“Juley” You will learn quickly this word as soon as you enter into a magical world of highland in Himalaya, a region known as Ladakh.
Any tourist or adventurer who enters in to this highland, their first wish to visit a place which is known for it’s deep blue water than a sky and that magical name is Pangong Tso. Pangong Tso means a long narrow lake in Tibetan. A saltwater lake, which is 134 kilometers long and 5 kilometers in width at height of 4250 meters. Lake is situated some 160 kilometers from Leh near China border where 1/3 of lake is in India and 2/3 is in China.
To reach this place from Leh; there are couple of options available, one is obvious with luxury of hiring a private vehicles which generally start early morning, after 4 hours of bumpy drive in wonderland, you will be at destination. Before you reach to this place, you will come across to 2nd highest motorable road and that place know as Chang La, a high mountain pass of 5360 meters height. Free tea will be offered by army at top of pass, but make sure to clean your cup after a hot cup of black tea.
If you are adventurer and like to travel budget; local state transport buses are available and take you to the village call Spingmik a small village with couple of houses and many summer camps at bank of lake as per you budget. Home stay is available too and one can experience local touch. Want to bean adventurer? Hire motorbikes from Leh main market. If you are using motorbikes make sure you are well proctored and your clothes must support cool to super cool weather conditions.
You might come across to few brave hearts riding bicycles on this road; which takes 3 days for them to reach at Pangong Tso.
One must spend a night at this Pangong Tso to see what highland can offer you at night.
Every coin has two sides and this place also offers you an extreme sense of adventure during winter months when temperature drops to -40(minus) Degree Celsius at night and complete 134 kilometers lake freezes. During winter months there are no camps of hotels available for overnight stay, make sure you are fully equipped for camping facility and food. You might come across with one or two home stay but not sure they are open, it’s better to be prepared -40 (minus) Degree is not a joke with wind is bowing; you must be well prepared to take up such harsh weather.
If you want be brave heart and looking for winter trip, there is only way to get into Leh is by flights, there are few airlines they have regular trips to Leh from Delhi and Srinagar.
If you are flying into this highland of Himalaya, make sure you are properly acclimatized before starting off for any adventure trips, it takes 2 -3 days for one to acclimatized (again this depends on person to person). There are couple of way to get acclimatized easily, take rest and don’t do any hardwork where you get exhausted, water is must and one must drink at least 3- 4 liters water a day. Avoid liquor if possible, if I can survive in winter without alcohol for last 10 years, I don’t think so it a big deal for anyone to avoid heavy use of alcohol.
What one must bring to this place? Most importantly you should bring a smile, your sense of adventure and a curiosity to learn about new cultures, ways of life and respect to mountains and yes this is not weekend party.