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 actually known as Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve. You cannot pitch any camps near Tso Moriri or construct any stay option near the banks of the lake. It is the highest Ramsar site in the world. The place is full of flora and fauna is found in the region. Since it is near to the Line of Actual Control, you need to get Inner Line Permit to visit Tso Lake, both as an Indian as well as a foreigner.
The beautiful multi-shades of blues offered by this lake along with a picturesque landscape around gives this place an extremely romantic and breathtaking feel. However, in reality, the place is harsh and difficult to survive especially in winters.
There is only a couple of cemented accommodation available around the lake in the form of homestays and the facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc. are luxury in itself. 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 so as to avoid acute mountain sickness.
So, even though you might feel tempted to include Tso Moriri in your trip to Leh Ladakh, it is important to plan your trip to this high altitude place properly. This travel guide will help you with it.
Tso Moriri is located about 240 KMs from Leh town of Ladakh district in Jammu & Kashmir. You cannot make a day trip from Leh to Tso Moriri lake as it will be very hectic and not worth it. Hence, you should plan for a two day trip to Tso Moriri from Leh.
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.
In general, the best time to travel to Tso Moriri lake is in the summer months when Ladakh peak season is in full flow.
Similar to what we learned about the best time to travel to Leh Ladakh, in the months of January to March, lake Tso Moriri remains mostly frozen, extremely cold conditions with no options to stay around the lake. Apart from some homestays at Korzok, Chumathang is the next best bet to stay nearby this lake.
In April, the lake starts to melt and starts transforming into the beautiful palette of multi shades of blue colors. Then, May to August is the peak tourist season but as compared to Pangong Tso it gets less number of tourists.
The tourists start to reside as cold starts to set in and accommodation tents pack up which are near to the lake. IMO, this is by far the best time to visit Tso Moriri and see the full glory of beautiful shades of blue color in the lake. 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 mid-October up to December, all the accommodation packs up and the only nearest place you can stay is either in some homestay with basic facilities to fight the harsh cold temperature at Tso Moriri. You can also find some homestays in Nyoma village and a guest house in Chumathang. Both Nyoma and Chumathang are much warmer than Tso Moriri lake in winter months.
Nyoma has few guest houses having slightly better facilities to fight the cold and provide comfort in winter months than the ones in Korzok. Similarly, Chumathang has Hot Spring Guest House and due to the presence of hot springs, Chumathang itself is quite warm and lower in altitude.
If the sun is shining and you do not mind the hard cold winters, then you can make the day trip to Tso Moriri from Chumathang or Nyoma to see magical shades of blue color at this lake. However, do not forget to check the weather conditions before leaving from Leh.
Tso Moriri is located at a distance of around 250 km from Leh. One can reach this lake via Keylong-Leh Rd/Leh-Manali highway through the remote Chumathang region.
Tso Moriri lies in an isolated paradise where you can find nothing but calm and serenity. This must visit place in Leh attracts many tourists and also various migratory birds such as bar-headed geese, the great crested grebe, Brahmni ducks, and the black-necked cranes.
While here, you may also sightsee the Tibetan wolves although the chances are rare. Besides, the lake, the Korzok village has a Buddhist monastery which attracts many tourists and Buddhist pilgrims.
1. Indian tourists do no need a permit to visit Tso Moriri since May 2014 but if you are foreign national then you’ll need it.
2. All travellers must carry valid photo ID like PAN card, aadhar card, driving license, passport as proof of nationality.
3. Visit Tso Moriri and the interior parts of Ladakh only after you have acclimatised to the high altitude in Leh.
4. Dstance from Leh to Tso Moriri is a good 250 km. Do not trust Google Maps when it says time taken will be around 4 hours. Google doesn’t know the roads of the higher Himalayas. DO NOT plan a day trip to Tso Moriri from Leh. In any case, the sunrise and the sunset are the best times of the day to visit Tso Moriri. Don’t visit Tso Moriri to tick it off the list. Experience Tso Moriri.
5. You can carry your vehicles only upto the Korzok village. Since the area around Tso Moriri is a wetland sanctuary, you are not allowed to carry your vehicles closer to the lake.
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