stunningly beautiful.. perfect for extended stays
I've visited Pangong Lake twice. The first time was back in Oct 2008 when i did a short overnight trip to the Pangong lake on a rented motor bike and the second time was in Oct 2010 when bicycled there from Leh and spent over 5 days staying at the different villages around the Lake.
The obvious draw for me is the beauty of the lake and the mountains that surround it. Separately they are stunning in their own right but together the mountains and the lake combine to give a unique visual treat few other places in the world can match. As you travel along the lake, subtle changes in the color of the waters (based on changes in its depth) and/or the layout of mountains keeps the visual experience flowing. Add a splattering of puffy clouds and a slight breeze you can be sure that you'll never bored of taking in the stunning vistas around you.
Villages and sights around the Lake
For the curious, let it be known that there are five different spots around the lake where you can find accommodation. Each offering a different vantage point to take in the Lake. I'll list them in the left to right order of their geographical existence.
Phobrang: It is the village at the head (leftmost) of the lake. And there is a road here which leads to Chorkangma pass, which is even higher than the fabled Khardung La pass.
Lukung: It is the main base for most day trippers coming to visit the lake, so naturally the most crowded. There are a couple of restaurants here (one run by the army, pretty much guaranteed to be open all year round) and during the tourist season few makeshift tent camps offer over night accommodation.
Spangmik: Before 2010, Spangmik was the last village on road that runs along the Pangong lake. As a result the village has heavily adapted itself to tourism and pretty much every house in the village offers home stays for tourists to spend a few days. If you can look past the sign boards everywhere, Spangmik is actually pretty nice spot.
Maan: Newly opened in 2010 for tourism, Maan is yet to fully enjoy the benefits of tourism. Its a rather small village consisting of about 20 house holds. As of October 2010 there were no boards advertising home stays for tourists. But you can ask around and find a few. I stayed at home of the headmaster of a local school. He is already busy adding a couple of rooms to his home and i'am sure that by next year he and a few others in the village will open up their homes for tourists.
Merak: Another 2010 entrant to the tourist scene, Merak is the last village on the route which you are allowed to visit. Compared to Spangmik and Maan, Merak is a much larger village and offers a much bigger scope for exploring. As of 2010 there were two home stays available in the village, with more under construction.