breathtakingly beautiful... imo the most beautiful of ladakh's high altitude lakes.
In my opinion, this is hands down the most beautiful of all the high altitude lakes in Ladakh. I visited the Tsomoriri lake back in October 2007 on a rented Enfield motorcycle. The trip turned out to be one huge adventure. I was delayed at Leh due to a slight miscalculation with regard to fuel stops (basically had to drive back to Leh to fill up). The drive was wonderfully stunning that it delayed me even more.
As far as mountain roads go.. the stretch between Leh and Tsomoriri has to be one of the best there is, taking you through the entire gamut of mountain landscapes. We start at Leh and ride gently upstream along the Indus river with the Ladakh range to our left and the Zanskar range towards the right. Initially we ride through the heart of Central Ladakh passing through villages rich in luxuriant vegetation and cultural heritage.
After Karu the vegetation thins out and gets more desolate with long straight empty stretches of road. But just when you start to get bored with the landscape, the valley narrows and mountains put on their most fascinating show yet. First you'll gaze in wonder at the copper mountains surrounding Hymia, the dusty rubbly mountains are replaced with smooth walls of copper colored rock. From then on a every few kilometers the mountains take on a different but equally interesting characteristic. The purple mountains near the Kiara army base (you'll have to see it to believe it), the tiger mountains with stripes of yellow and black and as you venture further, mountains of shale in various colors (green and purple being the most dominant).
Finally at the Mahe bridge the road veers off the Indus river and climbs up towards the Namshang La pass (4950m) passing the (Puga) Sumdo village. The most incredible scenery on this route opens up just after crossing the pass. A high altitude (~4800m) grassy plateau ringed by snowcapped mountains and a small emerald blue lake (Tso Kiagar) in the middle. The place is so beautiful that you'll be forgiven for thinking that it is the actual Tso Moriri lake and turn back after spending a few hours there. Fortunately i was warned about the beauty of this lake by the guards at the Mahe bridge checkpost and i continued on towards the Tsomoriri lake.
The road pretty much disappears at this point and you'll have to be careful to avoid getting caught in the sand banks. My destination was a tiny village called Korzok which is supposed be right on the banks of the Tsomoriri lake.
It was well past 5pm and slowly the october sky was getting darker. The last section to the lake was a downhill ride and finally after negotiating it, i came upon the mouth of the lake. I expected the village to be right there at the beginning of the lake but it was no where to be found and the road branched off in both directions.. to the left and to the right. Not sure which way to go, i decided to just camp there on the shore of the lake. Once it was completely dark, the lights came on in the village and i knew where it was. But it was too late to drive in the night. The next morning i was treated to a wonderful sunrise and had great fun exploring the swampy shores of the lake. I spent the next day in the Korzok village. Accommodation options were plenty mostly of the home stay type. I stayed at place for 150Rs a night, including food. From the village there are plenty of nice hiking options along the lake. I choose to spend the evening close to the village, walking among the grazing sheep and talking to the nomads.