When thinking of western Tibet, you probably conjure up images of Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar in the Darchen, Ali region, two of the major hottest tourist destinations in Tibet. But if I were to plan a trip to this area, I'd opt for Pangong Tso, a stunning and unique lake for bird-watching in Ali, Tibet.
Pangong Tso, which means "the long, narrow enchanting lake" in Tibetan, is located about 12km (7.5 miles) northwest of the Rutok Xian, Ali region. Covering an area of 600 km (232 miles), it's about 150km (93 miles) long from east to west and 15km (9.3 miles) wide from south to north. But it is merely 5 meters (16 feet) wide at its narrowest point. Situated at an elevation of 4,240 meters (13,911 feet), Pangong Tso is also known as the "Swan Lake" of Tibet, where China borders Kashmir in India. The eastern part of the lake belongs to China, while the western part is under the control of Indian Kashmir.
What makes this inland lake unique is that the water in the Chinese part is fresh and teeming with fish; however, in the Kashmir part, the water is salty and you can seldom find any fish. As regards the Chinese part, Pangong Tso is home to various kinds of fauna, from migratory birds to mammals of various species. There is a Birds' islet located in the lake inhabited by thousands of gulls. So don't be surprised if you find gull eggs between rocks, in the grass, on the lake, and on the bank. Every year, when spring comes, you can see groups of birds flying back to the islet from the warm Southern Asian Continent. The best time to observe these lovely birds is during May and September. As a result, Pangong Tso is famed as a paradise for birds and bird watchers.
What attracts me to the lake most is its magnificent display of different colors. This amazing effect is created by the sun and I think of it as a gift from nature. When the sun shines brightly on the crystal clear water, the water displays itself in a variety of colors from blue to green, purple, violet and red. Together with the green grass at the lakeside and the snow-capped mountains in the distance, it stimulates your imagination, cleanses your soul and puts every muscle at ease. You just can't help acclaiming what a versatile painter Mother Nature is and what fantastic a masterpiece she has created!
Therefore, I strongly suggest that next time you go to Ali, be sure to stop at Pangong Tso to find out something special for yourself.