90 Days Cycling in the Himalayas: Day 54: Tangtse to Pangong Tso

On the the 54th day of the 90 day Himalayan cycle ride, we pedalled from Tangtse to Pangong Tso, the lake made famous by Bollywood. This was part of our Himalayan odyssey covering Spiti, Zanskar, Batalik, Ladakh, Nubra, Shyok, Pangong, Hanle, Tso Moriri, Garhwal and Kumaon.

Day 54 Tangtse to Pangong Tso

I woke up in Tangtse, to the sound of firing guns. I ran to the roof of the hotel to see what was on. People were walking around on the street like normal.

There was an army shooting range close by. The bullets whizzing there, scaring the living bejabers out of me from miles away!

Cash Attack

Since Akshay was at his usually ‘late’ best, I ended up having breakfast with Xavi. He then left for Pangong Tso, while I waited.

We had a cash crunch which needed sorting out. Akshay had laundered his money along with his debit card, quite literally! The result being he had no cash and I had cash only for one person. In Tangtse, we were dangerously low on cash with not an ATM in sight.

Akshay spoke to a friend who worked in the bank. He called up the local general manager who helped us out with 5000 rupees. We were fortunate to get hold of it, but it was past noon by the time these events played out.

Himalayan Mormot
Akshay indulging in some wildlife photography with a wide angle lens!

Internet > Food!

Akshay hadn’t eaten breakfast so we ate lunch before leaving. The landlady of the hotel we stayed in looked at us with incredulity. ‘What in the world are you still doing in Tangtse, you should have been halfway to Pangong Tso by now’, she said.

We eventually left by 2 pm. Fortunately we had only 35 km of flat road to traverse.

We lingered longer than necessary because Tangtse was the last bit of Internet and connectivity we would have in a long time!

Cycling from Tangtse to Pangong Tso
A lot of horses along the way. Some of them are used by Trekkers, as they luggage is carried on the horse’s back
Mountain Dog

Road to Pangong

The road to Pangong is pretty. But there is a lot of garbage strewn all over the place. It is disgusting.

On the other hand there are plenty of idyllic camping spots along the way from Tangtse to Pangong. Perfect for pitching your tent in the middle of nowhere.

Motorcyclists once again provided us entertainment as they struggled to cross streams, which were tiny. It reminded me of the movie ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights‘!

One such instance was seeing a bunch of properly kitted out foreigners on Enfields blast past a Ducati Multistrada ridden by a wannabe!

Sometimes the road to Pangong isn’t a road!

Motorcycle Rentals

This route has possibly the worst of the rental motorcyclists. They fly to Leh, rent out a bike there, ride to Pangong and back.

The problem is that most of these ‘bikers’ are incapable of differentiating between the handlebar and their arseholes. If one these chimps waves to you, be very afraid, he has zero control over the bucket of bolts he is riding!

First view of Pangong Lake
A peek of Pangong
BRO funny captions in Ladakh
I would love to meet the person who comes up with these wonderful phrases!

Pangong Tso. At last!

Pangong Tso is pretty and fortunately most tourists return to Leh in the evening after staying there for a couple of hours. After having clicked infinite selfies!

They don’t bother staying the night as they need to go to the next Bollywood spot for another round of selfies!

As in most touristy places on this circuit, the price of everything is more than normal. Fortunately it wasn’t exorbitant as I had feared.

Cycling in Pangong Tso
That milestone seems a bit lost!

Pitcher full of happiness…

We ended up pitching our tent on the lakeside after Akshay spoke to a dhaba owner and arranged all our meals there.

Pitching the tent on the lakeside was probably the best decision of this trip!

The camps in Pangong run their diesel generators between 7 to 11 and they were kind enough to allow us to charge all our electronics whilst we ate dinner.

The dhaba was filled with people from Delhi, as I heard their voices, I cringed and tried to hide behind something. Fortunately they turned out to be a nice bunch of people. The idiots possibly having already returned to Leh!

Camping at Pangong Lake
Camp on the lake shore
Night Sky at Pangong Tso
Night Sky

Route Profile: Tangtse to Pangong Tso

The road from Tangtse to Pangong Tso is rather short and an easy ride. There is a constant yet gradual climb towards the lake. The last few kilometres to the lake is an enjoyable descent.

Pangong Tso has multiple dhabas where one can get both food and accommodation.

Elevation Profile from Tangtse to Pangong Tso


Food and Stay for Two 960
Food for Two 410


4 Replies to “90 Days Cycling in the Himalayas: Day 54: Tangtse to Pangong Tso”

  1. The night sky is literally out of this world. Excellent photography. I have seen similar curvaceous road signs in Uttarakhand. But the milestone to different parts of Asia was hilarious. Did the guy borrow a tailor’s measuring tape to do the needful?

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