The Tibetan word Pangong literally means ‘high grassland lake’. Situated 4350 meters above sea level the Pangong Lake is the world’s highest saltwater lake. It is also an endorheic type of lake. Endorheic water bodies are unique because their water doesn’t drain into rivers and seas unlike other water systems. Approximately 40% of the lake lies in India. The clear reflective surface of the lake amidst nature’s beauty is a tranquil sight. Setting up camps and bonfires along the banks is the best way to enjoy the cool serene landscape. Since this area is remote and sparsely populated, the night sky breathtakingly studded with stars is visible easily.
Many migratory birds such as gulls and geese frequent the lake making it an ideal place for avid photographers. During the winter the surface of the lake freezes over, ice skating and trekking are the fun activities during this time. Merak, Spangmik, Man and Lukung are tiny villages here with a predominantly Buddhist culture. These villages are also famous for their steaming hot momos and the Pashmina wool. Some local dishes like Thenthuk also have yak meat.
Changthang wildlife sanctuary between Leh and Pangong Tso has the rare endemic Himalayan Mormot, which is a hibernating mammal living in burrows.