        Thanks Dheeraj! 🙂 Appreciate your efforts. I have one more query.Is it possible go to Pangong lake and come back to Leh within a day? Two of us have to return to Bangalore from Leh on 10th morning.
        If not, can we reach Pangong from Nubra directly. Will the roads be open by that time?

        Thanks & Best Regards,
        Poornendu

        • Yes, it takes about 12 Hrs to make a day trip to Pangong Tso and many people do it. Pangong Tso – Nubra Valley road from Agham – Shyok can also be taken to save a day but keep in mind that the route is desolated and hence, you should only travel on that route if there are other vehicles accompanying you.

  6. Manish1971 on

    Hi Dheeraj ,
    HATS OFF TO YOU for such comprehensive information, really appreciate your time & efforts.
    M planning for trip to leh ladakh from Jammu and exit via manali from 10 sept tp 21 sept manali we have chosen this time based on your experience & suggestions. As we want to travel light can you please guide us regarding weather conditions at this time and clothing required. I have also posted our travel plan on DOW calendar.

    Thanks in advance.
    Rgds,
    Manish

  7. Hi DHEERAJ,
    Really an wonderful blog ..
    i am planning 9 days trip to srinagar – leh – manali – delhi ..please advice ..

    Planning to reach Srinagar on june 2nd

    So
    June 2 – Reach Srinagar
    June 3 – Srianagr to kargil
    June 4 – kargil – Leh
    June 5 – leh to nubra
    June 6 – nubra to leh
    June 7 – leh to pangso
    June 8 – pangso – tsomori
    June 9 – tso mori to sarchu
    June10 – sarchu to manali Manali – manali to dehi bus
    June 11 – Return fight from Delhi
    June 12 –

    Can ypu please suggest what will be the best option we can add on emore day also , We want to visit as much as possible

    • Hi Rajesh,

      You must add one day of rest and acclimatization in Leh before going over to Nubra Valley via Khardung La pass. Also, you should know that the plan is going to be quite hectic and you will mostly be on road, so be sure to be mentally prepared for it.

    • Infact since you are taking Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri direct route, you will have to anyway take rest day in Leh to apply for inner line permits on that route.

      • yes rest we will take and one more qn is is can we make like leh-nubra-pangso-tsomori -manali in one direct route in consecutive 4/5 days without returning back to leh?

        • Yes Rajesh, you can do so like

          Leh to Nubra Valley
          Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
          Pangong Tso to Hanle
          Hanle to Tso Moriri
          Tso Moriri to Leh

          This way it will be a bit balanced. You will need permits to travel from Pangong Tso to Hanle from Leh DC Office.

Leave A Reply

Love Traveling to Himalayas?

YES?? Then, Let's Stay Connected !!

Get FREE monthly travel updates, news, guides, tips, itineraries, stories, hotel & restaurant reviews, etc.. focused totally on travelling to Himalayas right in to your email inbox.

Don't worry, we will neither SPAM nor SELL your email :)

Love Traveling to Himalayas?

YES?? Then, Let's Stay Connected !!

Get FREE monthly travel updates, news, guides, tips, itineraries, stories, hotel & restaurant reviews, etc.. focused totally on travelling to Himalayas right in to your email inbox.

Don't worry, we will neither SPAM nor SELL your email :)

Send this to a friend